Flowers from the Bird Lady

BIRDLADY from FORTNIGHT LINGERIE on Vimeo. Parkdale, my neighbourhood since 1993, is known for its many characters. People who make the place unique and colourful, people who definitely dance to their own drummer. For 90 some-odd years, one of those characters was Annie Ross. Born in the building that stands on the south-west corner of […]

Read More

Won’t You Take Me To Hungry Town

Tom Fitzmorris’s Hungry Town: A Culinary History of New Orleans, the City Where Food Is Almost Everything Tom Fitzmorris Stewart, Tabori & Chang, 2010, 224 pages Anybody who has ever strolled the streets of New Orleans, lazy with the humidity and history, overcome by the wafting smells of magnolias interspersed with a blast of jambalaya, […]

Read More

Book Review Week

Writers sometimes joke that being a writer is like doing homework all the time. The essays and book reviews we are relieved to be rid of when we leave school are a constant in our daily work lives. If someone had told me 30 years ago that I’d willingly write “book reports” for a living […]

Read More

On Professional Food Blogging

There’s an interesting piece on the Guardian’s food blog today about “professional food bloggers”, that is, people who started blogging and then went on to get book deals or paid writing gigs. The piece mostly looks at the realm of recipe bloggers and cook books, comparing the fresh voices of bloggers with the work of […]

Read More

Canadian Wine In Your Cooking

Built in the late 80s, our building, while considered swank in its day, still boasts a shared laundry room. Inside the door of the laundry room is a small counter that serves as a makeshift swap shop. Got old books and magazines? Leave them there. Old dishes, baby clothes, or home decor items? Somebody wants […]

Read More

When is a Badass Not a Badass?

Medium Raw Anthony Bourdain Harper Collins, 281 pages, 2010, $28.99CA I was surprised, upon reading Medium Raw, to see that the sharp-clawed Anthony Bourdain had become a bit of a pussycat. And a timid one at that. Bourdain has made a whole career out of being a tell-it-like-it-is, in-your-face kind of guy. He shit-talked people […]

Read More

Not So Bright

There must be thousand of titles on bookstore shelves that deal with positive thinking. Achieve your goals, get your perfect mate, advance your career… all by simply being positive. Did you ever stop to wonder how many people that system actually works for? Author Barbara Ehrenreich did, and wrote a book about it called Bright-Sided: […]

Read More

Trauma Farm

Trauma Farm Brian Brett Greystone Books, 320 pages, $21.95 I almost didn’t give Trauma Farm a chance. Salt Springs Island farmer Brian Brett is also a poet (it’s his main source of income, in fact, and he jokes throughout the book that it supports his farming habit), and the first couple of chapters came off […]

Read More

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 […]

Read More

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 […]

Read More

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 […]

Read More