Playing Nice Blog

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“Spreading love, one recipe at a time!”

The back-story that inspired the menu that inspired the recipes! Foodie and Love stories combining love, romance, and adventure (remember this is all fiction my friends)! Let me take my paintbrush, paint the scene and the mood to take you there…

Inspired Quote to love by: “The way to become one with the Universe is to trust it.” ~ Alan Watts

Foodie DATELINE: Ahhh Sweet Romance

Where: Mount Pleasant (yes it’s real)

When: January 2011

Mood: Anticipation

Emotion:  Joy

The Bulletproof Way to a Man’s Heart

This menu was painstakingly designed with all of my favourite combinations of ‘nice’ foods – chicken, sweet potatoes, parmesan cheese and more cheese, cheesecake (what’s not to love)! I created it for my very first guy’s cooking class, so I spent a lot of time on its design (wanting to impress the guys from their first bite).  I only had one chance to make a first impression, and this was it. I knew they could potentially be harsh critics in the food department, so I had to make the Menu extra sweet.  Oh the anticipation as I waited for them all to arrive.  Show time.  Deep breath as they manned their cooking stations and donned their aprons.  And so the culinary games began with knife, spoon, mortar & pestle or whatever gadget they could get their paws on.  They loved the experience (especially the kitchen gadgets, the reamer in particular – I didn’t ask why).  They came, they cooked, they conquered and left more than satisfied and wanting more!  Yeah, my first guy’s class was a huge success…whew. So, I share this menu with you because I absolutely know 100% that men LOVE this menu and all of the dishes. They couldn’t get enough of each and every course; it was a great way to start my guy’s class cooking series and I know the dishes are bulletproof!!  As we all know, food is the way to a man’s heart.  I can tell you with great conviction that he’ll find the dishes simply irresistible, so much so that he’ll want to take you home to meet his parents! I hope you like them! Bonne chance to you. Find love, be love.

Foodie Dateline: How Sweet

Where: Airport

When: Early 1990’s

Mood: Giddy with excitement

Emotion: Joy

Lady in Red

The second foodie story is not really related to food at all, but it’s a great ‘nice’ story and this is the ‘Playing Nice’ Menu, so I’ll tell it anyway. This story also inspired the “Lady in Red Savoury Stuffed Sweet Potatoes” recipe name. Who doesn’t know the Lady in Red song? What a nice song.  Who hasn’t slow danced to it at a wedding (yes, I know I’m dating myself). Heard it on the radio perhaps? I loved the song, in fact it’s the only ‘slow-song’ that I’ve ever liked. It brings back a lot of memories of life at that time – a lifetime ago of love, sweet romance and simpler things in life. The song was a massive hit across the world, quickly becoming Chris de Burgh’s best-selling single and his signature song, transforming him from a cult artist into a household name in many countries. It reached the number one position in Canada, the UK, Ireland, the Flanders region of Belgium, and Norway. It also reached number three in the United States during the spring of 1987.


Fast-forward to around 1992, I worked as a Concierge for an airline. I met many celebrities, affluent travellers and interesting people during my two-year tenure. I could write a book about my experiences, I LOVE to meet people. Chris de Burgh was no exception. He was booked to travel with us one day and I was so excited (and nervous) to meet him (he sang MY love song, wow)! I met him at check-in and escorted him to the lounge in the airport ‘people-mover vehicle’, he was so charming and such a gentlemen from the moment I introduced myself. Our ride was short, as was our conversation, so he invited me to sit with him in the lounge so that we could continue. That was my role, to ‘touch’ people (yes, it’s the truth), so I sat down and we continued to chat. We talked about his music, the family castle that he lived in and life in general (oh and of course how much he loved flying with my airline, the world’s favourite)! We enjoyed the camaraderie until his flight to London was announced…time go time. Shame that our time together was so short. He told me that he wanted to keep in touch and asked for my contact information…now that’s another story… He was a true gentleman.

Love Dateline: The Sweetest of the Sweet

Where: Northern Ontario

When: Summer 1981

Mood: Love & vulnerability

Emotion:  Joy

My Romeo

I met my Romeo, my first boyfriend, working at an historical site. It was love at first sight. He was a bagpiper and I a Metis,(mixed American Indian and Euro-American ancestry) working in the kitchen and bakery (his Juliet). Although his character (he was an upper class ‘gentlemen’) didn’t exactly ‘travel in the same circles’ as my character (I, a Metis) – we were undeterred. It was an incredibly romance-filled summer, he was such a sweet, nice, kind Romeo. We would steal away during every lunch hour and sit quietly beside the river so that we could be alone together, exchange our lunches and in time exchange our vows of love.

Juliet Wherefore Art Thou

Whenever he could, he would come to visit me, secretly standing outside the window of my bakery calling to his Juliet (no, he didn’t need a ladder). I shared my freshly baked bread with him every day, knowing that it was the way to his heart. It was as though he were made just for me – I couldn’t have dreamt up a more perfect first Romeo if I tried. He was a true gentleman and he played the bagpipes – my then most favourite instrument in the whole universe. I overlooked the fact that he wore a skirt – a kilt – no, I really didn’t mind at all. We were in love, it was a pure, sweet and innocent love – ah the innocence of youth. We spent all of our time together over the next year and our relationship flourished. The challenge, sadly, was that his parents didn’t approve of our love. I was his first true love and they felt that we were too close (maybe even ‘too’ in love if there is such a thing). Their disapproval weighed heavily upon my poor Romeo’s shoulders and in time he gave in to his parents wishes, breaking my heart in two. I asked “O Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo?” He bid me adieu, I was sad for a long, long time. My sweet, kind, nice Romeo was gone forever. What I did learn though, was what true love really felt like, it was worth it to me to be courageous enough and vulnerable enough to find true love and to be loved. For that I was grateful and I will never, ever forget the gift that my Romeo gave to me. Find love, be love.



Jackie's 'signature'_Briar Rose

PS Love your food, what comes from the heart touches the heart! Craving isn’t a ‘Bad Word,’ food IS sexy!

PSS I came up with this handy wallet-sized ‘Manly Ranking Scale’ – pull it out when you need it! It’s similar to the Richter Magnitude Scale that measures earthquakes (the idea came to me as I survived a major earthquake in Vegas years ago). I’ll grade each man of my life at the time of my Love Dateline story! Feel free to grade the man of your life, If he’s a +10 (and I hope he is), I’d say go for it!:


10-Manly rating card-2

He’s a keeper as you ‘drink in’ this experience together.

Some Music to Get You in The Mood!

Check out the complete “Playing Nice” menu