06 Jan 2022

Rx Chocolate

Q. In Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Professor RJ Lupin first offers Harry a therapeutic slab of chocolate to revive our young wizard after a traumatic encounter with train-storming dementors. ‘A loud snap made them all jump. Professor Lupin was breaking an enormous slab of chocolate into pieces.

27 Dec 2021

These Holiday Candies Are The Worst

Q. “Go on! Have one.” You are the surprise recipient of neighbourhood candy. Now, the gift-giver is waiting for you to tuck in and eat a couple. What type of holiday candy would you be most horrified to discover inside this meticulously wrapped box? How do your candy peeves compare

13 Dec 2021

Oh Beautiful Bread Machine

Q. While some of you brilliant bakers are yeasting your bread up from scratch, many of us are marvelling at the ease of our hulking bread machines. What to sprinkle in next? And who invented this magical maker of bread? . A. Thank African American Joseph Lee for this almost-homemade,

20 Nov 2021

French Toast?

Q. What are the chances that the French invented French Toast, and called it ‘French Toast’? . A. The chances are slim. First: the French are more likely to call this dish, with its clever way of rescuing stale bread: ‘pain perdu’ or ‘lost bread’. Second: this bread-stretching recipe –

05 Nov 2021

Velvet And Purls

Q. As you read or watch period dramas, you might see reference to largely forgotten food and drink. Some examples? . A. Beef Tea Cordial We find this ‘restorative drink’ in Frederick and Seymour Davies’ 1896 Drinks of all Kinds. ‘Make half a pint of beef tea by adding the

18 Oct 2021

First Comes Spoons, Then Comes Marriage

Q. Spoons feature prominently in the button-tight world of etiquette. Are our silver-plated friends similarly burdened with deeply rooted superstitious beliefs? . A. Spoons definitely play a strong role in old-school manners. In Emily Post’s 1922 Etiquette, for instance, we see pages devoted to teaching mischievous young boys how to

24 Sep 2021

Hodgepodges, Mrs. + Otherwise

Q. ‘Hodgepodge’  is such a great word used to describe slapdash, confusing mixtures of what-not. Where does this word come from and how does it relate to food? . A. Here we see the word ‘hodgepodge’ used in this great ad from a 1961 Life magazine. *Side Note: how open

26 Aug 2021

Rating Pepper Hotness

Q. For decades, cooks, bartenders, and derring-do diners have been rating the hotness of peppers with the Scoville scale. But what is the Scoville Scale and how was it developed? . A. We know that the Trinidad Scorpion rates near the top of the scale with a hotness rating of

29 Jul 2021

Canada’s Favourite Ice Cream

Q. As we prepare for some more unbelievably warm weather, it’s time to stock the freezer. What are Canada’s favourite ice-cream flavours? . A. Well, time will tell in a month or two for this particular heat wave. But, the flavour that fascinated us most in 2020? Banana. This according

26 May 2021

You Eat What With What?

Q. Do you snack on any strange food combinations that would surprise those who don’t know you that well? Would you pair these foods  proudly in a public place, or is this strictly for in-house dining? . A. First things first. We Canadians are clearly not a poll-passionate people. But,