Cooking in times of social distancing
GABBY PEYTON SPECIAL TO SALTWIRE NETWORK
In the 2009 film Julie & Julia, lead character Julie Powell challenges herself to cook all 524 recipes in Julia Child’s iconic cookbook Mastering the Art of French Cooking in one year. After a particularly bad day at working in her public service cubicle, she gushes to her husband about how therapeutic cooking can be while whipping up a chocolate cream pie. “You know what I love about cooking? I love that after a day when nothing is sure — and when I say nothing, I mean nothing — you can come home and absolutely know if you add egg yolks to chocolate and sugar and milk, it will get thick. It’s such a comfort.” The world is changing faster than ever, and with the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the situation in Atlantic Canada is changing every hour. But one thing is for certain — if you follow a recipe to the letter, you will get to eat something delicious at the end. Whether you have a hundred cookbooks collecting dust on the shelf, you’ve never cracked the spine of one, or you haven’t perused your favourite food blog in a while now, this is the time to step away from Twitter, throw on an apron and get cooking. Here are a few Atlantic Canadian blogs and cookbooks to get you started. For those wanting simple how-to instructions, Red Seal Chef Markus Mueller’s blog earthfoodandfire.com offers step-by-step instructions on how to caramelize onions, thicken sauces, blind bake pie crust or make a sourdough starter. This Charlottetown, P.E.I.-based food blogger also has recipes for moose burgers, fondue and naan pizzas. From her kitchen in St. John’s, N.L. Dawn Coombs creates healthy recipes with a comfort food soul on her blog girlheartfood.com. Grilled peanut butter and jelly with cheese sandwiches, homemade alphabet soup, and kohlrabi stir fry are just some of the delicious recipes you can try, not to mention baked blueberry donuts and grapefruit rose sangria. Recent Atlantic Canadian resident Aimée WimbushBourque moved her entire family to Halifax, N.S. last year and the self-proclaimed urban homesteader has lots of great recipes on her blog simplebites.net. Posts like 20 Recipes from the Whole Foods Pantry and On Batch Cooking are particularly useful given the current social-distancing climate. Her award-winning 2017 cookbook, The Simple Bites Kitchen, also offers up great recipes and tips for maintaining the pantry and feeding families. Moncton, N.B. resident Dennis Prescott has one of the most drool-worthy websites on the East Coast; dennistheprescott.com is filled with bright, colourful tableaus of food and delicious recipes, which are mirrored in his cookbook, Eat Delicious: 125 Recipes for Your Daily Dose of Awesome. And if you really don’t feel like cooking, you can binge his brand new Netflix series Restaurants on the Edge, where he helps struggling restaurants match their food to their fantastic views. With these blogs and cookbooks as your arsenal, take a page out of Julie’s book, step away from the scary for a few hours and take comfort in the simplistic perfection of butter, garlic and onion simmering on the stove. And, as Julia Child always said, “If you’re afraid of butter, use cream.” Gabby Peyton is a freelance food writer based in St. John’s. You can reach her by email at email@example.com or via Twitter and Instagram @ gabbypeytoneats.