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Shelfie

By November 30, 2016 Books

My food memoir hit stores this week in Toronto. After a sneak peek event for family and neighbours in my garden this summer, the official launch arrived.

Dreams. They’re worth having.

 

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Meet the team: love and sugar heroes

By November 25, 2016 Books

Love and Sugar Launch Countdown Week

Writers work alone. Maybe there’s a writing circle for support, or rituals known only to their editors.  Support, when it comes, is crucial. Just ask Canadian literary star Miriam Toews, who scooped the $50,000 Writers’ Trust Fellowship earlier this week.

The fellowship affords me an extravagant amount of time to write, and time is the most meaningful gift a writer can receive.

-Miriam Toews

Time, yes, was needed for my with love and sugar project, for inspiration to root into shape.

Inspiration is a small bouncy ball that flies at you, you who often forget your catcher’s mitt. A  lost single glove in the gutter. The sign on a church billboard as your car stops at a red. Overheard trails of conversation while you wait in line. The pink elephant in your home office.img_0279

Inspiration are the pair of pom-poms, cheerleader red, worn by parents who mark up your advance copy with sticky notes.

Are those mistakes you found?, Author Daughter wonders.

No, they are all the things I love, responds Agent Mother.

Inspiration is a think tank interested in accountability and croissants or yogurt parfaits as meeting tools. Show up and spew might be the theme for our bi-monthly meetings: mostly, it’s thinking out loud, coffee, giving feedback, coffee, sharing failures, coffee, applauding success (however minute). Did I say coffee? Made by someone else? Handed to you as you slump to your seat? Good morning. I have nothing for you today. Wait, okay, maybe I do.

Nancy Macdonald

Inspiration is a team of bakers with their own m.o, each answering the call and delivering up delights on a tray. No, I didn’t pay them.  But taste testers and bakers were as much as part of this journey as anyone else.

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Inspiration is a vat of booster fuel from life coaches, self-avowed and otherwise, ready to jumpstart flagging engines, cross the city in a mass book delivery wearing a chauffeur cap and feather boa (is there a better delivery uniform? Let me know), or remind you that yes, you really did do it.12342320_10153824959254066_4293986945597405530_n

Here are a few heroes with the love and sugar breakdown.

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What’s your favourite sweet thing to eat?

Stephanie BlackCheesecake with homemade caramel sauce and homemade whip cream. Skip the fake cherries please!!!!
Before I had dairy intolerance I’d say old-fashioned butterscotch sundae at a 50’s diner would be ideal.

Lisa Simone: Chocolate Fudge Layer cake- icing not buttercream-sweet fudge OR two fresh Polish Panczky- doughnuts with plum filling and lots of liquid icing sugar dripping down the sides.

Cindy Andrew: My grandmothers carrot cake with cream cheese icing!

Janet Land: O’Henry Chocolate Bar and Pecan Butter Tarts. I can’t choose!

What’s your favourite sweet thing to bake?

Stephanie: In Haileybury, Ontario at my grandmothers, she would bring me homemade chocolate chip cookies (we made earlier that day) and a glass of milk while I read Archie’s with the dog beside me.

Lisa: Rice Pudding- although I never eat it.

Janet LandAunt Mickey’s chocolate chip oatmeal cookies.

Cindy: My grandmothers carrot cake with cream cheese icing!!!…

A ritual you love?

StephanieA favourite ritual today is Shabbat dinner when we work together in the kitchen, light candles, pray, and say thanks and ask each other what we are grateful for, and what kind action was shown to us or what we did kind for someone else.

Lisa: A daily favourite is setting the table right before bed so it’s ready for breakfast, or preparing the strawberry French toast on weekend.

Janet LandMaking family weekend breakfast: french toast, crisp bacon, fresh strawberries, fresh OJ, fresh coffee.

