Atlantic Books Today – Summer 2015

 

Embed or link this publication

Description

Summer 2015 issue of Atlantic Books Today magazine

Popular Pages


p. 1

Atlantic Books today atlanticbookstoday.ca FREE 99 books featured inside! Our first summer issue! BOOK NEWS REVIEWS EXCERPTS VACATION READS HAND-PICKED HIKING GUIDES FOR 12 + YOUR NEXT ADVENTURE IN THE KITCHEN WITH ROCK RECIPES Celebrating Books THE FRYE FESTIVAL, READING TOWN & THE ATLANTIC BOOK AWARDS SUMMER 2015 No. 78 Publications Mail Agreement 40038836

[close]

p. 2

Website o n ly c on t e s t s How your favourite authors became writers A new monthly column from Chris Benjamin highlights the region’s top new authors Mark Callanan Gloria Ann Wesley EXCLUSIVE CONTENT Readings, book signings, literary festivals and more Beth Powning EVENTS BACK ISSUES atlanticbookstoday.ca

[close]

p. 3

Contents Summer 2015 13 On the Cover The famous Norrie statue was installed in front of the Moncton Public Library in July 2013. It was created by Darren Byers and Fred Harrison, in collaboration with Janet Fotheringham. Both the Frye Festival (which you’ll learn about on page 10) and the statue commemorate Northrop Frye (1912–1991), a scholar with a deep commitment to an informed and civil society. Frye spent his childhood and teen years in Moncton. He is considered one of the greatest literary critics of the 20th century. Up Front 7 Editor’s message This region is a creativity hotbed – let’s keep our talent here at home 11 Current Affairs 8 Noted Awards, awards and more awards 10 First person Jo Treggiari explains what drove her to open a bookstore in Lunenburg, NS 11 Perspective The Frye Festival is Canada’s only bilingual international literary festival and Atlantic Canada’s largest literary event Author Buzz 13 Proust Questionnaire Funny-woman Berni Stapleton on bathtubs, dating and procrastination 14 FREE PRESENTS 14 Inside the author’s studio Cookbook author Barry C. Parsons creates big tastes in a tiny space Look for this symbol 16 Profile For one week in May, Charlottetown became Reading Town Canada Cover photo: Louis-Philippe Chiasson Content photos (This page): Louis-Philippe Chiasson, photo courtesy of Creative Book Publishing, Ken Holden; (Page 5): Joseph Muise Books with this symbol can also be found in Atlantic Books for Spring & Summer – available now at AtlanticBooksToday.ca/magazine Atlantic Books Today 3

[close]

p. 4

Atlantic Books today atlanticbookstoday.ca Free books featured inside! 99 Our first summer issue! Book News Reviews exceRpts VACATION READS HAND-PICKED HIKING GUIDES FOR 12 + READ THE ISSUE ONLINE NOW EXPLORE OUR PUBLICATIONS atlanticbookstoday.ca/digital 2015/16 Season YOUR NEXT ADVENTURE IN THE KITCHEN wITH ROCK RECIPES Celebrating Books + THE FRYE FESTIVAL, READING TOwN & THE ATLANTIC BOOK AwARDS Summer 2015 No. 78 Publications Mail Agreement 40038836 SYMPHONY NOVA SCOTIA Tickets are on sale now for our 2015/16 season! Order yours today and join us for spectacular performances of the music you love. Buck 65 Bernhard Gueller, Music Director Holst’s The Planets Sleeping Beauty Upcoming highlights include: • Mozart’s Requiem • Pianist Marc-André Hamelin • Buck 65 • Holst’s The Planets • Bach’s Christmas Oratorio • Ben Caplan • The Music of Queen • Vivaldi’s Four Seasons • Handel’s Messiah • Sleeping Beauty • and so much more! 902.494.3820 • symphonynovascotia.ca 4 atlanticbookstoday.ca

