BRITTANY MANULAK TAKES US INSIDE HER KITCHEN WITH HER MOTHER BARB MOWAT, AS SHE PREPARES A FESTIVE THANKSGIVING DINNER.
Driving up the winding roads, nestled on Majuba Hill in Chilliwack, is the home of Abbotsford-raised Brittany Manulak (friends call her Britt), the warm abode she shares with her husband Jason, her two children Maresha and Will and father Barry. A familiar face in the community, Britt’s involved with many organizations including the Abbotsford Executive Association, The Abbotsford Heat Foundation, After Dark at The Reach, and The Crystal Gala Foundation, she says “it’s the one closest to my heart. I’ve sat on the committee for 11 years now, it’s an exciting time with our 15th Anniversary just a few weeks away.” All of this, while running Concept Plumbing and Gas, a 10-year old plumbing and mechanical company alongside her husband. Despite the busy schedule, Britt still manages to regularly host friends and family in her home, from casual family gatherings to 10-course tasting dinner parties to the annual DJ party, which we hear lasts till the wee hours of the morning. A seasoned host, we wanted to find out what Britt would be whipping up this Thanksgiving in her bright large open kitchen.
Prepping Thanksgiving dinner will be a family affair that includes Britt’s mother, Barb Mowat, a successful businesswoman with roots in Abbotsford. This year’s spread will be prepared for a family of twelve, and includes a 22-24 pound turkey seasoned with olive oil, fresh herbs and seasoning, roasted baby new potatoes, candied sweet potatoes with honey, orange juice and maple syrup, roasted asparagus with lemon juice and shaved almonds, broccoli salad with onions and bacon, three kinds of stuffing (cause they can’t agree on one), a ham glazed with sautéed onion and garlic, curry, cranberries and corn syrup (a family recipe passed down from Jay’s mom), along with a pickle plate filled with homemade beets and dill pickles and cabbage rolls. “I would always do cabbage rolls because we’re Ukrainian,” Barb tell us, “three large roasting pans” – one for dinner and two for Britt and her sister Paula’s families as leftovers. Curious of what will be on the menu as you enter the home? You’ll find the details scribbled out on the chalkboard over the stove, a focal point of the kitchen. The other day it said “you make me happy when the skies are grey, Maresha loved that,” Britt tells us.
When did Britt’s love for cooking start? “All three of my children have learned to cook really well,” Barb shares, “Brittany and Brent (Britt’s brother) used to have cook-offs. My home had two kitchens, so one would be upstairs and one would be downstairs. We wouldn’t know what we were eating, but it was always fun.” The years of cooking experience show, as we watched Britt effortlessly move around her kitchen, chopping, mixing, whipping, sautéing and roasting, all while making her guests feel welcomed and right at home.
As we anxiously wait for the invitation to be the thirteenth guest at the dinner table, we wonder what’s for dessert? “Fresh whipped cream and fresh pumpkin pie, we make our own crust,” Britt tells us. And it gets better – “definitely canned pumpkin, we preserve our own pumpkin, it’s so good, so good,” adds Barb. Save us a slice will you?
Ham Glazed with Cranberry & Curry Recipe
This savoury and sweet recipe is a family recipe. Select a bone-in ham at the market. Pre-heat the oven to 300-325 degrees. Sautee chopped onion and garlic in a pan with butter and olive oil. Throw a package of fresh cranberries with ½ a cup of sugar and water in a pot. Let it bubble and take half of the pot of the cranberries and mix it in with the sautéed onion and garlic. Add white corn syrup and a tablespoon of curry powder, mix and simmer. Place ham into the oven and during the last hour, glaze it with the mixture. Save the rest of the mixture for the turkey.
Photo Credit: Tanya Goehring