Category Archives: the point of the day

bunkie joy, and news

You might have noticed there’s alot of buzz on this blog about food styling photography workshops lately.

Thank you (if you’ve been watching and reading about it here)…I’ve appreciated having a place to share updates and announcements with you.

With warmer days not too far away, I’m migrating most postings about Food●ographyPEC to our facebook page. Uber-photographer Christopher Gentile has been right onboard with posting delicious images (and details) of what foodphotos we’ve been creating together; we’re poised to announce some really fun additions to the workshop itinerary for 2013. So like us here on facebook to see regular updates & news,our photo gallery…. hear about some of our incredible clients and friends.

Meanwhile, I’ll be posting random rantings about food, off-grid cabins, and wonderful things close to my home near the Black River here in Prince Edward County. Travels beyond? sure hope so…and after all, Toronto is home too !

Today’s inspiration came from finishing up a recipe writing gig (HAIL to CHEESE!) , and seeing the Potomic Cabin featured on  Tiny House Swoon ….check it out!!….with images that inspired me to hike through the snow to visit my own little sleeping gem, the Black River Bunkie, also made of reclaimed materials and cute as a button.

These pictures are from a feature story about winter, my picnic and my bunkie… in Cottage Life Magazine (photogDerek Shapton). It even made the cover of the Winter Issue 2008 !



Are you looking for a cozy, funky place to retreat to this summer? Contact me….I’m looking to hire someone inclined to help with the garden and to rent the Bunkie for the season.It’s a cozy place for a writer or artist to hang out, and only a short walk from Vicki’s Veggies.

Stay warm ! Spring is coming…and it’s almost time for Picton’s very own “Seedy Saturday”on Sat Feb 23 ! where we shake off winter, mingle with friends, and get seedy. I, unfortunately, will be in Toronto…stuffing my face with Dim Sum and getting ready to take on a busy week of food styling there.

with thanks

I’ve been visualizing how I’d like to re-organize seemingly everything in my life these days, not least of all my countless {cook}books. I’m inspired by this book-framed image of Coco Chanel by Mark Shaw, fashion and celebrity photographer. It also reminds me somehow of my Mom, who likes to wear hats sometimes(but unlike Coco, smoked cigarettes only briefly as a teen growing up in Brooklyn NY). Could smoking so long ago still make you sick, I wonder?


It’s true that I mostly write about appetite, and indeed our Thanksgiving dinner in TO will be particularly special this year. But the best thing on the menu is our GREATEST APPRECIATION for the positive outlook for my Mom’s upcoming surgery, and the wonderful friends and family who have made these past few weeks bearable.  Isn’t health and community really our greatest wealth? Not to sound preachy, but hey…let’s be good to each other and indeed…thankful.

Toronto; a few days

As per usual, I’m irrelentlessly back and forth between Toronto and Picton, loving it, and juggling full-on cabin rentals (with truely spectacular guests this month), and the usual food shoots that give the best meaning to the word” teamwork” .  The point of a few days this week…were…..

….working with one of my favourite photgraphers, the totally awesome James Tse. This fine mess was my quick pic in the prep kitchen. Can you guess what we’re shooting?

food styling debris
food styling debris

….a fun family gathering (welcome back sister Lee from working as a canoe tripper all summer long! so proud of you Lee),

Me and Lee, just home !
Me and Lee, just home !

…indulging in ethnic eats like satisfying a craving for AWESOME gelato from dangerously nearby La Paloma Gelateria

my dinner last night; Sicilian Pistachio, Chocolate and Lemon Gelatos
my dinner last night; Sicilian Pistachio, Chocolate and Lemon Gelatos

…recharging in the calm of my hidden studio apartment in TO, amidst the traffic and cement and hustle. This is my neighbours’ sunflower garden in the parking lot;  a spectacular “welcome back” that lifts spirits, provides privacy, AND is a thriving eco-system that reminds that all is not poisoned in cities which indeed can support urban agriculture in the most unexpected places.

to-sunflowers3OK it’s official.

Is there anyone out there who can help me improve my WordPress skills? I need help…!!…this picture is stuck sideways !!

