The Cooking Ladies
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2018 May 31st

Touring in Southwestern Ontario’s Sunny South

While touring out-of-town friends around Southwestern Ontario’s sunny south, we always discover a new twist on the familiar. We look through our visitors’ eyes and love it when they “ooh” and “ah” at every stop.  Recently, with friends from Edmonton, the surprises included not only a tea party but new award-winning wines, bird and butterfly-themed […]

2018 April 12th

Our Cookbook Photo Shoot Will Get You Grilling

In order to include an additional 20 full-page photos in our cookbook, On The Road With The Cooking Ladies, Let’s Get Grilling, our publisher, Whitecap Books, sent a professional photographer to our test kitchen on the north shore of Lake Erie. Jonathan Bielaski arrived with food stylist, Tara Ballantyne, and his photography assistant, Matt. For […]

2018 March 25th

Maple Syrup in Shrewsbury Served Up With Tidbits About Trees

A lineup formed outside the door for the Shrewsbury Community Association’s annual Maple Syrup Festival in Chatham-Kent, Ontario. Breakfast-style sausages sizzled on an outdoor grill. Inside, volunteers flipped pancakes, poured hot apple cider, and kept maple syrup dispensers filled. Just a country road away, Ken Bell, from the Shrewsbury Community Association was giving eco-tours in […]

2017 December 18th

Food Bloggers and Food Are The Focus At FBC2017

Food Bloggers of Canada is an organization that promotes and fosters the Canadian food blogging scene and at the same time recognizes the diversity in Canada and how it is reflected in Canadian food blogs. We attended the FBC annual conference in Ottawa in October, 2017. When the conference was over, we arrived back at […]

2017 November 17th

More Than Poutine, Favourite Foods from My Home and Native Land

It was the cookbook title that caught our attention. More Than Poutine, Favourite Foods from My Home and Native Land. Wow, not only references to poutine, a favourite, but a quote from our national anthem. This book is Canadian for sure, but the question is, did the cookbook live up to our expectations. As food […]

2017 October 15th

Diva Q And The Cooking Ladies Are Sisters In Grilling

Danielle Bennett, a Canadian woman known worldwide as Diva Q, is the only person ever issued a visa into the United States as a “person of extraordinary talent – barbecue expert.” That’s what she is. A tattoo on her arm says “UNSTOPPABLE” and she is that, too. We met Danielle at Sons of Kent Brewing […]

2017 October 13th

Canadian Wild Rice Pasta

Wild rice pasta has won a place at the test kitchen table. We like it because it is lighter than regular pasta, it has the unique nutty flavour of wild rice, and it is produced by a Canadian family business based in Winnipeg, Manitoba. A few years ago we met Murray Ratuski at his wild […]

2017 July 10th

If You Are Looking for A Foodie Community, Check Out Terroir

Terroir is a not-for-profit committee of industry professionals who put on an annual symposium for the purpose of inspiring and educating people in the hospitality industry. Terroir 2017 took place at the Art Gallery of Ontario, in Toronto, on May 29. For Canada’s 150th birthday, the theme this year was Our Home & Native Land […]

2017 June 20th

The Cooking Ladies Smoked at the Taste of Woolwich

The annual Taste of Woolwich held at the Elmira Farmer’s Market, in the Township of Woolwich, Region of Waterloo, on Saturday, June 17, 2017, was a meet and greet for farmers, local producers, foodies, and families. Woolwich is a rural township in southwestern Ontario. Krista McBay of Elmira Home Hardware invited The Cooking Ladeis to […]

2017 May 23rd

A Day of Wine, Cider and Food in the Eastern Townships of Quebec

An autumn day is the perfect time to visit the Cantons- de-l’Est or Eastern Townships, in Quebec, Canada, just an hour and a few minutes from downtown Montreal, the country’s second largest city. Villages and valleys mingle with rivers, lakes, and mountains. The year-round population was once predominantly English and is now mostly French. Conversations […]