[close]

p. 5

CONTENTS Young Readers 18 Reviews Lisa Doucet highlights new picture books and novels for young readers 20 Mi’kmaw Munsch Children can now read the beloved tales of Robert Munsch in their mother tongue Features 22 Behind the scenes Get to know Nimbus Publishing, Atlantic Canada’s largest publisher 26 The great literary road trip 28 Sticking close to home this summer? Here are 12 destinations and the books you’ll want to take along 28 Atlantic Book Awards Authors, publishers and readers gathered to celebrate the best books of 2014 Reviews 32 Book reviews Atlantic Canadian travel, fiction, history, poetry, music, graphic and inspirational books Food 37 Recipes Sweet Potato Salad; Blueberry Lemon Tart 39 Reviews Creating Good Food; A Real Newfoundland Scoff: Using Traditional Ingredients in Today’s Kitchens 37 Book Bites 40 Excerpts Barren the Fury; History of Nova Scotia in 50 Objects; Newfoundland: An Island Apart 44 Regional reads Get outside with new and favourite travel guides 45 Events Grab your sun hat and lawn chair – it’s literary festival season Contests 7 Book Club Bonanza 46 The Great Book Giveaway 22 Atlantic Books Today 5

[close]

p. 6

Winners! TUCKAMORE BOOKS • KILLICK PRESS • CREATIVE PUBLISHERS Atlantic Book Award Atlantic Books today Atlantic Books Today is published by the Atlantic Publishers Marketing Association (www.atlanticpublishers.ca), which gratefully acknowledges the financial assistance of the Canada Council for the Arts and the Canada Book Fund of the Department of Canadian Heritage. Opinions expressed in articles in Atlantic Books Today do not necessarily re­ flect the views and opinions of the Board of the Atlantic Publishers Marketing Association. Mark McCrowe & Megan Coles sasha okshevsky John and Margaret savage aPMa Best atlantic Published Book First Book award 36 Austin Street, St. John’s, NL, A1B 3T7 • Tel. 709-748-0813 • Fax 709-579-6511 • www.creativebookpublishing.ca Academia, Inc.: How Corporatization Is Transforming Canadian Universities Jamie Brownlee 9781552667354 $23.95 This groundbreaking book addresses the negative consequences to higher education and society that result from the merging of two fundamentally incompatible institutions — the university and the corporation. FERNWOOD PUBLISHING Reading, naturally. Ron Such rons@friesens.com T. 1.902.684.0888 books.friesens.com 6 atlanticbookstoday.ca FERNWOOD PUBLISHING Shawn Katz 9781552667255 $22.95 Generation Rising is the story of the most important mass mobilization in Québec’s (and Canada’s) history. Students went toe-to-toe against the corrupt and autocratic elite in an effort to construct a horizontal, participative and grassroots democracy. PUBLISHER Atlantic Publishers Marketing Association EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR and ADVERTISING SALES Carolyn Guy cguy@atlanticpublishers.ca EDITOR Kim Hart Macneill kim@atlanticpublishers.ca ART DIRECTOR Joseph Muise design@atlanticpublishers.ca EDITORIAL INTERN Alissa MacDougall Printed in Canada. This is issue number 78 Summer 2015. Atlantic Books Today is published three times a year. All issues are numbered in sequence. Total Atlantic-wide circulation: 60,000. ISSN 1192-3652 One-year subscriptions to Atlantic Books Today are available for $16 ($18.40 including HST). Please make cheques payable to the Atlantic Publishers Marketing Association and mail to address below or contact apma.admin@ atlanticpublishers.ca for subscription inquiries. Publications Mail Agreement No. 40038836 Return undeliverable Canadian addresses to: Atlantic Publishers Marketing Association Atlantic Books Today 1484 Carlton Street, Halifax, NS B3H 3B7 Shawn Katz 9781552667255 $22.95 Generation Rising: The Time of the Québec Student Spring Jamie Brownlee Generation Rising: The Time of the Québec Student Spring Generation Rising is the story of the most important mass mobilization in Québec’s (and Canada’s) history. Students went toe-to-toe against the corrupt and autocratic elite in an effort to construct a horizontal, participative and grassroots democracy. Academia, Inc.: How Corporatization Is Transforming Canadian Universities This groundbreaking book addresses the negative consequences to higher education and society that result from the merging of two fundamentally incompatible institutions — the university and the corporation. 9781552667354 $23.95 Complete Book Manufacturing Phone (902) 420.0711 Fax (902) 423.4302 atlanticbookstoday.ca @abtmagazine facebook.com/AtlanticBooksToday

