Everything new is old

When I began this post, I was sitting in my bed, eating leftover birthday cake in a glass that used to hold Bonne Maman jam or marmalade in it and I am reminiscing about the first heritage building that I remember experiencing. My day-to-day work revolves around the historical relevance of places, people, and events, so it makes sense that I would reflect on my personal experience in this, but it only came about because two fellows whom I follow on Twitter commented on the building next door to this one, which I spend more time in today than the other building.

1458470_430393567086946_1517877451_nFor about five years, I took weekly theatre classes and summer theatre programs at a place called The Theatre School in downtown London Ontario. The place that has substantially more meaning and is extent today is City Lights book store, whose aisles I wander frequently in my returns to London for historical and antiquarian books, and for excellent copies of Chatelaine from the second-wave feminist era. (I’ll ignore the presence of one creepy CBC talent on the bookstore’s homepage.)

The Theatre School, however, was on the top floors of the Imperial Bank of Canada building at Richmond and King, on what I think is the southeast corner (London doesn’t have a natural inclination to landmark by water the way that Toronto and Ottawa do).

The building was constructed in the Italianate style circa 1880. (City Lights down the street is also a heritage building and was constructed three years later.) I remember the floors creaking under our feet as we rehearsed and the small, narrow corridors where we waited between scenes. I remember thinking that it was an old, noisy building, and wouldn’t it be nice if we had a better performance space so that we weren’t all crammed in the waiting area like sardines, despite being mostly petite girls of ages 7 to 14.

Now, I can’t imagine a more interesting space to perform in. I relish the chance to go and visit new old buildings and explore them and hear the stories of those who lived, worked, or play there. Now, I think: A hundred years ago, did Sir Adam Beck do his banking beneath where my feet landed twenty years ago? Maybe. That’s something.

It’s a really good thing that your tastes change as you get older. If not with food, then at least with buildings.


Everything old is new

It’s been almost a year. I’ve sought my reprieve, and then slowly, sneakily, I got back into blogging through another channel, another title. Oh, and I was still writing historiographical and public history blog posts for Active History. And then, today, I went over to the other channel to blog and realized that I wanted to talk about food, but also about other things, and isn’t that what the channel over here was for?

So, I am back. I don’t promise to blog with any frequency or to post photographs that are pin-worthy. I don’t even promise that this post will make it out of the drafts folder. I have too many demands and distractions in my life to do something like make an empty internet promise.

(Insert distractions at length, which include – but are not limited to – reading Historicist, updating my LinkedIn profile, reading a lovely blog post about Molly Wizenberg’s new book, getting changed into running clothes, going running, making and eating dinner)

[The next day…]

It struck me to be particularly meritous to return to this here blog when I was reading Andrea’s piece on 15 years of blogging, which WOW and CONGRATULATIONS, and I realized that there is something useful about having a place where one can come and distil their thoughts and photographs and engage with people – or not – as they choose. So I am back, with a new design, having deleted some pages, and with only the promise that I will revisit this when I am able and that I will transform it as needed.

And as a gift, this cake with that frosting. Neither are particularly difficult and together they are four layers of exceptional.

Things I discovered (while away from Twitter)

More than meets the eye.

Instead of checking Twitter and Facebook compulsively on my way to work in the morning, I’ve been reading news sites, blogs, and other media. Disconnecting from social media has allowed me to connect with less demanding, and ultimately more interesting media and content.

Don’t get me wrong, I think social media has its place. I just think that there’s a higher percentage of important content to be found elsewhere. As much fun as videos of frogs attacking their owners may be.

What else did I discover?

Is Hillary inevitable?

The gendering of children.

Pantone tarts. Delicious colour.

Why you don’t need a rooster to make a chicken egg.

My new gig, which involves listening to politicians, has left me wondering if there’s an audience for a political food blog highlighting the 308 federal ridings in Canada.

Finally, as William Morris said, “Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.”

Becoming what we need to be.

new fluevogs

“We cannot become what we need to be by remaining what we are.” – Max de Pree

Andrew & I went off to Montreal this past weekend to indulge. It was in many respects, awesome. We ate way too much. I drank a lot of coffee. I bought a pair of Fluevogs. It was exactly what a weekend in Montreal should be. (There will be photos, just as soon as I retrieve my camera from a friend’s house…which won’t be until next week because they’re now in Toronto.)

There was also a lot of talking. Usually when Andrew and I take a trip together, there’s less talking, more music listening and singing along. It’s not a bad thing, it’s just what comes of living together and spending a lot of our time in the same space. Of course, I’ve been busy as ever with a new gig and with training for the half-marathon. So, we haven’t talked a lot.

We got to talking about two of my current projects: This blog and a little something that I’m coordinating for Heritage Ottawa. There is a light at the end of the tunnel for the Heritage Ottawa project–it launches in mid-April. (Yeah, that’s only six weeks away, folks!) There isn’t a light at the end of the tunnel for this here blog.

When I started this blog, it wasn’t with the intent of blogging about food. Go and look at the first posts, if you can find them. They’re just me, talking to the internet, some two years ago. It somehow became about sharing good food over the course of the last 18 months. And there’s nothing wrong with that. The trouble is that I feel as though I have to share all the food. There was a recent article in the New York Times about mindful eating. Kelly commented on it, linking it back to blogging by saying “Meals are to be made because you want them – not because it’s been thismany days since you posted a recipe with thiskind of ingredient.” I couldn’t agree more. In the past six weeks, I’ve slowly become resentful of the planning, the editing, the writing. I’m doing more writing and editing than ever before, and I’m enjoying it. Just not about food. My photography has improved drastically over the past twelve months. But I don’t remember the last time that I took a picture of something that wasn’t food. I don’t remember the last weekend that I didn’t feel that it was a requirement for me to make, photograph, and write about food.

It feels a bit like it did right before I opted to leave my winter ultimate team this year: I still enjoy ultimate. I will play in the summer, but my time with playing ultimate three seasons of the year is done. It’s a hobby for which my interest has waned, and if I’m to maintain any interest at all, I need to step back.

I’ll still be around these parts. I’ll still be writing posts, taking photos, and talking at ‘ya. You’re not getting rid of me quite so easily. It’s just that I won’t always be here with food. I’m more than a girl with an apron and a spatula. Or is it a turner?

food brands, nostalgia and rebellion.


i have no doubt that countless studies have been done on the way that we choose our food. some by academics, some by the food industries, and some likely by both. and i suspect that some one, somewhere, has found that we are inclined to buy the brands that we had as children. some of us will only eat kraft peanut butter, miracle whip, and nestle’s quik (ignoring for the moment the part where these foods aren’t really foods, but rather produced and packaged food-items).

but, then there is me. i was raised on kraft peanut butter, miracle whip and nestle’s quik; the one with the rabbit. apparently, in terms of food, my rebellion has been fought by removing myself from these brands and buying their polar opposites, save for the quik which i no longer consume.

similarly, there are a multitude of ‘foods’, notably those in cans with a sauce resembling ketchup, that taste absolutely no different than they did when i was younger and when i loved them. except that nostalgia doesn’t always hide the sweet, sugary aftertaste of the tomato sauce.

it made me think, the other day, as i was making an open-faced sandwich (mayo, pepperocini and arugula…because that’s all we had, which is what happens when you don’t grocery shop), about my habits as an eater and how i defy myself, as i grow older.

what did you eat as a kid that you absolutely refuse to touch now? perhaps i should defy myself further with some vegetables.

PS: i promise posts will become more regular, in about a week’s time. deadlines loom over me, and i don’t think one can acquire a graduate degree in food blogging. (though, i’m sure the internet will prove me wrong)