The essentials of good cooking, according to White Rock’s Mary Adams, are a big heart and imagination.
The self-confessed foodie also lists a wooden chopping block and sharp knife among the important kitchen elements, in the introduction to a homemade cookbook she put together for her daughter, Anya.
The book contains several of Adams’ most popular recipes from over the years, some she learned from her mother, some from cookbooks and some from old-fashioned experimentation.
“I like to go to different places and then try to copy whatever I’ve been served,” Adams, a native of Hungary, said. “Sometimes it’s successful and sometimes it needs more than one try.”
Having a big heart and imagination are things that come in handy for another of Adams’ passions – her involvement with the South Surrey Soul Sisters.
The newly formed club is a branch of the Delta Oneness Gogos, a group of senior women who raise money and awareness for the Stephen Lewis Foundation, supporting African grandmothers who are raising children orphaned by AIDS.
“We used to go to Delta for meetings, but it was a bit too far,” Adams explained. “So we decided to start having meetings nearby.”
The first big endeavour for the 15-member Soul Sisters – who welcome new additions to the club – is a garage and barn sale May 21, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at 2652 164 St.
Adams said the group hopes the sale is a good launching point for other fundraising ideas for what she called an “incredible need” in Africa.
“The old-fashioned grandmothers spend their lives looking after a small family plot,” Adams said. “Here they are having their children dying and having the grandchildren left to look after. It’s heartbreaking.”
For more information on the Soul Sisters, email firstname.lastname@example.org
The recipe Adams chose to share, for pork and pineapple, is a family favourite, and an example of her skill at recreating dishes.
“There was a Hawaiian restaurant in Vancouver that I went to 25 years ago, and I ate something similar,” she said. “So this is what I came up with.”
Pork and Pineapple
¾ cup oil
4 cups finely chopped onion
8 cups cubed pork roast (about 2 kg)
¼ Tbsp salt
¼ cup curry powder
½ cup water
4 cloves garlic
½ cup flour
¾ cup sour cream
2 Tbsp honey
1 can pineapple chunks
Saute onions in a pan on medium high heat, add salt and keep the lid on the pan. When onions are soft, turn pan up to high, add curry powder and stir. Add the meat and garlic, saute for 10 minutes stirring constantly. Add water and turn down to medium-low; put the lid on and let simmer until meat is tender. Pour the juice of the pineapple chunks into a separate bowl and add the drained chunks to the meat. Mix pineapple juice with the flour and whisk until smooth, then pour onto meat to thicken sauce in the pan. Stir briefly. Add honey and sour cream and let simmer gently on low. Serve hot with freshly steamed rice and a vegetable, such as peas.