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News 2009

Latest News 2009

From the November 2009 Newsletter:


The solid old Maytag stove in the zamboni café finally packed it in last year after 12 years of cookies and mini-pizzas. There was no money to buy another stove, but somebody posted an e-mail on the list-serve, saying they had one to give away. So that stove – after Frank (Romco Appliance Repair) put in a new heating coil – became the new zamboni stove. One of its racks was missing. The cooks wired together three small racks and resumed the cookie-making.

But the zamboni café is no job for a second-hand domestic stove. If we laid all those cookies and mini-pizzas and bowls of soup and slices of park bread end-to-end, would they reach the moon? Jupiter?

David Rothberg’s donation couldn’t have come at a better time. Now the cooks are out doing comparative stove-shopping. The new stove should be installed in time for the rink reopening. Skaters, card players, parents with kids: just wait til you see (and smell and taste) the dishes that the cooks can prepare with a stove that’s not worn out and temperamental. Skaters get hungry, and good food will be waiting.

From the October 2009 Newsletter:

BAKE-OVEN SHOW-AND-TELL NIGHT, October 14, 5.30 to 7.30.

Several groups from other parts of the city (Thorncliffe Park, Little Norway Park, CAMH, Lawrence Heights) have visited Dufferin Grove to find out more about how the baking and fire-cooking is done. To follow up, there will be a baking day with special guest Anna Bekerman, long-time Dufferin Grove staff who now divides her time between New York and Toronto. On Wednesday October 14, show-and-tell baking will happen in the bigger bake-oven and over a campfire (with a dutch oven). As well, park program staff will help the visitors build a temporary bake-oven with bricks, foil, and angle-iron. That takes less than an hour. Anyone from the neighbourhood interested in joining this session is very welcome. More information:

From the October 2009 Newsletter:


Four years ago, the temperature on October 1 was 30 degrees. On the same day this year we narrowly missed having frost. October is an up-and-down month, and the darkness comes early, so in other years, Friday Night Suppers ended then. But not this year.

This year the cooks are having so much fun, they’ll try to continue the suppers a little longer. This will be entirely weather-dependent. If there’s no rain and the temperature is mild, the suppers will be on. With luck, that might happen twice in October. On those evenings, the candle jars will be on the picnic tables and the little white lights will be strung in the trees, and the rink lights will be on for the kids to play their games on the rink surface. The meals will use up some of the fall harvest bounty from the farmers’ market, and the last of the park garden vegetables.

On October Fridays, to make sure that supper is on, call the park at 416 392-0913 to hear the updated message, or go to The Friday Night Supper status will be posted prominently on the home page. As always, the menu will be on the menu page by early afternoon. The supper menu page is quite an archive by now, have a look!

From the October 2009 Newsletter:


It’s from Canadian Living Magazine's "Best Oatmeal Cookie Mix" Many park users ask for this recipe, so here it is again. Donna Bartolini, who used to work for the magazine, brought the recipe to the park, 13 years ago. It's enough for four batches of oatmeal cookies.

4 ½ cups all-purpose flour
4 ½ cups quick-cooking oats
4 cups firmly packed brown sugar

1 tablespoon baking soda
1 tablespoon baking powder
2 teaspoons salt

Mix these things and store in an air-tight container for up to two months. To make one batch of cookies, take:

½ cup softened butter
3 ¼ cups cookie mix
1 beaten egg

4 teaspoons water
1 teaspoon real vanilla
1 cup chocolate chips

In a large bowl, beat butter into cookie mix until blended. Stir in water, egg, and vanilla. Form dough into balls and squash onto greased baking sheet. Bake at 375 Fahrenheit for about 10 minutes or until golden. Makes about two dozen large cookies.

From the September 2009 Newsletter:


Pizza days are mostly over until next summer, but Friday Night Supper is going strong. The farmers’ market is overflowing with produce, and the cooks are keen to keep making delicious food.

A day when it threatened rain, near the end of August, turned out to be fun too, with tables set up by the zamboni garage, under cover of the market tents.

The Friday menus are always posted on the, here website a few hours beforehand .

