Exo commuter train delays on the Deux-Montagnes line are down nearly 20 per cent this month compared with January 2018.
“To be honest, it’s much better. I have to admit, it’s much better service and timing than last year,” said commuter Steve Carmichael before boarding his train at Roxboro-Pierrefonds station Tuesday morning.
In January 2018, commuters were full of rage as lengthy delays and cancellations became routine. The punctuality rate that month on the Deux-Montagnes line was 77 per cent, far below Exo’s self-imposed goal of 95 per cent. In the second week of January 2018, punctuality reached a low of 58 per cent.
I don’t drink during the month of January. Go ahead, criticize me all you want. Call me a trendy millennial cleanse exponent. Explain to me that taking a cold turkey break from booze for a month and then hopping back on the train on February 1st isn’t doing much for my liver. Whatever. I am one of those No-Drink January people, and I have been for the past few years. It helps me realign my mind. It reignites my appreciation for and ability to taste the alcoholic beverages I love. It sheds a couple pounds off my frame. And as a side effect, my wallet rejoices.
I usually save a ton of money during January, mostly because I’m not rationalizing wild purchases at wine stores, breweries, amaro bars, or cider shops. There’s no post-bar pizza or dumpling stops. My dinner bills get cut in half, because iced tea isn’t quite as expensive as a martini. But where I prosper financially, I suffer in terms of drink variety. Kombucha and seltzer can only do so much. I need something more involved. More interesting. More rewarding.
Wait. Did you feel that? Yeah, that little rumble beneath your feet. That was progress, my friends. This a momentous occasion. This dry, bleak, booze-free January brings with it the first drink recipe in the history of Rent Week. A beverage! Wow! Neat-o!
The answer to my problem is a homemade gingerade that turns seltzer into a whole new thing. If you’ve been a Bon Appétit reader for a while, you may have made our Lemon-Ginger Brew, which is similar to this recipe conceptually, although a little different in terms of flavor and consistency. Regardless, this Rent Week recipe is going to be quick, easily scalable, and something you can enjoy over the course of a few weeks. So throw on this Same Ol’ Me playlist (filled with the usual high-quality tunes and free of charge), and grab a pot and some oranges. We’ve got some juicing to do.
The general gist of this recipe is that we’re going to simmer ginger, spices, and fruit, let it reduce, and strain out the solids so that we’re left with zesty, addictive liquid gold. (Actually, it’s murky and brown, so use your imagination.) But instead of just using water to boil, we’re going to cut into that with orange juice. Grab a saucepan and measure out 3 cups of water, emptying them into the pan. Then grab a juicer—not one of those fancy ones, a hand-powered guy will do fine—and juice 2 cups of orange juice. This is going to take about 8 naval oranges, but before you juice the last two, use a vegetable peeler to peel the skin off of the oranges in strips. Throw the 2 orange peels and the 2 cups of orange juice into the pot with the water.
Now we need our ginger. Usually, a recipe calls for just a bit of ginger. This gingerade is not one of those recipes. We want about 10 oz. of ginger, which is about 10 1.5” x 1” pieces of ginger. It’s a lot of ginger to peel, but we’re going to get through it like the champs we are. The reason we peel the ginger is so we can expose the maximum amount of flesh to the liquid we’re simmering it in. Once your ginger is peeled, you can either grate it (if you’re feeling ambitious) or slice it into thin medallions (if you’re feeling lazy, which is totally fine and what I usually do). Add the 10 oz. of sliced or grated ginger into the saucepan.
A little bit of spice is what we need next. Add ½ Tbsp. of whole cloves and 1 Tbsp. of whole black peppercorns to the liquid. You can also add ½ Tbsp. of anise seed or fennel seed in there, if you have it. But no pressure. I don’t want you to go out and buy spices during Rent Week.
Bring the liquid into the saucepan to a boil over high heat. Once it reaches a boil, turn the heat down to medium-low and let the pot simmer for a little over an hour. You can give it a stir and admire the smell every fifteen minutes, just to make sure everything is getting enough love in there.
By simmering the liquid for a while, we’re evaporating some water and concentrating the flavors. You’ll notice the amount of liquid in the pot start to reduce, and once it’s been simmering for an hour-ish, you should have less than half of what you started with. Remove the pot from your stove. We’re about to cross the finish line.
Pour the contents of the saucepan through a fine mesh strainer and into a large measuring cup or mixing bowl. That gingerade is going to be immensely flavorful, but also a bit unbalanced. The bright flavors and sweetness in the orange juice faded throughout the cooking process, so we need to reintroduce them. Add the juice from 2 limes and ¼ cup of honey into the concentrate and stir.
