“the decision to buy” by Sasha at her desk

Sunday November 11, 2018
6:23pm
5 minutes
Full Throttle
Stephanie Wallcraft

I give myself one big splurge a week. It can be a steak from Whole Foods or that fancy butcher downtown (I would never tell anyone this, but sometimes totalling $27. $27!) Or, a fancy overpriced sandwich from a fancy overpriced cafe, but come on! They serve their sandwiches on silver plates that look like your grandmother might’ve eaten off of them and yet somehow they miraculously sparkle! It’s probably someone’s job to shine those plates. Good grief. In winter I splurge on beverages – tumeric vanilla lattes and such that come to $7. $7! That’s why I only give myself a splurge a week. Once I’ve had my splurge, I make a note in my calendar exactly one week from that date. That’s when I’m allowed my next one.

“street cake!” By Sasha at her kitchen table


Friday August 25, 2017
9:12pm
5 minutes
From a text

I preheat the oven while you select a record. I’m not sure what exactly you choose, we’ve been hitting up garage sales, but it’s sexy and it’s got vocals and some horns, so it’s all good. You asked for cake this morning, and all day at work I dreamed about what wouldn’t require softened butter. I dreamed about caramel and vanilla, or, chocolate, yes! Chocolate. I use coconut oil because it’s so very good for you and I sift the ingredients and you watch me and sometimes grab at me and I push you away but only for now.

“ten years ago” by Sasha on her couch


Friday January 13, 2016
12:28am
5 minutes
From an Instagram post

My father asks for his muffin
warmed up with butter on the side
The harmonies of the voices in the cafe
don’t distract him or me
I watch him spread the gold
across the steaming centre
and I laugh with the memory

a finished plate of pie
crumbs and streaks of ivory
vanilla ice cream like snow
his tongue the plough
cleaning the bone china
his mother passed down

“Hurry down the chimney tonight” by Sasha on Nadeem’s bed in Mississauga


Saturday December 24, 2016
3:59pm
5 minutes
Overheard on the radio

I bake bread because I believe bread
and I believe in sourdough starter that sits in
a jar in the back of the fridge until I remember
to feed it asking so little
I believe in natural yeast
and the power of time passing
I bake bread because it takes so long
and going to the store is so easy
I bake bread because it’s expensive and messy
and flour always ends up in my hair
I make bread because
I believe in the ancient
traditions of kneading and rising and baking
I believe in the slow task of refining the recipe
of making it my own
of weighing rye and red fife
and measuring salt

“I’m not sure what you’re talking about” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Friday October 7, 2016
12:14am
5 minutes
overheard on Oak St.

I’m not sure why… I guess, it’s always been a dream. I thought I wouldn’t do it until I had some sort of stability, until James or I were doing really well and we wouldn’t be sinking everything we have into it, but… Well, we’re doing just that and I have no regrets. Lots of people say, “You must be crazy to go into business with your husband!” “You must be crazy to open a restaurant!” “You must to CRAZY!” And, well, maybe they are right… I don’t know. But what I do know is that I’ve never been so excited for something in my life.

“provide reasonable protection” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Thursday, September 1, 2016
9:51pm
5 minutes
From an external hard drive warranty

Margie adds a scoop of cumin to the chilli and watches a cardinal land on the big old maple that has seen it all. Craig putters in the basement. Jazz plays on the radio. She hasn’t been cooking much this winter, what with the tragedy at the school, and so many long hours. It feels good to have soaked the beans, stewed the tomatoes, chopped the garlic, onions, peppers and sweet potato, and toasted the spices, just the way her mother taught her. There won’t be cornbread, but there will be a thick nest of old cheddar on top. “Almost ready?” Craig calls up. He’s hungry, having met with a struggling student through his lunch break, causing him to forget to eat. Margie often finds sandwiches in Craig’s briefcase from days before. She shakes her head. He cares so much, she thinks, putting turkey and swiss, ham and cucumber, rye with almond butter and banana, right into the compost pail on the counter.

“tossing rolled oats” by Sasha standing in her kitchen


Sunday February 21, 2016
1:34pm
5 minutes
From a recipe

I show you I love you by toasting the pecans before putting them on top of your fruit and granola I show you I love you by making you chocolate you can actually eat with coconut oil and honey and cacao nibs I show you I love you by flipping your eggs over easy I show you I love you by making bread with sprouted flour and pumpkin seeds I show you I love you by leaving you a salad in the fridge with as much protein as you’ll need after a workout I show you I love you by buying you so much peanut butter (I never knew someone could eat so much peanut butter)

“Hard to hand over the reins” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Friday November 27, 2015
5:17pm
5 minutes
The Vancouver Sun
Friday, November 27, 2015


When you teach me how to make your mother’s guacamole and salsa verde, when you show me how to carve a jalapeño open and scrape out the seeds, I’m finally getting to know you. I wanna dance around your kitchen like Swan Lake, I’m so excited. “I know you now,” I say. You smile, and hand me an avocado. It’s the first time I’m at your place, and it’s bigger than I’d imagined. It makes sense. I don’t read into the fact that you don’t have a roommate. I don’t make assumptions about your past, your bank account, or your job. I know you work in consulting. That’s enough. This is enough. You feed me a freshly fried tortilla, topped with our salsa and a leaf of cilantro. I close my eyes, savouring the spice and the juiciness of the green tomatoes.

