Page 1

Culture Home Recreation Holiday 2016 | Volume 10 | Issue 4


Inside Our 10th Holiday Edition:

Orchard Hill Farm • Naomi Pomeroy's Taste & Technique Gadgets & Gizmos at Elgin County Museum Chef Cindy Bircham: Cooking Up Diversity • Events in Elgin

Inside This Issue 3 10 Years of Relishing Elgin 8 Orchard Hill: Growing a Taste for Good Food 14 Cookbook Review: Taste & Technique with recipe for Kale with Quick-Pickled Apple, Gruyère Crisps & Creamy Dijon Vinaigrette

12 Chef Cindy Bircham: Cooking Up Diversity 20 Elgin County Museum: Gadgets & Gizmos 23 Events in Elgin OUR COVER IMAGE: This illustration is by St. Thomas artist Renné Benoit and appears in Goodbye to Griffith Street by Marilynn Reynolds, Orca Boks 2004. A Year of Borrowed Men, also illustrated by Renné and written by Michelle Barker, Pajama Press 2015 has been nominated for the 2016 TD Canadian Children’s Literature Award. The winner will be announced on November 17th.


EDITOR • Debra Bagshaw • DESIGN • Joanne Rowles • ADVERTISING INFO • TO SUBSCRIBE Send a cheque for $10 (to cover mailing) to the following address. Includes 5 issues. Relish Elgin Magazine P.O. Box 20058 St. Thomas, ON, N5P 4H4 519-633-1992

Copyright 2016, Relish Marketing & Promotions Inc. All rights reserved. Relish Elgin is published by Relish Marketing & Promotions Inc. Reproduction of any material published in Relish Elgin is strictly prohibited without the written permission of the Publisher.


From the Editor


Relishing Elgin This, our tenth holiday edition, coincides with some recent or imminent personal milestones, the fast-approaching New Year and the upcoming 150th birthday of our country, putting us in a bit of a reflective mood. “Relish Elgin” (a website which morphed into a seasonal print edition and many graphic design projects along with the website) was started as a way to share information about some of the local people, places and businesses out there to discover and enjoy—ones which were unique to Elgin County with its mix of city/town/village/rural areas, none of them far from farm fields, forests and Lake Erie shoreline. Our goal was to cover topics related to arts, music, food, entertainment, recreation, lifestyle businesses and events. Over the past decade, many people and organizations have worked to make interesting things happen under all of those categories—just a random smattering of examples:

• Many new art events and spaces have popped up across the county.

• Elgin County has developed well-travelled arts and culinary trails (which include both established and new eateries and art places).


• The St. Thomas Elgin Artists’ Guild started

in 2007 and will hold its tenth annual show in November. • Port Stanley Festival Theatre has expanded its space and success; three amateur theatre groups (West Elgin Dramatics Society, St. Thomas Elgin Theatre Guild and Aylmer Community Theatre) have continued to present local talent and a fourth, Periscope Playhouse, launched and this year found a permanent home in Port Burwell. • St. Thomas Horton Farmers’ Market customers have seen on-going revitalization. • Many eateries, including some new ones in 2016 make it a priority to use local on their menus and the number of food crafters with specialty honey, lavender, chocolates, herb blends, beers, foraged food products and more, has increased. • Cycling and walking infrastructure and opportunities have grown; an enthusiastic group of cyclists formed the Railway City Cycling Club in 2016.


From the Editor • Port Stanley continues to develop as a hot spot

for tourists and locals; it was joined as a Blue Flag Beach location in 2016 by Port Glasgow. • We got a submarine in 2012, saw it win some prestigious awards in 2013 and then submerge beneath a morass of controversy—hopefully some objective thinking will result in an assessment and plan which will turn this into a positive story rather than one of opportunity lost—not many places can say they have a submarine.

Artist Ron Milton at the Elgin County Museum


“Culture” has been a hot topic over the past decade, with various levels of government championing benefits related to the economy, community cohesion, creativity and innovation. Across the country, many have looked at ways to grow cultural activity to best advantage—here are a few ways that we think Elgin County shines.

CREATIVE BLENDS: OLD & NEW You will often find an intriguing juxtaposition of old and new as people discover ways of positioning their venture or approach against a backdrop of heritage appreciation. A piece by artist Ron Milton at the Elgin County Museum is a nice symbol of that with its old gadgets combined to create something new (see Gadgets and Gizmos on page 20). The St. Thomas Elgin Artists’ Guild Annual Show & Sale has been held every year but one of ten in the CASO Railway Station—it’s a show by artists who


From the Editor are our friends and neighbours set against the backdrop of a heritage building where the ancestors of many of our friends and neighbours once worked. For the first edition of the show, the building was beautiful but rough—it’s now just plain beautiful.

In a nod to the importance of heritage, the two thoroughly modern business women of Las Chicas del Café opened their coffee roastery there in 2015 and both provincial and federal members of parliament have set up their constituency offices at CASO.

St. Thomas Elgin Artists’ Guild Annual ShoW Marks 10th Anniversary The St. Thomas Elgin Artists’ Guild (STEAG) was founded in 2007 by a small group of people who wanted to promote the arts in their community. STEAG now has fifty members. Over the past decade they have strived to increase their own knowledge and skills, share ideas and encourage appreciation of original art within the local community. STEAG’s first art show and sale took place in November of 2007 at the CASO Station. Each year since Guild members have worked to create an interesting and varied showcase of multiple talents, artfully displayed (and just in time for holiday shopping). The end of year show has become an anticipated opportunity to see what several local artists have been working on. The opening reception on Fri Nov 11th will be a great opportunity to chat with many of them. Congratulations on this 10th anniversary! St. Thomas-Elgin Artists' Guild 10th Annual Show & Sale takes place Fri Nov 11th - Sun Nov 13th at the CASO Station (750 Talbot St, St. Thomas). STEAG meetings are held evenings, the 3rd Monday of the month from March until December. Find out more at Right, top to bottom: The 2010 Show saw the in-progress restoration of the CASO station, with unfinished moldings and wood floors; pottery by Joseph Sawicki (Kettle Creek Pottery); Indian Paintbrush by Carol McGrath



From the Editor DISHING UP DIRT Our “culture” is strongly rooted in agriculture. There has been a noticeable increase in interest over the past decade in supporting local food and farmers, and sustainable farming.