2017 May 12th

Celebrate Canada’s 150 at the Festival of Birds

Birds and birders are invited to the May 1 to May 22 annual Festival of Birds at Point Pelee National Park. Admission to all of Canada’s National Parks is free this year in celebration of Canada’s 150th anniversary.   Point Pelee National Park sits just south of the 42nd parallel which means it shares latitude […]

2017 May 10th

Four Reasons to Overnight on Pelee Island

Canada’s southernmost inhabited island is located in Lake Erie, south of Windsor, Ontario, and Detroit, Michigan. The options for getting there are ferry, plane and boat. The island is just the right size that if you get chatting with someone on the hour-and-a-half-long ferry ride you are apt to run into them again on the […]

2017 April 23rd

Say Cheese at the Dairy Capital of Canada Cheese Fest

A 7300-pound wheel of cheese is a big story! In 1866, 1400 cows contributed 127,006 cups of milk to produce a mammoth wheel of cheese for the purpose of promoting Oxford County, in southwestern Ontario, to the markets of the United States, Great Britain, and France. And it worked. Over 150 years later, Oxford County […]

2016 December 22nd

Judging at the World Food Championships

When we were invited to be judges at the World Food Championships (WFC) at The Wharf in Gulf Shores/Orange Beach, Alabama, we jumped into the RV and headed south. In order to be qualified as WFC judges at the annual, fast-paced food competition we attended an EAT Methodology seminar. In accordance with the EAT Methodology, […]

2016 December 5th

How to be a Food Sport Competitor and Win $100,000

At the World Food Championships, a fast-paced culinary challenge, home cooks and back yard grillers compete with Food Network chefs and restaurant owners. It’s all about good food, competition, and fun. Once you have chosen your category out of the nine included in the competition (bacon, barbecue, burger, chili, dessert, steak, sandwich, seafood, and recipe) […]

2016 October 16th

Soybean Harvest Time in Southwestern Ontario

On a hot, dry, dusty day in October, the soybeans are ready. The delicate plants are brown and brittle. Over two million acres of soybeans are grown annually in Ontario. Farmers spend hours on their combines, the monster machines that cut off the entire plant and separate the cherry-pit size beans from the stalks and pods. […]

2016 September 13th

All You Could Ask For In A Homecoming Parade, And More

Ten good reasons to attend the Labour Day parade in North Buxton, Ontario. One: A location with a history. The 2016 annual Labour Day parade celebrated the 93rd Homecoming in the southwestern Ontario rural community established by fugitive slaves and free persons of colour in 1849. Two: Down home camaraderie. Park in a designated farmer’s […]

2016 July 29th

The Retro Suites Hotel is more than a place to spend the night

Wander the halls and the lobby and even the parking lot of  the Retro Suites Hotel in Chatham, Ontario, to discover renovation, restoration, a warm and fuzzy and, at the same time, fresh and bright museum experience along with contemporary artwork from the area and around the world. Catch yourself singing along to oldies music […]

2016 January 6th

Contemporary Cuisine in Historic Old Quebec City

We arrived in Quebec City along the St. Laurence River, just as the French and British did prior to Canada becoming a country. Cruising the narrow stretch of the river with high bluffs, distant church spires and a small ferry crossing from one side to the other it was easy to understand how early settlers […]

2015 November 3rd

Chatting With A Prime Minister in Charlottetown PEI

Prince Edward Island always beckons us back. This time we arrived by sea. Our annual International Food Wine and Travel Writers Association conference was held during a cruise from Boston to Montreal. Our fourth port of call was Charlottetown, the capital of PEI. On previous trips to Canada’s smallest province, we captured the island’s rusty […]

2015 October 8th

Take A Bite Out Of Halifax Nova Scotia

Our IFWTWA group of writers walked almost the entire 3.8 kilometers of the Halifax Waterfront Boardwalk before our Take A Bite Out Of Halifax walking tour began. It was a hot, sunny day, not the kind of chilly weather that visitors to Canada expect to experience at the end of August. As we strode along, […]

