RIP Soupy Sales

October 26, 2009


Good ole Soupy Sales. What a life he lived! He almost single handedly supported the cream pie industry. By the comics own count he was hit in the face with at least 20,000 pies – almost all of them filled with creamy, custardy goodness.

Friday night, driving to the Chocolate Ball, I heard an archive interview between Soupy and the late, great Canadian journalist Barbara Frum where Soupy admitted that there was, even for him, always a moment of pure humiliation when you’re hit in the face with pie.

Inspiring words that had me making a mental list of the people I’d like to hit in the face with pies…

  1. Lady Gaga who is so over played on Toronto radio stations that I want to scream. (Seriously. If I hear that crappy Papparazi song one more time, I’ll start whipping cream and rolling out pastry!)
  2. The dude too busy talking on his phone while he drove to take a moment to wave when I totally went out of my way to let him in on Saturday.
  3. Every air-duct cleaning company owner that calls me – despite being on the do not call list – while I’m watching Jeopardy! or eating my dinner. (For them, I’ll use salt instead of sugar in the pie since I really want them to suffer.)

I’m sure there are more but I don’t really want to dig too deep into my bitterness reserve. Soupy likely wouldn’t approve. He was a man who devoted his life to making people laugh after all.

But, I will ask you these questions before I sign off for today:  have you ever been hit in the face with a pie?  If so, what was it like?  And, if you could wallop someone with a cream topped pastry crust, who would it be?

How to set up an outdoor buffet

June 19, 2009

Just in time for patio season! I recently shot this video segment, packed full of outdoor buffet and entertaining tips, for the TV Show Real Life. Check out my tips and tricks for setting up a self-serve outdoor feast. I hope you find it fun and informative.

What do you prefer: casual outdoor dinner parties in the summer or more formal shindigs held in the dining room? If you’re an outdoor entertainer, do you have any tips you’d like to share? Feel free to post them below.

Al Sobotka can swing an octopus but can he cook one?

June 3, 2009

Octopus TentaclesDo you know Al Sobotka?  Yeah, I didn’t know who he was either until last Saturday night. Turns out he’s the dude who picks the octopus up and swings him around when Detroit Red Wing fans toss this seafood on the ice. (There’s talk of banning his swings which make the crowd cheer – I guess the NHL doesn’t like people to have fun).

For non hockey fans (in other words, non-Canadians) I should explain: since 1952, throwing an octopus on the ice at Joe Louis Arena during the play offs is an important tradition. It’s supposed to bring good luck to the Red Wings and fans love it so much that they smuggle cooked octopi past security under their clothes. Really!

According to lore, the owner of a local fish market, Peter Cusimano, started the tradition when he threw an octopus from the stands onto the ice. The eight legs supposedly symbolized the eight wins it would take  to win the Stanley Cup at that time. Guess what?  The Red Wings swept to the cup that year and an ocean tradition on a fresh water lake shore was born.

Wikipedia says that:

“there is a certain etiquette that must be followed for fans that wish to throw octopuses onto the ice. The most appropriate time to throw an octopus onto the ice is after the national anthem is sung or after the Red Wings have scored a goal. Under these circumstances, the eight-legged creature must be thrown onto the ice surface in an area that is clear of all players. It is never acceptable to aim for opposing players. Beforehand, octopuses are usually boiled to reduce the amount of “slime” coating and facilitate the time it takes to clean up the ice and prevent further delay. Since Joe Louis Arena does not condone the throwing of any foreign objects onto the ice, fans often sneak the sea creatures in wrapped around their bellies in trash bags. The boiling process also lessens the odor and allows the fans to get past security. Tactics are also used to protect the identity of octopus-throwers from arena security. It is common practice for the hurler to ask the surrounding people to stand up with him to shroud the task in anonymity.

While I’m all for fun and tradition, I hope Sobotka takes them home and cookes them up – it just seems wasteful to use them as talismans only. So, for hockey fans and seafood lovers alike, I offer you this recipe from my hubby Martin’s superstar chef repertoire.

Martin Kouprie’s Octopus Salad

Use the 1 pound size octopus that have already been tenderized.