On Track's Annual Elevated Picnic allowed the public to dine atop the MCR Bridge Volunteer organization On Track is moving ahead with plans to make the historic MCR Bridge over Kettle Creek into an elevated park to open in 2017, with the possibility in the future of linking to trails reaching westward from St. Thomas. Other community places and public spaces in St. Thomas are being planned and built around railway heritage. The new STEAM innovation Centre found a home this year in a historic building, the former Wellington Street Public School. In West Lorne, the Arts & Cookery Bank opened in 2010, a hub of rural culture and food, housed in a wonderful example of the adaptive reuse of two historic buildings.

Two prestigious awards saw “crownings” of two Elgin County residents this fall. In September, Anita Rastapkevicius, representing Elgin County and competing against twenty-five other candidates was crowned the 2016 Ontario Queen of the Furrow—the last representative from Elgin County was in 1960. Also in September Quai du Vin’s Jamie Quai was named the 2016 Grape King by Farm Credit Canada, the Grape Growers of Ontario and the Niagara Grape and Wine Festival, an award based on expertise of vineyard management and quality. It was only the second time in the award’s sixty-one year history that the honouree has come from outside the Niagara region. Jamie will act as Ontario’s grape and wine industry ambassador at events across the country in 2016/17. During the local installation ceremony at Quai du Vin Estate Winery, Jamie noted that his grandparents had waited two years for a property to become available on Fruit Ridge Line, “This was always the goal, for his grapes, and he was patient. And one of the things I am learning about this industry as I go on is that you have to be patient. It’s taken forty-two years of growing grapes and twenty-six years of making wine to get to the point where all of you wonderful folks could be here on a rainy Friday afternoon celebrating this award day.”

TASTE Josh Gorman, students Josh Taylor & Eiffie Cahill, Fred Cahill and STEAM Centre Executive Director Jessica Moyes in front of the STEAM Centre at the historic Wellington Street Public School building (photo by Mark Girdauskas, Spitzky Media)


At the heart of the interest in local food is an appreciation of good taste. As Ellen Laing notes, “Once you really get a taste of good food—I just mean things that are fresh, that are simple but well prepared—it’s hard to go back.” (See our article about Orchard Hill and Ellen on page 8.)


From the Editor Value is increasingly seen in food prepared, not in the fastest way, but in a manner that leads to more appealing flavours, textures and tastes. Two local bread-makers have found loyal followers for their fire-baked sourdough made with locally milled flour, along with other producers and chefs who take the time to craft highly flavourful products with an eye to artisanal methods. The recipe for interesting ventures, it seems, is simple—start with a passion and a deep knowledge, appreciate the past, look to the future—and be prepared to be patient. Simple, yes … easy, no. Left: Jamie Quai, 2016 Grape King

St.Thomas-Elgin Artists’ Guild

Aylmer Community Theatre


On a

Show & Sale

First Name

Basis By Norm Foster

Directed by Barbara Warnock

November 11th-13th, 2016

February 2-11, 2017

CASO Station | Canada Southern Railway Station 750 Talbot St, St. Thomas

or email

Fri 6-9pm, Sat 10am-6pm & Sun 11am-5pm

Behind Giant Tiger | Free Admission & Tea Room



Adults $18 | Students $10 | 1st Thurs Preview $10 Available at Campbell’s II & Prime Ingredient

Aylmer Old Town Hall Theatre, 38 John St S, Aylmer


Food & Drink

Growing A Taste For Good Food

This fall, families and individuals will trek to Orchard Hill Farm located on Fruit Ridge Line in Central Elgin to collect their vegetable share, chat with the grower and enjoy the view over the ridge. It will mark the beginning of the farm’s seventh generation as Ellen Laing and her husband take on management of the Fall Garden. Ellen chatted recently about her parents' farm and her return to Elgin County. Back in 1979, Ken and Martha Laing came to operate Martha’s family farm of six generations following their marriage and completion of university degrees at the University of Guelph (Ken in Horticulture, Martha in Fine Arts). They ran a pick-your-own fruit operation for seventeen years, plus organic field crops and Christmas trees along the way, and for the past nineteen years a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture). Much of the farm work has been done with Suffolk Punch draft horses.


Martha and her daughter Ellen started the CSA In 1997, the summer after Ellen finished high school. They continued to run it together for the next couple of years and, after Ellen left home, Martha carried it on.

Ellen says, “It started getting bigger and making more money, and then my dad got on board. When he got involved there were a lot more horse implements utilized. He built the root lifter for digging the root vegetables, the root washer for washing them, and the transplanter because he got tired of transplanting on his knees.” Many interns have also assisted with the farm work, learning about organic farming and working with the draft horses. With extensive experience understanding and working with soils, Ken is a widely respected soil “guru”. The CSA has grown over nineteen seasons from fifteen to 260 shares in 2016 and Martha has continued to work growing and championing good food.


