This year the theme of Heritage Week is inclusivity. The topic has this curator deep in thought about how “white bread” a teenager once called me. She was calling it like it was. It was early in this century, twenty years ago. We lived (and still do) in a small town in the interior of British Columbia. It was homogenous. My family was too.

On a positive note, our town has grown and diversified. There’s a more varied ethnic palette in our restaurants. Nothing too exotic or exciting, but things are improving. Some of the family diners have been replaced by tastes of Japan, Thailand, Vietnam, Italy, and, until recently, France.

My family has grown and diversified too, a trend that has been going strong for twenty years.

In 1998, my brother-in-law fell in love and decided to expand our family. He married a delightful, culturally Jewish, American-born woman whose preferred proteins are chicken and turkey. Barb also cooks a mean brisket. A year or two into their marriage, my in-laws chose to locate in a new city and moved across Canada to Vancouver.

The newlyweds made a trip to Salmon Arm. It was summer. My sister-in-law is lactose intolerant. Not a problem. I had been cooking without lactose for more than a decade since becoming intolerant too.

During the visit we talked about having a family gathering.

Our eldest son was tree planting in the region. He and his partner, a vegetarian, showed up that weekend too. Judith, bless her heart, is an activist. She is an environmentalist. At that time she and my son were spending non-tree planting time protesting the logging of old growth forests in Victoria. They ate a lot of tofu. For their visits I developed a meal plan – vegetarian lite. I learned to cook with plant protein for three days of meals when they visited. Then they had to cook.

But I digress.

My second eldest son was in Vancouver with his sweetie. His new love would shortly become his wife. My daughter-in-law is Japanese and was visiting Canada on a work visa. A big date was going out to a seafood restaurant for a platter... an all-you-can-eat experience, but without the tartar sauce, malt vinegar, and slice of lemon that I grew up eating with fish ‘n chips.

Our third child was still in high school and living at home. Tristin was an athlete – a swimmer with Olympic aspirations. A good meal going into a swim meet was loaded with carbs. As soon as the competition was over, a steak dinner was ordered. This kid was seriously into building muscle mass.

It didn’t happen often, but we did have family events. The inclusivity we experienced was physical. We played cards and laughed a lot. We came together, ate lactose-free vegetarian food, and slipped a little animal protein to the youngest member of the family on the side. Everyone was included and made concessions.
It wasn’t a very white bread family anymore!




Where would I be without my partners?  Thank you!

Getting my family to pose for a portrait is like herding feral cats! These images are courtesy of various internet sources.  Please click if you are interested in  learning new recipes or dining out in Tokyo!
Seafood Platter