mschatelaine's Profile

Display Name: mschatelaine
Member Since: 4/5/07

Latest Comments...

As a Czech from the CR, I am just really happy that you are sharing traditional Czech recipes Faith!

Yes, I'm glad you are aware of the Czech name -- vánočka or mazanec (ma-za-nets). Interesting fact: "mazanec" literally means something that smeared with butter, hence richer than the Christmas braided bread, whereas the root word, "mazaný" means shrewd, cunning, or clever.

But I happen to think that Czech recipes are really, really good, and think more people should be turned on to them. Plus, I think it is pretty awesome that several generations on, the recipes remain in your family.

So bring on the bramboraky ( garlicky potato pancakes made with marjoram that go perfectly with Czech Budvar, the REAL Budweiser), svickova (beef tenderloin in a vegetable cream sauce that is divine), spanelsky ptacky (literally, Spanish Birds, but really, the Czech version of rouladen), knedliky -- dumplings -- in all their variations, including the stuffed fruit version, as well as roast pork and sauerkraut and the many goulashes, not to mention chicken with stuffing. Oh, and Czech Christmas cookies, and kolace, buchty and babovka. And strudel, cannot forget the strudel.

Just keep 'em coming ;-)

Recipe: Sweet Braided Czech Bread with Almonds & Raisins Recipes from The Kitchn
4/18/14 04:12 PM

The renovation project we would jump into would be expanding our 1-car garage into a 2-car, moving it forward, and building a mud room and family room behind (along with fixing the driveway). What's stopping us is the question of whether this is a wise investment... Do we want to stay here? We'd prefer to move back to Europe, but what if we don't manage to find a way back? Temporary living is, well, camping, and I'm too old for this feeling. But if we go ahead and build, and then sell, chances are we will lose money.

And even if we don't move to Europe, will this house work for us as our kids grow? We are far out from bus routes, malls, theaters, coffee shops... that suits us okay, but as our kids become teenagers, we will be forced to drive a lot. Should we move in closer? Houses are much more expensive, and we would need to renovate all over again.

These questions are not just stopping us from the big project -- a family room -- but also smaller ones such as hanging wallpaper, which seems like such a permanent move if you are contemplating selling.

Facing Home Decor & DIY Fear? Ask Yourself These Questions
4/12/14 07:29 PM

Meant to say -- it actually felt good to cook once the baby arrived.

Also: never did one-handed eating, even when my son had colic. It's not that scary...

Stock Up on Freezer Meals Week 2: My Search for Lighter, Healthier Freezer-Friendly Recipes Spring Projects from The Kitchn
4/10/14 08:34 PM

I admire the work that you are putting into this project; when I was in my last trimester, the last thing I wanted to do was cook because my belly kept getting in the way!

Seriously though, we had 2 children, and I didn't miss having frozen foods -- there was really no tiding over necessary. Which is good, because when my daughter was born we were renovating our kitchen (I didn't have a kitchen sink until she was over a month old), and with my son, we were renovating the bathrooms and busy moving to Europe for 5 years, so there really was no opportunity to cook up meals.

It actually felt good to cook -- made me feel more grounded and happy. And our family doctor told me I had to get a baby swing and seat (I got a Baby Bjorn), and so it was never a problem to set them down.

I've had a lot of friends who really stressed themselves out in the drive to prepare frozen meals before the arrival of a baby, and so just want to say, don't worry, if you don't manage to get it done, it will be fine too. :-)

Stock Up on Freezer Meals Week 2: My Search for Lighter, Healthier Freezer-Friendly Recipes Spring Projects from The Kitchn
4/10/14 08:30 PM

I love chicken soup with matzo balls! I make many batches every winter. This is a great variation to try.

My key ingredient in chicken soup is parsnips -- I find that they make all the difference. They add to the complexity of the broth in a very welcome way.

Passover Recipe: Chicken Soup with Shallot-Shiitake Matzo Balls Recipes from The Kitchn
4/10/14 08:14 PM

I still can't get over that my grandparents' home isn't in our family anymore. The house had been in my grandmother's family since it was built in the early 1800s. Millers, they owned not only a house, but also a barn, mill, bakery, and fields all in a little Bohemian village.

