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Thursday, 21 July 2016

LARD SANDWICHES . . . and Polish Pork Chops

Foxwarren School, Christmas Concert, 1952

Students from Grades One to Eight

Left to Right

Top Row: Doug Sawyer, Ralph Stewart, Lorne Morris, Paul Demontiney, Gordie Ellis, Jack Talbot 

Middle Row:  Mac Butler,  Terry Tiffin,
 Garth Jacob, Robert Desjarlais, Eleanor (me), Betty Snowden

Bottom Row :  Ellen Burdette, Calvin Pizzey, Dennis McCauley, Margaret Sabesky wearing a bow, Doran Twins (Donna & Dorothy),  Nola Pizzey

 Back Row:  Jack Talbot, Don Falloon, Richard Hills, Eugene Tymkiw, Delmain Redmond, Lawrence Tymkiw

Middle Row:      Alan Butler, Diane Orr, Jeannie Hall, Shirley Sawyer,   Rene Lafernier, Paul Desjarlais

Bottom Row:  Nola Pizzey, Irene Sabeski, Charlene Fleming,          Margaret Desjarlais, Ethel Johnson?

Top Row: Paul Desjarlais, Rodney Smith, Ronnie Tiffin, Gavin McKinnon, Shannon Boles

Middle Row:  Margaret Desjarlais, Ethel Johnson? Bev Bamford with bow, Lorna Harland, Faye Campbell, Dianne Ellis

Bottom row:  Ruth Jacobs, Bev Pizzey, Linda Stewart, Mary Mayhew, Shirley Nichol, Noreen Hodgson

Middle Row: Don Thorpe, Lawrence Desjarlais, Ron Falloon, Dar Thorpe, Murray Carr

Bottom row:  David Parton, Nestor, John Paton, Donnie  Hodgson

Middle Row:  Murray Carr, Wayne Carter, Gary McCrindle, Ray Gadd

Bottom Row:  Donnie Hodgson, Grant Dunfield, Bill McFarlin, Reg Parton

Top Row: Ellen Vancancele, Diane Talbot, Lorraine Lafernier,             Glenda Thorpe, Irma Miskow

Middle Row: Arthur Vivian, Craig Lougheeed, Oliver Low, Reid Boles,      Don Thorpe

Front Row:  Lloyd Wotton, Bill Pizzey, Gordon Paton, Bobbie Doran

Irma Miskow, Frances King, Beverly Orr, Gladys Waddell, Marion Sabesky


My thanks to Reg Parton and Diane (Talbot) Falloon for helping me with everyone's names!


We lived nine miles from town, the furthest of all the kids, so the school van always picked us up first (about 8:10 a.m.) and dropped us off last (nearly 5 pm).

All the grades were combined so Nestor and I went into the same classroom.  He was one of the big kids -- in grade two.

Every day started with us standing by our desks for “O Canada” and “The Lord’s Prayer”.  This was always followed by a Bible reading.  At the start of the year, there was the Book of Genesis.  

The first day of school is a breeze when you have a big brother.  At lunch time, I sat down on a little hill and got swarmed by ants, but Nestor helped brushed them off me. 

The day ended with all classes, carrying their belongings, lined up in the hallways to sing “God Save the King”. 

When we got home, I told Mom and Diana that I had danced in a circle with all the boys and girls at recess and a boy kissed me.   Mom was scandalized.  “Don’t do that again,” she said.

We had a wonderful teacher – Mrs. Lillian Drysdale.   Nestor couldn’t speak English when he started school the year before, but, soon he was one of the top students.  I guess I learned to read right along with him that year so when I started school, the teacher considered having me skip grade one.  Thank goodness she left me where I was.

Whispers about DIVORCE swirled about, and, sadly, for all her students, Mrs. Drysdale left the teaching profession at the end of that year.


 SCHOOL LUNCHES:  We mostly ate ham or bologna sandwiches carried in black lunch pails.

Mom talked about taking sandwiches to school in a lard pail.  I used to shudder at the thought of sandwiches that consisted of lard smeared on bread.

Pan Zagloba, in With Fire and Sword by Sienkiewicz, declares that some young knights “take to wars like bread goes with goose-grease.”

Hmm.   After using some fresh bread to wipe out the fat left in a pan of Polish style pork chops sautéed in lard, I found myself thinking pioneer children didn’t have it so bad after all. 

If you want to give it a try, pork chops done like this are YUM!

6 pork shoulder chops
1/3 cup flour
2 eggs, lightly beaten
½ to ¾ cup fine dry bread crumbs
¼ cup lard (or 4 tbsp)

·        Make very shallow cuts around the edges to prevent the chops from curling up.
·        Salt the chops on both sides.
·        Dip them first in the flour, then into eggs, and last into the bread crumbs.  Press with fingers to make crumbs adhere.
·        Heat the lard in a large frying pan over high heat.  Set the timer for 20 minutes and brown the chops on both sides.  Then reduce heat to lowest and cook them, uncovered, for remaining time on the timer.  (From start to finish, in other words, 20 minutes.)
·        Serve with potatoes and salad.

