Lucky Dip – Tuesday, March 27th, 2012

In Toronto:

Keriwa Cafe (1690 Queen Street West) had updated their website. All the better to see their monthly menu updates.

Chef Justin Cournoyer’s new restaurant Actinolite (971 Ossington Avenue) opens to the public tomorrow (Wednesday, March 28th) serving up a menu with Spanish, Portuguese and Italian influences.

Basilio Pesce of Oliver & Bonacini has left Biff’s Bistro (4 Front Street East) to open his own restaurant in Parkdale.

Mabel’s Bakery (323 Roncesvalles Avenue) is expanding with a new location coming to 1156 Queen Street West.

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You Say Tomato…

I’m trying to decide if it’s worth my while to make tomato sauce. Mostly, I’m put off by the fear of canning, what with the risk of botulism and all. I could make tomato sauce and freeze it – there’s still some room in my little freezer, despite being packed full of the best of the summer from fiddleheads and asparagus to corn and blackberries. However, the corporate food processes being what they are, it would inevitably be cheaper for me to buy canned tomato sauce through the winter as I need it than buy 20 pounds of tomatoes and make my own sauce from fresh local fruit. It’s a conundrum. Despite how much I actually enjoy blanching and peeling tomatoes, the cost makes the canned storebought stuff more attractive, and might potentially be beating up my ethical, foodie side.

At present I’ve got a few pounds of Romas bought from the farmers market and intended for what turned out to be the best sandwich ever – a soft ciabatta loaf with fresh basil leaves from my windowsill “garden”, a crazy expensive ball of real buffalo mozzarella and some lovely thin-sliced prosciutto, drizzed with olive oil and fleurs de sel. And of course, the aforementioned tomatoes, sliced thinly.

I had planned to use the rest to make tomato sauce, but I’m intrigued by the tomato jam recipe in this past Saturday’s Toronto Star, and according to Tara at Seven Spoons, it’s pretty awesome stuff.

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The End of Food

I first heard about Thomas F. Pawlick’s The End of Food, when my editor at Gremolata interviewed him last year. I had forgotten that interview when I finally got around to reading the book, and ended up not liking the book very much, mostly for reasons that had nothing to do with Pawlick’s message and more with his writing style. Having just re-read the interview again, Pawlick’s message is more on point.

Offering a Canadian take on the current dire food production issues we’re facing in North America, Pawlick has a unique perspective in that he is both a scientist and a farmer and has worked with the United Nations Food and Agriculture Association. If anyone knows exactly where their food comes from, it’s him.

Starting with a tough rubbery tomato that Pawlick tosses at the fence in his yard only to have it bounce back like a tennis ball, he beings to research exactly why our food doesn’t seem like food anymore. The results are downright terrifying, particularly the statistics he gives indicating how nutritionally deficient our fruits and vegetables are compared to the same product grown twenty or fifty years ago. Modern agriculture is focussed on marketability, not taste or nutrition, and the process of growing just about any food is now highly mechanized and chemically-intensive.

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