The Making of the 2016 Milk Calendar

A Canadian Tradition – 2016 Milk Calendar

A Canadian tradition going on 40 years filled with easy to prepare, full of flavour recipes using you guessing it milk! I was honoured to be asked to develop the recipes for the second year in a row. It is a process that begins in early March with the calendar’s launching near the end of November. Just in time for the December recipe.

Recipes, Recipes, Recipes

Starting with about 80 concepts  which are discussed and whittled down to 13 monthly recipes and a baking double page spread with 4 more recipes. My goal was to create approachable recipes that are good for both the novice and experienced cook. They all needed to contain at least 1 cup (250 mL) of milk. They needed to be quick to prepare – think busy people who want good food on the table fast. And for me all with  minimal dish doing afterwards.

Next steps – picking 25 or so concepts that could work – concepts that will be developed into recipes and tried at the tasting. Once the concepts are picked, the writing, testing, eating and feeding the neighbours begins. Yes my neighbours and friends LOVE trying all of the recipes. Even those I consider not good enough.

Two people help me with the testing, pointing out where they were confused, disappointed or any issues they many have had making the first try of the recipe. It then gets retested by another person (sometimes in a different oven) and sometimes with a different pan or dish to ensure it works. More tasting. Lastly a third test just to be sure – it should be perfect at this point. Sometimes though, the recipe is still missing something, so more tests are needed.

So Much To Eat – But Someones Got To Do It!

The “tasting” involves a crazy day of eating and analyzing. Who is there? The client from the Dairy Farmers of Canada, advertising agency people, art director and food stylist. Essentially the recipes are presented and all opinions are discussed – each of us having a different perspective on the recipe. The recipe needs to work, taste delicious and be easy to make. It also needs to have eye appeal. Sounds like a fantastic day, but believe it or not eating all that food is exhausting work. No dinner that night!

Small tweaks are made, for example parsley as an alternative to mint as it is easier to find and usually cheaper. The months are assigned to the recipes. For instance the colder months tend to be warming comforting recipes.

Off to photography to create beautiful milk calendar pictures, a month or so of back and forth proofing, editing and making sure it is perfect. Then off to the printer.

November brings a media tour, where i get to tour around to the various tv stations, magazines (readers test drive milk calendar recipes)  or blogger events (such a fun event) to promote the calendar. It’s lots of fun – and everyone loves the Milk Calendar. The food stylist who gets all the food ready for the tv shows does a fantastic job. All I have to do is just show up – pretty simple.

‘Til Next Year

Another year – another set of wonderful recipes that I hope will be kept in people’s go to recipe lists. And a beautiful calendar (recipes and video) to use daily.