Food & Love – Do it Slow

By Ryan Wolman

I’m not generally a patient guy. I go through everything fast. Music, socks, iphones, boyfriends and such. All disposable things to be consumed quick and discarded when done, onto the next.

I’m especially not patient when I cook. I cook when I’m hungry. So I turn up the flames all the way, mash a nice steak on the grill sear it fast, pace the backyard trying to make time pass and then straight to my mouth. My preferred utensil is a shovel when I eat. I’m not subtle, or graceful, or thoughtful.

Every meal’s a quickie. I don’t remember anything I made in my 20’s or early 30’s at all.

And now I’m in my late 30’s. I have a fiancé and a dog and a mortgage and a sore back sometimes. I’m my own boss (or I like to pretend I am) so my time is flexible.  I’m starting to see the value of slowing down a little. It’s not easy for someone like me to become patient, or thoughtful, or slow.

I thought slow food meant that it wasn’t “fast food”. It wasn’t something deep fried at a takeout joint. I thought home cooked was slow by default. I feel like an idiot learning to cook all over again sometimes.

A couple months ago I decided to learn to cook slow. I bought a great book (, and made my first pot roast. 8 hours in an oven. I hated it. I was literally in agony. Checking it every 15 minutes or so, just so I felt busy and involved and useful. It’s not cooking unless you’re doing shit right?

What I noticed around hour six was the smell. I’ve always complained that My place didn’t have the smell of butter, garlic, onions, or whatever aromatics make a great cook’s home smell so sexy. My food never smelled like that. Looked good. Tasted good. Smelled like nothing. If smell is half the way we experience food then my food was half good at best in retrospect.

My place smelled like garlic and caramelized veggies and I actually left a few times and came back so I could smell it all over again. At hour 8 when I forced myself to let the meat sit for 10 minutes like the book insisted I thought I’d lose my mind. I tried to keep busy but I just wanted to cut a little piece off to sample the infinite roast. But I composed myself and waited.

The roast was the best roast I ever had. Now I know technically it probably wasn’t. I’ve had great roast at my mom’s (obligatory respectful nod) or a restaurant and they were probably better. What I was eating was this weird new thing I did. Something that was painful. I was patient, and I paid attention, and I adjusted to the meat, I didn’t move it along a searing hot grill bending it to my will like I usually do.

I listened, and watched, and had a little respect for the thing I was making.  I stopped checking it every 15 minutes and let it do it’s thing without interfering more than I had to. I committed to something that was a little more than a quick pleasure. I took the time to pay attention and care about my dish, and I think that gave it a depth, and smell, and texture that I’ve never achieved before, even though I cook often and talk about it even more frequently.

We get older, and hopefully we see the value in slowing down and the invisibly obvious becomes something we can absorb. I feel a bit like I did when I met my <soon to be> husband. I’m often shocked that I’m able to appreciate something subtle and long and sometimes delicious, and sometimes calm and boring. Enjoying the fact that you’re sometimes just sitting around and enjoying a moment, creating something with depth.

Happy VDay.




I am so looking forward to the CRFA Trade Show next month! So much to see and taste and so many wonderful vendors to talk with about how excited THEY are about their products. I’m also looking forward to reporting back to you on what we find there.

One of last year’s favourites for me was the Elite Meats booth, where they were debuting their then new Bacon Sausage. I could not help but stop there briefly every time I was nearby to sneak another taste, or to simply inhale the fragrance and to talk to their wonderfully personable owners and staff. I also love that it is a family run business in which the second generation took up the ball (“ahem* the pigskin for you football fans) and ran with it.

In addition to that wonderful product, so much better than any other bacon sausage that I’ve had, and really better than any other sausage I can recall, they had also excellent gluten-free sausage, gluten-free peameal bacon, pepper crusted peameal, and regular (but not ordinary) peameal and sausage.

Every bit of it was everything I could ever want in a product of that kind. Yes, I am a total fangirl on this topic. In fact, I got to be a bit like those kids hanging outside of MuchMusic waiting for the stars to arrive. Pretty much everyone I ran into while walking around was hauled over to be introduced to their product.

So, you can imagine that I was more than thrilled when they offered to send me some product to cook with and evaluate. There’s nothing like being home when a semi-trailer truck pulls up in front of your home with boxes of product.


