We’re halfway through summer enjoying the long sunny days, swimming outdoors, reading books, eating great meals with friends and family, feeling relaxed and freer.
In this newsletter, I’m sharing some of my favourite summer things:
A food dish, a good book, an innovative documentary film and a delicious dairy-free ice cream!
Best Salad +Recipe
What special dishes are you making this summer?
This summer I’ve been enjoying different versions of the infamous Cobb Salad. It’s on many menus at restaurants and an easy one to make at home. I’ve experimented with different ingredients and ways to eat the dish, constructed and deconstructed in various arrangements.
The origins of the Cobb Salad
The Cobb salad is an American garden salad typically made with chopped salad greens (authentically iceberg lettuce, watercress, endives, and romaine lettuce), tomato, bacon, turkey breast, hard-boiled eggs, avocado, chives, blue cheese (often Roquefort; some versions use other cheeses such as cheddar or Monterey Jack, or no cheese at all) and red wine vinaigrette. The ingredients are laid out on a plate in neat rows. It is served as a main course.
It is said that the salad was invented in 1938 at the Hollywood Brown Derby restaurant, where it became a signature dish. It is named after the restaurant’s owner, Robert Howard Cobb (a first cousin of slugger Ty Cobb). Stories vary whether the salad was invented by Cobb or by his chef, Paul J. Posti. The legend was Cobb was prowling around the kitchen late one night, looking for something to eat. The year was 1937. From the refrigerator, he pulled out a head of lettuce (presumably iceberg), some romaine, watercress, avocado, tomatoes, a hard-boiled egg, chives, cheese and some old-fashioned French dressing. He swiped some crisp bacon from a busy chef and chop, chop … the Cobb salad was born. Sid Grauman, of the eponymous Grauman’s Chinese Theatre, was with Cobb that night having come from the dentist and couldn’t chew large pieces of food.. Returning the next day, he asked for a “Cobb Salad.” It was so good that it went on the menu and stayed there.
Another version of the creation is that Robert Kreis, executive chef at the restaurant, created the salad in 1929 (the year the Brown Derby’s Hollywood location opened) and named it in honor of Cobb. The same source confirms that 1937 was the reported date of the version noted above, with Cobb making the salad.
It remains one today, and the preparation has changed little over time. The lettuce and all the toppings should be finely chopped. As served at the original Brown Derby restaurants, the slivers of greens were so thin they slipped between the tines of a fork. Disney acquired the rights to the Brown Derby name and opened a reproduction of the original in 1989 in Orlando; the salad there has authentically skinny shreds, but most contemporary interpretations are not quite so fine. The other ingredients are traditionally arranged in stripes over the greens. The original dressing was a red wine vinaigrette.
I like to experiment with a variety of greens and healthier versions of proteins, nuts, seeds and fruits. It’s also a good excuse to use up foods that are in my fridge.
FYI, iceberg lettuce has no nutritional value and I rarely see it in stores these days.
In my version, I’m using a mix of romaine, kale and herbs from my garden, arugula, and a oakleaf lettuce, Adding watercress and endive are nice additions too. Also the greens are not finely chopped in some cobb versions, and mixed in chunkier shapes. It’s your call!
I’m adding grilled chicken, boiled eggs, beets, grilled eggplant and zucchini, pomegranate, sunflower seeds, and crumbled feta and stilton blue cheese.
The arrangement is the appeal and I’ve kept with the original of the varied ingredients lined up on top of the lettuce. A dressing is poured on top and eaten as you please in each individual row or mixed up together. You can mix in the cheeses in the dressing if you wish.
Dressing are also fun to try different types other than a Roquefort dressing that’s loaded with blue cheese also delicious but too intense for me. I like a tasty mustard vinaigrette or a tahini dressing version. I’ve used a pesto dressing or avocado version too..
If you are vegetarian or vegan, nix the meat and cheese and enjoy tempeh bacon, grilled firm tofu, cashew based cheeses and add grilled zucchini or eggplant, butternut squash, other fruits and variety of nuts and seeds. The options are endless!
Get the recipe for my version of the Cobb Salad and dressing.
Let me know your favourite summer dish you’re making?
My favourite read this summer so far!
Covenant of Water by Abraham Verghese.
Some of you maybe familiar with another book by Verghese called Cutting for Stone and the Tennis Partner and his first book MY Own Country was made into a film by Mira Nair.
The book references ancient Malayali Christian communal histories that reach back to 52 A.D. with St. Thomas’ arrival in India. This story is about the lives of a family across three generations from 1900 to the late-1970s. It centres on the matriahial character of Mariamma whose introduced at the beginning as,a 12-year-old child bride, who marries a 40-year-old widower and becomes the mistress of 500 acres of Parambil. Her husband’s family has a secret medical “condition” where water is the cause of death for members in each generation. Big Ammachi, as she comes to be known, experiences many joys and sorrows from that early age until her passing. Though she remains in Parambil all her life, the human and spirit worlds forever intervene, and her world remains sheltered and at times moves with the times in subtle and endearing turns.
Various historical events of both British and then independent India unfold through the loves and losses of a cast of characters that keeps growing like emerging branches and intersections.
A fun summer read and lovingly insight into a past of Indian culture.
Fashion Reimagined, a look into sustainable fashion.
