Thursday, 25 October 2012


Sometime last month,  Luckiest1 gave me a Leibster award. Yay, award!

While I appreciate the thought, I have to admit the results were an awful lot like HOMEWORK, and if you don't know how I feel about HOMEWORK, well, keep reading and you will know...

Rule 1: Post 11 things about yourself
Rule 2: Answer the tagger's questions
Rule 3: Tag and pass the awards to 11 other bloggers
 Rule 4: Create 11 questions for the bloggers to answer
Rule 5: Go to bloggers page and inform them about the awards
Rule 6: No tagging back

11 Things About Me:

1. Mr. Ferdzy is allergic to everything with fur and feathers. That's about him, but it's also about me in that the result is that we have no pets, have never had any pets and probably never will have any pets. Although I've told him that if he ever dies or leaves me, I'm going to replace him with a dog. I like dogs. Even though, according to allergy testing I once had, I'm allergic to them too. Cats are much worse though, and let's not even talk about rodents.

2. My father was at the lumberyard, carrying me. I looked up, wrinkled my brow and moved my lips, then announced: "CEDAR!" And so it was. That was when I was 2 years old. I've been reading voraciously ever since, up to three books a day in high-school. 

3. In spite of my early love of reading, I developed an early loathing for education too. In grade 2, I used my new arithmatic skills to determine that I still had ELEVEN MORE YEARS TO GO and was completely horrified and depressed. I managed to shave off half a semester when the time came by getting my Grade 13 with the absolute minimum possible number of credits. Dad agreed to write me an absence note once a month providing I skived off on a day with no tests or projects due, in order to keep me sane. Homework was also totally against my principles, so how I actually passed I don't know.

4. By the time I was a teenager I knew what I wanted to be when I grew up: retired! It took a while, but we did retire 3 years ago, when I was 48. Money will have to be watched carefully, but to me the whole point of working is to be able to stop.

5. I am probably one of the most cynical, pessimistic people you will ever meet. I try not to let it show on the blog - or anywhere else - too much. It's not a quality that adds much to my quality of life, but it is what it is. I'm just happy to live with Mr. Ferdzy who is also mostly Mr. Sunshine. Actually, he can be pretty cynical and pessimistic too, but at least we tend to brood about different things, even though we agree on a frightening amount. He is at least a much more naturally cheerful person.

6. I suppose I should say something about me and food. This is a food blog, after all. I like food. I like almost all of it, and I like lots of it, and I am no big fan of exercise, and the result is that I could really stand to lose a bunch of weight. Sometimes I think I need to either stop blogging or convert this to a diet blog... Bleargh.

7. Speaking of exercise, they made me run in Phys Ed, back in the bad old days. I swore I would never run again once I was no longer taking it, ie the moment it became optional. I have only broken that vow once, about 15 years ago in the Vancouver airport. If I had realized there was a flight to Victoria every half hour, I wouldn't even have broken it even that once. I hate running with a passion. I'm perfectly happy to walk though, and in fact 6 years ago I (we) walked clear across Spain - probably about 1000 kilometers, all said and done, over three months. Yes, that was the Camino de Santiago. A very happy memory. 

8. I used to be an Anarchist. It seemed to be a logical extension of being a Quaker. However, by the time I went to the Toronto Anarchists Convention in the summer of 1988, the bloom was kind of off the rose. Nothing like meeting most of North America's anarchists to really make it clear that anarchism was no panacea for the human condition. On the bright side, I re-met (long story) Mr. Ferdzy there, moved in with him a month later, and the rest is history.

9. We were involved in an anarchist magazine collective (Kick It Over) for several years. After it wound down, we read Systems of Survival; A Dialogue on the Moral Foundations of Commerce and Politics, by Jane Jacobs. It took me a year to come to terms with re-wiring my brain, but the end result was that we became born-again capitalists, and went into business for ourselves. First we made organic baking mixes for the health food market, which was barely successful, and after we sold the business (which then quickly folded) we became landlords by buying a 12 unit apartment and later 8 townhouses which we renovated, severed, and sold.

10. And then we retired, and decided to live out our hippy fantasies, and bought the farm. So to speak. Here we are, up to our elbows in tomatoes.

11. You can always tell a Ferdzy, but you can't tell her much. Pig headed? Check. Opinionated? Check. Pig headed and opinionated? Check, and check.

Who or what inspired you to start blogging? 

The idea had been kicking around in my head for a number of months before I actually did it. I was reading a few blogs regularly, and the whole local, seasonal food movement was starting to take off. I looked at a number of things that people were doing on that front with faint disbelief, I have to say.

