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Leslie’s Story: Good food and hospitality

Leslie grew up in Halifax with what she calls the ‘Maritime values’ of good food and hospitality. "When I was growing up people didn’t have a lot of money, but when you’d walk into someone’s house, you’d always be offered food.”

Helping your neighbours and sharing food were foundational in both her mother’s and grandmother’s kitchens. “My grandmother’s family was very large so there were always people to feed.”

Now, Leslie lives in Dartmouth North where she continues to live these Maritime values as a volunteer at The North Grove. When work became scarce due to COVID-19, Leslie was looking for something meaningful to do. One of her neighbours mentioned The North Grove was looking for volunteers, so she signed up!

“It’s a reason to get up in the morning, get there and do something that I see has value.”

As someone with a lot of experience working in commercial kitchens, Leslie describes The North Grove’s kitchen as “...excellent to work in. I am impressed by the layout, organization, and cleanliness.” She likes the volunteer work because “it’s something I know. I know how to cut a potato and wash carrots.”

Leslie can relate to The North Grove’s way of cooking big batches of hearty food with affordable and simple ingredients.

One of her grandmother’s classic recipes was for molasses cookies. “They last forever, make a very large recipe, only take 4-5 minutes to cook, and are delicious!” Leslie later learned the roots of her grandmother’s molasses cookies go back to the 18th century. “They are also called Joe Froggers, named after Joseph Brown, a Black Indigenous tavern keeper in Massachusetts.” His wife Lucretia invented the cookies, which were as big as the lily pads on the nearby frog pond. They were very popular with sailors who would pack them to take on voyages.

While the recipe may have changed on its way to her grandmother’s kitchen, the values of it remain the same; sharing good food and hospitality.


Volunteers are the heart of The North Grove. You make our programs possible: helping with everything from food prep and clean-up to helping out on the farm, child development and more.



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