When Edmonton designer and illustrator Gabe Wong told me back in September that he and Julianne Mimande were collaborating on a cookbook, I knew it would be good. I had interviewed both Gabe and Julianna before, and I knew they both cared a lot about what they do. They’re the kind of young people I think this city needs: passionate, devoted and involved. We Eat Together shows just how much they care about Edmonton.
The whole idea behind We Eat Together is to focus on local farms in the Edmonton area. Over the summer, Julianna and Gabe visited nine farmers and food producers to find out how they make a living. The book includes profiles on each family, and a cute “get-to-know-you” question-and-answer page. Some of the recipes come from these families, some from other friends and family, and some Julianna created from all that beautiful farm-fresh food.
J and I went to the book launch last week at d’Lish. I was so excited to finally see the book I’d heard so much about. The room was packed when we first got there, but thinned out a bit over the next hour. It was nice to finally taste wine from en Sante Winery, which I’d seen at markets but never tried before. I enjoyed the Raspberry Delight, and J liked his Adam’s Apple ( the raspberry wine reminded him too much of a certain bright-red drink). There were also some nibbles from recipes in the book – the carrot dip was especially delicious. I’ll definitely be making that recipe.
And the book itself? My expectations didn’t disappoint. It’s outstanding. Gorgeous, clean design, with lots of white space, beautiful fonts and colours and easy-to-read recipes. The photographs – by Zachary Ayotte – truly showcase the bounty and beauty of Alberta. And the recipes look fantastic. Pulled Pork Tourtiere with Leeks and Goat Cheese, Wild Rice Pudding with Honey, Curried Chicken and Apple Soup … I can’t wait to cook out of this book.
It’s also a treat to read more about the lives of farmers we know, and buy from regularly – particularly Jenny and James from Sundog Organics and Emily and Sean from Mighty Trio Organics. I can’t wait to read the whole book and discover other farms near Edmonton too.
We’re already planning on giving this book as a Christmas gift to a few people. It makes us proud to be in a place with so many people producing great Alberta food – and those with the determination and skill to bring it to life in a book like this.
Gabe, Zach, Julianna, and Alan Irving from Irvings Farm Fresh at the launch.