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Peter Sanagan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ian's Grilled Focaccia

Ian's Grilled Focaccia

RecipesPeter Sanagan

Recipe and photos by Ian Huffam

Now that summer’s finally arrived, who wants to stay inside to cook? This grilled focaccia recipe is an ideal accompaniment to a summer antipasti platter, and it won’t heat up your kitchen! Salamoia Bolognese, a new addition to our shelves, is an all-in-one Italian seasoning salt with garlic, rosemary, sage, and black pepper. It’s excellent on all Italian dishes, but it takes even more work out of what is already a fairly easy bread recipe. Brodflour, based out of Stonewall, Manitoba, mills a Prairie Hard Red flour that delivers rich sweet ‘n spicy notes to any bread recipe. Fear not if grilling isn’t an option, apartment/condo dwellers, we also have directions for a conventional oven.  

Makes 12 Servings

Ingredients:

1 cup           warm water (about 100-110F)
1 tbsp          honey
2 tsp            active dry yeast
2 ½ cups     Brodflour Stone Milled Prairie Hard Red flour
2 tbsp          Barbera Tipo Famiglia Extra Virgin Olive Oil (for dough)
1 ¼ tsp        Salamoia Bolognese (for dough)
2 tbsp          Barbera Tipo Famiglia Extra Virgin Olive Oil (for topping, plus an extra 2 tbsp for greasing pan)
1 tbsp          Salamoia Bolognese (for topping)
2 tbsp          Parmigiano Reggiano or Pecorino Romano, grated

 Method

  1. In a large bowl, combine warm water and honey. Sprinkle in yeast, let bloom for about 10 minutes until yeast is dissolved and frothy.
  2. Stir in Brodflour, 2 tbsp olive oil, and 1 ¼ tsp Salamoia, forming a dough that comes away from the sides of the bowl.
  3. Turn dough out of bowl onto a lightly floured work surface, knead 8-10 minutes. Dough should be soft and slightly sticky.
  4. Place dough in a lightly-greased bowl, turning to ensure dough is greased all over. Cover loosely with plastic wrap or a damp dish towel, and let rise 1-2 hours in a warm spot until doubled in size.
  5. To prepare pan: grease a rimmed baking sheet with 2-3 tbsp olive oil, making sure to grease all over (a little pooling is all right; this will help to ensure a good crust). Optionally, you may then sprinkle the sheet with 1-2 tsp cornmeal or semolina (cream of wheat).
  6. Once dough is risen, punch down and stretch into a 12x18 rectangle, which should be about ½ inch thick. Place rectangle on greased baking sheet, cover again, and rest 10-20 minutes.
  7. For topping: with a spoon (or your thumb), press dimples into the dough, making sure they are nice and deep. Drizzle with 2 tbsp olive oil, then sprinkle remaining Salamoia and cheese all over.
  8. Cover dough one last time and let rise 20 minutes.
  9. Preheat your barbecue to medium heat (375-400F). Place baking sheet with dough on grill, put the top of the barbecue down, and reduce heat to medium-low (alternatively, you can turn your burners down as low as they go). Bake 10-15 minutes (after 10 minutes, gently lift one corner of bread to check it s progress. Bottom should have a golden-brown crust).
  10. Remove sheet from barbecue. Flip bread over onto grill, upside-down (this takes confidence!). Cover again and bake another 3-4 minutes, until top is golden and has satisfying grill marks (you may wish to turn your burners a little higher for this part). Remove from heat, flip right-side-up onto a cutting board or clean sheet tray. Let cool for a few minutes, and serve.
  11. For conventional oven: Place pizza stone (or an upside-down baking sheet) on lowest rack of oven, preheat to 375F. Bake 15-20 minutes, until top is golden and bottom crust is brown.

Sanagan's and Bullfrog

Peter Sanagan


At Sanagan’s Meat Locker, we recognize the importance of addressing our environmental impact. We’re reducing the carbon emissions footprint of our operations and supporting renewable energy in Canada by choosing green electricity and green natural gas for Sanagan’s through our partnership with Bullfrog Power, a Spark Power company.

Across Canada, Bullfrog’s green electricity comes from a blend of wind and low-impact hydro power sourced from new Canadian renewable energy facilities. Bullfrog’s green natural gas is sourced from methane-capture projects situated at various Canadian landfills, wastewater treatment facilities and anaerobic digestion sites.

