Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Armchair Detectives Circle the Globe

I seem to have been on a binge of reading mysteries that take place in foreign countries. If you enjoy mysteries and travel adventures, you may enjoy the following books.


Auntie Poldi and the Sicilian Lions 
Auntie Poldi and the Sicilian Lions by Mario Giordano is a Felliniesque account of Auntie Poldi’s adventures when she retires to Sicily to drink herself to death. Auntie Poldi is larger than life (morning salutations in the nude on her roof-top patio, vodka for breakfast, photograph albums of traffic police – ah! men in uniform!) and so are her relatives and neighbours – the sad lady who owns the gelateria, the handsome police detective banished to Sicily for his misdeeds in Milan, the impoverished nobleman who quotes German poetry non-stop, and the businessman who may well be a member of the Mafia. I’ll be reading more of Giordano’s books.


Death in Sunset Grove 
If I’m even half as feisty when I’m 80 as these three old ladies in a Finnish retirement home, I’ll be very, very happy. The plot is absurd (evil retirement home managers, motorbike gangs, tram rides and funerals), but the characters in Death in Sunset Grove by Minna Lindgren will have you marching out the door ready to tackle the neighbourhood bullies.


Dogstar Rising 
Dogstar Rising by Parker Bilal brings modern-day Cairo to life – the poverty, the corruption, the miserable housing conditions. It’s also a tale of immigrants and the choices they make to survive in a foreign land. I’m not sure I’ll continue reading this series, but I did enjoy the insight it gave me into life in Cairo.


Murder on Brittany Shores 
Murder on Brittany Shores by Jean-Luc Bannalec is a police procedural with a solid plot line. The detective is an outsider (from Paris) so you get an outsider’s perspective on Brittany from a German author who spends half the year in Brittany. The sea and Breton pride are front and centre. I plan to read more in this series.


A Very Pukka Murder 
A Very Pukka Murder by Arjun Raj Gaind is set in India in 1909. The hero, Sikander, Prince of Rajpore, with his attention to fashion, good wine, and manners reminds me of Lord Peter Wimsey, but his frustration with British colonials in India turns that model on its head. The plot is convoluted with many possible suspects who Sikander gathers around his dining room table at the close of the book when all is revealed. Well worth reading. I’ll be looking for more in this series.

Monday, June 18, 2018

Flavourful Saskatoon, June 18, 2018


Hearth Restaurant 
Hearth Restaurant is now open on Melrose Avenue just off Ruth Street. I interviewed the owners, Beth Rogers and Thayne Robstad, a few years ago.

Rosco’s Roti, June 23 
Rosco’s Roti is bringing Caribbean roti to the Saskatoon Farmers’ Market on June 23.

Haskap Days, July 5 & 6 
The University of Saskatchewan Fruit Program is offering a haskap school on July 5 and a field tour on July 6 for farmers and advanced gardeners.

Eating Dinner with Canada’s Migrant Workers
An interesting article about the daily lives of Canada’s migrant farm workers: “In 2017, about 43 percent of Canada’s 112,000 paid farmland workers were migrants. For the people we import to work our fields, food not only provides a livelihood but is also essential for maintaining their mental health, for surviving in isolation from their homes and families.”


On the Bookshelf 
I’ve just finished reading Godforsaken Wines: A Slightly Tipsy Journey through the World of Strange, Obscure, and Underappreciated Wine by Jason Wilson. It’s an interesting mix of travelogue, encounters with small-scale winery owners, and tastings of wines I’d never heard of before. It’s worth reading if you’re intrigued by the history and culture of European wine-growing.

I’m planning to read The Secret Life of Cows by Rosamund Young after reading a review, which states, “Rosamund reveals that cows have visual memories which they can associate with unpleasant experiences, and are acutely sensitive to vibrations, sounds, sights and smells. The book includes a list of 20 things you should know about cows, including that they babysit for each other, invent games, take umbrage, nurse grudges and can love music.”

Flavourful Saskatoon is a weekly Monday feature. I also post articles about food that is good, clean and fair; travel; and books. You may also enjoy EcoFriendly Sask profiling Saskatchewan environmental initiatives and events. 

You can follow Wanderlust and Words on Facebook, Twitter, or by email (top right corner). 

Monday, June 11, 2018

Flavourful Saskatoon, June 11, 2018


Market News: BC Cherries & Goat Cheese 
Little Quail Ridge Orchards will be back at the Saskatoon Farmers’ Market on June 16 with cherries!! I’m also looking forward to trying the goat cheese from Hal Jadeske.

