Sharon grinned. She knew what the shorthand meant, that my freezer exists in a permanent state of “Full,” as I had known when she’d obliquely mentioned the steer. “You could buy a second freezer,” she said.
When I got home, hopped up on caffeine, I put on my winter gloves and schussed through the steep slopes of my freezer. Everything came out in layers. First, the wire baskets, where I store what I think I’ll need “soon”: chicken stock, tomato sauce, soups, bacon. Then a big bag filled with pork parts; another, containing homemade breads, buns, a box of filo, Dave’s stash of store-bought sweets, corn tortillas, and wedges of chocolate birthday cake and lemon semifreddo. Another bag revealed duck legs and tubs of duck fat destined for confit; chickens’ feet for the stock pot, where they’d make the stock rich and gelatinous; chard and kale from the garden; a paper-wrapped beef heart; a stash of berries and whole-grain flours; a wild turkey, moose ribs and a venison roast, gifts from a hunter friend; an ice-bound slab of steelhead; tubs of pesto and cooked beans; and at the bottom, two casseroles of cabbage rolls I’d made with Sharon. I hauled out one of the casseroles and set it on the counter to thaw.
I made syrup and infused vinegars with the old berries, simmered the beef heart and diced it for Jake, made croutons from the corn tortillas and breadcrumbs from the buns, soup with the chard and kale, stock with the chickens’ feet, and promised the moose and venison early dates with the braising pot. The old fish went to the barn cats. The stale desserts hit the trash, and we ate the cabbage rolls for supper that night.
When Ken showed up a week later with two boxes of beef, my freezer had space to spare. I’d like to say I’ve learned the fine art of organization, but you should see my office. I do have the urge to eat more beans to counteract the beef, but that’s another story for next time. First let’s eat some grass-fed beef.
“Bread & Water is an emotionally arresting, beautifully written series of essays.”
~ Jurors’ Citation, Saskatchewan Book Awards, University of Saskatchewan President’s Office Nonfiction Award
“Food is a wonderful agent for storytelling... and Bread & Water demonstrates this brilliantly.”
~ Sarah Ramsey, starred review, Quill & Quire
“[Bread & Water is] An amazing feast... riveting... eloquent.”
~ Patricia D. Robertson, Winnipeg Free Press
“[Bread & Water is a] sensuous experience; she brings her poet’s eye and ear to everything within her purview.”
~ Professor emerita Kathleen Wall, Blue Duets
“A deep love of the art of cooking that includes the language of fine dining (cassoulet, confit) even if the lamb was raised in Olds and she picked the rhubarb herself... she impressively manages this collision of worlds with a wholesome, approachable style.”
~ Megan Clark, Alberta Views
“These finely focussed poems [in Wildness Rushing In] invite us into a sensuous and emotionally rich landscape.”
~ Don McKay, winner of the Griffin Poetry Prize
“The writing [in Wildness Rushing In] is honed and textured, the senses so alive that you can practically taste the language. There are moments of brilliance rare in a first book.”
~ Jurors’ Citation, Saskatchewan Book Awards
“dee Hobsbawn-Smith’s stories [in What Can’t Be Undone] are written with a poetic edge. Her descriptions, particularly western landscapes, are often luxurious, lending themselves a kind of nuanced impression, a delicate fingerprint on the reader’s mind. "
~ Lee Kvern, Alberta Views
“[Foodshed is] A rich encyclopedia of facts, farm-gate lore and original recipes... a politically engaging narrative in which Hobsbawn-Smith articulates the challenges and joys faced by small-scale producers... don’ t let the alphabet theme fool you. This is no tame nursery rhyme; it is a locavore call to arms.”
~ P.D. Robertson, The Globe & Mail