A Little Squirt of Crazy

To begin, an apology to anyone with an anxiety-related mental illness. I have no intention of implying that anyone with an anxiety disorder is “crazy” (which is considered an inappropriate usage) but really, crazy is the only reasonable term I can come up with to describe what I recently experienced. It was a really brief […]

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Lucky Dip – January 2, 2014

Yes, I’m trying this again. Shut up and enjoy the links. I’m a little disappointed that I didn’t get this for Christmas, but I’m sure it was just an oversight. Hubby’s probably just saving up for it. Or trying to figure out where, at 4ft across, we’d put it. This one-of-a-kind piece by Mason Creations […]

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Perfum(ing) 2

If you watched CBC’s The National last night you might have caught my 15 seconds of fame as I was interviewed for a piece about perfume and perfume allergies. Unfortunately due to a miscommunication on the specific topic and my own failure to research the correct issue, very little of what I said in the […]

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Hospital Food

This piece was written for my book, Kitchen Party, but somehow, in the transferring of 47 essays and images to the final manuscript, it got lost. I remembered/discovered it this past weekend and was very disappointed, because not only was it written specifically for the book, it is one of my favourite pieces. So I’m […]

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Your Fat Makes Me Crazy

If you live in the western world, no doubt you’ve seen or heard about this video, created by a Wisconsin news anchor after receiving a letter from a viewer who was ostensibly “concerned” about her health and her ability to be a role model to viewers. As a fat woman, I am fully supportive of […]

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Yogurt – Still Full of Lies

Am I beating a dead horse if I link to yet another article pointing out that health claims on packaged food are (intentionally) misleading? This NY Times article doesn’t really reveal anything new if you’ve been following the whole story over the past few years, but it speaks to the stretches of truth advertisers will […]

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Well, Now We’re Screwed

This is the letter I just sent to the Minister of State for Agriculture regarding the announcement that the Conservatives are considering loosening the restrictions on functional foods. If you care about the fact that food companies are allowed claim their foods are healthy because they’ve added extra vitamins, or “healthy bacteria”, please contact the […]

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Backs Against the Wal

I would be surprised if anyone, let alone anyone in the “foodie bubble” hasn’t heard the news of Wal-Mart‘s new commitment to selling healthy food. I’ve got a list of links below, but some points to remember on the new program: it will be officially rolled out in the US only – Wal-Mart Canada will […]

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Moldy Oldies

In 2002 or so, I was tested for allergies and started immunotherapy. Mold, dust and a few other things were the culprits, and I had been having problems for years, especially in the summer. Unlike many people, immunotherapy (aka, a weekly needle) worked great for me. Except the doctor I was dealing with didn’t really […]

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All That and a Bag of Chips

Somewhere, Jamie Oliver is crying. The new conservative government of England (hey, what happened to the balancing forces of a coalition?) has caved in to demands from the junk food industry and has scrapped the Food Standards Agency (the equivalent to the FDA). Which means that junk food companies are now free to self-regulate. It […]

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Not So Bright

There must be thousand of titles on bookstore shelves that deal with positive thinking. Achieve your goals, get your perfect mate, advance your career… all by simply being positive. Did you ever stop to wonder how many people that system actually works for? Author Barbara Ehrenreich did, and wrote a book about it called Bright-Sided: […]

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(Per)Fuming

Articles in all the major papers today, telling the world what many of us already knew – perfumes are toxic. The testing showed that each fragrance contains, on average, 14 chemicals that are not listed on the product label. In total, nearly 40 undisclosed chemicals were found in the 17 products tested. The products contained […]

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Not What You Want When You’re Sick

My very first job was delivering meals in a hospital. It was the 80s, and it was Nova Scotia, so we’re not taking Michelin 3-star cuisine here; the food was straightforward, comforting and fairly bland. But it was all made in-house, in a massive kitchen that (between patients and cafeteria) cooked 1200 meals three times […]

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Have You Got the Guts?