Edible & Medicinal Plants in your Garden, June 27
LichenNature will be offering a workshop on edible and medicinal plants in your garden from 6-8 pm, June 27, at the Saskatoon Food Bank and Learning Centre's Garden Patch.

Mission Hill Going Organic
Mission Hill Winery is transitioning all its vineyards, a tenth of the Okanagan’s grape-producing land, to organic. The viticulture manager recognizes that this will take a shift in philosophy: “You can farm organically with a conventional mindset,” he says. “You can spray just as much using organic chemicals, but the way we are looking at it is not just about farming conventionally using organic products, it is about getting the land working healthily for us.” 

Bridging the Summer Gap for Hungry Kids
Summer can be hard for kids who rely on school food programs. 198 libraries in California will be offering a Lunch at the Library program this year to help bridge the summer gap. Other states are following their lead.

Eat More Weeds 
Dandelions, for instance, are a rich source of potassium and a good source of other minerals and vitamins, including iron, magnesium, calcium and vitamins A, B and C. Your average lettuce leaf can’t compete with that.”

Flavourful Saskatoon is a weekly Monday feature. I also post articles about food that is good, clean and fair; travel; and books. You may also enjoy EcoFriendly Sask profiling Saskatchewan environmental initiatives and events. 

You can follow Wanderlust and Words on Facebook, Twitter, or by email (top right corner).

Monday, June 4, 2018

Flavourful Saskatoon, June 4, 2018


Wine Tasting, June 6 
Ingredients Artisan Market is hosting an impromptu (and free) wine tasting from 3-6 pm, June 6.

Indigenous Food Sovereignty, June 7 
Join Dr. Priscilla Settee and Ms. Jenni Schrenk for a shared meal and a talk on traditional Indigenous food systems at 7 pm, June 7. The meal includes fish.

Snowy Village Saskatoon 
Michelle Zimmer of Wild Serendipity Foods says the bingsoo at Snowy Village Saskatoon are delicious. Bingsoo (bingsu) is a Korean Shaved Ice that is loaded with sweetened condensed milk, fruit, chocolate, and other goodies.

Tea Time Party Service 
Michelle also told me about Tea Time Party Service. From china tea cups to fair trade tea, dainty sandwiches, scones and cakes, Shenuka, the owner, brings everything to your home. All you have to do is invite your friends, sit back, and relax. Shenuka’s family immigrated from Sri Lanka where tea and tea production are an important part of culture and industry. By sharing her love of tea, she stays connected to her homeland.

Native Vegetables & Community Unity in Tanzania 
I was born in Tanzania so this article about a woman who has worked hard to promote indigenous vegetables was of particular interest to me. I remember eating squash leaves when I visited Tanzania 15 years ago, and I’ve always wondered if we could be doing the same – the answer appears to be yes.


Old-Timer Vegetarian Rant 
I’ve been vegetarian for 35 years. Being vegetarian was less common in those days and there were fewer vegetarian restaurants or ready-made meals. But that wasn’t a problem! I was living in Ottawa where there was a wealth of international restaurants, which offered all sorts of vegetarian options. I bought cookbooks that introduced me to different ways of preparing food – zucchini sandwiches, West African peanut stew . . . the list goes on and on. Suddenly vegetables were the central feature of my meals and I loved it.

I’m thrilled to see more people becoming vegetarian or vegan, but I’m also concerned by an emphasis on eating meat substitutes. Veggie burgers are great, but I don’t want one that bleeds – it doesn’t even have to taste or chew like meat – it just has to be flavourful and nutritious. I worry that coconut yogurt contains next to no protein – it may taste like a vegan substitute for yogurt, but they don’t offer the same nutritional value.

I've eaten at two vegan restaurants recently. In both cases, I really enjoyed the meal, but I won't be returning any time soon. I had a flavourful pad thai at Seasoned Fusion Tastes, but apart from a few bean sprouts, it contained absolutely no vegetables. Instead, the focus was on meat substitutes, which are highly processed from unknown ingredients. Where are the authentic plant-based protein options, such as tofu, tempeh, beans, and nuts? Gud Eats offers fun fast food, great for an occasional treat but certainly not on a regular basis. My go-to vegetarian restaurant will remain Nosh Eatery & Tap, which offers far healthier options.

It’s a brave step to become vegetarian or vegan, but it’s time to be bold! Grab some Saskatchewan-grown lentils, throw some beans in a pot with lots and lots of locally-grown vegetables and explore all the different international spice options.

