North of King Edward Avenue in Vancouver’s tony neighbourhood of Shaughnessy, Marguerite Street bends gently until it meets, then becomes, Matthews Avenue. There, behind the Scottish wrought-iron fence, hunches the historic Glen Brae mansion. Built in 1910 for lumber baron William Lamont Tait, it was meant to conjure up the Scottish castles of his homeland, complete with stained-glass windows and a third-floor ballroom. Since then, it has been home to the Ku Klux Klan, a kindergarten and a private hospital.
Today, Glen Brae operates as one of two children’s hospices for Canuck Place. The ballroom has given way to top-floor…
This story has everything and nothing to do with chocolate.
This was supposed to be a story about chocolate — specifically, an unlikely chocolate shop in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. It was supposed to be about where chocolate comes from (it grows on trees), how it is made from cacao beans (through many complex steps requiring chemistry, physics, and a bit of alchemy), and how it becomes confections and truffles.
I soon learned that this story has everything and nothing to do with chocolate.
Five minutes ago, I showed my sous chef how to hold a stalk of asparagus and flex it gently to find the spot where woody end becomes tender spear. Now she’s clutching one between two fists, breaking it right in the middle. Snap, as it breaks in half, thwack, as the top spear hits the sheet pan, thud, as the bottom spear lands in a metal bowl. It sounds like a vegetable beatbox.
And then there are the cherry tomatoes, a last-minute addition to the menu. It should be so easy: slice in half, toss in oil, add salt and…
My mom’s cookies broke all the rules, but to me, they were perfect.
Here’s how most chocolate-chip cookie recipes go: in a mixing bowl, cream sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Dribble in eggs and vanilla. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, then sprinkle in chocolate chips and stir just to combine. Drop identical dollops of cookie dough onto a baking sheet, leaving gaps between neighbours. Bake into perfectly golden-brown cookies, evenly studded with chocolate chips.
Here’s how my mom made cookies: in a saucepan…