Tag Archives: Carrie Schmidt

Christmas in February!

8 Feb

By Carrie Schmidt

There is something so sad about an abandoned blog. I check the ol’ Digestive Librarians’ Digest blog every once in a while, to see what other food lovin’ librarians are writing about…… and nothing. Over two months and no new blog posts: I don’t want this blog to die!

As a winner of a box full of goodness, I should have plenty of material to write about, right? And it’s coming… slowly… but here is the truth: blogging is hard. I’ve had a personal blog for almost five years now, and I don’t get very much traffic at all. Small audience, very little feedback; it feels like I’m rambling/screaming into the void.

It takes time to write, and even more time to write well, and then with the uploading and adjusting of photographs… I’d rather be cooking, or eating, or, after a day of librarianing, I’d much rather just watch TV and not have to use my brain for a while.

But I like the idea of blogs, I like the idea of this blog in particular, and I will not let the sucker die.

Behold, more than a month after the fact – an obligatory Christmas meal post!

My spouse person and I have been very lucky for quite a few years: we have been too poor and too far away to go to either set of parents for Christmas. Mine live in Edmonton, Alberta; his live on Salt Spring Island, B.C. We lived in Montreal for a good five years, and that was five years of developing new traditions – or piggybacking onto friends’ traditions. We became obligatory family friends at Christmas dinners, which has it’s own set of challenges. If I had my druthers, I would be very quiet on Christmas Day, spending it in the company of chocolate, inebriants, and a pile of DVDs, speaking to no one, and pretending that no one else existed.

But I don’t have my druthers, I have family members who think tradition is really important, and it’s just a day, right? Christmas = Compromise.

Here is how I spent my Christmas 2010.

It started with a ferry ride; the people pictured here are family members and I believe the expressions captured here say everything there is to say about obligatory family traditions:

ferry ride

Of course, all this Christmas fuss started because of that guy, so sure, let’s give him thanks:

"thank you jesus" mug

For breakfast there was bubble bread and grapefruit and other things:

bubble bread

I did not participate in any of the food making. But my mother-in-law and two of my sisters-in-law did – maybe my father-in-law, too? But definitely the ladies. Talented ladies. Susan made this deliciously tart and tangy cold cranberry soup that started off the Weston Christmas Dinner 2010 Extravaganza:

cold cranberry soup

And of course there were vegetables:

vegetables

More cranberry goodness:

cranberries

Somehow, everything mashed together on a plate doesn’t look as appealing as when each dish is separated – but it was still delicious:

A massive turkey:

turkey

And two desserts. A trifle – which was 100% totally delicious:

trifle

I didn’t have any of this flaming Christmas pudding.

flamin' pudding

This particular pudding was mildly controversial. You see, there was a newly pregnant lady in the midst of all this Christmas hoopla (not me), and there was massive discussion surrounding the brandy that goes into the pudding. I was very grateful that I was at work and not helping with food prep for Christmas, because apparently there was quite the emotional dither-dather over the amount of brandy in the pudding. (The pregnant lady was also not around when the pudding was being made.)

I think it would have been a much less pleasant Christmas had I been there for the food prep because

  1. A tablespoon or two of brandy in a Christmas pudding is NOT going to cause the child to suffer from Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. And I would have made a big stink about being overly cautious. My eye rolls would have ruined Christmas!
  2. I knew the pregnant lady wouldn’t be having any of the Christmas pudding anyway … she doesn’t even like it.

In fact, there are quite a few traditional dishes that various family members don’t actually like, but there seems to be a lack of communication amongst the family members regarding said dishes. Lots of “if I say I don’t like this, feelings will be hurt” which is maddening, but oh-so-true.

Next year, it’s my mom’s turn to stress out about making a bunch of dishes that are only made once a year; the plan is to head to Edmonton. I don’t think that preparing Christmas dinner is worth the stress that it seems to bring to so many people – but then I’ve also heard that Christmas dinner is a really wonderful experience for so many. Of course, I also used to believe that Santa was real, so…… maybe the joyful Christmas dinner is also a myth?

