The Food of a Younger Land

The Food Of A Younger Land Edited and illustrated by Mark Kurlansky Riverhead Books; 397 pages; $27.95 Seasonal, local, traditional. Before a certain period in time, these were the only options. There were no cross-country distribution networks, no fast food chains. And vast countries like the US had true regional cuisine. Author Mark Kurlansky came […]

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Getting Grubby

Grow Great Grub: Organic Food from Small Spaces Gayla Trail Clarkson Potter, paperback, copyright 2010, 207 pages, $19.95 It’s a romantic notion to think that we could all move to the country and start a farm. The fact is, the majority of people live in cities out of necessity, and few of us have space […]

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Nose in a Book

It’s a sad fact that most of the reading I do nowadays is work-related. 200+ news articles a day to sort through for Save Your Fork and TasteTO, books to review, articles to edit. And even my “just for fun” stack of reading tends towards food theory. Before the holidays I combed the book guides […]

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Stupid Is as Stupid Does

The foodie intarwebs are abuzz about a recent post by cookbook author Michael Ruhlman claiming that Americans are being taught that they’re too stupid to cook. While I get Ruhlman’s point (lots of people are making a profit on processed food because people are scared to try and cook food themselves), there’s a condescension to […]

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The End of Overeating

The End of Overeating: Taking Control of the Insatiable North American Appetite David A. Kessler M.D. Rodale Books 2009, 336 pages, hardcover I am one of those people who cannot walk past a plate of cookies. I’m not a binger – I’d never dream of eating the whole plate at once. But over the course […]

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Down(town) On the Farm

Farm City Novella Carpenter Penguin Press, 2009, hardcover, 276 pages Idyllic dreams of moving to the country to become a farmer abound – in this era of local food and “who’s your farmer”, most people involved in the local food scene long for their own garden patch and flock of chickens. We tell ourselves it’s […]

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The Book Nook

As usual, I’ve got a stack of food-related books piling up here by the desk and I just can’t get around to reviewing them. To the point where it’s been so long I forget a lot of what is in them. So instead of full post reviews, I’m just going to do some brief recaps […]

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How Sweet It Is

Sweet!: The Delicious Story of Candy By Ann Love and Jane Drake; Illustrated by Claudia Davila Tundra Books; $14.99, 64 pp. softcover publication April 14th, 2009 (hardcover © 2007) Some might say that a book about candy, with kids as the target market, could be a little off-base in this era of childhood obesity and […]

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The Compassionate Carnivore

The Compassionate Carnivore: Or, How to Keep Animals Happy, Save Old MacDonald’s Farm, Reduce Your Hoofprint, and Still Eat Meat by Catherine Friend Da Capo Press, 2008, 291 pages I read this book over the holidays and it’s been sitting on my desk waiting for a review ever since. It’s not that I didn’t want […]

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On the Shelf – Book Edition

As I mentioned in yesterdays post – companies send us stuff. Often stuff that we can’t use in our regular articles because it’s not Toronto-specific. This includes books. Sometimes they just appear at my door unannounced. And while some readers might think this makes mine the dream job, keep in mind that I’m expected to […]

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Go West, Young Man

Some say Vancouver is overtaking Toronto as the ultimate Canadian foodie town. I don’t travel much, so I can’t vouch for that personally, but love of my city forces me to say, “Is NOT!!” However, Vancouver is definitely attracting some spectacular talent, and I was lucky enough to attend a luncheon recently featuring the dishes […]

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Words on a Plate

As an editor and a writer, I spend a lot of time reading the works of other published writers, working under the theory that only if you are exposed to great writing can you begin to emulate it. By noticing the tricks and tools that accomplished writers use, another writer can, without copying a particular […]

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Cooking the Books

Despite being what would inevitably fit into the classic definition of a “foodie”, I don’t buy a lot of cookbooks. As is obvious from this blog, I don’t post a lot of recipes, and while I do love to cook and try new things in the kitchen, I tend not to be a big cookbook […]

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The Land of Chocolate

Today I will write the post about the GD chocolate book!!! In fact, there’s no need for cursing. The chocolate book, aka. Chocolate: A Bittersweet Saga of Dark and Light by Mort Rosenblum was a magnificent read that I thoroughly enjoyed. Which is why I felt it was so important to review it here, and […]

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Tee-Totaler

A Social History of Tea Jane Pettigrew The National Trust Every afternoon at 3pm, I have a cup of tea. It doesn’t matter the weather or the season, if it’s hot I’ll have it iced, but every afternoon, barring some great calamity, I take a break from my day to have a cup of tea […]

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No Grain, No Pain

Everyday Grain-Free Gourmet: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner Jodi Bager and Jenny Lass Whitecap, 2008 Imagine a world where bread hurts. I don’t mean getting whacked in the head with a baguette, but where eating bread or rice or a gooey cinnamon roll causes real illness and pain. For people suffering from celiac disease, items made […]

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The Miracle Worker

Some random thoughts about Barbara Kingsolver’s book, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life… I think it should be a rule that books about food should be written by fiction writers as opposed to scientists or even journalists. Kingsolver is just better at describing everything, and she has the skill to make it all […]

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Order Up

Service Included by Phoebe Damrosch With all the hype about celebrity chefs these days, we tend to overlook one very important component of any restaurant crew – the server. While cheffing is most definitely hard work, it can pay off in cookbooks, endorsement deals, TV shows or at the very least, chef groupies. No fame […]

