Life circumstances and a series of choices have led me back to my roots. My love of food. I started in the service and restaurant industry 17 years ago. I guess the food part just stuck. It’s an area where I feel I can be creative and one that allows for a lot of growth.
The past 8 years were a roller coaster. After years of working in the service industry and working with some amazing chefs I decided to isolate myself and start work in a completely different industry (helicopters) and move up NORTH. Well, being spoiled by only having the best food at my finger tips, I had to learn all new skills… fast. To make matters worse for a young gal, the “pickins” at the grocery store were slim and my cookbooks were in storage. Living in Canada is great, but the grocery stores up in northern Alberta and British Columbia don’t exactly have the best produce to choose from and quinoa is definitely not an option.
Acing that test, 2 years later I felt I was ready for another challenge, I took a job working in isolation in the northern boreal forest and invited my future husband, Joshua to join me in this adventure. He is American and with visa regulations and the hassle of it, this position with Alberta Forestry just made sense for us. As a Fire Tower Observer, 60 miles or 100 km from the nearest services, grocery delivery was once a month and we were definitely limited to seasonal produce.
Living in a 400 sq foot quarter with a partner with no one else around sure strengthens a relationship.We had a small plot for a garden where the soil quality led to growing minimal vegetables. Since compost wasn’t recommended due to bears we grew what would grow. To complicate matters there was no running water and no regular electricity and only the propane stove for cooking. Armed with the most basic tools we started our 5 month long adventure. Just to make sure we did it right, we Joshua and I decided to do it twice.
Our produce would last all of about 12 days in the fridge (also run on propane) and we had a freezer that played host to meat that might last us 2 weeks. So our journey to discover the art of bread making, cooking with all kinds of legumes, beans and grains started. Some folks in my trade lived off of canned goods for the last 3 weeks of every month. But due to my acquired taste for the good food in life and my complete inability to settle for food that tasted like a tin can, we made the best of it.
Now back in civilization and married, Joshua and I had access to all the fabulous foods we once loved, restaurant food that is. But wait….restaurant food turned out to be a little disappointing. It doesn’t quite taste like we remembered it. So over thecourse of that year our eating style started to shift back to traditional city dweller type eating. We decided to stop that freight train of bad eating and return to the time when the food was made from scratch, we felt healthy, we had more energy and as a result accomplished much more in a day with a lot less stress. So this is our journey of returning to the basics, in a microwave society, when it’s so easy not to. Some of the best food we have ever eaten came from that experience. I had to learn how to improvise. I no longer make everything from scratch and have access to fabulous fruits and vegetables but the lessons I learned will last forever. The learning continues and now that we have a real kitchen again and my collection of cookbooks, the adventure continues.
I AM NOT GIVING UP MY DESSERTS. So even though I will be featuring healthy mains and soups….not everything is low fat. That’s not the point. Olive oil is delicious and good for the body AND SO IS BUTTER. The important message is every thing in moderation.
I would like to take a paragraph to explain the few desserts that I will feature. First off, they are a treat. Once a week, for special occasions and when you can leave the leftovers at a friends place or bring to the office. Secondly, I have modified all the desserts to contain less cream, less butter and less sugar than the originals that inspired me. As I continue to grow, I’m learning how to substitute processed sugars for whole food sweeteners, like honey and maple syrup in my baking. Size matters! Yes smaller some times is better. This is true with the mains too. Even really healthy food can weigh a person down.
Out of the tower and onto our wedding. We took a break from the fire tower for 2 weeks to get hitched and here are some of the fun things we got to do while we were away!