HomeEc – Construction Season – July 16th

OK team, we need your help!

We live in Riverside (near Leslieville) in Toronto.  Construction has closed the intersection of Queen and Broadview which is dramatically decreasing business for the local business in our community.

You can help support local business in the middle of the worst (but needed) construction project we’ve ever faced – and you can win a whack load of prizes!

HomeEc   Construction Season   July 16th HomeEc

Here’s the deal:

  • Come to HiLo on July 16th.
  • We’ll be selling raffle tickets and have some form of silent auction.  100% of raffle proceeds are being donated to local charity (we’ll announce the amount here; we’re planning to donate to The Red Door which is a shelter in our neighborhood).
  • We’ll be selling tickets from 7:00PM onwards and we’ll start drawing winners at 8:00PM.
  • Raffle prizes will consist of small-large prizes (supporting local food businesses in the area; each prize will be redeemable from July 17th – August 4th.  Prizes will range from a free pint of beer, a $30 bar tab to HiLo, apps and mains from Table 17 and Enoteca Escari and more!  The prizes are all incentives to come out and support our neighborhood in the toughest construction season we’ve faced in recent memory.
  • So far we’ve received prizes from:
    • Butchers of Distinction
    • The Comrade
    • Dangerous Dan’s
    • Enotecta Ascari
    • Glas Winebar
    • Hi-Lo
    • Left Field Brewery
    • and more!

Left Field Brewery will also be attending and bringing a keg with them – it’s the first time you’ll be able to have Left Field on tap at HiLo!

We hope you’ll come out and help spread the word – and we hope you’ll join us in supporting local business in the midst of a challenging time!

list of businesses offering prizes will be updated on our NEW I Love Home Ec website (the place to keep up with all our events!).

The Home Ec (Big Outdoor) Kitchen Party

Dana and I are excited to share news of a project that we’ve been quietly working on for the last little while:

The Home Ec (Big Outdoor) Kitchen Party HomeEc Big Outdoor Kitchen Party HomeEc harbortfront center

Inspired by community gatherings in the East Coast of Canada (where my Mother is from) we’re planning a family-friendly festival celebrating small food, preserving, blogging, food writing, music and more.  We also have some surprises to share soon!

We’re hosting the outdoor event at Harbourfront center and we couldn’t be more excited about the venue!

Here’s how we described it on the Harborfront website:

Meet some of the city’s finest picklers, beekeepers, hot sauce makers, fermenters and chefs in our pop-up local grocery store. Each producer will have a unique demonstration to teach you about their craft. Have a bite on your way to visit our demo area to learn the basics of preserving food, learn simple meal ideas, cooking techniques and more.

No kitchen party is complete without music, so our day will culminate with live music to celebrate the harvest!

As events are becoming a bigger focus for us, we’ve launched a new website to share our events on.  You can find it at: ILoveHomeEc.com

We’re looking for potential partners as well.  There are two types of partners we’re hoping to find:

  • Potential participants.  Artisan food producers, community organizations with a focus on food, cookbook authors, speakers and more.  The ideal participant will have a demo, tasting, display or something interactive to share with our guests.  We’ve had beer brewers offer hops for people to smell, hot sauce makers offering a taste of hot sauce and fermenters offer a sample of their pickles in the past.  You can find out the benefits of being a vendor here and apply over here.
  • Potential Sponsors.  Are you a larger organization who would like to participate with community and be involved with innovative, agile and amazing smaller brands?  We have a full sponsor package to share; send me an email (joel (a) wellpreserved.ca) and I’ll share it with you.

And, of course, you can participate by attending!


HomeEcNight #28 Preserve Swap Recap

Toronto, like many cities, can be a very difficult place to meet people.

When I first moved into the city I bemoaned the loss of community that came with living in the same place for more than 20 years.  I was only 25 minutes away from where I grew up so I wasn’t missing friends and family; I was missing a certain familiarity that comes with being in a place a long time.  On good days I hardly noticed it, on bad days I felt like I was an anonymous shadow that walked down the street just beyond the sight lines of people all around me.  I missed walking into the local burger shop, pub or bar and recognizing others with a familiar nod, smile or just the vague comfort that comes from seeing familiar strangers.

My discomfort manifested into a self-conscious reflection.  Was I so made of ego that it bothered me that people didn’t know ‘who I was?’  I didn’t think I was the type of person that needed the validation of strangers yet there was a hole that I felt when I walked around, anonymous.  The feeling ate at me and it ‘didn’t feel right’ – after all I spent the greater part of a year travelling Canada on a Greyhound bus where I was largely anonymous and don’t remember feeling that way at all.  I like to be alone and find quiet time spent in isolation to be comforting.

I largely waited for this feeling to go away.  And, with time, it did.  We made some friends, strengthened other relationships and got to know people in our neighbourhood.  The feeling disappeared as I felt connected to those around me and I thought I had found community again.  I haven’t thought about those feelings in years.

