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Your Challenges
December 2011- Archives

By Kyla Hanington

It was like sex. I mean, drunken sex. I mean, sex with a stranger one night, home from the bar. His home or your home? Whichever is closer.  It was, I mean, my first experience with the marriage between pleasure and shame. I like this. And doing this makes me...

George, Neil, Two Chickens and Me by Signe Langford

I gave up meat at 13 as an act of hero worship. George Harrison was vegetarian, so I would be too.Dinner that night was Mother's boiled chicken - something I absolutely loved, but for George, I would forgo the tender meat and rich broth.At 34 I came limping back -...

Les Petits Mitrons by Mylène St-Pierre

"You will go into les Abbesses and find Rue LePic.  Then, up the street towards Basilique Sacré Cœur. Find a pastry shop called Les Petits Mitrons. Purchase a savory and a sweet pastry. Then, find a spot offering a view of la Basilique." A man I had been briefly dating was...

Don't You Like Our Food? by Jorlene Thiessen

The bowl makes a complete circuit, no takers this time around. "What's wrong? Don't you like our food?" It's a standing joke in our family now, but it originated with my grandparents, who took it personally when someone dared to refuse a third helping of their hearty Mennonite food.Much of...

Desperation Scones by Penelope Dewar

During those few fine years of my childhood when we lived in a thatched cottage near one of the oldest inhabited spots in England, I developed a fondness for scones. I succumbed to the ancient charms of golden rich quick breads that taste like home. In the old coach house, the...

Braai by Veronica Sharpe

We call it a Braai. It's the equivalent to a barbecue. The cost of meat is ridiculous in Zimbabwe and therefore, it's a treat. Family gather in the front yard carrying coolers. All the children are running around sipping on Fanta to stay cool. It's hot, mid-afternoon sun burning. Uncles...

Brotherly Reflex by Nina Kabatoff

Nina, help me put the food on the table, my chubby mama yells to my bedroom.I come out wearing a yellow happy face t-shirt, a bothersome training bra and wide-legged jeans.Mother has white stressed out hair, gold cat-eyed glasses, a polyester flowered shirt and royal blue pants. Roast beef, brussel...

Lost and Found by Eleanor Thomas

My partner and I strode through the saloon door side by side and paused just inside. The buzz of conversation died like air escaping from a balloon, and dozens of weather-hardened faces turned to stare. But this wasn't Dodge City in 1883. This was a village perched on a Peloponnesus...

Baba's Holopchi by Jo-Ann Samo

Christmas was always an extraordinary time when Baba was alive. My mother, aunt and I would gather a day in advance at the crack of dawn to make holpchi (cabbage rolls), a traditional Ukrainian dish. We'd file into my grandmother's basement to find countless cabbage heads bobbing in boiling water...

Risotto by Danielle Gregoire

When we were in love he made me risotto. I was twenty years old and this was the only risotto I knew. He made it with Texas long grain rice. His secret ingredient was Worcestershire sauce. He always garnished it Havarti cheese. It was his specialty; his gourmet. I loved...

Mango by Paul Mitchell

The mangoes glistened like gold bullion in the African sun on this desolate stretch of no man's land in Ethiopia.  Weary, parched, hungry, in the waning afternoon we had not seen any place to eat since we left in early morning. The driver stopped when we spotted the mangoes, all...

The Pantry by Glynis Sharpe

The Pantry was much bigger once you stepped inside. The enchanting smell of garlic escaped every time the door opened. Food in our home was mostly homemade. Homemade sauces, cookies and bread. So, looking in the pantry was pointless because all you could hope to find was floor, cans and spices...

Maggie Panko's first job

Like many teenaged Canadians, my first job was at McDonald's.  Unlike the majority of those same Canadians, I got fired.   Back then I wouldn't talk about it. McDonald's was the youth employment catch-all, a factory for start-up resumes and grey meat.   My best childhood friend worked her way up...

Minted Sacrificial Lamb by Deborah Whelan

It's our third date and Malcolm has invited me to dinner at his apartment in downtown St. John's. I smell mint, rosemary, thyme as he opens the door. Bonus, I sigh. This man knows his way around a spice rack.Then the underlying aroma breaks through: lamb. And suddenly I'm ten...

A Street Meet Food Adventure in Bangkok by Allen McAvoy

It's just past dusk as we round the corner on one of the narrow side streets off Bangkok's Sukhumvit Road and frantically scan the neon-filled, bustling soi for street meat.My friend is unfazed by the aromatic gauntlet but then he's lived in Bangkok for three years. It's my first night...

Girls Versus Janitor by Katrina Johnston

During the winter of 1963, I joined a gang of grade-four girls who plotted schoolyard domination. We laid our sieges upon the ice and snow of Mount View Elementary in North East Calgary. Our opponent, the school janitor, Mr. Sadakowski, found himself deployed as an army of one against many....

Inside Out Under a Winter Sky by Chris Nelson

It seemed a reasonable decision at the time. Never having worn skates, joining the company hockey team would be a good way to learn to skate. I thought it odd they'd even ask me. But after only a few months I'd discovered Canadians were nice that way - very inclusive. Then I learned...

Marco Polo by Robert Christopher

It was cold at the top of that mountain.  They called it the top of the world.  My last hunter died and because of that we never got paid.  Worse - the Russians never got paid.  This time we brought a small sausage-shaped inflatable tent so that if this guy,...

Christmas in Japan by Rhonda Collis

In Sendai, Japan, close to the epicentre of the most recent earthquake, winter is very similar to our own in southern Canada with temperatures dipping below freezing and snowfalls that stick. It was because of the climate that my husband and I chose to live there for a year in...

A December night in Quebec by Jamie Mason

A December night in Quebec, and not the pretty kind. Rust-eaten vehicles howl the ice-choked highway as salt smeared road-signs stand guard. The air hangs humid-cold, the kind that creeps up pant-legs and down parka sleeves like a layer of North Atlantic sea-water. Warm in the back seat of my...

Kid in a Candy Store by Ronald Kurki

Our "Over 50 Hockey Team" begins playing on Sunday night and I heard that there was adult skating at the arena this afternoon.  Thinking that I should get a jump on some of those younger guys as I am already collecting a couple of pensions I decided to go out...

An Instant on Lake Temagami by Philip LiWei Chen

Let's stop here. I have never guided winter outdoor experiential education the way I am this time: more aware of the environment.  Doesn't it sound like an obvious thing to do?  I think so - as I huddle close with a group of grade 10s.  Our arms link in a circular...

Girls Versus Janitor by Katrina Johnston

During the winter of 1963, I joined a gang of grade-four girls who plotted schoolyard domination. We laid our sieges upon the ice and snow of Mount View Elementary in North East Calgary. Our opponent, the school janitor, Mr. Sadakowski, found himself deployed as an army of one against many....