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Alice in Wonderland

I once worked for a woman who was a whirlwind. Driven, creative, incredibly knowledgeable in her field, kind as can be, she nevertheless drove me and every other person who worked for her right around the bend. She was one of those folks who took on more and more work, spreading herself too thin, ignoring […]

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Slave to the Kitchen

  You’ve gotta have a lot of respect, and a healthy does of fear, for someone who can make Gordon Ramsay cry. Anyone who has spent hours watching Hell’s Kitchen wondering where the hell Ramsay learned to run a kitchen like THAT can look no further than his teacher and mentor, Marco Pierre White. The […]

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Turning the Tables

I’ve had this book sitting on my desk for so long that I’ve partially forgotten what the damn thing’s about. But it’s been sitting here because I’ve been meaning to write about it, because I not only enjoyed it but found it incredibly useful. Food bloggers will likely recognize the name Steven Shaw as the […]

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If you Can’t Stand the Heat

Bill Buford hurts my head. That’s really my first thought when I try to size up the book Heat, An Amateur’s Adventures as Kitchen Slave, Line Cook, Pasta-Maker and Apprentice to a Dante-Quoting Butcher in Tuscany. He hurts my head because he may well be obsessive-compulsive, and the book is really the literary equivalent of […]

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The Making of a Chef

First, a disclaimer. The content of this post is not intended to sound pretentious or condescending. It is not my intention to look down on the home cook (I am one myself), or to sneer at people who have not gone through a culinary arts programme. I’ve always hated when people with university degrees look […]

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That’s Just Nasty

I have a great deal of respect for Anthony Bourdain. Not for his ex-junkie, drinking, smoking, vegetarian-hating, pig-killing, squeasel-eating antics, but because he tells it like it is. He’s one of those folks who talk first and think later, someone who regularly gets pegged as being the guy who says what everyone else is thinking […]

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Candy Freak

One of the cool things about writing a book about a particular food item is that, whether you consider yourself to be or not, other people will look to you as an expert on that topic, and will heap free samples upon you in the hope that you will write about them. I met author […]

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Cooking For Dummies

It’s pretty much been determined that The Food Network has been dumbed down to make it more “entertaining” as opposed to educational. Cooking shows never give you the recipe for things anymore, and viewers choose their programming based on pretty hair, big boobs and which TV celebrity chef has the most gadgets for sale. Apparently […]

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Eat Like a Canadian

Canadians at Table – A Culinary History of Canada Dorothy Duncan When I was in junior high school, I was very excited about taking history class. That was until I got to that class and realized “history” was really all about who won what war, and not about how people really lived. Feminists would interject […]

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That’s Not Healthy

I came across a cooking magazine a couple of weeks ago that I’d never seen before. Healthy Cooking Magazine has a tagline of “simple solutions, healthy alternatives”. I don’t buy a lot of cooking magazines, to be truthful, and grabbed this one only because it was on a shelf next to Eating Well and I […]

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The End of Food

I first heard about Thomas F. Pawlick’s The End of Food, when my editor at Gremolata interviewed him last year. I had forgotten that interview when I finally got around to reading the book, and ended up not liking the book very much, mostly for reasons that had nothing to do with Pawlick’s message and […]

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Chefs!

I’m working my way through a stack of books received as Christmas presents, and while different both topically and stylistically, all seem to have one underlying theme; They’re all about chefs. The United States of Arugula – How We Became a Gourmet Nation by David Kamp is less the history of gourmet food as it […]

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Gastronaut

The term “Gastronaut” for some reason clicks a switch in my head where I immediately start humming the song “Supernaut” by the band 1000 Homo DJs. One has nothing to do with the other, so it’s more than a little disconcerting. References to 90s industrial music aside, Gastronaut author Stefan Gates has gone where few […]

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The Way We Eat

The Way We Eat – Why Our Food Choices Matter by Jim Mason and Peter Singer I generally have two concerns with any book about food ethics. First and foremost, that the authors are inadvertently “preaching to the choir”; that is, unless you are already interested or concerned about where your food comes from, you’re […]

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Food Fight

Food Fight – The Inside Story of the Food Industry, America’s Obesity Crisis and What We Can Do About It by Dr. Kelly Brownell and Katherine Battle Horgen The number one rule to remember when reading studies, works of non-fiction, even the news, is that everyone approaches a piece with a bias. When it comes […]

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Book Review – What To Eat

What to Eat – An Aisle by Aisle Guide to Savvy Food Choices and Good Eating by Marion Nestle The supermarket can be an intimidating place if you’re trying to eat healthy. Figuring out good food choices can require an advanced education in math, science and possibly even advertising. It’s enough to send one running […]

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We need more eye of newt

You know, you can take the girl outta the goth; you can destroy her Sisters of Mercy albums, you can slather her in cold cream and get all that black gunk off her face, you can take her bat-shaped purse away, you can take her black clothes and… well, nevermind that. But sometimes you just […]

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Don’t Eat This Book

As I mentioned a few weeks ago in my opening editorial, I firmly believe that most people who care about good food know that junk food is bad for them. How can you not know that fact? What worries me, and apparently, also worries Morgan Spurlock, is that even though we all know this to […]

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