Wednesday, 26 October 2011

The Medium is the Message

Marshal McLuhan is arguably one of the greatest intellects Canada has ever produced. McLuhan is famous for tagging the line “The Medium is the Message”. This line, as simple as it seems is still relevant today, years after McLuhan’s passing. I wonder what Marshal would be saying today, considering all the technological advancements and the fact that social media has become a part of so many people’s lives.  What would Marshal say about Facebook, twitter or blogging for example. How would he feel about citizen journalism, and the movement of ordinary citizens creating the news?   

My smart phone is changing the way I communicate with my friends and loved ones. Receiving text messages and tweets can still put the humanization in modern day communication. A debate I recently heard was how much personality brands should demonstrate through their social media outlets. The side in favor of personality argues that social media is a medium that brands can use to be more relaxed and informal with their customers. This sort of communication they argue helps humanize the brand and allows customers to feel connected in a different way than they are traditionally used to.

One argument against using too much personality for a brand in social media is what happens when the personality goes away. When this happens who maintains the personality and the image that the social media manager has created for the brand.

Both of these points are valid and need to be considered when your brand is making the switch to include social media in your communication strategy. Because having Facebook and Twitter does show your customers that your company is willing to embrace organizational change and stay connected through a variety of mediums. I personally am in favor of show casing a personality for a brand. I think that this gives a brand an alternative identity and that this can be especially effective when targeting younger demographics. Because there is such a small percentage of the global population on Twitter, I would recommend as a business starting with Facebook. Facebook is relatively easy to use and navigate and it can help create awareness of your campaign, product or service. Practicing good business and having fun Mr. McLuhan, now what do you think about that?   

Friday, 21 October 2011

Chalk Another Win Up For The Good Guys.

Another “W” for the boys!
Thursday was a great day to prepare another Canadian classic, pea soup. This was the first time I made pea soup and I must brag a little bit because it turned out great. Pea soup is a wonderful soup that is easy to make and warms the belly on a cold Canadian winter night. Some people say that pea soup was originally fed to French Canadian Troops during World War One and would improve the soldier’s performance on the battle field.
The preparation of pea soup is easy and painless. The process of cooking the peas takes some time but if you have nice book to read or something else to do the time should pass relatively quickly.
 The first step is cooking the peas. For this you will need
5 pounds of peas
Ham bone
2 Carrots
1 stick of celery
5 Bay leafs
1 Onion
4 Cloves of garlic

Cook all of these together in a large pot for approximately 1-2 hours or until the peas are cooked. After this is done you strain the peas into a large bowl and let sit while you prepare the rest. Also at this point you discard the carrots, celery, bay leafs and ham bone, those simply provide flavor to your peas.

The next batch of ingredients includes
4 Litres of chicken stock
2 Diced white onion
4 Cloves of garlic chopped
4 Carrots chopped
4 Celery ribs chopped
¼ Pound of double smoked bacon
3 Pound ham

Combine all of these ingredients in a large pot and bring to a simmer. Once simmering add the peas and let cook for no longer than 30 minutes. Add some fresh dill and pepper and voila. This recipe makes 13 litres of soup. Perfect for freezing and goes well with a baguette. If you have any questions please feel free to ask. I hope you enjoy this recipe.  

Friday, 14 October 2011

Sweater Weather Stew!

Now that fall seems to be here to stay, I have decided to make a hearty beef stew. Beef stew can warm your belly on a cold autumn night while filling it with nutrients essential for your body, mind and soul. This particular beef stew is simple to prepare and doesn’t hurt the wallet. I produced about 11 liters of stew and only spent 42 dollars. Now if we assume the average person requires half a liter for one serving then this stew costs less than 2 dollars a person. This stew also makes a great gift. Who doesn’t like a liter of homemade beef and lentil stew as a present?

Now that I’ve sold you on the idea of a hearty stew in the fall, let me tell you how to cook it.


4 sticks of celery
6 large carrots
2 white onions
6 cloves of garlic
2 cups of button mushrooms
1 medium sized butternut squash
1 rutabaga
2 cups of green beans
1 can of crushed tomatoes
1 inside round beef roast
4 cups lentils
¼ cup of extra virgin olive oil
2 twigs of fresh rosemary
5 or 6 sage leafs
1-liter chicken stock
Salt and pepper to taste

This recipe is easy to prepare because you just need to add everything except the lentils into a large pot and let it cook for about 1 hour. You should start with the firmer vegetables like the butternut squash, rutabaga and carrots etc. Add the beef after these have cooked for about 15 minutes and just continue to add everything except the lentils and green beans. Bring this to a boil and then let it simmers for about 30 minutes or until beef is tender and vegetables are soft. Cook the lentils in a separate pot. The water the lentils cook in generally doesn’t taste that great and that is why I suggest cooking them separately. Add the green beans right at the end as they only take a short time to cook.

The finished product freezes nicely so you can make it in bulk and save some for busy times and cold nights. I promise you, next week we’re doing ham and pea soup.

Friday, 7 October 2011

Food Poisoning 101

I'm sad to say but this week I will not be adding a recipe for Canadian style ham and pea soup. I contracted food poisoning during the wee hours of Wednesday morning and I’m happy to say that I am feeling much better. Instead this week I will be writing about some tips I have on how to avoid food poisoning and how you can spot these potential hazards.
As my duty as a citizen to the friendly province of Manitoba, I went to an election headquarters on Tuesday to take in all the hype and excitement.  I imagine most election headquarters had a generous spread of food laid out on the table for their guests to enjoy. Myself being a guest, and being a little hungry, I thought that I would partake in a taste or two of this classic spread that can be found at many functions.

I must warn participants of these platters to eat with caution. Although they may look tempting, one may find themselves out of commission for the following few days due to unhealthy bacteria’s and old stale food. If you find yourself ever to be in the same situation as me this past week; you can check out this link which has ten helpful tips on how to have a smooth and quick recovery.

Finally, to end on a positive note for the long weekend I wanted to share a song that should make your life a little bit more enjoyable. This song has helped me through some rough patches and I must have listened to it ten times this past week.