“Zdrowo i smacznie”  (Polish!)



I can spot Aunt Nellie.  She looks just like Pat!     Is Uncle Myron the middle one of the tall boys in this picture?  I think he might be referred to here as Mirlen Leschasin!

Again, I can see Aunt Nellie.  Aunt Florence is in the picture, too.  Which of the little ones is she?


P.S.  Just remembered:  Mom said the lard on the sandwiches sometimes
 was mixed with brown sugar!  And they were carried in Lard Pails.

Saturday, 9 July 2016

More of Gedo's Family . . . and LEMONY RICE

 I had another look at that family tree I worked out with Mom and it was interesting to see that one of Gedo’s nephews (Michailo Chodak) also emigrated to Canada.   Mom said that her father paid for Mike's passage and he stayed with Gedo and Baba until he got cattle and got married.  

Oddly, I never got to know Michailo or his family.   Mom once told me, however,  about  a little boy who may have been Michailo's son.  At school, he announced, "My name is Peter Chodak and I am a boyce."

Gedo's father must have had a brother because there was also a Michailo Leschasin who came to Canada before Gedo and Gedo stayed with him for a while.  I never knew any of that family either but they were represented at the Leschyshyn Family Reunion in 1992 by Peter Leschasin.   I asked Marilyn about him and here's what she said:

I think it is Peter Leschasin who lived in Oakburn.  His wife was Mildred.   At the reunion, he played a mandolin and she sang.  He was also an inventor and if you Google Leschasin Motor Toboggan you will see the machine he built in Rossburn. He had a brother. Stan.  Mildred's obit is on line.  Stumbled on Marie Howard Obit  Nee Leschyshyn who was the daughter of Michael and Anastasia. Our Guido's cousin. Guido followed Michael to Olha. 

Wes Leschasin, Peter Leschasin, Nellie (Leschyshyn) Zatwarnicki, Mary (Leschyshyn) Stadnyk, Florence (Leschyshyn) Makar   

Here’s that chart again.

My last blog was about Maria Kalin who was Gedo’s niece.  She had a sister named Anna who died before I was in Ukraine, but I did meet Anna’s son, VOLODYA, and his wife, SVETLANA, and their son, MISCHA.

                Maria with her nephew, Volodya, and his wife, Svetlana

                            Svetlana, Volodya, and their son, Mischa

They showed us this house which is on the site where Grandpa lived before he came to Canada.  

We also walked around the village common and learned that the river has changed its course since our grandparents' time here.


I'm pitching the clipping that inspired the following recipe because it was so complicated.  

I think you'll find my version easy and delicious!


1 ½ cups basmati rice
¼ cup butter
3 cups boiling water
½ tsp salt
1 lemon
¼ to ½ cup chopped fresh cilantro

·        Start water boiling in a kettle.
·        Start oven preheating to 350.
·        Rinse rice and drain well.
·        Melt butter over high heat in a Dutch oven.  Add rice and stir for 3 to 5 minutes. 
·        Add salt and boiling water. 
·        Cover and cook in oven for 45 minutes.
·        Zest the lemon and reserve.
·        Squeeze the lemon.
·        Chop the cilantro.

½ hour before serving, reheat the rice in the oven at 350 degrees for 30 min.
Stir in the lemon zest, lemon juice, and cilantro.

This goes very well with Indian food.   Yum!


Thanks again, Marilyn, for your help with identifying Peter Leschasin.

Thursday, 7 July 2016


July 7 is SPECIAL for all the Leschyshyn family because it’s the birthday of our gedo:  John Leschyshyn.

Donald’s daughter, Tracey, shares Gedo’s birthday!
Tracey, holding her cousin, Nicole
Mom helped me write out this family tree before I went to Ukraine in 2004 and visited Gedo’s family who still live there. 

Gedo’s niece and her family in Ukraine:

Blue dress: Olya Kalin (married to Bohdan)
Maroon print: Oksana  (Bohdan’s daughter: age 14)
Dark kerchief and light dress:  Svetlana (married Maria Kalin’s nephew)
Dark shirt: Vasyl Kalin (Maria Kalin’s younger son who lives in Ivan Frankivsk.  He is married to Marta and has a son, Bohdan.  His wife and son are not in the picture.)
Light blue shirt furthest back:  Ivan Kalin (Bohdan’s 16 year old son)
Little girl:  Bohdanka Kalin (Bohdan’s younger daughter)
Green print dress:  Me, Eleanor
Light blue shirt, head between me and Vasyl:  Bohdan Kalin, Maria’s older son, in his 50s
Beside Bohdan: Nestor
Old lady in babushka: Maria Kalin
Light blue dress: Diana


 Maria Kalin: Mom’s first cousin

Her sons, Bohdan and Vasyl, are my second cousins.

