Category Archives: About Food

Snake Oil & Ginger Juice


Come up to the front of the stage – yes you! I have a cure for the common cold that will drive you wild!

OK, so I haven’t actually found a cure for the common cold, and I’m not charismatic enough to be a snake oil salesman. I have, however, come up with a sweet and spicy concoction that can help to soothe sore throats, loosen chest congestion a little… and all without chemicals or drugs.

Let me back this up a bit.

For a while now, I’ve been trying to slowly change parts of my life that are wasteful and I’ve been trying to weed out foods that aren’t healthy, or are full of chemicals or… just aren’t food. Here in Canada, many of us reach for a packet of Neo Citran when we feel the effects of a cold (yes, fellow Canadians, you will get strange looks if you ask for it in the USA). I’ve always liked it, but it’s also creeped me out. It’s a weirdly lemon-pledgey powdered mixture that tastes like there’s a ground up aspirin in it (because there kind of IS one).

Add to that, the fact that the acetaminophen in it doesn’t mix with other cold medications I may take.

I decided to make my own hot lemony drink. I know I’m not the only one, and I’m sure many others have magically come up with the same concoction that I use. I know this must be true, because of its simplicity — there are but four ingredients: water, grated fresh ginger, honey and freshly squeezed lemon.

The result is a sweet, spicy and lemony hot drink that is very soothing.

Get yourself a really big piece of fresh ginger – the chubbier the better, and look for a smooth skin with some shine to it — if it is wrinkly and dull, it is old and not as useful.


  • 1/2 c of grated fresh ginger
  • 2tbsp honey (this is a good way to use up any honey that has started to crystallize)
  • 1-3 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 c water

I’ve made this a couple of different ways now, and we’ve found a method that seems to work well, except that I’m not sure if boiling the crap out of ginger will kill some of the good-for-you properties of it. I need to figure this out, but am not a scientician.

Here’s how I’ve been making it up lately:

  1. Grate the ginger into a bowl, trying to keep as much of the liquid as possible.
  2. Put the ginger and water into a pot on the stove, and simmer it for about 1/2 hour.
  3. Strain the mixture through a fine mesh colander/strainer, pressing on the pulp of the ginger to get more liquid out. Get as much of the liquid out as you can.
  4. Put the strained mixture back on the stove. The liquid should be opaque and a brownish colour. If the mixture is too transparent or light in colour, put the stove on high and boil off some of the water. Taste it – it should be a very very strong, bitter, gingery taste. It should taste terrible.
  5. Once you have the perfect awful ginger juice, turn the stove down to a low-med temperature. Add the honey, and make sure it dissolves completely.
  6. Add the lemon juice, stir it in. Take the mixture off of the stove now, and let it cool. Put it in a container in the fridge, where you can access it as needed.

To drink: Put 3 tbsp of the ginger mixture into a mug, top with hot/boiling water (doesn’t need to be boiling, as it doesn’t need to steep). Ejoy!

Food Waste Reduction Challenge 2010

Food Waste Reduction Challenge - February 2010
This month, I will be participating in Crunchy Chicken’s Food Waste Reduction Challenge. Since I haven’t had the guts to try one of her challenges yet, I thought this would be a good one to start with. Blogging about it will hopefully encourage me to keep up with it, and really take a look at what we’re wasting.

The two-second overview: to really look at what edible food we throw out over the course of the month. This doesn’t include inedible food waste, like coffee grounds, banana peels, or eggshells. To get a sense of the bigger picture, please see the writeup on Crunchy Chicken’s blog.

I honestly think we do pretty well with food – we buy quite a lot of fresh produce, and usually use it up before it spoils. I know we have trouble with some fruits and veggies — seriously, limes do not keep well and avocadoes are a big question mark for me. It’s hard to know how long we have to eat them – but I am learning.

Part of this challenge isn’t just to monitor what you throw out, but to make a real effort to limit what you throw out. This involves some thinking and planning – only buy what you need, keep an eye on the freshness of your food, and use it or freeze it before it spoils.

I hope that some of you will consider taking this challenge with me. If you do, and you are blogging about it, please leave the link to your blog in the comments! I’d love to see how you do!



A Life of Spice

This is my spice drawer.

Thinking about my cooking.

I’ve already admitted that I’m not a good cook, but I think I might be good at adding herbs and spices.

I have more spices than any rational person should have, but I do use them! I’ve been trying to grow herbs for years – only being able to successfully grow a basil plant on my balcony after I moved to a new home this year (lack of sunlight = weinerbasil). My recent move also brought me some excitement in the form of a “spice drawer”.

In my old apartment, my spices were strewn all willy-nilly around the kitchen. I had two revolving spice racks, a narrow shelf on top of the stove, a masala tin, and other little pockets of spice. During the move, we were trying to figure out what to put in all of the drawers when my mom suggested I have a spice drawer. My jaw dropped, my eyes lit up and a wee tear trickled down my face… ok, that last one was made up. You get the picture – I was ecstatic. I hadn’t thought of that possibility, and now I could have all of my spices at my fingertips.

Masala Dabba
I still kept my masala tin – that thing kicks butt, and is a sign of a true spice fanatic.

I’ll be featuring different spices from my collection every once in a while, and I’d love some feedback about new things to try!



A New Start to the Affair

It started with the loss of my recipe database – one that I’ve kept for the last 10 years.

I’ve relied on it for access to a number of recipes I’ve collected, modified, and loved. Now it’s gone.

Tonight, I watched the movie Julie & Julia, and had a forehead smacking moment. I blog. I run a blog system. I help others to blog. DUH! A blog is actually the perfect replacement for my poor old database, which I often used to house more than just recipes.

Thus I have started a new blog, for myself, and I hope to maintain it and pay a little more attention to it than some of my other attempts at blogging. I figure this one should fare a little better – I’m addicted to food, I enjoy cooking… and I’m in need of some motivation to become a better cook. I am not a great cook. I can make things that taste pretty good, but I’m lacking in some of the basic skills. I have spices beyond belief, but can’t poach an egg.

I will not be de-boning a duck any time soon, so don’t worry that I’m just stealing the Julie & Julia storyline. You will find that meat is not on the menu, for the most part, as I generally do not eat it.

This blog will be a way to rebuild my recipe database, to track my trials (& errors) with new recipes, and to set some culinary goals.

Anyone who knows me is probably wondering why I didn’t do this long ago… I use food as examples in everything I teach, I talk food, I live food.