My earliest memories are in that house; the house and village make me feel like I have roots somewhere.

In the 1930s, my great uncle, an architect, designed beautiful Modernist furniture for the house, which was then custom built. Cabinetry, tables, beds, chairs, soft furnishings, textiles... everything.

After the village was annexed by Hitler as part of Sudetenland, my grandfather used the barn to hide, feed and clothe hundreds of people until the end of WWII escaping Hitler's clutches. The house was then seized by the Communists because it was too big according to their space formulas, and my grandparents were left with only one of the three floors.

Decades after my grandparents moved away, people still recognize me, and talk about how they worked for my grandfather. The local paper writes about the mystery of a huge, rare Japanese tree that grows in front of the house -- no one has an idea of how that tree got there, it is so rare and not in the right zone. Only my grandparents know the answer, but they are long gone. Even though there are people living in the house -- three sets of residents on the three floors -- it will never be their house. They feel like interlopers.

Not every house represents the core of a family, but when you lose such a house, it is a big loss. When you lose your family house, you can no longer touch your history, you lose part of your roots, part of your soul.

When Your Home is Like a Member of the Family
4/10/14 08:02 PM

My favourite classroom, which I still remember thirty years on, was my grade 8 English class with Mr. Waddington.

The walls were painted dark green, and there were Persian rugs strewn on the floor, the sort of lamps you find in a living room, big dining-size tables and the chairs? Old fashioned padded ones, like from an office surplus store.

What was FABULOUS about his class is that we would study a book, and then watch the movie. We did Romeo and Juliet, watching pieces of Zeffirelli's movie after each act. We read Dickens' Oliver Twist, and watched the musical. There was also The Mouse That Roared, and several others. Movie posters and book posters adorned the walls, along with a few plants, sculpted heads.

It was a world of its own, outside of the rest of school.

Ideas for Decorating a Classroom? Good Questions
4/9/14 10:52 PM

What a coincidence -- I made Chicken Marbella for the first time only last week! It was delicious!

I first read about it here -- the foods of the '80s post. My mother didn't have the cookbook, and so I wasn't part of that whole Silver Palate phenomenon. Needless to say, I was curious about this, their most famous recipe. When I googled it, I saw that Ottolenghi proclaimed Silver Palate to be one of the best cookbooks ever, and that he did his own riff on Chicken Marbella, with dates and date vinegar (and much less sugar).

It's an inspired recipe, and I'm glad that I have discovered it!

When Reading a Great Novel Makes Me Want to Cook Kitchen Diary: Anne in South Carolina
4/8/14 09:54 PM

Ottawa has the Herb & Spice stores and the Byword Fruit & Veg, but that is as hippy as it gets... Gosh, those tomatoes are the stuff of dreams!!!

I envy you your hippy stores!

Shopping at the Hippie Store Weekend Meditation
4/6/14 08:38 AM

I have two favourite libraries: The Literary and Historical Society in Quebec City and the Queen's Square Library in Cambridge (Galt), Ontario.

The Literary and Historical Society of Quebec is one of the oldest libraries in North America, having been founded in 1824 and in its current location since 1868. As the name implies, it is more than a library, and has played an important role in matters of conservation, history and culture. It a key, if not the key, cultural institution of the small English community which remains.

It's a magical place, the sort of library with creaking leather chairs and beautiful old wood tables, a send level gallery and twisty metal staircase. I just love going there -- you feel like you are touching history, and it is the coziest of places to read a book. Louise Penny even made it the location of one of her murder mysteries (Bury Your Dead).

The other magical library I love is the Queen Square Library in Galt, Cambridge (Ontario). The '70s purple brick building may contrast its historic neighbours, but the library and gallery is a cultural anchor in old Galt, one of the three cores of Cambridge, Ontario. It is my favourite borrowing library of all time, and has recently undergone a fabulous interior renovation. With a gallery as part of the offerings, it is irresistible.

Love Books? Check Out This One About Beautiful Libraries Design News
4/6/14 01:36 AM

Lovely home.

I grew up with a dining set (table & chairs) just like that; nice to see it here!

Also, the plants make the place very homey, and are a real '60s-'70s design throwback -- I predict a big resurgence in houseplants is coming.

And finally, I am totally in love with those dogs!