Food & Drink Ellen returned to Elgin County last year, after having been away for seventeen years. She now has two young children of her own and will manage the 2016 fall Orchard Hill CSA with her husband, Aaron Berg. Although she was away from farming for several years, she continued to grow her culinary knowledge and skills. While completing a degree in English and History at Trent University, Ellen worked summers cooking and baking at a lodge in Homer, Alaska. There, she also met her now husband “Bergie” who had a job as an accountant in the off-season in Portland Oregon. Eventually she moved to Portland with him and ended up staying for twelve years. In Portland, Ellen worked for a coffee roasting company for seven years training people how to make coffee and about where coffee grows. Then she went to a small cooking school called Robert Reyn-

old’s Chef Studio. She says, “Robert was this 70-year old Francophile, who just loved France. Every day we would cook from a different region in France or Italy and make a meal and drink wine from that region. From nine to five, Monday to Friday, that’s what I did. It wasn’t chef school but he took it very seriously. We studied the geography and history of the region to inform where the cuisine of the area came from.” “Robert Reynolds was a very interesting man and he knew many people in the food industry in Portland. Through that, I made some connections and then got some restaurant jobs there. One of them was with Naomi Pomeroy at Beast [Restaurant].” Ellen helped out at Beast wherever she was needed, but when she returned from taking time off with the birth of her first child, Della, the pastry chef had just left and she stepped into that role. In the “Des-

Opposite page (left to right): Ken Laing, Aaron Berg with Frannie, Martha Laing, Della, Ellen Laing (photo by Red Rubber Studio); Above: the Orchard Hill homestead



Food & Drink

Left: Intern Bryan plowing with draft horses (courtesy of Orchard Hill); Right: some of the CSA's bounty serts & Pastry” section of Naomi’s recently released cookbook, Taste & Technique, Naomi gives nod to “my incredible pastry chef, Ellen Laing. Ellen has an unbelievable work ethic and palate, is detailoriented, and her vision matches mine. She’s one of my favorite people among all those with whom I’ve worked, and she has taught me a great deal over the years—in fact, Ellen and I worked side by side on all of the recipes in this chapter.” Eventually, the often discussed idea of moving back to Ontario, nearer Ellen’s family, became reality, prompted partly by her pregnancy with her second child. The fact that Ken and Martha also wanted to shift into a somewhat less hectic pace opened up the possibility of Ellen and Aaron taking on some sort of role on the farm. The move to Ontario last year happened as Naomi was nearing completion of her cookbook. Ellen says, “We wanted things to be as beautiful and fresh as they could be for the photos so we scheduled the shoots with the photographer for one week in June and one in August.” Ellen had prepared every recipe for the first shoot and was excited to be part of the second. So, seven months


pregnant, she returned to Portland and stood through sixteen hour days to style and direct each photo alongside Naomi. They are striking and a significant part of the book’s appeal. Just as Ken and Martha’s farm has evolved over the years, Ellen and Bergie’s place there is a work in progress. When they moved back from Portland, Ellen notes, “We didn’t have firm plans. Farming is hard work but it’s also sort of soul-satisfying and it’s not in some ways as gruelling as a restaurant schedule with small children because you are really more in control of the pace of things. The infrastructure is all here and I have my parents as ‘oracles’ and teamsters.” There have been surprises. “Bergie was doing financial consulting in clean energy—now he’s going to drive a four-horse hitch—which is sort of funny,” Ellen smiles. They had planned to find a place to live near St. Thomas or possibly London, but in the interim moved into Ken and Martha’s house on the farm. Since, the possibility has arisen that they will continue living there—the two generations have figured out a way to create a living arrangement which will provide both with the desired degree of


Food & Drink freedom and separation within the property. Ellen laughs, “I really didn’t think I was going to live in my parents’ house.” Over the past year, Ellen has contemplated ways that she can satisfy her culinary creativity. She says “I love feasts and celebrations and people coming together and celebrating by eating really good food. I love the idea of doing farm dinners. I am hoping that can happen next summer … a couple of special events with 25 to 50 people and featuring food from the farm. It’s like the ultimate inspiration as a chef—the seasonal bounty, when you have so much of something that you are wondering, ‘What am I going to do with this fifty pounds of peppers?’” Having spent so many years in a foodie hotspot like Portland, what does she think about the future of food in Elgin County? She says, “I think the future is looking bright. I think things are growing and it’s

becoming more exciting than when I was growing up, that’s for sure. I think there is a lot more interest in good food. There are a lot more young people interested in paying money for and supporting good food in the place that they live and I think that’s the jumping off place—that’s where it all starts. Once you really get a taste of good food—I just mean things that are fresh, that are simple but well prepared—it’s hard to go back.” “Mostly I want to make a living and be a part of a community that’s excited about the same things that I am … and I am excited about really good food and sort of putting yourself into something whether that’s making a vase or making a loaf of bread or a pot of soup. I like things that feel like they have a little bit of soul to them.” Ken and Martha’s Orchard Hill has helped to nurture a community that’s excited about good food—we






519-633-9691 .

1030 Talbot St St. Thomas


Mon-Fri: 8am-8pm • Sat & Sun: 8am-6pm We proudly support local farmers.



Food & Drink

This Holiday Season


growers & creators of fine lavender products

DISCOVER • INDULGE • ESCAPE 519-494-5525 • 47589 SPARTA LN, SPARTA Open Wednesday-Saturday 10-5 & Sunday 12-4 Mother’s Day until Christmas




Food & Drink look forward to seeing what grows in that fertile ground with the addition of Ellen’s energy, culinary passion and knowledge. In a CSA, farmers grow food for a group of consumers who pay an annual fee to purchase their share of the harvest. Orchard Hill Farm is located at 45415 Fruit Ridge Line, Central Elgin. Find out more at You will also find links there to videos produced by Ken and Martha’s son Grayden, a St. Thomas based artist and cinematographer, showing some of Ken’s customized farm machinery. Opposite page: scenes from around Orchard Hill Farm (top left courtesy of Orchard Hill) Read about Naomi Pomeroy’s Taste & Technique—Recipes to Elevate Your Home Cooking on page 14.

