Saturday, June 30, 2012

LCBO Food & Drink Magazine - Summer Issue 2012

Don't judge a book by it's cover.

If it wasn't for my bi-monthly habit, I am not sure I would have picked up the Summer issue of LCBO's Food & Drink this time around. The sand dollar cookies in a brown sugar 'sand setting' conjured up feelings of baking heat, beating sun and just plain sweaty. It seemed faded. Too beige. Too much like burnt July.

Maybe a tall, cool glass of something from the prop stylist could have grabbed me and drawn me in. I am someone who needs a big splash of vibrant colours to sell me 'summer'. So where was the colour? It was tucked inside. And, thankfully, lots of it.

Perhaps the heat is getting to me, but there were other things that seemed jarring with this issue of LCBO's Food and Drink.

In Grade Eh Wine & Cheese by James Chatto and Pat Crocker, Pat's beautiful recipes would go totally unnoticed if you didn't read every word of the article. There was no tag line with the picture, naming the recipe, to draw you in. I happen to be a big Pat Crocker fan, currently working my way through her book, Preserving. But tell me, when you were flipping through the pages, did you notice any of these?
  • Chunky Fruit & Nut Biscotti
  • Confit of Fennel & Sweet Onion
  • Gooseberry-Melon Relish
  • Dried Cherry Chutney
The cheeses chosen for the article are some of my favourite (including Lacey Grey from the now defunct Fifth Town Artisan Cheese dairy, as of early May. Darn those deadlines that are months ahead of the publication release date.) But I can't help but think that it would be more than the well-matched wine that would showcase their beautiful flavours. Pat is a true talent with preserves. Her flavour combinations can give a dish that special je ne sais quoi. Dig deep to find her recipes and do give them a try. Better yet, buy her book, Preserving.

One of the problems with a publication that comes out every 8 to 10 weeks, it is hard to know what recipes to pitch, to make sure they are relevant and timely. For produce that tends to yield on the cusp of two issues or a year that has unseasonal weather, recipes can end up in the 'wrong issue'. A real challenge for writers and editors. I was thrilled to see such coveted recipes as Stockyards Spareribs and Hardy's Pulled Pork, in Smoke Signals by Nancy Won & Lucy Waverman. I just wished that they had been in the Early Summer issue as our barbecue season has been well underway for months.

Another case of 'which issue' might also be the playlist. At the beginning of May we were prepping our playlists for the Olympics, set to begin the end of July - then months away. Meanwhile the hot weather came so early. I always look forward to what Rick Sherman and Earl Torno pull together. This time they rallied around the "sounds of summer". A hot weather classic favourite for me is (Sittin' On) The Dock of the Bay by Otis Redding. Check out the entire list on iTunes.

Enough of my quibbles and on to the fun stuff. Included in your cellophane is the Wine Country Ontario Travel Guide 2012. It includes a very handy Official Map of Ontario's Wine Route. Tuck it in your car now before it folds into your stacks of magazines, only to surface at the time of the great culling.

Doesn't Brenda Morrison have the best job, searching out 'must haves' for her column Inspired Ideas? With tattoos all the rage now, I wouldn't let her Signature Styles feature, a cattle style branding iron, anywhere near my 20-something-crowd on a party night! It is meant only to brand your dinner meats. The device does come with three letters. If that is your party gig, then might I suggest you consider an M and an O and an other M, when picking your letters!

Some additional recipes I will keep on my radar:
  • Fresh Corn Cakes with Avocado Tartare and Triple Berry Summer Tiramisu (From On the Waterfront by Monda Rosenberg)
  • Lamb Keema with Single Fry and Papas Rellena with Aji Picante (From Eats from the Street by Christopher St. Onge)
Plan ahead: The Autumn issue hits the stores in 10 weeks on Wednesday, September 5th.

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