Check out Carrie’s bio on the Contributors page.

Winners and sur-Prizes!

22 Nov

Here’s how we got our win on here at diglibdig:

1) Posted with a call for a tenth contributor and an announcement that one of our first nine contributors would also win a prize.

2) Checked our email account obsessively regularly, hoping for a post from said tenth contributor.

3) Jumped with glee when Carrie Schmidt heeded the call with a post about food priorities while moving. Our first prize pack would travel all the way across the country to Vancouver, BC!

4) Drew names from an oven mitt to determine which of our first nine contributors would win the other prize pack. ‘Cause we librarians are all about rigour. No chef’s hat was to be found in Laura’s kitchen, so we made do with what we had.

Names for draw (and Laura's Price-is-Right hands)

Oven mitt with Price-is-Right hands

Jennifer's name drawn from the oven mitt

5) Thought it was fitting that Jennifer O’Donnell, who posted about the joy of soup when the cold weather first made its appearance, should be our second winner as winter closed in. Her prize pack would take a much shorter journey to Kingston, ON.

6) Assembled Montreal/Quebec goodies:

Carrie's prize pack

Carrie's prize pack

Jennifer's prize pack

Jennifer's prize pack

Maple Pepper
Olive oil chocolates
Sucre a la creme
Ginger Lime preserves / Red Pepper preserves
Maple syrup candy
Fleur de sel spoon (probably not from Quebec but so cute Lora couldn’t resist)
Salmon jerky from the salmon store on St. Laurent
Powdered poutine sauce from St. Hubert
Maple potato donuts / Chai tea

(yes, of course we bought extras and ate them)

6) Bundled up the prizes and shipped them off to our winners.

Prize parcels

7) Wished we could see the reactions of our winners upon receipt.

Priorities

15 Nov

By Carrie Schmidt

It has been said that moving is one of those things that causes major stress. Divorce, the death of a loved one, moving – oh yes, and unemployment. THE major stressors, according to people who make lists and conduct studies and like to categorize something as nebulous as stress.

Boxes stuffed and stacked

I’ve moved house a few times: Edmonton to Banff, Banff to Vancouver, Vancouver to Edmonton, Edmonton to Calgary and back again, a few different locations in Edmonton, then off to Montreal (two different places in Montreal), Montreal to Vancouver…. I like to think I know a thing or two about packing prized objects and breakable things, and I’ve developed some very handy time management and negotiating skills along the way.

But planning ahead around moving time with regards to meals has been a black hole. My most recent move was within Vancouver, at the end of July, and we used a local moving company, as my fella and I have reached a stage in our lives where rounding up our friends and promising beer and pizza in exchange for heavy lifting is no longer an option. Hiring professionals is well worth the cash when it comes to certain things, and moving is one of those things.

Experts say to do the kitchen packing last, and for good reason – if your pots and pans and dishes and utensils are in boxes, how do you eat? And, if it’s a relatively short move, you also need to pack up whatever is left in your fridge, but you don’t really want to have a full fridge, so….. meal planning gets a little dicey around moving time. Not to mention coordinating with a cleaning schedule: I don’t want to clean the stove and the fridge and then have to deal with cleaning them again due to some sort of foolhardy food mishap.

I decided to treat the fridge like an art object – complete with curatorial photographs. A few days before moving, I removed all things moldy and rotting, and set aside a box where perishables could be transported to their new home.

Before cleaning:

Before fridge

After cleaning:

After fridge

The pristine condition of our now organized and somewhat attractive refrigerator proved to be intimidating; we didn’t really eat too much out of it before moving. We became reliant on fast food, sadly. If I had done a better job at not letting all that moving “stress” get to me, perhaps we would have been eating things more like this:

Delicious salad

instead of what we ended up eating (and regretting), due to not being 100% sure of where the grocery store is, but all-too-aware of those damn golden arches.

Disgusting burger

And in case you’re wondering about our nutritional priorities, this was the very first object that was unpacked – not just the first kitchen thing, but THE FIRST THING:

Coffee

Check out Carrie’s bio on the Contributors page.