Calgary Stampede Goes Big
There is big and then there is really big. That is the way things are done when the Calgary Rotary are in charge of feeding the thousands. Loaves and fishes, no way!
This is big beef time at the Calgary Stampede and there is nothing lean about this local machine, just slightly younger than the 101 year old fete that the Rotary big spectacular has become so much a part of. Fifty year old recipes wear sauces and fingerprints from the years of testing and perfecting, a peck of this and a handful of that; there is no place for pinch and smidgen when thousands are craving the time tested western chow. Succulent loins, patiently braised to goodness that even false teeth could gnaw with ease, marbled butchery slathered down with brew, all in an outdoor atmosphere that even the floods of the century couldn’t quench.
From the massive ovens, to the colossal twenty-two pound roasts requiring a football team to hoist to the rows of meat slicers, giant sized salad bowls, voluminous vats for dish washing, and, well, there are always large scale lineups for delicious Stampede fare. Those who know relish the lines as a time to commune with fellow western-decked carousers. You can meet the nicest people waiting for festival food or access to a pink potty. It is a time to park the flood memories for the moment and enjoy the time tested camaraderie of western life. Decorum is out; Yeehaw is in, if only for a few days.
For more on the floods of southern Alberta, see:
Behind the Scenes – Bakery Café
Chocolate cakes dripping with frosting, cookies over-sized beyond human appetite, cinnamon buns swimming in syrupy pools, pungent lemon squares begging for a good strong cuppa (tea). Bakery cafes are more than freshly baked goods. They are communities, neighbourhoods collectively imbibing under the roof of goodness, pleasure and seduction.
Behind the façade of the front room, buzzing with the latest gossip, eye-pleasing food is in mass production. Under construction, usually at the same time but at various stages, are culinary creations ranging from exotic cream pies to dauntingly large layer cakes. Monster cookies for java dipping await removal from big-size trays while meringue reaching for the sky requires immediate attendance. This week’s seasonal berry special saddles up to fresh whipping cream begging for a finger test.
Time-tested recipes are under constant manipulation, the standard of perfection requires continuous adjustment, a pinch of this and a snuff of that. Nothing but culinary talent combined with multi-task skills can construct pies, roll cookies, frost cakes, remove big batches from the oven, keep tomorrow’s recipe requirements current, all under the pressure of having the most mouthwatering items temptingly displayed at the checkout counter; with a smile, of course.
Fingers out of the whipping cream now!