Bohdan’s children (Ivan, Oksana, and Bohdanka) are third cousins to my children.

They are also third cousins to you, Tracey!

Happy Birthday!


Do you share Donald’s fondness for Chinese food, Tracey?   


            From HOMEMAKERS magazine, November 2004

¼ cup rice vinegar
1/8 tsp salt
2 inches (5 cm) of coarsely grated gingerroot

½ cup minced green onion tops
4 cups chopped napa cabbage
Watercress (optional)
1 egg
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp cornstarch
1 tbsp finely grated gingerroot
½ tsp white pepper
2 tsp sesame oil
1 lb ground pork
8 cups vegetable stock or water
Salt to taste (start with 1 ¼ tsp salt if using water)
Rice noodles (I used vermicelli rice noodles: boil 3 minutes)

·        Put coarsely grated gingerroot, rice vinegar, and salt into a small dish and set aside.  (This will be added to the soup at the end.)
·        Finely chop the green onion tops and set aside.
·        Chop cabbage and set aside.
·        Remove long stems from watercress and discard them.  Chop watercress coarsely and set aside.
·        In large bowl, whisk together egg, soy sauce, cornstarch, ginger, sesame oil, and pepper.
·        Add pork and green onions.  Use a wooden spoon to beat for about 3 minutes.  (Beat in one direction only: this gives meatballs firmer texture.)
·        Bring stock or water to a boil.
·        Add salt if needed.
·        With wet hands, form golf-ball-sized meatballs and drop into the stock.  Cover and simmer for 5 minutes on reduced heat.
·        Add cabbage on top of meatballs.  Simmer, covered, 8 minutes.  Taste for seasoning.
·        Cook the rice noodles and distribute in 4 large soup bowls (pho size).
·        Distribute water cress in the bowls. 
·        Add the vinegar and ginger to the soup. (Or serve it on the side and dip the meatballs in it.)
·        Ladle soup over the noodles.
      PREP AHEAD AND REHEAT?  No problem.

For a complete dinner, serve the soup with the brussels sprouts as a side dish.   These may also just be added to the soup bowl!



            From HELLO, Dec 7, 2015

1 pound Brussels sprouts
2 slices bacon
2 tsp lard
1 tbsp butter
1/8 cup maple syrup

·        Trim sprouts and cut them in halves.
·        Boil water in a large pot.
·        Set up a large mixing bowl of cold water with ice cubes.
·        Cook Brussels sprouts for 2 minutes.  Drain.
·        Spread sprouts out on a kitchen towel.
·        Finely chop bacon.
·        Put lard and bacon in a frying pan over medium high heat.  Stir until crisp (for 5 minutes).  Remove bacon with a slotted spoon.
·        Add butter.  Spread sprouts out in one layer.  Stir after 2 or 3 minutes. Cook for 6 minutes in total over medium high heat until some are browned.
·        Stir in maple syrup and bacon bits. 
·        Serve.


Monday, 4 July 2016

Canada Day Camping . . . and PEPPERONI CALZONES

Mowsun Pond

the perfect site  

the hike (2 and 1/2 hours) 

the flowers 

including tiger lilies!

   the view

the food 

 time to relax

and time to play.

This trip, however, had a special magic . . . 


                            thousands of polliwogs




And calzones DO make a perfect hiking lunch!  



Pizza dough:
2 ½ tsp yeast (or 1 pkg)
1 cup warm water
1 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp vegetable oil
½ tsp salt
2 ¾ to 3 ¼ cups flour

Dissolve yeast in warm water.  Stir in sugar, oil, salt, and 1 cup of flour.  Beat until smooth.  Add enough flour to make dough easy to handle.  Knead until smooth and elastic. 
Let dough rise about 30 minutes or until almost double.  Punch down.  Divide into 6 equal parts.  Roll each into 7 inch circle on floured surface. 

Top with tomato filling.  Top with bell pepper, pepperoni, mushrooms, and cheese.   Fold dough over filling (or pull it up and over).  Pinch edges to seal. 

 Place on greased baking sheet.  Let rest 15 minutes.

Heat oven to 375.  Brush calzones with beaten egg.  Bake about 25 minutes or until golden brown.


1 can (213 ml) tomato sauce  (about 5 ounces)
5 mushrooms or 1 can mushroom stems and pieces, drained (4 ounces)
1 tbsp fresh or 1 tsp dried basil
1 tbsp fresh or 1 tsp dried oregano
1 clove garlic, crushed
Mix tomato sauce, mushrooms, basil, oregano, and garlic. 

8 ounces thinly sliced pepperoni
1 small green pepper (about ½ cup chopped)

1 cup shredded mozzarella (4 ounces)  

(Divide ingredients into 6 equal sections.)