Maple on a plate: searching for a Canadian (food) identity

by Danielle Del Vicario

A few days ago, I asked some of my British friends to describe “Canadian cuisine”. After a fumbling silence, they all mumbled something about moose and maple syrup and my dearest roommate replying, “Maple leaves. Just maple leaves on a plate…”

Today, our societies (and our universities) seem to revolve around the idea of ethnic cuisine. As students, we eagerly await Indian night and spend more hours searching out the best sushi bar than we do studying. But, what do we eat the rest of the time? Is there such a thing as Canadian cuisine?

Nose to tail cooking for the apprehensive student (Part I)

by David Kitai

Nose to tail cooking isn’t always the easiest food trend to explain to people. It’s certainly not the prettiest. The idea, pioneered by the British chef Fergus Henderson in the late 1990s takes two forms. The American champion of offal (an animal’s internal organs), Chris Cosentino, says that if you’re willing to eat an animal, “You had damn sure be ready to eat all of it.” I prefer to see nose to tail as more positive movement that says our old approach to a cow, that it was made up of only two tenderloins, two striploins, two prime ribs, and a whole lot of hamburger, isn’t just wasteful, it ignores some of the tastiest bits our animal friends have to offer.

The hospitality industry and life skills

by Madeleine Brown

My parents never assigned me chores as a child. I never did the dishes or took out the garbage. My mom even made my bed for me every morning.

So given my mom and dad’s failure as parents it was up to my first stint in the hospitality industry—a summer internship in the hospitality department of a 300 year-old department store in London, England—to teach me how to polish cutlery, set a table and politely greet strangers. I was up for the challenge though even despite the store’s high standards and demanding customers. I attribute my enthusiasm to my chore-free childhood. That said I would go as far to say, even if you had real parents unlike myself, a job in hospitality—restaurants to be specific and well-run ones at that—in your teens or early twenties bestows you with many useful life skills. I begin to wonder if such experiences should be mandatory.

The perfect loaf

by Toula Nikas

For years bread has been a staple item in diets around the world. In Greece, bread is present at every meal. In Ethiopia, injera is not only delicious bread—it’s a utensil. In India, there’s poppadum and in France there’s baguette. For many traditions and cultures, a meal without bread is, well, incomplete.

As a university student, however, bread takes on an entirely different role. It shifts from water boy to first string quarterback the moment you set foot on campus for the very first time. From toast to sandwiches, from wraps to bagels, bread is the alpha and the omega, our sustenance, our lifeline.

Be your own barista

by Emily Davies

As a former barista, I have a strong correlation between cold weather and fancy drinks. Come fall and onwards into the winter I crave pumpkin; I want it in my soup, my bread and—without a doubt—my drinks. So here are some of my favourite homemade drinks to add to your winter wardrobe that will boost your energy and immune levels.  The Coconut Spice Whip Crème below can be used for the three beverage recipes that follow. (Although I won’t judge you if you choose to eat it by the spoonful from the bowl you whipped it up in.) 

Connecting over food online

 by Leah Moldowan

If you grew up with the Internet you’ve probably been told not to talk to strangers online (and in person too for that matter). But, times have changed tremendously and the Internet can be a wonderful place to make friends. With the click of your mouse, you can connect with like-minded people with similar passions or even struggles, which you might find wherever you call home.

Thanks to social media, if you’re looking to connect with fellow foodies, it’s become really easy. While Instagram and Facebook are obvious options, if you’re just interested in finding blogs that share recipes that suit your taste, check out recipe submission sites like Foodgawker, Tastespotting, Finding Vegan and Healthy Aperture. You can scroll through a plethora of recipes, find some that make you drool and continue on to the linked blog that’s responsible.

Thoughtful eating

by Josh Racho

Thoughtful eating is very important to me. I have classes Monday to Friday 8 am to 5 pm with a one-hour lunch break that usually includes twenty minutes of travel time to and from my house. Wanting to get all my schoolwork done, eight hours of sleep a night and time at the yoga studio or gym everyday leaves very small windows of actual eating time. It’s for this exact reason that being present and truly enjoying the process of eating has become so important for me. Taking the time to enjoy your food is my favourite way to claim the day as my own and remain aware and mindful—even as a busy student with the stresses of schoolwork and exams always impending.

How the internet taught me to cook

 by Madeleine Brown

Don’t worry I do own a copy of Rombauer’s classic, The Joy of Cooking along with about 30 different titles split between my and my parents’ houses. And, yes, you are guaranteed to win me over on any gift-giving occasion with a well-written, artfully designed cookbook. But, in all honesty it’s the internet I turn to time and time again for cooking inspiration and advice. In fact, I proudly attribute the bulk of my cooking knowledge to it. (Sorry, mom and dad.)

Maybe it’s laziness. When I’m running about in the kitchen and second guess the appropriate temperature for baking a potato with the tap of my cellphone screen and clearly articulated, “baked potato temperature” without a hint of condescension, my Moto G replies, “Oven-baked potatoes. Pre-heat the oven to 425°F.” And, you’re telling me Ms Rombauer would expect me to run to my bookshelf, scour Joy’s index or the chapter on vegetables and skim (in the case of the 75th anniversary edition) page 297?

Clearly someone didn’t live in the twenty-first century.

My first school lunch

 by Josh Racho

In kindergarten, my beloved Ninja Turtles lunchbox and in particular its contents consistently made my classmates laugh.

How did my lunch differ from the other kindergarteners?

For starters, I always had a peanut butter and honey sandwich on the nuttiest of breads possible. I figured if birds ate nuts and seeds then they had to be good, right? Next up, I ate celery sticks topped with Cheez Whiz. Not that I would ever consider Cheez Whiz an item to keep in the house anymore, but at the time for some reason there was nothing I enjoyed more. Then I always had one giant carrot that had been washed and left in its full form. I had a moderate obsession with the Looney Tunes and, well, Bugs Bunny always had a carrot. I probably asked the teacher, “What’s up, Doc?” a thousand times. Poor Mrs. Maric… Finally, my all-time favourite snack at lunchtime was lemon wedges. No one understood me. My teacher even had a meeting with my parents to ensure that everything was fine at home and I did in fact just have an atypical palate for my age

How to restock your pantry and refrigerator after a summer away

by Emily Davies

September offers a fresh start filled with new opportunities. It’s the time of year when we say goodbye to sun-kissed skin and sandals and say hello to fall scarves and the new semester. September also provides us a fresh start in terms of our diet; we move from abundant supplies of sweet fruits to comforting root vegetables. But, how can we prepare ourselves for all these seasonal changes and methodically replenish the barren cupboards of our residence dorm room or off-campus abode after a summer away?