The Toronto Star ran a piece this morning about how Torontonians have the lowest rate of organ donation in the province. The theory as to why this is comes down to the size of the community – it’s easier to ignore the issues of your neighbours in a city, whereas in a small town, specific […]

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The Savvy Shopper – Not Milk

Southern Ontario’s food community was shocked earlier this week when news came down that dairy farmer Michael Schmidt was acquitted of all 19 charges against him with regards to the production and sale of raw milk. Because of laws created in the early 20th century, it is illegal to sell or give away raw milk […]

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The End of Overeating

The End of Overeating: Taking Control of the Insatiable North American Appetite David A. Kessler M.D. Rodale Books 2009, 336 pages, hardcover I am one of those people who cannot walk past a plate of cookies. I’m not a binger – I’d never dream of eating the whole plate at once. But over the course […]

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Probiotics Revisited

It’s been a couple of years since I posted my rant about probiotic claims on yogurt containers. Recently, Dannon/Danone settled out of court rather than face a lawsuit that would make the research they based their product on public. In Europe, the Food and Safety Association has rejected health claims on packaging outright. One science […]

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The F-Word

I was at a media event a few weeks ago, talking with some folks about why I don’t do restaurant reviews for TasteTO myself. “I’m pretty unique looking, you know? If I’m out at something like this and meet a chef, they’re probably going to remember the fat girl with the red hair and sparkly […]

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Canada Goes Organic

Slipping quietly under the news radar this past week, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency has certified new regulations for organic food that require food producers to comply with country-wide standards. Under the new regulations, products must be a minimum of 95% organic to be able to be advertised as such (terms include organic, organically grown, […]

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Fortified

It’s no secret that I am adamantly against processed food products that make health claims. And my post about added pro-biotics in yogurt still gets numerous hits each day, which makes me think that this is an issue that confuses the average consumer. Health and nutrition are hot topics, and large food processors have figured […]

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Dream On

One of the really fabulous things about summer is that it keeps me out of the supermarket. Buying all my fruit and veg, cheese, eggs, honey and the small amount of meat we cook at home from local farmers is time not spent trolling the aisles being tempted by junk food. In the winter though, […]

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All About Almonds

I’ve never really thought about almonds. Oh sure, they’re a tasty nut, good as a snack or in baked goods. They come in a variety of forms; whole, blanched, sliced, slivered, ground and even milk. They can be eaten out of hand, added to pastries or to savoury dishes. But last week I attended an […]

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Not Just Sprouts and Tofu

After the learning experience of last year’s visit to the Canadian Health Food Association’s Expo East Trade Show, we arrived this year well prepared. We didn’t follow the crowd and bring along an empty suitcase to carry home samples and info sheets, but we did show up at this massive health food trade show with […]

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The Deadwood of Canadian Food Safety

Saturday’s National Post had an article about how the Canadian Food Inspection Agency plans to allow companies to police themselves when it comes to health and safety inspections. The document, addressed to the president of the agency, details how the inspection of meat and meat products will downgrade agency inspectors to an “oversight role, allowing […]

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Orgasmic Organics

Multiple Organics 1545 Dundas Street West 647-435-5340   What are two well-educated young women to do when they find themselves with doctorates, but no where to use them? Why, open an organic food store of course!   Such was the case for Nupur Gogia and Carrianne Leung recently when they discovered that the only way […]

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The Real Food Dilemma

I haven’t had time in the past week to talk about the Michael Pollan lecture. Mostly, I think, because it’s wasn’t actually that inspiring. It wasn’t bad, don’t get me wrong, he just didn’t say much of anything new. The brief hour started with Pollan reading an excerpt from In Defense of Food, then being […]

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Can Organics Feed the World?

Can organics feed the world? This question was posed to the closing panel at this year’s Canadian Organic Growers Conference. Organic farmers, food producers, nutritionists and writers convened in Toronto this past Saturday to examine the issues and explore how organics is changing the world.   The day-long event included a keynote speech by Helge […]

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If the Shoe Fits

I’m having feet issues. A combination of genetics and decades of bad shoe choices have escalated into a diagnosis of flat feet and a need for orthotics. Now, the word orthotics, in theory, should no longer strike fear in the hearts of people fated to wear the things. It used to be that foot problems […]

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Being Tasered

I’ve been noticeably absent. Busy, in part, finishing up Christmas stuff (8 kinds of chocolates – done), but also because I’ve been having terrible pain in my hands and wrists. Numbness, too, which is scary. Numbness in one foot as well. I have enough acquaintances suffering from Multiple Sclerosis that I wasted no time in […]

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The Pickle Barrel Gets Healthy

When we started this site some six months ago, we determined that our mandate was to cover anything and everything to do with food in Toronto. It’s easy to fall into the foodie trap of focusing on either cutting-edge and high end places, or hole-in-the-wall spots serving “authentic” cuisine from various cultures and completely ignoring […]

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What Do You Want… A Cookie?

