Who is CJ?
Welcome to my Kitchen!
I love all things food…I have ever since I can remember.
During my teenage years, I grew up in rural Canada. We lived in a stone house on a dirt road and, believe it or not, for the first few years that we lived there, we actually had a party line.
Our family grew a large garden (which I hated weeding, but don’t most teenagers?), canned everything, made sauerkraut, (even tried our hand at root beer until every bottle blew up!) and bought ‘local’ long before it was trendy – in fact, it was just something most families in our area did.
Across the road was a field with a dilapidated wooden fence where wild grapes grew that we made into delicious grape jelly; the ditches on both sides of the dirt road sprouted the tastiest wild asparagus every spring.
Less than a mile from us lived farmer Irwin McCargar, who, for years, sold us unpasteurized milk, fresh farm eggs, and sweet corn. A little further down was Mountain Orchards – an apple orchard where we’d buy the freshest juiciest apple cider every fall and pick summer sweet strawberries and raspberries. Even further down from the orchard lived Farmer Dave, who sold us a half a beef once a year along with the biggest fattest chickens ever.
Into our cold stone basement would go all manner of jams, potatoes, canned tomatoes, pickles and relishes, and so many other good things. The freezer was stocked with fruit pies, loaves of homemade bread, garden peas and corn, beef roasts and steaks, side pork, chops and roasts, whole fat chickens, and venison stewing meat and roasts.
COVID-19 brought me...as I'm sure many of you...back to our roots.
It has given us a moment to bring down the pace...cook from scratch, perhaps bring back some of those old-fashioned values, and appreciate a home-cooked meal.
I hope that my recipes and cookbooks help you to expand your own cooking repertoire, open a whole new world of cooking possibilities, and bring delicious home cooked meals to your family table.
Enjoy, stay safe, and serve your family beautiful meals.
For the past 30 years, CJ’s focus has been on telling the story behind the food --- with her cookbooks, recipes, photography, and food articles. Her first cookbook, TASTE: Seasonal Dishes from a Prairie Table, won the World Gourmand Cookbook Award for Best First Cookbook (English Canada) and short-listed for the Taste Canada Cookbooks Awards in 2013.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, she released her second and third cookbooks – ONE LOAF AT A TIME and ONE BOWL AT A TIME – two volumes bound into a unique double-sided flip book. Woven throughout are personal stories of perseverance, and anecdotes on COVID-19 - along with CJ’s recipes and those of 61 other seasoned cooks from across Canada. Together they are a 'time capsule' of a very unique moment in our history.
CJ is the culinary host and TV chef of the Wheatland Café (CTV), now in its 15th season. She is a food and BBQ judge, has written for national newspapers and magazines, and is a consultant to Air Canada’s enRoute Magazine. She lives in Regina with her husband, Michael, son, Ben, and her dog, Jack.