Back in December, my husband and I took an 8 hour drive to my hometown of Winnipeg. It’s a trip we’ve made a good number of times since I moved to Minnesota for him, but this time was different.
All the previous times, we had driven up to visit my grandmother. She had still lived in the house she’d lived in my entire life. It was the house that I’d pretty much grown up in, having been raised by my grandparents for most of my childhood. My room had remained largely unchanged, along with the neighbourhood in general. It was nice to have that sense of familiarity to go back to, especially with living in a foreign country.
Well, this time my grandmother was not there, having sold the house and moved to Alberta. Rather than being a regular visit, this was more of a recovery mission - she had left me a set of very old, nice bedroom furniture, along with miscellaneous relics from my childhood. It was also time for me to say goodbye to my hometown, now no longer having any family ties to it.
We packed the truck with the larger pieces of furniture before indulging in Tony’s Pizza for the very last time. Ahh... Tony’s. My favorite pizza ever. I think it’s the only pizza that is even BETTER the next morning, cold, for breakfast. I miss it...
Anyway, I digress. Among my old camping equipment and schoolbooks, I found something that brightened the whole sad experience for me - a very old stack of Canadian Living magazines. They were all 1980-1982 issues, back from when I was actually too young to read them.
Oh, Canadian Living. How I loved that magazine as a kid! I would look forward to their pull out recipe booklets, lovingly compiling them into binders. I remember my favorite series... it was based on the different provinces/regions in Canada. Every month, there would be a pull out feature on a different province. It was so interesting to read up on the different foods prepared across the country - many of which were things I’d never heard of, or using ingredients that sounded very exotic. I remember obsessing over how I would order them in my binder - Alphabetically? Chronologically, as they were released? From one coast to the other?
I don’t remember what I finally decided on, though I would assume I went chronologically. I’m WAY too OCD about that kind of thing not to have!
Those binders have long since disappeared, even if the memories have not. I can clearly picture some of the articles that stuck with me even a couple decades later. I remember a little “how to” section in the front... it was a blurb in there that taught me how to make my very first crinoline. That helped me later in life, as I went on to design wedding gowns for a living!
I remember an old ad for rum - probably Bacardi - that featured a rum cake recipe. My mother made that cake at least a few times, for special occasions. I remember how much I seriously - SERIOUSLY - disliked that rum cake at the time. I thought rum was HORRIBLE - oh, how times change!
I loved how much information was packed into each issue, and the VARIETY of it. Cooking, sewing, crafts, lifestyle / human interest stories and more - it really appealed to my ADD-addled brain. Also, I loved reading snippets of life from various communities around the country.
I haven’t really had access to the magazine since moving here, up until very recently, when I received a shipment of some back issues. From the Editor in Chief. Oh, how I love Twitter!
As an adult - and as an adult who’s been living away for years! - I find myself with a whole new appreciation for the magazine. I really haven’t come across an equivalent.. It’s like... Martha Stewart crossed with “First” magazine, except that there are a LOT less makeup ads, and all of the women in it look like real people (I CANNOT stress this enough!). The articles are relatable, cover a variety of topics, and include a lot of useful information - gardening tips, how to set up a campsite... Oh, here’s a guide for men on how to set up their paternity leave.
I love it. LOVE it! Oh, and included are the first 2 issues in “Cross Canada Food Tour” series! Not the pullouts I went fairly Gollum over as a kid, but... ahh... happy sighs here. The magazine is more vivid and glossy nowadays, but it’s still everything I loved about it as a kid.
Why am I waxing poetic on a magazine that the vast majority of my readers have probably never heard of?
Well, last night they featured my recipe for Mango Mojito Upside Down Cake as a guest blog entry on their website. I’m not gonna lie, when I found out they’d be doing so, I damn near peed my pants.
Once I collected myself, I realized that such an honor meant a need to bring out the BIG GUNS. I needed a spectacular recipe for them to feature. Which should it be? Well, obviously it should be the greatest cake ever invented, right? Also... how appropriate, given my earlier memories... that I submit a rum cake recipe? 😀
For me, this is one of those momentous career moments, right up there with Wootstock. So... I’m gonna go bask in this warm fuzzy feeling right now, while you go check out the Canadian Living blog entry. Cool?
PS: Buy my books!