Monthly Archives: June 2010

Taylor’s interview with Lennis Campbell for Food Forever

Lennis: We grew lots of vegetables when I was a child, and later on we lived where there were abandoned orchards and we used to go and pick apples because they would stay on the ground, one or two, and we would throw one apple down at a time for them to catch them, so they wouldn’t get bruised…and that way they would last, sometimes right up to February a nice King apple would last. And it was so good then! That’s how we kept our fruit, that’s what fruit we had.

And when I was littler and we lived by a lake, we used to catch fish. But we had no fridge, so we used to salt them and keep them, and then when you wanted to cook them, they would just be covered in salt, so we would have to wash it all off and then soak them for a few hours to get

some of that saltiness out, and then we would cook them. And we always had a cow or more than one, we all learned to milk a cow by the time we were six or eight. And so we would milk our cows, but we had no fridge to keep our milk, but we might have two gallons of milk, with the cream on top. ‘Cause we always had Jersey cows. We would take the cream, we’d set it for half a day or so in a cold place down by the well, and then we’d skim the cream off and and then we would in the summertime you great aunt Julie and i would go pick blackberries in our big blackberry patch, it was our job to go and pick blackberries for lunch and for supper,, and we would have blackberries and whipped cream every day because we had so much cream..And my mom and great grandma would make butter, sometimes we did too , with a small churn, not those big ones with the pump type thing. So we’d make our butter. And we canned a lot…fruit forever! Pears, crab apples, plums,applesauce. That was the fruit. And we also canned meat, because we had no fridge. If we butchered an animal we had to can the meat to keep it, and it would be nice and tender.

Taylor: How did you keep your food?

L: Mostly by canning, and by salting the fish when I was very little, and keeping the milk cold down by the well. By the lake, when I was small, this was northern Alberta, where we always had a big garden. The well was at Jedediah island, up the coast. Canning was everywhere. big vegetable garden, canned corn, lots of corn. One time the pressure canner top popped off the pressure cooker and there was corn all over the ceiling. That wasn’t a joke!

T: How was getting food different when you were a kid?

L: We lived isolated very much of the time, and when we bought food we bought it in bulk when we did buy food, big bags of dried beans and big bags of dried peas, and the rest of the food mostly, and wheat, for porridge.We would cook that up to supplement the food that we grew. Mostly we grew our own or collected it from abandoned orchards.

T: What is your favorite local food?

L: Here on Galiano? mostly I like fruit. I like King apples, they’re my favorite, they’re local, they’re right here.

T: Tell me about a food memory you have from your childhood.

L: Well, there were lots of children in our family so no one ever complained about what was to eat. So we quickly got whatever we could and ate! We didn’t want that because it wasn’t coming around again, the plate would be empty by the time it got back!

My favorite food memory..Making ice was nummy! That was it! That was when I was very little. One time my mother got the ice people to bring ice, and we had a big pile of sawdust,and they buried it in sawdust, because there was no fridge, there was no electric, we lived very far from electricity. And we didn’t have propane fridges or anything in those days, then in the summer we would dig it out from the sawdust, break it up with a sledgehammer, it came in big blocks, and we had a ice cream churn with a churn you turned by hand, there was a little container in the middle that you put the custard in; we had our own cows, and we’d add vanilla and sugar and good stuff in there….and then around the edge in the bigger container, the wooden container, you would put crushed ice and coarse salt, that would keep the ice frozen longer, and the inner thing was hooked to a handle that when you turned it it kept turning around and around and inside, in the inner container where the ice cream was being made, there were little wooden paddles that would scrape it off the edge as it got cool and then push it into the middle, and then more creamy custard would be cooling, making delicious ice cream so we had ice cream right at our house, without going miles to the store.

T: What seasonal food did you eat?

L: In the summertime we ate all our own vegetables and we ate fish and some of our own animals, sometimes sheep, I remember once we had goat but it wasn’t my favourite food memory.

