My mom got stopped at the airport in Helsinki. They told her she needed a visitor visa to travel to Canada to see her kids for Christmas. Rest assured, an easy fix, but apparently irreparably complicated by her permanent resident status in Canada - a vestige of her previous life in the 1990s when she last lived here. For geopolitical reasons that defy my earnest Canadian mind this meant that she couldn’t come visit for Christmas this year. Naturally, I blame Trump. He’s the Grinch and he ruined my mother’s Christmas.
They say right before you die of hypothermia you feel warm. That's kind of what I think drinking eggnog is like.
And so in this post I give a nod to eggnog. Consuming eggnog is like being hugged from the inside out during a blizzard. They say that right before you die of hypothermia you feel warm. That’s kind of what I think drinking eggnog is like. Consisting of egg yolks, sugar, milk and rum, it’s basically all the elements of a hearty cake. You just ditch the flour and sub in booze.
“What do runners eat?”
Maybe I was just peckish. Or maybe I was subconsciously preparing for my conversion to a “real” runner. Whatever the case, this thought occurred to me shortly after I registered for my first running race in the fall of 2017. The race wasn’t your typical 5k charity fun run, either. It was the East Coast Trail Ultra Marathon, a 50 km race on the sinuous East Coast Trail which skirts the rugged coastline of Newfoundland’s most eastern shoreline. And so in the length of time it takes for a confirmation email to travel to an inbox, I started to question my decision of becoming an ultra-runner. Suddenly weighing heavy on my mind was the fact that I had done exactly no running training whatsoever at that point in my running career. To stand a chance in the race I would clearly have to start running (a lot) and I would have to adapt quickly to life as a runner. Among other things, I realized, that would mean eating the right food.
And to teach the tenets of camping cooking I give a special nod to a cult classic novel written by Jack Kerouac. In it, Kerouac describes his account of the “most delicious meal of all time,” cooked at the base of a mountain in the high Sierras of California the night before attempting to climb it. In homage to this story, I recreate the meal before the biggest climb of my life, which I completed in the Rocky Mountains just a few weeks ago. Cooking and the outdoors, in turns out, go hand in hand.
This post is about the spruce tip. Click "Read More" to find out what it is, when to pick it, and to get some inspiration for what to do with it in your kitchen.
The structure is designed to make you stop and think. And as my Russian driver informed me on the ride from the airport, it's about all a visitor like me was permitted to do. Entry to this facility is prohibited for the general public. Which only served to heighten my interest in this mysterious concrete aberration. And so during my three-week stay in Svalbard I was inspired to learn as much as I could about it. This post tells the story of what I learned about the Svalbard Global Seed Bank.
And its story doesn’t end here. The mysterious wakame leads a second life: one in the kitchen, where it has played an incredible role in cooking traditions going back hundreds of years. Wakame and other seaweeds are essential ingredients in dashi, the Japanese stock which forms the basis of many of that nation’s favourite soups and stews. It was seaweed that led researchers to discover the so-called “fifth taste,” umami, which has since been found in many other foods like Parmesan cheese and cured meats.
This post is the first in a series about edible seaweeds. I’ll let you know what I’ve learned from my recent adventures out to the frozen beaches of Newfoundland in search of sea vegetables - and what I’ve done with them back at home to prepare them as ingredients for food.
I'm Erik, the Burnt Chef. I'm a Finnish-born Newfoundlander living in Norway. I have a passion for cooking and a deep fascination for the culinary history of the North. Simplicity guides my cooking. Time, place, and history guide my storytelling. This is my personal blog about food.