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10 • Jan. 4, 2012 • Issue 15 • Volume 145

Food with love

A garden gives back

Hilary Paige Smith News Editor

Haley Ryan Arts Reporter Underneath a frozen lawn, the bricks, steel and glass remnants of a building aren’t exactly welcoming for roots of plants searching for a home. In this unlikely plot of land on the North side of Fredericton, the Marysville Community Garden will come to life. Shaun Bartone is a professor of sociology at UNB and has been involved, along with other volunteers, in mobilizing labour for the garden and laying down soil in the half acre lot behind Marysville Place. The former cotton mill now hosts employees of the provincial government, who offered to share their backyard with the Fredericton Food Bank and NB Community Harvest Gardens in a community effort to grow local produce. Bartone said although government involvement means the other groups don’t have as much control over the project, the province has been very helpful in terms of funding and design: $10,000 has already been donated, an architecture student from Dalhousie was brought in to design a gazebo, and a rain catchment system is in the works. “They also trucked in really fabulous soil,” Barone said, “about 50 loads of it.” In December, volunteers gathered to lay cardboard over the ground before spreading a thick layer of soil on top to allow plenty of room for future veggies and fruit, without running into the old building beneath the grass. Another aspect Bartone approves of is the fact the entire garden will

Marysville is now home to a community garden on land donated by the government behind Marysville place. Plan for Opportunity / Flickr CC be accessible to those with limited mobility. “You can sit and garden if that’s what you want to do, so anyone can participate,” Bartone said. “It should become a national model.” Of the 200 plots that will be available in the garden, some fall under the care of the government employees and some are delegated specifically for the Fredericton Food Bank. Now that they have moved locations to the North side and taken over two large greenhouses, they will be able to grow their own food during the winter and can offer starter plants for those who want to transport them to the nearby community garden. “It’s not just more cast-off food,” Bartone said about adding produce to the Food Bank’s sources. “To me this is revolutionary, and I hope that

Fredericton becomes a leading city in urban agriculture.” When Spring comes and the soil is loose enough to work with, one more layer will be laid down before plots become available to purchase. “I’m looking forward to growing potatoes and beans,” Bartone said. “The space is huge, so there’s room to grow pretty much anything.” Just down the road from the community garden itself, public classes will be offered at the Marysville Heritage Center on how to wash, prepare and cook raw vegetables you’ve grown yourself. Right now, the same groups are looking into the perfect spot for a community garden on the South side of the city, so we might see trucks of soil rolling through town before next year.

I am in love with a man. Actually, I am in love with a guy. Guy Fieri to be precise. It might be his yellow hair or the sunglasses slung across his neck. Actually, I’m pretty sure it’s “the hunch” – the special way he leans over to eat a particularly messy dish. Fieri is known for his enthusiastic and exciting approach to food – and for attracting more male viewers than any other shows on the Food Network. His show, “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives,” is just one of many shows I love on the Food Network. I love nothing more than sitting on the couch and watching people make and eat food. The food isn’t always accessible, certainly not on a student budget, but there is something about the Food Network that soothes me. Maybe because cooking is soothing. For as long as I can remember, I’ve been a stress baker. My more recent forays into preparing exotic dinner dishes have also made me a bit of a stress chef. Before the holiday break, staring down my graduate school applications and dog-eared copy of The Canterbury Tales, I cracked. I walked into the kitchen and made enough butter chicken curry to feed a family of ten. I wasn’t even hungry. It eventually got eaten, but it’s real purpose wasn’t to quell any hunger. It actually calmed me down. There is something wonderful about putting a bunch of small things together and watching them change into something delicious. When you cook, you’re creating something. It’s the perfect fusion of science and love. Follow a formula and you can create

something to enjoy and share. Cooking and baking, though they are largely scientific, are about love. People might roll their eyes when I go on a tangent about the latest recipe I’m trying or the latest episode of Fresh with Anna Olson (my favourite Food Network program). But, I firmly believe in foodie love. There is nothing better than sitting around a table, or puttering around the kitchen, with people who matter. My mother and grandmother both have these tiny leather-bound books. The pages are yellowed, not necessarily with age. They’ve had just about every ingredient spilled on them. The once blank pages are dark with recipes, scrawled or taped in. All of these recipes have either been passed down, traded at social events or carefully cut from ancient lifestyle magazines. Someday, I’ll have one of these books. I believe in the power of food. It’s not just about sustaining life. It’s about sustaining family, culture and community. If you’re not a foodie, watching someone like Guy Fieri sneak a spoonful of fresh marinara or Anna Olson, whip cream into elegant peaks, might bore you. It’s okay. Not everyone has to love the Food Network. But, I think everyone should love what good cooks have done for the world. Everyone knows someone who can cook. It’s someone who is always offering to open their home for dinner. It’s someone who always brings a snack to parties, even if the invitation doesn’t ask for one. Chances are, that someone loves bringing people together. They like seeing people satisfied. So, cook. Cook and share. And, do it with love.

Mushroom risotto The Garlic Press with Alex Kress

This is my go-to recipe for dinner parties and for when I need a proper dose of warm, savoury comfort food. It’s also a prime egobooster – everyone raves about it and always goes back for seconds! I’m not a big fan of Canadian winters, so when I have some time and ingredients, cooking is a great coping mechanism. This is a dish that needs a lot of love, but it’s so worth the time and effort. The reason it’s so much work is that it requires almost constant stirring. But since I’m usually cooking risotto for a group, I don’t notice the time passing because I’m happily chatting in the kitchen. I made it for a pre-Christmas dinner party over the holidays and added some chilli flakes I found in the host’s cupboard, which gave it an unexpected extra little kick. If you choose to add chilli flakes, make sure you don’t overdo it; the whole point of slow-cooked risotto is the richness of flavours from the wine, parmesan cheese, garlic and vegetable broth.

Ingredients: 2 cups Arborio rice (no other rice will suffice!) 8 cups water 3/4 cup white wine 2 1/2 cups vegetable broth 1 package fresh pre-sliced mushrooms, broken up into smaller pieces (Sobeys has large rectangular packages) 3/4 of a Spanish onion, chopped 1 package Kraft pre-shredded parmesan cheese 2 tablespoons freshly cracked black pepper 2 tablespoons freshly cracked sea salt 3 cloves of garlic, minced Optional: 1 tablespoon chilli flakes (add to taste)

JamesGallagher (ciotog) / Flickr CC

The Recipe: Bring water and rice to a boil and cook until rice is soft and water is gone. Begin to slowly add vegetable broth over the course of about 30 minutes, stirring often to help the rice absorb the flavour of the liquid. Add mushroom, onions and garlic so they can also slowly soak up the flavours. Slowly add the wine and cheese over the 30 minutes, stirring. Add the salt, pepper and chilli flakes slowly as well and taste the risotto mixture as it cooks until it has that full, savoury taste. Enjoy!

Issue 15, Vol 145, The Brunswickan  

Canada's oldest official student publication

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