April 23rd, 2018

From Our Table: Comfort food

By Medicine Hat News on April 10, 2018.

Everybody has that certain food that just makes them smile. It makes them sigh with contentment. It temporarily makes everything right with the world even amidst complete chaos or in terrible tragedy.

Last Friday brought an incomprehensible tragedy with the loss of 15 lives in the accident involving the Humboldt Broncos team bus. I’m not sure anyone could have a dry eye when hearing about this heartbreak. I know I cry almost every time I think about it. An editorial in the Globe and Mail eloquently explained why this tragedy has touched so many hearts in our country — because in many communities, especially smaller ones, hockey is life:

“The Humboldt Broncos, and other Junior teams like them, are their hometown heroes, their sons, their brothers, their husbands, the polite young man they billeted as he tried to find a place in the game of hockey.”

My first job was as a public health nutritionist in the Prince Albert region. My close friend Patricia got the same job in the Melfort region. We spent a lot of time travelling the rural Saskatchewan highways. Highway 35 was one of those. Prince Albert had the WHL Raiders and during hockey season a lot of people went to the games. In Melfort with the SJHL in a smaller community, everyone went to the games. It was the entertainment, the social gathering; it was life in a cold winter season.

I can’t begin to imagine the heartache for the family and friends of everyone involved. But this goes way beyond, to an entire community, a province, the prairies and to our country. Hockey is Canada.

My heart and prayers go out to those families and friends involved in this unbelievable tragedy.

I also want to mention a personal tragedy. It’s been about one year since my friend Karen Wagenaar passed away from ALS. She was an amazing wife to Rick and a solid support to her four boys: Raymond, Marty, Gerad and Kyle. She was far too young to be taken from us.

With her gone, there’s one less smile to bring a rainbow to the world, one less parent voice in the stands yelling enthusiastically (OK, maybe at the refs), one less mother bear fiercely protecting her boys who adored her, one less uniquely loud laugh you just couldn’t help but join in with. I miss you, Karen.

But, as we are seeing through the Humboldt Broncos tragedy, we gain strength from each other in difficult situations. This weekend, we will celebrate Karen with a Purple Shirt Party (her favorite colour) and donate to the ALS Society. ALS is a horrible disease and I invite you to donate to help find a cure.

I did a little survey with several people about their comfort food a couple years ago. Karen was one of the responders. Her favourite comfort food was Chicken Pot Pie. In memory of Karen, that’s the recipe I’m including today. I need some comfort food this week. Maybe you do, too.

Joanne Smith is a registered dietitian.

Karen’s Chicken Pot Pie

This recipe is from Rick. Karen kept things simple when she cooked and tried to cater to ‘the tastes’ of the whole family which is always a challenge. The recipe is very basic which many may like otherwise feel free to use your veggies of choice and spice it up the way you like.

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, ooked and diced

2 cans of cream of chicken soup

2 cups frozen corn peas beans

Pillsbury biscuit dough

Preheat oven to 350 F

In a large bowl combine chicken soup and vegetables. Mix well and pour into a 9×13 baking dish.

Top with biscuit dough on top

Bake for 45 minutes

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