Ah, the cookie. A simple treat that brings delight to millions. The cookie is the choice companion to cups of tea, the pacifier of boo-boos, the financial means for Girl Guides everywhere, and the choice prize handed out by the snarkily sarcastic. But for people with food allergies, finding tasty cookies and treats that won’t […]

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Cravings and Squicks

Warning – this post contains discussion of vomiting. Food, being, ideally, a sensual pleasure, is one of those things that we either really love or really abhor. Individual foods, I mean. As children, we go through phases where we dislike different things, based on taste, texture or smell. As we age, those tastes usually adapt […]

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Manic Organic – Part 2

Today we’re looking at the organic options in the higher-end grocery stores in my ‘hood. And the options really appear to be all about location. In Parkdale proper, even the prepackaged organic items can be hit or miss, but once I headed over to Roncesvalles Avenue where the supermarkets face stiff competition from a plethora […]

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Manic Organic – Part 1

A few months back I read something in one of the newspaper food columns about how relatively easy it was to get organic produce at local supermarkets. The article specifically mentioned the No Frills in Dufferin Mall, and it left me scratching my head. See, I shop at that No Frills and I can’t really […]

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Let There Be Pie

About a year ago, I wrote a post bemoaning the transfats in shortening and a bunch of people suggested that I try a butter crust for making pies. I was generally pleased with a butter crust – it handles great and tastes delicious, but I was never totally happy with the fact that it seemed […]

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Exotic Fruit – Fresh Dates

Just about everyone has eaten dates at some point. From the much-loved date square, to those little styrofoam trays of beautifully arranged dried dates available during Ramadan or Christmas, dates are a well-known treat. But have you ever eaten a fresh one? Fresh dates are available in late summer and early fall and can most […]

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Salad Days

People should not throw wedding receptions on Daylight Saving Time switch overs. Or at least not the day after. We went to a wedding reception last night and stayed out far too late and drank far too much. There were drink tickets and the G&T’s were being made with premium gin and an 8 to […]

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Healthy Breakfasts

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. It’s true. That’s not just something made up by the cereal companies. Yet this most important meal is often overlooked or neglected by the majority of North Americans as we rush to get out the door each morning. The way I see it, our problem is […]

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Drink Your Greens

There’s nothing like a tasty glass of pond slime to get you started in the morning. You’ve probably seem them in the supermarket, those bottles of icky green stuff, slotted in with the fancy juices and smoothies. With names like Green Goodness, Extreme Green and Green Energy, they are marketed in such a way as […]

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Food Fight

Food Fight – The Inside Story of the Food Industry, America’s Obesity Crisis and What We Can Do About It by Dr. Kelly Brownell and Katherine Battle Horgen The number one rule to remember when reading studies, works of non-fiction, even the news, is that everyone approaches a piece with a bias. When it comes […]

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Bug Juice

We’ve known for years that the term “natural” when it comes to food is a dubious one. Technically, everything is “natural”, even chemical additives – hey, they started as something found in nature. Any savvy food shopper knows that “natural” as a marketing term is meaningless. But what about when it comes to the ingredient […]

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Boxes of India

As someone who makes a point of avoiding most pre-packaged food that comes from the typical North American supermarket, it is undoubtedly hypocritical of me to admit the following… I buy pre-packaged Indian food. Not on any regular basis, mind you, but whenever I make it across town to Little India, and I go a […]

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Booger Thing

Here’s one for the “What Were You Thinking????” file. Every now and again, I get a craving for Pillsbury Cinnamon Rolls. Really, really bad cravings. Pillsbury Cinnamon Rolls are one of those weird comfort foods from my childhood – I can remember making the things with my Mom, being allowed to lick out the little […]

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Cheese Please!

There is a theory when it comes to treating allergies that if you give the patient tiny little bits of the item they are allergic to over a period of time, they will eventually be able to tolerate those allergens. This works mostly with treatable allergens such as dust and mold. The sad thing about […]

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Little Bitter Things

Our groovy multicultural supermarket had stacks of amaretti in their Italian section last night when we were buying groceries. I bought two packages and am considering going back for more. The word amaretti is Italian for “little, bitter things”. Problem is, most amaretti are made from sweet almonds which are not really bitter at all. […]

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Don’t Eat This Book

As I mentioned a few weeks ago in my opening editorial, I firmly believe that most people who care about good food know that junk food is bad for them. How can you not know that fact? What worries me, and apparently, also worries Morgan Spurlock, is that even though we all know this to […]

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