A hot and sunny day presented an ideal opportunity to shoot the front cover image in Tugg’s Furniture Store. Taking inspiration from the diet of operatic favourites on the stereo, by about three o’clock we were ready to move on to the interview stage of the proceedings, but it appeared Carol Weir had other ideas. Noting that we had not had lunch, despite spending hours over photographing a delectable dish from the nearby Craft Food House, Carol considerately offered us a slice of zucchini bread. Naturally, this was not going to be refused and apart from assuaging our hunger, was totally delicious.
Carole then confided that she had made it herself and this led me to suggest that she might like to consider sharing the recipe with our readers: a request Carole gladly accepted.
Trying to get the interview on track and discuss the business of furniture retailing in the current climate, I spoke to Carol’s right hand man, Eliza. But still I did not learn anything about furniture: instead I discovered that Eliza has been making hand sewn face masks to sell at the store to fund the purchasing of material with which to make quilts, that are then sold to benefit Northumberland Mental Health. Carol who grew up in Cobourg said that, “It is all about community here.” Then I discovered that Eliza also was something of a baker with a reputation for a particular bread recipe. I could not resist the opportunity to inquire if we might share this recipe as well.
After making a further attempt to get this interview back on topic I glean from Carol that, “Tuggs Furniture Store opened its doors on Division Street way back in the challenging days of the depression in 1929, as a used furniture store. Now we occupy one of the towns’ many fine buildings and present three full floors of furniture options: everything from sofas and chairs to tables and bedroom suites to stools, office furniture and entertainment centres.”
Following my exploration of the three floors my attention is attracted to an old and somewhat worn sign on a ground floor wall offering the following advice, “The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of the cheap price is forgotten.”
This instigates discussion about the differing qualities of furniture and what certain descriptions pertaining to furniture might actually mean: “Designed in Italy” could also possibly mean “Made In China,” “Shipped from Toronto,” is quite meaningless and “Made in Toronto,” might merely mean “Assembled in Toronto from foreign components.” If you want to be confident of buying Canadian made furniture, an unambiguous “Made in Canada” is what to look for.
Carole’s advice to prospective furniture buyers is to have a proper budget for their purchase, just like buying a car or a house. Observing “that most people spend more time sitting on their furniture than they spend in their car, perhaps people should re-examine their priorities.” She recommends buying furniture from reputable brands that will last. Certain aspects of the industry have encouraged the perception of furniture as almost fashion items, and therefore disposable. This is an environmental irresponsible attitude that can potentially consign barely used material to the landfill, simply because it is no longer fashionable.
Carole comments, “It’s not so much what it looks like on the outside, as what’s on the inside...things may not always made as they used to be. Our customers are able to benefit from our many, many years of experience in the furniture industry. We stand by the products we sell.”
In the present climate, less people are venturing out, but those that do are more committed to making a purchase and Carol notes that an increasing number of people are willing to pay a little more to make their purchase from Canadian manufacturers and support the country’s economy. Shopping locally goes along way to supporting the local economy and that in turn allows local retailers to support their communities.
Zucchini Loaf Recipe
2 cups white sugar 3 cups floor
3 eggs 2 tsp baking powder
1 cup olive oil 3 tsp cinnamon
2 cups grated zucchini 1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda 1 cup chopped walnuts or choco
3 tsp vanilla -late chips...if the latter reduce sug
-ar to 1.5 cups
Mix all dry ingredients
Best eggs and sugar till creamy
Add oil, zucchini, vanilla
Combine and add nuts or chocolate chips
Bake at 350f for an hour. Allow to cool before serving.
Beer and Herb Bread Recipe courtesy of Eliza Dinner.
3 cups All Purpose flour
1table spoon baking powder
1 table spoon of sugar
1 tea spoon of salt
1/4 tea spoon dill seed
355ml warm ale, preferably dark
12 shakes Mrs. Dash Herb and Garlic (no salt)
12 shakes Club House Vegetable and Herb (no salt)
Thoroughly mix all ingredients
Place in suitable loaf pan
Pour over 1/3 cup of melted butter
Bake at 375F for 45 to 50 mins or till fork comes out clean
Allow to cool on rack. Wrap in ziplock bag for 5 to 6 hours which will make the bread easier to slice.