An Edmontonian sent a Hawaiian to Alaska: How the cross-border pizza party took off

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Edmontonian Michael Cormier was on the phone with a pizza joint in Anchorage, Alaska, last Thursday, valiantly trying to fend off a recommendation to order a Reindeer Pizza.

The air traffic controller was placing an order for pies to be sent to colleagues working at Anchorage’s Ted Stevens international airport, a cheesy show of support for the American air traffic controllers are contending with a government partial shutdown. 

But that act of comfort food solidarity has since snowballed across the country, with operators across the country delivering slices across the border as a show of support for their American colleagues.

« I knew there was a shutdown and I heard they weren’t getting paid, » Cormier said in an interview Monday with CBC Radio’s Edmonton AM. « I didn’t believe it.

« And I thought well, it would be nice if I could just do something to show them that not everybody has forgotten that they’re out there working when other people aren’t, so I arranged them some pizza. »

It took a while for Cormier, an air traffic controller with Nav Canada in Edmonton, to find a place that would accept a Canadian credit card and get the idea cleared with airport security, but soon his colleagues were chowing down on some fresh pies. 

« I’m sort of a pepperoni guy but he picked Hawaiian, meat lovers and some sort of barbecue chicken, » Cormier said  CBC Radio’s Edmonton AM. 

« We actually had to talk them out of ordering a reindeer pizza. It sounded a little bit too exotic to me. »

With few other U.S. government services running due to the shutdown, some 10,000 American air traffic controllers have been working without pay since late December.

Their union filed a lawsuit in federal court in Washington on Friday, asking for an order compelling the government to pay them what they’re owed.

In addition to Anchorage, Cormier collected enough to buy pies for controllers in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Then, as they say in airport lingo, it took off from there.

The next thing we knew, our members were buying pizzas left, right and centre.-Peter  Duffey

Peter Duffey, the head of the Canadian Air Traffic Control Association, said other facilities across Canada decided to join in.

« The next thing we knew, our members were buying pizzas left, right and centre for the colleagues in the U.S, » Duffey said Sunday in a phone interview.

« As it stands right now, I believe we’re up to 36 facilities that have received pizza from Canada, and that number is growing by the hour. »

Duffey estimated that as of Sunday afternoon, some 300 pizzas had been received by American controllers, many of whom took to social media to express their gratitude.

Duffey said many union members had been looking for a way to show solidarity with their American colleagues, who have been working without pay due to the partial shutdown.

« Air traffic control is a very stressful job, » he said.

« They say you have to be 100 per cent right, 100 per cent of the time. People just don’t need to be reporting to work with the added stress of worrying about how to pay their mortgages and grocery bills on top of it. »

Cormier said there’s a bond between Canadian and American air traffic controllers since the two work closely together to manage cross-border airspace.

Air traffic controllers provide essential services and are unable to suspend work or take any other job action during the government shutdown, he said. He wanted them to be recognized for working hard without a paycheque.

« Not a lot of people were aware they were working and it’s not the kind of job where they could slack off, » Cormier said.

« They were doing the job the same as they did every day of the year, 24 hours a day and somebody should actually notice what they were doing.

« That was the whole idea. If you worked with someone and you knew they weren’t getting paid, wouldn’t you buy them lunch? »

With files from the Canadian Press 

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6.6 magnitude earthquake rocks Anchorage, tsunami warning issued for southern Alaska

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A 6.6 magnitude SITUS JUDI SLOT ONLINE GAMPANG MENANG BONUS NEW MEMBER 100 earthquake has rocked buildings in Anchorage and caused lamp posts and trees to sway, prompting people to run out of offices and seek shelter under office desks.

The U.S. Geological Survey said the earthquake Friday morning was centred about 12 kilometres north of Alaska’s largest city.

The USGS initially said it was a 6.7 magnitude quake but reduced it to 6.6.

The National Tsunami Warning Center has issued a tsunami warning for coastal zones of southern Alaska following an earthquake that rocked buildings in downtown Anchorage.

The centre said Friday that the warning was in effect for parts of the state’s Cook Inlet and the southern Kenai peninsula.

The warning means tsunami waves are expected.

People went back inside buildings after the earthquake, but a smaller aftershock a short time later sent them running back into the streets again.

An Associated Press reporter working in downtown Anchorage saw cracks in a two-storey building after the quake. It was unclear whether there were injuries.

Anchorage lawyer Justin Capp says he was getting ready for work when he felt the shaking start. He grabbed on to the doorframe in the hallway and the door slammed into his hands, scraping his fingers and hand.

Another lawyer, Hank Graper, was driving when the quake struck. He first thought his vehicle had a flat tire, then thought it was exploding. He realized it was an earthquake after he saw traffic poles swaying.

Graper called it the most « violent » earthquake he’s experience in his 20 years in Anchorage.

The National Weather Service Seattle tweeted a tsunami warning is in effect for Cook Inlet, but it is not expected to affect Washington or B.C.

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Ina Garten Makes Baked Alaska Cool Again

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Ina Garten is Bon Appétit’s guest editor this week. Take a look into her pantry, read celebrity and chef odes to their favorite Ina recipes, watch her and food director Carla Lalli Music make chocolate-pecan scones, and read more from her guest-editing week here.

 
 

Staring into a bowl of egg whites, I felt a sudden surge of anxiety. During the hop from one half of a cracked eggshell to the other, I had accidentally let the yolk drop, and completely ruined a batch of meringue that I was making…with Ina Garten. “Maybe we can fish it out?” I stammered. She calmly corrected me: “One drop of yolk will keep the meringue from whipping. Don’t worry, it happens to everyone. Just start over.”