T: What was the flavour of the ice cream?

L: Vanilla. We didn’t put fruit, I don’t recall putting fruit, cause the fruit wouldn’t be ripe yet, by that time the ice would be melted, because it would be very hot in the summer. And we used to pick wild strawberries, and wild raspberries too, there would be lots up there.

T: How do you overwinter your food?

L: Right now, how do I overwinter it? I still can, peaches and raspberries, pears and crab apples…fish. I love canned fish, salmon. I have a freezer that I use as well.

T: Where do you shop for your food?

L: I usually shop for most of my food in Sidney, at Fairway or the Co-op. Some things on Galiano. Usually on my trips to town, when I have to go overnight.

T: How did obtaining food change for you when you came to Galiano?

L: Most of my life I’ve lived isolated, so I bought food when I was in town and packed it. When I was first married and we were logging out on the mainland it used to be a whole day trip to come to town and get groceries. I remember once forgetting the eggs and the crew wouldn’t be happy with no eggs, I forgot a whole twelve or fifteen dozen eggs and had to go all the way back and get some. And I still pack. I’ve got a truckload of groceries that I haven’t finished unloading yet from today’s trip!

T: What foods make you think of spring?

L: Salmonberries. I guess. The first fruit to be edible in the spring.

T: What foods make you think of summer, and why?

L: Peas on the pod straight from the garden. I know a story about some boys, not from my family, but when I was little, this is a very cute story. They were out stealing peas from the garden and their mom asked them to quit pickin’ the peas out in the garden, so you know what they did? They were still in the garden, maybe they were supposed to be weeding,and they would reach up, split the pod open, and strip the peas out and leave the empty pods hanging .Weren’t they nasty boys?

T: What foods make you think of fall?

L: Ffish, pears, blackberries in late summer…pumpkin pie.

T: What food make you think of winter?

L: Soups and stews. I love pea soup, it’s my favourite.

Taylor had a recipe that she wanted me to give, a BREAD RECIPE.

The fruit and seed bread: I put flax, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, cracked wheat, millet, ground brown rice, cornmeal ,well, don’t put the cornmeal in, but the other I put in …cook it on the stove like a porridge for at least a half hour, and then you can let it sit for a long time, I do that in water, then I cook in soy milk, some cornmeal, that thickens it, then I add molasses,eggs, and some lemon juice, it helps the yeast work, and in a little while I put a bit of sugar, and some yeast, and let it bubble, and then I add brown flour and whip it in till it’s sticky and thick, too thick to whisk any more, and then I add unbleached white flour till it’s bread. The last time I made it, I don’t know whether it was the weather or what but it seemed to come up and then it fell down and I was lamenting it and your brother said that I shouldn’t worry because maybe the next time I made it I’ll learn to make it right again. I forgot..I also put chopped up dried apricots and craisins in.

Here’s some more about storing food: With potatoes, to keep them, we used to have a little trapdoor in the floor, and there was a hole under the house where we kept them, so they wouldn’t freeze, because it would snow all winter there. When we lived on Jedediah we had dug a big hole in the ground and we kept them down in that hole and covered it over so that they wouldn’t freeze. Even today I keep my potatoes in the coldest part of the house.

In the logging camp, when we forgot the eggs, I think we went halfway back, we could phone from there and then somebody else brought them out, because it was a long ways out, it took us two and a half hours by boat and then we had to go across Quadra and then catch the ferry on the other side to get to town….somebody rounded them up on Quadra for us and then brought them out most of the way. For a logging crew, they want their eggs for breakfast. You had a big list, and you tried not to forget things.

Even when I lived in town, I always just shopped one day a week. One shopping day, go get it and be done. And if you didn’t have it, well, just make something else. Don’t drive off to the store to get it just because you wanted to make that certain thing. You can substitute…the recipe’s a guideline. That’s all. You do the rest. Sometimes you forget how and your bread falls!