Our green energy purchase is also helping to support to new, community-based renewable energy projects in our region and across Canada. That’s because Bullfrog Power uses its customers’ support to provide funding to these projects. Learn more about how the Bullfrog Power community is advancing these projects here bullfrogpower.com/greenenergy.

Covid-19 Awareness

Peter Sanagan

IMPORTANT NOTE: The following is our personal experience at Sanagan’s and my re-telling of some of the advice we received and decisions we made. It does not constitute advice. Toronto businesses should directly contact Toronto Public Health to obtain advice pertinent to their particular businesses and circumstances.

Toronto Public Health's Covid-19 Hotline: 416-338-7600

March 23, 2021

My experiences over the last couple of weeks have allowed me greater access to Toronto Public Health than before, and I want to share what I’ve learned, in the hopes that there is greater understanding of how Covid-19 can be contained within the business community. As Toronto opens up, I feel like all businesses and customers can gain something from our experiences at Sanagan’s Meat Locker, and I firmly believe that the more knowledgeable we all are about this pandemic, the better equipped we are to combat it. Additionally, I believe that transparency and knowledge can help reduce anxiety at stressful times.  The better we are prepared, emotionally and physically, the better we will deal with the virus in a workplace.

First, I want to state that this information is current as of today, March 23rd, in Toronto, and is reflective of my understanding of the information I was provided. Additionally, different regions, towns, and countries may have different tactics to fight Covid, as the levels of contamination and social behaviour are different from place to place. That is very important to understand, as well as the fact that this information is only up to date as of the date this was written. Things change, the scientists learn more, and there are variants of concern that we have to be ready for. Additionally, as more people get vaccinated, the situation will undoubtably change.  Keep that in mind if you’re reading this in September 2021…

I want to clarify some things for everyone, as there has been conflicting or outdated information, and I want you all to understand the information Toronto Public Health conveyed to Sanagan’s in regards to Covid-19 transmission in the workplace. The advice we received is based on the scientific understanding of the Covid-19 virus and how it behaves.

1)  Toronto Public Health's Role

The number one thing everyone should all know is that Toronto Public Health is the authority for all public advice related to Covid-19 in Toronto. You may have read articles from other regions, or heard something on the news, or even had been given information by an employee of a local hospital, that may conflict with what we're doing at the business level. There is no greater authority on the specific nature of what's happening in Toronto, and more importantly in a Toronto business, than the Toronto Public Health team that works directly with organizations. There is always an investigation into these matters, and any decisions are made based on the science and particular circumstances in the workplace. If you ever have any questions or concerns about Covid-19 in general, or how we (or any businesses) operate, I implore you to contact Toronto Public Health's Covid-19 Hotline at 416-338-7600.

2) Closing a Business due to Covid-19

As a business, I feel like we did the right thing last week by closing to examine what our next steps should be. However, Toronto Public Health does not currently recommend that businesses close if there is a positive Covid-19 case. As far as I understand, at no point does Toronto Public Health recommend that a business, or any organization, close due to a single case of Covid-19 or even if an outbreak has been declared. The most important piece for Toronto Public Health is containment of the virus. They contain the virus by determining who may have been exposed based on the level of risk during contact with a positive case. An organization is not required to close and test all employees. So, while I think we did the right thing for us at the time, it wasn't necessary in the eyes of science and Toronto Public Health.

3) Exposure Levels

There is a difference between "high-risk" and "low risk" exposures (or contact levels). A high-risk exposure is defined as being within 6 feet (or 2 meters) of someone who has tested positive for Covid-19 for a cumulative time of 15 minutes over a day. Cumulative is important, as you don't want to assume that you can be close to someone for five-ten minutes, walk away for a half hour, then do it again a few more times. That could still be considered high-risk.  Note that I say "considered". It can be extremely confusing and stressful to try to figure out if you have been a high-risk exposure to a contagious person. You may think "what if I talk to someone for a minute fifteen times a day", or "what if I pass someone in a hallway 100 times a day?" "How do you estimate the cumulative time you've spent with one person, when I work with up to 20 people per day?" These are all legitimate questions, and Toronto Public Health is the key investigator in determining who is at high-risk. They talk to the infected person, they talk to management, and they will talk to you if they think you are at risk. From my understanding, you are not considered high-risk if you walk by someone a bunch of times in a decently ventilated environment. You are considered high-risk if you have multiple 5–10-minute conversations with a contagious person within 6 feet (2 meters) a few times in an 8-10 hour shift. So, the lesson is: KEEP YOUR DISTANCE. Move around and talk to someone from afar. Don’t eat lunch with someone without physically distancing yourself. And remember, at the end of the day, it will be Toronto Public Health who determines who is a high-risk contact and who isn’t. They know the questions to ask to get the answers they need to determine this, which leaves a lot of the guesswork out of your hands.