2015 September 30th

Chef Eric Klein Creates Memories With Food

Eric Klein, Executive Chef and Associate Partner with Wolfgang Puck at Spago, Las Vegas, steps ashore in Bar Harbor, Maine, from Holland America’s cruise ship Maasdam, carrying his chef’s jacket and his leather kit of chef’s knives. He and his wife, Tori, are on a holiday. Chef Matt McPherson, Executive Chef at The Looking Glass […]

2015 September 17th

We Could Live In These Shops In Boston’s Little Italy

Michele Topor of Boston Food Tours invited a group of us to experience her community – Little Italy in Boston’s North End. She directed us off the busy tourist path to the authentic Italian food shops that she visits on a daily basis.   The community maintains its old world look. Plants hang from the […]

2015 June 30th

The Cooking Ladies Are In Cookbook Quarantine At The Test Kitchen

Wondering what we mean by cookbook quarantine? It’s not as bad as it sounds. Yes, we have a deadline with our publisher and the days are flying by faster than usual so we can’t leave the Test Kitchen, but, the aromas coming from the barbecues are intoxicating. And, after the photos are taken and the recipes finalized, we eat […]

2015 May 25th

The San Benito County Experience Is Personal

Some residents in San Benito County, California, have lived there all their lives. Some who were born there left for a while but eventually returned to their roots. New homeowners choose San Benito County because the area offers them the lifestyle they were seeking. There are two towns in San Benito County, Hollister, and San Juan […]

2015 May 14th

Old And New Danish Traditions in Solvang California

Solvang, California, began as a Danish settlement in 1911. The architecture is strikingly European with cross-beamed timbers and thatched roofing. Only ten percent of the people living in Solvang today, in the midst of Santa Barbara’s wine country, claim Danish ancestry but the small town is known as being more Danish than Denmark. The Little […]

2015 May 9th

A Fusion Of Outdoor Adventure & City Living in Oxnard, California

Oxnard, California, is the place for people who appreciate nature when it is in close proximity to city living. Immense beaches run for miles with pristine white sand and gentle desert-type dunes. Fresh Pacific Ocean bounty and local farm produce is available on restaurant menus. Nearby Channel Islands National Park includes five off shore islands, […]

2015 April 27th

Northerners Become Winter Yumans

Daily sunshine and warm temperatures from November to March in Yuma, Arizona, entice North Americans living in colder climates to become Winter Yumans. Those months, that are considered Yuma’s cold season, average a high of 24° Celsius or 75° Fahrenheit. RV resorts and parks become home to Americans, from the northern states, and Canadians who […]

2015 April 20th

Cuba – From The Straits Of Florida To The Streets Of Havana

In November 2009, we flew from Canada to Cuba to stay for a week at a 5 star hotel on the beach in Varadero. Our ocean-view room looked out over the miles of rolling south-sea blue water of the Straits of Florida. Directly below, palm trees, swimming pools, cabanas, and matching white and blue deck […]

2015 April 10th

A Resort, Casino, Golf Course, And RV Park, In Wine Country: What A Combination!

The shuttle driver picked us up punctually at our RV site. “Where would you like to go,” he said. “The golf course? Casino? Restaurants? Spa? Gym? Comedy Club? Convention Center? Have you been to Old Town Temecula, yet? Or toured the wineries?” So many choices. Pechanga Resort & Casino in Temecula, California, the largest resort […]

2015 March 1st

Memories Made in California Wine Country, Temecula-style

Friends of ours live in Temecula, California. They, too, are members of the International Food Wine and Travel Writers Association. Just minutes from Old Town Temecula and the subdivisions that house the 100,000+ population, the Temecula Valley offers a Mediterranen climate that is perfect for growing cool, moderate, and warm climate grape varieties. Most of […]

2014 December 25th

The March of the Peabody Ducks

The Peabody Hotel in Memphis, Tennessee, represents luxury, history, culture, and southern hospitality. As we stepped inside to marbled pillars and the subdued sounds of hotel quests, a security guard greeted us and directed us to our destination – The March of the Peabody Ducks. Every day at precisely the same time, the Peabody ducks […]

2014 December 22nd

Jeremy’s On The Hill. Fresh. Simple. Tasting Great.