Perhaps it is more accurate to say that I HADN’T thought about those feelings in years.

On Wednesday evening we hosted our 5th or 6th preserve swap (part of our HomeEcNight events).  It’s our 5th or 6th preserve swap and the flow is delightfully predictable: people arrive around 8:00PM and spread their jars across the bar (there were hundreds).  The evening begins with a few awkward introductions as strangers meet one another and slowly begin to ask what others have made or brought.  People continue to arrive and the mingling becomes more comfortable and the room begins to get louder and more excited.  A few people pre-arrange swaps and we give people a heads up that the swap will begin around 9:00PM.  The music goes dim, we share 60 seconds of announcements and declare the swap as started.

And the room turns feverish.

People have different strategies for swapping.  Some carry their jars around to others to broker deals, others grab a few jars at a time or have a friend carry their jars as they go.  I’m extremely casual.  I sit back, soak in the room and let people take any of my preserves that they want and ask them to choose something from their collection for me.

Monday night followed the predictable flow.  35 or 40 people had armloads (or cases) of preserves and were laughing, smiling and trading jars of food they made by hand.  The room was loud and excited – individual conversations were mashed into the buzz of human activity with few discernible words until I heard it.  I heard a single word repeated over and over.  The word rose above the din and I heard it repeatedly:

Thank you.

Here was a group of 30 or 40 or 50 people, many who were strangers an hour before, engaged in open exchange and genuine appreciation with each other.  Strangers who were thrilled that someone had exchanged something special with them and with each other.  With hundreds of jars it’s easy to conclude that there were a hundred or more enthusiastic ‘thank yous.’

Strangers effecting one anthers lives.  Strangers sharing genuine interaction without pre-tense or distraction.  Strangers creating community.

I don’t think I’ve smiled as big as I did in that moment.  And I realized that this is what I was missing when I first moved to the city; witnessing the open entanglement that comes when a community bonds with itself.  Those moments are tough to find in a city of millions of people – you rarely see the same person twice so the chance to connect with familiar strangers is scarce.  And that’s the magic of a preserve swap – strangers pushing past their individual comfort zones to share mutual passions and connect with each other.

I also got a whack-load of jam, pickles, mustard, relish and more!  Thank you.

I know many who read this aren’t close enough to come to these events.  Here’s hoping we can bring this show on the road someday or perhaps you can connect strangers closer to you!

A giant thank you also goes out to Bernardin who supplied 2 awesome home canning starter kits that we gave away as door prizes.  We had some very happy winners take them home!

HomeEcNight – May 28th, 2014 – Preserve Swap

We’re pumped to announce another HomeEc and another PRESERVE SWAP!

All are welcome (even non-preservers) – it’s a great night to meet people, see what others are preserving and add new flavors into your life.  Read on for more info…

HomeEcNight   May 28th, 2014   Preserve Swap homeecnight

Here’s some common questions/ answers:

  1. How does a preserve swap work?
    People bring items to the bar to trade with others.  We scatter items through the bar for the first hour (when trading is not allowed) to give you a chance to survey the bounty and come up with a strategy.  Some people pre-arrange trades while others prefer to wait and see what options arrive.  We announce trading around 9:00 and you find people to trade your goods with.
  2. What Can I Bring?
    We’re not big on rules; if someone’s willing to trade you, it’s fair game.  Most people trade preserves of course but we’ve seen everything from sourdough starter to a pint of beer traded for a jar of preserves.
  3. What If I don’t Preserve?
    Come and meet people.  Ask questions.  It’s a great way to learn if preserving is something you’d enjoy!  And, like the swappers, you’ll have a chance to win one of two home canning sets from Bernardin to learn to can with!
  4. Do I have to trade everything I bring?
    Of course not.  The deals you make are up to you.
  5. What types of preserves should I bring?
    Waterbath canning (jams, jellies and pickles) are the most common things swapped but we’ve seen homemade bread, kombucha, kimchi, fridge jam, ferments, bacon, dehydrated goods and more all get swapped.
  6. How much should I bring?
    As much as you want.  Some people bring 2-3 jars, others bring 2-3 cases (or more)!  It’s not a competition but a lot of first-timers report that they wish they had brought more to trade.
  7. I’m out of preserves!  What do I do?
    I sometimes make a batch of jam or pickles (carrot, asparagus, beets and rhubarb can all be pickled this time of year) just to swap.  Of course you can also just come to meet others, share a beverage and have a chance to win one of the preserving kits.
  8. When and where?
    We’ll be at Hi-Lo Bar Toronto (just east of Broadview; 753 Queen East).  We’ll arrive before 8:00 and encourage our guests to be there around 8:00.  Swapping will begin around 9:00 and end shortly thereafter (it’s a frenzy!)

You don’t have to RSVP to the event but it helps us plan the evening better.  You can do so on Uniiverse.

Hope to see you there!

HomeEcNight #27: Jam Session

Here we go again – it’s time to announce another HomeEcNight!

