Follow by Email

Saturday, August 30, 2014

In praise of cast iron ...

It has been about a year and a half now that I have been enjoying my cast iron fry pan. Some visitors have expressed surprise that I no longer have any Teflon pans in my home. I was pleased to show off this week when folks were at my place for omelettes. Using my big pan, which is now perfectly seasoned, I was able to make excellent omelettes without anything sticking to the pan. The same goes for steaks, chops, burgers, raw veggies and even grilled cheese sandwiches. And it's perfect for frying fish. Cleaning up is easy. I have a couple of stiff brushes, some hot water and then wipe it clean with paper towels. When I cook fish or eggs, I usually throw in a bit of baking soda and vinegar, to kill any lingering odors. Rinse with hot water, wipe with paper towel and then half a teaspoon of oil to season the pan.
I noticed that the Lodge Company, which makes my favourite pans, has released an updated video about cast iron cooking.
It is worth taking a few minutes to have a look.

This is important because I have read that in some parts of the world, factories using any kind of recycled metal to make up cast iron, including old lead.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Northern lakes are so refreshing

I have been nursing a bit of sunburn in recent days, but I think it was worth it. I have been prone to burning ever since I was a kid, but these days I feel it more. I don’t have enough hair to keep my scalp from burning and last night I had to soak my head with cold water for relief. I say it was worth it because I spent a day at Bigwater Lake, just north of Timmins. The water was clean, fresh and oh so cold. I find the best way to beat the heat it to jump into a northern lake. I had put sunscreen on my shoulders and face, but forgot the top of my head. Anyway, if the hot weather continues, I am heading back to the lake.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Just some photos from this summer in Timmins...

A woman, Lynne Bouchard, was the captain of a winning mine rescue team.

The Mr. Schumacher statue was nicely repaired and cleaned up.

Entrepreneur Jon Bonney set up a wakeboard ride on Gillies Lake.

Gillies Lake, just a nice place to hang out on a summer day.

A blasting incident at the Hollinger pit. A rock escaped the blast zone and landed on a parked car. Production shut down for three weeks.

Some local teenagers were rescued after spending a night stranded on the shore of the Grassy River when their canoe flipped over.

The summer concerts every Wednesday night have been a hit with a lot of Timmins folks.

Click on the photos to see the large version.
Photos by Len Gillis ©

I was hooked ...

I had an excellent discussion this past week when I dropped in at Collège Borèal in Timmins for a photo. They were having a fish fry to entice students, parents and visitors to drop by the campus to see what courses were being offered. Pretty good marketing idea. It was even better, when after I shot my photo, one of the kitchen staff walked over and plopped down a heaping plate of pickerel, French fries and cole slaw. Now that is what many folks in Northern Ontario call dinner fit for a king. How much better can it get? … well it could be a little better with a nice bonfire, a breeze off the lake and a fresh beer so cold that it snaps your molars. Anyway, during lunch, I was joined by a staff member. We discussed that life is indeed good in Northern Ontario. Yes, it’s nice to visit Toronto and other points down south, every now and then, but it is hard to beat the good life in the North, where people know you, where the streets and pretty safe and we are close to the best of Nature. Both of us could name several instances of where folks have gone south and then returned to raise their children and carry on. I try not to get political here, but the only downside is that we are not masters of our own destiny. Northern Ontario makes up nine-tenths of the province. We have the gold, silver, copper, diamonds, electricity, clean air and fresh water. But a bunch of know-nothings down south always seem to get elected by know-nothing voters (ha ha, now I am in trouble) and the North gets shut out on the decision making.

Friday, August 22, 2014


Here it is another nice Friday in August. Lucky me I have a day off. Last Friday was excellent. I had a visit from Jennifer, Tyler and Nathan and it was just the best time. I am not much of a prayer guy, but when I went to bed that night I thanked God for the blessings in my life. That sure includes Jenn and her family. Jenn was in good spirits having just completed a couple of summer school courses as she works towards her nursing degree. I knew I would forget the course names… some science thingy or two – but she earned 90 per cent in one and 86 per cent in the other. She figured it would give her a bit of break during the regular school year to take advance courses in the summer. No kidding. I am amazed that she is a housewife, mom and university student all in one. I have to give a lot of credit to Scott and boys for their excellent support. Wow, what a change from five years ago eh? The visit was nice despite the rain we had. As usual, there was chocolate cake to be enjoyed. Whenever the boys were sniffing around the kitchen wondering what to snack on, I’d just say Chocolate Cake? Yes!! I should have snapped a photo of one such snack… we sliced a banana lengthwise, put it in bowls, ice cream down the centre topped with strawberry syrup, smack a hunk of choco cake on top of that and then smother it all in hot fudge sauce. The boys actually had to work at eating it all. It is fun being a grandfather.

Friday, August 01, 2014

I can be a pocket pain in the a$$

What a pain in the a$$ I am. Yes, mea culpa! My phone is a pocket-dialing nightmare. I thought it was ALL my fault but I have since learned that the BlackBerry is one of the worst phones for this, likely because it has a keyboard. But the keyboard is exactly the reason I like the BlackBerry. Anyway, I called Jennifer this week, not once, but twice. To make things worse, the call was late in the evening... at the time when nobody wants an unexpected phone call. As it was I took a call from another reporter, named Joey, who was trying to find the house where a murder investigation was underway. I was heading out the door and pushed the phone into my pocket. Jennifer's name was close to Joey's name. Suddenly I heard a voice saying, hello, hello ... Yes it was Jennifer. So I apologized. But it seems a week doesn't go by that I don't mistakenly pocket dial somebody. I went to the BlackBerry website and there is an app available to disable the keyboard quickly and easily. I will have to explore that.