Spectators and contestants gather for the top junior chef hot dog contest.
Who would be the top chef? Another contest during our family’s Pelee Island reunion was designed specifically for the great-grandchildren. They each picked a mentor from the next generation to help them create and name a gourmet hot dog.
My husband Dave tests the Nacho Dog.
Our senior generation acted as judges which meant we got to taste each of the culinary creations and grade them on creativity, taste and presentation.
The Hot Taco Doggie team wore sombreros and had Mexican music playing during their hot dog presentation
The junior chefs and their mentors had used hot dogs in so many different ways. The Candy Crusher dog featured chocolate sauce and hard candies. The EggsZactly hot dog was served on a waffle with a poached egg on top and the Big Mac hot dog featured macaroni and cheese. After each hot dog had been tasted and graded the teams appeared one by one in front of Judge Uncle Dave who provided commentary on the strengths and weaknesses of their work. Here the creators of the Raging Oma hot dog receive their feedback from the judge. In the end the Holy Chipotle team was the champion because the taste of their hot dog with its homemade chipotle sauce just couldn’t be beat.
A team hugs as they await the judge’s verdict on their hot dog
The contest was lots of fun but also a great exercise in team spirit and cooperation as partners worked together in the kitchen to create their hot dogs, shared ingredients with other teams and cheered on their opponents.
The Amazing Race Driedger Style
A Dog Ate the Cabbage Rolls
Name That Driedger Family Game
Zane Caplansky’s face which is featured on the front of the menus at his famous deli in Toronto might look familiar to you. That’s because Caplansky has been in movies, on television programs like Dragon’s Den, has a weekly radio show and a large Twitter following. Our son, whose work as a professional musician takes him to Toronto frequently, recommended Caplansky’s Delicatessen for lunch and he didn’t steer us wrong. The borscht had a tomato rather than a beet base. It was thick with vegetables and smoked meat bits and had a kind of sweetness about it which I loved.
My smoked turkey sandwich was thick with meat and I enjoyed trying some of the Caplansky signature mustards with it. By the way the beer at Caplansky’s is served with a pickle.
We ate on the patio and I had a great view of this mural of a young boy on a rooftop surveying the city. Loved the look of joy and wonder on his face. Art, great food, a meal shared with family equaled a perfect lunch!
A Bike Ride in Toronto
String Em Up at the Handlebar
Filed under Food, Toronto
Scott Sawatsky was a young man teaching English in Korea when he met a German brewmaster living there who taught Scott everything he needed to know about making beer. That’s the story we heard when Scott gave us an interesting tour of the beer making process at the Peg Beer Co. just down the street from our home. Scott really did learn to make beer while teaching in Korea and now works as a brewmaster himself here in Winnipeg. See the bags of rye malt used in some of the beers beside Scott? It comes from Bamberg Germany. Dave and I spent Christmas Day in 2010 in Bamberg. One of the things we did was sample beer from the nine different breweries in Bamberg.
We had a fun Monday night at the Peg Beer Co. with three other couples. First we took a tour of the brewing facility and learned so many interesting things from Scott about how the beer at Peg Beer Co. is made. One fascinating thing I remember is that after the barley has served its purpose flavoring the water for the beer, a Manitoba farmer comes and picks up the mashed barley to feed to his pigs. The kitchen at Peg City Beer Co. buys some of those pigs back from that same farmer to use for the pork items on the Peg City Beer Co. menu. Talk about recycling!
We learned from Scott that the different craft brewers in Winnipeg help each other out and share information and expertise with one another, even though in some ways they are competitors. Isn’t that great?
After our tour we enjoyed some of the excellent items on the Peg Beer Co. menu. You can go to the establishment any time for the food and craft beers, but if you want a tour they are offered on Mondays.
Visit to a Colorado Microbrewery and the Barry Manilow Concert That Wasn’t
I was visiting a school and kids at a table just outside the gym door were selling treats to raise funds for a class outing. “Will you buy something?” they entreated.
“What do you have that’s healthy?” I asked. They were stymied. They had a wide variety of chocolate bars, chips and baked goods for sale. They suggested a fruit juice box but a quick check of the label revealed it was packed with sugar. The only healthy thing I could find were sticks of cheese. The irony of the sales table being just outside the gym door where the kids take their Physical Well Being classes wasn’t lost on me.
There were lots of positives to the kids’ sales venture. They were learning how to interact politely with the public, how to handle and count money, the importance of managing costs and profits and they were working together to achieve a goal. Could they have learned those things just as well if their sales table had featured fruits and vegetables, popcorn, yogurt, sunflower seeds, pistachios and whole grain or rice crackers? I understand those things might have been hard to sell.
It will take some doing to get kids to think healthy treats can be just as delicious and satisfying as unhealthy ones. But it’s a change of perspective families, schools and governments need to work at seriously if we are going to combat childhood obesity and promote more healthy lifestyles for kids. Thinking about what kinds of things we sell for fundraisers- cookies, candies and chocolates might be a good place to start.
