Monday, July 14, 2008

Pink n' Pretty Fruit Medley and Other Favorites

One of the first books my mom bought when she immigrated to Canada in 1971 was The New Purity Cook Book: The Complete Guide to Canadian Cooking. My parents moved from Japan to Lethbridge, what was then a small town in southern Alberta. Ingredients to make traditional Japanese meals were scarce and expensive back then so my mom had to learn how to cook with what was available locally. In addition to its easy-to-follow recipes, The New Purity Cook Book includes a seasonal calendar for fruits and vegetables and step-by-step instructions on how to preserve them for the winter. Cooking terms like “fold,” “simmer,” and “whip” are defined and hand drawn illustrations show how to measure flour and grease a cake pan. It’s here where my mom learned how to make holiday treats like almond crescents and snowballs and salads like pink n’ pretty fruit medley, a combination of fruits set in a raspberry flavored jelly powder mold. During the day when my dad was at work, my mom also learned how to cook “Canadian” food from a German woman (or Russian…she can’t remember) who had a daily cooking show on the Lethbridge television channel. The woman’s recipes were available at the local meat market where my mom would pick them up after the show and try to replicate them in her kitchen.

When I was about 3 years old, my family moved to Vancouver. Six years ago, my parents moved back to southern Alberta. Lethbridge is a much bigger city now with a thriving Japanese community. Even though Japanese cooking ingredients are easy to find now, my mom still uses her old cook book. The book’s binding fell off years ago and the hard cover and pages are now held together with Scotch tape but it’s in here that you’ll find some of our family’s favorite recipes, each marked with my mom’s familiar handwriting.

Caroline and I have been visiting my parents for the last two weeks. We head back to Lansing tomorrow morning. Whenever I come home, my mom makes my favorite foods, both Japanese and Canadian. She didn’t make the pink n’ pretty fruit medley (we haven’t had that for years) but Caroline did get a chance to try her Chicken à l’Orange and other dishes that I love. Some of the recipes are in The New Purity Cook Book but most are in her head. I’ve posted a few on Caroline’s Lunchbox Recipes.


Anonymous said...

Welcome back, Betty! I have MISSED your blogs.


Toby said...

Betty, great blog. I love this story about your mom. I'll make you the pink N' pretty when you come visit me. And I can relate to Caroline, last winter I was all about the string cheese and right now, I'm just not feeling it.


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