Flavour Guy: CookedIn could help keep us linked in with neighbours

Need eggs? Call a neighbour and you might get a few apples in the deal.
Need eggs? Call a neighbour and you might get a few apples in the deal.

Need eggs? Call a neighbour and you might get a few apples in the deal.

Melanie has new communication skills. George is now doing video production. Sigfried and Dominique have updated their profiles. Sam, Susan and someone from Albania have endorsed my skills – whatever they are. I know all about this, even if I don’t know or even remember who these people are, because I am part of an online community called LinkedIn.

Actually, community is too much of a word. We don’t really commune. It is more like an information exchange, the type of notice board that used to be a regular feature of my neighbourhood supermarket.

It reminded me that what I really need is a neighbourhood online cooking forum. I’d like to know what Karla up the street is cooking for dinner. Or that Theo has an extra cup of all-purpose flour I could get right now. This has happened: Our neighbour across from us once called and said she had some friends over and could she borrow a bottle of wine. We were happy to oblige and received the same kind of wine back a few days later with a box of freshly baked scones.

Recently our downstairs neighbours seemed at loose ends for dinner. I said that I was going out for a couple of hours but could provide a large fish from our freezer. We thought we could do a two-family meal if they would cook the fish. Of course, a friend to whom I told this story warned me that if I give them a fish, they will never learn to fish themselves. Still, the dinner was very nice and I really didn’t want to be served a fish freshly caught from water flowing through Montreal.

No, instead of LinkedIn, what I could use is CookedIn. A real community—maybe stretching over a block or two—where I could find out if someone had an extra chair for dinner or get a recipe that includes, let’s say, an avocado and a quart of peanut butter. I would check in just before dinner time and might see an update like: “Just had a great idea about what to do with leftover fruit cake” or “I bought too many hot dogs at Costco—want some?” or “Sheryl has a home and school meeting—can someone feed her husband, her 6-year-old or her dog?”

Then there would be the skill endorsements. “Maria makes a mean lasagna.” “See Charles if you need extra serving spoons.” “Jason’s stove has a wok burner—good to know.”

Yes, CookedIn would be far more useful than LinkedIn. There should be an app-etite for that.

The Best Scones In The World

Our friend Lisa has a delicious scone recipe from her mom. I like to think it is a great example of how CookedIn could work. Here is a treasured recipe passed from one person to another. Lisa calls it Karen’s scones … best in the world! They are very good.

Preheat the oven to 450F.

Mix together 4 cups of flour, a half-cup of white sugar, 7 tsp of baking powder and 1 tsp of salt. Add in a quarter cup of raisins or mixed fruit.

Using a pastry blender, cut in 1/3 of a cup of shortening. Make a well in the centre and add 1 egg that has been mixed into enough milk to make a total of 2 cups of liquid. Mix and knead this lightly to make a soft dough.

A note about the kneading: Although Karen’s recipe says to roll out the dough, Lisa says it can be quite sticky and that she usually ends up dumping the whole mess on a floured surface and putting flour on her hands / sprinkling it on the dough to get it to form. Then she presses it out into a large rectangle about 1-inch thick. She warns overdoing it makes tough scones.

Whether you roll it out or press it, cut the dough into scone shapes: squares, triangles or somewhat roundish. Brush the tops with a mixture made of a little more milk and sugar. Place the scones on a greased baking sheet and bake it in the middle of the pre-heated oven for 15 minutes. Serve warm with butter and jam.

1 Comment on "Flavour Guy: CookedIn could help keep us linked in with neighbours"

  1. love your columns, Barry! cookdin would be a lot more useful, and a lot less intrusive than linkdin. Here in our triplex, we are three adults who cook and eat together every day — or at least two of the three of us cook, and one may take an evening off. but we have a lot of fun together too, with talk around the table once the cooking is done and the eating begins.

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