[close]

p. 7

EDITOR’S MESSAGE Thus far 2015 has been an Editor’s message inspiring time for book lovers. In March, thanks in part to vigorous public protest, Nova Scotia cancelled a proposal to add the provincial portion of the HST to book prices, which will help keep books affordable for readers of all incomes. In May, I attended my first Atlantic Book Awards gala, and was awed by the crowd celebrating our books. Veteran and emerging authors chatted while everyone crowded around Bookmark II Bookstore’s tables discussing their favourite reads. But wait there’s more! Away From Everywhere, the film based on Newfoundland author Chad Pelley’s novel, began filming in St. John’s and, as I write this, Word on the Street Halifax is preparing for its 20th festival. Atlantic Canada is a hotbed of creative talent. From our authors and illustrators to our publishers who spread their stories. From our talented film crews who transform words into film to our musicians whose melodies punctuate the action. If you follow the news in Nova Scotia, you know that the 2015 budget slashed funding to our creative industries. While the film industry has been most vocal, we’re all on high alert. Film professionals are looking to Toronto to sustain their livelihoods, which will mean fewer creative people living here and, let’s be frank, paying taxes and shopping locally. How long before our best and brightest authors and musicians, and perhaps worse, those we have yet to discover, do the same? Our creative industries – books, music and film – are crucial to a vibrant Atlantic Canada. It’s time to add our voices to the chorus of opposition to creative sector cuts. Call your MLA, write a letter to the editor, or speak out on social media. Our voices establish our strength. When we lose our creative producers, we lose our culture. Kim Hart Macneill Our latest winners the TGIF Book Club of Lewisporte, NL CALLING ALL BOOK CLUBS! Want to see your book club featured on our website and in our newsletter? Fill out this ballot (or enter online at AtlanticBooksToday.ca) for your chance! The winning book club will also receive these great gifts: • We’ll bring the food or send you a $100 Sobeys gift card! • AND we will come to your next meeting (either in person or via Skype) to tell you about the hottest new Atlantic Canadian books! • AND you’ll win a set of Atlantic Canadian books for the group! Bonanza! Book Club The information below will not be used for any purpose other than contacting the winning entry. Name: Phone (with area code): The name of your book club: Street/mailing address: City/town, province, postal code: Your favourite book from an Atlantic Canadian author: How many members in your book club? E-mail: YES, please send the Atlantic Books Today newsletter to my inbox. I understand that my consent may be withdrawn by contacting Atlantic Books Today at apma.admin@atlanticpublishers.ca. Mail this form by August 28, 2015 to Atlantic Books Today Book Club Bonanza, 1484 Carlton Street, Halifax, NS B3H 3B7 How often do you meet? Atlantic Books Today 7

[close]

