Foodies live here

The Venerable Saint Lawrence market on Front Street, Toronto











There I went today after my sausage mission to St. Catharines, arriving at the market at the height of noontime traffic.  One 0f the possibilities was to find a table at one of the market restaurants and to pull out my old-fashioned phone list of my Saint Catharines market customers that do not use email and to contact this extremely loyal group of 77 and take their market orders for the March 17 Saint Catharines market.  Entering, past the jam-packed Fish and Chips restaurant | realized that happily this would not be a work environment but that I was free to pursue my own market purchases ignoring those soon in need of sausage.

eating in basement of Saint Lawrence market
CSIS came up in my neighbours conversation so I surreptitiously took a selfie including them and made an entry into their permanent file


I have made regular pilgrimages over the years to the Saint Lawrence market (downtown Toronto).

  • 1977 on a visit to my oldest brother, Steve, at his Purple Sageway residence I finched a ride down to the subway at Finch and did quite the extensive walking tour of downtown Toronto using an architectural guidebook I had acquired somewhere along the way
  • 1985, for part of a week at Riverside Community Church which is nearby I actually stayed with a family at a Regent Park apartment.  I remember eating wieners and spaghetti (yes, that latter day Sheldon  Cooper favourite). and on the same day hearing the family’s young teenage daughter remarking on the blueness of my eyes.  I don’t know where she might be now but my prayer for her is that there are a pair of blue eyes so true looking after her..
  • early 1990ish I did some shopping for a Thanksgiving dinner at the same market, considering but not, in fact, buying the fresh gooses that were proferred by the foul vendors there
  • 2014? Denis Bell and I shop at the market as he is a both a fellow foodie and lives only a dozen or so blocks away
  • jump to 2015, days before Christmas and I am with my brown-eyed-girl-who-loves-my-eyes-too at One King West for a few days and I’m shopping to supply the kitchen in our suite apartment there

my first trip to downtown T.O. at 15 years old included a picture of this iconic Front Street building


Today, I have  until 3:15 when my train leaves from Union Station, so why not shop the Saint Lawrence market?

Market and me

Pen & Ink sketch of Kitchener Farmers Market

This pen and ink print signed “Paquette 72” hung on the wall just above some Group of Seven prints in my parents dining room. It was well placed near the table where we celebrated special occasions as the meat business that the Dettweiler family has been associated with for several generations was founded on taking our meat to market and we still continue doing that.

My father remembers his earliest market experiences at the Preston market.  Sales began with the ringing of a bell at, I’m going to say, 6 am.  Seems early, but in that era the first sales would already be lined up for waiting purchasers and with the bell the money could change hands.  Farmer vendors like my grandfather had work to do at home and in the day of early morning markets they may have been back home by 9 am.  If you weren’t an early riser in that day, you did not get to buy the meat and produce brought to market by hard-working farmers.  At St. Catharines market, if you want Dettweiler’s sausage in the 21 century, you can come as late as 11 am – but no later, as at that hour I will already be packing up in order to get on with the work of my Niagara-on-the-Lake deliveries.

My father would make deliveries of meat after the brief market hours, perhaps to customers in the neighbouring town of Hespeler and certainly in the other direction from home to Breslau customers.  When he eventually built his own meat shop, maybe 1/4 mile down the road from the family farm, he called his business “Midway Meat Market”.  This name took advantage of the name of the Breslau telephone exchange.  When you picked up your telephone in those days you didn’t need to know any numbers.  You spoke to the operator and asked for the “Midway” exchange and then asked to be connected to the meat market there.  Presumably, picking up the handset and specifying “Midway Meat Market” was all it took to be connected to my dad in those days.  There you could order a pound of bacon, a nice chuck roast and 2 pounds of pork sausage and my father could arrange to deliver it to you at your home.

If you would like to order some of Mennonite smoked sausage these days you can contact us by emailing “info” followed by the domain name of the website you are presently looking at (which is our family name) and the “.ca” ending of Canadian domains.  We also have a store on Victoria Street, just across the Grand River from Kitchener and the phone number for this Breslau, Ontario location is the exact same one we have had since the day that they discontinued telephone operators for local calls.

Many things have changed over the years, but you can still get quality meat from the Dettweilers which will make your meal times to be special occasions.

I have a heritage

Harold Dettweiler, first-born son with (oldest to youngest) Margaret, Mary and Ruby. Year - 1925.
Harold Dettweiler, first-born son with (oldest to youngest) Margaret, Mary and Ruby. Year – 1925.


This photo of my father speaks volumes to me.  I love reading and contemplating history.  The best kind is the history that has shaped your own life.  My father is still with us in 2016, passing his 94th birthday!