Dining at Jeremy’s On The Hill, located high in the mountains above San Diego and just off the Great Southern Overland Stage Route, provides spectacular food and an adventure worth taking. Steep, winding roads led us to the old gold mining town of Julian. Mid-town we turned left and curved our way along to Wynola, […]

2014 November 2nd

Retrofit Ends Our RV Window Coverings Nightmare

The day-night shades and cockpit blind in our RV turned into a nightmare. Strings stretched, shades drooped, and brackets dislodged. Masking tape and Velcro were not the answer. Practical, yes. Pretty, no. We knew there had to be something better. We found the perfect solution at the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association’s National Trade Show in Louisville, […]

2014 November 1st

Liquid Nitrogen Ice Cream with Black Lava Sea Salt

A restaurant that encourages creativity and experimentation in the kitchen will attract customers with a passion for the out-of-the-ordinary. Liquid nitrogen, a new age technique in restaurant kitchens, can lead to all sorts of exciting creations. At Gilt, in downtown Kitchener, Ontario, we watched as our Nitro Ice Cream was made to order, almost instantly. Golden-brown caramelized […]

2014 September 26th

Belle Chevre “Behind Every Great Cheese There Is A Story”

Tasia Malakasis was living in New York City when she found Belle Chevre goat cheese, from her hometown in North Alabama, on display in a gourmet retail shop. Tasia returned to Elkmont, Alabama, in the northern portion of the state, to learn the art of cheesemaking. She apprenticed at Belle Chevre, a 20-year-old company well-known […]

2014 August 9th

Jules J Berta Winery, Peace Among The Plants

As our group of travel writers waited to meet the owner of Jules J Berta Winery, a biker drove into the parking lot. His hair was long, his eyes hidden by sunglasses. A sleeveless vest and short sleeve tee shirt did nothing to hide heavily muscled, tanned arms. “I’m Jules Berta. Welcome to our winery,” […]

2014 July 27th

Tangy, Twangy North Alabama Barbecue

Barbecue restaurants in North Alabama range from the traditional, with wood-fired barbecue pit onsite, to 21st century stainless steel kitchens, with product arriving vacuum packed from a central commissary. Traditional restaurants offer sit-and-linger service. Fast food operations expedite traditional southern recipes so that no one needs to go without good barbecue just because they are […]

2014 July 12th

Rustic Salad In An Eat South Greenhouse

In a greenhouse, in downtown Montgomery, Alabama, we lunched on rustic salad served over warm flatbread. The experience was the epitome of freshness as the scent of fertile soil mingled with the aroma of just-picked herbs and greens. A warm, gentle rain tapped on the roof, trickled down the walls to form pools near our feet. Chef Leo of […]

2014 July 7th

RV Park Food Service Means No Cooking

Many RV parks now provide food service menus that include items like pizza and burgers, but we recently discovered two RV resorts that take the food concept one step farther. Both experiences were perfect after a day’s drive, when we had neither the time nor the inclination to cook. While registering at the Destin West […]

2014 June 8th

“Best Historic City in America” – Montgomery, Alabama

No wonder Montgomery, Alabama, was voted Best Historic City in America by USA Today. By standing at the Court Square Fountain in downtown Montgomery, we could turn 360 degrees and face sites of American history from Civil War to Civil Rights.  The city is telling its story one historical marker at a time. In the 1850s, […]

2014 May 26th

Royal Red Shrimp And A Worldly Wine Flight On The Mississippi Gulf Coast

Go to the Half Shell Oyster Bar in Biloxi, Mississippi. Order the Royal Red Shrimp. They taste more like lobster than shrimp.      Royal Reds are not available everywhere, preferring cold, dark, deep water habitats. Their texture is softer and their flavor sweeter than regular shrimp. Ruby-colored, they cook quickly and when dipped in warm, […]

2014 May 4th

Barbecue And Crawfish Boil In Cajunland

Barbecue and crawfish boil are part of a 39-year tradition of bringing the family together on Easter Sunday for the Benoit family. This year, we were their neighbors at the KOA in Scott, Louisiana. The youngest attendee was a year old; Lilly, the oldest, was 83.   Sonny Benoit was the cook. Around 9 am, […]

