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 — 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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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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Taste of Toronto Festival

Toronto may not be included in the Michelin guide, but we’re the only North American city to be part of the Taste Festival series, which visits 22 cities each year, bringing together some of the best local food businesses and restaurants for a weekend-long celebration of cuisine. A well-curated selection of small food businesses (Mad […]

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Got Game?

Hey y’all! A few weeks back, I had the opportunity to write a feature on local game meat for Toronto’s weekly indie NOW Magazine. Just adding some linkage here to prove it actually happened. 🙂 Got Game – why more Toronto shops and restaurants don’t offer wild-caught meat. Top 5 places to buy game meat […]

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Chowing Down for Change

Last week I had the chance to attend a fantastic dinner event called Chefs For Change. Yes, there are a variety of these types of events taking place throughout the year, many of which are formal with a high ticket price. However, this very reasonably-priced event ($75, drinks extra) not only directed funds to a […]

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Vive Le Québec Dîner at Biff’s

The Oliver & Bonacini Group is a diverse collection of restaurants, many of which serve a specific niche, and a specific style of food.  Biff’s Bistro is well known for their French bistro cuisine, but the food tends to be more France-French than Quebec-French. Fortunately, O&B also gives their chefs creative license to do special […]

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My Friend, Steven Davey, aka Frank

I first met Steven Davey, restaurant critic for NOW magazine, more than 10 years ago. I was running a monthly dining group called Gothic Diners in which Toronto Goths gathered for dinner at local restaurants, usually in all their black finery. Davey heard about our group through a friend of a friend and invited Greg […]

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Hospital Food

This piece was written for my book, Kitchen Party, but somehow, in the transferring of 47 essays and images to the final manuscript, it got lost. I remembered/discovered it this past weekend and was very disappointed, because not only was it written specifically for the book, it is one of my favourite pieces. So I’m […]

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The Processed Way of Eating

Despite my plan to avoid social media while working on my book, I’ve spent the earlier part of this afternoon over on FaceBook discussing meat glue (why yes, I am procrastinating, how did you guess?), and its implications in the greater food service industry, aside from its use in molecular gastronomy. Because it seems that […]

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Lucky Dip – Tuesday, March 27th, 2012

In Toronto: Keriwa Cafe (1690 Queen Street West) had updated their website. All the better to see their monthly menu updates. Chef Justin Cournoyer’s new restaurant Actinolite (971 Ossington Avenue) opens to the public tomorrow (Wednesday, March 28th) serving up a menu with Spanish, Portuguese and Italian influences. Basilio Pesce of Oliver & Bonacini has […]

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Lucky Dip – Friday, March 9th, 2012

In Toronto: Bistro 990 (990 Bay Street) will shut its doors on March 17th. Vegan chef Doug McNish‘s first book Eat Raw, Eat Well will be published on March 20th. It’s available for pre-order at various online booksellers already. Tori’s Bakeshop opens today at 2188 Queen Street East offering vegan, organic and refined sugar-free goodies […]

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The Grove is Gonna Be Groovy

Do not adjust your screens. I know I already wrote a preview of The Grove back in November when I attended a pop-up dinner in conjunction with First Drop Canada. At that point, owners Fritz Wahl, Richard Reyes and Chef Ben Heaton were expecting their Dundas Street restaurant to be ready to go before Christmas. […]

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Lucky Dip – Thursday, March 8th, 2012

In Toronto: On this International Women’s Day, let’s take the time to acknowledge all of the fantastic female chefs, cooks, bakers, farmers, winemakers, brewsters and food entrepreneurs who work so hard to make a name for themselves in what is still a very male-dominated industry. You ladies add flavour and charm to Toronto’s food scene […]

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