Look mamacita, I made tamales!

tamaleWhat’s your comfort food?

For British people it might be custard or a full English breakfast of fried eggs and toast with beans, mushrooms, tomatoes and sausages. For French Canadians it might be ragoût de boulettes (meatball stew) or tourtière (meat pie). Americans might long for mom’s apple pie. And Germans for a fat wurst and sauerkraut.

But for Mexicans, it’s tamales.

Tamales are composed of masa (corn meal based wet dough) and a filling, wrapped in a corn husk (though in parts of Central America they use a banana leaf). They may be filled with vegetables,  pork, chicken, beef, and even with sugar, cinnamon, cheese and raisins, pineapple, and other fruits. Continue reading

The Perfect Burger

Perfect BurgerWith the approach of barbeque season, it’s time to talk about burgers on the grill. A good sirloin or tenderloin of beef can be tender, juicy and succulent. But we’ve all had the experience of facing a solid mass of muscle with no hope of making a dent with either tooth or knife. Enter the meat grinder, a useful tool. American ingenuity added a bun and speeded up the production line until hamburger became synonymous with fast food.

But the average fast food burger is about as juicy as day-old chewed gum. If it ever had any juices, they have long since been either fried or grilled right out of a layer of meat flat enough to qualify for letter rate with Canada Post. Continue reading

People Powered Ice Cream

ice creamMy friend Lori Waldbrook, who happens to be with Parks Ontario, takes her commitment to the outdoors seriously. So does her brother-in-law, Bob. An annual camping trip is part of their family tradition. “On one camping trip, Bob brought along a new, cool way to make ice cream,” explains Lori.  “It can be done in any campground, requires no electricity and uses simple ingredients easily brought from home. And the boys had so much fun.” Continue reading

Bagelmania

Bagels-Montreal-REALLife is like a bagel. It can be wonderfully fresh and warm, but it can also be hard – Jewish saying.

It’s been called the cement doughnut – admittedly not a very prepossessing sobriquet – and the longstanding divide in the world of bagels is the argument over whether New York or Montreal bakers make the best ones.

Now you might think, what is there to discuss – after all, a bagel is a bagel. But you’d be wrong. Continue reading