Photos: Dishes served at Nosh Eatery & Tap

Flavourful Saskatoon is a weekly Monday feature. I also post articles about food that is good, clean and fair; travel; and books. You may also enjoy EcoFriendly Sask profiling Saskatchewan environmental initiatives and events. 

You can follow Wanderlust and Words on Facebook, Twitter, or by email (top right corner).

Monday, May 28, 2018

Flavourful Saskatoon, May 28, 2018


Whipping It Up in the Market Kitchen, June-August 
Kids are invited to attend hour-long drop-in cooking classes at the Saskatoon Farmers’ Market from 10 am-2 pm, June 3, 10, 17, & 24; July 8 & 15; and Aug. 19 & 26.

Rhubarb Party & Contest, June10 
The fresh fruits and vegetables are beginning to arrive at the Saskatoon Farmers’ Market. I picked up asparagus, spinach, radishes, and red peppers on Saturday.

June 10, from 12-2 pm, it will be Rhubarb Time! at the Market. Sample the treats and enter the contest with prizes for biggest rhubarb leaf, tastiest rhubarb preserve, and tastiest traditional or non-traditional recipe.

Chef Jenni 
Jenn Sharp interviewed Chef Jenni for the Saskatoon StarPhoenix. Check it out.


Picaro
I had an excellent meal at Picaro on Thursday night. They have Parkerview Kombucha on tap along with lots of local beers, and the veg taco (roasted cauliflower, almond guajillo, ancho eggplant puree, sesame pickled cucumber, sliced almonds) was very tasty. Picaro uses lots of local ingredients, many from the Saskatoon Farmers’ Market which is just around the corner. I had a chocolate tart made with avocado chocolate from Those Girls at the Market.


Recipe for a Healthy Diet 
An interesting article about how following a particular diet (e.g. Mediterranean) won’t necessarily make you healthy. “To solve childhood obesity will take more than fads – it will take the transformation of the whole food system. It will mean controls on advertising junk food to children and money for schools to promote exercise. It will take educating children not just to cook food but to grow food. It will mean a system of agriculture that rewards farmers for growing healthy food. It will mean creating local networks so that families can access seasonal and fresh food. It will mean examining our work culture to find time to exercise and to cook. And it will mean remembering how to eat together as families and friends.”

Flavourful Saskatoon is a weekly Monday feature. I also post articles about food that is good, clean and fair; travel; and books. You may also enjoy EcoFriendly Sask profiling Saskatchewan environmental initiatives and events. 

You can follow Wanderlust and Words on Facebook, Twitter, or by email (top right corner).

Monday, May 21, 2018

Flavourful Saskatoon, May 21, 2018


U of S Fruit Program Plant Sale, June 1 
The U of S Fruit Program is holding a plant sale from 9 am-2 pm, June 1. They’ll have everything from fruit trees to ornamentals.

Food Not Bombs, June 2 
Food Not Bombs Saskatoon will be serving a free vegan meal at City Hall from 11 am-12:30 pm, June 2. They're looking for plastic containers, and I'm sure they could do with more volunteers. Food Not Bombs is an all-volunteer organization dedicated to social change. They serve free vegetarian meals to the hungry and protest against war and poverty.

Yoga & Beer, June 16 
Enjoy yoga and beer at a fundraiser for yoga in northern communities on June 16 at High Key Brewing Co.

D & P Bakery 
D & P Bakery were selling Venezuelan baked goods at the Saskatoon Farmers’ Market on Saturday. I tried the Coconut Chocolate Cake and the Larense Cake (aka Pineapple Upside Down Pound Cake). Both of them were moist and flavourful. I’m looking forward to trying more of their products once they’ve established themselves as a regular Market vendor.

Darkside Donuts 
Rumour (aka Twitter) has it that Bryn Rawlyk (The Night Oven Bakery) is starting up a new business – Darkside Donuts: “Give the people what they want. The people want donuts.” Bryn sets high standards and uses only the best ingredients, so the donuts are sure to be excellent.

Flavourful Saskatoon is a weekly Monday feature. I also post articles about food that is good, clean and fair; travel; and books. You may also enjoy EcoFriendly Sask profiling Saskatchewan environmental initiatives and events. 

You can follow Wanderlust and Words on Facebook, Twitter, or by email (top right corner).

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Springtime in Saskatoon


Oh, Saskatoon! You are very lovely in the springtime.

Golden Bean


Our neighbours are professional engineers (beaver dam)



Caragana - a homesteading favorite


Saskatoon wouldn't be complete without its pelicans