There’s alot going on for me these days…come back and visit these pages for news about some amazing projects I’m working on in PEC and indeed TO and beyond      :   )

{September is a great time to visit Prince Edward County, and the Nook, so email me here if you’re considering a visit.}


I’m looking forward to attending “2nd annual popping of…tada…

Cornography”, an afternoon of art exploring our twisted relationship with food.This year’s program includes:

a funeral for Bad Food, a music-filled foraging walk, spoken word perfomances, puppetry, visual arts, and hand-on activities. The afternoon will culminate in a DIY Pizza Party where audience members will make their own pizzas and have them fired in Small Pond Arts new outdoor cob bake oven.

Family friendly event and all are welcome. Rain or Shine

Admission is $10 adults, $5 children Cash only. “

Today I’ll be baking (!!!)  skull-shaped cookies to get decorated by a merry team of  food-artist friends, as yummy treats we’ll also be giving out on the day. I hope to see you here at Small Pond Arts in Prince Edward County….and what’s more….there’s also the 200th anniversary of Athol Township, and a fabulous Cherry Jubilee in Cherry Valley on July 28. So many pleasures to squeeze into one season. Happy Summer ( but please, “send rain”  ).


point of the day: beach glass and burl

The beach at The Nook, with a view to Glenora and the heights of Lake on the Mountain.


Someday I will figure out what to do with all the beach glass I’ve collected over the years.

location of The Nook
location of The Nook

After 18 years of collecting the stuff here on the shore of the Adolphus Reach, I’ve got…well… alot of it. So I’ve pondered making jewelery, mosaics or “hanging mobile things” , but so far done nothing about it.

beach glass
beach glass de jour

Last year I was inspired to start exchanging time at the Nook for artwork. Thanks Carl, for the print!

Bartering quality cottage time (for art) also took form as a magnificent burl carving (a total WOW) made by my inspiring friend Wendy Trusler. This incredible carved burl bowl is complete with a recipe for sourdough bread carved inside it, and is a prized pocession of mine. Wendy rescued burls from the burn pile at the tree planting camp where she was working as an adored camp cook years ago. {If you look really closely, you can see her in the picture below…click twice}. Many people may also know Wendy for her work with Voices at Hand, a “part artist residency, part travelling archive” across Ontario.

Another grand project of hers is The Antarctic Book of Cooking and Cleaning, co-written with Carol Devine, and soon to be published. I can hardly wait to see it, as the recipes and food styling (by Wendy, of course), photos and anechdotes will make for a great read (and yet more awe).

burl bowl
burl bowl

It’s always wonderful to share my peaceful little cabin with renters and friends. In this year’s calendar I’ve prompted myself to stay there more and enjoy it firsthand, catch up on some repairs and do a bit of long overdue gardening.

So if there’s a jeweller, mosaic artist or sculptor (etc) out there looking for some time away, introduce yourself and maybe we can work out a barter….. say hi to me with an idea    ruth at ruthscanteen dot com

What  artworks works would you propose in exchange for time at the Nook? and yes, carpenters who can build a bench to watch the sunsets from can indeed drop me a line.

Have great days !

Point of the Day: Pine vodka, barrels, and tart.

Todays rain was the perfect excuse NOT to catch up on yardwork.

Instead, I headed over to 66 Gilead Distillery for an astonishing vodka sampling that included their Canadian Pine Vodka, Whole Wheat Vodka, and Rye Vodka… all made on site. Read the full story about the distillery in the current issue of Grapevine Magazine here.


Next off to meet the barrelmakers who make the casks for 66 Gilead’s upcoming whiskeys, as well as for numerous local wineries. Their unique CHOA barrels (combined cherry, hickery, oak and applewoods ash) recently prompted a Best in Show award to County Cider in Waupoos , for their Barrel-aged Ice Cider , in the 2011 Great Lakes International Cider and Perry Competition in Grand Rapids Michigan.