In the midst of the “roaring twenties” my grandparents had the family put on their Sunday-best clothes and document themselves at a photographer’s studio.  Dad knew the Great Depression of the thirties. There’s a story of my grandfather going to market with piglets and coming home later with more than he took as someone else had slipped their own that they didn’t have the means to feed in with the Dettweiler stock.  The Christmas gift one of those lean years, shared among his sisters was a simple enamel or steel comb for their hair. Dad was finished his schooling at the Riverbank school, just down the road from home, in 1936.Harold, Clark, Ward and Glen Dettweiler in dad's teen years  The future, from that point was working on the farm.  My Mennonite heritage, through my father, is evangelical Christian.  His father’s barn impelled passers-by with the words of John the Baptist from Mark 1:15, “Repent, and believe the Gospel”.

In 1942, my dad was sent, along with other conscientious objectors to alternative service which began, for him, at the Montreal River camp in Ontario, on the north shore of Lake Superior.  An autograph book my father kept from those times makes me think that my father experienced an extended bit of camp-comradery as his co-workers there in the 6 or 8 months he spent there shared on those pages scripture verses or perhaps a witty poem.  His alternative service then continued near home as he worked for the local dairy right through the very end of the war in 1946.

After the war, life continued on the farm.  Dad travelled several times during those years between the war and the meeting-my-mom and marriage in 1952 to Alberta, at harvest-time to work on harvesting the grain.  In winter, when farm work was less intense he attended this Bible School held at First Mennonite in Kitchener.  The photo below is only half of a huge panorama shot of the students involved with him in learning from the Bible in January of 1948.  My dad is in the top row the second from the right hand side of the photo.My dad among other Bible School students at Kitchener in January 1948

From all this history of dad, I learn that I didn’t invent life out of nothing (ex nihilo?) I just continued it.  Like I would walk behind my dad as he tilled the soil of the garden in spring with the roto-tiller, I followed in the way that he had established.  If I like to dress well, I continue the lines established by father’s very non-plain ties.  I eat simple food and enjoy it; I love adventure that takes me from home and I love returning.  I can make my own way through life and I’ve been informed by God’s word.

Thanks, Dad for all of this.

God has no problem with that

Thinking of a title for my Sunday blog this week, which must be prepared this Saturday night as tomorrow is not only a day of rest in the morning for me and Carol, it is an exciting day of choir work as we audition over 50 singers for Montreal Gospel Choir.  Exciting season-beginning event each year.

So….what of the title, “God doesn’t have any problem with that”.  Well, if God were God On High, and also Prosperity God, wishing, even willing my material well-being, I know he would have a problem with the way I conduct my business. This Prosperity God would be ashamed to be associated with an affair like mine which refuses to progress and finds itself (parce que, l’affair dans cette affair, c’est MOI) doing shoddy things like lugging home leftover product wrapped up with ice like I was some bag-lady moving her worldly possessions. At the June market I reached my target of a complete sell-out in spite of having significant un-ordered product.  When this happens, I’m elated the whole trip home.  Today I had little extra product available at the outset (except in Garlic-smoked sausage) so I didn’t try to promote extra sales.  Result:  I didn’t get extra sales and had several no shows – people not claiming their orders.

[Note added 6 weeks after original date of this blog:  watch this 6 minute presentation on the effects of inner voices from Alain de Botton’s School of Life.  You could say that my rather confusing blog “God has no problem with that” is about me listening to my inner voice condemning me about the way I do business.  Fortunately, God is to me the comforting, encouraging inner voice and more than that, God specializes in redeeming bad situations, at least that is my experience.  Read on and see what happens when I’m faced with more leftover product than I can carry and a rapidly approaching deadline if I am to reach the last Saturday train back to Montreal.]

What did the God that I know do?  (Btw, He is Suffering Servant God and God Immanuel, too).  This God sent an absolute angel of a taxi man: patient, caring, good driver, very professional, a listener.  The flat rate from Burlington to Union Station downtown Toronto was nothing miraculous, but I tipped him as if he was Jesus Christ meeting Abraham.  God can get me more of the tipping money and he all-the-time-Jehovah-Jireh does (that’s my life experience).  But still, I’m lugging a hockey-bag-sized ensemble of 4 X 5 kg garlic sausage plus ice bag to keep the product chilled, plus insulation to keep the ice from totally melting, a vinyl sign used between ice and product to keep the whole thing from becoming sausage soup until I got on the chill train. ‘Le tout’ bound together and made carry-able, but not elegantly, with the jib halyard that I salvaged from the items in the rummage shed at the Lake of Bays dump several years ago.  Fer shame, Ted!