The theme this month is:

HomeEcNight #27: Jam Session

After 3 packed HomeEcNights (Hot Sauce Tasting, Craft Beer Salon and our Pickle Party), we’re pumped to announce our next pop-up: Jam Session!

Come to Hi-Lo Bar (Queen East, Toronto) on the evening of Wednesday, April 30th for a night of jam tasting, chatting, jam cocktails and $5 food.

We dig jam. And we’re excited that summer is so close – yet it’s so far when it comes to local fruit.  Come and meet some of our professional jam-making friends:

Each of them will have samples of their small-batch jam for you to sample.  There will also be:

  • jam cocktails made by Emily and Hi-Lo
  • $5 food from the team at Table 17 (who are partners with HiLo)
  • We’ll be there to chat about making your own as well.
  • A friendly crowd and lots of jam lovers

This is an informal night, there’s no talk or lecture or anything like that. We’re bringing together some great people we thought you’d be interested in meeting, so come out and have a pint, sample some jam and celebrate the early days of spring with us!.

Although you don’t have to RSVP it really helps us plan for the evening, helps reduce waste and allows us to know when to stop promoting to try and stop the bar from overcrowding and helps us keep this event free.  You can RSVP on Uniiverse here.

PS. Are you a blogger looking for content? If you’d like to request an interview with any of our guests, let us know (hello@wellpreserved.ca) and we’ll do our best to arrange a meeting prior to the event so you can get your story and then enjoy the event with every one else! HomeEcNight #27: Jam Session

HomeEc 26 (Get Pickled) Recap

Thank you to all who came out to HomeEcNight last night!  We had an amazing time and hope that each of you did as well!

What is HomeEcNight?  It’s our monthly (and sometimes more frequent) pop-up.  Each event has a theme; last night we had a pickle theme.  Participants packed into Toronto’s HiLo bar and celebrated everything pickled!

HomeEc 26 (Get Pickled) Recap homeecnight [Read more...]

Recap: HomeEc 25 and Craft Beer Salon

HomeEc 25: Craft Beer Salon has now wrapped up and we’re pleased to share what a great time we all had!  More than 100 people braved the sub-zero temperatures to come out ‘on a school night’ and participate in a great night celebrating craft beer and some awesome beer projects from our community.

We have to start with a giant thanks to our sponsor, Kensington Brewing Company who helped make the night possible.  Brock and Dave (the owner and head brewer of Kensington) were amazing partners who brought a one-off cask (it was emptied in less than 40 minutes!) and a great demo; they brought 5 different types of hops for people to check out (Fuggle, Sorachi Ace, Amarillo, Citra, Centennial).

Recap: HomeEc 25 and Craft Beer Salon [Read more...]

HomeEc #25: Craft Beer Salon

A Night for the Beer-Curious

After our hot sauce tasting drew more than 90 people

Do you like beer?  Want to learn more about it while sharing pints with friends?  This is going to be a fun night celebrating beer and offering you a chance to try something unique and meet a bunch of passionate beer lovers who want to share what they love about beer!

This is also our first sponsored HomeEc.  We asked our friends at Kensington Brewing Company if they’d consider sponsoring the event and they jumped at the opportunity.  They’ve been long-time supporters of WellPreserved and their sponsorship is making this night possible for us to put on.

HomeEc #25: Craft Beer Salon kensington brewing company HomeEc Craft Beer [Read more...]

ReCap: HomeEc 24: Hot Sauce Tasting

Wednesday night was our re-launching of HomeEc (and the 24th event in the series).  The new format removes the potluck element and moves the evening to a Wednesday while it retains it’s casual vibe and continues to offer people a chance to try new things and meet new people.

More than 90 people showed up for our hot sauce tasting!  They were treated to 11 differenet locally made hot sauces (7 from No. 7, 3 from SupiCucu and 1 from Dana and I).  The fine folks at Hi-Lo offered ribs for $5 (which sold out and were replaced by baked chicken wings) as well as cocktails and shooters made with hot sauce and jalapeno peppers.

No.7 and SupiCucu shared sauces that aren’t available to the public (as did we – with the premiere of our 24 bottle batch of Double Dragon).

People were fantastically friendly; many people shared with me that meeting people was a highlight of their evening.

People tried free samples of hot sauce and stayed warm from the bitter cold that was just out the window.  The night ended by giving away 5 prize packs and and a few glasses of water.

We’ll be announcing the next event on Monday but a keen eye can find most of the details now at www.homeecnight.com

ReCap: HomeEc 24: Hot Sauce Tasting hot sauce homeecnight [Read more...]

2014: HomeEc Night and More Events Just Launched

It’s a New Year and we’re thrilled to kick off some entirely new events – and we’ve re-vamped some of our trusted ones!

This is the official launch of our new event page: www.HomeEcNight.com and the announcing of 3 new events in the coming month including “Home Ec,  Hot Sauce”.

2014: HomeEc Night and More Events Just Launched [Read more...]