Hi there!  I’m Valli, and I love to cook.  Doesn’t that sound like a million other blogs and websites out there?

There’s nothing I enjoy more than trooping off to someone’s home to help them put on a dinner, learn a skill, or just do some big batch cooking.  Have knives, will travel.  That’s why I have named this little adventure “Itinerant Chef”.

Way back in the dark ages, when I was just a child myself, I obtained an Education degree.  Then life took over, and I wore many hats, “Mom” being the most important one.  In my 50s (and that’s a bit of time ago) I decided to take the full Professional Cooking program at our local Polytechnic for my own edification — I certainly never intended to work in the restaurant business!  I combined my love of cooking with my love of teaching, and spent a few years working at the Blue Flame Kitchen under the leadership of one of my favorite mentors from school, Chef Sabrina delBen.  She developed an excellent half-day program for Grade 5 students in which I was privileged to participate.  I also enjoyed the task of recipe development and testing in aid of the two cookbooks per year the Kitchen produced.  Now, I volunteer my time at a high school in my dear friend Carmaine’s Foods Program, where it is my joy to introduce students, from Grade 9 to 12, to foods and skills that they can take into their everyday lives.

I began a blog, Single Servings, to share my down-sized recipes, after friends began to show interest in my experimentation.  It was great fun, but not very organized, and my kids encouraged me to upgrade to a website.  As I don’t own a recipe box for my children to divvy up after I’m gone, this website is their inheritance, and my love letter to them.

So, What is a Single Serving anyway?

This is the ONLY time I’m going to comment on how you might choose to eat in the interest of your well-being.  After this, you’re on your own.  I’m not a nutritionist or a dietitian, and I’m certainly no angel.

I like to refer to Canada’s Food Guide.  It breaks things down pretty clearly.  You can easily Google it, especially to find out how many servings per day are suggested for you, but here are the high points.

A Single Serving is:

  • 1 slice of bread, or half a pita or bagel or most buns
  • 1 cup of leafy greens, or ½ cup raw or cooked vegetables
  • 1 piece of fruit, 1 whole vegetable (like a carrot)
  • ½ cup rice or pasta (probably polenta too)
  • 1 cup of milk (that’s 8 ounces, not 10, not 12…)
  • 1 ½ ounces of cheese (a lot of grated parm…)
  • ½ cup cooked fish, meat or fowl,  or 2 ½ ounces (which is NOT a quarter pound…)
  • ¾ cup legumes (beans), any kind
  • 2 tablespoons of peanut butter or ¼ cup of nuts (which is NOT a whole lot…)
  • 2 eggs (that’s right – eggs)

Now, I find that ½ cup of rice is more than adequate for my taste, but ½ cup of pasta is not.  One egg will most often be sufficient, unless I choose to have them scrambled.  “Half a cup” of cold cuts on a sandwich (two servings of bread, don’t forget) looks like a lot, but 2 ½ ounces of steak looks like deprivation, and is somewhat tricky to barbecue.


It’s good to know what research deems to be a single serving, because it’s good to be aware when you are having TWO servings of pasta in your dinner bowl.  It’s just a measurement.  Keep your wits about you, but don’t obsess.  Every sensible eating plan has the same core message:

  • Eat more fruit and vegetables (especially vegetables, especially those with strong colors).
  • Eat more beans and a variety of whole grains.
  • Eat fish more often.
  • Choose lean meats.

None of this is news, is it really?

My hope is that you enjoy what you eat.  Make your own food! It’s easy, it’s fun, and it can be just as fast as fast-food. Give yourself a chance to learn that good food, eaten while sitting down and enjoying pleasant conversation (or music, if dining alone) is much more satisfying than stuffing your face in the car, or gobbling something out of a container while standing over the kitchen sink to save dishes.

Thus endeth the lesson…

…and you’ll notice that “cookies” have not been mentioned at all.  You’re really on your own there.