Fejão and Feijoada (Brazilian black bean stew)

Feijoada – or black bean and pork stew – is Brazil’s national dish. In many regions of Brazil, adults, children and babies eat the simpler vegetarian version of this dish, feijão, with rice on a daily basis. Black beans (or turtle beans) were also the staple food of Afro-Brazilian slaves. With the addition of pork to the stew, the […]

Mom’s spaghetti sauce

My mom’s spaghetti has been a staple food for my entire life. Almost everyone on the Québecois side of my family make some version of it. Not quite Italian, not quite French, this recipe is an adaptation of spaghetti bolognese – but with more vegetables. A steaming plate of spaghetti with mom’s sauce and grated parmesan cheese is the epitome […]

The curious history of the Christmas tree

The Christmas tree is one of the most iconic winter traditions of modern culture. It graces homes and office buildings all over the world and it has been accepted as a symbol of the holiday season by Christians, many other faiths as well as the secular community. The Christmas tree has been a subject of controversy for […]

A review of The Weeknd in concert in Montreal

The ghost of the artist who goes by the name of The Weeknd has been haunting my psyche for months. By ghost, I mean five albums worth of dark, brooding beats coupled with outrageous lyrics sung in a high melodic voice reminiscent of Michael Jackson. I’ve been listening obsessively to The Weeknd’s music since late […]

Growing older while female: power, stereotypes and Hollywood

This morning, my 6-year old daughter found a few stray white hairs on my head and said, “Wow mom, you’re going to be an old lady soon!”. I’ll be turning 37 in a few weeks, yet 40 – the beginning of a new era – is just around the corner. I’m sure I’ll still look and feel […]

Artificial intelligence, military robots and consciousness

This summer, CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, Elon Musk, physicist Stephen Hawking, Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak and over 1000 leading experts in artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics signed an open letter warning of a “military artificial intelligence arms race” and called for a ban on “offensive autonomous weapons”. These weapons have been described as the […]

Americans ignore us? Why worry?

This blog post is a guest article written by my father, Tony Webb, a retired banker living in Toronto (and a relative of Shakespeare). He discusses American disinterest and ignorance about Canada, and why it’s probably better that way. This writer has had several vantage points from which to view Canada, his adopted country. Born and raised through secondary […]

Everybody’s working for The Weeknd

I’ve recently discovered and can’t stop listening to the music of The Weeknd, a singular Canadian talent who is rapidly becoming one of the biggest acts on the planet. The 25-year old singer, songwriter and producer is known for his dark, hypnotic R&B, angelic pop voice and lewd lyrics. In 2011, he was a relatively […]

Relationships edition: A watched pot never boils

They say a watched pot never boils – waiting for something with eager attention seems to take a very long time. We’ve all been there. For example, a friend of mine was distraught with anxiety about whether a man she recently met would ask her out for another date. The smallest of his actions led […]

From agnostic to gnostic: from ignorance to knowledge

I used to refer to myself as an agnostic, or someone who neither believes nor disbelieves in the existence of God. I used this as a safe haven to avoid the ridiculous debates between modern militant atheists and the radical religious right, both blindly believing in their own paradigms. Ironically, my atheist peers have repeatedly […]

Honey: liquid gold

While visiting my parents last week, my father remarked, “I’ve never seen your skin so clear”. My secret is a substance that I’ve always had in the kitchen but that I now also keep in the bathroom. Called the “food of the gods” or “liquid gold”, honey has unique nutritional and medicinal properties that go well beyond […]

Toronto ain’t so bad after all

I’m spending Saint-Jean-Baptiste or “la fête nationale”, a public holiday celebrating the province of Quebec and it’s culture, in Toronto, Ontario. I’m a fluently bilingual Montrealer, visiting my American father and my Quebecoise mother who live in Toronto. Sacrilege you say? I don’t think so.   Most Montrealers, whether English or French speaking, view Toronto as […]

Hermeticism: the nexus between science, philosophy and spirit

Last week, I summarized the history of alchemy in Europe, the Middle East, India and China. Alchemy is tradition spanning millennia that influenced the development of modern chemistry, medicine, philosophy and psychology. Western alchemy blends Greek, Egyptian, Islamic and Jewish traditions, and is a branch of Hermetic philosophy, which is based on the works of […]

Alchemy: how a tradition spanning millennia became modern chemistry

Alchemy is generally seen as an archaic proto-science based on superstition that is of little interest to the modern chemist. In truth, chemistry owes much to alchemy, which covers philosophical traditions and chemical history spanning several millennia in the Middle East, China, India and Europe. Alchemy has played a significant role in the development of […]

The aggravations of being an American living abroad

The US Government is penalizing Americans that are living and working abroad, rather than considering them as an asset. I’m a dual citizen living and working in Canada, and I recently spent about $700 just to correctly file the paperwork for both my US and Canadian tax returns. I was obliged to pay tax to […]

A review of Joe Rogan’s stand-up comedy show in Montreal

Last Friday, I saw Joe Rogan perform an energetic 2-hour stand-up comedy show in Montreal at the The Corona Theatre. Onstage, Rogan is a high octane, intense and supremely confident alpha male, with an imposing muscular build and the testosterone levels of a large bull. The audience was predominantly male, and I was part of […]

Dreams and visions in scientific innovation  

  “The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.” – Albert Einstein Scientists and researchers spend over two decades in school learning to identify problems, design projects, construct experiments, collect data, conduct literature reviews, calculate, […]

Can knowledge come from within? or A brief history of knowledge

In modern day, the most credible way to understand nature and the universe is through science. Science is defined as: “the intellectual and practical activity encompassing the systematic study of the structure and behaviour of the physical and natural world through observation and experiment.” (Oxford Dictionary) The root of the word science originates from the latin, scientia, which means knowledge. Knowledge comes from the Greek word, Gnosis, signifying knowing through […]

Waldorf schools, Theosophy and Rudolf Steiner

Out of curiosity, I recently visited the École Rudolph Steiner de Montréal, a private French language school in Notre-Dame-de-Grace. The school spans grade 1 to 8 and practices Waldorf pedagogy, which is centered on imagination, spirituality and holistic learning. The first Waldorf School opened in 1919 in Germany and now there are over 1000 Waldorf schools in 60 countries worldwide. Waldorf […]

9 criteria to select a primary school

Choosing an elementary or primary school, the institution where my daughter will be spending most of her time at a very vulnerable and impressionable age, was not as easy as it seems. I had to move into a different school district  in order for the school to be both walking distance from home and to the subway. This allows me to arrive […]

10 tips for smoother work weeks with young children

Coming home exhausted from a hard day’s work with hungry, needy, cranky, tired kids is stressful, especially if you’re a single parent. It can be more stressful than your actual workday, and very physically and mentally demanding. Here are a few tricks that I use for a smoother work week: 1. Accept the 10-15 minutes of […]

7 easy and healthy one-pot recipes

(to make on the weekend and freeze for the workweek!) These comforting stews are quick to prepare, packed with nutrients and freeze beautifully for up to 2 months. Just heat them up for quick workweek dinners! Here are some of my kid-friendly staples that I cook in a Dutch oven or any thick-bottomed pot on the […]

10 ways to hack dinner with bacon

Keeping a few strips of bacon in the fridge or freezer can go a long way. A little bacon accentuates a wide range of foods and dramatically enhances flavour –  with little effort. Just 3-4 strips of bacon can turn a boring weeknight dinner into the comfort food you crave. Most kids like bacon, so why not include […]