THE CANLIT FOODBOOK: FROM PEN TO PALATE-A COLLECTION OF TASTY LITERARY FARE.
Compiled and illustrated by Margaret Atwood. Toronto, Totem Books, 1987. 216pp. paper. $16.95, ISBN 0-00-217908-3. Distributed by Collins. CIP
Volume 16 Number 4
In her introduction to The Canlit Foodbook, Margaret Atwood says that she reads cookbooks in bed. So do I, and this is the best bedtime cookbook reading I've had in many a year. The author says that it "is not exactly a cookbook; on the other hand, it isn't exactly not a cookbook, either."
The parts of this book that are "cookbook" range from the simple (Michael Ondaatje's grapefruit) to the simply delicious (Susan Mendelson's Nanaimo bars) to the bizarre (Farley Mowat's creamed mice). In between, there are some recipes like Margaret Laurence's cauliflower soup that you will add to your repertoire. Others, like Rick Salutin's tea & toast, may already be among your culinary accomplishments. A few recipes have ingredients, like buffalo hump, which cannot be found at your local supermarket.
There are also excerpts from some of the best and most interesting Canadian writing in the past two hundred years: Sara Jeannette Duncan's depiction of an Upper Canadian "high tea"; Susanna Moodie's account of how a gentlewoman of reduced circumstances might make coffee from dandelion roots; Erika Ritter's portrayal of the way in which many modern relationships revolve around the latest trendy food; and Edward Phillips’ description of a wine and cheese party.
Any profits from The Canlit Foodbook will go to PEN International and the Writers' Development Trust. It is a highly profitable investment in delicious escapism.
Sharon A. McLennan McCue, Cree School Board, Chisasibi, James Bay, Que.
1971-1979 | 1980-1985 | 1986-1990 | 1991-1995
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