All Stirred Up: the Best Recipes from the Women-Ęs Culinary Network

by Women's Culinary Network
ISBN: 0679311556

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A Review of: All Stirred Up: Over 150 of the Best Recipes from the WomenĘs Culinary Network
by Margaret Dragu

With more than 150 recipes from 66 contributors, this slim146-page celebration of the Women's Culinary Network weighs in as a meaty addition to publications about Canadian (mostly Toronto) cooking. In 1990, like a phoenix from the flame of their mutual unemployment slips, Marilyn B. Crowley, Heather Epp, Elaina Asselin and Nettie Cronish formed the Women's Culinary Network as a supportive environment for women in the food industry to share professional experience, knowledge and information. Their 250 members include chefs, food consultants, dieticians, cooking teachers, cookbook authors, food writers, business owners, students, home economists, product developers, food stylists, and on and on. One can only imagine what their bi-monthly meetings taste and sound like! Undoubtedly, it was these yummy and inspirational meetings and the subsequent newsletters that inspired the creation of the All Stirred Up cookbook.
The best recipes are those contextualized by both the contributor's official ten-line bio as well as her personal essay on "how I got interested in food". I liked Heather Trim's Fusilli with Pancetta, Tomato and Basil recipe as much as her description of her cooking career originating with an Easy Bake Oven. Lili Sullivan's Smoked Salmon Brule tasted more heavenly because I knew the inside scoop; her technique developed from a passion to create mud pies after emigrating from Sweden at the age of six. Joan Moore's classic and perfect recipe for Rice'n'Peas means more and even tastes better because she described learning to make this Jamaican Sunday supper classic from her grandmother "Ma'Netta" during Joan's summer vacations in Jamaica. I particularly enjoyed reading co-editor Madeleine Greey's chapter called "How We Tested the Recipes" describing The Women's Culinary Network's marathon cooking day of serious measuring, timing, photographing, and writing to prepare for this publication while sharing the kitchen space with the Afghan Women's Collective who laughed, cooked and prayed without a recipe in sight and produced a feast for 220 people by the end of their day.
Cookbook readers will enjoy recipes and stories from celebrities like Anne Lindsay, Bonnie Stern, Elizabeth Baird and Lucy Waterman, as well as lesser known food workers from business, media and education. All of the Women's Culinary Network contributors share a fresh, regional and local market approach to cooking often combined with traditional and international cuisines. All Stirred Up is a cookbook to be dipped into again and again.

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