Mairlyn Smith: home economist, comedian, cookbook author, healthy recipe alchemist, and Youtube star in the making. She is a woman of many talents, but one thing is certain: she’ll entertain the shit outta ya, and help you confidently throw useless kitchen hacks out the window and make healthy meals to boot.
What’s your favourite part of the holiday season?
Traditions. Honouring your family, your roots through the food you prepare and enjoy together, or trimming the tree with special ornaments; whatever your traditions are, they connect you to something. That’s what means the most to me during the holidays.
What’s the strangest thing you've seen someone do at a holiday party?
Oh man, this one is so strange and disturbing. When I was really young, my parents had a big New Year’s Eve party and thought it would be really entertaining to “kick out” the old year and bring in the new. For some reason, they figured the best way to do that was for my dad to dress up as an old man, who they proceeded to toss out into the cold, and then one of his friends (another old man) walked in through the front door in only a diaper, sucking on a soother. All I could think was: “What the hell is going on here? I’m going downstairs.” They only did it once, but to this day I still think it was just so strange.
What’s your go-to holiday cocktail?
I love mimosas and while filming with watermelons, I discovered they’re the perfect replacement for orange juice. I serve equal parts sparkling wine with watermelon juice for a cocktail that’s not overly sweet, super refreshing, and totally unique.
I also love a whisky sour, but my friend gave me this brilliant idea: two ounces of whisky, half ounce of vanilla Galliano, a couple of dashes of walnut bitters and, ready for it, lemonade ice cubes!
What’s your escape tip for someone cornered into a conversation by a drunk holiday party-goer?
You know, we all want to have fun at a party and it’s such an uncomfortable position to be in. So I really try to get ahead of it before that happens. I’ll pry them with food or just plain lie: “Oh yeah, there’s totally whisky in that hit-you-over-the-head-gingery ginger beer.” Deception is a good thing sometimes.
What’s your favourite way of giving?
I really like to give the gift of time to my loved ones. Life is busy these days and sometimes you just need date nights and cocktails at The Plaza or high tea at the Royal York.
Ok, let’s talk about your new Youtube series! It looks like you have a lot of fun! What do you hope people take away from My Left Frying Pan?
Well, I want people to get healthy, but I really want them to be laughing while they learn something. I’m allowed to push the envelope a little more on this series than I can on, say, Cityline. It’s more comedy, more Mairlyn. I made up this great character, Auntie Hack, that’s a Julia Child-Mrs. Doubtfire mash-up and she’s so much fun.
What’s the most embarrassing thing that has happened to you on a Cityline segment?
Oh god! I had been dealing with some health issues and needed to be on some painkillers, but was still doing my best to enjoy my time on Cityline. We were doing a segment at the local farmers’ market and they had these incredible green onions that were just massive. I picked them up and “Look at these f-bomb onions!” just fell out of my mouth. Everyone burst out laughing and I realized what I said; it was just so embarrassing.
What one thing does the Fibre Queen want her loyal subjects to never forget?
Just never give fibre up. Even over the holidays, don’t let it it all go to hell in a handbag. Balance your days with a healthy breakfast, my bum-blasting high-fibre muffins are a great way to start. Or, throw a tablespoon of ground flax in your smoothie. Your body will thank you for working fibre into everyday.
What do you enjoy most about writing cookbooks?
I like the challenge of figuring out how to make something delicious, but also healthy. I feel a little like an alchemist, trying to put everything together and come up with something that tastes so good, like this pumpkin spice crumble cake I make. It has give grams of fibre per serving but you’d never guess it was healthy.
What is your guilty pleasure?
Chips. Well, Terra Chips. I love the sweet potato crinkle cut, ripple, ridged… What the hell do you call those? Yeah, those wavy ones are super crunchy, they’re the best.
What is the best meal you’ve ever had?
More than 30 years ago, I had the most incredible meal at Sooke Harbour House on Vancouver Island. I had this appetizer with barnacles and a salad with flower petals, like flowers in a salad 30 years ago?! They were just so extraordinarily ahead of their time. And then the most luscious and perfectly cooked cedar plank salmon. I can still remember every detail of that meal like it was yesterday. It’s what made me want to do what I do: eat fresh, support local growers and producers, be connected to your food.
Who can make you laugh like no one else?
My husband Scott. He’s the funniest man I know (and I’ve been married three times, I would know funny and not even remotely funny).
My Left Frying Pan
If you're going to open a bottle of Champagne, open it like she does here.