I became involved in CHEA AND THEA shortly after coming to Toronto. THEA had an excellent job liaison program which lead me to a position with Sally Henry at Maple Leaf Mills. From there I moved to the Toronto Star and 5 years later to Chatelaine. Shortly after starting at Chatelaine, I became president of OHEA and we held the first conference in a downtown Toronto hotel.
I originally joined CHEA because Sally Henry, my boss, was the president. Later as the president of THEA, I felt that while the organization was serving home economists in business in Toronto, a lot more could be done for those in the profession throughout the province. There were many who did not have the luxury of a large city professional network. Thus, OHEA was formed.
Having a long list of fellow professionals to call on when I was writing food and nutrition articles was invaluable. Then most major food companies in the province employed Home Economists. So, my connections through the association paid off tremendously in my day-to-day work life.
When I entered Home Ec, I had no idea what I wanted to do - but I did know I did not want to teach or become a dietitian. I have always been happiest creating and that has remained with me throughout my life. The biggest plus of our profession is that you use your knowledge every day, whether it’s in making dinner or trying to help a friend with a diet restriction.
As nutrition research balloons and absurd nutritional and diet claims are made, our background knowledge is invaluable in working our way through the maze of misinformation we are confronted with daily.
A day does not go by that I do not get some payback from my professional knowledge and I keep regular contact with many home economists. Other professions that interested me were architecture and physics. Sure glad home ec won out.
Maple Carrot Cake with Maple Butter Icing
While few flavours are as Canadian (or as addictive) as maple syrup, we have a habit of only using it over pancakes and glazed donuts. So here’s a delicious way to spread its goodness way beyond the morning hours. This multi-tiered, lightly spiced knockout dessert is filled with sweet maple syrup you can taste in every bite. What could be better than ending the evening on a naturally sweet (and truly patriotic) note?
4 cups (1 L) grated carrots
2½ cups (625 mL) all-purpose flour
1 tbsp (15 mL) baking powder
1 tsp (5 mL) baking soda
1 tsp (5 mL) salt
½ tsp (2 mL) cinnamon
½ tsp (2 mL) ground nutmeg
1 cup (250 mL) butter, at room temperature
1 cup (250 mL) golden brown sugar
2 tsp (10 mL) vanilla
¾ cup (175 mL) maple syrup
½ cup (125 mL) milk
MAPLE BUTTER ICING
1½ cups (375 mL) butter, at room temperature
¾ cup (175 mL) maple syrup
1 tsp (5 mL) vanilla
3 to 3½ cups (750 to 875 mL) sifted icing sugar
1. Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Spray or lightly oil two 9-inch (1.5-L) round cake pans.
2. Grate carrots using a food processor. Measure out 4 cups (1 L) and set aside. Place flour in a medium bowl. Sprinkle with baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Stir to blend.
3. Place butter in a large mixing bowl and beat with an electric mixer until creamy. Gradually beat in sugar, then beat on medium for about 3 minutes. Reduce speed to low and beat in eggs, then vanilla. It may look curdled. Then beating on low, gradually add about a third of flour mixture. Beat just until mixed, followed by the maple syrup. Beat in half the remaining flour followed by the milk, then end with the flour. Stir in carrots.
4. Divide batter between pans. Spread evenly to sides of pan. To remove air pockets, bang pans on counter 5 to 6 times. Bake until centres seem set when lightly tapped, from 35 to 40 minutes. Place on baking racks to cool. After about 15 minutes, turn cakes out of pans and cool completely on racks. It’s best to make cakes a day ahead of icing and leave at room temperature overnight.
5. To make icing, place butter in a medium bowl. Beat with an electric mixer until creamy. Beating on low, gradually pour in about ¼ cup (50 mL) maple syrup. Add vanilla. Then beating on low, add about ½ cup (125 mL) icing sugar. Repeat process twice. Continue to beat in enough icing sugar, about ¼ cup (50 mL) at a time, until it reaches spreading consistency. Stop and scrape down beaters occasionally. If not firm enough to ice, refrigerate for a few minutes.
6. To assemble, slice cakes in half horizontally. Place top of 1 cake, dome-side down, on a platter. Thinly spread with icing leaving a narrow border of cake around edge. Lay bottom of that cake, cut-side down, on top. Thinly spread with icing leaving a border. Add the bottom half of the second cake, cut-side down. Repeat spreading. Top with the final layer, cut-side down. Smoothly spread icing over the sides of the cake, then the top. Best to refrigerate several hours or overnight before serving.
Wanting to learn more information about OHEA's history? Join us on March 23 for our annual conference which will be held in London, Ontario at Brescia University College. Visit oheaconference.ca or ohea.on.ca for more information about the agenda, speakers and to register. We look forward to seeing you there!