The whole "100 Mile Diet" thing, where people wouldn't eat anything - ANYTHING - if it wasn't local. As someone who had made a conscious decision to eat as much local, seasonal food as possible 20 years earlier, that kind of purity struck me as very faddish, although it was certainly good at getting attention to the idea. But I'm in this for the long haul, and what that means in practice, is if I want to eat a banana I eat a damn banana and don't angst about it. And of course, on the other side of the equation I would see recipes described as local and seasonal and they'd have one or two local seasonal ingredients and a whole pile of ingredients, including quite key ones, from somewhere else. Or, include two ingredients that could be local and seasonal - but not at the same time. Those recipes kind of get up my nose too.

But what actually got me onto my butt and typing was a day when we still lived in the apartment, and the stairs were being repaired, meaning I was stuck inside with nothing to do for about 10 hours straight... somehow, at the end of that the blog was up and several recipes had been posted. Oops. I was committed.

Do you watch Food TV? If so, does it inspire you to cook? Is there any particular show or chef that inspires you most of all? 

I  don't, actually. We haven't had a TV in about 25 years. Not that we don't spend large amounts of time in front of a flickering blue screen - it's just a computer screen. I hear vague things about various shows and chefs, but it's like it's all happening on another planet for the most part.

Do you know about the Food Revolution and have you signed the petition? 

Uh, eh, er. No, and no. Oh wait. Is that Jamie Oliver? I guess I  have heard of it (and him). There's a petition?

Do you grow your own vegetables or herbs? 

Oh, yeah. 

Did your parents/grandparents pass their recipes down to you? 

Well, a few. But I come from a standard anglo-Ontario/Quebec-with-a-branch-from-Nova Scotia oldish Canadian family, which means there were not a lot of recipes to pass on and upon the whole that was just as well.

Interestingly, and in spite of the above comment, my mothers side of the family included 6 sisters (my great-aunts) who were all renowned for their cooking. It was all fairly basic, founded mostly on high quality ingredients and good if simple techniques; no rare or expensive items beyond the occasional very fine roast. Minimal spicing. Kind of plain. But good. (Frequently rather rich, it has to be said.) I admit I still lean towards that style of cooking, although like most modern Canadians I am so bloody happy that our food horizons have expanded to take in so much more of the world. Still, I am very fond of food that tastes like what it is and looks like what it is, and have a deep distrust of things that have been gussied up too much. (Don't get me going on the whole molecular thing...)

Did anyone else in your life teach you to cook or share their recipes with you? 

The aforementioned great-aunts, Aunt Alethea in particular, who was more like a grandmother to me than either of my actual grandmothers, I would say. But I've never spent a lot of time cooking with anyone else. Most of my time in the kitchen has been experimenting on my own.

Do you cook with your children or any other children in your life? 

Rarely. We don't have any. But for a while it was an annual tradition for me to make cookies and take them to the First Day (Sunday) school of our Meeting on the first sunday in December and decorate them with gobs of icing and sprinkles, etc. 

Do you occasionally eat fast food? 

Occasionally. Very occasionally. I try to avoid it as much as I possibly can, although I admit to a sneaking fondness for Egg McMuffins. Even so, every time I have one I sadly recognize that it would have been so much better if I had made it myself. And right now I am jonesing bad for some spicy Popeye's chicken. Unfortunately, or maybe fortunately, the nearest outlet is a good 2 hours away.

They say you either love or hate cilantro, and there is no middle ground. How do you feel about it?

Oh, I like it quite a bit, I'd even go so far as to say I love it. I do think there is such a thing as too much of it, so it's not an unconditional love. Most of my family like it enough to eat it occasionally, but none of them are mad for it, so maybe that blows that theory out of the water.

Okay; 11 (seriously, 11?) exciting other bloggers! (Uh, nope.)

And here's where I go my own way. There are a lot of great bloggers out there and I could maybe even think of eleven of them. But I'm not going to. Sorry, this is a dead end. However, if someone out there want to pick it up, here are the questions I would ask:

And the Information I wish to Extract Is:

1.) What is your earliest food memory?
2.) What is your favourite food?
3.) What is your least favourite food?
4.) Do you feel like you have a philosophy about cooking and eating, and if so, what is it?
5.) Is there something seasonal that you look forward to all year? What is it, and how do you get it?
6.) Do you have a special treat that you like when you are feeling down, or sick, or otherwise in need of culinary support?
7.) Have you ever had a transformative food moment? Something that you tried for the first time maybe, and it changed your life?
8.) How do you feel about... OATMEAL?
9.) Since it's on my mind at the moment... what is your traditional Christmas menu?
10.  And cookies... let's talk about cookies... what's your favourite cookie?
11.) Snacking: sweet or savory?


Jane Barkley. Co-Founder & Consultant of Fresh Endeavours. said...

This 11 things 'homework' (while it seems like a lot of work) is so neat! It made me wonder what 11 things I would learn about people I know if they had to do the same post.
Very cool.

Ferdzy said...

Jane, if you would like to pick it up and carry it one you are more than welcome... consider yourself nominated!