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Happy Friday!

First, here’s something to make you smile:

Second, I just found out that an author liked my review of his book on Goodreads!

That’s a new experience for me and it was quite exciting.  The book was The Baklava Club by Jason Goodwin

and it was the fifth of a series of books set in the waning days of the Ottoman Empire featuring Yashim, a

eunuch who happens to be a very good investigator.  I think I may have posted about him before but he’s

well worth mentioning again and well worth reading about.  The stories are good, you get a lot of historical

detail and Yashim likes to cook so you get some tasty looking ideas for what you might want to eat this


Check out the books:

The Janissary Tree

1.The Janissary Tree  9780312426132


The Snake Stone

2.The Snake Stone   9780312428020


The Bellini Card

3.The Bellini Card   9780312429355

An Evil Eye

4.An Evil Eye   9781250002433

The Baklava Club

5.The Baklave Club   9780374294373  HC

(coming in paperback in June 2015)

Have a great weekend!


Hi guys!

Once I worked at a Polish bakery and one of my coworkers picked up a small white bun and said,
“This is potato bread, made from God’s greatest creation: the potato.” Before she said this, I
was under the impression that God’s greatest creation was the chicken wing. But then I thought
about what food I’d most likely have on a desert island, and the answer was obvious: potato chips.
It was a eureka moment, we’ve all had one.

So I beg you to watch this video on how to make homemade potato chips by the woman who brings
the crunchiest, most delicious salt and vinegar potato chip into my life every Friday after
work, Miss. Vickie herself.

Check out more info on her new book!

Miss Vickie


- Tamara

I just got my copy of  Molly Watson’s Greens + Grains published by Chronicle Books.

It’s full of inspiring recipes

with great colour photos.  You can use a lot of kale, chard

and collards in these dishes and combine them with grains in every recipe.

Watson’s advice is honest – she likes some grains a lot more than others.

Her advice for cooking millet  -  “add  plenty of butter and cheese.”

Meat and seafood recipes are also included

plus many of the meals can be cooked in one pot.  Hurray!





It’s Vancouver International Writer’s Festival time! It starts tomorrow!

There are so many authors! I’m overwhelmed and forced to use exclamation


No but seriously, it’s a pretty excellent week, and I’m going to try to

check out at least a few events, plus the opening reception is always a

great place to catch up with publishing biz people. Also, once I’m down

on Granville Island, I obviously need to go somewhere to eat, and I’m

leaning pretty heavily towards either Edible Canada or you know, maybe

just a dozen of Lee’s Donuts!


Happy Friday!  Today’s fashion lesson, add a scarf!

A few years ago I was in a high-end charity consignment store in  San Francisco.

The woman volunteering that day was friendly and warm and we got to talking about scarves.

She told me a story of when she was in Paris and her husband was at a conference so she was at loose ends.

She wanted to do some window shopping but the skies opened and down came the deluge.

She took refuge in the Hermes store, knowing she couldn’t afford to buy anything but she said

the sales lady was so wonderful, she spent half an hour teaching her all different ways to tie a

scarf to maximize its use.

The sales lady knew she wasn’t going to get a sale but she just wanted to share some good wardrobe knowledge.

Needless to say, I ended up buying a scarf from the storyteller after she shared with me what she had learned

at Hermes.

You don’t need to go to Paris or even San Francisco because Chronicle has the perfect book to meet all of

your scarf needs.

To quote the author “A scarf is the last flourish, the exclamation point to the daily narrative of getting dressed,

and it has the ability to truly make an outfit.”

50 Ways to Wear a Scarf

50 Ways to Wear a Scarf  978-1-4521-2597-8   $18.95

Chronicle Books (Raincoast)

Have a great weekend.


Be inspired!
I remember when I went skiing about 6 years ago and was heading down an icy hill at a speed that
was slightly faster than was in my comfort zone. I remember thinking, “Too fast, too fast, don’t
die,” seconds before my right leg pulled out from under me and went west while my body headed east.
I heard a “Pop!” and then landed on my back on the hill and waited in shame until help came. When
help did come, I remember my leg being poked and prodded before I was strapped into a florescent
orange sled to be taken down the hill, and the man helping me said something that stayed with me
all these years: “Well you’re not a spring chicken anymore.”
To him, I say “<insert R-rated comeback here>”. Check out Rodale’s Older Faster Stronger
by Margaret Webb, who at age 50 decided to run her way into the fitness of a 20 year old athlete
and has succeeded.
Maybe now when I hear my right knee clicking every time I bend or straighten it, I won’t feel old
but inspired to keep moving and grooving because by God, my body can take it.


It certainly looks that way! Click to view.


After a weekend of feasting I thought it might be interesting to ponder a new book

from New Society Publishers:  The Emergent Agriculture is  a collection of fourteen thematic essays

on sustainability viewed through the lens of farming. Arguing that industrial food production is

incompatible with the realities of nature, science and ethics, this lyrical narrative makes the case

for a locally based food system which is:

  • Stable in the face of economic uncertainty
  • Resilient in the face of environmental variability
  • Grounded in stewardship of the land, on attaching value to food and the craft involved in
  • producing it, and on respecting the dignity of farmers, consumers and livestock.

This got me thinking about a project my friend Liz Vibert, Associate Professor of History

at the University of Victoria is involved in.  It is a Women’s  Co-operative Farm at Hlekatani Garden

in Joppie Village, South Africa.  Hleketani garden was established in the midst of a food crisis in 1992-93.

Not only was South Africa caught up in the tumultuous transition from apartheid to democracy;

at the same time much of Southern Africa was in the grip of a devastating drought. People in Joppie

and neighbouring villages were overwhelmed by pellagra and other forms of malnutrition.

The farm has provided food and support for the local community.  Here are a few photos.

If you would like to learn more about this project check out:

EMERGENT AGRICULTURE NSPPicture1DSC_0061 - Copy (800x530)




A few years ago I was being made fun of by some American friends for

celebrating REAL Thanksgiving in October. We’ve only been celebrating

it since 1957, BUT apparently it can be traced back to Martin Frobisher

getting lost up north somewhere way back in 1578! SO THERE!

Anyway, my plan is to go home to Victoria and play with my adorable

niece, and cook a turkey and have my family yell at me because I accidentally

poured some gravy down the sink, and yell back at them that they should

be THANKFUL that I’m there cooking their whole dinner and shut up

already. I can hardly wait!


Happy Friday,

Have you ever had a secret hankering to be a spy?  Do you read spy thrillers to escape the everyday humdrum?  Well, do yourself a favour and read Dirk Daring Secret Agent.  It is about a middle school kid, Darren Drikowitz (code name Dirk Daring) whose secret spy journal is stolen by his step-brother (nicknamed Waldo because  he’s never aroundwhen there are chores to be done).  Waldo blackmails Darren into spying for him by threatening to publish the journal online and Darren reluctantly agrees.  Unluckily for Waldo, Darren also decides to spy on him so he can get out of having to do any more dirty work.  This is a really fun read with codes, little spot illustrations, side comments and lots of heart.  There is a message but it is subtly done and you come away having spent some quality time with good characters and a good story.

Dirk Daring Secret Agent

Dirk Daring Secret Agent

978-1-45198-0683-2  $9.95

Orca Book Publishers

Have a great weekend.


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