Cindy: Today it is hard to find time where everyone has a few hours at the same time to get together but we make it essential at Christmas.. sporting our Santa hats, we pile into the car with the dog and a football and head to the tree farm. We grab some cider and a few saws and head out into the field for the perfect Christmas tree… singing carols which embarrass the kids until they just join in and love it… It still take a few hours to find the perfect tree (easier now that the kids are older and can toss the ball around while we hunt, but when they were 2 and 4 no matter how many layers of clothes we put on them, they froze and it never ended well until visiting Santa in his hut at the end…I love this part of Christmas… we are together, outside, playing and seeking that special tree.. some days it’s too tall and we have to cut off a few feet, some years it’s small, but every year it is our perfect tree and my perfect time with the family!

Thanks for sharing all.

ARE WE ALL HUNGRY NOW????dsc_1605

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HAPPY WEEKEND EVERYONE.   For those joining me on Monday at my launch, I promise Christmas cookies. (annehome1@rogers.com to rsvp)

 

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Meet the team: love and sugar photography

By November 24, 2016 Books, Life

All images are under copyright. Act accordingly.

Love and Sugar Launch Countdown Week

Homework. That’s what I gave Paschalis Gogos on the day we sat down to discuss shooting the desserts in my book. Piled high in front of us was a stack of cookbooks.

This here? This is what I don’t want. No fussy studio shots. My desserts are all tied into events. For real people.

He smiled and told me he was new at this, shooting food, but he wasn’t new to photography. Read More

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Meet the team: love and sugar design

By November 23, 2016 Books, Life

Love and Sugar Launch Countdown Week

As a former producer of television arts and entertainment news, I thought I knew teamwork. Middle child of five? Teams-R-US.

(Stop snickering, siblings!)

I’m not young enough to know everything

-J.M. Barrie

This book of mine took up brain space without paying rent long before I sourced any help. It just sat there like a crazy squatter dreaming of a castle on a hill. The lines and bones of the castle were clear in my head, as were all the rooms inside. From head to finished product?

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Roll out the team.
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Look for me here

By November 21, 2016 Books, Headlines

Love and Sugar Launch Countdown Week

A week from today ♥with love and sugar ♥will be available in a bookstore jammed with goodies.

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Tucked on a Toronto midtown corner where passerbys can’t help but gape at the wondrous windows, Mabel’s Fables has survived where others have fallen. Since 1988, this gem has done far more than serve up children’s stories. It is a dream shop.
When owner Eleanor Lefavre invited me to launch my food memoir in her store, I might have fallen over right then. Fortunately for the stacks of gorgeous books around me, I wobbled but stayed afloat—just. Read More

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Summer? What summer? I’m still running.

By September 8, 2016 Books, Life

You were too busy to wonder where I went these months past. That’s okay. I forgive you. Summer is like that. We lose ourselves if we’re paying enough attention.  I got lost in all the right ways. Lost in endings and beginnings and falling head first into the bowl of life’s richest treasures. It took me awhile to get back up so pull up a chair and stay awhile.

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Are you ready?

By August 18, 2016 Books, Life

You’ve seen the hints here.

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I’m such a tease.

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I do like to keep my promises: my food memoir is finally here and could be in your hands for Christmas.

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You love the sweet life as much as I do.

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And visiting those places that always go hand in hand with pie.

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You’re always wanting to expand your repertoire.

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You love bringing out those special candles. I do too.

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You weep a tiny tear after each child’s birthday, after the guests have gone, after you’ve swept up the sparkles all over the floor.

Kate dinosaur cake

Barney bday

Maybe your life doesn’t leave you any room for reading, or lining up peaches in a row.

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You may still dream… about those days in your childhood when Sundays were for pancakes, Fridays for squishing every one of us on the couch, and every day was play day with your cousins.

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Everyone has a ritual lover in their family.

Is it you? This book is yours.

Click on the book cover image on the top right of this page and you’re on your way.

Those in the Toronto area interested in attending my official launch in November can shoot me an email. I also accept online bank transfers.

annehome1@rogers.com

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What kind of nest are you building?

