Comfort Food Scottish-Style

Just before Christmas, The Daily Meal published its list of top 25 restaurants in England and Scotland. Among the obvious, not to say high and mighty, (The Fat Duck, Alain Ducasse at the Dorchester and St. John Bar & Restaurant), was a humble chipper (trans: fish and chip shop) on the east coast of Scotland called the Anstruther Fish Bar.

Located in the Fife town of Anstruther, the award-winning restaurant goes like a fair, to use the Scots version of “busy as heck.” Continue reading

Noshing with Canada’s Best Food Writers

There are many perks to being a food writer: free samples (often), groveling service in restaurants (sometimes) and cookbooks, lots and lots of cookbooks. But, my favourite perk? Being friends with other food writers because, that way, there’s a good chance of being invited over for dinner.

And, if those invitations come from either Rose Murray or Elizabeth Baird, all the better. They’re two of the best cooks in Canada and I’ve been a fan (and a friend) of both for a long time. Continue reading

Happy Birthday, Julia Child!

Anyone with even a passing interest in food and cooking must be living under a rock not to know that yesterday would have been Julia Child’s 100th birthday. So, I was happy to join a bunch of my food media colleagues and chefs for a tasteful little celebration at The Cookbook Store last night.

The evening also saw the launch of a series of podcasts featuring Toronto food writer Marion Kane interviewing people who best knew Julia—her editor Judith Jones; Alex Prud’homme, her great-nephew and co-author, with Julia, of the memoir My Life in France; and biographer Bob Spitz, author of Dearie: The Remarkable Life of Julia Child. Marion shared her anecdotes of meeting Julia for the first time, when she invited her up to Toronto in 1991, which made me think of my Julia Child Moment. Continue reading

Here’s To Good Health and a Long Life!

“What’s your secret?” It’s the question most often asked of people who’ve reached a ridiculously old age, and we all avidly read the answer when such stories appear in the media: “Mr. X, 127, credits his long life to regular tots of rum and a daily pack of smokes.” In fact, I heard recently of one 101-year-old, still living alone, who never misses fixing herself a fried bacon-and-egg breakfast.

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Pub Grub Means Great Food

During my misspent youth I worked as a barmaid in our local village pub. The Black Horse was a proper “drinking” pub and we did a brisk trade in pints of local beer, restorative tots of rum for the local fishermen and beverages for the “ladies”—Dubonnet and lemonade, snowballs, sweet sherry and the like.

The menu, such as it was, featured a couple of choices of sandwiches, elderly and rather dubious pies, and crisps and peanuts. And that, in 1970s Britain, constituted pub food. Continue reading