2014 April 20th

“Viva La Onion” at Westlaco, Texas, Onion Fest

Mariachi bands, horses, dancers, and magicians entertained. Other food vendors offered curly fries, giant corn dogs, funnel cakes, cowboy nachos, ribbon fries, beef brisket, smoked turkey legs, and mini donuts. Even the South Texas College culinary students did their best to win us over with tasty onion tarts, moist onion bread, and thick onion marmalade, but […]

2014 March 21st

A lentil salad with Mediterranean-diet influences, what’s not to love?

Healthy and full of flavour, this recipe begins with the earthy essence of lentils and lifts to a salty-sweet, refreshing salad. It reflects the healthy Mediterranean diet by including plant-based food, olive oil not butter, herbs and spices and little salt, and no red meat. In order to cover all the Mediterranean angles, serve it […]

2014 March 19th

Creating Cooking Videos…The Cooking Ladies’ Way

Food prep for the recipe of the day begins right after morning coffee. We wash, trim, chop, dice, measure, and pour recipe ingredients into matching camera-friendly containers.  Tables are set up beside the RV for the food demonstration and sound equipment. Extension cords come out. Cables snake across the sound table. Equipment is placed in […]

2014 February 11th

Gulf State Park Nature Center Is Club Med For Critters

Human amenities at Gulf State Park, Gulf Shores, Alabama, like white sandy beaches, tennis courts, a 5,000 square foot swimming pool, cabins, cottages, and RV sites, are equally matched by the park’s Nature Center that provides a Club Med for animals native to the Gulf Coast region. When we visited the Gulf State Park Nature […]

2014 January 16th

Playing In The Mud, How Much Fun Is That?

Just one of the unique opportunities offered by the Coastal Arts Center of Orange Beach, Alabama, is a hands-on experience at a potter’s wheel. Resident artist Abby Leach guided Phyllis through the process. A fist-size piece of clay is cut, like cheese, from a large block, formed into a ball and slapped onto the bat in […]

2013 December 18th

Baking Stoneware Is Like Baking A Chocolate Cake…

All the ingredients are recyclable but, like a chocolate cake, once the piece is into the oven there is no turning back. In 2015, Louisville Stoneware, Louisville, Kentucky, celebrates 200 years of transforming clay into versatile, functional art.      In 1815, settlers used stoneware crocks as the “original Tupperware” for storing baking supplies like flour and […]

2013 November 7th

Aloha Chef Sam Choy, The Hawaiian Godfather of Poké

We, and fellow International Food Wine & Travel Writers, arrived in the parking lot of Sam Choy’s Kai Lanai restaurant on the Big Island of Hawaii to be served poké shooters. Quite an introduction to Sam and his Hawaiian hospitality. Sam Choy is the quintessential chef-restaurateur, proud of the cuisine of his Hawaiian heritage, always […]

2013 October 17th

Tecumseh Dies Again, At 1813 Battle Of The Thames Re-enactment

Chief Tecumseh and his brother strived to restore and preserve traditional Indian values at a time when white settlers were moving in on Indian territories in both the United States and Canada. Tecumseh allied with the British because he saw the Americans as a more immediate threat to his cause. On October 5, 1813 Tecumseh was […]

2013 October 14th

A Shepherd Named Paul, A Crazy 8 Sided Barn, And Passionate People Producing Chatham-Kent Bounty

Paul Spence, of Lo Maximo Meats, tends his flock passionately. His flock extends beyond his farm to include his fellow farmers and producers of Chatham-Kent.   Paul can be found at public venues promoting the bounty of what he describes as the most productive land in Canada.  Through the annual Chatham-Kent Table and organized farm tours he […]

2013 October 6th

Contented Cows And Happy Pigs

Chris Knight at Clear Creek Farms in Highgate, Ontario, is passionate about switching from conventional to organic farming, from free grazing without controls to controlled rotational grazing. Chris moves his Black Angus cattle from one contained paddock to another, every day. Constantly in motion, their hooves aerate the soil.  By not using parasitic control on his animals, the […]

2013 September 29th

How Cool Is It To Be Served A Seven Course Dinner By The Proud People Who Produced The Ingredients?

