Wednesday, 28 August 2013

My eulogy for Mom: Ode to the Original Foodie

1950s Mom
Mom in the 1950s

You fell in love with Bernaise sauce in Europe.

Blender Bernaise on Seafood Crepe
Shrimp crepe with Bernaise Sauce

I followed you and Dad in utero and fell in love too.

Mom going to Mount Washington
Mom on her honeymoon

Shannon was born. You in the hospital. Cooked carrots? What the hell?

Jamie made ketchup pizzas with oregano.

Jason ate butter and my teeth hurt.

Suzie Ridler
Mom took this picture of me actually looking like a little lady, very rare moment in time

I mortified you when I became the olive thief.

We ate pickled herring and sour cream for breakfast.

I always admired the majesty of your gourmet dining club.

The indulgence of your crab, Velvetta and butter spread.

The savoriness of the meatballs on toothpicks you made for parties.

All the laughter and joy, I carry with me.

Auntie Laima and Mom Shopping Trip
Auntie Laima and Mom on one of their shopping sprees

Smoke detector went off when you made chicken skins in the oven.

Then it was Sunday night spaghetti dinners for years and years.

Sometimes your cheesy potatoes.

Often Chinese food for Christmas.

My husband, me and my Mom
Reg, me and Mom when she visited in the early summer of 2009

When you came to visit me I made steak and kidney pie.

We celebrated your name’s day on June 3 with a pork roast dinner.

My Mom's Names Day Dinner
How I loved making Mom happy with food when she stayed with us

You taught me so much about our food that I had never eaten.

A foodie fool, finally converted to my mother’s wisdom.

I made Bernaise sauce.

It broke.

We froze it.

You brought it home, happy.

My second attempt at making Bernaise Sauce, this time from the Joy of Cooking

We spoke on the phone for years.

Mom did not have a sieve so we used a new pair of pantyhose to sieve out the shallots and tarragon!

Sharing stories, adventures and recipes.

The bowl for the double boiler would not stop moving so my sister Shannon helped me out.

Then we got the news.

I came home.

Turns out I over-heated the sauce... damn it.

Again, I broke the Bernaise sauce.

I was so upset I broke it... again!

You ate it, in love with it still.


I got you Popeye’s chicken.


Burger King’s onion rings.

We had High Tea.

Another pork roast dinner was shared.

Things changed.

I knew I had to try one more time.

Blender Bernaise on Seafood Crepe

I made the tenderest crepes in the world.

Filled them with shrimp.

Bernaise Days

I got out the eggs, butter, vinegar, wine and tarragon.

Blender Bernaise on Seafood Crepe

This time I used a blender.

It worked. Thickest most beautiful Bernaise sauce in the world.

Blender Bernaise on Seafood Crepe

Sprinkled with chives from you balcony garden.

You tried to eat it but could barely speak.

Then you fell asleep.

Wanted more but could barely chew.

I brought you water and you rested.

I ate my crepe.

The most delicious and saddest dinner of my life.

I know you will be with me in my kitchen.

Telling me to add more salt.

Suggesting new camera angles for foodie photos.

I will study from the Larousse Gastronomique you sent me

And all the cookbooks you gave me.

You will live on in every photograph.

Every bite of food.

Each recipe I write.

And all the stories I tell.

The foodie queen in my life has fallen. I am shattered like a raw egg crushed under a meteorite. You told me in a dream it was time for me to forget you.

Inta Ridler

I responded, "Never."

Monday, 26 August 2013

Klimpas or dumplings for a sweet cooked dessert

"Well my Mother always used them on compote so I will give you that recipe too." ~ Auntie Laima

Dried prunes (one package)
Dried apricots (one package)
Sliced apples maybe two or 3
One sliced lemon
Lots of raisins (2 cups)
7 or 8 cloves
1 cup of sugar

Bring to a boil and cook until fruit is soft then add the klimpas

1-1.2 c flour
1 tsp baking powder
¼ cup sugar
1 egg
½ cup milk
½ tsp salt

Mix the dry ingredients together then add the egg and milk. The dough will be stiff.

Use two teaspoons and scoop up some dough with one and push it off the spoon with the other into the boiling compote.

It only takes a few minutes for them to cook through. They should all rise to the top.

If the compote is not thick then add one or two tablespoons of cornstarch (dissolved in a little water) and mix it into the hot compote. Stir constantly and it should be thick in a few seconds.

"This compote recipe is just a guideline it is very flexible. Basically you just put in what you like and how much you like. The lemon and cloves however seem to be important."

Grandma’s bean soup recipe

"It is a very old Latvian recipe – I think around 100 years at least." ~ Auntie Laima

One package red kidney beans about 4 cups. Put in a bowl just cover with cold water and leave overnight. Drain in the morning and put them in a large pot.