Hope and Pete's Bohemian Modern Abode House Tour
4/5/14 08:15 PM

As for art in the bathroom, I don't see the point, and have never had the room for it in any of our bathrooms. Actually, I find it kind of gross for the most part, although I can think of one bathroom with a nice framed poster I don't mind.

And in our ensuite, there is a stack of design magazines located under the wall-hung cupboard (with soap, shampoos, nail polishes, the medicine chest,etc.,). It sits about 18" off the ground, making the perfect nook to keep them handy, but neatly corralled and out of the way.

Do You Have Strong Feelings about Bathroom Decor?
4/5/14 09:08 AM

It's my bathroom, and I will do what I want with it. I am sick and tired of the tyranny of scentlessness in North America -- I will not ban scent from my own home because it is the last place where I am able to enjoy it. So my hand soap will continue to be a scented Savon de Marseille, and there will be the option of discreet green tea or orange room fragrance for those who care to use it.

I like my bathrooms white, with green. Mine are tiled with handmade Brazilian glass tiles -- far from sterile, but still bright and clean. The floors are honed green slate. Skylights flood the bathrooms with beautiful light. They are minimal, but everything is there -- a mounted rod for 6 rolls of toilet paper in reserve so that no one is caught out.

Toilet paper must always roll forward, not backwards.

As for workmen using the toilet, I never had a problem until the moving van driver used our toilet the day they were moving us on overseas posting. No man I have ever known in my life has made such a disgusting mess of a bathroom before. No one could use the bathroom afterwards. It felt like my home had been violated. I've since noticed that the best workmen never ask to use the homeowner's toilet.

Do You Have Strong Feelings about Bathroom Decor?
4/5/14 09:00 AM

Donna Hay's recipes look beautiful, yes.

But... have you ever made any of them? How well do you, as a food writer, find them to be written?

Last summer, I made a project of it -- I checked out all her cookbooks from the library and tried cooking from them. I'm a fairly confident cook, with decades of experience behind me. The recipes themselves were a disappointment. I remember making a skirt skate with potato pancake and cilantro sauce -- sounds like it would taste great doesn't it? But it wasn't. It was a lot of work for a very "meh" result. Her recipes are always missing something -- an ingredient or a technique which would raise them from the ordinary to the extraordinary. But she provides next to no info about technique, and never writes about the flavor and what it wonderful about the dish in question. No, it is just down to pretty pictures.

I am seduced by her pictures every time, but now I am very skeptical about her recipes.

Fresh and Light by Donna Hay New Cookbook
4/3/14 02:18 PM

It still happens in Quebec, where moving day is July 1st -- or Canada Day.

Why May 1st Was \"Moving Day\" For All of Manhattan
4/2/14 09:34 AM

Second thought -- it looks like the swimsuit Farrah Fawcett wore in her famous poster -- you could have pretended it was a Farrah Fawcett swimsuit cake pan! for all those who loved the poster!

Bikini Woman 1992 Cake Pan Mold from Wilton
4/1/14 12:02 PM

If you had called it a "Swimsuit Clad Woman", maybe.


It started with a plastic frog in the cereal at breakfast this morning, and there is no end in sight.

Bikini Woman 1992 Cake Pan Mold from Wilton
4/1/14 12:00 PM

My favourite green soup is from the Vegetarian Epicure by Ann Thomas: green pea soup with butter dumplings.

7 Fresh Green Soups for Chilly Spring Days Spring Recipes from The Kitchn
3/29/14 01:30 PM

valek = rolling pin in Czech

These Laser-Engraved Rolling Pins Create Adorable Animal Patterns
3/29/14 01:23 PM

I too think that is a pretty awful thing to put expression to hang above a child's bed...

Recently, I learned where the expression came from. It seems it came out of the flu pandemic of 1918. People became sick so quickly -- they were healthy at breakfast, sick by lunch, and at death's door by dinner. Whole families would get sick at once, sometimes whole families would die together. It's not like these pandemics come round that often, so I find it strange that the expression stuck around like it did.

Anyways, thought the backstory was interesting, and that it goes a long way to explaining a creepy and alarmist saying.

What Art Do You Remember from Your Childhood Bedroom?
3/21/14 08:34 PM