From Scratch
By Lara McCormack

Over the long COVID-19 months, many of us longed to be sitting in our favorite restaurant or café. Many of you did your part to support local food businesses this past year with take-out – THANK YOU! Realizing how much the food scene plays a part of your lives, the valley restaurant scene has been through a lot this past year and a half.

As we step into what will no doubt be another busy season, this is an opportunity to fine tune and appreciate what this part of our culture offers.

Imagine our valley without Edibles Farm Cafe, Stolen Church Cafe, From Scratch, Beeland, Station Pub, Pynelogs Cafe, Birchwood, Ullr Bar, Circle Foods Café, Quality Bakery, Arrowhead, Fubuki Sushi, Fuze, Helena’s Stube, The Old Salzburg, Black Forest, Pizzeria Mercato, the local food trucks, the golf course restaurants, the resort restaurants and all other local food establishments not listed. These are places where we celebrate, nourish ourselves and our families, enjoy time with friends, take a break, heal, create, support, grow. The quality of food – based businesses in our valley is vital to our lifestyle here, adding so much richness to our culture in so many ways, including incredible product offerings we devour, unique events we attend (eventually), employment that lets us live this lifestyle, sense of place to celebrate and show off talents in a unique setting seen nowhere else in the world.

Many local food businesses are being faced with staff shortages, increased food costs and needs, all adding to increased debt stress. With this will come longer waits for your food order and increased menu prices. We thank you for your patience and understanding on this. Please know that we are all working hard to bring you consistency and a lovely dining experience. I will admit that this valley has faired well as very few food businesses permanently closed.

Lately, as I look around, whether it’s my business or other food establishments, the addiction to the cell phone to fallen into times that we rely on it for almost everything. Families are all on the phones with little conversation at the table. Kids remain on their tablets while eating their meal, not paying attention to what they are eating.

So here is my request from the heart; when you arrive in your favorite eatery, put your phone down once you have checked in, checked for messages, etc.

Take a deep breath and be present. Talk to others around you, make eye contact with the staff, talk to your children to plan a day of fun. As you enjoy your meal, really enjoy your meal, meaning savor each bite, laugh with your company, taste the nuances in your wine, breathe and relax. Know that the business you are sitting in is so grateful for you being there. 

This desired change in attitude is all over the internet, from blogs and posts to newspaper articles. I realize this is out of my norm of writing articles for the Pioneer, yet this observation has been the biggest change many of us have noticed in our day-to-day work. It is a reminder that dining mindfully is better for us and will be easier for this industry to heal moving forward.

On another note, I cannot finish this article with another fabulous recipe. Cherry season is upon us, and the B.C. cherry industry is anticipating a good year as crops were ready a bit earlier than usual, with trees abundant in fruit. Expect higher costs like other food prices going on. Being one of my favorite fruits, below is one of my most special recipes that is a go-to over the summer months. 

Julia Child’s Cherry Clafouti

Ingredients: 1 -1/4 cups milk; 2/3 cup sugar, divided; 3 eggs; 1 tablespoon vanilla; 1/8 teaspoon salt; 1/2 cup flour; 3 cups cherries, pitted; powdered sugar, for garnish.

Cooking: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F; Using a blender, combine the milk, 1/3 cup sugar, eggs, vanilla, salt and flour, and blend; Lightly butter an 8-cup baking dish, and pour a 1/4-inch layer of the blended mixture over the bottom. Set remaining batter aside; Place dish into the oven for about 7-10 minutes, until a film of batter sets in the pan but the mixture is not baked through. Remove from oven (but don’t turn the oven off, yet); Distribute the pitted cherries over the set batter in the pan, then sprinkle with the remaining sugar. Pour the remaining batter over the cherries and sugar; Bake in the preheated oven for 45 to 60 minutes until the clafouti is puffed and brown and a knife inserted into the center comes out clean.

Lara McCormack is co-owner of From Scratch – A Mountain Kitchen in Fairmont Hot Springs where one can savor fabulous, seasonal food, sip from a selection of BC wines and enjoy the views of our gorgeous valley landscape.