Ellen on Naomi Pomeroy

Naomi is a very confident person—she’s a big personality and to see her break things down so specifically and really think about somebody who doesn’t know anything at all was a little bit surprising. And the amount of care she put into it—she really wants people to be able to get it right. A lot of chefs don’t care if you can do it right because they can do it right. I think a lot of it comes from just her years of cooking from books for a catering business. She didn’t know how to make a lot of these things before she went to make them for the public.

Naomi Pomeroy on Ellen

From the Acknowledgements in Taste & Technique “Some of the hardest working days and most fun I have ever had were with you. You are this book and this book is you.”


Have a Merry Christmas & Happy New Year

Celebrate the Season!


Saturdays & Sundays throughout November

• Amazing Sales • Live Reindeer • Free Kids’ Crafts • Free Live Entertainment • Lunch with Santa • Free Photos with Santa & Mrs. Claus (BYO camera) • Free Seasonal Decorating Demos • STEGH Auxiliary Lunch & Raffle • Workshops: Birch Reindeer, Designer Urn Arrangements, Fairy Garden, Grinch Tree, Wreath Decorating, Centrepieces and Much More!

Workshops & Demo


269 Sunset Dr, St. Thomas • 519-631-7264 Open 7 days a week •

Find us on Facebook



Ontario Disability Support Program, OHIP Cards, Driver’s Licences, Ontario Works, Birth Certificates

750 Talbot Street, Suite 201, St. Thomas, ON, N5P 1E2 P: 519-631-0666 | T: 1-800-265-7638 E:


Food & Drink

Taste & Technique

Recipes to Elevate Your Home Cooking and enthusiastic guide for the journey. If you have thought about adding some new layers of knowledge and taste to your cooking in the coming year, this would be an inspiring place to start. Naomi fell in love with cooking during college when she worked at a catering company. When she started her own catering business, she learned to cook by reading and cooking and went on to learn more through owning several restaurants and working with many talented chefs.

Naomi Pomeroy is a twenty-year veteran chef, owner of acclaimed restaurant Beast in Portland Oregon, and 2014 winner of a prestigious James Beard Foundation Award. Her debut cookbook, Taste & Technique—Recipes to Elevate Your Home Cooking, was released in September 2016. I was intrigued to check it out, having heard that Ellen Laing, daughter of local Orchard Hill Farm owners Ken and Martha Laing, had worked along-side Naomi in preparing dishes for all of the photographs in the book. Taste & Technique has large, earthy, beautiful photos for each delicious-sounding dish, a classical layout of contents from sauces to desserts and pastry, and a seasonal sensibility. Although other cookbooks may boast some of these same merits, the instructional narrative woven into each recipe is unique. Naomi has created an enticing roadmap for going beyond the basics and is an encouraging


Naomi notes that early on, “The more I cooked, the more I realized that great food starts with a handful of great building blocks.” Each of the main recipes focuses on learning a specific cooking method. All provide plenty of guidance for a less experienced home cook along with variations and inspirations to explore as confidence builds. Throughout the book, Naomi returns to the importance of thinking seasonally, creating balance within a dish and within a meal, enjoying the process, cooking with attention and not worrying about perfection. With her descriptions of recipe origins, fine-tuning, inspirations, influences, and shortcuts to avoid, it seems like she is an ever close-at-hand mentor and cheerleader for your success (and happiness) in the kitchen. Naomi’s descriptions of how to do things are vivid, visual, detailed—they are intended to get you thinking and moving like a professional chef. For example, on making aioli she suggests: "Work on a low surface (think kitchen table instead of the countertop—your arm will thank you later) and ready your mise en place before you start whisking. A stiff whisk will slow you down, while a


Food & Drink flexible balloon whisk will get the job done in a few minutes. A squeeze bottle is ideal for adding the oil to the yolk slowly and carefully. If you don’t have one, put the oil into a flexible plastic container—a takeout container or a leftover yogurt tub will do— so you can easily bend it into a little spout that will allow you to control the flow of the oil as you whisk.” She speaks of one early influence, Morgan Brownlow, who “taught me the importance of seasonality … Morgan also taught me how to move in the kitchen … Even when hurried, he was still calm and focused. That’s when I began to realize that cooking is a dance, and knowing this has had an enormous impact on the way I carry myself at work to this day.” If you are interested in refining and adding enjoyment to your own kitchen dance, Naomi will make an encouraging and inspiring instructor. Photographs by Chris Court © 2016

Sea s o n ’ s

G re et i n g s f ro m

ORGANIC EGGS, PASTURED PORK & GRASS-FED BEEF AVAILABLE THROUGH THE WINTER Eco-Conscious Seasonal Cut Flowers Sunflowers • Special Events & Weddings



NOW BOOKING 2017 & 2018


Member of the Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers


Affordable for Fa milies

519-631-0279 • 42828 Shorlea Line, St. Thomas


Food & Drink From NAOMI POMEROY'S Taste & Technique:

Kale with Quick-Pickled Apple, Gruyère Crisps, & Creamy Dijon Vinaigrette I was a little worried about including a kale salad in this book because they were very trendy for a while, and I don’t want the book to seem dated. But this is a magical version of kale salad. It has so much of what other kale salads are often missing: crisp cheese for texture, a creamy dressing for richness, and a serious kick from a strong Dijon mustard. Don’t use something like Grey Poupon here. You need to look for a brand that has some real heat, like Edmond Fallot. The availability of apples changes constantly throughout the year, so taste a few different varieties to find ones that are very tart and crisp.