“If you catch some salmon in October” by Sasha on the 99 going East


Tuesday March 3, 2015
11:12am
5 minutes
Cascadia
Ramon Esquivel


If you catch some salmon, I’ll grill it up real good… I’m also a really good baker. I make excellent Christmas cookies and cookies with cashews and… Why do I feel like I’m trying to impress you? I’m not trying to impress you. I’m just… Food is something I know. I am good with food. I’m not so good with people. I’m better with cracking an egg. I’m better with cutting up an onion or a carrot or…

Look – if you’d like to come over, I will make you a really delicious soup. Oh… I’m not hitting on you. I don’t even like women. I barely like men, I just… If I was going to make you a soup, I’d make you a coconut Thai curry with tofu and lemongrass. You look like one of those people – who can handle a little bit of spice but doesn’t want anything that’s going to smack you on the chin.

You can tell a lot about someone by the kind of soup they eat.

“Share with a friend!” by Sasha on the bus home


Wednesday November 26, 2014
9:14pm
5 minutes
from a thank you card

When my mother makes soup she chops up everything in the fridge – even the rejected broccoli florets in the crisper corner – and she lets it simmer and she adds salt and pepper only at the very end.

“Two eggs and one piece of whole grain toast has been my breakfast for forty six years… Why would I change that now?”

When my mother goes grocery shopping she organizes her grocery list by type. “Fruit”, “Meat”, “Dairy”, “Treats”.

“Snacking causes obesity.”

When my mother makes salad dressing, she chops up garlic very finely. She refuses to use a garlic press. “Lazy,” she calls them.

“Take this banana bread and share it with a friend! I don’t want it!”
“Well then why did you make it?”
“I wanted one or two pieces, not the whole loaf! If it sits on the counter, I just eat it!”

When my mother orders tea in a restaurant she says, “Bag out, please.”

“STAY THOUGHTFUL” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Tuesday April 29, 2014
7:01pm
5 minutes
The Holiday Inn note pad

When I look in your fridge I get to know you better.
And that feels good.
That shouldn’t have to be a clandestine, secretive thing.
Right?
I see the probiotics on the back of the shelf…
(Probably from when you had strep throat and were on antibiotics for two weeks. Your mother called and told you that you needed to get the good bacteria back into your body. You listened. For once.)
I see the two dozen eggs.
Who eats that many eggs?
“I have two soft boiled eggs, three pieces of flax toast and an orange for breakfast every single day,” you say, not the least bit defensive.
I see the ketchup, the mustard, the Sriricha, the mayo. You must make a mean burger. You must top it with all these delicious things.
No pickles. No yogurt. No apples.
I see the head of romaine, the spinach, the cilantro.
You’re on a salad kick.
I get it.
I see the thoughtful way you organize your sandwich meats.

“that they might have life” by Sasha at her desk


Thursday April 17, 2014
4:02pm
5 minutes
John 10:10

This is the time of year for fiddleheads
Or it should be
If winter would finally melt away once and for all
This is the time that the fiddleheads grow on the banks of the river
Peeking through the moist ground
I’ve heard that if you close your eyes and listen
You can hear the earth opening
They can grow four inches in a day
Fiddleheads taste like asparagus’ illusive cousin
Related distantly to mushrooms
And broccoli
They are my mother’s favourite
She used to steam them
Half an inch of water in the bottom of the pot
Just a few minutes
They should still crunch
She’d spoon a bit of butter
A sprinkle of salt
Fiddleheads are coming
There are no fiddlehead farms
Really
Just foragers who find them
And sell them
Who can make a pretty penny
On those early spring days
When we so crave something from the earth
Close by to where we life

“Looking at those thin winter trees” by Sasha on her couch


Sunday February 23, 2014
3:28pm
5 minutes
Cairo Blues
Leif Vollebekk


If I opened my kitchen cupboards, I’d feel exposed, I’d feel excited, I’d feel giggly and sweaty-palmed. You’d see smoked paprika and pink sea salt first, truffle salt second, alongside pumpkin seeds and peppercorns. The small, red sesame grinder rests nearby, no doubt a small pile of ground seeds under her bottom. Behind that is a can of chickpeas, a can of kidney beans, a small can of tomato paste. A jar of popcorn kernels, nearly forgotten because I’ve forbidden Sam from burning another one of my favourite pots. Powdered kale, made by my mother, a small jar of her famous corn relish, corn shucked by me, small husk dolls made by Sam. On the second shelf are the oils and vinegars, the wet things that bring balance and provide lubrication in the roasting pan – Palestinian olive oil, organic balsamic, Umeboshi, grapeseed oil. Some people pride themselves on their shoes, or their books or their antiques. The things I hold dear rest on our tongues and go down our throats to our thankful bellies. The places I go, away from the thin winter trees, are carried on spoonfuls of coconut butter and sprinkles of cardamon.