From the May 2009 Newsletter:


Thirteen years ago, Katie and Bob Price donated a Maytag stove for the rinkhouse kitchen, and that was the start of the zamboni café. Although it was a domestic stove, Maytags of that era were very durable. That hardy stove turned out cookies and muffins and hot chocolate for all these years, even though in the wintertime it was on all day without a break. Whenever there was a problem, neighbourhood appliance repairman Frank from Romco Appliance Repair was always able to fix it.

Until now. The rink house Maytag has become just too tired and creaky. It often burns Mary Sylwester’s muffins because the heat is so uneven. The oven door doesn’t close properly, and the oven handle was long ago replaced by a macramé rope pull. (Yes, really.) The rink house needs a brand new stove, maybe a commercial type that can stand such heavy use. The funds are not there right now, but maybe park users can raise the money this spring. To prepare, the park cooks are asking for advice: what are the merits of a commercial versus domestic stove, and does anyone know a good source? Or (might as well dream) – does anyone know a restaurant that’s upgrading and has an excellent rinkhouse-size electric stove they’d like to give the park as a present?

From the April 2009 Newsletter:

FRIDAY NIGHT SUPPER, every Friday (except Easter weekend), 6 to 7.30 pm, in the Dufferin Rink clubhouse

The park cooks normally suspend the Friday Night Supper program in March and April, but this year they’re having too good of a time trying out new recipes. Also, the economic slide is making cheap meals with neighbours at the park even more attractive than before. So the cooks are continuing with Friday night suppers.

There is always a vegetarian or vegan entrée, a meat entrée, a side dish, a salad, and dessert. Most of the groceries are bought at the organic farmers’ market on Thursday, and most of the cooking is done in the outdoor wood-fired bake-ovens. It’s delicious food, and conforms largely to the 100-mile “locavore” boundary. There’s a suggested donation, all of which goes back into the park, and to pay for the groceries. But if you can’t spare the cash, donate at some other time – nobody goes away hungry! (Of course, if you feel like donating more than the suggested amount, that’s fine too.)

11th Annual Matzah Bake!

Click on poster to enlarge it.

Sunday April 5: The eleventh annual Matzah Bake at the park outdoor bake oven 12 noon to 3 pm.

From organizer Mitch Davis: Come join us at Dufferin Grove Park to bake Matzot. Everyone is welcome, bring the kids. All materials provided. Mix, roll and bake…all in less than 18 minutes.

Cost: by donation, to cover expenses. All utensils, rolling pins etc. are kept for Passover Matzah baking only. see the poster for more information.


From the February 2009 Newsletter:

Friday Night Supper, 6 to 7.30 pm

Friday Night Supper is never the same from one week to the next. Chilis Relenos, Vegan Gnocchi with wine-tomato sauce, wild boar stew with couscous and oven-roasted tomato sauce, apple galette with pear sauce – cooked by Anna, or Mary, or Jenny. The meals are cheap and tasty, much of the materials come from the Thursday farmers’ market and all the money raised this way goes back into the park. So come to the rink hungry, and eat with your skates on.

From the January 2009 Newsletter:

Friday Night Supper, 6 to 7.30 pm

Many of the park staff are good cooks, who like to work at Dufferin Grove Park because of the variety of tasks. Staff who are interested can work with food as well as making the wading pool fun or helping kids learn to skate. The bake oven, the farmers’ market, the suppers, the summer cob café and the winter zamboni café – all are interesting tasks, developing a fuller range of skills. There’s lots of learning techniques and trying out new recipes, and in the wintertime the skaters are the lucky recipients of these experiments. Friday Night Supper is never the same from one week to the next. Chilis Relenos, Vegan Gnocchi with wine-tomato sauce, wild boar stew with couscous and oven-roasted tomato sauce, apple galette with pear sauce – cooked by Anna, or Mary, or Ginger, or Matt, or any number of others. The meals are cheap and tasty and all the money raised this way goes back into the park. Best of all, the cooks try to make enough to last into Saturday – so come to the rink hungry, and eat with your skates on.

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