Cooking the octopus:
8         octopus, legs separated
10 liters        water
1 liter        red wine
5 cups         mire poix (carrot, celery, onion, & fennel)
6 cloves         garlic (crushed)
2 tbsp        whole black pepper
3 tbsp        salt
1 bunch        fresh oregano

Preparing the marinade/dressing:
½ cup         sweet mirin
¼ cup        rice wine vinegar
3 tbsp        red wine vinegar
1 tbsp        lemon juice
1 tsp        saffron
4 cups        olive oil, extra virgin
¾ cup        fresh oregano, chopped
salt and ground white pepper

Preparing the salad:
2        red peppers, roasted and peeled
2        yellow peppers, roasted and peeled
½ cup        red onions
½ cup        black Gaeta olives, pitted and halved
½ cup        capers, small
½ cup        roasted garlic cloves
Salad greens such as lamb’s lettuce

Cooking: In a large pot filled with the water, add all the ingredients except the oregano and bring to a boil. Immediately reduce heat to the bare minimum that loows the liquid to simmer and continue to cook for 90 minutes.   Add in one bunch of fresh oregano and cook for 30 minutes longer.

Remove the pot from heat and allow octopus to remain in liquid for at least an hour. Peel the octopus using a clean, damp towel, but try to leave the suckers on the legs for looks. Slice the octopus legs into thin rounds and set aside.

Marinade: In a mixing bowl, whisk all the marinade  ingredients together and season to taste. Combine the octopus and enough marinade to moisten evenly. You can proceed right away but the flavour will improve if this mixture is left in the refrigerator for several hours first.

Salad: Julienne the roasted peppers into long strips. Peel the red onion, julienne and separate the strands by hand. In a bowl combine the peppers and onion together with the olives, capers, and roasted garlic cloves. Toss with the marinated octopus. Serve over salad greens.

How to get a man’s attention

January 26, 2009

We all know the saying:  “the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach”,  but how do you get him to listen?

According to this British gravy mix commercial, the stomach route works pretty well then, too!


Off on another sweet escape

December 11, 2008

I thought I was home at last from my whirlwind travels around Canada, but as it turns out, I’m on my way to Ottawa today so that I can be part of A Channel’s cookie exchange extravaganza tomorrow morning. I’ll be on air at 7:40 am (if all goes as planned that is) so please try to tune in if you’re an Ottawa area reader.

Since this opportunity came up rather suddenly, I didn’t get a chance to write a post for today. Instead, I present another food related video I like. Hope you enjoy it, too!

(BTW:  If you loved that commercial, you can also watch the ‘baking of’ it video:


Movie Friday: Lobsters, Swedish style

November 21, 2008

Hmm… a video clip posted four Fridays in a row. I guess now that my gardening adventure is over, I’ve transitioned into couch potato mode. Care to join me?

This video is purely a fun offering that blasts us back to my childhood. If only the TV chefs of today could be so lovable!

Do you have a favourite Muppet’s Swedish Chef memory you’d like to share? Or, am I such a dinosaur that no one else reading here remembers the poor guy?


June 19, 2008

Although I’ve written about food fights here before, a new commercial that approaches the topic from a fresh new angle has inspired me to broach this subject again!

The ad for Doritos’ Collision chips is my favourite thing on TV right now. Seriously, the TV viewing options were better during the writer’s strike than they are now. In fact, when I’m watching a show on PVR and catch a glimpse of this commercial I stop and actually watch the ad.

Due to royalties issues I can’t imbed the video in this post so you can only view this commercial on TV or facebook. Here’s a link that takes you to the facebook page where you can enjoy it over and over again.

Besides the fact that I think this ad is pretty funny, I admire it because it highlights a brilliant example of Concept Architecture.

When I give people my business card and they see the title Food Concept Architect under my name, they often ask me what a concept architect does. At their brightest and best, we do what Doritos has done here: we take a familiar concept and help people to see it in a new, more interesting way.

Still not sure what I mean? Consider that the flavour profile of this chip combo is basically the same as buffalo chicken wings, the bar snack that combines spicy wings with a tangy blue cheese dip. Calling these chips Buffalo Chicken Wings would have been obvious. Instead, some clever food or marketing person (I’m inclined to guess it was a food person but I’m biased) rethought the idea and presented it as a collision of disparate flavours. The result is a product concept that gives people something that they already like but makes it new and fun.