Book Review — Catharine Parr Traill’s The Female Emigrant’s Guide: Cooking with a Canadian Classic

Catharine Parr Traill’s The Female Emigrant’s Guide: Cooking with a Canadian Classic Edited by Nathalie Cooke and Fiona Lucas McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2017 In our easy 21st century life, we think we’re “roughing it” when the power goes out for a few hours. But the first emigrants to Canada not only didn’t have power, they also didn’t have […]

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A Square Meal by Jane Ziegelman, Andrew Coe

Book Review — A Square Meal

A Square Meal Jane Ziegelman, Andrew Coe Harper Collins, 2016 The United States is known as “the land of plenty” but there were points in history when that was absolutely not the case. During most of the 1930s, unemployment was high, crops failed due to drought, and much of the US population was subjected to […]

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Book Review — How to Taste

How to Taste Becky Selengut Sasquatch Books, 2018 We spend a lot of time learning to taste beverages such as wine, beer, gin, and even coffee, but seldom are non-chefs taught the intricacies of tasting food. Or more specifically, how to cook food to maximize its taste. In How to Taste, food writer, chef and […]

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Cover of The Belly of Paris by Emile Zola

Book Review — The Belly of Paris

The Belly of Paris (Les Rougon-Macquart #3) Emile Zola originally published 1873, reprint with introduction and translation by Mark Kurlansky, Modern Library, 2009 We all have that one book that we feel that we should have read but just never got around to. For me, that book was Emile Zola’s The Belly of Paris or The Fat and the […]

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Book Review — Incorrigible

Incorrigible Velma Demerson The Mercer Reformatory for Females is gone now, torn down in the late 1960s and replaced with Lamport Stadium near the intersection of King West and Dufferin in Toronto. I live nearby and walk past the place a few times every week. Since reading Incorrigible by Velma Demerson, I am haunted by what […]

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Book Review — Shrewed

Shrewed Elizabeth Renzetti Aw dudes, I suck so much at keeping my 2018 reading list up to date, mostly because it’s all food books and cookbooks (not all of them good, either!), but I want to mention this book somewhere that people see it (because while I seldom update here, this blog still gets a […]

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Book Review — Pomegranate Soup

Pomegranate Soup Marsha Mehran Random House, 2006 It’s 1986 and three Iranian sisters find themselves in the small town of Ballinacroagh, County Mayo, Ireland. They arrive suddenly, taking over a long-closed bakery space with plans to rush an opening of a Persian-themed cafe in only five days. They have escaped Iran via Pakistan and London, […]

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Give a Girl a Knife

Give a Girl a Knife Amy Thielen Clarkson Potter, 2017 There’s a point in any professional cook’s life where you have to decide whether to keep cooking professionally — to really push for your own restaurant, your own empire, as it were —or whether to move on to another career, hopefully food-related. The human body […]

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Oyster: A Global History

Oyster: A Global History Carolyn Tillie Reaktion Books, 2017 Consider the oyster. No, I mean really. Having existed for 234 million years and having been consumed by humans in quantity for 164,000 years, they are our oldest food. Oyster shells have been found in excavations of ancient Troy and the first reference to oysters in […]

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Book Review — Sourdough

Sourdough Robin Sloan MCD Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2017 It might be too early to call it, being only February and all, but Sourdough is already a contender for my top fiction pick of the year. This work of Magical Realism (a genre that combines fact with magical elements) is subtle enough on the weirdness […]

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Book Review — The Ghost Orchard

The Ghost Orchard Helen Humphreys Harper Collins, 2017 While it first appears to be a simple exploration of lost North American apple varieties, The Ghost Orchard dredges up other kinds of ghosts and other types of loss in a lacy web of colonialism, agriculture, and human relationships. Taken on when her friend Joanne Page was […]

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Book Review — The Cake Therapist

The Cake Therapist Judith Fertig Berkeley, 2015 There are many genres of food fiction that we’ll explore on this site as we go along, but the most prominent are the food-themed mysteries and food-themed romances. Cookbook writer Judith Fertig makes an attempt at combining the two in her first novel The Cake Therapist. After a […]

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Best Non-Fiction of 2017

There was less non-fiction in my 2017 reading list, but so much of it was incredibly inspiring, and I really had trouble coming up with my favourites, although #1 and #2 just blew me away. 1. Les Parisiennes Anne Sebba This is a wholly comprehensive look at Parisienne women during WW2. Edith Piaf, for instance, worked with […]

