Introducing: Fast food five

Thinking of food as a connector is not an original idea, but nonetheless, it is something I spend a lot of time thinking about. I grew up in a household where food was core to how we celebrated. Sometimes it was mundane (salmon with hoison sauce was the Thursday special for most of my teenage years), and sometimes it was spectacular. In both situations, it was always delicious, high-quality and never processed. More importantly, it was a vehicle to bring our family and loved ones together.

To explore this idea of food as a vehicle and to selfishly improve my own hosting/cooking game, I’ve decided to ask some of my favourite people who I love sharing meals with about their relationship to food in a new series, Fast Food Five.

Who better to kick off our new series than a woman who throws the best dinner parties I’ve ever been to – my mom.

Laura, retired teacher, dinner-party aficionado, blogger’s mom

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Me, my mom and my dad on my birthday this year. My mom didn’t make that cake, but she did make her famous potato salad for my birthday (per my request).

On a scale of 1 to 5, how good are you in the kitchen? Tell me more.

5. I enjoy cooking. People enjoy eating the food I cook. I do not find cooking a chore. I like eating real food and using seasonal ingredients. I enjoy being in my kitchen, listening to the radio and preparing food.

Baking, cooking, or neither. 

Tell me why. Cooking more than baking. Baking is so exact and success depends on so so many variables. Ingredients, measurements, and oven temperature. I’m eating less sugar so baking is totally out of the picture lately as I do not like using sweetener.

What’s your go-to dish to impress others? 

Any type of pasta. People are impressed with gnocchi or risotto. A good pork roast is always impressive, along with slow baked salmon.

The last meal my mom made me. Beautiful flank steak with a mango salsa, Ontario asparagus and a healthy side of pasta with sage butter.

What are your top strategies for pulling off a dinner party?

Come up with menu early, list the ingredients for each dish, make shopping list, set up a timeline for each dish i.e. what can be made ahead etc. Have all the groceries bought ahead. Don’t choose dishes that are too ambitious. Lately I have not served an appetizer but put a salad or soup on the menu as a first course.

Any tips for me as I try to improve my hosting/home cooking skills?

See # 4.

Editor’s note: My mom called me after this post to say she should have been warned this would be posted with no edits. Mom! I am a blogger with integrity! I can’t edit your words just because you responded to full questions from me with “See #4.”

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