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Apocalypse the Memoir: At the printer
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Instead of writing here I’ve written this book. Yes it a memoir. The story of my life at the age of 15. And, yes it is a zombie apocalypse book too. And true. It is a road trip book from Tara, Ontario to Las Vegas, Nevada. It is available for pre-order. I will be signing and delivering it to my Stratford community all of August...

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Sobey’s cultures Come to Stratford
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  Shopping for food is weird in North America. The first time I truly realized how weird was shopping with my Finnish husband for the first time. We walked into a grocery store. He picked up a teeny tiny basket. I pushed a gigantic cart in front of him and asked him what the hell he was up to.   As a European, he...

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RESTAURANT NEWS: The Phoenix is a Rabbit
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  For the discerning eater, this summer in Stratford will be different. Mercer Hall as I know it is gone. Sad. The chefs you fell in love with are gone. The front of house who knew your name and made you feel hugged in are gone. Tragic. The current physical structure is going to have to regroup. It makes me physically ill to think about...

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Colombia: Everything Canada Is Not
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    The country of Colombia has pieces of me scattered all over it. Returning last week after twenty years I did not expect to find it unchanged. I also doubted I could get an obnoxious kale salad or craft beer. But I could!     The echos of 1995 Colombia remained haunted by clean organic produce and fancy drinks. Or, more specifically, I...

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The Ultimate in Bespoke Roadtrip is here.
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From a minimum budget of $500 I can work with you to carve out the roadtrip of your dreams.   WHO I have spent over 4 years of my life on the roads of America in cars. It is my obsession, my life work. I have logged tens of thousands of miles. I have lived for a year on less than $1000. I have stayed...

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Normcore(☉_☉)Tripadvisor FTW
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The time has come to celebrate Tripadvisor. To embrace it. Normcore, the internet meme of 2014 is spewing all over New York Fashion Week right this second. Incredibly, if you don’t know what normcore is, odds are you are inspiring it right now and therefore be unable to practice the “self-aware, stylized blandness” of it. And, after several obsessive churns of my Culture Genius© machine...

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Censored by the CBC: Stratford Chefs League
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Winter 2014, able to catch their collective breath after another tourist-filled summer with their noses to the, uh, robot-coupe, many of Stratford’s most talented chefs came together to put the farm-to-table rhetoric and theory into blood sweat and tears action: A Call To Farms was born. The deal was, every day they used local pork but none of them had ever really taken a pig...

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Food vs Music
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Food vs Music

Apr 22, 2014 by

  When I was 15 the Trinity Sessions saved my life. I listened ad nauseam and memorized it to the point where I didn’t need a watch I could just sing Mining for Gold over and over to pass 1 minute 32 seconds and count time until Biology class with my teacher who looked like Paula Abdul (but who refused to impersonate her for...

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Stay with Stratfood? Can you imagine!
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  Yes it is possible to spend the night in the Stratfood residence. Minimalist but not austere, Victorian but gleaming and in the heart of Stratford but still peaceful. But best is the bespoke itinerary and eating ideas you’ll get. Stay with...

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7 Courses in Heaven (at Monforte not in a closet)
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Okay. Official description Chef Ryan O’Donnell gave last night’s  pop-up at Monforte:  “Dynamic 6 course tasting menu highlighting Perth County producers and fermented ingredients …some on an open flame!” Fibber! I assure you I counted at least 7, really 11 if you count the beer samples from Stratford’s sexy new craft brewers the Blackswans. Due to Ryan’s under-reporting of courses, I was forced to compromise...

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Gossip: Black Swans, Karaoke and Drawings (or beer, beer and beer)
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Stratford is hurdling  towards tourist season. A  palpable tension thickens air with nowhere to go until folks arrive to absorb it. I leave most of this on twitter, but here: Black Swans, a new brewery! In Stratford! Might be in old lingerie shop, will they keep the corsets? Hope so. Details on hand hint at serious craft folk because they quit good day job...

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St. Mary’s New Woolf
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    TL;DR: Little Red: If you have drunk the Kool-Aid and are from St. Mary’s race out for your gourmet atmosphere and chalkboard menu! If, however, you are an Outsider and enjoy fresh well-prepared food that is to be enjoyed because it tastes fantastic and not because it should taste fantastic, proceed with caution.   Swept up in a Chris Woolf shaped wave...