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Best Fiction of 2017

Last year, I managed to read 111 books. It was actually closer to 120 but there were a few I didn’t include on my big list, either for personal reasons (self-help or psychology books), or because I bailed less than halfway through. But I wanted to take a look back at my favourite titles and […]

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Just Say No to Fashion Mags

This started as a book review of Face Value: The Hidden Ways Beauty Shapes Women’s Lives by Autumn Whitefield-Madrano. And, I admit it – before I write a book review, I usually head over to GoodReads to see what other people thought of it. Not to crib their thoughts but to get a general consensus […]

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The Man in the Blue Jacket

I never met Bill Cunningham. He never took my photo and published in in the New York Times. But like millions of people around the world, the news of his death at 87 this past Saturday brought me to tears. He seemed – from the 2010 documentary about him and from the voice-overs he did […]

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Book Review – The Lost Art of Dress

The Lost Art of Dress: The Women Who Once Made America Stylish by Linda Przybyszewski If I ran the world, every child, starting at about age 10, would be required to take some kind of “home”-related course. I hesitate to call this home ec, because there are certain connotations to “home economics” of olde tymes, […]

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Book Review – Please Kill Me

Please Kill Me – The Uncensored Oral History of Punk Legs McNeil and Gillian McCain With apologies to junkies past and present, fuck me, junkies are tiresome. Nevermind that the majority of the most creative talents of the punk generation were hooked on something, and that the junk might have had some bearing on the […]

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Four Books on Goth

In my exploration of Nu Goth and Dark Mori recently, one of the points I kept coming across was that the Goth kids of today just didn’t take the time to learn about the origins of their subculture. And while there is plenty of information online for anyone capable of using the Goggle box, for […]

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What Are You, Nu?

While it’s heartening to see young people still dressing in a Goth style, are these kids in their floppy black hats and crucifixes “real” Goths? The debate over Nu Goth has been taking place for a few years now, a weird conversation really, given the misuse of “nu” to denote a resurgence of something that never really went away. […]

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Book Review – Fear and Clothing

Fear and Clothing: Unbuckling American Style Cintra Wilson Style is the collision point between our fantasies of who we are, the larger realities we live with and the way we are perceived by others. As much as I appreciate the sincerity and empowerment behind style campaigns like #fuckflattering or “I wear what I want”, I […]

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One of a Kind Fashion Finds

The One Of a Kind artisan show takes place in Toronto twice a year (there’s also a version in Chicago), and the holiday event attracts almost 800 artisans, designers and craftspeople. While the goods range from tasty to twee, OOAK has become a major event for many indie clothing and accessory designers from across Canada. We […]

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When Style and Art Combine

Most of the people I know who have come out of alternative music scenes also tend to have an alternative sense of style. They work really hard to ensure they look unique, avoiding the mall or mainstream stores, as well as specific sub-culture clichés, in order to rock a look that is all their own. They usually […]

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Alo! Alo!

So these are from a visit on July 29th (was sick, then travelling, then sick again… really. Stupid recirculated airplane air.), so the menu at Alo might have completely changed in the meantime, but we were so taken with Chef Patrick Kriss’ lovely new spot at Queen and Spadina that I couldn’t just leave these photos […]

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Book Review – Stir

Stir – My Broken Brain and the Meals that Brought Me Home Jessica Fechtor In February of this year, I got knocked down in the street. A complete accident, it occurred as a woman was stepping out of a shop door and wasn’t watching where she was going. She slammed into my back and sent […]

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Review – Fixing Fashion: Rethinking the Way We Make, Market and Buy Our Clothes by Michael Lavergne

Fixing Fashion: Rethinking the Way We Make, Market and Buy Our Clothes by Michael Lavergne There are plenty of books on the market bemoaning the sad state of the mainstream fashion industry from working conditions to the life-cycle of the average fast fashion garment. And while they are all well-written, carefully researched, and offer inspiration to […]

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Toronto’s Got Fleas!

While most people will still flock to the mall for their shopping needs, Toronto has a whole sub-culture of individuals who are looking for unique and interesting stuff – whether that’s clothing, food, or gift and decor items – and they’ve been finding these cool and creative wares at one of the many neighbourhood-based flea […]

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