Strong Robust Bold
Confident … Colourful … Loud
Craving the spotlight
Sweet Subtle Delicate
Classy … Elegant
Comfortable and Predictable
Chili Peppers and Pears … symbols of the broad diversity in cooking and dining adventures that are oh, so memorable.
But, more memorable than the taste is the scene. Sharing good food around a table is one of those ties that binds families and friends together, creating a rich and evocative legacy.
Life happens in the kitchen … around the table.
My family experience is no exception. I was fortunate to have grown up on a farm that had wheat in the fields, cows in the barn, and vegetables in the garden. Munching on a carrot freshly extracted from the earth … taking my peapod-filled pockets to the garden swing for a picnic with my dolls … running my hands through the tall stands of dill so that the aroma would stay with me all day …. Delicious memories of childhood. But the best part of all was that I was blessed with a mother who knew what to do with the abundance of the earth, filling our table and our pantry with the prosperity of the season.
As a child, my favourite room in the house was the kitchen, in spite of the reprimands for always being underfoot. The scar on my eyebrow confirms how foolhardy it is to run interference with a hot tray of chocolate chip cookies en route from the oven to the cooling racks.
The appeal of the kitchen has remained a passion for me even after I left the childhood farmhouse and created my own home with my husband and children. Now, with grandchildren making their entrance, I trust that there will be a continuance of the legacy that is being forged with good food and conversation around the table.
Chili Peppers & Pears is my personal website that highlights the diversity of a rich legacy of recipes that carry the aroma of home. Recipes, and the stories that encircle them, are those that have meaning and memory for our family… from the past and into the present time. It is an honour to share our family’s table encapsulated in these recipes ….and then to ensure their safe passage to the next generation.
My name is Alexandra …also known as Alex, or Sandra, to friends and family. I live with my husband Art in the lush beauty of the Lower Mainland of British Columbia. We started with three children – but, as children are wont to do, they became adults and multiplied … and now there are five …as well as three grandchildren.
In my first life, university education resulted in a teaching degree (specializing in Special education) and a Masters degree in Counselling Psychology from the University of Toronto. I have also completed Level I of a Culinary Arts Program. Now, in my second life, I have officially ‘retired’ from teaching; however, I still enjoy part-time work as a counselor in an elementary school. As well, husband Art and I have joined together in a private psychology/counselling practise. These professional commitments are not full-time, so my extra hours are spent in the kitchen…..
At our first kitchen tables, both husband Art and I learned to appreciate and value the traditional tastes of home-cooked meals. Our mothers, (mom Helena and mom Robertina) along with their mothers (our grandmothers), proudly and prudently set the table for their families….a table that not only nourished the body, but one that provided the thread of connection, comfort, and tradition (and not to forget discipline) that has subsequently been woven into the fabric of family. When the tapestry of family life was placed into my hands, there was no doubting that the hub of our life would unfold at our table.
The focus of Chili Peppers & Pears is to maintain a record of our families’ many recipes and traditions….and to preserve the stories that go hand-in-hand with the recipes, making the food even more memorable. There is, however, a continuous evolution of experience and learning that is also a part of a legacy. And so, recipes of our new adventures in cooking and eating will also be shared. Sharing my love of food and cooking is a privilege and an honour.
My Philosophy of Food and Cooking
Food is a symbol of abundance, a reminder of the earth’s bounty.
Food is for our pleasure, nourishing the body and the soul.
No food is forbidden …food is always friendly… never the enemy (unless a medical or allergic condition is present).
Personal responsibility (some call it moderation) prevails when it comes to the details of food consumption.
Real food is always better! Savouring a small serving of real ice cream is better than searching for flavour and satisfaction in a big bowl of a concoction of fat-reduced, artificially enhanced ingredients (dare we call it ‘ice cream’?).
Home-made meals (in spite of appearance or taste) are always better!
Food always tastes better when shared with family and friends around the table.
Get into the kitchen and cook
Come to the table and eat
It has been said that we, first of all, ‘eat with our eyes’. A photo that entices – whets the appetite – and imparts inspiration to get into the kitchen is every cook’s dream. All photos for Chili Peppers & Pears have been provided by husband Art and son Steve, whose artistic flare and creative eyes have enabled recipes to truly come alive.
All photography is copyright Chili Peppers & Pears.
Feedback and Comments
Readers’ feedback is important to me and I invite you to participate by trying out recipes that appeal to you. … and let me know how it turned out! My learning and creative process depends upon constructive feedback and inspiring suggestions …and yours are always welcome. Send me an email, to: firstname.lastname@example.org.