An award-winning food blogger shares her perspectives on eating well and living simply.
At the kitchen table with Jeannette Ordas
“I've had this kitchen table for years. It was spotted by a friend of mine at a garage sale in Mount Pleasant. I was living in Strathcona at the time, so I hopped on my bike, met her, and bought the table for $25. We got it home the only way we could, via bicycle.
"I love older things. The table is warm and colourful. To me, it suggests warmth and history. I use it for everything. Earlier today, I was using it to cut paper; it’s my work table. It encompasses both lives. I use it for my design work, and I also use it as a cooking surface.
“Vancouver’s a very expensive city. It bothers me sometimes that everything new that comes in is kind of fancy. Where are the casual spaces? I like seeking out other avenues that are different, that are not so fancy, like Got Craft and spaces like that. It’s a different part of Vancouver; you get to meet the person who’s making something you’ve bought for your home. It’s not
just something you buy at a store. You can ask questions and see what the process is. It’s a little more meaningful.
“I’ve always been compelled to document things. Before the internet, I had a ‘zine. It was a personal ‘zine that I photocopied. I’d send it out, it got reviewed in Bust magazine, and I was so excited!
“Then, the Internet came. And I found that there were other people out there who I may not have met in person but who I could communicate with and feel some sort of connection to. That’s what I loved when I started my blog [a food blog called Everybody Likes Sandwiches]. At first, I just felt like I was writing into the void. But then all of a sudden I started getting these little pieces of feedback. Someone left a comment—that blew my mind at the time.
“Even though I consider myself an introvert and a shy person, there are amazing connections that can be made. I get emails from people saying, ‘This is my favourite recipe,’ or ‘I love this card,’ or they want me to make something special for them. Someone asked me to make their personalized Christmas cards for them this year.
“There’s something special to me about leaving something that’s meaningful to other people. And for me, there’s something natural about writing about food and cooking.
“Part of the joy of cooking, to me, is playing around, making the most of what you have. My fridge right now is really empty. But I had some leftover lentils and squash, and I mixed it with some pasta. I think it’s important to know that you don’t need to buy truffle oil and have really fancy ingredients to make a good meal.
“We didn’t grow up with a lot of money. My mom was a secretary. And my dad also didn’t have a good job. We had to roll pennies, sometimes, to buy milk. I always find myself doing thrifty things my mom would do. I’ll crack an egg and I’ll scrape out the egg yolk with my finger just to get out the last of it.
“It’s kind of funny, especially when I think now how I wanted to rebel. When you’re a teenager, you want to rebel against your parents. But then, you get older, and all these little funny things from them kind of stick in your brain.”
Jeannette Ordas shares a Commercial Drive apartment with her husband, Cornelius. Her home is the headquarters of Matchbox Creative, the couple’s web design and development studio. From her kitchen, she runs the award-winning food blog Everybody Likes Sandwiches. This holiday season, she’s busy with The Beautiful Project, her greeting card business.