I am presently returning from a business trip – please don’t imagine me meeting clients like a traditional businessman might on a business trip.  That is what I do – meet my clients – but we’re not talking of some future sale, we’re handing over product that they have ordered from me by phone or email.  If I did it every month I might really hate what I do, but I do it 4 times per year (go to market) and it refreshes the majority of what I do in my business which is work by myself in a cooler, packaging sausage while staring at the box liners hanging in front of my stainless steel work table. I don’t exactly hate that either, as it is menial work which gives a person time to think great thoughts, and the one day per week nature of packaging is about the appropriate healthy level for doing that sort of thing.

God has no problem with that.  God can use that, even when I’m ashamed of myself for my shabby show.  God is ‘in it’.  Like ‘with me’ – Immanuel.  God doesn’t desire to put me in a situation where I don’t feel much respect for my business self, but he doesn’t say “I’m out of here” or reinforce my negative self condemnation, he sends his angels to carry me.  Sometimes the taxi dispatcher sends Jesus.

Glory to God, in the highest!

And peace, on earth.

Good will…



btw, the bag-lady worldly possessions ensemble got delivered to my faithful Cornwall customer (and perhaps himself a double agent school teacher / part-time angel) who was over-the-moon for how it worked out in his favour and was ready for me to deliver like this all-the-time.  That would be putting the Lord, Thy God to a foolish test (in my eyes, anyways).  This one’s a one-off, kind of cool-in-the-end experience that started with me wallowing in misery.  And praise God, for His ways are right.  But Via Rail delivery? Not happening…..more than once.

Prepared for a cottage vacation



The above view is a good summary of what I expect of my 10 or so days at the cottage this summer.  Taken from the hammock where I read, read, read, it looks over the water where I swim, swim, swim and when conditions are right – Windy, mais pas TROP venteuse – I set out on my Laser sailboat.

Today, I am all packed, as when I did the wash yesterday I assembled the appropriate clothes directly into my suitcase.  I kept telling myself that this year I will keep my expectations of what I am going to do at the cottage simple – besides the above, we’ll be eating, running or walking a lot (1/2 marathon to prepare for this fall) and after expending all that energy, sleeping so soundly, like only the cottage environment allows me to do.

Other years I may have included non-traditional cottage tasks, which strangely, I never accomplished.  Some of them:  Learning another language, making speakers – an alternative sound system for my truck, doing calling for an August market (this year it is Sept. 10); so many projects / so little time – the cottage is not conducive for THAT!

It is always a pleasure to make the 6-8 hour drive to the cottage.  Because of the anticipation.  Passing familiar places that you just see once a year.  Much of the route is itself cottage country.  Once past Ottawa we’ll be passing lakes on the left and the right, past Round Lake (Camp Mishewah – camp of my youth), through Algonquin Park, and stopping to provision along the way (but not over-doing the food purchases this year).

And arriving – unloading the trunk – it is all going to be in the car trunk this year – but for the canoe paddle which must go in the back seat. It will be such a quick unload; and then we’ll put clothes in a drawer and pull out one of three bathing suits and swim in the lake – just for fun – we’ll leave the laps of exercise up and down the shore for tomorrow.

To throw you off my trail a bit...
To throw you off my trail a bit…

Most unfavourite things

“Hi, this is Ted Dettweiler calling from Dettweiler’s Sausage.  We’re going to be delivering in your area in the afternoon on Saturday, August 23.  Would you like some sausage at this time?”

That’s my opening line on the telephone to my 87 phone order customers in various parts of the Niagara region.  It’s not very refined – I think they say in sales to never ask a question that can be answered with a “No”.  But this blog post is not about improving my sales technique, it’s to tell you the very interesting things that happen when I FINALLY get around to making these phone calls.

FINALLY get around – OK, let’s back up – calling customers in the Niagara region is something that I do only 4 times per year as that is how many trips I make to the St. Catharines market, doing delivery to homes in certain areas, like Niagara-on-the-Lake, in the afternoon after I’ve finished my market sales.  I have more customers than the 87 that I will call today and tomorrow, but the rest have email addresses and I have rigged up my Filemaker Pro database so that I can click my mouse on “Send delivery email” or “Send market email” and when they respond I can click on “Send delivery confirm” etc.

4 times per year I procrastinate the calling.  I’ll fiddle with my database layout; I’ll do the dishes; I’ll make raspberry jam; I’ll create a blog on food and then post a story on the garden stew I was making to avoid doing these calls.  You must be thinking, what kind of customers does he have that he avoids doing a half-a-baker’s-dozen-dozen phone calls so?