My favorite part of this recipe is the Gruyère crisps, which are reminiscent of the crunchy bits that ooze out of a grilled cheese sandwich. The crisps are easy to make (you’ll need a Silpat baking mat), versatile, and are a nice gluten-free alternative to croutons—and they’re a totally addictive snack on their own. Serves 6 to 8 GRUYÈRE CRISPS 7 ounces cave-aged Gruyère cheese (see Note, next page) QUICK-PICKLED APPLE 2 teaspoons finely minced shallot 2 teaspoons cider vinegar 1⁄8 teaspoon salt 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil 2 teaspoons lemon juice 1 tart, crisp apple VINAIGRETTE 2 tablespoons finely minced shallot 3 tablespoons cider vinegar 3⁄4 teaspoon salt 1⁄4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 1⁄2 teaspoon sugar 3 tablespoons crème fraîche or sour cream 2 teaspoons strong Dijon mustard (such as Edmond Fallot) 1 tablespoon lemon juice 1⁄3 cup extra-virgin olive oil SALAD 1 to 11⁄2 bunches Lacinato or Red Russian kale, washed and dried, stems removed 1⁄4 teaspoon flaky finishing salt 1⁄4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper



Food & Drink MAKE THE GRUYÈRE CRISPS Preheat the oven to 325°F. Line a baking sheet with a Silpat baking mat. Using a fine-holed Microplane grater, grate the Gruyère and spread it across the prepared baking sheet as evenly as possible. Bake until the cheese is melted and is a light golden straw color, 20 to 25 minutes. The cheese won’t be crispy until it has fully cooled, so be patient before tasting. If it is undercooked, it won’t be crispy enough; if it is overcooked, it will taste bitter. Once the cheese has cooled completely, use your hands to break it into 3- to 4-inch pieces. The crisps can be made up to 5 hours ahead of time and set aside, uncovered. MAKE THE QUICK-PICKLED APPLE Place the shallot in a mixing bowl, cover with the vinegar, add the salt, and set aside to macerate for about 5 minutes. This helps to soften the sharp bite of raw shallot. Whisk in the oil and lemon juice. Quarter and core the apple and slice each quarter crosswise about 1⁄8 inch thick. Toss to coat in the shallot dressing, and then allow the apple to sit in the dressing for about 30 minutes so the flavors can meld. MAKE THE VINAIGRETTE Place the shallot in a small mixing bowl, cover with the vinegar, and allow to sit for 10 minutes. Add the salt, pepper, sugar, crème fraîche, mustard, and lemon juice and whisk to combine. Slowly drizzle in the oil while whisking to combine. Set aside at room temperature. MAKE THE SALAD Cut or tear the kale into 1- to 2-inch pieces. In a large chilled metal mixing bowl, season the kale with the finishing salt and pepper. Add about two-thirds of the vinaigrette and toss to coat evenly. Add half of the Gruyère crisps and all of the pickled apple and toss gently to combine. Taste for acidity and salt, and adjust as needed. Sprinkle a handful more cheese crisps on top to garnish. Serve immediately. (Any leftover crisps can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for 1 or 2 days.)


NOTE It’s important to purchase cave-aged Gruyère cheese, which is drier than regular Gruyère, to achieve the proper texture for the crisps. If you can’t find cave-aged Gruyère, use Parmigiano-Reggiano that you grind yourself. Note that ParmigianoReggiano may take less time to crisp. Reprinted with permission from Taste & Technique: Recipes to Elevate Your Home Cooking by Naomi Pomeroy with Jamie Feldmar, copyright © 2016. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC. Photographs by Chris Court © 2016

Merry Christmas from


Ready and available to help with your Federal concerns. Constituency Office: 750 Talbot Street, Suite 203, St. Thomas Tel: 519-637-2255 • Fax: 519-637-3358 Toll Free: 1-866-404-0406



Cooking Up Diversity By Chef Cindy Bircham

When you think of food, do you think about where it came from? Not just the farmer who tended the crop or the field it grew in (although supporting local is a high priority) but what region of the world the dish has roots in? Long before the invention of the internet or public access television with Jacque or Julia, what we ate was influenced mainly by two things: what was immediately available—in season or on the shelf at the local grocer—and what was traditional for the family—what Oma taught you to cook (from her sauce-stained recipe book) and was eaten in the region your family immigrated from. When people move they bring their food with them. They bring it in the form of recipes, tools, ingredients, and memories—that one pot the rice must be cooked in, saved seeds from the pepper plant used to make the only red sauce father will eat, the recipe for guava cake that has been handed down through four generations, or the funky scent memory of sauerkraut fermenting in Grandma's shed when you were nine. Cooking and eating is something all humans do and the deep emotional


ties to food and drink have been well documented; it's culture and is what makes us who we are. In a country shy of 150 years young, it shouldn't be surprising to know almost thirty percent of the population in the St. Thomas-Elgin region are first and second generation immigrants. You may be surprised to know how diverse we really are, however. In our region, immigrants come from 86 different countries of origin (top four being Mexico, United Kingdom, Netherlands and United States) and speak 58 different languages (top four being German, Dutch, Spanish and Portuguese). Immigrants make St. Thomas and area their home for economic, family or humanitarian reasons. In 2015, the St. Thomas Elgin Local Immigration Partnership (STELIP) along with the Elgin Middlesex Oxford Workforce Planning & Development Board, Rogers TV, and Ontario Trillium Foundation produced six episodes for a television show called 'We Are Elgin-St. Thomas'. Another six episodes followed in 2016. The series showcases stories of newcomers to the region, outlines supports provided by local services, and shares cultural recipes



and cooking tips. The 30 minute show is hosted by Paul Jenkins with the cooking portion hosted by yours truly. It's hard to express in words how cooking with another person can build connections that can only happen in a kitchen. Maybe it's the dance that takes place as you both step around to make room for each other. Perhaps conversations come easily when we simply ask each other what we like to eat. Or, maybe it's the emotions and sensations we are both experiencing at the same time without knowing anything about each other. No matter the reasons, the connections I felt with guests of the show left a lasting impression with me. The language of gastronomy is universal! What food is available and what is traditional still influence what goes on our tables at home and in restaurants today. The opportunity to share cultures with each other will continue to evolve our cuisines of tomorrow and the generations to come. We are a multi-cultural cooking pot of sorts and it is worthy of celebration because when we move, we bring our food with us.