I saw this documentary a few weeks ago and loved it! I am not a fashionista by any account, but I like exploring fashion, fabrics and seeing their grand exhibitions. I don’t wear some of the clothes in my closet but I keep them because I love the fabrics which determined my appeal to clothes.
While the fashion sector is booming, increasing attention has been brought to the impressive range of negative environmental impacts that the industry is responsible for. Fashion production makes up 10% of humanity’s carbon emissions, dries up water sources, and pollutes rivers and streams with the use of dyes and chemicals. What’s more, 85% of all textiles go to the dump each year (UNECE, 2018), and washing some types of clothes sends significant amount of microplastics into the ocean. (Geneva Environment network).
The film features British Fashion designer Amy Powney of cult label Mother of Pearl, a rising star in the London fashion scene. Raised off-the-grid in rural England by activist parents, Amy has always felt uneasy about the devastating environmental impact of her industry. When she wins the coveted Vogue award for the Best Young Designer of the Year, which comes with a big cash prize, Amy decides to use the money to create a sustainable collection from field to finished garment, and transform her entire business. Over the following three years, her own personal revolution becomes the precursor of a much larger, societal change.
This film made me really think about how I shop for clothes when I don’t give it a second thought! Once I saw the vast waste created and new alternatives used, Amy traveled to South America and Europe to source raw materials and then get them made using sustainable methods, it opened my eyes to how I could adjust my consumption in the process. A neighbour of mine who saw the film said she has enough outfits to last a lifetime and doesn’t need to buy another piece of clothing. that’s the way I now think.
I saw the film at Hot Docs in Toronto. and on their website, you can watch the trailer. I believe it will be released on streaming sites soon.
Honey’s Plant-Based Ice Cream
Well, since it’s summer, it is the best time to explore homemade ice cream shops around your city beyond the frozen grocery store brands.
I find milk and cream-based ice creams too rich for my digestive system these days. I’m always on the look out for alternative non-dairy, gluten free or plant-based foods.
A friend told me about a plant-based ice-cream store in downtown Toronto in the west end called Honey’s. It’s ice cream base is made with cashews, oats and coconut. There are a variety of flavours that change monthly.
Living in a city there are many options available to us and plant-based anything – my preferred foods of choice (even though I do eat animal based proteins, some gluten and occasional dairy) I will try it!
The owner of Honey’s Honey’s is Ashley Wittig. Ashley started her career in food, co-founding one of Toronto’s most beloved bakeries in 2010 Called Buhner’s in Kensington Markety. After leaving the bakery in 2018, Ashley got down to business in perfecting the ice cream of her dreams. Rich, creamy, and just as deeply satisfying as their dairy counterparts. Honey’s is named after her one-eyed potcake pup whom she obviously adores.
Check out the ice cream flavours and the waffle cone! The ice cream texture gets a bit gooey if you bring it home in a carton. The flavours are delicious, and the best part is their oat flour and flax waffle cones. You don’t want to miss eating one of those! Honey’s , 1448 Dundas street west in Toronto.
Have a great rest of the summer!
contact me if I can answer any of your questions at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you’d like to participate in my movement and meditation sessions or Mindful eating monthly meet-up, I’d be happy to speak with you too!
Check out my ongoing events and programs for August
For the month of September, I’ll be away traveling and back October 4th.
Programs and events
Upcoming Events In August:
Each week you are invited to join in and participate in gentle movement (qigong and somatic movement) and meditation. Click and Register on the days you wish to attend.
Some of you participated in the somatic movement sessions I offered this past spring. Many of you expressed positive outcomes that it helped your mobility, alignment and health. Others couldn’t make it and it has perked your interest!
I’m very excited to announce one of the founders of the Living Somatics program Brian Siddhartha Ingle is planning to come to Toronto and teach a weekend workshop from August 25th to 27th. He will teach an introductory workshop on Friday and on the weekend on Restorative Eye Vision and Biodynamic Osteopathy. (SEE details here)
This is a great opportunity to learn from a gifted teacher in the Somatic movement. He lives in India and is currently teaching in the UK and Ireland. Siddhartha would like to visit Toronto this summer as there is a group of us studying this modality.
This workshop is for everyone at any level, regardless of experience.
Siddhartha is a biodynamic osteopath, naturopath and yogi. He is a truly gifted healer and teacher. You can read more about him here.
I realize this is short notice and we are hoping to get enough committed interest to bring him here. We need 15 people to register. The planned events promise to be an amazing, restorative and replenishing experience for all. Get the details:
The next Eating Mindfully Together is Monday August 28th at 7pm
Topic: What does satisfaction feel like?
Most of us eat unaware of sensing body signals. In this meet-up we explore the sensations of satisfaction and letting go of eating to overstuffed.
We chat, meditate, laugh, play, eat and discover how “being” can calm the mind and body from “doing” to better nourish your relationship with food.
Eating together is based on selections from FEED THE BRAIN: A mindful eating approach to nourishing the body, heart and mind.
Register for Eating Mindfully Together here.
FYI, I will be away travelling from September 6th to October 3rd. I will be providing weekly videos and recordings for the Practice Together sessions. If you are interested, please continue to register on the dates you wish to attend and you will receive them.
Wishing you much love, health and being in the sun and outdoors!