2 cups of pearl barley
2 large cubed potatoes
2 carrots sliced
1 large onion diced
1 smoked pork hock or smoked ribs (about 1 kg)
1 large bay leaf
10 peppercorns or equivalent amount of ground pepper.
A couple of cloves of garlic
Salt to taste (depends on how salty the smoked meat is)

Cover with generous amount of water. Bring to boil turn down heat to simmer and let it just bubble away till everything is soft and cooked. I like my soup rather thick and so I let the water boil down quite a bit but for a thinner soup don’t boil it as long.

When done take out the pork hock, let cool and then cube the meat and put it back in the pot.

Always tastes better the next day.

My Mother’s Kapoist/Inta’s Kapusta/Or just plain sauerkraut with a twist

~ Auntie Laima

1 small head of cabbage (finely shredded)
1 28 oz can of Khur sauerkraut and liquid
1 28 oz can Libby sauerkraut drained (actually the brands really don’t matter that much – just two big jars or cans)
1 sliced thin onion ( don’t tell your Mom) (two small or one large)
1 lb or more smoked meat cubed (I used a smoked pork neck)
2 tablespoons of brown sugar (the secret ingredient)
Quarter cup or more of caraway seeds
Water to cover.

Put all in a big pot and cook on a medium heat until raw cabbage is mushy.

The amount of raw cabbage should roughly equal the amount of canned or bottled. So it is easy to make a smaller amount.

This freezes very well and I usually make only one batch a year.

Crockpot Pot Roast or Ribs

"I also wanted to share a real simple but yummy recipe that you might like." ~ Auntie Laima

One pot roast or blade roast or short ribs
One pouch of Liptons Onion Garlic soup dry soup mix
One can cranberry jelly.

That’s it.  Put the jelly in the crockpot, mix in the soup mix and then put the roast in and all that is needed.

I was so very leery of the cranberry jelly but it turned out great.  IT provided the liquid and made a lovely sauce and it does not taste like cranberries.

Sweet Cheese Delights

"Uncle Meinhard used to make cookies but found this faster and easier. He makes it for our Leathercraft Guild meetings and has everyone addicted to it." ~ Auntie Laima

2 (8 0z) packages cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
1 egg yolk
1 tsp vanilla
2 (8oz) cans Pillsbury refrigerated crescent dinner rolls
1 cup chopped pecans
1.2 cup packed brown sugar
2 tblsps butter, melted
2 tsps ground cinnamon
Powdered sugar (optional)

1. In large bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar with electric mixer on medium speed until fluffy. Add egg yolk and vanilla, beat on low speed until blended

2. Unroll 1 can of dough into 1 large rectangle; press seams and perforations to seal. Press onto bottom of ungreased 12 x 9 x inch (3 qt) glad baking dish. Spread with cream cheese mixture.

3. In small bowl, mix pecans, brown sugar, butter and cinnamon. Sprinkle half the pecan mixture over the cream cheese layer. On lightly floured surface, press or roll out remaining dough into 12 x 9 inch rectangle. Place over filling. Sprinkle remaining pecan mixture over top.

4. Bake at 375 degrees F 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown. Cool slightly on cooling rack. Sprinkle with powdered sugar. Cover and refrigerate leftovers.

P.S. the filling most likely will be liquidy but that’s alright. When it cools it will firm up

Love, Auntie Laima/Laima

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Family on the Stairs

Even though my eyes are closed, this is one of my favourite family photos! What a joy to be all together celebrating Reg & Suzie getting married.

Mom's Art: Sunset Trees

Gem Lab Appraisal Services

Gem Lab Appraisal Services

There are things that I do not want to lose track of and forget so I thought I would share. Like the day I went to Gem Lab Appraisal Services with Michelle.

Gem Lab Appraisal Services

I knew we were in the right place when I saw this miniature gemologist set. So cool! So odd that the guy did not want to talk at all which was fine with me. Took so long to find a place I trusted, I just let him do his work.

I thought everyone else might want to see the photos so I was the only one who was there. The building was quite the labyrinth and it was a tad surreal but we got it done! That was very important to me before I left. Closure is good.

Monday, 19 August 2013

Mom & Auntie Laima: Shopping Outings

I have so many wonderful memories of Mom and Auntie Laima and Grandma too going out on these shopping adventures, expecially fabric, and coming home with treasures. I love that one of these moments was captured, though it looks like groceries in Burlington this time!

Sunday, 18 August 2013

Kids Portrait - The Classic

This is the total classic photo of all of us. I remember that was one of my favourite T-shirts and I loved the colour but I'm still surprised to be so casual when everyone's dressed up so nice.

Mom: Outdoors in the 80s


I just love this picture of Mom - and since she had it framed by her door for the longest time, I figure she must have loved this picture of her too. It's funny how your perspective changes as you get older. I look at this picture and think how young Mom looks, how young she was when she started living on her own again, starting another part of her life. I wonder if she felt that way or not at all.

Does anyone remember more details about where this was?