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Apocalypse The Memoir: First Draft Done
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  Coming 2015: My first Horror Memoir/Essay In 1987 a 90 pound loser races puberty across mineralized America to dad and Las Vegas. First there was The Hunger Games. (beautiful girl, impossibly perfect) Then there was Divergent. (pretty “plain” girl, impossibly skilled) Now there is Apocalypse The Memoir. (real girl, impossibly entertaining)   To prepare for ecdysis, the lobster lays down a new exoskeleton underneath its...

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Family Skills
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Family Skills

Dec 13, 2013 by

You know that expression that family is the opportunity to hang out with people you wouldn’t ordinarily even know? My family experience is the embodiment of that expression. Both ways. For example: my first official family wedding invite. Now that’s kind of a lie, because I was a flower girl at thirteen at a nuptuals that shuttled erratically between soporific and horrific. But that...

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One Week In Stratford
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Often big city folks wonder about what we small town people do out here. For you I present:    A TYPICAL WEEK IN STRATFORD ONTARIO   Wednesday: My turn to host monthly dice game. Loose  voice trying to scream over 16 people about dead babies, grandma’s, cheats, diet Dr. Pepper, jesuspenis. Fail to psyche them out and trip up their count. Don’t win the...

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Eating The Bruce
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Eating The Bruce

Sep 19, 2013 by

  On September 10 I ate at Stratford’s latest opus, the restaurant at The Bruce Hotel. The Bruce is named for owner Jennifer Birmingham’s dad. I’m guessing his name was Bruce. The lovely Ms. Birmingham  (who was on site flying around the hotel taking care of business) courted local foodstar couple Aaron Linley and Bronwyn Linley away from Bijou. She sent them ’round the world and...

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My Food Love Letter To My Family
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I am envious. I am envious of those who can sit at a table with their family and share a meal you all love equally. I can’t. My culinary inheritance is one where processed, imported, truck aged and mass produced reigns. Spray on oil. Margarine. McCormick spices from an earlier era. Garlic salt. Mopey wilted fruit, old hairy vegetables. Cracker Barrel brick cheese. BBQ...

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Eating Up Canada’s Only City: Montreal
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  Montreal is Canada’s only actual city. It has parks full of people smoking pot. Endless dive bars and gritty restaurants that have never been renovated. And people live there because they want to and not because they can’t afford NYC or are afraid of it. Leisure exists. Wine and beer is available everywhere although only until 11 and the SAQ taxes everything mercilessly....

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How to Throw A Proper Party in 7 steps
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For what reason did I throw a champagne and luxury, curated food and diverse entertainments, party for my 40th birthday? Because I have the best friends in the world. My friends are family to me. And I haven’t always been the easiest person to be friends with. The party was for my old friends, who have born witness to my bizarre family dynamics and...

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The Chef School From The Future
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New blood has been injected into The Stratford Chef School. And it’s hungry, energized and fearless. Over local bubbly on the Mercer patio, I met Rochelle Marshall, the Chef School’s new development officer. We discussed her myriad plans in various states of execution. She is tasked with inventing and re-directing fundraising efforts and is also diligently tracking their successes. Among other things! Rochelle is new...

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10 Rules On How To Retire Before 40 (Like Me)
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Use it up, Wear it out, Make it do, Or do without. – The Pioneers and Great-Grandmother Nash   So you dream of early retirement, huh? There are many ways to go about it. My definition of retirement: Only working if I feel inspired by something. Oh: All this is much easier if you are used to living sparse and utilitarian. And I’m not recommending any of it, I’m...

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Street School Lesson #1: Shelter
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I left home when I was still a kid in high school.     It was the only option.My stepfather, a Homer Simpson/Jack Nicholson hybrid, was an abusive drug addict and my mother was his co-dependant cheerleader.  My dad was not helpful because he had already died on a dock in Deroche Landing with a jug of wine in his hand. Tiny violins! But...

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Writing About Food? Impossible.
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Madame Mijanou, Fortune Teller: You will bring great financial reward to your native land. Charlie Rogers: Sure, but right now I’m a roustabout and the boss told me to come in here and give you a hand. -Roustabout (1964) Food writing is in. It must be because I’ve written about how in it is. But, to loosely quote Martin Mull, writing about food is like dancing...

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