Cindy is a professional chef and recipe developer cooking her way across Elgin County with a passion for quality, local and made from scratch. Follow her latest food finds and adventures at ElginHarvest. You can also receive notification of “bake days” on which you can pick up pre-ordered sourdough and other delectable goodies baked in a wood fired oven. Above: Dishes which newcomers cooked up with Chef Cindy Bircham in the first season included (clockwise from top left) Lebanese Baba Ganoush (©anjelagr/ Fotolia), Dutch Oliebollen (©Greatstockimages/Fotolia), Honduran Enchiladas (©Kike Velasquez/Fotolia) and Pakistani Rice Pudding (©Alp Aksoy/Fotolia) Opposite page: Rosemarie Johnson Clarke and cooking segment host Chef Cindy Bircham display a Bahamian Guava Cake Rosemary prepared for the TV show We Are Elgin-St. Thomas taped at GCW Kitchens and Custom Cabinetry in St. Thomas (photo courtesy of Cindy Bircham)




and gizmos

at at the the elgin elgin county county museum museum The hands-off observation of a museum exhibition of old gadgets obviously designed to do something is likely to leave the curious on-looker with an unfulfilled urge to set moving parts in motion. However, visitors to the “Gadgets & Gizmos” exhibition at the Elgin County Museum can satisfy that inclination. They are invited to touch and operate several of the artifacts in this show of “labour-saving, time-saving and just plain inventive machines and contraptions of the 19th century”.

A favourite with kids is the corn sheller which strips each cob with a pleasing clatter of golden kernels into a bin and ejects the empty ear, ready for the next cob. Children have been known to attack this task with focused enthusiasm, rapidly depleting generous supplies of cobs. Even in this digital age, sturdily built gadgets which can be understood through operation and observation offer a certain appeal. Museum Curator Mike Baker explains that the show focuses on gear-driven and hand-cranked tools and devices, of which there are many examples in the permanent collection. In the 19th century many contraptions were invented to make simple tasks


easier. “Treadles for example,” says Mike, “were incorporated into a number of tools such as sewing machines, butter churns or printing presses to improve the operation of the machine and to free up one’s hands for other parts of the job.” Some of the gadgets are not just useful. Mike says, “Great ingenuity and fine craftsmanship is evident in many of the pieces, especially the apple corers and parers. There, early examples all beautifully jointed and carved give way to very utilitarian metal devices composed of gears and a crank.” “Some of the most interesting gizmos of the 19th century are those created by people out of a specific need. The show includes, for example, a ‘horse fiddle’, a noise maker used at shivarees, a loud celebration of a wedding usually held late at night outside of the bride and groom's home. Parts from four pieces of machinery were used in its creation.” The centrepiece of the exhibit, a new interactive work by London artist Ron Milton, follows that tradition of combining gadgets to create something new. Mike says, “It is composed of several handpowered antique devices mounted on a seed box. Visitors are welcome to turn cranks and handles



Above: Gadgets on display include an apple corer, horse fiddle c. 1900-1950, butter mold c. 1880, Easy Clothes Washer (Thomas Brothers) c. 1915, Eastman Kodak Brownie camera and corn sheller c. 1900 Opposite Page: A part of artist Ron Milton's interactive piece



GADGETS & GIZMOS Quality Used Cars & Trucks Sales, Service & Leasing Stop in or check out our inventory online! We have new stock arriving weekly.


Labour-saving, time-saving and just plain inventive machines and contraptions of the 19th century. Highlighted by a new interactive piece from London artist Ron Milton.

1207 Talbot St, St. Thomas

Elgin County Administration Building, 4th Floor, 450 Sunset Drive (Hwy 4), St. Thomas, Ontario Open Monday to Friday 10am-4pm




519.631.1460 ext. 160


History and push lights on to see small vignettes.” The resulting piece invites engagement and thought about both past and present. Some of the artifacts were made in St. Thomas and are accompanied by related archival photos of local factories and workers. Washboards were made at Canadian Woodenware, founded in 1916 and occupying the same factory on New Street until it closed in 2013. In the early years it turned out 1800 washboards every day. The Easy Clothes Washer, c.1915 was made by Thomas Brothers who came to St. Thomas in 1902. William F. Thomas also started Canada Wood Products in Rodney. The invention of the Brownie camera on display has an interesting Elgin County connection. Frank Brownell (1859-1939) was born in Vienna in the municipality of Bayham where he learned woodworking and mechanical skills from his father. At seventeen, he set off to find work in Rochester. A plate camera he built came to the attention of George Eastman who hired him. Together, the two created the Kodak camera and then started working on a cheaper version. In 1900 affordable, accessible photography was born as the first of millions of Brownie cameras appeared. (The Brownie was named for a series of imps and fairy characters created in 1890 by a Canadian Palmer Cox and later used to sell the camera.) As you snap or get snapped in photos taken this holiday season with a cell phone, you can appreciate its compact ease of operation, just as those in the early 20th century enjoyed the new benefits of the revolutionary Brownie camera. (As for ease of understanding the inner workings … that may be another story.) Gadgets & Gizmos continues until December 23rd at the Elgin County Museum, 450 Sunset Dr, St. Thomas. For more information visit or call 519-6311460 x160.


