Senator Donald Oliver
Nova Scotia's Senator
"Cookery is not chemistry. It is an art. It requires instinct and taste rather than exact measurements." -Marcel Boulestin
Cooking has always been my passion. I enjoy experimenting with different cooking techniques, exploring with new herbs and spices, and paring foods with different and unique wines.
Whether giving a lecture on French cuisine or entertaining in front of the fire place in my farm kitchen, I have always enjoyed this art form.
“A cookbook must have recipes, but it shouldn't be a blueprint. It should be more inspirational; it should be a guide.”-Thomas Keller
In 1981, I published a cookbook entitled “Men Can Cook Too!”, which is a guide to cooking for the budding gourmet chef. It is my firm belief that there is a growing interest among men to learn more about cooking.
It is obvious to everyone that men are some of the best chefs in the world. I think of Auguste Escoffier, Antoine Carme, Paul Bocuse, Georges Blanc, Alain Ducasse, and Pierre Troisgros. Cooking for other men may be intimidating as it seems like complex chemistry; mix one pinch of Ingredient A, with a dash of Ingredient B. However, I stress to my readers that cooking, at least for me, should first of all be fun. Second, cooking is a form of art and requires, above all else, imagination and creativity. I tell men in my book not to let “tradition and established ideas confine and restrict [them]” and to not “be bound by stereotyped menus.” The book went through three publications.
I am now making final edits my second cookbook, which I intend to dedicate to my mother who passed away in 1991. My mother was my mentor in the kitchen, as she instinctively knew how to do a lot with a little. I can still remember watching her in awe as she transformed our small farm harvest of fruits and vegetables, from our little garden in Wolfville, into mouth-watering treats and delicacies. I’ve concluded that part of her success in cooking was deeply influenced by our African origins. This inspired me to write this book, which looks at techniques for cooking chicken from original sources, from countries such as Ethiopia, Kenya, Nigeria, Botswana and South Africa. It follows their transformations to the West Indies, the United States and Canada. This book goes beyond ingredients and preparation, and discusses the customs and celebrations of African chicken dishes; the aspect of cooking that really makes food a part of our heritage.
Good cooking, like any art form, takes a great deal of time, concentration, and dedication. But the finished product is always well worth the effort. I like to enjoy great things with good friends, and my dinner table is a place where I can do just that. For cooks, you know you’ve created a masterpiece when you see that look of satisfaction in guests’ faces when they take their first bite. In the end I have the pleasure of gathering with friends and family around the table for an enjoyable evening. It remains my philosophy that is the more than just good food that makes the meal, but is the company and the ambiance.
1. In bowl, whisk together egg and milk. In large bag, shake together flour, sesame seeds, baking powder, paprika and salt.
Crispy Corn Drumsticks
1 clove garlic
1. Crush garlic into the milk. Pour the garlic-flavoured mild over the legs and allow them to marinate for at least 20 minutes in the refrigerator.