Eat Like You Give A Damn
Healthy Environments- Not Gyms or Arenas
“For the blessings of this food and these friends and our families, we thank you.” That simple table grace spoken by a young boy named Jake is the key event in William Kent Krueger’s book Ordinary Grace. Jake stutters terribly. But when he offers to say grace at the meal following his sister’s funeral he is able to pray in front of a large group of people without stuttering once.
Jake volunteers to pray because his father who is a pastor is getting ready to say one of his usual long-winded theologically correct table graces and his mother who is pretty angry at God about her daughter’s death shouts, “Can’t we just have an ordinary grace?” Her son Jake obliges. Jake’s ordinary grace brings his mother comfort.
Saying Grace by Norman Rockwell
Although many people no longer say grace I think the ritual can be meaningful whatever your religious affiliation or even if you have none. It acknowledges the gift of food because we know not everyone in our world can take that gift for granted. When my brother who works in the agriculture industry says a table grace he always includes a thank you to the farmers who have grown the food.
When we lived on the Hopi Indian Reservation before traditional meals were served, a small portion of food was taken from each dish and placed in a bowl which was set on the ground just outside the door. One of the things that action demonstrated was a willingness to share food with anyone who might pass by.
Family of artist Andries Van Bochoven Saying Grace- 1629
Saying grace provides a way to acknowledge gratitude for the food we will eat, gratitude for the people whose efforts have brought it to our table, gratitude for our relationship with those who share our table and our willingness to share our food with others. Saying a simple grace no matter what our religious beliefs can be a meaningful and comforting ritual just like it was for Jake’s mother in Ordinary Grace.
By the way Ordinary Grace is a great story of a boy coming of age in 1961. The book is suspenseful and well written.
Norman Rockwell and the Mennonite Connection
A Prayer For A Golf Tournament
A Prayer for the New Year
Filed under Food, Religion
Would you like to eat too much mediocre pizza at picnic style tables while an organ with 6000 pipes serenades you? Then Organ Stop Pizza is for you! Yesterday we had another one of those unique kitchy experiences that comes with the territory when you are an Arizona snowbird. The Organ Stop Pizza Place in Mesa has two massive rooms upstairs and down squished full of long tables and benches, a salad bar, icecream bar, and a walk up counter where you can order pizza. It also features the Mighty Wurlitzer Theatre organ built in 1927 in Denver Colorado and rebuilt in the 1970s to provide entertainment for pizza patrons in Arizona. The organ rises up above the audience on a rotating hyrdraulic elevator and all kinds of added instruments spread around the venue are manipulated from the organ console including dozens of different drums, bird whistles, cymbals, tambourines, wood blocks, bells, chimes and even an accordian. The music on our visit was mostly show tunes from movies like Star Wars, Frozen and Sound of Music but also included stirring renditions of the American anthem and God Bless America during which most of the patrons jumped to their feet with mouths full of pizza and beer and put their hands over their hearts. They even played the Canadian anthem in acknowledgment of the many snowbirds in the audience. No one stood. Shows how patriotic we Canuks are. Check out the Canadian flag in the photo. There is a light show of sorts as you are entertained and the organist Charlie Balogh, who was very talented, took a break from the music to announce birthdays and other special occasions being celebrated by patrons. We were at Organ Stop with some of Dave’s slow pitch teammates from Manitoba and it was very hard to talk to each other with that organ music exploding all around you. So we skipped the ice-cream bar and retired to Eric and Joyce’s home in Gold Canyon for Schwann’s ice-cream, chocolate chip cookies and chance to really visit. There was lots of laughter and interesting conversation. When we left the Organ Stop there was a very long line of people waiting at the walk up pizza counter. Our early arrival meant we’d avoided that. It was an experience to visit the Organ Stop, but one I’m glad I didn’t have to wait in line for and something I only need to do once. I had a sore throat the next morning from trying to talk over the music. I should have just closed my mouth and listened.
Hi Ho Tonto!
Filed under Arizona, Food, Music
We’ve already been golfing three times since we arrived in Arizona. There’s a nice little course nearby with great twilight rates. We’ve been golfing with our friends Tom and Sylvia who are the first guests we have welcomed to our rented home.
I wondered how my golf game would be since I don’t play very often, but I haven’t been doing too badly and today I got my first par after sinking a nice long putt on the eighth green so I was pretty happy about that. Tom and Sylvia are setting the bar pretty high as far as being guests goes since Tom is a professional cook and has been making all these amazing meals for us. Last night it was pork and rice, panfried shrimp and Chinese vegetables. The night before it was steak and lobster. Looking forward to seeing what will be on the menu tonight.
I Golf For the Scenery
The Waste Management Golf Tournament
Dinner in Arizona With Uncle Herb
Filed under Arizona, Food