Martin Zibauer

I love making magazines and hate writing about myself. I'm an uneven cook, I play with my food too much, yet I handle Cottage Life's recipe features. I believe every cook should occasionally try making, from scratch, the food that once came from home kitchens, not factories. My friends rib me because I've given them homemade marshmallows, crackers, ricotta, and dog biscuits.

My curiosity sometimes gets me in trouble, but when my food experiments fail, they go down spectacularly: Baking soda (it was in the recipe, I swear) should have made the meatloaf light and tender, not inflate it into a pink, salty sponge. I seem to follow Catherine Aird's advice, "If you can't be a good example, then you'll just have to serve as a horrible warning.'

Travelling makes me happy. We have an amazing and tasty planet with so many foods I want to try. Though I've always disliked raw onions, there isn't much else I won't eat, if only once. Armadillo is delicious, pickled pig skin is just OK, and river snails in Borneo are disgusting. But none of them are cottagey. To me, cottage food is whatever gives the cook and the eaters the most pleasure. It could be a simple pasta dish that's thrown together in 15 minutes, or it could be a celebration feast that takes many hours and much love to prepare.

Cottage cooking means taking on the challenge of small kitchens, missing ingredients, and limited equipment. In the end, it's really just eating well with family and friends on the deck or dock, around the picnic table, the card table, or the campfire.

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Installing a gas fireplace

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Be your own home inspector

“This offer conditional on a satisfactory home inspection.” If you've bought or sold a house lately, there's a good chance this clause was written into the deal. Real estate agents often recommend an inspection, and homebuyers...

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According to Dave Gordon, a roofing contractor in Nunavut, roofs there are unique because "the wind would get in and basically peel off the roof. Or snow would blow through the vents." That's why most roofs in Nunavut are covered...

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