Archive for December, 2012

The Soup Sisters Cookbook

I love soup. In fact, every Sunday in winter I make homemade soup. I have 8 favourites that I alternate, and I recently thought I should try to add a few new ones to my collection of recipes. So, I went looking for a good soup cookbook, and discovered The Soup Sisters Cookbook. Edited by Sharon Hapton, it is a collection of recipes from celebrated chefs and “Soup Sisters”. Soup Sisters is a non profit, charitable, social enterprise where women get together to make, share and donate soup to designated women’s shelters across Canada. What could be more grass roots than feeding those who are in need. It’s been such a huge success and there has been alot of buzz about this book of late. And it seems that the men wanted in on the fun (imagine the commaraderie and laughter involved when a group of women get together to cook!) so Broth Brothers was launched as an extension of the Soup Sisters soup-making family. They support homeless youth who are transitioning from street life to mainstream society. Along with all the terrific recipes… like Tuscan Bean, Thai-spiced Lime and Sweet Potato, Dutch Meatball, Roasted Heirloom Tomato, and Summer Minestrone with Basil Swirl… you get the added bonus of knowing you’re helping because all the royalties from the sale of this book go towards helping the women & children directly. If you can’t get out there and cook, you can help by buying the book. I think it would make a terrific Christmas gift for the foodie on your list along with some colourful soup bowls. Bon appetit!

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Far to Go

This is a riveting, powerful novel. It draws you in and you are completely immersed. I didn’t want to put it down. Far to Go by Alison Pick tells the story of the Bauer family. Pavel and Anneliese are secular Jews whose lives are forever changed with the arrival of German forces in Czechoslovakia in 1939. Along with their son Pepik and his nanny Marta, they flee to Prague, hoping against all hope that eventually they will be reunited with their beloved birthplace. It is a heartwrenching story and so well written. Pick’s language is almost poetic in parts… “Memory is a stone that is difficult to budge.” & “Time is a snow globe; you shake it and everything changes.” So beautiful eh! She does say at the very beginning of the book “I wish this were a happy story.”  Eventually it becomes necessary for the Bauers to take extreme precautions for Pepik’s safety and they manage to gain a spot for him on a Kindertransport to England. But poor wee 6 year old Pepik never sees his parents or Marta again. Told by a mysterious present-day narrator, the unexpected fates of the Bauers and Marta are slowly revealed, and how Pick manages to tie the narrator to the story is brilliant. This book has won numerous awards, has been published internationally, was translated into Dutch, French and Italian, and it was nominated for the prestigeous Man Booker Prize. It’s a must read as far as I’m concerned. It’s exceptional!

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Lucky BBC Watchers!

The BBC is turning J.K. Rowling’s first adult novel, The Casual Vacancy, into a TV drama. Full of humour, social commentary and above all – fantastic characters!, I’m sure the series will be a huge hit. The adaptation is due to air in 2014 and the number of episodes is yet to be decided. Oh to be in England!

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