It was everything that I had remembered and BETTER because I was able to enjoy it in my own home. Some of the photos are lost, but its the flavour that made them so special and that doesn’t always come across well in a photo anyway.

The sausages made many wonderful breakfasts, obviously great with eggs, but it was the pairing with pierogis that made me happiest, especially with the Bacon Sausage. It was so good, that I almost want to write poetry here for it. Clearly sausage, but with the best smoked bacon taste.

I served the gluten-free sausage to a colleague and neighbour for a breakfast meeting in the garden, and he commented about loving that he could not only taste, but see the flecks of seasoning and herbs in them. I’m somewhat gluten intolerant, so found these especially interesting and while not bacony at all, they were equally as good…as were the regular gluten containing, non bacon sausages.

The peameal bacon, every version of it, had the sweet succulence of great pork. The flesh was firm and substantial, the seasoning was present, but subtle, and every slice was juicy. I’m smiling just reliving the memory of the flavours from my notes.

I hope that they’re right in the entrance again.


Putting Food By

This makes a wonderful hostess gift and as I’ll show in another later column, is nearly the same as making Hollandaise Sauce. There’s more to come for this section, watch for updates.

3 Lemons
3 Egg Yolks
1/2 Cup Sugar
1/2 Pound Butter
1) Cut Lemons in half, and squeeze out the juice.
2) Mix all ingredients in a heat proof glass bowl.
3) Cook the mixture over boiling water, stirring constantly
until it thickens (about 5-10 minutes).
4) Pour the custard into glass jars.
5) Seal the jars with sterilized lids.
6) Cool and refrigerate. Will keep approximately for one month.
With graham or digestive crackers, this will taste like tiny lemon pies, minus the meringue.

You can add the egg whites to an omelette for the next day’s breakfast, make macaroons with them, or freeze them in a perfectly dry and clean container for future use. I like to use the frozen egg whites to clarify stock.


This month is, naturally enough, the Love, Romance, and Comfort Foods edition.

There will be more to come, but for now we have some lovely Tomato Pickle Relish from GaddAbout Eating and some wonderful Zimbabwean comfort food recipes from Lindiwe Sithole. So far, she has contributed recipes for Sadza, a type of porridge to be served with dinner, Curried Kale, and Beef Stew.

Blood Chocolate

Our feature article this month by Alison Cole, is about ethical chocolate . It includes an interview with Executive Director of The Food Empowerment Project, lauren ornelas 

Chocolate: A Big Business With Dark Secrets

February ignites the month of love, and with that comes the month of the largest chocolate sales of the year, to show our cherished ones how much we care. Sales of chocolate and confectioneries made from cocoa beans, in fact, totaled $110 million in Canada in February 2012. We Canadians certainly love our chocolate, but do we consider the ethics involved in the process of producing this delight when it comes to buying our sweetheart a Valentine?

You may or may not know about the horrific human rights violations that occur in the cacao industry. 70-75% of the world’s cacao comes from West Africa, which happens to be the place where the most egregious forms of child labour occur, in this industry. The industry is, of course, profit driven, and the chocolate companies take advantage of the country’s poverty to exploit its people and the land.

As Canadians in a privileged country, where purchasing a bar of chocolate is as easy as strolling to the nearest convenience store and passing over some small change, we have the power to end this human suffering, and to make choices with our consumer knowledge to put an end to the exploitation. Knowledge is power, and so the first step is to be aware of the issue and to know where your chocolate is coming from. There are many ethical options that are available to us, as well, that are cruelty-free. The Food Empowerment Project’s recommended Chocolate List is a great place to start for all your ethical chocolate needs!

On the Animal Voices Vancouver radio show, we interviewed Executive Director of The Food Empowerment Project lauren ornelas on the issues surrounding the big business of chocolate and its dark secrets, and you can listen to that interview here to find out more. The Food Empowerment Project is a non-profit organization whose mission is to help people understand how their food choices can change the world – for the good.

The chocolate companies need to take responsibility for what is happening in the making of their products, and they will do that when consumers have the knowledge to act and react, and demand human justice. Have an ethical Valentine’s Day this year!

Eatin’s Canada – January

Welcome to the very first Eatin’s Canada monthly magazine! We’re still developing and fine-tuning the content. Expect to see a bit more  over the next few days. Chilies Each edition will feature new recipes for meals, and for putting by, reviews of restaurants and food products, and interviews, as well as links to thought-provoking talks and essays about food.   For this first edition, we’re featuring Mexican food because nothing warms a Canadian winter like rich and spicy cuisine!