Carriage House Cooperage in Wellington also turns out to also be the showroom for re-purposed old wine barrels, as CHC Furniture. It will stay where it is, but Pete Bradford and Marla Cameron will be moving the cooperage part of the business they share, to a converted pig barn at the 66 Gilead Distillery property in Spring 2012. As another County-first tasting room, they have plans to eventually offer tastes of their barrel-aged balsamic vinegars made from 100% county wine. Next year they’ll be producing vinegars using local fresh pressed apple juice, amongst others like local elderberry…aged in their own local wood barrels, naturally. Oh my…

And if all this day wasn’t delicious enough, making dessert insisted itself. So I ended up making a tart and using most of the Northern Spy apples I bought at Picton County Farm Centre.

One of my #1 favourite go-to fruit tart recipes was written by Lucy Waverman for a booklet for “Wines of Ontario”, published in 1997 before Prince Edward County was even on it’s own winemaking map. Originally calling for pears,  I substituted it with about 3-1/2 peeled, cored and quartered apples, and it was as delicious as ever.



Caramelizing the apples with sugar and butter in a cast-iron pan for 20 minutes, before baking under a tender pastry lid. Flip pan after baking for 30 minutes.


Half eaten before I was reminded to take a picture…

the point of the day: peeled and zested

I carry this little pouch in my tool box, stuffed with a handful of zesters and peelers that I use often…plus a few rarely used butter curlers and melon ballers.


These work in a range of applications, like for removing citrus zest in different thicknesses for garnishes. The peelers are also terrific for making ribbons of cucumber, slivers of fresh coconut, curls of Parmesan or chocolate…and yet another way to get the zest off of citrus.I don’t think there’s ever a day when I don’t use these tools in the studio for food photography. Here are some samples(easy to tell which ones were shot by the pros, eh?…) of food styling I’ve done using these go-to items from my “kit”. But let’s say it loud…. they’re also incredibly handy in the kitchen at home for a quick and easy way to boost how things taste (and look) on your dinner plate.




…..pre-threaded on a bamboo skewer so it doesn’t split on the metal cocktail pick



LCBO Food & Drink:               photo James Tse

(utterly delicious….Poached Salmon with Green Tea Soba Noodles with Cucumber Salad)


County Grapevine:        photo Jim Norton


LCBO Food & Drink:  photo Mark Burstyn


County Grapevine:   photo Derek Cooper

It’s approaching my 100th post. Incredible.

I’m still struggling with figuring out sizing images and controlling the layout. Help is hopefully on it’s way, and also for figuring out how to include receiving comments from you.

Feel free to let me know any queries you have about food styling, unless you’re a robot {read:get lost}

ruth at ruthscanteen dot com

I think I’m the one with all the questions when it comes to living between two worlds, city and country, and making it work. Thank-you for reading about it here on my blog. And yes…it’s almost time to think about what’s for lunch…..

point of the day: thanks Carl!

As I close down the Nook for another rental season, I’m reflecting on the fascinating guests I’ve had this year. And thankful, too, for friends I’ve bartered cottage time for their amazing artwork. Most recently, that would be illustrator Carl Wiens. (I’ll tell you soon about Wendy Trusler, her Voices at Hand exhibition in Picton etc, and the astounding wooden burl carving we exchanged…)

Carl’s award winning design is fabulous, and I was so pleased to have him design my logo. His retro series documenting Birdhouse City captures Picton Ontario’s real-life folk-art birdpark.The birdhouses at Birdhouse City are whimsical replicas of actual local buildings, and they’re located in this park on the edge of town.


OnEarth magazine (amongst others like the New York Times) feature his illustrations,like this one about growing bamboo bicycle frames. I like visiting the backyard rink building post on his blog;  the more current Retrobots are incredible fun. I chose a print of Swimmer 2 to have as my own, as it reminds me of swimming at the Nook, with Glenora and Lake on the Mountain in the background. See more of Carl’s diverse portfolio here. It’s always a treat to see what he’s up to, including the Prince Edward County Comix Jam held the last Wednesday of every month at the Acoustic Grill.


Marked in ink on my calender, is his upcoming show is on from Nov 26-Jan 3 at the Oeno Gallery, located at Huff Estates Winery,in Prince Edward County.