A Quick Bite With Jennifer Reynolds

A Quick Bite With Jennifer Reynolds

I got to know Jen Reynolds through work. She’s Editor-in-Chief of the always fabulous Canadian Family and was just down the hall when I was Editor-in-Chief at FASHION. I liked her immediately for her great sense of humour but once I got on the parent track, I spent more and more time hovering at her desk with endless questions about daycare, car seats, sleep doulas…. I was a plague on the poor woman.

But I couldn’t help myself –  she’s just one of those people who know everything without being know-it-alls. You know? And I love the way Jen finds ways to include her son James in everything she does. I know he spends a lot of time with her in the kitchen as well as making regular appearances in CF.

CF recently featured us in the kitchen with our girls. I’m only slightly biased when I say the new food-themed issue is a killer.  The video of our day with them on set cracks me up like nothing else.

We were excited to catch up with Jen about life in her kitchen. – Ceri Marsh

Q: What’s your earliest food memory?
A: Tough question.

Q: What was your favourite food as a child?
A: Honestly: baloney and relish sandwiches on white bread (had them everyday for lunch!). Something that sounds much savvier (and still true): My mom’s roast beef with gravy. And Christmas dinner.

Q: Is there a food you loathed as a child and have since learned to enjoy? Or maybe you still can’t stand it?
A: Yes. I’ve made myself like grapefruit and dried raisins (but never raisins in baked goods, especially butter tarts). I will never, ever, ever, ever like green peppers. Ever. (I do enjoy yellow, orange and red ones though.)

Q: What’s your default, throw-together-and-wow-everyone meal?
A: Starter: Stuff a ripe fig with a teaspoon of goat’s cheese and wrap in prosciutto. Grill on the barbecue for a few minutes and enjoy with a 2007 Ontario Pinot Noir (or Gamay from that same year if you can find it).

For dinner: A well-seasoned barbequed piece of meat like a rib steak with sweet potato fries seasoned with cumin, a fresh salad (lettuce from my garden) with finely chopped up herbs, roasted tomatoes, blueberries, feta and my homemade balsamic dressing. (Though one year it was the Christmas dinner I ordered from the Royal York and then put in my own dishes and never told anyone—it was a huge hit!)

Q: What’s the one meal you would love to cook but fear it’s too complicated?
A: I think because I was a vegetarian for my formative cooking years, I’m still afraid of large pieces of meat that have bones in them or need carving. Because of this, I’ll choose to cook steaks over preparing a roast. Thinking about this has been cathartic—maybe I’ll try the roast now.

Q: What’s your favourite thing to cook or bake with someone else?
A: I like making anything with my six-year-old son James. I let him use a sharp knife and he loves to chop, stir and mix. He likes to make his own salad dressing from the oils, vinegars, herbs and seasons I have out. Sometimes it’s a little gross but my husband and I eat it anyway.

Q: What do you love most about cooking?
A: I love evolving a recipe with every new ingredient I add. I love that it’s time to myself (I throw dinner together on weeknights, I cook on weekends). I love doing all of this in my beautiful kitchen (with a glass of wine).

Q: What’s your favourite food memory with your children?
A: Holiday dinners with our family—especially Thanksgiving. We go up to my Aunt’s cottage every year and over-stuff ourselves with the meal we’ve been talking about all week. After, everyone does the dishes and plays board games. The kids enjoy this dinner as much as the adults do and there’s no question that everyone appreciates all of the loving that went into making the feast!

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