06 December 2016

27 Years...

...and not forgotten

Geneviève Bergeron (1968–1989), civil engineering student
Hélène Colgan (1966–1989), mechanical engineering student
Nathalie Croteau (1966–1989), mechanical engineering student
Barbara Daigneault (1967–1989), mechanical engineering student
Anne-Marie Edward (1968–1989), chemical engineering student
Maud Haviernick (1960–1989), materials engineering student
Barbara Klucznik-Widajewicz (1958–1989), nursing student
Maryse Laganière (1964–1989), budget clerk
Maryse Leclair (1966–1989), materials engineering student
Anne-Marie Lemay (1967–1989), mechanical engineering student
Sonia Pelletier (1961–1989), mechanical engineering student
Michèle Richard (1968–1989), materials engineering student
Annie St-Arneault (1966–1989), mechanical engineering student
Annie Turcotte (1969–1989), materials engineering student

30 September 2016

Rye and Ginger September 2016: The other anniversary

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Anniversaries are funny things. One particular event on a particular date, with the rest often left in soft focus.
It’s understandable that a number of articles focused on the name change’s centenary. Simply put, it was the culmination of a divisive battle drawn along racial lines, which was fuelled by patriotism. You’re either with us or against us (as various military speakers reminded Berliners).

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August 2016 Posts:

September 2016 Posts:

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01 August 2016

Rye and Ginger: July 2016 - Facebook, 1916-style

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Everything old is new again–sort of 
 It’s easy to talk about the differences between 1916 and 2016 media practice and consumption. But there’s something I didn’t expect: the similarities between newspapers then and social media today.

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July 2016 Posts:

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26 July 2016

My Darling One: Nine Years later

06 01 29 Embrujo Flamenco Tapas Bar Toronto JM & MV1

Every year is different, but one thing remains the same.  I feel more in July than I do in other months.  It's like having hypersensitive skin that prickles at the slightest brush--except the feeling is purely emotional.  Highs are higher, lows are lower and everything in between is just...more. It's just something I've gotten used to, for better or for worse.

While many of us reach out, lend a hand up, and invite in, the terribleness in my feeds is heartbreaking.  Thankfully, for every person who parrots mantras that propagate small-mindedness, prejudice, and entitlement, many more embody fairness, compassion, and inclusion. It's these positive traits that came easily to Michael.

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As difficult as July is for me, it was made more so when an old friend of mine (and I think Michael's) passed away last week.   I met Stephanie when I was in uni and we were both part of a university-based theatre group.  We may have met before that when we were in Junior Achievement, but I can't be certain. She was a bright and passionate spirit.  She spent her final years in the Boston area.  She found her tribe and from what I can tell, she flourished.  I am so happy that she found that happiness before she passed.  She was only a few months older than I.

As I've often said, we pass only after we have learned what we need to learn, have taught what we need to teach, and we live on through those lessons we passed on.  Stephanie will live on.

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In reading the threads marked and celebrated Stephanie's life, one food came up several times: butter tarts. Even though she was in the States for a while, she was still a Canadian girl at heart.  And I think, a Waterloo County girl (at least when it came to butter tarts).

As Canadians know, your hometown's butter tarts are the only real butter tarts.  The rest just aren't right.

When I read some of her American friends wanted to make them and posted links to other versions, I piped up with what we have here in Waterloo Region, as popularised by my friend, Edna Staebler. According to a friend who grew up in the County's rural areas, her version is reasonably faithful to how we do things here.

What makes a Waterloo County butter tart different from the others?  Well, I haven't made a formal study (if only because they are one of my migraine triggers) but I do know Edna's call for a rich pastry crust (not a flaky dough), raisins (divisive at the best of times), and do not call for corn syrup (anyone who's made a caramel or butterscotch sauce knows the role syrup plays...our tarts have the sought-after gel-gooeyness without it).

To remember Stephanie, I made some tarts, adapting Edna's rules so I could get a full dozen (the original used old measurements and made 8-10).

Would Michael approve?  Absolutely.  He'd complain that his diabetes meant he couldn't eat them, but those protests would be short-lived and he'd simply dial up the insulin.  As one does.

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Butter Tarts, by Edna Staebler, from Food That Really Schmecks (adapted)

Yield: 12
Rich pastry, sufficient for 12 tarts (see below)
175g / 190ml / 0.75c brown sugar
145g/ 190ml / 0.75c  raisins
1 egg
40g /45ml /3Tbsp  Butter, melted
15ml / 1Tbsp Water
5ml / 1tsp vanilla
pinch of salt

Butter and flour the bowls of a 12-bowl muffin tin.  Line with pastry and pop into the fridge.

Preheat oven to 230C/450F.

