Lindsey and I met more than 5 years ago at a freezer meal workshop. I don’t recall how, but that day we discovered it was her birthday, and so we served an impromptu cake and sang for her, unwittingly making an impression on a newcomer to the city, and making her feel right at home. She reminded me years later how much it meant that day.
Growing up, Lindsey taught herself to read at age 4, using one of her Dad's John Grisham novels and reading is still her favourite hobby today. Her first cooking or baking memory was at the age of 13, making a spicy chicken pasta meal for her family for a school project, but she guesses she’s remembered for her blackberry key lime cupcakes or brined turkey at Thanksgiving. When I ask her to describe some of the places she’s travelled and what foods of the region stand out in her memory, she confesses “I've been to 6 continents and have been so fortunate to try amazing cuisine! My favourite is Thai, but I also love Swiss fondue and raclette.”
When I ask about the biggest influence on her cooking today, her husband Sheldon, she says “Oh goodness, how DOESN’T Sheldon influence my cooking? First off, I actually cook, which I wouldn’t if I didn’t have someone to cook for. He’s always encouraging me to make everything from scratch, from bread, to pasta to sauces and using fresh herbs, and healthy ingredients. I’ve learned to use spices and herbs that I never would’ve tried before... thyme, rosemary, dill. I pay attention to detail while cooking and know that taking the time and effort to make a “from scratch” meal will pay off because Sheldon is so encouraging and grateful for it. Sheldon is fearless in the kitchen, not afraid to try new techniques and perfect dishes whereas I’m more inclined to play it safe with a recipe and any tool to make the job easier. So he helps me to try and be a bit more spontaneous and creative with ingredients and flavours and techniques. For example, I have these great little silicone egg poachers that I love, yet Sheldon decided to try doing them “freestyle” and didn’t quit until he got the eggs just right. I’m not quite that into cooking yet but I’ve come a long way!”.
Lindsey and her husband Sheldon were the recipients of a Pampered Chef wedding shower, so they were gifted quality tools for their kitchen from day one, and it’s one of the reasons we ever met. Still, she shares “When my baby boy is unpredictable it's tough to get food prepping, and also when I've got 3 different eating styles in my household... my healthy husband, my infant son, and my quantity-over-quality brother, it's hard to find something for everyone, while maintaining a budget!” I’ve seen her in action, however, and am witness that this is one efficient woman, smiling as she good-humouredly preps food in no time.
One of Lindsey’s current favourite weeknight meals is tacos/wraps... because “you can basically put anything and everything in them and call them a meal!”
I’m curious about the deeper stuff, so I ask:
Q: If you could share a life lesson with your younger self, what would it be?
A: Be patient, and work hard!
Q: if you could bring back someone who is gone, and eat one meal with them, what would it be, and who would it be with?
A: Both my Great-Grandma's. We'd have a proper English high tea. I wish I could hear their stories about growing up, marrying and raising my grandparents from their differing perspectives, all while enjoying scones and clotted cream!
Last question: When you think back to a familiar table that you sat at as a child.. what comes back to you?
A: Mom and Dad's ... lots of great food, and TONS of banter and good laughs with us and my 3 siblings.