EARLY ELGIN COUNTY INVENTIVENESS In 1981 the Elgin County Library Board published an index to Canadian Patents of Elgin County 1824 to 1872. It was extracted from the Canadian “blue book” of patents to honour the ingenuity of early residents of Elgin County. Naturally, many of the patents were related to agriculture, but there were also improvements to churns, boot trees, bee hives, carriage springs and more. The index lists patents from across Elgin County, including a surprising number from Vienna. Several are by Frank Brownell’s father Myron, in 1868 for “A new and useful Machine for SCROLL Sawing”, “A new and useful CASTER for Furniture and moveable effects” and “new and useful improvements in the machine used for agricultural purposes, and called or known as the ‘The combined Sower, Cultivator and ROLLER’, and in 1970 for “A method of making a liquid tight joint in wood”. Frank would have been a pre-teen at the time and may well have picked up his spirit of inventiveness from his father. Another early creation with local roots is the wire coat hanger. If you have ever ended up with them in a frustrating tangle, you may not be eager to claim this invention as a Canadian one. However, its origination is widely attributed to St. Thomas-born Albert Parkhouse. His family later moved to Michigan and Parkhouse ended up working at Timberlake Wire and Novelty Company. In 1903, in response to co-workers’ complaints of too few coat hooks, he devised the wire hanger—an elegantly simple solution to an everyday problem.


© Lily / Photolia


Holly Jolly Fun EVENTS ACROSS ELGIN • MORE AT WWW.RELISHELGIN.CA This is an extremely condensed version of the events listings that can be found online at Please visit the website for an extensive calendar of events, and more details on those listed here.

MUSEUMS & EXHIBITIONS Until Sat Nov 12 • Illumine Gallery: Terra • Until Fri Nov 25 • Aylmer Malahide Museum & Archives: Fabulous 50s Until Fri Dec 23 • Elgin County Museum: Gadgets and Gizmos • Sat Nov 12-Sat Dec 31 • STEPAC Exhibition: Shane Norrie—Explorations • Sat Nov 12-Sat Dec 31 • STEPAC Exhibition: Selections From the Permanent Collection—The Land Sat Jan 7-Sat Mar 4 • STEPAC Exhibition: Leslie Sorochan—andromous

UPCOMING EVENTS Sat & Sun Nov 5-6, 12-13, 19-20, 26-27 • Canadale Christmas Open Houses • Wed Nov 9 • Agriculture Town Hall • 9:30am-11:30am • CASO Station, St. Thomas Thur Nov 10, 4-8pm • St. Anne's Catholic School Vendor Fair • 84 Park Ave, St. Thomas Fri Nov 11 • REMEMBRANCE DAY Fri Nov 11-Sat Nov 12 • Christmas Open House at Creative Creations • 29 Talbot St W, Aylmer Fri Nov 11-Sun Nov 13 • Victorian Elegance Annual Christmas Open House • Fri Nov 11-Sun Nov 13 • St. Thomas-Elgin Artists' Guild 10th Annual Show & Sale • CASO Station Fri Nov 11-Sun Nov 13 • 21st Annual St. Thomas Rotary Tour of Homes • Sat Nov 12 • Port Stanley Art Emporium Open House • Sat Nov 12 • Aylmer Performing Arts: Michael Schatte Band • Sat Nov 12 • STEPAC Exhibition Opening Reception: Shane Norrie—Explorations • Sat Nov 12-Sun Nov 13 • Harvest Table Rustic Designs Open House • 44892 Talbot Ln, St. Thomas Sun Nov 13 • Refresh and Renew Workshop • The Village Collective, Sparta • Sun Nov 13 • Country Christmas Craft Show and Sale • 9:30am-4pm • Masonic Centre of Elgin Thur Nov 17-Sat Nov 19 • Parade of Poinsettias at Family Flowers • Thur Nov 17-Sat Nov 19 • Aylmer Ten Thousand Villages Festival Sale • Aylmer Old Town Hall Theatre Fri Nov 18, 10am-4pm • St. Thomas Elgin General Hospital's Holiday Market Fri Nov 18 • Arts & Cookery Bank: Spain Fest-A-Month (Tapas) •



Events Fri Nov 18 • St. Thomas Tree Lighting Ceremony • Beside City Hall Fri Nov 18 • Port Stanley Theatre: Mudmen • Fri Nov 18-Sat Nov 19 • Aylmer Museum Christmas Tour of Homes • Fri Nov 18-Sat Dec 3 • Home for Christmas Shopping Event in Western Elgin • Sat Nov 19, 8am-12pm • Horton Farmers' Market Christmas Market • Manitoba St, north of Talbot St Sat Nov 19, 10am-2pm • Charity Cat Craft & Christmas Sale • Central United Church Sat Nov 19, 6pm • St. Thomas Optimist Santa Claus Parade • Downtown St. Thomas Sat Nov 19, 9am-12pm • Holly Fair at First United Church • 7 Curtis St, St. Thomas Sat Nov 19, 9am-1pm • St. Anne's Holly Berry Bazaar • 20 Morrison Dr, St. Thomas Sat Nov 19, 10am-3pm • Eagle Shores Artisans Show • Eagle Community Centre Sat Nov 19, 3pm • Dutton Santa Claus Parade Sat Nov 19 • Dutton & District Lions 7th Annual Trivia Night • Sat Nov 19, 10am-4pm • Wildflowers Farm Holiday Open House • 42338 Fruit Ridge Ln, St. Thomas Sat Nov 19-Sun Nov 20, 12-3pm • Santa Visits Sparta • side room of Sparta House Tea Room Sun Nov 20, 12-4pm • Saxonia Hall Bridal Show • 522 Talbot St W, Aylmer Fri Nov 25 • West Lorne Optimist Santa Claus Parade Fri Nov 25, 6-10pm (7pm parade) • Port Stanley Night of Christmas Wonder / Dickens Night Parade