4) Contagious Time

The current advice is, after more than a year of learning about Covid-19, scientists now understand that a person is considered to be contagious up to 48 hours before the onset of symptoms. That is, if you feel a tickle in your throat on a Monday afternoon that turns out to be a symptom of Covid-19, Toronto Public Health considers you to have been contagious starting from the Saturday two days prior. Even if you had a close contact with another person on the Friday, that isn't actually considered high-risk for contracting Covid-19. That close contact will likely be eliminated from Toronto Public Health's investigation.

5) Isolation Time

A person who has tested positive for Covid-19 must isolate for 10 days from receiving the positive results. A person who is considered to have had high-risk exposure must isolate for 14 days from the last contact. Why the difference? If you have tested positive for Covid-19, science tells us that you will most likely only be contagious for a maximum of 10 days after getting results. If you were exposed to Covid-19, the virus can incubate and not express itself symptomatically for up to 14 days. Someone who tests positive for Covid-19, should not be contagious after ten days of learning of their result. Someone who may be incubating the virus, regardless of whether or not they have symptoms, could be contagious for up to 14 days. I use the word should when talking about a person with Covid-19, because it is still determined by Toronto Public Health if you can stop isolating. Again, it takes the guesswork out of the picture.

6) Getting Tested

Currently, Toronto Public Health recommends the earliest you should get a test is FIVE days after exposure. On top of that, they don't recommend you get a test unless you are considered a high-risk exposure case. By all means, you can get a test for your piece of mind, but the most important thing for any low-risk contact to do is to monitor symptoms, constantly wash your hands, and physically distance from each other.

7) Declaring an Outbreak in an Organization

If two or more cases of Covid-19 occur at an organization, and they can be epidemiologically connected to each other, Toronto Public Health will determine an outbreak has occurred, and post the business name and number of cases on their website. Before declaring an outbreak, they have to eliminate all other possibilities of why two or more people have contracted Covid-19. As we all know, this virus is rampantly spread throughout the community, and Toronto Public Health does not automatically assume that one case led to another. Rather, they will follow up with the positive cases, investigate thoroughly, and determine how else it could have been contracted.  As discussed, Toronto Public Health will investigate who is positive, and who may be considered high-risk, and direct individuals to isolate based on the findings of that investigation. Although there are exceptions, we have been advised that Toronto Public Health generally would not recommend that a business should close. If we were to find ourselves in a situation where there are quite a few employees isolating, we would make decisions based on who is available and safe to work, and what Toronto Public Health recommends we do at that time. Remember, Toronto Public Health is the authority, and I am happy to take direction and guidance from them. THIS DOES NOT MEAN THAT I WOULDN'T CLOSE THE SHOP IF I FELT IT WAS AN UNSAFE PLACE TO OPERATE. I want to be clear with everyone on this, and I should hope that last week's decision shows you that I'm not afraid to make those hard decisions. Businesses should make decisions based on the scientific knowledge and guidance from Public Health.  

8) Public Messaging

Currently, there is no requirement by Toronto Public Health for a business to message the public about Covid-19 cases in their workplaces. As mentioned, if there are two or more linked cases at a single workplace, Toronto Public Health will post this information on its website.

9) Remember to Breathe and Relax

This is extremely hard to do and extremely important to do. We may experience outbreaks, and we will handle them well, just like we've handled so many other hurdles over the years. I for one need to remember this, as I process stress and pressure with varying degrees of discomfort. To be honest I haven't slept much this last week. I've been emotional and have had to put on a good face. But that's ok, because I believe that we will get through this. It sounds corny, but it's true. This virus is terrible and is wreaking havoc across the planet, but the vast majority of us will remember it as "those terrible years". If we keep our sights on that, we can get through this. I could bore you with terrible events that happened in the business's lifetime that, while at the time felt immeasurably difficult to overcome, are now just memories.

Focus on good science and a positive future. These thoughts will help you get through the hard times.