p. 8

CURRENT AFFAIRS NOTED NEWS AND AWARDS East Coast Literary Awards winners The Writers’ Federation of Nova Scotia presented the 2015 East Coast Literary Awards at the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic in Halifax on June 6th. Retired CBC broadcaster Olga Milosevich hosted the celebration. The Thomas Raddall Atlantic Fiction Award, valued at $25,000, is one of Canada’s largest literary prizes. Darren Greer won the award for Just Beneath My Skin (Cormorant Books). Shortlisted for the award were David Adams Richards for Crimes Against My Brother (Doubleday Canada) and Michael Crummey for Sweetland (Doubleday Canada). The Evelyn Richardson Non-Fiction Award, valued at $2,000, has honoured books by Nova Scotians since 1978. This year’s winner is Kaleigh Trace for Hot, Wet, & Shaking: How I Learned To Talk About Sex (Invisible Publishing). Shortlisted for the award were Heather Sparling for Reeling Roosters & Dancing Ducks: Celtic Mouth Music (Cape Breton University Press) and Graham Steele for What I Learned About Politics: Inside the Rise and Collapse of Nova Scotia’s NDP Government (Nimbus Publishing). The J.M. Abraham Poetry Award, valued at $2,000, was created by the local writing community two decades ago. Susan Paddon claimed this year’s prize for her collection Two Tragedies in 429 Breaths (Brick Books). Shortlisted for the award were Brian Bartlett for Ringing Here & There: A Nature Calendar (Fitzhenry & Whiteside) and Sylvia D. Hamilton for And I Alone Escaped To Tell You (Gaspereau Press). Newfoundland’s favourite meat hits the world stage The Bologna Cookbook (Flanker Press) by Newfoundlander Kevin Phillips is the winner in the Canadian "English Best Meat Cookbook” category of the 2015 Gourmand World Cookbook Awards. This is Phillips’ first book, and the first ever all-bologna cookbook, filled with 200 recipes featuring the aforementioned forcemeat. This win also qualifies The Bologna Cookbook to go on to the Gourmand Best in the World competition, which honours the best food and wine books, and food television. The results will be announced (after press time) on June 9 in Yantai, China. Find an excerpt from the book at AtlanticBooksToday.ca. Meags Fitzgerald takes home a Doug Wright Award Meags Fitzgerald won the 2015 Doug Wright Spotlight for her graphic novel Photobooth: A Biography (Conundrum Press).The award celebrates a work deserving of wider recognition. Fitzgerald attended NSCAD University in Halifax and savvy readers will spot cameos by the city in Photobooth. Read a review at AtlanticBooksToday.ca. 8 atlanticbookstoday.ca

[close]

p. 9

CURRENT AFFAIRS NOTED More Atlantic Canadian books headed to film Last year the film version of Lesley Crewe's novel Relative Happiness made a splash at theaters across the country. Chad Pelley, a former Atlantic Books Today regular, hopes the film adaptation of his novel Away From Everywhere (Breakwater Books), which started filming in St. John's in April, will follow suit. The story follows the lives of two brothers as they grow to be very different men after losing their father to mental illness. Canadian actor Lexi (Melissa Bergland) and Joss (Aaron Poole) from Lesley Crewe’s novel Relative Jason Priestly from “Beverly Hills 90210” plays lead Happiness came alive on the screen last fall. Photo courtesy of Nimbus Publishing character Alex. “I grew up watching this TV show,” says Pelley. “Now, years later, my professional life intersects with this epic 1990s TV show and Jason Priestly is asking for a copy of my novel so he can read it to get into the character. That was unimaginably great, I have to say.” Breakwater Books publisher Rebecca Rose says, “Film adaptations are drawing attention to the talent and stories that are coming out of this region that I’m sure in some ways are often overlooked. They have the potential to make a great impact on Atlantic Canadian books and writers. Not just from an entertainment point of view, but an economic point of view as well.” Also being adapted for a web series is Chris Ryan’s The Bay Bulls Standoff (Flanker Press). The series’ teaser trailer received about 10,000 individual views in its first month online. Katherine Dewar’s historical non-fiction book Those Splendid Girls (Island Studies Press) won PEI Publication of the Year twice! The City of Summerside Heritage and Culture Committee named it Publication Katherine Dewar receiving the PEI Museum and Heritage Foundation’s Publication of the Year Award of the Year for 2014 from Lt.-Gov. Frank Lewis. in early February, and then in April the PEI Museum and Heritage Foundation Heritage Awards concurred. Find an excerpt from the book at AtlanticBooksToday.ca. Those Splendid Girls honoured – TWICE! EXPLORE! ATLANTIC CANADA The gang’s all back together In our last issue we bid bon voyage to Atlantic Books Today’s art director, Joseph Muise. He missed us so much that in late March he came back.You’ll find his photographs from the Atlantic Books Awards gala on page 28. Feed your head www.gooselane.com Atlantic Books Today 9