MoleThis month’s Putting Food By section features both an excellent Chocolate Mole sauce, and an exceptionally delicious Three Bean Chili that is rich and satisfying enough that many a meat eater has insisted that there was meat in it. Each recipe is given in quantities that are suitable either for a large party, or to freeze (which is what I do with them most of the time)

SouthwesternBreakfastTortillaBowl02FlipThe Recipes section has the preparation of Chicken Mole using the sauce, a salsa recipe, a Mexican Rice Pilaf, and a Coconut Cream Pie recipe that uses no flour!

Our contributor Glen Synoground also presents his excellent Southwestern Breakfast Tortilla Bowls, pictured here .

SocialCoffee03Reviews This month’s feature feature review is by Wayne Kwok, on Farmer’s Collective Organic Espresso, roasted by Social Coffee & Tea Company, plus mini-reviews for many other wonderful products, from Soup (Ontario Naturals) to nuts (Orasta).

We pretty much only have time to review the good food that we find.To review something properly, one has to taste it repeatedly in order to examine and relate all the important food notes…there’s no real desire to do that with food that isn’t wonderful, so we don’t.

If, over time, we find it impossible to maintain an absolute policy of niceness, we will create ‘The Dorothy Parker Room‘ (“If you can’t say anything nice, come on over and sit next to me.”), hosted by her sister-in-spirit Jezebel Parker. For now, however, the Good Food Fan Club Policy is in effect. The Reviews/Directory section is the archive of all reviewed products, services, events and books.  The only way to be represented in our directory is to be reviewed and to be thought highly of.

Rose Of Sharon BeeThis month’s Food for Thought features an excellent TED Talk by chef Dan Barber about his quest for a truly sustainable fish. It’s a fascinating exploration of farming methodologies and how treating even predators with respect can yield great results.

EnriqueWalkingOur Interview The House of Sotol is with Enrique Elisa of Vinomex, makers of Sotol and was recorded at the 2012 Canadian Restaurant Food Association (CRFA) Show. Over time, we’ll introduce more features, and we look forward to hosting our first events. For now though, we’re excited to have the first edition of Eatin’s Canada published, and welcome you to enjoy the journey with us.

Farmer’s Collective Organic Espresso

Roasted by Social Coffee & Tea Company on January 6, 2014
Sampled 10 days after roast

Living in Toronto, we’re a bit divided on coffee. From my observations, most Torontonians prefer roasty and bittersweet European coffees. The third wave specialty coffee movement (popular on the west coast of North America, Australia, and Scandinavia) sees coffee as an artisanal product. Beans are roasted lighter to allow the drinker to appreciate the subtleties of flavour and the distinctiveness of a varietal in a particular growing region.

As a roaster, Social Coffee & Tea sits on the progressive end of the spectrum. Farmer’s Collective Organic Espresso is obviously intended to be brewed in an espresso machine, but it also makes a decent drip-filter coffee. This seems to be Social’s attempt to appeal to those who like their coffee a bit more traditional. “Nice” seems to instantly come to my customers’ minds when they drink it. I agree. It’s like that reliable friend who would rather be described as pleasant than exciting. Even someone who believes espresso should be a party in your mouth will occasionally appreciate something smooth, mellow, and sweet.

Not everyone likes big, bright, fruity espressos. This one sits on the fence. It’s definitely not a wild west coast espresso, nor is it a dark and roasty European. Nothing about it smacks you in the face. There’s a subtle brightness in the beginning followed by strong nutty notes, ending with hints of bakers chocolate. It has a very mellow and balanced taste and mouthfeel—so balanced that Social says you could trust it to run a nation.

Using the same beans, I also made myself an Americano and a drip-filter style brew using an Aeropress (a full-immersion brew method like a french press, but the liquor is pressured through a paper filter). As an Americano, the cup I had was a bit brighter, sweeter, and fruitier with much more of a roasty, candied nut taste. The Aeropress brew was a bit flatter all around.

In a latte, the milk really brings out the aroma of hazelnut. If you like nutty aromas, you won’t be disappointed.

If you’re someone who just likes a pleasant cup and isn’t looking for green apple and tea rose flavours in their espresso, this is a great everyday blend.

Social Coffee - Awards
Social Coffee – Awards
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