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Mom: Common Thread Community Chorus

Mom sang in this choir. Hearing the "Yes, I know" refrain in the background immediately brought me back to her wonderful concert, her smiling, her moving and and how she somehow managed to leave out that we, too, would be expected to sing!

Sunday, 11 August 2013

Mom and Robot Sumo Wrestling at OCA

How many kids can write that title about their parents? This is one of the things I simply adore about Mom: her eclectic interests and experiences. Here's robot sumo wrestling as she saw it.

Saturday, 10 August 2013

Friends Rememberances of Mom

Inta and I go a long way back ....we had the same summer job in the Air Force Reserve...supposedly we were being trained to be fighter control operators which was a bit of a joke but we enjoyed good times playing volleyball, doing drill marches ..... it sure was a lark and the pay was good ...I think it was $40 a week but that would be about 1958. Then in University, we met up several times since we were both dating engineers...ended up marrying the guys....Jiim and my husband, Bob were classmates and good friends....Jim and Inta visited us in England in 1969 or 70 and treated us to theatre in London and a few good meals.... Inta was the perpetual student when we knew her and it sounds as though she always pursued new interests...we were so sorry to hear of her illness and are sympathetic to her children's loss and encouraging them to hold on to those precious memories. Take care, Pat
  • Pat Richardson, Friend, Burlington

I knew Inta through my sister Bernice Warren. I always enjoyed her warmth and creativity.
  • Patricia Creary, Midland, ON


 Mom and Margaret M.

Bernice's Story of Mom

Mom and Bernice 

I met Inta when we were in our twenties around 1961 when we both worked at Shell Oil. We shared many memorable times throughout the years. She taught me now to play bridge and chess.

 In October 2004, I moved from Scarborough to North Vancouver to be with my son Trevor and Grandson Noah. On moving day, Inta, Marion and Margaret arrived to help send me off and get me to the airport on time along with my two cats amid much kayos and hilarity. Inta took many pictures of the events of that day and then put them onto a CD which she mailed to me later. What a priceless treasure she gave to me to be able to revisit those wonderful times.

I am saddened at Inta's passing but know that wherever she lands she will be very creatively running the show.

Bernice Warren

 Mom, Bernice and Margaret G. 
seeing Bernice off to Vancouver

Mom's Eulogy

Inta Ridler January 30, 1939 - June 28, 2013 
written by Jason Ridler 

Inta Mezgailis Ridler, age seventy-four, died at approximately nine pm on 28 June 2013 in her Toronto home, surrounded by her children. Daughter of Olga Katerina Dailacis and Janis Arturs Mezgailis (m.1937), Inta was born in Jelgava, Latvia, on 30 January 1939, followed by her sister Laima (Sellmer). After surviving the Second World War, Olga and her two daughters lived in a displaced persons camp in Germany before voyaging to Canada in 1948. Initially raised in Windsor, Inta and her family moved to Toronto in the early 1950s, where she attended Jarvis Collegiate. She later received her Bachelors degree and her Masters in Psychology at the University of Toronto. Married to Jim Ridler in 1963 (-1984), she was the beloved mother of Jamie, Robbie (d.1973), Suzie, Jason and Shannon.

She began a life journey into the arts in the late 1980s, graduating from the Ontario College of Art and Design in late 1990s. She became an integral member of the Kensington Market art and music scene, making friends in many circles, from punk rock guitarists to shamanic drummers. She was also the co-founder, photographer, creative director, and layout artist of The Spirit of Kensington magazine and in 1999 was their featured artist. She was a long time member of the Toronto Camera Club and was an instrumental member of their photography magazine Focus.

Inta was a perpetual student of philosophy, science, and the spiritual arts, as well as a beautiful voice in many choirs that sang from downtown Toronto to her land of birth, Latvia. A career explorer and enjoyer of knowledge, ideas and music, a lover of food and chats and joy, she is survived by her sister and children, and leaves behind a legacy of art, inspiration and unconditional love to all who knew her.

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Olivia Chow in Mom's Hood

There's always something happening in the Kensington Market neighbourhood and Mom always seemed to be there with a camera! I'm not sure what this event is but I know it features Olivia Chow, one politician that I know Mom had respect for.

Monday, 5 August 2013

Mom, Music & Kensington Market

Mom loved music and photography and clearly there were lots of opportunities combine these loves in her Kensington Market neighbourhood.

In fact, just a few days after her passing I found great comfort in roaming the neighbourhood with my own camera, feeling just like Mom as I captured moments like this...

Thursday, 1 August 2013

Mom the Photographer

Inta Ridler

I saw this photo the last day I was in Mom's apartment. It just caught me. It is so Mom. It is a smart, clever and creative a self-portrait. I love that she is reading a book on photography. That she is not looking into the lens. That she has a wild growing ivy behind her, complete with that piece of wood she kept forever. I just love this photo of Mom.