[close]

p. 10

CURRENT AFFAIRS FIRST PERSON A new chapter Jo Treggiari explains what drove two authors and an illustrator to dive into the book business “W hy open a bookstore now? In this economic climate and when online shopping rules the universe?” is a question we – Alice Burdick, Anne-Marie Sheppard and Jo Treggiari – hear a lot as proud co-owners of Lunenburg, Nova Scotia’s brand-new Lexicon Books. But the question we three most ask ourselves is: when did our lives not revolve around books? We are all voracious readers. We are the type of people who can’t walk past a bookstore – new or used – without stopping in and (almost certainly) buying something. We judge towns and cities by their enormous, quaint or eclectic bookstores. We revel in the smell of books and the comfort found among them. We share great finds with friends and are passionate about seeking out new authors, stumbling across them or having someone whose expertise we trust recommend them to us. The written word informs a great part of our lives. “Do what you love” is a wonderful mantra, but it is not enough. You also have to be skilled at what you love. Two of us have many years of experience in retail sales and management, and two of us have many years of experience starting and nurturing new businesses. Transforming our starry-eyed dreams of owning a bookstore (“Imagine being surrounded by books all day every day!”) into a viable business model was not easy. Our space is a mere 500-squarefeet. Figuring out our starting inventory versus blowing our entire budget, bearing in mind that the store has to appear fully stocked, is one of those nightmarish math problems we all thought we’d left behind in high school. How many are too many? How few are too few? What’s the ratio between current literature and classic? Bestsellers and overlooked gems? Which genres to focus on? What do we love and what will our customers love? What selections will best reflect the area in which we live? How can we provide the optimum customer service and the best shopping experience? A bookstore is not just a store that sells books. It is a community hub, a cultural and arts centre hosting author events and book clubs. And how to compress all that information into something that makes sense? A bookstore is not just a store that sells books. It identifies the people who live and work around it. It is a warm and comforting place to go to. It is a community hub, a culture and arts centre hosting author events and book clubs. It is an information source and a social gathering place. Staffed by knowledgeable people who love books, it is a friendly place to engage with others. There is no algorithm devised by a technician and directed by a computer program that can replace a recommendation from someone who knows your tastes, likes and dislikes, who can make leaps from one author to a similar one, or from one subject to something equally intriguing. The relationship between a bookstore customer and a bookseller is, dare we say it, a sacred one. There is trust there. Trust that the recommendation will be – if not spot-on – at least pretty damn close. And that’s what we’re aiming for. ■ Jo Treggiari is a best-selling author. She’s written three books, most recently a YA novel Ashes, Ashes and a novella, Love You Like Suicide. Connect with her on Twitter @jotreggiari 10 atlanticbookstoday.ca

[close]

p. 11

CURRENT AFFAIRS PERSPECTIVE Kathleen Winter and broadcaster Christine McLean in conversation about "Journey to the High Arctic" in front of a full house at the Café Delta Beauséjour. STIR-FRYE Writers new and well-known mix it up at the Frye Festival Words Colleen Kitts-Goguen Photos Louis-Philippe Chiasson osephine Watson is a triple threat at Moncton’s 16th annual Fry Festival, “I’m bilingual, biracial and bicultural!” She is this year’s poète flyée. During festival week, she flits and flies among the events, gathering material for the original poem she will compose and deliver on the last day of the festival. For Josephine, this is a week to see and be seen, to entertain and engage as well as soak up the vibes from the many well-known writers gracing stages around the city. J Named in honour of Pine Street’s pre-eminent literary critic and theorist, the late Northrop Frye, the Frye Festival-Le Festival Frye bills itself as Canada's only bilingual, international literary festival and the largest literary event in Atlantic Canada. What sets the Frye apart is the sheer joie de vivre of everyone involved from the authors to the Frye staff and volunteers to the approximately 16,000 people who come out to the year-round festival events. In addition, more than 10,000 Atlantic Books Today 11