Take care,
Peter

Graham Dreams of Sushi

Graham Dreams of Sushi

Peter Sanagan

by Graham Duncan

Two things got me thinking about making sushi. 1) Finally getting around to watching Jiro Dreams of Sushi, the documentary about Tokyo’s renowned sushi chef and his awesomely barebones restaurant. 2) Sanagan’s now carries high quality sushi rice and deluxe soy sauces. It was time to get rolling. 

When you say sushi, you’re probably thinking of the Japanese cuisine — like going to a sushi restaurant. More accurately, sushi is Japanese-style short grain rice seasoned with a mixture of rice vinegar, sugar and salt. It is this rice preparation, combined with seafood, egg or vegetables, that comprises what we commonly call sushi. The quality of your sushi rice is going to go a long way to defining the quality of your sushi.  That’s why we carry Tamanishiki Super Premium Short Grain Rice.

You may be surprised to discover that Tamanishiki is grown in the Sacramento Valley, but Californian sushi rice is some of the best in the world. After: washing; soaking; boiling; seasoning with the vinegar mixture; and cooling it (you fan it like it just fainted), my sushi rice might have earned a dismissive half glance from Old Man Jiro. In other words, it was delicious and seemed a perfect midpoint of sticky but not gluey. The only problem was I couldn’t stop eating it. It’s hard to roll sushi when all the rice is gone.  

Once you’ve made your sushi rolls, bowls, or nigiri, you’re going to want to flavour it with some Japanese soy sauce. Kuyo Murasaki started making soy sauce in the late 1880’s. They’re now into the 5th generation and are renowned for their premium soy sauce. Almost syrupy, It has an irresistible vegetative, fermented complexity and a relatively low salt profile. If you can get sushi grade fish, don’t think of using any other soy sauce. 

If you want a more upfront salt bite to your soy sauce, the sort of condiment perfect for fattier rolls and tempura, or as an full-flavour ingredient, try the specially imported Kikkoman Prime Umami Soy Sauce, made with only water, soybeans, wheat and salt. It comes in a really smart non-BPA bottle with a collapsible inner liner to help keep it fresh.  

Our new line of imported and locally produced foodstuffs continues to be a source of inspiration. I realize that may sound like marketing BS but it’s really what I’m experiencing. You get some jar of something, you find a recipe, employ a new technique, maybe feel like you’ve gotten a little closer to another culture, it tastes great; it’s like leaving home without leaving your kitchen.

Tap Phong Means “Collection of Best Stuff”. There’s Nothing Lost in That Translation.

Tap Phong Means “Collection of Best Stuff”. There’s Nothing Lost in That Translation.

Peter Sanagan

by Graham Duncan

The Tran Family at the opening of their current location at 360 Spadina Ave. (1989) Left to right: Danny Tran, De Tran, Huong Tran, Dat Chuong Tran, Anna Tran, John Tran

One day while I was working in the shop I began chatting to a very engaging customer. She spoke thoughtfully about Kensington and Chinatown; the past, present and the future. I was impressed. And rightly so, as she turned out to be Jessica Tran whose family own Tap Phong, the amazing kitchen supply store on Spadina Avenue.

Barely a day goes by at Sanagan’s Kensington where we don’t run over to Tap Phong for a ladle, or box of skewers, or a pack of deli bags. So, when Jessica and her cousin, Lili, whose grandparents started Tap Phong back in Vietnam, consented to share some of their family’s Lunar New Year traditions and to talk about the store, I was thrilled. I love Tap Phong!

The Tran’s fled their home as boat people during the late stages of the Vietnam War. After a period in a Malaysian refugee camp, they gained sponsorship to Canada and soon after established the business in Chinatown, run as a partnership between brothers John and Danny with their wives, Anna and De. Lili and Jessica are part of the third generation of Trans at Tap Phong.

The strength of the Tran family bonds that allowed them to survive such a tumultuous past and prosper as they do today are celebrated at Lunar New Year or Tết as it’s called in Vietnamese. 

“Our tradition is to gather on New Year’s Eve at Lili’s mom’s house”, says Jessica. “It’s a big feast — a lot of courses; dishes symbolizing wealth, happiness, fortune. Noodles equal longevity; duck or poultry for good fortune. Lili’s grandmother’s classic recipe is braised duck”. Lili continues, “The main dish is usually this big soup at the centre of the table. It’s got: chicken broth; carrots carved into flowers; daikon; napa cabbage; liver; shrimp balls; fish mah — the ladies love it, it’s full of collagen — pork-and-shrimp balls. It’s big”.