Before this day in Ina’s East Hampton kitchen, baked Alaska wasn’t on my radar. It seemed like an entirely unapproachable and totally outdated dish from the canon of 1950s Americana cuisine. But that’s not how Ina saw it.

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Photo by Emma Fishman

The raspberry sorbet and vanilla ice cream soften slightly and swirl together, saturating the pound cake underneath.

“I wanted to take a complicated recipe and make it as simple as possible,” she said of her single-serving, raspberry-vanilla version, which appears in her newest cookbook, Cook Like a Pro. Garten has always been known for simple home cooking, but with this book—her 11th—she aims to elevate everyday cuisine with “pro tips” culled from decades of her own experience, plus advice from chefs like Yotam Ottolenghi and Jean-Georges Vongerichten. Little tricks like cutting carrots on a diagonal before roasting or swooshing hummus on the bottom of a Mediterranean salad are just a few of the techniques she offers. “It should look professional, but you don’t need to be a pro to make it,” she said. Of all the recipes that made it into the book, the baked Alaska was the one Ina struggled with most to make doable at home.

Sometimes Garten gets a recipe right in two tries; other times it takes 24. Baked Alaska took her 15 attempts. The biggest hangup for her and her assistants, Lidey Heuck and Barbara Libath, was figuring out the two-flavor ice cream combination. “You don’t want one flavor to hit you in the head and another one to get lost.” She tried passionfruit and vanilla, which was a little too sweet, and contemplated coffee and chocolate, but ultimately went for raspberry and vanilla, an ode to her love of raspberry crème, in a swirled scoop.

The next part of the process was to eliminate the grandiose, intimidating elements and offer some shortcuts to make things easier. That included the suggestion to purchase good-quality raspberry sorbet and vanilla ice cream (according to Garten, Talenti and Häagen-Dazs make the best, respectively) for the filling and store-bought pound cake for the base. “It’s such a small part of the dessert that it’s not worth making from scratch,” she says of the latter. She advises to make sure it’s the best quality possible, which means it should be “nice and brown, and look like it’s oozing butter.”

As for that meringue, Garten tested three major types—French with egg whites and granulated sugar, Italian with sugar syrup, and Swiss with the sugar heated in a double boiler before whipping—before settling on the last. She most appreciated how its “marshmallow-like” texture held up best after baking, a less intimidating final step than a go with a blowtorch to brown the top. Together, we babysat the meringue until it came to temperature—she advises investing in a candy thermometer to make sure it reaches exactly 120°F—before whipping it into stiff, glossy peaks.

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Photo by Emma Fishman

Garten went sharp with meringue peaks so they brown in the oven.

After the mixture cooled slightly, Garten filled a pastry bag and piped big, dramatic stars atop her marbled ice cream ball while I swooshed mine with an offset spatula. When developing the recipe, she tried six different styles of piping, but decided to let readers choose their own adventure. The only thing that mattered was making sure the entire filling was encased in meringue before putting it in the oven, so none of the ice cream melts out and the exterior can get bronzed.

“Make as many peaks as possible, because those are what get the most color in the oven,” she instructed. “It’s going to be messy, but that’s okay—I’m a messy cook,” she said, unphased as meringue spilled out of the bag and down her hand. “Do it when nobody’s looking for the first time—don’t do it for a dinner party. I know I cook and talk for a living, but it’s really hard to do. I don’t wanna be piping when friends are watching!”

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Photo by Emma Fishman

A drizzle of raspberry sauce—made with seedless jam, raspberries, and sugar—finishes the dish with a pop of color.

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Photo by Emma Fishman

If Garten was serving baked Alaska at a party, she’d serve them on one of the vintage cake stands she’s collected over the years. Here they are on display in her study.

Watching Garten cook on TV comes with witnessing her seemingly effortless East Hampton lifestyle—the spotless white kitchen, her friends who drop by for dinner with a floral arrangement in hand, and her loving husband Jeffrey who dubs every dish his “favorite”—and as I walked through her gardens later that afternoon, picking fresh shishito peppers, the word “aspirational” very much came to mind. But with her recipes, it all somehow feels within reach: For the Barefoot Contessa, accessibility and wow factor are not mutually exclusive.

After pulling the dessert from the oven, we surveyed our work. “It’s like that scene with Julia Child and Martha Stewart making croquembouche,” she said. “Did you ever see that bit? Martha’s looked like she’d done it with a precision instrument, and Julia looks at Martha and goes, ‘Mine looks like a pile of rocks.’” She laughed heartily, then reassured me that she couldn’t tell the difference between my attempt and hers.

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Photo by Emma Fishman

Garten and I enjoy the fruits of our labor.

I had nothing to compare it to, having never tried a baked Alaska before, but it struck a nice balance of tart and sweet. I was skeptical we’d be able to make this dessert in the five hours I was scheduled to be with Ina; it took less than an hour.. But that’s the Garten magic—she strives to demystify a perceived challenge and empower readers to cook something new.

“Recipes should be impressive, not intimidating,” she said. “When someone gets to a trickier part of a recipe, I want to make it feel like I’m standing right there next to them, helping them through their problems.” And, if you can’t have Ina Garten by your side in the kitchen, rest assured, store-bought ice cream is just fine.

 

 

And read more from Ina Garten’s guest editing week here!

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