2018-05-03T11:49:15-07:00June 3rd, 2010|Categories: Food Program, School Projects|0 Comments

Dora Fitzgerald’s cookbook quote, and a recipe treat for Food Forever!

“I grew up in a sterile urban environment where I thought that the whole world was paved and that kind people dug up the pavement to plant seeds and let plants grow. My only joy was what was in the window boxes, my life long desire to be in nature.”

Here is a recipe from Dora Fitzgerald.

“I liked simple foods – no scary bits or weird flavours. One of those favourites was a nice serving of rice arranged on a plate to make 5 or 6 wells – just indentations. Gently pour melted butter into the wells and sprinkle the whole plateful with sugar & cinnamon. What a treat!

2018-05-03T11:46:48-07:00June 3rd, 2010|Categories: Food Program, School Projects|0 Comments

Betty Brannan interviewed by Rowan for Food Forever

Rowan: When you were a child, how did you get your food?

Betty: Wherever we lived, my mother out a garden in right away. And we had chickens. We used to go to the butchers, and we got fresh cut meat. It was fresh, because we didn’t have refrigerators. And then where I lived, in South Vancouver, a Chinese fisherman used to come up. He had the big hat, and he had a pole over his shoulder with two baskets. The baskets had sacking on therm. And he’d lift the sacking and there were lovely fresh fish. He came to the door and all the bread companies had their bread wagons and they came to the door, whatever you ordered, bins or anything, brought to your door, fresh. And the same with the milkman, you put a note out saying you wanted a bottle of milk, a bottle of cream, or butter, and you got it fresh. Or, you could go to the store and get it, but we didn’t have refrigerators, we just had coolers, But now, if you don’t have a fridge, and you think you’ll keep something in an icebox and you buy something from a supermarket, it’ll go rotten in no time. That stuff’s not fresh, it’s old.

Of course, my mother was a wonderful cook, and the women made everything, pies and cakes. Wonderful food. My mother was Welsh, but it was sort of English cooking, meat and veg., that kind of stuff. And they made things that would take a long time to cook, like they’d take tongue and press it, and they’d make what they’d call head cheese, that was out of a pig’s head, and they made all kinds of stuff like that.

R: When you were young, how did you keep your food?

B: In the cooler. Just in the cupboard, but the stuff like milk and whatnot was in the cooler, which was simply a cupboard which had holes to the outside with screen on it, so that animals couldn’t get in.

R: How many days would milk last then just in that cooler?

B: Not too long, I can’t remember exactly except that the stuff was fresh, the stuff was fresh and they didn’t use sprays and all that.

R: How was getting stuff different when you were a kid?

B: I told you that already, a lot of it was delivered. Once a week my mother would go downtown to Woodwards. Woodwards was the big store that is now gone. It was famous for its food department, you went downstairs, they used to say foods from all over the world, and it was. Just once a week she’d go down in the streetcar, which took a long time, cause we lived way out on forty-ninth, and pick up like tinned stuff. We didn’t use a lot of canned stuff. I don’t know, maybe tea, coffee, I don’t remember. And then there were no bags. The girls at the counter had these great big sheets of brown paper, and they were absolutely amazing. They would pile this stuff up in a great big pile, and then wrap it in brown paper, and then they had really strong string…their poor hands! They tied it in a big knot, and then they cut it like that. And it was heavy, and it was big. And then we’d trail all the way home in the streetcar and all the mothers would be carrying this great big thing from Woodwards, as well as shopping bags. My little brother and I, we didn’t want to shop, so my little brother and I would sit on the steps, and of course it was wonderful, because we saw all these people coming into Woodwards, we just sat and watched the people, it was quite famous for its food department. The Woodwards family had a big ranch at the time, so they probably grew a lot of that meat. And then one of the other stores, Spencers, the big department store downtown, had an English couple, and soon in their food department they made crumpets! That’s all they did, this English couple with funny accents you know? They’d put the little metal frame down, and pour batter…they just made crumpets. And they were hot, oh! They were fresh, and so good!

