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Food for thought

With The Food Podcast, host Lindsay Cameron Wilson draws in listeners with her love of storytelling

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Photos by Kate Inglis of SHED Photography

Lindsay Cameron Wilson’s kitchen is not what you’d expect. The Halifax-based television and podcast host, cookbook author, food stylist, and journalist has built a career around food but calls herself a storyteller, first and foremost.

Her own kitchen also tells a story. The 1850s-built home has high ceilings and character-filled hardwood floors. We peek into the spacious dining room and she explains that the kitchen will one day be in here, but for now it is located in an add-on at the back of the house.

Photos by Kate Inglis of SHED Photography

It’s a small space with no dishwasher, limited wooden counter space, banged-up cabinets, an electric stove, a huge old wooden hutch in the corner, and a washer and dryer nestled to one side. She begins chopping bright fruits and vegetables from her weekly box from Birch Burn Farm. The end results are zingy pear, cucumber, and Russet apple smoothies with a hint of ginger.

“I’m obsessed with using all of my groceries and when you’re in a space like this, you’re constantly engaged with what you have on hand,” she says. “We have a smaller fridge so you see everything and use it. We keep most of our food in one cabinet and have a deep freeze in the basement full of pork and chicken from Sweet Earth Farm. I’m very happy making do with what’s on hand and I love adapting and making things work.”

Cameron Wilson wanted to bring her practical and accessible personality to her cooking show Love Food (now airing in its third season on Eastlink). As a mother and someone who “loves giving casual dinner parties for friends” her less-than-perfect style and adaptability translates effortlessly to her on-camera gig.

In 2015, she launched her most recent project The Food Podcast. The Village Sound co-produced monthly podcasts are an audible journey where “personal stories are shared through the lens of food.” Guests have included Michelle Davis and Matt Holloway (the team behind Thug Kitchen cookbooks), Beth Kirby of popular food and photography blog Local Milk, and The Great British Bake Off head home economist Faenia Moore, among many others.

“The story ideas for The Food Podcast always have a thread that starts with food which might be triggered because I’ve met someone at a food conference or been inspired by someone in a food magazine,” says Wilson. “That’s sort of the portal in but it’s often just life and people’s personal stories that I’m interested in exploring. However, the common thread is always food.”

Podcast topics so far have included food and daily rituals, the story behind an image, how to eat well despite demographic, and what a touring musician with dietary restrictions eats on the road. With Nova Scotia-based talent such as filmmaker and animator Andrea Dorfman, singer-songwriter Jenn Grant and Devour food film festival managing director Lia Rinaldo weighing in with their unique stories, there is always a local connection.

Cameron Wilson’s own large family of artists and storytellers also figure prominently as she gives listeners glimpses into her creative life. According to Andrea Dorfman, Cameron Wilson’s affable nature makes it easy to share.

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“Lindsay has an inviting and nonjudgmental openness,” she explains. “She’s a truly incredible communicator. Her unique point of view and curiosity leads her to ask questions that most of us don’t think of. As a friend and creative person, to be on the other end of that question means that I’ll inevitably have thoughts I might not get to on my own. This, to me, is golden in friendship and in art.”

In “The Pepper Connection” podcast, Cameron Wilson shares how she was caught peering into her neighbour’s kitchen window and was invited inside to hear the story of the vast Bakelite kitchen tools and salt and pepper shakers her neighbour had amassed. During the same episode, she interviews Toronto-based pepper-mongers Louise and Nigel Biggar, the owners of DRØM Pepper, who were inspired by their travels to learn the spice trade. While The Food Podcast weaves a rich narrative, Cameron Wilson’s own curiosity and desire to learn from others shines through.

“As a journalist I was taught to hold back and listen and let the interviewee tell their story but podcasting is different because listeners have to know the person who is hosting and want to hang out with them,” she explains. “But I have no interest in just telling a me, me, me story. That’s boring. I was always want to bring in stories from people close to me, people who inspire me and to always be collaborating.”

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