I grew up in the Annapolis Valley of Nova Scotia where my backyard looks like this:
and the rest of the world looks like this:
The Annapolis Valley is, I think, perfectly located: a thriving hub of agriculture just a short drive from the sea. We produce outstanding produce. We fish amazing fish (and seafood). And we grow delicate grapes (for delicious wines).
It is literally paradise for anyone who loves to cook and eat good quality local food.
In the fall of 2011, I left the Annapolis Valley to move (very) slightly westward. I now live in Montreal, Quebec—a thriving metropolis in comparison to my rural roots.
Life and food here in the city is very different. Every day I am exposed to a vast diversity of cultures—I’m suddenly buying ingredients I never knew existed. And I can no longer hop in my car to hit the farm down the road when I’m in need of fresh basil (you pick it yourself!) because I don’t have a car. I have to walk or take the subway and I have to find the appropriate market (there are many).
It sounds like I’m complaining—I’m not. But as a cook, it’s always interesting to observe how your food and life changes depending on location.
That’s what this blog is about: the contrast between my old home (which I visit often) and my new metro life, and how that contrast affects my cooking.
I’ll show you both of my worlds: the amazing restaurants, food stalls and gourmet shops available in Montreal and the small farms and merchants of the Annapolis Valley. I’ll show you how I’ve changed—how my cooking has changed—since moving here.
I’ll show you how I navigate my tale of two cities. Or rather, one city and one very rural region.
So, who am I?
My name is Deborah Hemming and I'm a food writer and home cook. I'm also currently completing my MA in English Literature at McGill University.
My favourite ingredients are the most assertive: I love anchovies and strong mustard, olives and smoked paprika.
My favourite dishes are the most comforting whether that means the comfort of indulgence (macaroni and cheese, coconut cream pie) or the comfort of healthy eating (morning oatmeal, fresh greens, wholesome muffins). I appreciate both.
Red wine is always my drink of choice.
This blog used to be a site of food literature. I would write a story, pair a recipe with that story, and share it with you. After three years, I’ve grown bored of that format. I have more to share. My old stories and recipes are still available in the table of contents section.