In the summer 2018 issue of Tenant LOOP, we asked tenants to tell us about a memorable meal for a chance to win a $120 gift card for organic groceries courtesy of Mama Earth Organics. We were blown away by the incredible entries! Tenants told us amazing stories of love, loss and heartfelt memories. While we were only able to pick one winner out of over 30 submissions, some were so beautiful, we wanted to share a few of them with you.
To all the tenants who entered, thank you for sharing your stories.
Ever since I was a child, my mom would wake me up early on thanksgiving morning to help her make stuffing. As a child, it was amazing to be able to tear apart slices of bread and not get in trouble for it. Right up until Thanksgiving 2011, I was up early to help my mom with the stuffing not knowing that would be our last thanksgiving together.
My mother died July 29th, 2012 of a massive heart attack in her sleep. She was my world.
That Thanksgiving, I made my very first thanksgiving meal without her and have continued to do it every year in her honor. Waking up to make the stuffing is a silent job now, but I sit her urn on the fridge so she can oversee.
The meal that sticks out the most in my mind was the first time I had corned beef and cabbage. We were a family of 5 and money was always tight. This wonderful, foreign smelling mouth-watering aroma escaped down our hall and I was in love before I knew what it was. It bubbled and bobbed in a big pot on the stove and the anticipation was worse than the night before Christmas. I watched my mom throw in carrots and spices and every time she lifted the lid of the pot I smelt perfection. We talked about how long to cook this, what to do and not to do and what we would have with it. I thought “What! There’s more?”
In my young mind I figured unless it was a new bike, nothing could be added to this masterpiece that would improve it, I was wrong! Cabbage is a beautiful thing and when it’s soft and velvety on a plate next to tender slices of corned beef with mustard. The juices from the meat and spices and cabbage mix and mingle and turn into a place in my memory that reminds of my mother and a place in my childhood when I learned to give new things a chance.
I have always liked cooking at home. The homemade meal that is so special to me is Green stew mix with a side special Ugali. Green stew mix is a variety of green vegetables e.g. Kale, spinach, cabbage, tomato, onion, garlic, ginger etc.
Preparation is done in the kitchen after washing them cut into small pieces then put into cooking in a pot using Olive Oil .It takes about twenty minutes for it to be ready. Ugali special is prepared after boiling water in a pot then adding corn flour which is stirred continuously until it is solid and ready after fifteen minutes. Both stew and Ugali combined is a delicious meal and anyone would love to taste it.
Before my mother died she use to always make a delicious meat loaf with creamy mashed potatoes and corner. Along with that she would make a garden fresh salad. To top that off she would bake a beautiful apple pie for desert. Whenever I have meat loaf for dinner I can’t help but see my mother’s smiling face at the dinner table.
Homemade meals have always been a staple in my household. We rarely ate out. My mom made all of her dishes from scratch. The one that stuck out the most to me is her Jamaican chicken soup. Nothing like soup on a cold winter day. This was the main remedy for colds and flus. I make it all the time since her passing. My young daughter loves it. I plan to pass the recipe down to her so it will stay in the family for generations to come.
In 1956 my family was living in a small village in Northern Ireland called Green Island.
My Dad worked in Belfast and my Mom wasn't given a work permit because she was born in the South of Ireland.
So when my Dad decided to immigrate to Canada we had no money. He left us and said he would send for us. There was no welfare or food stamps and we were going hungry. My brother Michael asked his childhood friends to each bring a few potatoes out to the yard and we would cook them on a bonfire. The children agreed and we waited for ages for them to cook on the bonfire.
They were actually very good and it’s a meal we truly needed and appreciated. This actually kept us alive. We immigrated to Canada shortly after but we will never forget this meal of potatoes from a bonfire it has lasting memories of our childhood.
My favourite and very recent memory is having dinner at my sister's when she had me over for Christmas Eve Vegan dinner, of homemade guacamole, & and entrée of lentil walnut loaf with brown basmati rice, and fresh beet salad (that had come from her own garden). Because of her example, am a Vegan today, ever more conscious of what we eat affects the planet, & the vulnerable animals that share our space, as well as our own health.