You can see that the Trans don’t kid around when it comes to Tết feasting but if Jessica’s any indication, they eat well the rest of the year too. “I love the product quality and selection at Sanagan’s. It’s like a candy shop. I get giddy. I cook just for myself so I can never buy all the things I want. I like to stock up on bacon for the weekend. I love the hanger steak with chimichurri; that’s great on the stovetop. If I’m treating myself - ribeye.”

If you’ve ever seen the sheer quantity of items at Tap Phong, you would understand that keeping track of it all would work up quite an appetite. Lili and Jessica fire off a cross section of what crosses the counter: “Portion control containers; spider strainers; bubble tea urns; dim sum steamers — “there were so many dim sum houses” — COVID stuff, like take-out supplies and insulated bags for delivery guys; industrial mixers; $20,000 refrigerator units; 6 ft pitchforks for barbecue restaurants”. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg lettuce.

Quantity is one thing but the Tran's multi-generational understanding of their clientele and adapting as that clientele evolves is what defines a lot of their success.  “When you have families coming to a new country, they’re just on survival mode”, says Lili. “You offer experience. Maybe they want to make dough. They don’t need a Planetary Mixer. They just need a dough spiralizer. Most people don’t know that exists. It makes my heart sing to help people find what they really need”.

If you spend any time in the kitchen, do yourself a favour and visit Tap Phong, once the lockdown’s over. Or check them out at tapphong.com for curbside pick up. If your heart doesn’t sing while you shop, you’ve got a tone deaf ticker. 

Crispy Devilled Chicken

Crispy Devilled Chicken

RecipesPeter Sanagan

What makes a chicken devilled? Its horns, obviously.

For whatever reason, when a quantity of mustard is added to a dish, it is often referred to as being “devilled”. I assume that there were not a lot of hot peppers in classic French cuisine, so mustard was the hot spice of choice. While we have moved on to spicier ingredients, I still love the flavour mustard brings to a dish, and this recipe is no exception. Great for a quick and easy weeknight meal, try it with some steamed green beans and plenty of lemon wedges for juicing.

Serves 4

Ingredients

8                          boneless chicken thighs, skin on
to taste                 salt and pepper
4 tbsp                   Dijon mustard
1                           egg, beaten
8 tbsp                   all-purpose flour
2 cups                  breadcrumbs
6 tbsp                   vegetable oil (or another neutral frying oil)

Method

  1. Season the chicken thighs with salt and pepper. Beat the egg and the mustard together and season with salt and pepper.
  2. Set up a dredging station (one dish has flour, one dish for the egg/mustard mixture, one dish for the breadcrumbs).
  3. Coat each chicken thigh in flour, then transfer to the egg/mustard mixture to coat well. Finally, transfer to the breadcrumbs, pressing the chicken thigh firmly into the breadcrumbs to coat well. Transfer the breaded chicken thigh to a tray to await frying.
  4. Heat the oil in a large pan over a medium high heat. When hot, place two chicken thighs in the pan, cooking until golden brown on one side before carefully turning over. Finish cooking each thigh until an internal thermometer reads 160°F, approximately five minutes. Remove from the pan and drain on paper towel, then repeat with the rest of the chicken thighs.
    Butter, Spread the Love

    Butter, Spread the Love

    Product InfoPeter Sanagan

    By Graham Duncan

    Spread on bread, baked into a cake or enriching a sauce, better butter is best.  

    Butter is milk fat, separated and solidified from cream by an agitation process called churning. If you take pure heavy cream at home and shake it or beat it long enough, you’ll be making butter. Standard butters are 80% - 82% butterfat, the remaining content being almost all water. High-fat butter is 84%. Does that make a difference? Read on. 

    SANAGAN’S BUTTERS

    GOLDEN DAWN SALTED AND UNSALTED

    Golden Dawn salted and unsalted are high quality butters with the former being enthusiastically salty. Golden Dawn has been made at Alliston Creamery since the 1960’s. Owned and operated by the Kennedy family, Alliston Creamery is the last small independent dairy in Ontario. Alliston favours small scale production barrel churns which produce flavourful small batches of butter.  

    Photo: Alliston Creamery

    A batch of butter just out of Alliston Creamery barrel churn

    COWS CREAMERY SEA SALTED AND UNSALTED

    COWS butter is so good we decided to import it all the way from Prince Edward Island. COWS Creamery comes in 84% butterfat which makes for outstanding baking. To confirm this, we whipped up two identical batches of scones, one made with COWS Sea Salted butter and the other with No Name salted butter. In a blind scone tasting (my new blues name) there was no mistaking the difference. The COWS scone was decisively richer, saltier and more, uh, buttery. 