Look at that! It’s murky and brown and honestly not that good-looking. But this gingerade is destined for refreshment. It’s going to satisfy your thirst. I like to double the recipe and store my brew in a couple of Mason jars in the fridge, where it’ll last for weeks. And when it’s time to mix up a drink, I fill a glass with plenty of ice, add 3 parts seltzer to 1 part gingerade, and garnish with an extra slice of orange peel and/or a lime wedge. (The garnish is key—it really makes it feel like a cocktail.)
You’ll understand when you sip this, but the balance of bright citrus, warm spice notes, gingery spice, fruity notes from the orange peel, and sweetness from the honey almost make me think I’m drinking a spritz. Almost. And after 30 days of drinking this gingerade, I’m sure I’ll be ready for a real one.
Want a real Rent Week meal to go with your gingerade? Here ya’ go:
I still remember the day a few years back when David Tamarkin, the site director of Epicurious, announced to me that he had chosen a word to summarize the brand’s new approach: realness. Having worked alongside David for (not even kidding) more than ten years, I know that when he says realness, he means it. It’s not just an ethos that he applies to everything on the Epicurious site; realness is David’s way of life. Which is why it didn’t surprise me that one January, he challenged himself to make three meals a day, with very few repeats, for the entire month, a project he dubbed “Cook90.” That project is now a book (buy it!), which is, I’m happy to say, our January selection for the Bon Appétit Cookbook Club.
In a world of aspiration and lifestyle and glitter bagels and CBD water, Cook90 is the ultimate distillation of “home-cook realness,” to use David’s terminology. It’s not about the latest iteration of Keto or how amazing your life will be if you eat cold oats that have been sitting in your fridge overnight. The Cook90 book is unflinching in its dedication to recipes, tools, and strategies that make weeknight cooking not just possible but enjoyable—like a gift to yourself rather than an end-of-day chore. And the concept is totally, refreshingly un-prescriptive: Cook the recipes in the book, or simply cook whatever you want. Either way, you’re still doing Cook90.
Before David walks over here and says that I am telling people they don’t need to buy the book and can just cook whatever recipes they want, let me just add one final note: Even as someone who is pretty much resigned to being what I’ll call a “Cook9” (and that’s in a good month, and yes I’m including breakfast in that figure), David’s perspective on cooking is so smart and practical, and his voice is so candid and—yes—real, that he makes the prospect of cooking 90 meals in 30 days feel not just accomplishable but truly rewarding.
Later this month, we’ll be sharing some of our favorite recipes from the book. And in lieu of a blowout Cookbook Club dinner, we’re all going to bring “nextovers” (the Cook90 term for non-depressing leftovers) to work one day and trade lunches with each other. That, my friends, is realness.
2019 is the year that everyone finally starts noticing how awesome you are. Own it, Pisces. Get comfortable in the spotlight and don’t shy away. You’ve worked hard to get here. With all eyes on you, you never know, you could become a trend-starter or, gasp, an influencer (and get paid for just existing? Anything is possible!). So pop those prebiotic eyedrops be sure to share it on your instagram story for all to see (except you, your eyes will be burning). Soon everyone will be doing it. In 2019, forget probiotic and notice the word “Prebiotic” everywhere you turn. You’ll never quite understand what it means, but you’ll NEED it. Prebiotic coffee, prebiotic salami, prebiotic catnip, and prebiotic all-purpose flour. Will any of this turn back time, tighten the skin around your buttcheeks, and make you feel love again? Only one way to find out.
Catherine Urban is an astrologer, writer and cosmic consultant. Currently, she is most excited about all the prebiotic pegan items soon to take over her life in 2019. Follow more of Catherine’s astro-musings on IG and Twitter @AstroCatherine or visit the website here.
The province said the intent is to celebrate artists and the value they bring to Alberta, both socially and economically.
“It is a way to raise awareness of the challenges artists face and the value they bring to our province. Art is work. Art creates jobs, and art contributes to our growing economy,” Culture and Tourism Minister Ricardo Miranda said.
“I’m thinking of doing a cleanse,” is a refrain I hear a lot this time of year. As a dietitian, I know my clients like the idea of “cleansing” because it makes them feel healthier while avoiding the hard work that’s required for real dietary changes.
The trouble is, there is scientifically no such thing as a cleanse. Diet books and wellness brands will make us believe that our bodies have fallen asleep on the job and are desperately in need of a spa day. Cleanse programs tell us that we must purge to atone for the overindulgences of the holidays. By restricting calories and giving inflammatory foods the boot, a cleanse mimics health but it doesn’t mirror real eating. Because, when the cleanse is done, you’re left with a dilemma: how to confront the eating patterns and behaviors that cued your need for a cleanse in the first place. Here’s why you should ditch the cleanse and what to do instead.