By May 2, 2016 Books

We all inherit something when we’re born, and that’s a place in a family narrative. And that’s what I really think the book is about. You just become a character in the story that you have no control over, including who the other people in the story are, your own place in the story, and how you’re expected to play out the expectations of family.

Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney, author

Once you finish chewing over that delicious quote, chew on this. Novelist Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney had never written fiction before she turned fifty. Fast forward a few years, to a bidding war, a heady advance, and her first book, The Nest, is now the buzziest title of spring.

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Four siblings of the dysfunctional Plumb family of New York City agonize over a bungled inheritance.  Money, sex, family, relationships: all boxes ticked here, along with a clever balance of voices and chapter hooks delivered for maximum addiction. I read it over a weekend previously earmarked for spring cleaning.  Is this anyone I know? Is this everyone I know?  Reading this was the closest exercise to binge-watching a juicy HBO series: utterly contemporary, darkly comedic, navel-gazing stuff. An alternate title perhaps could be “Exercise in Entitlement”. It is to Sweeney’s credit that she elicits empathy for these flawed characters, even if I’m not sure I cared enough to park it on the shelf of beloved book club selections. Also unclear in the final tally was audience. Despite the hype, this book may elude the grasp of younger readers, too busy conjuring up career paths to feel the true angst of pilfered dreams mined here.

Still, there’s much assurance in the storytelling, and while the author says The Nest is in no way autobiographical, her sense of sibling relations has won her many admirers. Perceptive as hell is one easy definition.

“Everyone’s always on the hunt for a mirror. It’s basic psychology. You want to see yourself reflected in others. Others—your sister, your parents—they want to look at you and see themselves. They want you to be a flattering reflection of them—and vice-versa. It’s normal. I suppose it’s really normal if you’re a twin. But being somebody else’s mirror? That is not your job.”

The Nest

Now a resident of LA, Sweeney spent almost three decades as a New Yorker, and this shines throughout−the book is as much about that storied city as it is about the struggle of her characters. Stay tuned for a cinematic adaptation, as sure as the conversation you will have in your head after reading this, or maybe, if you’re lucky, with book club members: what kind of nest are you building?

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Would it be cheating to say meringue ones?

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Just add rhubarb.

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Or lemon curd and a gooey blueberry sauce.

 

More thoughts on my nest here:

The day my house cried

Guarding the nest:Season 2

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The profane and the sublime

By April 4, 2016 Books

Quibble away with T. S Eliot’s charge that April is the cruelest month, but my shovel knows better.  Love or loathe it, frosty or green, April is here and needs your attention. National Poetry month is upon us and all eyes are on the road.

It’s time to celebrate the roads we travel, the roads we wish to travel, the roads we’ve found and made and cherished for decades.

 Fitting on a day where a few million traveled through familiar slop and slush, the 2016 theme from the League of Canadian Poets, currently marking their 50th anniversary,  hopes to celebrate the timeless journey of poetry. Canadians can take part by planning readings and events (share it on social media with the hashtag@NPM16)—

Wait, stop, another event?

It’s Monday. I know, I know. You’re  muttering (a Monday ritual) Where did the weekend go and there’s five days before the next one and you just want to go back to hibernating until the real spring comes. Wake me up when the green is here.

How about I wake you up with a little profane slamming? ( No, that’s not what it sounds like). POETRY SLAMMING,  sweet peas.

In addition to corralling Canadians on a cultural road trip, the League today has also announced the winner of  the Golden Beret, a national prize in spoken word poetry, awarded today to RC Weslowski. You can read this Vancouver talent’s bio here or you can watch this performance he’s posted on his website. The video was posted in 2014 so it is dated, but you may share of his frustrations.

Warning: If you are dreaming of bucolic April vistas, this video may not be to your liking. There’s a lot of F bombs.  If you liked Stephen Harper or Rob Ford, it won’t be to your liking either. You can log off and go back to sleep work. I won’t be offended. Poetry slams are feisty affairs and not for the fainthearted.

