Culture in the Kitchen

Culture in the Kitchen: Recipes from a Multicultural Cooking Seriesby Saskatchewan German CouncilPublished by Saskatchewan German CouncilReview by Toby A. Welch$25.00 ISBN 9780969401698 What the Saskatchewan German Council undertook with this labour-of-love book is to be applauded! Culture in the Kitchen: Recipes from a Multicultural Cooking Series is a cookbook that is broken into 13 chapters, each one focused on the meshing of German food with food from another country or culture. (For example: Germany meets China, Germany meets Ukraine, Germany meets Saskatchewan – you get the picture.)  The true test of any cookbook is its recipes so I gave a bunch of them a try. From the Germany meets Brazil chapter, the arroz carreteiro (wagoner’s rice) was delicious! It tasted similar to a red beans and rice dish that is on my regular rotation and the recipe is a keeper. Next up was the stuffed tomatoes from Germany meets Vietnam. I haven’t had a stuffed tomato in over two decades, something I now regret. This one was full of so many ingredients that melded together perfectly inside the plum tomato – vermicelli, pork, mushrooms, green onions, and a handful of other yummy stuff.  To satisfy my sweet tooth, I…

Stay
Shadowpaw Press / 27 July 2022

Stayby Katherine LawrencePublished by Shadowpaw Press RepriseReview by Toby A. Welch$12.95 ISBN 9781989398371 What an intriguing book! Geared for young adult readers, Stay tells the story of what Millie, an 11-year-old girl, is going through in her complicated world. Millie’s parents are struggling in their lives and she is an observer to their turmoil. Her closest confidante is her twin brother, Billy, who was born deceased. It is fascinating to tag along with Millie as she journeys through the pre-teen phase in her life.  Millie is an enchanting main character that I quickly fell in love with. She is precocious and daring, I will give her that. She reads her mother’s racy texts and makes no apologies for doing so. She loves chocolate more than anything in the world. Missing her dad after he moved out of the family home, she dots his aftershave behind her ears. She tries smoking cigarettes. Her strongest desire is to have a dog. Millie’s story is captivating! It took me a few chapters to get used to the format of Stay. I typically read traditionally structured books with full paragraphs consisting of complete sentences. Stay is written in a way that comes off as…

Go
Radiant Press / 27 July 2022

Goby Shelley A. LeedahlPublished by Radiant PressReview by Elena Bentley$20.00 ISBN 9781989274675 How often do we find a book of poetry in which a poet generously invites us in, like a long-time friend, to sit down and catch up? Not often. But in Go, Shelley A. Leedahl’s beautifully crafted fifth collection of poetry, the decades “dissolve / as mysteriously as mist” as Leedahl describes a life spent untethered to person or place and the loneliness that accompanies it. Friends give you all the important details, and so does Go: the messiness of lovers, the grief of losing a parent, the seemingly insignificant significance of gladiolus, salmonberries, and bald eagles. Go is open and honest in a way I’ve rarely experienced in a collection of poems. And I appreciate that Leedahl doesn’t sugar-coat or romanticize loneliness: “I may forever come home / to an empty house […] me with my pathetic need / to hold another warm hand, / to be whispered to across a pillow.” She acknowledges her desire for companionship, and I find it a refreshing confession. Keeping an “[e]ar to the pane,” Leedahl uses windows as a clever literary device with which to reflect on her past. “I…

Shimmers of Light
Thistledown Press / 26 July 2022

Shimmers of Light: New and Selected Poemsby Robert CurriePublished by Thistledown PressReview by Shelley A. Leedahl$24.95 ISBN 978-1-77187-218-8 Multi-genre Moose Jaw writer Robert Currie has been an integral contributor to the Saskatchewan literary scene for as far back as I can remember, and I’ve been reading – and enjoying – his poetry and stories across the decades. Currie’s also worked hard behind the scenes as an educator, Saskatchewan Writers’ Guild board member, and founding board member of the Saskatchewan Festival of Words. He’s also headed the Saskatchewan Writers’ Guild. In short, Currie’s earned his Saskatchewan Lieutenant Governor’s Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Arts. I’m so pleased that Thistledown Press has released a “Best Of” collection of Currie’s poems. Shimmers of Light: New and Selected Poems is an attractive highlight reel that begins with a glowing essay by poetry veteran Lorna Crozier. She lauds Currie for position[ing] his poems in the local” and “find[ing] a way to rhapsodize the prairies without ignoring its starkness, its closeness to elemental things, and the long, long months of cold.” Nine sections are dedicated to previous poetry collections (including chapbooks), and New Poems – what I’m especially interested in – begin on page 211…

Conserving the Legacy
Nature Saskatchewan / 12 July 2022

Conserving the Legacy: Wildlife Conservation in Saskatchewan 1905-2005by G. Wayne PepperPublished by Nature SaskatchewanReview by Toby A. Welch$34.95 ISBN 9780921104360 Conserving the Legacy is a physically powerful book. Weighing in at just shy of a hefty one kilogram, it packs a wallop. It is a pleasure to hold. And that is all before you get past the beautiful cover image of a male sharp-tailed grouse sparring. Once inside, it is clear that a massive amount of time, effort, and planning went into this book. It contains a tremendous volume of information detailing how wildlife was maintained during the first century of our province’s history.  In an era when anyone can toss a few random facts together, throw a dozen pages online for sale and call it a book, this piece of work stands out. It rings in at close to 400 awesome and comprehensive pages. The amount of research that went into this book is mind-blowing. Conserving the Legacy was clearly a labour of love for Pepper and it shows on every page. This is a book you can come back to often when looking for information on wildlife conservation. It never fails to inform you of something new.  I…

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