My customers are the best customers in the world.  Many of the phone list customers are older and don’t do internet, email and all that modern stuff.  While many are quite business-like on their calls (my long distance records show that my average call lasts 14.5 seconds*) that suits me fine as that is exactly my phone manner – all business-at-hand, no chit-chat or politesse.  “I’ll have the same as last time” is a common order, which is why I keep records in my database, so I know exactly what, when, who and how much the last time was.  The number of these customers who order every time I call is much higher than it is for the email customers*, so I would be a fool to stop calling them simply because calling is something that I prefer not doing.

*Full disclosureI made up the two authoritative statements made in the previous paragraph.  If I took the time to do a study on my average call length or the order frequency of phone vs email customers I would only be further procrastinating my calling.

Calling is going very well, as usual. I’ve been playing a game to get through the calling.  These are the rules:  I must continue calling until one of the customers says “not this time”, at that, I mark “NTT Aug 2014” in the calling status field and put an X, which becomes an X in the YmX field.  At that point, I give myself permission to write another paragraph in this blog.  If I get an answering machine, or they are going to call me back once they check with their daughter, or the phone is busy (*66), that doesn’t count – I just document it in the database in the call status field and <ctrl>semi-colon in the call date field to put a timestamp on it and I’m on to the next phone number.  Count the paragraphs and you’ll see how many NO’s I’ve had so far.

†Not many NO’s at all as I only started the write-a-blog-paragraph-each-time-I get-a-NO game on around the 3rd paragraph (that doesn’t include the opening call-dialogue quote, but does include the footnoted paragraphs written in-line – like this one).  I’m actually wanting to procrastinate on the blog writing in favour of the calling, it’s going so well.  But first let me tell you about one interesting call that brought tears to my eyes, and from the emotion in my callers voice, I would likely say that it brought tears to my customer’s eyes as well.  Stay tuned, that’s coming up right after this calling break.

I think there were probably at least two or three very interesting calls that I could write about – I’m a writer (though not professionally) besides making the very best sausage you can find anywhere.  Sometimes when I am in the midst of the mundane task of calling customers it’s as if God sends me a sparkling jewel to remind me that there is more to life than making a living.

I’m thinking back to a call, earlier this year, to one of my very best customers  as I was preparing for my annual Leamington-and-area sausage deliveries in February and there are tears in my eyes as I write.  On that day, I could hardly continue talking on the phone, my emotions made it difficult for me, because of her and her family’s tremendous loss that was still so painfully fresh when I made the call.  I don’t want to give any more details about this experience but even this was for the good as I felt it was ordained by God that I called that customer on that day.

This morning one of my best customers spoke of her granddaughter who was on her way today to the U.S.A. where she is accepting a scholarship for university.  I’m sure she is so proud of her granddaughter’s achievements which allowed her to earn this scholarship, but the concern that she expressed was for her spiritual well-being going away to study.  I said that I’d pray for this grand-daughter whenever I thought of the school where she is going to study.  That will be fairly often as the school, or state, has produced many fine football coaches that have worked in Canada in the CFL and also in our universities.  (I’ve been a CFL and Golden Hawks fan for a long time).

I really liked when my customer told me what was on her heart on this day.  God has always provided for me quite well through this sausage business passed down from my father.  In recent years I’ve seen great things happen in around the business.  I have the faith that comes from seeing God act in my life.  I’ve come through a few very challenging experiences myself and now sometimes I feel called alongside others when they need support.  For sausage lasts for 6 or 8 months when kept properly in a freezer, but the spiritual side of us, I know, that keeps forever.

Rejoice with me, for I finished all 87 calls and this blog is thus complete!

Garden Stew

stew contents
stew contents – fresh from the market or rescued from the fridge

I was able to finish up work soon after 1pm today, which usually means that I’ll stop somewhere on the way home.  Very near to the sausage plant in Laval is the Marché 440.  I don’t know if it is the only market in Laval but it is an excellent place to buy fruits, vegetables, honey and much more.  Wanting to make it quick – just needed a flat of raspberries while they are in season locally – I transacted for the fruit at the closest vendor, one of the best – but since I had to pay across the aisle where they have an extensive selection of vegetables, I quickly added a cabbage, cauliflower, lettuce, carrots, string beans, tomatoes and new potatoes to my bill.  And then I stopped at my favourite supermarket on Avenue du Parc  where I have learned to speedshop. 50 cents of metred parking only buys me 10 minutes. Let’s just say that I didn’t have to use any of my time today in the produce section.

The original idea was to make raspberry jam when I got home, but since neither Carol nor I had had any lunch and I was bringing home some freshly smoked sausage from work, I knew I had all the ingredients on hand for a hearty lunch on a rainy day.  Put the berries on ice and pulled out some cooking pots (des casseroles, comme on dit ici).  I think I have a garden stew recipe posted on my original personal website. Yes, still there at: Continue reading