Your body is an expert at detoxing
Toxins accumulate from food and the environment, but no supplement or juice program can expedite what a healthy digestive tract, liver, and kidneys already do for free. Cleanses are marketed to wash sins of gluttony with a flood of juiced nutrients, but there’s a limit to how much your digestive tract can absorb in one pass. While an occasional round of fresh juice can be a delicious, nutrient-dense addition to your diet,
you can only draw in so many water-soluble vitamins in a day. Unless you’re severely deficient in Vitamin C or B complex, you’ll excrete way more of those nutrients than you absorb.
Cleanses are a waste of money
If you’re considering spending money on a program that involves a lot of supplements, consider the question of bioavailability: Can additives in synthetic powders, tinctures, and tablets be useful when they show up absent of nature’s packaging? Despite enthusiastic marketing, there’s often little (or no) credible research to prove they can.
Cleanses kill helpful microbes
Your microbes play a big role in dietary detox. There’s been tons reported on the importance of bacteria and immune function, but your microbial cells are also believed to help detoxify your intestines. Bacteria will scavenge toxic compounds, which eventually get expelled. Eating a diverse array of cruciferous and root vegetables, leafy greens, and seeds provides your microbiota with an important natural supply of cellulose and lignans. These non-fermentable fibers are a critical food source for intestinal bacteria. Cleanses that cut out solid foods or certain food groups will starve these bacteria and make it harder for your digestion to function in the long-term.
More of a good thing is not always better
Supplements feed fears of insufficiency, but you can get ample nutrition by eating a plant-based diet. Humans are not programmed for the nutritive deluge of a cleanse, and consuming some phytochemicals in massive quantities can have dangerous side effects. Excessive juicing can cause kidney stress and damage, supplying potentially toxic concentrations of oxalates. Additives sold with cleanse diets aren’t well regulated. For example, liver poisoning has been reported with supplements intended for colonic cleansing.
Inconsistent eating patterns can be harmful
While fasting has been used for several millennia to clarify the mind, inconsistent patterns of restrictive eating are ultimately harmful. Cleanses that severely limit calories offer quick results that are usually impossible to maintain. A practice of flopping back and forth between caloric excess and deprivation can wreak havoc on your metabolism, making it increasingly harder to manage a healthy body composition.
So what do we do if we want to eat healthier?
Fresh, whole food will always beat a meal of supplements or juice. Most people benefit from eating lots of produce and plant-based protein and fat and limiting fried food, animal products, and refined carbohydrates. How you choose to get this done is totally up to you. Some people can manage daily intermittent fasting. Others are just trying to decrease their morning coffee habit from three packs of sugar from one.
Whatever path you choose, changes to wellbeing happen gradually. There are no shortcuts. In general, it takes twice as long to get out of bad habits as it takes to fall into them, so it’s important to practice patience when getting into new food routines.
The best thing you can do is be honest with yourself about your challenges. If you arrive to your kitchen exhausted after work (who doesn’t?), then planning lengthy, multi-step recipes is not your best Monday-through-Friday plan. Think you’re not a good enough cook? Get comfy with the laziest techniques: roast or steam vegetables, boil whole grains like pasta and drain when they’re cooked through, and stir together a simple vinaigrette. And if you’re the too busy type, a pressure cooker Instant Pot recipes could be your new best friend.
A health reset shouldn’t feel like punishment or perfection. It should feel like something you can do for the rest of your life.
The mysterious case of a missing MP has taken another twist.
The Liberal party’s whip says Nicola Di Iorio, who hasn’t been seen on the Hill since Parliament resumed on Sept. 17, will give back the salary he receives during his final five months as an MP until his official retirement.
According to Mark Holland, the Montreal MP has decided to “donate his salary back” during the period from September to Jan. 22.
While he’s been absent from the House of Commons, Di Iorio was spotted at a cannabis trade show in Montreal last month, where he made a presentation in his capacity as a labour and employment lawyer.
The base annual salary for an MP is $172,700 but, according to parliamentary rules, an MP who is absent from the Commons can be docked $120 of salary per day for each absence over 21 days.
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Di Iorio announced his intention to retire from politics in April but had second thoughts over the summer and, in September, said he was reflecting on his future.
Last week, under pressure to explain why he wasn’t showing up for work on the Hill, Di Iorio posted a short message on Facebook saying that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had assigned him responsibilities that required him to be away from the Commons — something the Prime Minister’s Office has not clarified.
This week, Di Iorio announced he will retire on Jan. 22, after finalizing “certain projects.”
“He has a number of items, both in his constituency and items that he was working on as a Member of Parliament, including his concern around impaired driving, that he wants to finish before he leaves,” Holland said Wednesday.
“We feel that’s appropriate, particularly given the fact that he’s also … willing to donate his salary.”
In his Facebook post, Di Iorio had said he’s willing to show up in the Commons if the party whip needs him to be there. But Holland did not appear inclined to call on him.
“He’s stepping out of public life, he’s donating his salary, he’s finishing up his affairs,” Holland said. “And I wish him all the best in doing that and I expect that that’s where he’ll be focusing his time.”