To meet farmers, vintners, brewers, and gardeners  as they serve you your meal? To share a table with their families, friends, and supporters. A high energy welcome to Chatham Kent Table 2013 from Mary Jane Smith of Smith and Wilson Winery. Fruit cup with fresh berry compote. Gazpacho salsa in cucumber cups. Kristen and Sue Korpan, […]

2013 September 24th

Windsor-Detroit Funnel…”How Are You Going To Wet Your Whistle When The Whole World’s Dry.”

Benny da Weasel clamored aboard our tour bus shouting, “Want whiskey? I’ll show you where you can get some.” Once he knew we weren’t going to turn him in to the authorities he relaxed and sang “I’ll sell my shoes for a bottle of booze, nobody knows how dry I am.” The Rum Runners Tour […]

2013 September 4th

Writers in the rain: What rain?

Setting: Dining on the beach, by torchlight, Duke’s Waikiki Restaurant at the Outrigger Hotel, Honolulu.   Timing: The sun is setting at the end of a perfect day in Hawaii. The Wines: Parings presented by Robert Larsen, Rodney Strong Vineyards, California. Characters: International Food, Wine, and Travel Writers Association conference attendees. Past President Maralyn Hill. President […]

2013 August 11th

Hawaii’s Fungal Jungle

When Janice and Bob Stranga were ready for career changes, they wanted to be involved in the changing agricultural scene in Hawaii. Janice was an interior designer, Bob a helicopter pilot. “I had fun flying but there’s no more fun than this,” Bob says. Proud as he is that their Hamakua Mushrooms made it to the White […]

2013 July 10th

Geckos Like Chocolate, Too. But Not At The Same Stage Of The Chocolate Process As We Do

Pam and Bob Cooper, in a previous lifetime, didn’t know that chocolate grew on trees. Now, at their Original Hawaiian Chocolate Factory in Kona, Hawaii, they produce 100,000 pounds of chocolate per year. Bob explains it is the volcanic soil, rain, and sunshine unique to Hawaii that produces the distinctive texture and taste of their Original Hawaiian Chocolate. […]

2013 July 7th

Coffee At Its Best…”Crackulated” Kona Coffee, Big Island, Hawaii

The Ue Shima Coffee Company (UCC) is the only coffee company that “crackulates” its coffee beans. Not just once, but twice. The first “crack” is a gentle popcorn pop that sends out hints of freshly baked cupcakes. The second “crack” explodes like fireworks, the aroma conjuring up perfect morning toast.

2013 April 11th

As Travel Writers…

We like to step around the facades and flare of tourism and meet local people. To hear their stories. To share their daily lives in order to learn how their lives are so unique and yet so much like our own. At the Key West Lighthouse and Keepers Quarters in Key West, Florida, we did […]

2013 January 31st

Top 20 from Go RVing Canada’s RV-Friendly Recipes Contest

Judging recipes from across Canada was a culinary trip. Our test kitchen hummed with chopping, stirring, measuring, whisking, and best of all…plating and tasting. We had to narrow the selection of submissions down to the top 20 and from that list choose the top three.  Photographing food is always a challenge. It takes time to […]

2012 November 7th

Canada’s Favourite RV Recipes Contest

Go RVing Canada is pleased to present the Favourite RV Recipes Contest.  Go RVing Canada encourages all RV enthusiasts across the country to submit their favourite RV-related recipe for a chance to win one of three amazing prizes! The contest is open to all legal residents of Canada over eighteen (18) years of age, with […]

2012 October 19th

Some of our favorite things

Grilling is one of our favorite ways to cook whether at the test kitchen or on the road with our motorhome. At the test kitchen, we can choose between charcoal, propane, electric, and wood pellets. The dilemma when we are RVing is not all barbecues fit in the motorhome. We have to restrict ourselves to […]