Beat the egg, add the sugar and salt and beat again.

Add the water, vanilla, raisins and butter.

Divide into tart shells, and fill to almost half-full and bake for about 15 minutes.

  • I use dark brown sugar because of its deeper flavour
  • I prefer sultanas, but use regular brown or golden ones if that's what you've got.
  • Because the filling rises as it bakes, don't fill the tarts more than half way. If you fill them more the filling will spill out and make a bit of a mess.
  • If you don't like raisins, you can use the same volume of nuts (walnuts or pecans).
  • The original quantities: 1 cup brown sugar, 1 cup raisins, 1 egg, beaten, Butter the size of an egg (melted,) 1 Tablespoon water, 1 teaspoon vanilla.

Rich pastry (for 12 tarts)

350g / 585ml / 2.33c /  AP flour
175g/ 190ml / 0.75c / frozen butter
1 egg yolk
cream / milk / water (as needed)

Make the pastry in the usual way. Chill the dough for at least 30 minutes before using.

Roll to about 3-5mm thickness and scry your pastry cases.


01 July 2016

Rye and Ginger: June 2016 - Of horses and turtles

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It’s hard for me to gauge how concerned the average Berliner was with amalgamation and renaming. Whatever stresses they had probably weren’t too far off what the average Kitchenerite has about current municipal issues. In other words, those who feel they have something to gain/lose are most concerned, but as for the rest: meh.

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June 2016 Posts:

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27 June 2016

Nom nom nom. My favourite community festival

160626 KWMF East Indian Pappads Cook Stall

For almost half a century, we've celebrated the rich and diverse tapestry of people and cultures who've made my area their home at the K-W Multicultural Festival. I try to get out to it--there are lots of performances by dance troupes and singers, arts and craft stalls, and (of course) cook stalls that ring the green at Kitchener's Victoria Park.

Unlike food truck events, concerts or rib fests, the food (generally) isn't made by professional chefs.  These are home cooks, preparing foods you'd probably find if they invited you over for supper.

I always feel spoilt for choice--so many delicious morsels!  Which to take home with me for my supper?  In general, I try to have something I normally don't have or haven't had in a while.  Between my friend and I, we brought back containers with aromas from Africa, The Phillippines, and Latin America.

I went, camera in hand, and snapped the afternoon away.  Rye and Ginger's Facebook Page has a good sampling of what the weekend had to offer.

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31 May 2016

Rye and Ginger May 2016: Oh, what an eventful month it was

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It’s sometimes a challenge to write about Berlin’s goings-on in a fair manner. The perennial issue, as I mentioned a few months ago, is source bias. I think I may have jumped the gun on presenting that topic. Why? This month it the divide between my sources widened, and at times, it became difficult to take one newspaper’s reporting at face value. Details were conveniently omitted, headlines packaged unrelated events as corroborative, and the writer’s/editor’s/publisher’s/advertiser’s slant didn’t just tinge reportage, but singed it.

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May 2016 Posts:

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30 April 2016

Rye and Ginger: 30 April 2016: Digging Up the Past

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Late last month, workers in Waterloo unearthed sections of the 200-year-old corduroy road (pictured, above). Early settlers laid logs on swampy ground to make their journeys easier (remember, this area is part of a large swamp). For a few weeks, these stretches of excavated ground became a tourist attraction, as archaeologists, historians, and people with camera-equipped drones documented the find. Yes, some areas still use corduroy roads, but around here, most routes are paved or (in the country) dirt/gravel. 

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April 2016 Posts:

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31 March 2016

Rye and Ginger: March 2016 On source bias

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Last month I wrote about the challenge of addressing my biases when writing Kitchener 1916 Project posts.

This month the challenge is what I call “source bias.” I’m reading two English-language dailies for the Kitchener 1916 Project—The Berlin News-Record and The Berlin Daily Telegraph—therein, it’s easy to argue that by not including local German news sources, my basic research is skewed (regrettably, it is what it is: I don’t read German and I can’t afford to hire a translator to review one year’s worth of news).

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February 2016 Posts & Recipes:

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29 February 2016

Rye and Ginger: February 2016 On Perspective

One of the Kitchener 1916 project’s challenges is perspective.

I read early 20th-century newspaper articles and try to turn off my early 21st Century sensibilities. While it’s not always possible, I think it’s important that I’m aware of my biases and experiences—“lenses,” if you will—when reviewing the accounts of the day.

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February 2016 Posts/Recipes:

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05 February 2016

Announcing: Rye and Ginger


I don’t know when hobbies and interests became aggrandized to “passion projects,” but here we are. 