    Take a video tour of the COWS Creamery butter facility here.

     

    EMERALD GRASSLANDS SEA SALTED AND UNSALTED

    Churned at Alliston Creamery from the cream of organic, grass-fed, Jersey cows. Jersey milk is renowned for its fat content and for its rich yellow colour. Both of these properties translate directly into Emerald butter with its pronounced golden hue and 84% butterfat content. And make no mistake, their southwestern Ontario cows’ all-grass diet — pasture in the summer, hay in the winter — give this butter an unmistakable depth of flavour. The salted version is made with sea salt from Vancouver Island. Emerald is as dedicated to creating a special kind of butter as they are to ensuring the sustainability of the grass-fed dairy industry.

    Roasting On An Open Fire

    Roasting On An Open Fire

    GeneralPeter Sanagan

    Not all Christmases are full of Joy, as Graham has had to learn the hard way. He wanted to share his stories with you all this year, when we're all feeling a little less than jolly due to the pandemic, and getting used to the idea of smaller gatherings. It's a good reminder that, in the face of great adversity, life still goes on. Life has a fun way of toying with us, we just have to be okay with rolling with it.

    - Peter

     

    by Graham Duncan

    Christmas 2020 is probably going to be a bummer. I should know. I’m an expert on difficult Christmases. Don’t believe me? Feel free to join me on a bumpy ride down my broken candy cane memory lane of Recent Christmases Past. It ain’t pretty. But here’s a holiday thought for you; when you get a lot of coal in your stocking — light it up and watch it burn. 

     

    Ice Storm Christmas 2013

    Toronto freezes up and there’s a blackout. I venture out into the wilds of Eastern Scarborough to care for my aging father who lives in a 9th floor apartment. It’s flashlights, blankets and a lot of stairs. After cooking meals on the balcony on a camp stove and sleeping on the floor, on Christmas Eve day, Emergency Services carry him all the way down. We retreat to my West End apartment which now has power. He immediately falls on the floor. Then on Christmas Day, stressed and exhausted, when I tell my brother that it is physically impossible to get my dad to the family Christmas dinner, a giant argument ensues. But at least we had a Sanagan’s Tourtiere in the freezer.  

     

    Stroke Christmas 2014

    My brother — recurring theme alert — has had a stroke and is temporarily residing at Bridgepoint rehab centre. So, we transport the entire family Christmas — there’s nine of us, many brandishing canes or walkers — to the facility. I guess it sounds kind of heart-warming but, as the person in charge of cooking and transporting the entire Christmas dinner, it feels more like Operation Giblet Storm. And Bridgepoint had all the festive atmosphere of a Cold War bunker. 

     

    Stroke Christmas Part 2 2015

    To the canes and walkers, now add a wheelchair. The only place that is accessible to all of us is my brother’s industrial workshop where he builds synthesizers. Nothing says Christmas like a rack of diodes. Also, my wife is out of town caring for her ailing mother. And then when dinner is all over I have to drive my dad back to Scarborough through a blizzard. Boxing Day, it’s me and the cat. Put a little eggnog in that rum. 

     

    Cancer Christmas 2017

    After having my cancerous kidney removed in November, I remember almost nothing of this holiday season except I managed to go back to work just before the Holidays, gingerly hefting turkeys and inflicting scar viewings on my unsuspecting co-workers. 

     

    Care Home Christmas 2018

    We’ve now unloaded dad into institutional care. The care home workers, bless them, provide some touching hospitality but there’s no avoiding the fact that the turkey is pressed, dad’s has been in the blender and we’re all in a “special” room, made festive with institutional fluorescent lighting and the loud hum of an adjacent transformer. 

     

    Christmas 2020

    As I write this, the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come is laying it on with a trowel: Santa’s in lockdown but Walmart isn’t; I’m awaiting a date for my third cancer surgery; and we all wear masks all day at work. But you know what? Peter and company now feel so sorry for me, they’re giving me Christmas week off. Thank you Santa-gan’s! 

     

    The funny thing is, after all of this, I still look forward to Christmas morning.  So remember, just when it looks like it’s going to be All Grinch and no Cindy Lou Who, keep on Christmasing and Happy Holidays.