Since coming to Canada in 1965, I have been proud to be Professional Home Economist along with being a Certified Culinary Professional with the International Association of Culinary Professionals. After completing my Master’s at the University of Wisconsin, I worked in food research at the University of Illinois and then in Ottawa briefly for the Food Research Institute at Agriculture Canada. While my children were small, I taught several years in night school before moving on to Betty’s Kitchen where I became cooking school director. Since 1990, I have worked mostly as a food writer, writing a monthly column, Food Bits, and authoring ten cookbooks, focusing on preserving and simple healthy meals.
During that time I have been involved with a number of organizations including representing the Canadian Home Economics Association on Health Canada’s consultation for the 1992 Canada Food Guide, as a member of Health Canada’s steering committee to develop policy for Raw Foods of Animal Origin, serving on the scientific advisory committee for the Food Preservation Exhibit at the Canadian Agriculture Museum (opened in 2014) and currently am treasurer of the Ottawa Home Economics Association.
In my other life, I have served two terms on the Board of the Nepean, Rideau and Osgoode Community Resource Centre, set up collective kitchens sponsored by Ottawa Social Services, worked as a volunteer for the lunch program at Foster Farm Community Housing Centre, as a Girl Guide leader and various roles in Bell’s Corners United Church.
How long have you been involved with OHEA?
I joined OHEA when it was first started. In 1995 I was secretary for the organizing committee for the 1995 OHEA conference held in Ottawa and joined the Board as Policies & Procedures Chair, becoming OHEA President in 1999. From 2009 to 2014, I represented OHEA on the Board of the Canadian Partnership for Consumer Food Safety Education, serving a Secretary for most of that time.
Why did you keep your OHEA membership?
Membership in a professional association is very important to me and my membership in OHEA has flowed first from membership in OttawaHEA and then the Canadian Home Economics Association. So when OHEA was formed in 1979, it was natural to join with other Ontario home economists. Professional membership in all three associations has offered unique opportunities to connect with colleagues at conferences, workshops and work on various committees. These relationships, have played a huge role in my life, both professional and personal. I would never have had the opportunity to do many of the things I have done if it weren't for my home ec connections.
How has being a P.H.Ec. positively impacted my life?
In addition to providing me many opportunities to network with other PHEc’s, I feel that having ‘PHEc’ after my name when I am promoting my books, serving on government policy committees or attending various conferences and meetings adds a layer of credibility.
What led you to join OHEA?
Having been very involved with Canadian Home Economics and valuing the benefits of its’ membership, it was natural to continue with associations in OHEA.
How has the profession changed over the years?
Many of the employment opportunities for a home ec grad such as with the Federal Departments of Fisheries and with Agriculture’s Food Advisory have disappeared. The field is now much more fractured with people getting their education in specific departments with a more narrow focus. As a result, jobs tend to be in more specialized work places. A traditional home economics degree, now named human ecology in several institutions, provides a broad understanding of the many influences that impact on the well being of families, providing training that can be applied in many sectors with a wide variety of opportunities. As such many people I have known have followed a variety of interesting career paths.
A Protein Medley with Vegetables
Makes 6 servings.
With the release of the new Canada Food Guide and the emphasis on plant-based proteins, this is a flavourful one-dish meal that can be on the table in under a half hour. If you don’t need all six servings, it freezes well for later use.
1 tbsp (15 mL) olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 stalks celery, sliced thinly
2 carrots, sliced thinly
1 onion, chopped
2 cups (500 mL) chicken stock
1 can (28 oz/796 mL) plum or diced tomatoes
1 1/2 tsp (7 mL) dried oregano
1 tsp (5 mL) dried basil
1/8-1/2 tsp (1-2 mL) sriracha (optional)
1 cup (250 mL) quinoa, rinsed
1 can (19 oz/540 mL) kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 can (19 oz/540 mL) chickpea, drained and rinsed
2 sprigs parsley or cilantro, minced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
½ cup (125 mL) freshly grated Parmesan cheese
In a large saucepan, heat oil over medium-high heat; cook garlic, celery, carrots and onion for 5-7 minutes or until soft. Add stock, tomatoes, oregano, basil and sriracha and bring to a boil; Stir in quinoa, reduce heat and simmer for 12 minutes or until quinoa is cooked.
Add beans, chickpeas and parsley; cook for 5 minutes or until heated through. Add salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle each serving with cheese.