34 Kingston This Week * Frontenac This Week * Thursday, May 2, 2013

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A taste of spring

Here in the South of France, where I am spending a couple of weeks locked up in an old stone barn, writing, it is unseasonably cold. It has also been raining, a lot. Which is all fabulous because it's conducive to getting some work done. I could be locked up in a barn anywhere, I suppose. But being here, in the Languedoc-Roussillon region, is perfect. It's rural and quiet. The countryside is ruggedly 1 fi nely chopped medium onion 1 fi nely chopped clove garlic 1 ½ cups short grain Italian rice 1 lb asparagus 12 cremini mushrooms 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil 4 oz grated cheddar 5 cups vegetable stock ½ cup dry white wine Freshly grated parmesan to garnish Trim asparagus, and break into 1 inch pieces, and set aside. Wash and slice mushrooms and set aside. Grate cheddar and Lindy Mechefske Fresh Perspective beautiful. The rocky Cévennes Mountains are visible in the distance. The local villages are old, working villages - not touristy - but with a c h a r m o f t h e i r o w n . Just beyond my studio in

ASPARAGUS AND CREMINI MUSHROOM RISOTTO (SERVES FOUR)

parmesan. Sauté onions in olive oil until transparent, then add garlic. Add rice and stir for 2 minutes. Add wine stirring constantly. Simmer over med-low heat until the wine is fully absorbed and begin adding stock slowly - continuing to add stock as it is absorbed. When most of the stock is used - in a separate pan, steam asparagus for four to six minutes and gently sauté mushrooms in a little additional olive oil. Add any remaining stock and cheddar to the risotto and continue cooking until all is absorbed. Season risotto with salt and pepper and then serve topped with asparagus, mushrooms and freshly grated parmesan.

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t h e b a r n , i s a r i v e r a n d beyond that, a vineyard. Incredibly, grapevines are said to have existed in this particular area since the Pliocene period, that is, since before the existe n c e o f H o m o s a p i e n s. Hardly surprising then, the importance of wine to the French culture and economy. In terms of volume, the Languedoc is the largest wine producing area in France. Everywhere I look there are ancient stone buildi n g s, s t o n e b r i d g e s a n d stone walls. Perhaps because I spent my early years in the rugged north o f E n g l a n d - w h e re o l d stone buildings and walls abound - I feel completely at home here. It's also part of the reason I love living in Kingston - all the beautiful old limestone. I'm staying in the writer's studio at Le Mas Blanc, the property of Canadian writer Isabel Huggan, who lives for most of the year here in the South of France. She wrote about this place in Belonging, a book that resonated deeply with me. I never once imagined being here until I s t u m b l e d a c ro s s a f o o d blog with a reference to Le Mas Blanc and followed the links. It seems fitting that food should have brought m e h e r e t o F r a n c e a n d more specifically to Le Mas Blanc, where I am spending my days writing and my evenings in the kitchen with Isabel who is not only an award-winning, best-selling writer, a teacher and mentor to m a n y a s p i r i n g w r i t e r s , a n d a w o n d e r f u l c o o k , but also a gracious hostess. On my first night at Le Mas Blanc, we made a lovely risotto with asparagus bought from a local farmer. Just one of the many things that I admire about France is the importance of high quality ingredients - and particularly their reverence for using fresh local food. By the time I get back to Kingston, it will be the beginning of asparagus season in Ontario. This dish will be up on my chalkboard menu at the first sign of local asparagus. For more information about Le Mas Blanc and Isabel Huggan see: isabelhuggan.com. Fresh Perspective is a monthly food column. Lindy Mechefske is a Kingstonbased freelance writer and photographer, and associate editor of the Queen's Alumni Review. She recently released A Taste of Wintergreen cookbook and blogs about her adventures in the kitchen at www.lindymechefske.com.

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First class graduated in 1975

From Page 3 At this time, the program for nursing assistance associated with hospital-based schools also moved to a number of community colleges. There was a program for the nursing assistant to became the registered nursing assistant at St. Lawrence College. Th e RNA later came what's currently known as the registered practical nurse, or RPN. The registered nurse curriculum started off as a twoyear program with a bit of an overlap in the early 70s as the programs at the hospitals ended, with the last batch of nurses graduating in 1974. St. Lawrence College ushered its fi rst graduating class of nurses to the stage in 1975. Since then, the greatest infl uence to the program has come from nursing groups in the province. "The College of Nurses of Ontario, which is a regulatory legislative body, have tried to outline what safe, accountable practice means," said Cox. "And their mandate is to essentially protect the public. " In the late 80s, and into the 90s, there was a movement out of academia to look for a theoretical model to base the curriculum on. This prompted a number of changes in how nursing was taught. "There was a move to increase the community health component of nursing programs as patient care to some extent, move from an acute setting into the community," said Cox. "So we had to make more evident that component." For many years, nursing was stigmatized as being a profession for women. This, too, has changed. "It varies from year to year," said Cox. "We've probably had up to 10 males as part of the year-one intake for the last few years. That's certainly more than what we saw in the 90s. I also remember when I first started in the late 70s, we had a fairly big male contingent in those early classes. Th at may have been due to a group of RNA's who wanted to enhance their credentials." Clare Rayner, a retired faculty member from the nursing program, has been an integral part of organizing the 40th Anniversary of Nursing at St. Lawrence College, an event held in conjunction with National Nursing Week. On May 7, there will be a brief history of the school, lab tours and digital histories from alumni. The event begins at the college at Davies Hall at 4 p.m. and runs until 6:30 p.m. From there on, it's over to Th e Museum of Health Care for refreshments and displays of memorabilia from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Parking is free at St. Lawrence College and a shuttle between sites is provided. Since 2011, The Museum of Health Care has partnered with the Kingston Nursing Education Past and Present group to hold an event every year for National Nursing Week. Th is year, St. Lawrence College is the focus.

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