Food and drink: What’s in your fridge, Nancy Wilhelm-Morden? 

On the stainless shelves with a down-to-earth lawyer who loves to cook

An earlier incarnation of their current Sub-Zero fridge, in fact, the very first fridge popular lawyer and politico, Nancy Wilhelm-Morden, and her husband, Ted, owned at Whistler is still around. It's a cooler that bears claw marks (pun intended) from the black bear who found it outside their first home at Whistler, a cabin Ted built in '75 alongside Crabapple Creek, where said cooler was stored in summer.

Better an old cooler with claw marks and a tale to tell than a new one, I say. The Mordens apparently ascribe to similar values, for they've held onto their genuinely storied "fridge" all these years, a memento from their days living in the bush.

In the context of Whistler, for readers not informed about such matters, this is a badge of honour not disrepute, for being a squatter, as in squatting on Crown land in the days when the village site was the local garbage dump and Blackcomb Mountain never dreamt of a ski run but people lived their dreams, means you are about as bona fide a Whistler resident as they come.

The Mordens have also held onto their second and equally storied house they built themselves in 1979 in Alpine Meadows, one they've renovated six times because they didn't know their family was going to include daughters Jessie and Sarah. The latest reno, done in 2001, brought the Sub-Zero into their bright and lovely kitchen, alongside the walk-in pantry that Ted had to be convinced to include but now loves and across from the door that leads outside to a small but productive kitchen garden, even now bearing herbs.

So off we go on a tour of the Mordens' fridge, and the first thing we find is something of a condiment shelf, at eye level, with all kinds of preserves, jams, and assorted delights, many of them made by Nancy.

"I'm kind of an old-fashioned person. I do and always have done a lot of canning and preserving," she says, ergo the jars of cranberry chutney, chili sauce and apricot jam made from the "ginormous apricots" they get from the ancient, gnarly trees growing around what was once the old fishing camp at McGillivray Falls on Anderson Lake, where they've also built a cabin.

There's also a jar of beans from their garden up at McGillivray that she pickled using a recipe from a long-time former Whistlerite, Margaret Long.

"I have to say that I absolutely love cooking and Margaret was really, truly a mentor to me when I was young and first came to Whistler. She's a very good cook who has very sophisticated tastes and she introduced me to the world of fine dining, but she's not a snob about it," says Nancy.


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