Events Fri Nov 25, 6-10pm • Red Show & Sale • The Windjammer Inn, Port Stanley Sat Nov 26, 2-4pm • Winter Gift Shop Sale • St. Thomas-Elgin Public Art Centre Sat Nov 26, 2pm • Aylmer Santa Claus Parade Sat Nov 26, 3pm & 8pm • Port Stanley Theatre: Johnny Cash—A Country Christmas Sat Nov 26 • Canadian Celtic Choir • Central United Church, St. Thomas • Sat Nov 26-Sun Nov 27 • A Lavender Christmas • Thur Dec 1-Sat Dec 10 • West Elgin Dramatics Society: Alice Through the Looking Glass Thur Dec 1-Sun Dec 11 • Elgin Theatre Guild: Alice in Wonderland • Fri Dec 2 • Aylmer Performing Arts: Kevin Fox Trio • Fri Dec 2, 8pm, Sat Dec 3, 2 & 8pm • Port Stanley Theatre: A Swinging Little Country Christmas Sat Dec 3, 1pm • Springfield Santa Claus Parade Sat Dec 3, 5:30pm (parade) • Rodney Santa Claus Parade & Christmas Celebration • Sat Dec 3, 6-8pm • Christmas Spirit Walk • Springwater Conservation Area Sat Dec 3, 6pm • Port Burwell Santa Claus Parade • Sat Dec 3 • Business Christmas Party "At The Sax" • Saxonia Hall, Aylmer • 519-773-5271 Sat & Sun Dec 3-4, 10-11, 17-18 • Santa Treats Train Rides • Sun Dec 4, 2pm • Optimist Fingal Santa Claus Parade

Parade of Poinsettias � Celebrate the holiday season with family & flowers � Cocoa, Coffee & Spicer’s Donuts

Fresh Cut Trees & Greens

Holiday Theme Trees For Your Inspiration

15% OFF All Poinsettias

Nativity Animals

Nov 17 18 19

Choose from over 14,000 quality Poinsettias - locally & Professionally grown!

It is a beautiful sight to see over 14,000 poinsettias busting into festive holiday colour! Mon-Sat 9am-5pm

Home & Garden Living  44329 Talbot Line, St. Thomas, ON  519-631-6004 




Events Sun Dec 4, 6pm • Belmont Santa Claus Parade Sun Dec 4, 3pm • Christmas Carol Sing at Old St. Thomas Church Sat Dec 10 • A Christmas Celebration with "The King" • Big Brothers/Sisters St. Thomas Elgin Fundraiser Sat Dec 10 • A Visit with St. Nicholas • Backus-Page House Museum Sat Dec 10, 10:30am • Straffordville Santa Claus Parade Wed Dec 14 • The Arts & Cookery Bank: Eastern European Christmas Celebration Fri Dec 16 • Treble Makers Choir: Christmas in the Village • West Lorne United Church • 519-768-1717 Fri Dec 16 • West Elgin Choral Society: Christmas Through the Ages • Dutton Town Hall Sat Dec 17 • John Milles Band & Hurtin’ Merv at Railway City Brewing • Caring Cupboard Fundraiser Jan 1 2017 • Happy New Year! Sat Jan 14 • Port Stanley Theatre: Billy Joel and the Piano Men • Thur Feb 2-Sat Feb 11 • Aylmer Community Theatre: On a First Name Basis • Sat Feb 11 • Buddy Holly Rockin' Dance Party • Thur Feb 23-Sun Mar 5 • Elgin Theatre Guild: Caught in the Net • Sat Mar 11 • Patsy Cline and the Queens of Country •




Holiday Decor Galore, Custom Gift Baskets, Lampe Berger, DaVinci Beads & More


Affordable Luxury

because you deserve it


435 Talbot Street, St. Thomas

519.637.3904 •


Gift Certificates & Gift Baskets Available

Mon 9am-5pm, Tues-Fri 9am-7pm & Sat 9am-4pm

76 Talbot St, St. Thomas • 519-631-7629



Above, clockwise from top left: Family Flowers Parade of Poinsettias, A Lavender Christmas at Steed & Co. Lavender, St. Thomas Elgin Artists' Guild Annual Show & Sale, Port Stanley Christmas Lights at 291 Selbourne Street, Aylmer Santa Claus Parade, Santa Treats Train Ride on the Port Stanley Terminal Rail


Winter in


...experience the magic of the season! 2016 SANTA CLAUS PARADES West Lorne - Friday November 25th Parade at 7pm; meet Santa at the arena afterward for free skating (until 9pm) and face painting!

Rodney - Saturday December 3rd

2:00pm - Free library program 3:30pm - Snake Lady show, wagon rides & kids’ activities 4:30pm - Hot dogs & cocoa from Rodney Lions Club & Fairles 5:30pm - Parade; Santa at Legion afterward





FESTIVE FINDS, CLOSE TO HOME At Shops, Restaurants, Libraries & Garages in Rodney, New Glasgow, West Lorne, Eagle, Dutton, and Wallacetown

We’re just down the road and off the beaten path.





Corporate Events Weddings | Gift Cards ST. THOMAS, ONTARIO


Profile for Joanne Bagshaw

Relish Elgin Holiday 2016  

Relish Elgin is a print and online magazine promoting the people, places, businesses and events in Elgin County & St. Thomas, Ontario, Canad...

Relish Elgin Holiday 2016  

Relish Elgin is a print and online magazine promoting the people, places, businesses and events in Elgin County & St. Thomas, Ontario, Canad...


Recommendations could not be loaded

Recommendations could not be loaded

Recommendations could not be loaded

Recommendations could not be loaded