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 […]

Read More

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 […]

Read More

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 […]

Read More

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 […]

Read More

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 […]

Read More

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 […]

Read More

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, […]

Read More

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 […]

Read More

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 […]

Read More

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 […]

Read More

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 […]

Read More

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 […]

Read More

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 […]

Read More

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 […]

Read More

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 […]

Read More

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, […]

Read More

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 […]

Read More

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 […]

Read More

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 […]

Read More

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 […]

Read More

Arthur Elgort’s The Big Picture

The photographs are, of course, iconic. As in, I remember exactly where I was when I opened that September 1991 issue of Vogue to flip to the page of Linda Evangelista kicking that bagpiper (plaids are hot for fall, ladies!). But Arthur Elgort’s The Big Picture (Amazon, Powell’s) is about more than pretty fashion models. Oh, […]

Read More

Theatre Review – BOOM

  In my house, the correct answer to the question “Beatles or Stones?” is “The Kinks”; the defining event of 1969 is not the moon landing but the Tate-LaBianca murders by the Manson Family. Which is to say, and is probably said so often I might sound like a broken record, I don’t have a […]

Read More

Sunday Brunch – Beast

Beast Restaurant 96 Tecumseth Street 647-352-6000 brunch for two with all taxes, tip and coffee: $57 I’m breaking our ethical policy here. We normally prefer not to “review” places where we know the chef or owners. Just so that if it’s a bad review, nobody is hurt when their pal Sheryl disses their grub. And […]

Read More

Sunday Brunch – La Palette

La Palette 492 Queen Street West 416-603-4900 brunch for two with all taxes tip and coffee: $45 La Palette is now considered a Kensington Market landmark, serving up classic French food in an adorable little bistro. So fans were rightly pleased when owners Shamez Amlani and Brook Kavanagh announced they’d be taking over the old […]

Read More

Sunday Brunch – Chuck & Co.

Chuck and Co. 126 Atlantic Avenue 416-533-3500 Brunch for two with all taxes, tip and coffee: $30 Messy. And that’s not a bad thing. Known for their handmade gourmet burgers, you wouldn’t expect a burger place to do up fancy brunch. And to be fair, the selection of breakfast sandwiches is pretty straightforward. This is […]

Read More

Sunday Brunch – Blue Plate

Blue Plate 392 Roncesvalles Avenue 416-538-7500 brunch for two with all taxes, tip and coffee: $40 How long is long enough? We’re known for hassling other restaurant critics about not giving new restaurants enough time to find their groove before slipping in for a review. Two or three weeks is usually considered an appropriate amount […]

Read More

Sunday Brunch – Henhouse

Henhouse 1532 Dundas Street West 416-534-5939 Brunch for two with all taxes, tip and coffee: $32 Skinny jeans, plaid shirts, iPhones… when did crusty old Dundas West become the land of the hipster? Or is it because the area is still kind of crusty that the hipsters flock to it? In any case, throughout our […]

Read More

Sunday Brunch – Cowbell

Cowbell 1564 Queen Street West 416-849-1095 Brunch for two with all taxes, tip and coffee: $50 Since it opened in 2007, Cowbell has never been open on Sunday. Chef/owner Mark Cutrara set that day aside to spend with his family. The idea of Sunday being family day is a big one in the Parkdale neighbourhood […]

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

Sunday Brunch – Morning Glory

Morning Glory 457 King Street East 416-703-4728 Brunch for two with all taxes, tip and coffee: $30 Morning Glory is one of those neighbourhood joints that fly under the radar. A popular Corktown breakfast spot since December 2003, it now tends to get overshadowed by Gilead Café, just around the corner. But on the Sunday […]

Read More

Sunday Brunch – Nyood

Nyood 1096 Queen Street West 416-466-1888 Brunch for two with all taxes, tip and coffee: $50 Those folks that make the clam and tomato juice are on some kind of campaign to make the Caesar Canada’s official cocktail but they’ll get no support from me to do it. The very last thing I want to […]

Read More

Sunday Brunch – Merci Mon Ami

Merci Mon Ami 171 East Liberty Street, #107 647-436-3832 Brunch for two with all taxes, tip and coffee: $40 As had been made evident on this site before, I am not a patio person, especially a streetside patio. But on a quiet Sunday morning, my bags loaded with goodies from the Liberty Village farmers market, […]

Read More

Sunday Brunch – Sage West

Sage West – Closed 924 College Street 647-346-6183 Brunch for two with all taxes, tip and coffee: $30 Most people are probably more familiar with Sage Café on McCaul Street than they are with her sister restaurant Sage West. It’s one of those places you really want to like; it’s a pretty space that doubles […]

Read More

Sunday Brunch – Bonjour Brioche

Bonjour Brioche 812 Queen Street East 416-406-1250 Brunch for two with all taxes, tip and coffee: $25 (cash only) People seem to either love or hate Bonjour Brioche. I regularly come across raves about their exquisite pastries and breads, but the service, and the line-up on weekends, can be a sticking point. In fact, in […]

Read More

Sunday Brunch – Toba

Toba 243 King Street East 416-367-8622 Brunch for two including all taxes, tip and coffee: $43 I’m a sucker for a pretty face. While our reviews here at TasteTO generally focus on the food, service and décor always play a part in the overall experience. And while it’s usually the case that the artwork hanging […]

Read More