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In the Kitchen with Jan of Family Bites

Meet Jannise Scott, the creative mind (and party-goer and doer) behind Family Bites, a family-oriented food and party planning blog she writes from her home in Toronto, Ontario. Jan is also the food editor at savvymom.ca and blogger for Huffington Post Canada. I had the pleasure of meeting her two years ago and loved her instantly. She is a kind, caring and creative soul of the sort I’d love to have living down the street, so that I could see her more often and have her over for coffee. Jan is so positive, supportive and encouraging, as enthusiastic about other peoples’ projects as she is about her own, that she inspired me to launch a series of getting-to-know you posts, a bit of behind-the-scenes Q and A to get to know our blogging community a little better.

Also? When it comes to party planning, Jan is a bit of a genius – but not in an overly precious, Martha sort of way – her ideas are totally doable, affordable, and don’t require excessive creative skill. She’s a fantastic resource, whether you’re looking for birthday party ideas or how to pull off a fabulous Easter brunch. I can hardly wait to see what she’s going to come up with next!

So without any further ado – meet Jan!

FK: Who taught you how to cook?

JS: I did. My parents were “non-granola” hippies who completely embraced the idea of canned and packaged foods. I think they were enamoured with the convenience, and didn’t mind sacrificing freshness and taste for that. When I was ten I started to experiment in the kitchen, and by the sixth grade I was cooking dinner regularly for our family.


Jan’s DIY S’more Gift Box is perfect for giving!

FK: What are your favourite cookbooks?

JS: My very favourite cookbook is Apples for Jam by Tessa Kiros. The recipe are simple, but flavourful, and the epitome of what I like to cook for my family. The recipes in the book are also arranged by colour, instead of ingredient, which I love. I have all of the Barefoot Contessa cookbooks, and I reference them constantly. I have yet to make a recipe from those books that didn’t turn out perfectly. The very first cookbook I bought online was by the lovely Julie Van Rosendaal. It’s called Grazing and I refer to it often, especially when I’m planning food for a party, as I think it’s packed with the most excellent ideas and recipes for that type of eating.

Try Jan’s layered jam jar breakfast cranberry granola parfait!

FK: List ten things in your fridge at the moment.

JS: Plain yogurt, Dijon mustard, milk, eggs, cheese, wine, leeks, fennel, buttermilk, and homemade fleur de sel caramel sauce.

FK: What five people, alive or dead, would you love to sit down to dinner with?

JS: This is such a difficult question to answer! I’m going to immediately exclude people I know, or people I have had dinner with, because I would immediately default to my husband and our two boys, the very best dining companions a girl could ask for. Having said that, I think I would love to surround myself with people I envision to be great eaters and great conversationalists.

It may sound cliche, but Julia Child would definitely be at the top of my list. Not just because she became one of the world’s most famous chefs/authors, but because I would love to hear her talk about her life in France so many years ago.

Laurie Colwin would also be in attendance. She wrote two of my very favourite books ever, Home Cooking and More Home Cooking, and I think she would be a great dining companion.

Adele. I couldn’t love her music more than I do, and she totally seems like my kind of girl. She would certainly add some sass to the table, which would be so fun.

Tina Fey. Another girl-crush of mine. She could talk about the phone book, and I’m sure it would be funny and smart, two of my favourite combinations in anyone.


Jan has some great ideas for a jungle-themed party!

FK: What would you cook for them? Or would you eat out/have someone else cook?

JS: We’d all cook together! I love the idea of setting up a long harvest table outside with twinkling lights, good music, plenty of wine and fabulous food like grilled meats and veggies, fresh salads, lots of cheeses and breads, and plenty of fresh fruits and rustic desserts.

FK: If you could have any meal right now, what would it be?

JS: My very favourite meal in the world is the unglamourous, yet totally delcious, eggs and potatoes. They can be cooked any way, but I love the combination of fried potatoes and scrambled eggs. Or roasted potatoes topped with a poached egg. My second favourite meal is French onion soup, so if the eggs and potatoes weren’t available I would definitely go for the soup.

Thanks Jan, for helping us get to know you a little better! To follow her work, check out Jan’s blog, Family Bites, or follow her on Twitter!

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