I’ve noodled a new food writing project for a while.  One specifically about Canadian food—not what’s found in glossy magazines, not fashionable eating hitched to celebrities, fads and marketing schemes—but actual foods prepared in actual kitchens. It’s pretty easy to become myopic and follow herd mentalities around the normalcy of “local eating,” “clean eating,” and CSAs.  It's also just as easy to assume faddish foods and ingredients such as coconut oil, slow coffee, and bone broth are the centre of the everyone’s kitchen (or worse, any kitchen that doesn’t tout them is somehow a lesser space than a kitchen that does).

Then, my thoughts meandered to my backyard. Here, in Waterloo Region, we are known as both a German and a Mennonite community—but that’s only part of who we are. Half claim German or British backgrounds, but the balance arrives from the rest of the world: the Caribbean, Central America, China, Eastern Europe, India, Portugal, Southeast Asia, West Africa, (etc.).  

Several projects address current food culture or have cooked through historic local cookery books—and they are fabulous. I’m interested in how we got to where we are.  How the land influenced people and food.  The waves of new and different cultures. The evolution of our food and drink industry. To me, understanding a people’s challenges, time and opportunities are essential to understanding that people’s food.

So after more noodling, Rye and Ginger was born.

Why call it Rye and Ginger?  
Rye for Waterloo Region's distilling and brewing history.
Ginger for both local indigenous wild foods and the influx of immigration.

Where to start?
Why not 1916? 

Apart from the Great War, Pancho Villa, Shackleton and Rasputin, 1916 was also a year of suffragettes, prohibition and high-speed rail.  Just as important, 1916 was the year Berlin, Ontario changed its name to Kitchener, and swirling up around it were local intrigues. Shakespearian. But then again, which era isn’t?

Each week I’ll upload a summary of that’ week in 1916’s happenings, bringing in food-related issues whenever I can--topics related to cost of living, the market, prohibition, etc.  Each post will end with a recipe—period, if I can muster it, with a modern equivalent to help readers and home cooks get by those quick ovens and egg-sized lumps of butter. 

Then what?
Afterwards, I hope to expand the project to explore our area’s food history, from native culture to the Queen’s Bush Settlement to the various mills, abattoirs and distilleries that were part of area’s economy.

What about Cardamom Addict?
I will always need a space for my cathartic pensée-à-pixel foodish diarisation.  And I will continue to haphazardly post my thoughts and real-life adventures here on Cardamom Addict.  Some cross-pollination will happen but given the very different natures of these sites, I don’t expect there to be a lot of overlap.

As a start, here are my posts from January 2016:

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Image credit: Colourised postcard looking west from Queen St (1910) Image Source: Virtual Reference Library

23 January 2016

Blue Monday Pie

160123 Blue Monday Pie

See that pie?  The one with the crimped, hand made crust?  The one with the mellow meringue?

It embodied all that was wrong my Blue Monday Weekend.  The gawds decided to bat me, my friends and my family around as a cat bats around a paper crumply.  It seemed as if with every BBM bing, every corner I turned, every chair I sat in, every call I took, something happened that would test the patience of Job. I think (I hope) that spate is now over, and we've been flung to safety underneath the cosmic chesterfield, far from the reach of outstretched fully-clawed paws.

I won't go into details, but if I were to declare those four days' key phrases, they would be:

  • The majority of bylaw calls are because the complainant is the bad citizen.
  • No good deed goes unpunished.
  • Mid-life crisis.*
  • 2nd-degree burns.**
  • Collusion. Emergency Board Meeting. "Sudden" resignations.
  • Entitled, bubble-wrapped 20-somethings and 30-somethings.
  • Mean girl clique.
  • Bobblehead.

That's when I decided to bake a pie.

I found a century-old custard pie recipe I'd never heard of and thought I'd give it a go.  It would have worked...if I were in a better mood.

After more than two hours in a 400F/200C oven, it was slooshier than a community college girl spending her OSAP loan on a Reading Week in Fort Lauderdale and wobblier than a basophobic-aquaphobic-acrophobic crossing the Kotmale Footbridge.

I don't recall how long that (deleted) pie was in the oven, but I decided to call it a day and plop the meringue on top when the now slightly more sober college girl was on the footbridge.

I tasted that pie.  My friend tasted that pie.

My Dear Little Cardamummy has always said she could taste my mood in my cooking.

It wasn't the worst pie in the world.  But it certainly wasn't a good pie.  I'm not sure it was an okay pie.  I'm not even sure it was fully cooked.

The rest of my week went much better (still, there were some residual annoyances, but I think things are sort of on an even keel).  I remade the pie.  It was good.

The recipe will be posted later, but until then, I think I'll have a slice of pie.

*Not mine--according to the usual age my family (on both sides) kick the bucket, I'm not due for another four years.

**Again, not me.

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