[close]

p. 12

CURRENT AFFAIRS PERSPECTIVE children are reached annually through the festival’s school-youth program. Readings take place in pubs, workshops in libraries, debates and lectures in theatres and restaurants. Live music is also on offer, with this year’s festival featuring Jenn Grant and Caroline Savoie at the Soirée Frye evening. Emma Donoghue (Frog Music) delighted middle school children with her Irish lilt, telling the kids at Salisbury Middle School what it’s like to be a writer and how they can become writers, too. Montreal playwright/novelist/poet Simon Boulerice had the audience in stitches at a panel discussion with tales of his larger-than-life mother, the inspiration for a good deal of his work. Here was Kathleen Winter (Annabel, Boundless); there was Giller-winner Sean Michaels (Us Conductors) and Jane Urquhart (The Night Stages) and so many others, including Nova Scotia-based poet Brian Bartlett (Ringing Here and There), the luminous Beth Powning (A Measure of Light), and Acadian musician/writer Daniel Léger (Objectif Katahdin). It’s the kind of festival where you’ll find Newfoundland poet George Murray reading his first children’s book (illustrated by Michael Pittman), Wow Wow and Haw Haw, to a roomful of rapt four-year-olds, where you can find yourself chatting with New Brunswick poet and former Lt-Gov. Herménégilde Chiasson (Autoportrait) about Andy Warhol and Marilyn Monroe. There is a place for everyone at the Frye, including those just getting started. Prèlude, sponsored by the Writers’ Federation of New Brunswick, featured six emerging writers – three English and three French. Saint John’s Julia Wright was on the bill. The editor of the Hard Times in the Maritimes 'zine stood in the spotlight at the Aberdeen Cultural Centre and delivered an essay about what it’s like to be a young writer here: “New Brunswick is simultaneously a great place, and the worst place ever, to grow up as a writer… It trains the powers of observation, and the imagination, to live in a place that’s both stuck in the past and endlessly looking to reinvent itself. And figuring out how to actually stay in this place and do what you love also takes a really good imagination.” And so it went throughout the week, emerging writers rubbed stanzas with the more established among them. Everybody took something from the experience – the chance to grow, to connect with each other and their readers, and the chance to celebrate the power and the glory of the written word. As Northrop Frye said, “The world of literature is a world where there is no reality except that of the human imagination.” ■ Colleen Kitts-Goguen is a freelance writer and broadcaster in Fredericton. She grew up near Pine Street in Moncton and attended Victoria School, the same elementary school as Frye, though some 50 years later. Left: Musicians Jenn Grant of Halifax and and Caroline Savoie of Dieppe, NB, shared the stage at the Soirée Frye evening. Right: Ian Wier reads from his novel Will Starling at the Beer and Books event at the Tide & Boar Gastropub. 12 atlanticbookstoday.ca

[close]

p. 13

AUTHOR BUZZ INTERVIEW Proust Questionnaire BERNI STAPLETON For 25 years, actor, playwright and author Berni Stapleton has delighted audiences with her unique take on Newfoundland and Labrador’s heritage. She’s held the titles of artistic director at the Grand Bank Regional Theatre Festival and playwright-in-residence at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival. Her latest book, This is the Cat (Creative Book Publishers), is a darkly humorous tale that examines the foibles and failures of memory through the lens of one woman’s life. What do you consider your best quality? Embracing my lesser qualities. A quality you desire in a partner: Companionable with silence, fresh breath, fresh humour. Must like reading, me and cats, my cats in particular. Must play well with others, enjoy long meandering walks and likewise conversations. I’m listing more than one quality in case he is reading this so he will recognize himself and get in touch with me. What do you appreciate most about your friends? They have greater and lesser qualities that are compatible with mine. They love me no matter what, they are usually smarter, wittier and more accomplished than me, thusly constantly massively, yet annoyingly, inspiring. Your worst quality: I am a master procrastinator. I would win the procrastinating Olympics except I’d miss the entry deadline. I can procrastinate procrastinating. What is your idea of happiness? Oh my God, that moment when the procrastinating is about done and the time has come, the walrus said, and then the writing commences. Favourite author(s): I adore Kathleen Winter, Lisa Moore, Alice Munro, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Jean Rhys and Stephen King. Your idea of misery: Trapped in small talk at a party wearing Your favourite fictional heroes: a dress that makes me feel fat. Trapped Cleopatra (as played by Elizabeth Taylor) in small talk anywhere. I prefer tiny and Morgaine le Fay. talk. No talk. Listening. Your real life heroes: Where you would most like to live? My mother and my son. I would most like to live in a small house on a hill in Italy with a bathYour favourite food & drink: tub for reading in every room, Red wine and any sort of food that a vineyard to one side, the ocean complements the wine. on the other, a garden for the cats on the other, and a chef who comes What is your greatest fear? to cook and never makes any That all my tiny fears will one day small talk. morph into a giant fear. Favourite colour: I love riots of colours. Favourite animal: I love cats because they are beautiful, mysterious, silly, natural-born killers. Your favourite poet(s): I love Agnes Walsh, most especially Going Around With Bachelors. How you want to die: Older than the oldest, in my right mind, in my own bed, in the house described above, lying next to the fellow described above. Your present state of mind: I am filled with hope. Favourite or personal motto: So Hum. I am. ■ Atlantic Books Today 13

