Being a proud Torontoian, nothing brings me more shame then our current mayor Rob Ford. Otherwise known as the ‘crack smoking mayor’. My friend Tony Nappo and his scene stealer daughter made this great video using Ford quotes. It is well worth a watch. With the looming mayoral election, my top picks are Olivia Chow, Richard Underhill and/or Sketchy the Clown. To be honest, anything would be better then what we currently have. Just sayin’.
My favourite place in any apartment/flat/house is the kitchen. You can deduce a lot about a person on what’s in their kitchen. I spent many days chopping, rolling, stirring and baking up recipes. Every party would inevitably end up with 20+ people in my tiny kitchen when I had a sizeable and comfortable living room. Maybe it has something to do with out primal self wanting to gather around a fire together, maybe it’s because that’s where the cold drinks are? Whatever the reason, I miss those moments.
I was lucky enough to be invited to a get together a few weeks ago with a group of diverse and remarkable women. We crammed ourselves around a kitchen table and over delicious food, drinks and copious cups of tea, we chatted away. Topics included (in no particular order): sex (obviously), friendship, gender sensitivity, species of chicken and science!
London is a remarkable city, with incredible people from all over the world. I often wish there were more places where you could sit, relax and make a meal. I’ve started inviting myself over to people’s house to make dinner and create more of those moments. I can’t wait until I have a proper kitchen again and a kitchen table that seats 4 – 6. Just you wait!
For those that don’t know, I’m allergic to wheat and dairy. I have been for 9 years. I thought I’d throw up some tasty treat tonight. Living in London – they have everyday bread products covered. English muffins, baguettes, bread, scones – all a wheat and dairy free (often not vegan so keep your eyes peeled on the label). But one of the things I miss from Toronto is the decadent sweets. Bunners incredible muffins, donuts, cinnamon rolls and cupcakes, Sweet from the Earth chocolate caramel bars and date squares. I will definitely be making a Bunners run when I come to town in a few weeks.
I recently adapted a Michael Smith Food Network recipe to rustle up some spelt dairy free cinnamon rolls. I definitely cheated and used vegan Betty Crocker icing. Don’t judge me. I can feel your judging eyes!
I refuse to buy baking utensils since I’ll have to move in a few months and own all that shit anyway in a bin in Toronto, but here’s the original recipe in case you’d like to rock and roll – get it?! (I love a good pun.)
I substituted the butter for coconut oil, flour for spelt flour and halved the whole thing. I used a pot for a bowl, a water bottle for a rolling pin and they turned out mighty delicious.
If you’re looking for tasty treats here in London in the meantime, I highly recommend the Free From bakery at the Borough Market for vegan GF DF rocky road squares, the polenta cake at Look Mum No Hands on Old Street and the chocolate chip mandarin loaf readily available at many retailers/cafes and markets. It’s very moist! I often buy it at the farmers market every Thursday at Torrington Place near UCL.
I’ve been thinking about community a lot lately. How you build a life? Friendship requirements. Worthiness. I moved to London with a motley crew of acquaintances and find myself feeling more and more settled. I keep asking myself, “what’s changed?”
I’ve had a couple of friends ask for some tips on moving continents so here are a couple that seem relevant this week:
1. You’re never ready. You’ll repack your bag at least four times and you’ll forget at least five things. “Man, if only I had that *insert item of clothing/or piece of loved junk here*.” It’s ok. It’s just stuff, you can buy/sell/replace stuff. Or friends can bring it with them on follow up trips.
2. Take people up on their offers of friendship. If your cousin, friend, colleague, casual acquaintance, barista or dry cleaner offer to connect you with a friend or relative of theirs – TAKE IT! You never know. So and so’s bff from when they were 12 could turn out to be your fav brunch buddy in a new place. It’s like when you see someone knows people you know on Facebook. They are vetted and are less likely to be cray cray.
3. I know you hate ‘cold calling’ people, but get over it. Email those weak tie potential friends. Go to a Meetup and then judge whether or not you want to join from a corner in the bar. If the meetup is lame, make friends with the bartender (strategic friendship).
4. Put some work in. Friendships and business relationships take effort. You need to put some time and love into fostering that connection. Check in to see how people are doing by email, text or phone. Whether or not you can get together, it shows you’re thinking of them.
That’s my poetic waxing on a Friday friend. Be indulgent. Be kind to yourself take some risks. Here’s some ukulele music for you.