British Columbia

We ask 3 notable Canadians about their most memorable meals

Once-imprisoned journalist Mohamed Fahmy tells us about the first thing he ate as a free man as part of our series, Memorable Meals.

Journalist Mohamed Fahmy, author Angie Abdou, Olympic swimmer Taylor Ruck on unforgettable food

On Thanksgiving, many Canadians will enjoy memorable meals. We asked some prominent Canadians about their own memorable meals and how they've shaped their lives. (Jennifer Pallian)

On Thanksgiving, many families and friends will get to know each other a little better over food.

CBC Radio One's Kelowna afternoon program, Radio West, has been getting to know some notable Canadians a little better through its ongoing series, Memorable Meals.

Host Sarah Penton has been asking her guests about their most unforgettable meals. It's not so much about what they ate but about getting to know Canadians behind the headlines.

Here are three of those stories.

Mohahmed Fahmy

Imagine spending more than a year in an Egyptian prison, falsely accused.

Imagine spending 438 days of thinking about what you will do when — or if — you get out.

That was Egyptian-Canadian Mohamed Fahmy's ordeal. For him, his most memorable meal was the one he ate in a Cairo bar after he was released from prison.

"I took a photo of the steak with mashed potatoes, peppercorn sauce and I had a caesar on the side," Fahmy said. "I really missed that food: warm, good food."

Prison food, he said, was horrible. Bread, a slice of white cheese, boiled eggs once a week and sometimes beans.

Compared to that, the loud Cairo bar, music pumping and people everywhere was heaven.

"It was something that I dreamt of. Literally," he said. "You take so many things for granted."

Journalist Mohamed Fahmy, author Angie Abdou, Olympic swimmer Taylor Ruck on unforgettable food. 12:15

Angie Abdou

Acclaimed writer Angie Abdou, who has published novels, short story collections and most recently, a memoir, has a chilling story to tell about her most memorable meal.

It was Valentine's Day with her then-boyfriend, Marty Hafke, about 16 years ago.

"He invited me to go winter camping. And I hate winter. Period," Abdou said.

The two hiked up Castle Mountain in the Rockies to camp out under the full moon.

She said it was "hard, sweaty work." The climb was steep, they didn't have a rope and it was deep snow and —30 C.

But Hafke surprised her by somehow packing and carrying up nice chairs, a portable oven and ingredients for extravagant, gourmet pizzas — like blue cheese and mushrooms — and even champagne.

It was memorable for one other reason: on that frozen night on Castle Mountain, Hafke proposed to her.

Author Angie Abdou (right) in a photo with now-husband Marty Hafke. (Angie Abdou)
Journalist Mohamed Fahmy, author Angie Abdou, Olympic swimmer Taylor Ruck on unforgettable food 6:46

Taylor Ruck

Taylor Ruck is a medal-winning swimmer at both the Olympic and Commonwealth games. She is now looking to the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo after tying a record at this year's Commonwealth Games in Australia by taking home eight medals.

Her most memorable meal was on Australia's Gold Coast, just before the Commonwealth Games, at a seaside restaurant. She ate salmon, salad and what she called the best fries of her life.

But what made this a memorable meal was the rare chance to connect with what she calls her "Canadian family" of athletes. Ruck was born in Kelowna but has spent most of her life in the U.S.

"Training and gaining memorable experiences like this meal, with this amazing group of people, has shaped who I am today," Ruck said. "For that, I am beyond grateful."

Canadian swimmer Taylor Ruck (right) with teammate Kayla Sanchez in Australia for the 2018 Commonwealth Games. (Taylor Ruck)
Journalist Mohamed Fahmy, author Angie Abdou, Olympic swimmer Taylor Ruck on unforgettable food. 8:16

With files from CBC Radio One's Radio West