As for that poetry directive, this roadie is game. I’m thinking today about a trippy train trip and my first encounter with the Canadian prairies.

Praire Storm

Blink open to black motion

A heavy curtain drowns out place

Rum breath stumble, some drunk’s lot

teetering near my upper bunk

The others are undisturbed

but me, I’m on full alert

The intruder wanders off

I slip down, pass the sleeping berths

Find my father window watching

Outside the land races

Miles of flattened carpet

lit up by forked streaks stabbing the sky

We hear little but the wheels rounding the tracks

The flashing repeats, sharp defined strokes

through the glass

I wait for the hills

the flat flows

further yet further

I want to wake up everybody

think better of it

Sit out the night with Dad

fingers on the map

eyes on the silent storm

I remember the hokey hypnosis we tried at summer camp

But this midnight sideshow

on a moving train

beats all that.

Anne Langford © Holding Glass, 2001

 

Oh-and one last note about poetry. Lots of gorgeous poetic language can be found in “All the Light We Cannot see”, my pick for favourite winter read, chosen for our book club last month by the equally gorgeous Nancy.

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As absorbing as the narrative was, the brilliant characters and their many connections with one another will linger with me for some time. And all of Anthony Doerr’s beautiful lines:

“To men like that, time was a surfeit, a barrel they watched slowly drain. When really, he thinks, it’s a glowing puddle you carry in your hands; you should spend all your energy protecting it. Fighting for it. Working so hard not to spill one single drop.”

― Anthony Doerr, All the Light We Cannot See

 

More on spring here. More on spoken word here. More on poetry here. More on time here.

What’s your favourite road poem, book, story, movie, trip you took that stoked your fires, saved your life, or one you never want to repeat? No need to be poetic-just prompt. 

I’ll try to post a few of my own here now that the cookbook is crowning and I’m ready to push out in June. I think June. When the lawn really is green and not filled with frozen dog turds-oh dear, there goes another subscriber. The last one left me because I wrote a word that describes turds that starts with S and ends with T.  Let’s see who scurries away today.

Lucy in red coat*

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Happy Heart Day.

By February 14, 2016 Books

This writer’s mind is meandering this morning, wandering through all the love pitstops, to those who’ve won a piece of my heart; surely, like yours, stolen and stomped on enough times to earn me some wisdom.

You won’t find any here on this lonely hearts club day for many. Plunging headlong with abandon is the only way I know how.

I’m with Rumi.

Someone who does not run toward the allure of love walks a road where nothing lives.

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Have no one to share your bed?

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Sprinkle something spectacular at the doorstep of friends and neighbours in your community. Children know already that having one Valentine is never as much fun as a stuffed shoebox of notes from a posse of pals, or sugar cookies with an abundance of sprinkles.

 

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Today also marks the start of an international week of random acts of kindness. Here’s an ambassador who walks the walk.

Those who celebrated Galentine’s Day yesterday interpret the holiday as girlfriend power, as dreamed up by Amy Poehler’s character from TV’s Parks and Recreation.

 

My Valentine, known around here for such grand romantic gestures as mopping the floors after a bash (yes, I hate housework. I’m no fool to have found a man who loves it), is a guy who loves razzmatazz as much as me.  For him,  I pull out a little Mary Oliver.

I did think, let’s go about this slowly.

This is important. This should take

some really deep thought. We should take

small thoughtful steps.

 

But, bless us, we didn’t.

-Mary Oliver

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More words, more love for all those in your life who need some help from the literary gods.

My current favourite list of the do’s and don’ts of falling in love.

Prefer to listen then read? The wonderful NY Times Modern Love column is now a podcast.

Still looking for a way to deliver romance? Perhaps you can only dream of sending a box of these very sexy paper roses, created in Paris by Kazumi Duncan.

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I’m sticking with a classic.

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A bite of this velvet truffle tart will deliver a giddy high only subscribers to my buzz sheet know about.  Want the recipe to make for your Valentine?  Sign up here.

What are you going to do to fill your romantic plate?

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