R: What was your favourite local food?

B: Everything! My mom was a good cook.

R: What was your favourite food that your mom would make?

B: Oooooh! She’d say, what do you want on your birthday? And I’d say, roast pork with crackling, with mashed potato, mashed turnips, and gravy…..

R: You would ask for mashed turnips on your birthday?

B: Yeah, but they tasted better. Now, they don’t make….they’re not very interesting. There was no margarine then, and there’s no margarine allowed in this house. Ever! I don’t remember what I asked for for dessert. She used to make a wonderful rhubarb custard. I never tasted anything like it again. It even tasted good cold afterwards.

R: And you never got the recipe and made it yourself?

B: No. I don’t make pies. I can’t make pastry. I don’t like things sticking to my fingers.

R: Tell me about a food memory you have from childhood.

B: Well, my mother was Welsh, and so was my Dad. I’m Welsh. And And she’d just make them on the top of the stove.

R: What seasonal foods do you eat?we had a big wood and coal stove, black, and she’d make what they call Welsh cakes, make them right on the stove, they’re just like a soft round cookie and they’ve got currants in them Like a scone, a little round flat scone only they had currants in it.

B: Now? I like everything except okra. I hate okra. Slimy! Sometimes I find some of the kale and chard kind of strong.

R: How do you overwinter your food?

B: My old stables where I kept the horses is wonderful. There’s an old cupboard in one of the seed rooms, that one of my partners built for me, and I store apples in there, and pears, and I don’t store anything else, because I really don’t grow it. I could store squash, but I don’t have to because I can get it from Daystar.

R: But I know, for example, that you grow peaches, and make jam.

B: I grow peaches, pears and apples. Oh, and I freeze them, I slice the peaches and I just boil them a little bit, and I put them in containers so I basically have fruit year over for dessert. And my freezer is full of frozen peaches. And when my pears ripen I’ll have frozen pears to eat all winter. I make peach jam, gooseberry jam and pear ginger jam.

R: Yeah! Do you ever pick the blackberries?

B: I used to. I used to put a lot of berries in, but I have an itchy skin and I discovered it’s berries that cause it.

R: Oh man!

B: This is sad. So for the last few months I haven’t had raspberries, strawberries or blackberries. But normally I would, I had a lot in my front field and I’ve gotten other people to come and take them.

R: How and where do you shop for your food?

B: Daystar. On Friday. A little bit at the store for the stuff Daystar doesn’t have. Like Scotch. That’s its own food group.

R: How did obtaining food change for you when you moved to Galiano?

B:Well, I freeze a lot more. I think I probably eat more fruit and vegetables. I think Daystar’s a lovely store when it comes in on Fridays. It just looks like a painting in there. If Sandy goes to town I go with her, and then we go to the Red Barn. They sell some meat that’s non-medicated and they buy as much as they can from Vancouver Island. But I don’t like large portions of meat and I don’t eat meat every night.

R: What food makes you think of spring? Why?

B: Well, I guess lettuce and tomatoes and fruit. Those tomatoes you can buy, they look gorgeous and they have no taste at all. I’m growing my own now. I have three pots of tomatoes and a great big thing of green beans. I used to have a great big vegetable garden until…I guess when I went back to work, after my husband died, I stopped because I had so much to do. I was working and I had two horses and cats and dogs and all these things to look after…..but I love gardening.

R: What food makes you think of summer?

B: All the lovely fruits. Fresh vegetables. Corn on the cob!

R:What food makes you think of fall?

B: I guess the squashes, they’re so beautiful, all the different kinds, that’s a fall thing.

R: What foods make you think of winter?

B: Brussels sprouts. Cabbage. Because they grown in the winter!

R: Thank you.

B: You’re welcome. That wasn’t too bad!

2018-05-03T11:44:00-07:00June 3rd, 2010|Categories: Food Program, School Projects|0 Comments