[close]

p. 14

Rock Recipes B by Emily Deming Deconstructing familiar foods for his family and yours general “unsung hero”) have always been meal planners. They prioritized gathering their family around the table to share freshly made hot food each night. They don’t buy or cook in bulk and almost never eat the same meal reheated the next day. Not that food gets wasted, thanks to a combination of good planning, and friends and neighbours who are happy to help. When food is left over it is reinvented, as Chipotle Chili Sloppy Joes or Meatloaf Marinara Panini, rather than reheated. His pantry and spice drawer are filled with simple building blocks. His recipes call for short lists of ingredients that can be found without a trip to a specialty grocer. In this way, he has turned the regional food security challenges that Newfoundlanders face into a shared connection with rural households across North America. You may not have off-season access to fresh figs, artichokes and persimmons, or any access to saffron and sumac, but Rock Recipes proves you can still make hundreds of meals with what you have at hand. Parsons knows what food is available in a range of communities as he and his family have taken what they call “diners, dives and drives-style” vacationing along “every mile of the Eastern seaboard from St. John’s to Key West, FL.” arry C. Parsons’ recipes are masterpieces of accessibility. The meals featured in his Rock Recipes: The Best Food From My Newfoundland Kitchen (Breakwater Books) are easy to make, adapt and enjoy. His perfectionism is that sly brand that works behind the scenes to make his colourful family recipes happily casual yet foolproof. The sheer bulk and consistency of his creations make him saleable and effective. Without any particular dreams of grandeur, he has built the foundations of an empire one dish at a time. Though his recipes are often quick to make, nothing about Parsons is slapdash. The perfect example is his kitchen. It is tidy, well kept and well used, unadorned by a single impulse buy. Though he has wanted a make-over for it for years, a little more counter space and custom counters for his tall frame, he has never rushed into it. After all, he says, “How can I be without a kitchen during renovation?” This ingrained way of both making do and just doing day in and day out has produced 1,400 recipes viewed by an average of 20,000 daily visitors to his blog, rockrecipes.com. Parsons and Lynn (his wife, the grocery shopper, kitchen cleaner, note taker and Canvas printed photographs from these vacations hang in their dining room. This is where all the eating, writing and documenting of the chicken pies, the beef stews and stir-fries, the cakes and baked goods takes place. Natural light comes in through large glass doors opening on to a terraced yard, filled with snow in the winter, herbs and flowers in the summer. Here he works, pulling together both handwritten and online notes, photographing desserts and editing. To optimize his blog for searches, he has rewritten almost every post made since 2007. While working at this Herculean task of indexing, Parsons realized what a chronicle of his family’s life he had made. His (now teenaged) children were just eight and nine when he began. With a second cookbook in the works, a freshly organized and hugely popular blog, and freelance and commissioned requests for more recipes coming in, his memorializing of family life through meals looks like it will continue for many more years. ■ Emily Deming is a St. John’s-based freelance writer. With a background in science, she now writes about food, cocktails and the arts. Her work appears regularly in The Overcast. 14 atlanticbookstoday.ca behind The rock AUTHOR BUZZ INSIDE THE AUTHOR’S STUDIO

[close]

p. 15

This is where the eating, writing and documenting takes place. Natural light comes in through large glass doors opening on to a terraced yard, filled with snow in the winter, herbs and flowers in the summer. Ken Holden Atlantic Books Today 15

[close]

Comments

no comments yet