And The Winner Is.…

The votes are in and they’ve been care­fully tallied.

Thank you to every­one who par­tic­i­pated in the Apron Strings con­test by sub­mit­ting entries and vot­ing for your favorites. Three blog posts came out on top. They are:

All three win­ners will receive Fiesta Farms gift cer­tifi­cates. We’re already look­ing for­ward to next Father’s Day.

Is Your Dad Better Than My Dad? Let the Voting Begin.…


When we put out the call for sto­ries about your dad or grandfather’s culi­nary adven­tures, we had no idea what we’d get in return. In the weeks around Father’s Day, we’ve heard sto­ries about every­thing from Dad’s fresh bread  to scram­bled hot dogs, bail­ing on the whole thing and tak­ing the kids to the near­est restau­rant. Between now and July 8th, we invite you to check out the Father’s Day con­test entries and rate them. You can rate as many as you like. The top three entries will receive Fiesta Farms gift certificates.

Also, it’s not too late to post an entry to the Fiesta Farms Father’s Day con­test–you’ve got ’till the end of the week to tell us the best, or worst, sto­ries about you Dad or Grandfather’s cook­ing chops. Contest closes June 30th.

Thanks to every­one who entered the con­test. Your sto­ries have had us buzzing all month long.


Dare the Heat!

Mary Lou Kuipers sub­mit­ted this hot post to the Apron Strings Contest. Be sure to check out the rest of the Apron Strings con­test sub­mis­sions and rate them. The lucky win­ners will receive gift cer­tifi­cates to shop at Fiesta Farms.

My father and his two broth­ers every year would plant the hottest hot pep­per plants that they could find. Sometimes would even save the seeds and try to grow the hottest from the pre­vi­ous year. They would nur­ture, water, fer­til­ize and watch their crops grow until it way time to har­vest. They would brag to one another, watch out, I’ll be the win­ner this year!

The broth­ers would get together and would jar the heat seek­ing mis­sile pep­pers and test out on a home made pizza! All 3 would sit at the table, pass­ing the dish­cloths over their heads, sweat pour­ing off their brow, turn­ing red in the face, until they would admit to one another who had grown the hottest pep­per! Now it’s become a fam­ily tra­di­tion, who can dare the heat!

Advance Australia Fare

This Apron Strings con­test sub­mis­sion comes from Jennifer Beer who rem­i­nisces about her Dad’s taste for Australian fare that has forged a place in her heart for blood pud­ding and kip­pers. Be sure to check out the rest of the Apron Strings con­test sub­mis­sions and rate them. The lucky win­ners will receive gift cer­tifi­cates to shop at Fiesta Farms.


My dad tended to be the dis­tant sort. When we were grow­ing up, there tended to be a lot of “hush, your father is sleep­ing” or “hush, your father is read­ing the paper.” But some­how that made the time we did spend with Dad more precious.

Usually it came in the form of Sunday morn­ings, when we’d make break­fast in bed for Mum. We had an inter­com because their room was fairly dis­tant from the kids’ rooms, and we’d put a pil­low over it so we wouldn’t dis­turb her (it was only years later than she let us know she could still hear every word we said).

Because Dad was Australian, our break­fasts were some­times a lit­tle “dif­fer­ent” from what my friends would have… for exam­ple, I don’t know many other peo­ple with a life­long love of blood pud­ding, kip­pers (both of which I’ve bought at Fiesta Farms), and fried toma­toes for break­fast. But because these were the foods I shared with Dad, they have a spe­cial place in my heart and stom­ach – I have so far failed to pass these loves on to my son, he strangely prefers pan­cakes and maple syrup.

He did have some more kid-friendly break­fast spe­cial­ties as well: pikelets (a sort of pan­cake – or grid­dle­cake, as he would say – but smaller and thicker and puffier), crepes sprin­kled with sugar and lemon juice, apple frit­ters (apple rings dipped in cin­na­mon sugar, then pan­cake bat­ter), por­ridge, and scones.

Usually it was crepes or scones for Mum’s Sunday break­fast in bed; I seem to be the only one in the fam­ily who devel­oped a fond­ness for blood pud­ding and kippers.

So many mem­o­ries of him involve his par­tic­u­lar tastes: french bread with apri­cot jam and old ched­dar, sar­dines on toast, beer­wurst, but­ter­ing the bread before you slice it, mar­mite, and tea by the gallon.

Seeing as there was not much avail­able in small-town Ontario in the 1970s, he would often bring strange treats home from the city: crusty chewy kaiser rolls from a Swiss bak­ery, star fruit, pas­sion fruit, all kinds of things we couldn’t get close to home. He used to exper­i­ment in the kitchen (I remem­ber the first time we made pesto alla gen­ovese — all that raw gar­lic was a bit of a shock to the taste­buds), with some­times mixed results. Like the time he put all of our dry goods into unmarked can­nis­ters, and then made an apple cake, acci­den­tally sub­sti­tut­ing icing sugar for flour. Or those ham­burg­ers with the chunks of raw onion and bits of not-well-beaten egg (and some­times even shell).

It’s four years now since he died, and I com­mem­o­rate his birth­day and Australia day every year with a big break­fast fry-up in his hon­our. I might pick up some blood pud­ding tonight. I will leave the mar­mite for some­one else to enjoy, though.

A Square Meal at the Family Restaurant

This sub­mis­sion to the Apron Strings con­test comes from Suzanne Didiano who fondly remem­bers restau­rant din­ners that were far bet­ter than what Dad could pre­pare. Be sure to check out the rest of the Apron Strings con­test sub­mis­sions and rate them. The lucky win­ners will receive gift cer­tifi­cates to shop at Fiesta Farms.

Mom was very busy tak­ing care of her own aging Mom, and had to leave the fam­ily for an extended time.

Dad and the kids vis­ited a local restau­rant for Sunday din­ner and was noticed by a famil­iar fam­ily friend from church who knew Mom was away. “So this is how you cook up a quick meal while your wife is away!.” In a loud tone so the cus­tomers at the next tables could hear.

He was embarassed, but I was glad at least my fam­ily was hav­ing a square meal–not just pasta with sauce.