The unique aromas at the Good Food Festival including my own special contribution!

Cocoa, my BFF (best furry friend), was sprayed by a skunk in our back yard last night around 10 p.m. – just as I was gathering up what I needed for my cooking demonstration at the Good Food Festival today and Murray was marking Geography tests. I was tired and had wanted to get to bed at a decent time as I had to be up early to get to the GFF to finish setting up our display. It was not the ideal time to have to bathe a dog and fumigate the house!

Yes, Cocoa got a few feet into the house before I realized he’d been skunked. Even just a few seconds in the house meant a nasty assault on our nasal passages that just about put Murray into hysterics. He has a keen sense of smell (to put it mildly!) and hates despises things that smell bad. His list of “gross” smelling things includes garlic, onions, sweet peppers, cucumbers, body odour and rotting garbage. (I’d like to know who wouldn’t have the last two items on their list!)

Of course Cocoa was quickly banished outdoors where he whined and cried, not able to figure out why he couldn’t come in and lay on the couch. I attempted to console him from the other side of the patio door which only dialed the howling up a few degrees. Meanwhile Murray jumped in the car and went off in search of tomato juice and deodorizing shampoo.

Drying off after the umteenth bath!

Drying off after the umteenth bath!

Cocoa, who hates baths, was subjected to multiple baths last night. First, two outdoors including a tomato juice scrub down and a bath with deodorizing shampoo and ice cold water from the garden hose. Then, into the house for another shampoo and conditioning treatment.

When we finally got to bed around 1:45 a.m., the smell of Skunk Eau de Parfum had fully permeated the house. Sleeping was impossible.

The next morning Murray and I knew we smelled as bad as Cocoa. The permeating power of skunk stench is truly something. As I drove to the GFF, I wondered how I’d be able to work at our display without making everyone gag!

But I’d forgotten one thing! The food aromas at the GFF are quite varied and very strong. A plethora of unique smells (some good, some less so) is continually wafting through the building. Many vendors are showcasing aromatic ethnic dishes, cappuccino machines are being demonstrated, cooking demonstrations are happening on at least three different stages, and on and on……

Thankfully, it wasn’t long before my skunk smell just fit in with the multitude of other aromas. Or so my colleagues kindly said. I did notice they kept a safe distance from me for most of the day, as did my parking attendant friend.

Things we’ve learned since the skunk incident:
* Bathing your dog in tomato juice is apparently an old wives’ tale. (I wonder where it originated!) It doesn’t do much except waste a perfectly good bottle of tomato juice which would be better served being made into a few Caesar! Believe me, you’ll need at least one!

* Instead of a tomato juice bath, we tried one of the suggestions Murray found on the internet (there were many!). First soak your BFF thoroughly with water, then bathe him in a mixture of 4 cups (1 L) hydrogen peroxide, 1/2 cup (125 mL) baking soda and 1 tsp (5 mL) liquid detergent (make this mixture just when you are ready to use it). Don’t let the solution get in your BFF’s eyes. After 10 minutes, rinse the solution out thoroughly. Be warned that your dog might come out a shade lighter after this treatment! Thankfully Cocoa still looks the same. He was rinsed after about 5 minutes as Murray had forgotten the timing part of the instructions. The shorter time probably helped perserve his colour. As well, I know Murray did a really thorough job of rinsing Cocoa.

* Murray also stopped by Cocoa’s vet today to see what they recommended and he picked up a special shampoo – Orange Apeel Deskunker Shampoo. I think Cocoa got bath #5 with this shampoo!

* Getting the smell out of your house and clothes is an effort. There are lots of suggestions online about how to do this. Some options work for some people and not so well for others. I’d heard about Lampe Berger lamps which are supposed to rid your home of unpleasant odours and make it smell fresh and lovely, so I rushed over to Household China & Gifts in Waterloo after getting back from the GFF tonight to pick one up. But instead of purchasing one, I came home with the following tip from the sales person. She thought it might work even better than the lamp, and it would be a cheaper solution. (I was most grateful for her honesty and sincere desire to help, not just make a sale!) Here’s what she suggested: In a small empty container (e.g. a small yogurt tub), stir together 5 teaspoons of instant coffee granules (a cheap brand is just fine) with a small amount of water to form a paste. Place a container with this mixture in each room of your house. Apparently within 24 hours the skunk aroma will have left the building.

I’ll let you know how this smelly story ends.

Week ends with feeding frenzy!

Whew! Survived a long, busy week! Technically, since I’m writing this on Sunday night, we’re already into a new week but I had to work this weekend so it feels as though the week is just over. It included:

– a trip to Barrie on Tuesday evening to speak to the Community Food Advisors about eggs,

– a display and stage presentation about eggs at the WOW Seminar in Elora on Wednesday evening,

– setting up the Egg Farmers of Ontario‘s (EFO) display at the Good Food Festival in Toronto on Thursday (and into Thursday evening!), then staffing the display where we prepared Pizza Frittata for the crowds (and I do mean crowds!!) to sample throughout Friday, Saturday and Sunday…..and being a presenter at the Ask a Professional Stage organized by the Ontario Home Economics Association (specifically Professional Home Economists Mairlyn Smith and Barb Holland).

I’ve been attending the Good Food Festival for many years – the past 13 years as an exhibitor, and prior to that for a couple years as a consumer. It’s a great place to sample new and interesting foods, pick up some great recipes and bargains, and learn a few things about food and nutrition by watching cooking demonstrations and talking to the exhibitors. It’s a well attended event. (Translation: it’s a feeding frenzy with huge crowds and line-ups for samples!)

I’m always intrigued that people will stand in line (usually quite patiently) for a small morsel of food. Often, those in line have no idea what they’re lining up for, and many take the sample and walk away with no clue whose booth they were just at and what they are sampling. Thankfully, there are many others who are interested in more than just the bite of food and they happily pick up recipes and even have a question or comment about the food (in our case, eggs).

At the EFO booth, we were sampling Pizza Frittata. The recipe is on a card to which is stapled a packet of seasonings used to make the Frittata. The recipe was a hit! Here it is……

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