skiing in watson lake and meat that gets bathed

Dear Uma: You're right, Canadian politics are different. My opinion of our Parliament being shut down can be summed up with one image, that of the baloney fleeing the slicer.

Dear Uma:

You’re right, Canadian politics are different. My opinion of our Parliament being shut down can be summed up with one image, that of the baloney fleeing the slicer. Beyond that, what is there to say? The Canadian public is not prepared to exercise their democratic right to vote out the current government – in troubled economic times, better the devil one knows seems to be the rule people are following.

I find I am much more concerned about you getting Botox injections. Now, what is that about? I have never known you to care about such matters, probably due to the fact you are one of those fortunate women who can be said to possess “natural beauty.”

You’re getting weird in your old age, Uma; first the Christian thing and now this new obsession with aging. It can be safely said your horses don’t care you are getting some wrinkles, and they see you more than anyone else. As for your fear Andrew is having an affair with one of his students, I hardly think so. Other than the certainty he is mad about you even after all these years, there is the time factor to consider: the man simply doesn’t have time for an affair.

Maybe it is the knowledge you will soon be a grandma that is causing this new attentiveness to the mirror. As your best friend, I don’t want to be dismissive about your worries, but take some time to really consider before going deeper into the world of cosmetic procedures that require a doctor, OK?

We have finally got more snow; the skiers are happy and the shovellers less so, but it is undeniably pretty.

Speaking of skiing, I heard our local facility does not always welcome out-of-town skiers.

A fellow from Whitehorse wanted to give his family a little treat holiday and brought them to Watson Lake for a weekend of skiing. He, his wife and their two children arrived at the hill only to be told they could not ski because there were school children skiing that day. He asked when he and his family could ski, and was told perhaps later in the day.

They checked into a hotel and had some lunch and went back to the hill around 2:30 p.m. This time the fellow at the chalet was even less helpful and was indeed barely civil. He told them if they felt they really had to ski, come back the following night for night skiing.

The family spent that night in their hotel room and decided the next day to go to the Liard Hot Springs. They did, had a wonderful time, and returned to their hotel in time to suit up for some night skiing. Once again at the hill, they were told no one had shown up and there would be no skiing at all that evening.

Finally, according to the person who told me the story, the man was fed up. He told the guy what he could do with his ski hill, gathered up his disappointed family and drove back to Whitehorse.

I am not a skier and so have virtually nothing to do with the facility, other than availing myself of a hamburger there at least once each season, but I would think the club would welcome skiers from outside the community. It’s a little economic shot in the arm for the local businesses, if nothing else.

The really unfortunate part of this tale is the fellow in question has a highly public job in Whitehorse and, given the readiness and ease with which he told us of the experience, has obviously repeated it many times to many people. Watson Lake already does not enjoy a reputation for desirability insofar as Yukon communities are concerned; this does not help brighten our status. As someone who likes living here, I was sorry to hear someone in the ski club was churlish to visitors.

Now, I also want to thank you for the terrine. It is a thing of beauty and, until I looked it up on the internet, a thing of mystery.

I have made a (semi) classic terrine now and delicious at it was, it is not likely a process I will involve myself in again for some time. The whole project took three days from start to finish.

When I read the recipe I recognized this was to be something beyond any culinary challenge I had yet undertaken; the shaped piece of cardboard, plastic-wrapped, and the three-pound brick were strong indications that this was no ordinary dish.

There being no duck or pigeon breasts available, I used turkey. Turkey is something the household has in abundance these days and any way of eating it other than in slices has become a major preoccupation.

Kosher salt was another ingredient not in my humble kitchen, but salt is salt, so I used some out of the box, trusting the presence of iodine would not interfere with the integrity of the dish.

By the time I arrived at the call for Armagnac, I was feeling just a little stressed at what was clearly going to be a complex undertaking. This is the oldest brandy distilled in France, done in column stills as opposed to the common pot stills used for lesser cognacs, and containing 10 varieties of grapes. Should I be so lucky as to have a bottle of Armagnac, I decided, I would drink it before cooking with it. I used some white wine instead, pouring myself a glass to drink.

Then there was the pancetta. Italian in origin, it is pork belly that has been salt-cured, not smoked, and then dried for three months. Again, a substitute was called for and, again, my larder triumphed, producing a can of corned beef, a close enough approximation I thought, pouring myself another glass of wine.

Juniper berries are the female seed cones of the juniper bush and are used to give gin its distinguishing flavour. I didn’t have the berries, but I had the gin. I had some with tonic whilst preparing the bain marie for the terrine.

The bain marie is the warm bath called for as one of the stages of cooking a terrine.

The dish was served the next night to Pete, who viewed it with suspicion, but a willingness to taste. Having no idea of what a terrine is supposed to taste like, we were easy to please and the dish did not disappoint. It tasted meaty and salty and quite delicious, spread on a slice of crusty sourdough bread.

Altogether a daunting but doable culinary challenge. So thank you again for sending the appropriate cookware for terrine.

The book you sent, Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs and Wear Cows, was a strange accompaniment to a thing that cooks meat, especially considering it is not, as I first surmised, a cookbook. It appears to be a call to vegetarianism; is that to be your next life change?

I shall keep an open mind, though not so open my brain falls out.



Heather Bennett is a freelance writer based in Watson Lake.