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Sunday, 15 May 2016

May, 1966 . . . and . . . Spicy PORK STEW by request!


May, 1966:  I had just completed my second year of university and was having trouble finding a summer job in Winnipeg. 

A desperate phone call to Anastasia resulted in an invitation to stay with her in Edmonton where she would help me find work.

On May 30 I wrote to Mom:
“It was a very interesting trip on the train.  As soon as I got on, the conductor was very helpful.  He made sure I didn't have to sit with Billy.  A lady, Mrs. Kennedy, took the seat beside me.  She told me about her operations, children, & husband & mother & father.  Then when we reached Edmonton at 6:00 a.m. (8:00 Manitoba time) she & her husband drove me to Anastasia’s house. 
As soon as I got off the train, the elastic strap on the back of my shoe broke. . . pretend everything is quite all right when your shoe is flopping.  
Carl isn’t home & probably won’t be until October.  Lisa is 6 and is starting school in the fall. 
I am working at a steak restaurant near the airport.  My uniform is supplied.  I am starting at $1.00 an hour plus tips and am working a day shift.  It is a very nice place, so you needn’t worry about me any more.
I haven't met anybody interesting here in Edmonton yet, but maybe that'll come. Anyway I'm going to be very busy sewing, typing & studying music.
Anastasia took me to have my tea cup read.”

          Anastasia also wrote to Mom:

“Your daughter arrived here and is looking well.  I will try and take good care of her for you.
Received your letter and was shocked to hear about Uncle Matt.
I don’t know when we will be out to see you now, but I will try August.  Carl is away for the summer & fall; therefore, he will not be coming out with me.  It will be nice to see you in a new house.  Nestor told me about it.
The children are all doing well, growing, growing. 
 Lisa was in school one day – so she’s looking forward to going in the fall.
Eleanor’s very happy and she likes the place where she went to see about work.  It’s a beautiful place; a place where only rich people can afford to go.”

The very first time I went camping was with Anastasia and the kids that summer when they all went up to Peace River to see Carl.

On the way there, we passed a young man who was hitchhiking so Anastasia picked him up.  Who does that now?

I have a foggy mind picture of the big canvas tent we stayed in.  It looked like the one I stayed in with a university friend the next spring. 
Those days it was just sleeping bags (no air mattresses) and chilly mornings and the camping bug definitely bit me!


I've started to collect my favourite camping recipes in a binder and this was the first one in!


     From:  CHATELAINE MAGAZINE, Feb. 1992

3 tbsp vegetable oil
2 lbs pork cut into cubes
2 onions
1 green pepper
4 garlic cloves
3 tbsp chili powder
1 ½ tsp oregano
½ tsp dried chili flakes
2 cups broth (chicken or vegetable)
¼ cup chopped parsley or cilantro
2 cups frozen corn
19 ounce can chick-peas, drained and rinsed

·        Coarsely chop onions and green pepper.  Set aside.
·        Mince garlic and set aside.
·        Heat 1 tbsp oil in Dutch oven.  Add half the pork cubes and cook until all sides are well browned (about 6 minutes).  Transfer to a small bowl.  Brown remaining pork, adding more oil, if needed.  Set aside in bowl.
·        Start oven preheating to 350.
·        Reduce heat to low.  Add more oil, if needed.  Add onions and pepper to Dutch oven.  Cook, stirring, for 2 minutes.
·        Stir in garlic, chili powder, oregano, and chili flakes.  Cook for 2 minutes.
·        Add broth.  Stir to scrape up browned bits.
·        Return pork.  Bring stew to a boil.
·        Cover and cook in oven for 45 minutes.
·        Stir in parsley, corn, and chickpeas.  Cook 5 minutes and serve (with rice if desired).

*This stew freezes well so it’s perfect for taking along on a camping trip to serve on the second day when it has thawed in the cooler.