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Cooler Corn: A Better Way to Corn on the Cob

Cobs of corn in a beer cooler ready for boiling water.

Update: You can find this recipe — along with about 75 other beer-related gems — in my new cookbook, The Canadian Craft Beer Cookbook.

Every summer vegetable has its season and devoted fans. But peas, asparagus, or zucchini don’t get nearly as much cooking technique attention as corn does. Whether it’s what goes in the water–salt, sugar, and milk are all called for in different recipes–to how long passes between picking the cobs and when they hit boiling water. My newest method simply involves immersing the corn in boiling water inside a standard cooler and that got my attention both because it’s more convenient and more delicious. (more…)

Foodbuzz 24X24: Terry Fox

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My memories of school assemblies from my early years are a blur of secularised holiday celebrations and faux cool jingles designed to keep us from doing drugs.  Not very influential with one glaring exception.  I remember being blown away by the story of Terry Fox a twenty-one year-old Canadian who set out to raise a million dollars for cancer research by running across the country.  Terry had been diagnosed with bone cancer in his knee, undergone chemotherapy and had his right leg amputated.  Images of Terry running, with his artificial leg, along remote and lonely stretches of the Trans Canada Highway are I think a fairly universal early memory for Canadians of my generation.

I have spent much of this summer building a wood-fired oven with my family at the cottage and since this year is the thirtieth anniversary of the Marathon of Hope it seemed appropriate to mark this occasion by cooking a meal in the oven.  The September Foodbuzz 24X24 is special because it is dedicated to raising funds for ovarian cancer research and I was happy to have my proposal to write about a meal honouring the Marathon of Hope accepted.  Throughout its course the Marathon of Hope was about connecting with the small communities and individuals across Canada and I hope that by cooking a meal (with the help of family and friends) which represents the culinary traditions of these people and places I can honour this memory in my own way.

I can’t complain too loudly about how cliched the description has become because I have written it more times than I want to count but this summer has been a remarkably hot and sunny one. Unfortunately, August’s weather rarely influences September’s and for the day of the big meal we had stronger winds than anyone could remember for Labour Day weekend.  When building the oven we were careful to face it away from prevailing winds but I still had some difficulty getting the oven lit on Saturday.  In a world of electric ovens with digital controls it’s difficult to imagine the havoc caused by 30 km/h winds when cooking in an outside brick oven but now I understand.

On April 12, 1980 Terry started his journey across the country at the Atlantic coast near St. John’s, Newfoundland.  His course took him through all four of Canada’s maritime provinces and these early stages were filled with the challenges of running a marathon every day in what can often be wintry weather in April.  He was supported by his brother and his best friend and was I’m sure buoyed by the isolated recognition and public support he received along this part of the route. (more…)