I was born and raised in Canada in an extended Scottish-English-Canadian family typical of southern Ontario. My father died three weeks before I was born (Sep 1943) while engaged in an RCAF anti-submarine night training exercise at Gander, NFLD.  At the time my mother was trying to obtain her B. Arch. from U of T. This leads to another story at another time.

In 1969, I graduated from U of T with a PhD in Organic Chemistry and my wife and I moved to Palo Alto, CA where I joined the nascent pharmaceutical company, Syntex Research in order to learn biology and biochemistry. Well, I was with Syntex for 25 years and then spent another 12 years consulting to the pharmaceutical industry and teaching the “Drug Development Process” for UC Berkeley Extension. Following the economic pharma industry down turn in 2008 and my divorce in 2009, I became a construction volunteer for the SF Bay Area Habitat for Humanity, and then H4H ReStore in San Carlos, CA. I showed up five days a week for at least 5 hours a day. I still managed a few days of fishing for striped bass with my son, Ben. And family reunions with siblings in Canada.

All of the above is a lead-in to my attempt to re-create myself once again. Age has rendered me somewhat too frail to work on construction anymore!

Hence my blogs and rants on Food, Facts, Politics and Environment.

Despite living alone I have taken up cooking as a pastime – I have a small chest freezer – and I can occasionally use Ben as an honest critic of my efforts. Many of my posts will have to do with Food and Cooking, but mainly as comment and critique on what I have attempted and learned following the recipes of others. I do not pretend in any way to be versed in culinary skills. I am learning at home how to chop onions. I believe Julia Child started that way? So I am no “Cook”, let alone “Chef”. I am simply enjoying myself. I have had a lot of fun with Glazed Fruit (q.v.) recently for example.

In my elder years, I consider it my right (indeed my duty) to comment on the condition of the world around me as I see it. Some of my posts will be Facts and Figures (“Please Ma’am, Just the facts.” – Joe Friday in ‘Dragnet’) and others will be outright rants (Abortion Rights!). My interests range from our energy needs (nuclear power), through the decline of the British Monarchy, to the perils facing democracy for all in the US.

I hope you find something that amuses you.


  • Gillian Stewart says:

    I very much like your blog, John, and you thoughtfully included the photo of the four of us (Mum’s children) together right after her memorial service. I have the same photo on my bedroom wall. Can’t wait to explore more of your blog.

  • Daphne Stewart says:

    John, love your website and look forward to more rants & recipes. Cooking is indeed a helpful antidote to the increasing craziness of this country and the world. Keep on cheffing!

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