Thanksgiving is one of the nicest Canadian holidays. It comes at an excellent time of year, weather-wise (we in southern Ontario are being spoilt with a second summer). It crosses religious boundaries.
When we were little girls, we rather liked it when our mother went out. We enjoyed the heady scent of Chanel No. 5 wafting around in her bedroom as she dressed, and we loved our babysitters, a trio of sisters who tirelessly played Crazy 8s and prepared JiffyPop while we watched Charlie’s Angels.
We do not seem to go out nearly enough these days.
And so September is hurtling toward a close and we are tucking into fall. Before we get into the homey, heartiness of stews and fruit crumbles for Sunday night suppers, let us finish off the month with a bowl of greens that is as cleanly virtuous as it is surprisingly delicious.
And next week, it’s a night on the town. And a cocktail recipe.
When the first of our three boys was born, our extended family started a yearly apple-picking expedition. Over the last decade, we’ve picked countless pounds of Macs, Empires, Honey Crisps, and Paula Reds (everything but Red Delicious, which no one likes). We’ve strolled for miles up and down the orchard rows, debating the readiness of certain trees, twisting (not pulling) the perfect fruits from the branches, letting our babies, toddlers, and now big boys (two-and-a-half, six, and ten years old) romp freely in the fields.
The weather may be all over the map but we're holding steady with soup, in our ongoing quest for post summer-purity (okay, maybe that's a little extreme. But we are trying to wean ourselves off months of chips and Slushies and wine).
Below, a soup with enough heft to energize you for all the new beginnings of September (lessons and programs and homework, oh my).
We have always thought that September should officially serve as the New Year, rather than January, surely one of the gloomier months for most Canadians.
Summer equals barbecues, too much meat, too many lovely cocktails. For many of us, a few pounds have stealthily crept on, a little reminder of our cottage excess. For our children, summer has meant endless popsicles and sweet treats (and, sigh, screen time). We’ve promised them that we too will suffer this week as we prune our diets and start to refresh our lifestyles with work and good health.
The recent food poisoning incidents at the CNE are both regrettable and, perhaps, inevitable. Is it a good idea to eat a burger from a grubby vendor at a tawdry fair, let alone ersatz ground meat sandwiched between the twisted offspring of a croissant and a donut…ever?
Our cousin recently had a big birthday. Fifty. Fifty! How can this be? We remember vividly, and so fondly, the themed parties his mother organized when he was a little boy. Now our own children range in age from two to twenty…(eesh!)
It was so hot today in the city that the sidewalks shimmered. And that made us think of Alice in Wonderland. Which brought to mind one of the odd poems in that oddest of books. “Soup of the evening, beautiful soup!” the Mock Turtle croons to Alice,” before they hurry off to the court of the Queen of Hearts.
Beautiful soup make us think of vichyssoise.
A chilled bowl of leek and potato soup. Sumptuous with cold cream. Sprinkled lavishly with chopped parsley and chives.
Something about this just sounds cooling, and elegant.
We recently merged our two families at the cottage on the Bruce Peninsula, and for a treat, we all went to Sunday lunch at a lodge just up the lake. This resort has been owned by the same family since 1950. There are scattered cabins, shallow waterfronts, a little marina that sells pop and ice cream sandwiches. Inside are pool tables and shuffleboard, shelves of books and stacks of jigsaw puzzles. Everything shows its age, but the worn edges are soft and friendly.
Our mother didn’t cook on Friday nights when we were little, and we tend to agree with this as policy. Fridays are a grace note, the last day in our long week. We all need a reprieve from the weekday staples of broccoli and pasta.
It’s Father’s Day, and there is much to celebrate.
We recall with fondness our dad making weekend breakfasts and inventing silly lyrics to “Down by the Old Mill Stream.” Taking us to the movies. Inventing a cast of characters for an eccentric saga of bedtime stories. He was, and remains, a good dad.
“Some evenings we took a picnic into the woods, with a bottle of white wine wrapped in a crisp tea towel, wine glasses in a cedarwood container, and a flask of coffee. This was high table sur l’herbe.”
- Ian McEwan, Sweet Tooth (2012)
There is much to recommend about Ian McEwan’s latest novel, a story about love and spies in 1970s London.