I don't have a rich culinary history but one dish that I was taught from my grandfather incorporates his Goan roots. Beef rolls are a heady and rich dish of thinly sliced beef filled with carrots, cubanelle peppers, potatoes, celery, onions, and bacon. Once all those ingredients are rolled up and placed seam side down they are treated to braise in a flavourful spice spiked braising liquid that benefits from a base of rendered chorizo. I can’t help but think of my grandfather as I peel back the tin foil on a pan of these treats as they come out of a low and slow oven treatment. The steam wafting up fills a room and the sense memory takes me back to family gatherings where we all indulged and were able to reach back through the ages, one mouthful at a time, never forgetting that food is the one vehicle that ties us all together.
My mom used to prepare tabouli for lunch almost every day since we became aware of the rich nutrition of its ingredients. Tabouli is made of chopped parsley (one bunch); chopped tomatoes (3 medium-size ones); chopped green onions ( one stalk); some chopped fresh mint; presoaked cracked wheat (burghul); salt, lemon juice, and olive oil according to one's taste. To give it a tangier taste, my mom would add pomegranate molasses. YUMMY.
The meal that brings special memories to me and holds a special place in my family's heart is homemade Moroccan chicken with lemon. Very simple in preparation but so powerful in flavors.
For this special Meal, you will need a special ingredient; lemon confit. It is just lemon sliced and soaked in salt for about a week or 2. Until the lemon becomes confirm.
For this Meal, I strongly recommend the usage of chicken legs and thighs as they fit very well to this dish. Quantities are left to your personal appreciation, for me and my wife we usually cook this Meal in abundance as we never get enough out of it.
Start by cutting the fat and taking off the skin, then rinse very well before marinating the chicken in lemon and vinegar based water solution. Leave it to soak for 2 hours approximately. Slice and dice one decent size onion, and in a large pot, bring about 30ml of olive oil to about 70°c. Sauté the onions, throw in one tbsp. of cumin, another one of ginger and two garlic teeth. Add the chicken legs and thighs and 2 to 3 slices of lemon confit. Add 2 cups of water. Cover well and let it cook/boil for about 1 hour, Bringing the temperature from high to medium after 30 minutes, then to simmer after the second 30min.
Let it simmer for another 20min, add bit of water as you check from time to time if it becomes dry. Serve with bread and enjoy.
Caution: Flavours are going to immerse your home, I strongly recommend the use of the vent throughout the whole process.
Omar, 18 -- Potato and Tuna Croquettes
The potato and tuna croquette meal goes far back in my family. I am currently 18 years old and this meal originates from when I was 5 to 6 years old. My mother was financially struggling, and we did not have access to foods like meats and cheese. We couldn’t afford much and so we had a lot of tuna cans and vegetable laying around. I was a really picky eater and this meal recipe was delicious and appetizing. The first time I had this, I found it delicious and nutritious and filled us up. Later on, my mom added things beside it like green salad and dipping sauce.
It became our go to meal for a long time and it was easily made into a school lunch by simply turning it into a sandwich. As it was such a simple meal, I was able to make it myself during times where my mom was sick. This meal represents something good in our lives. To this day, I find it to be one of the most delicious meals I can cook.
Please see below my recipe. Thank you very much.
• 2 cups (500 ml) mashed potatoes
• 2 cans 170 g oil canned tuna
• 1 egg
• 3/4 cup breadcrumbs
• 2 tablespoons butter
• 1 tablespoon olive oil
1. In a bowl, combine the potatoes, tuna, egg and ¼ cup bread crumbs. Season with Salt and pepper. Reserve the remaining breadcrumbs on a plate.
2. Shape the potato mixture into eight patties of about 1/3 cup each. Squeeze them on each side in the remaining breadcrumbs.
3. In a large non-stick skillet, brown the patties in the butter and oil for about 3 minutes per side or until golden brown. Serve with a sauce and a green salad.