Story: Tunes and Wooden Spoons with Mary Janet MacDonald

Tunes and Wooden Spoons with Mary Janet MacDonald

The Greenwell”s arrived in Cape Breton by way of Mary Janet MacDonald’s Stepdance video given to Michelle by a student in 1995. Michelle was teaching Highland Dance along with Tap, Jazz, Ballet and more at her Dance Debut studio in Cochrane, Alberta. She was asked to offer a stepdance class for the adults. Quickly discovering that she did not have the knowledge to go beyond the most basics, despite her years of dance education, Michelle reached out to Mary Janet. The rest is history….Mary Janet graced the Dance Debut studios with two amazing workshops, and that led to two performance tours of the group to Cape Breton Island, and one to Scotland. Other stepdancers and musicans also came to teach including Mac Morin, Andrea Beaton, Wendy MacIsaac, Pius MacIsaac, Richard Wood, Margie MacDonald, to name a few. As well as different concert series with Nathalie MacMaster, Joel Chaisson, JP Cormier, Hilda Cormier, Dave Gunning, and more.

Fast forward to the Greenwell’s moving to Cape Breton Island and enjoying the dance and music full time. Michelle continued to teach dance for almost a decade, and continues with stepdance lessons online for adults. What does this have to do with tea?

Mary Janet MacDonald was the first to share the tradition of the tea pot on the back of the stove full of King Cole tea. Milk and sugar were a necessity after the tea sitting on the stove all day brewing with 10 – 20 tea bags. A true “eye opener”. It seemed only fitting that when Michelle started her podcast “Be Well with Dr. Michelle Greenwell” that Mary Janet be the first guest. You can find that clip here:

tall glass of tea with a spoon figurine of a fiddler

Fast forward again to Mary Janet’s incredible run of Tunes and Wooden Spoons gaining her two published cookbooks, guest appearances, travel, and awards. In Feb 2023 Michelle was a guest on Mary Janet’s show and tea needed to be a highlight. Merry Moments was created to highlight the baking and recipes that Mary Janet shared across her weekly episodes for three years during the pandemic. You can see the clip here: The blend was created with the assistance of Michelle’s mom, Yvonne Waines, and her sister, Charlene Waines – both of whom learned to stepdance with Mary Janet. The dance shoes on the package were the addition of Yvonne’s sketching abilities. It was an exciting day to share the Merry Moments tea blend with Mary Janet, as well as a great conversation on the show.

If you are looking for a great tea blend that is reminiscent of apple pie, or apple crumble, this tea is it. Paired with shortbread or a strong cheddar cheese, it can be a great offering to guests after dinner, or for a wee chat
The Switchel recipe features this tea blend and is a favourite in the Greenwell household. Other tea blends can be used in the recipe, but the ginger, cinnamon, cloves combination is beautiful.

It has been an honour and a pleasure to have shared many fun times with Mary Janet and the MacDonald family. Congratulations Mary Janet on all that you have brought forward to support your community over the years. You are a true Cape Breton Ambassador. Cheers with a cup of Merry Moments!

Originally Posted: MARCH 13, 2024

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