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Fork in the Road: What’s in your fridge?

Back on the shelves with Binty and Cheryl Massey: Part 2
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Bacon ketchup is an all-time favourite of two Whistler favourites, Cheryl and Binty Massey, who also treasure white wine and fresh fruit presented in their own handmade baskets and bowls.

What do you do when: a) you’re an artist; b) your studio/gallery is in your home, and; c) you’re moving? Why you pick up a hammer, dismantle your gallery and take it with you, of course! 

That won’t surprise anyone who knows Cheryl and Binty Massey, two longtime Whistler locals appreciated as much for their character as for their many contributions to the community, including Cheryl’s intricate baskets made from local flora and fauna and Binty’s unique pottery and ceramics. 

Dismantling the studio/gallery in their Alpine Meadows home is just one aspect of packing up after 37 years and moving to the Sunshine Coast. But last week we also encountered two things that won’t be moving—their stalwart GE fridge and The Trough, the island in their open-plan kitchen/living room where, for decades, family and friends have happily gathered round to eat. 

This week we’re jumping right into the shelves themselves, and here’s what we find—including a jar of THC oil…

On the top shelf there’s oat milk; cheese from Costco; two different kinds of full-fat, plain yogurt (the Masseys are into eating good, healthy food in a high-fat, low-carb, keto-paleo kind of way); and Binty’s sourdough starter. We talked about Binty’s long tradition of making bread last week, but it was Tyler, their son, who got dad into sourdough. The fermentation process makes gluten more digestible.

“I’d gone right off wheat for a while… but not anymore,” says Binty. 

Then Cheryl spies a highlight—bacon ketchup that their daughter, Michela, brought back from Kelowna. Made with the usual tomatoes, along with B.C. maple-smoked bacon, garlic, amber ale, and cayenne pepper and ginger for zing, this is far from your average ketchup, notes Binty.

There’s also sparkling water (booze gives Binty migraines); leftovers from the teriyaki chicken Cheryl made last night (she cooks 60 per cent of the time, but does most of the grocery shopping); some nutritional supplements; turmeric paste for Binty’s breakfast smoothies; sambal oelek; and fresh olives and tapenade, probably from Bosa Foods or a Persian market in Vancouver. 

Note that the Masseys have just gotten back from a big-city shopping run, but despite the seeming contradictions, they usually shop local.

“We spread our love around,” says Binty. They’re mostly Creekside skiers, so in winter they shop Creekside Market, then the farmers’ market in summer to support Pemberton and Lillooet farmers. But the majority of their time here, they shopped Nesters Market in White Gold, which opened in 1987, soon after they arrived. 

“We know all the staff and everything. We have a joke here that it’s the community centre, or your local pub. If you want to be social, go to Nesters at five o’clock,” he says.

Shelf Two starts with the THC oil. Binty calls it “a medicinal condiment,” and laughs. You can easily search for a recipe online like Cheryl did. Or you can use Binty’s quick method: Take a handful of bud, cook it on medium in a shallow frying pan with butter and coconut oil (twice as much as the bud). When it starts to bubble, lower the heat. Cook for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Strain it through cheesecloth after it cools a bit, then keep the oil refrigerated. It’s so potent you just need a tiny bit “if you’re stressed, to take the edge off,” Cheryl says. 

Next we find containers of broth for cooking and for Lucie, their border collie. Cheryl prefers to make her own, but these are made from Better than Bouillon. Next come homegrown garlic scapes, and a treat Cheryl likes to nibble on—chocolate truffle cheesecake she knows is safe from Binty since he’s allergic to chocolate. Finally, there’s spinach; corn tortillas; tofu; bacon fat drippings; and miso for soup.

On the third shelf are two cartons of eggs—although these aren’t from the chickens Tyler and his wife, Erica, raise in Squamish—and a drawer with nothing but cheese. Below that, crisper drawers hold mostly organic, mostly green veggies. No fruit—that’s kept in a big hand-built Binty bowl with legs that’s been on the kitchen counter for 20 years, or one of Cheryl’s baskets. 

On the door we find unsalted butter, a plethora of condiments especially hot sauces and ones with zip; more soda beverages; two lovely bottles of white wine waiting for Cheryl; organic maple syrup; coconut nectar seasoning that tastes like molasses; mayo; barbecue sauce; tamari; and ketchup, mustard and relish for the grandkids’ hamburgers. 

And that’s a wrap, for the fridge and the Masseys, who are almost out the door in a major way. But don’t feel bad. Here’s a wonderful way to remember them till you see them again...

This meal is inspired by the Massey’s second coastal home on Nelson Island. To clarify last week’s article: They’re moving to their Sechelt home, not Nelson Island. 

A zero-mile meal takes down the 100-mile diet 

Here’s one of Cheryl’s favourite meals. It’s part of a recipe book she made for their kids when they first left home. “I love to make (this) because everything is super-über fresh!” says Cheryl.

The Nelson Island Zero Mile Meal

Fillet freshly caught salmon

Dig potatoes from the garden

Pick lettuce greens from the garden

Boil potatoes just until tender. Toss your lettuce greens with dressing. Grill salmon on the barbecue. Cook until just done and eat right away, when the fish oils are at their peak. Throw the salmon rack/spine on the bar-b; there’s lots of good meat there, too. When salmon is freshly caught, there’s no need for marinade. Maybe a squirt of lemon is all you need.

Cheryl’s easy dressing

Mix together:

1 tsp. Dijon mustard

1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar

1/4 c. extra virgin olive oil

Chopped fresh basil, salt & pepper

Glenda Bartosh is an award-winning journalist who started the Whistler arts council that Binty was a key part of for years.