Born in Stratford, Ontario, Elizabeth Baird graduated from the University of Toronto with a degree in Modern Languages and Literature and pursued a career in teaching for almost 20 years. Cooking and food, however, were overriding passions. And no wonder -- she came from a family of outstanding cooks and bakers for whom food was central to every gathering. Encouraged to combine her love of teaching and food, in 1974 she published her first book, Classic Canadian Cooking (Lorimer), a best-seller that is still in print. Since her appointment as food editor of Canadian Living magazine in 1987, she has edited 25 cookbooks and been honoured with several media and food writing awards. Her reputation for showcasing Canadian products, new Canadian talent and our multicultural food heritage is renowned. So, too, is her belief that food plays an important role in our social fabric. "Sure, we have to eat to live," Elizabeth says, "but food lovingly prepared and lovingly shared encourages us to connect with each other and to nurture and sustain our rituals, traditions and heritages."