Food

I like cooking. It's not that difficult, and with a little bit of effort you can make people quite happy, and impress them out of all proportion to how much they should be impressed. I can recommend a number of good cookbooks, if you're interested. You should be interested -- not necessarily in what I have to recommend, but in cooking.

If it were up to me, I'd make it a requirement that one cannot graduate from university without being able to cook a decent meal for a stranger. (Friends and family are too forgiving.) This is not as ridiculous as it seems. Yale University, one of the greatest institutions of higher learning in the world, requires its graduates to be able to swim. You can avoid water, but you can't avoid food.

I eat out occasionally (more often while travelling), and always took my children along (with the exception of the odd lunch or dinner necessitated by work). I value quality of food above all, substance over style. I can spend a lot if the occasion warrants, but always look for good quality-to-price ratios. Service should be unobtrusive and pleasant, not obsequious, indifferent, or rude. I am largely indifferent to decor and atmosphere so long as a restaurant is not physically dangerous. I don't eat in places that make me dress up, would want me to leave my kids at home (if they were not grown up), or try to impress me with anything except what's on my plate. (Given the existence of the LCBO, it's hard to impress anyone in an Ontario restaurant with what's in their glass.)

Restaurants in Kitchener-Waterloo are very slowly getting better; there are some good ones but not enough, and that is true of local food suppliers as well. bad. You're better off going to Toronto for a decent meal; the culture there is better, too. Toronto is not a great restaurant city like Paris, or San Francisco, but it has its advantages (it's closer and one can actually park).

I have a few odd recipes online. You can look at ones I invented for low-fat tiramisu, and for roasted garlic ice cream. Ones I didn't invent include fire-roasted tomato chipotle salsa. There's also an anecdote about my search for tete de veau, circa 1992, and a comparison of cassoulets written by my older daughter when she was ten years old.