Fifteen years ago, long before most people were thinking anyone other than skiers might come to Whistler, Deanna White saw a need.
"I was working for Blackcomb in retail and saw there was nothing for visitors who didn’t ski," she says. "I thought a cookbook would be a good souvenir."
For three years she had a love/hate relationship with Whistler’s Mother’s Cookbook, a collection of recipes by Whistlerites. The hand-written, and locally illustrated book was released in 1985 and went through several printings.
Last year she decided to update the book and the result, released last month, was What’s Cookin’ In Whistler. The new book contains many of the recipes in the original Whistler’s Mother’s Cookbook but it has a new look, lots of additional recipes and some new directions.
"I felt people had changed their eating habits in the last 10 years so there’s more vegetarian dishes, lots of soups and salads," White says.
The new book has also been typeset — by Heather Beresford — rather than hand written, and Nigel Protter did the layout. One of Leanna Rathkelly’s award-winning photos graces the cover.
"I changed the name of the book because of that photo, I love it so much," White says.
The bulk of the recipes are from locals — "There are lots of good cooks in this town," White says — including some contributions from professional chefs like Richard and Christy Auer of Grass Roots, Hatto Horn of the Millar Creek Cafe and Rolf Guenther of the Rim Rock Cafe. Some local celebrities have also contributed recipes, including skiers Rob Boyd, Nancy Greene Raine and Todd Brooker.
White loves to cook herself, sometimes spending a whole day in her kitchen creating a number of dishes. She says her Scottish background has also had an influence on the book — she can’t stand to see space on a page go unused so she’s put in some historical quotes from early Whistlerites such as Harry Horstman and John Millar, courtesy of the Whistler Museum and Archives Society.
In addition to recipes and historical quotes the book includes an explanation of the Jennifer Jones Whistler Bear Foundation and how improper disposal of garbage can lead to the destruction of bears.
"Food and garbage are sort of related," White says.
There are 2,000 copies of the new book, which White has published herself. She hopes to contribute some profits from a second printing to the Jennifer Jones Foundation.
What’s Cookin’ In Whistler is available at most kitchen, gift and book stores in Whistler.
Cold Winter Night Pasta, contributed by Philippe Lavoie (from What’s Cookin’ in Whistler).
1/2 red pepper
3 cloves garlic
2 cans clams
2 shots Worcestershire
3/4 cup (175 ml) milk
1 big tbsp (15 ml) Dijon
1 cup (250 ml) sour cream
1/4 cup (50 ml) white wine
blue cheese to taste
fresh ground pepper
Chop and sauté red pepper and onion, until onion is transparent. Then add minced garlic cloves... stir till all is mixed evenly. Add clam juice from both cans, mil, sour cream, blue cheese (crumbled), white wine, Worcestershire, mustard, and juice of 1/2 squeezed lemon. Simmer 20 minutes at medium. Add clams. Salt and pepper to taste.
Strain cooked tortellini and rinse. Pour sauce over and mix up well, add a generous amount of parmesan cheese.
Serve with a nice bottle of red wine and warm bread.