Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Monday, November 15, 2010
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
In the last few decades we have seen major changes in our approaches to food. Supermarkets are no longer just for food (just the other day I purchased my son's snowsuit alongside my groceries) and more and more people are relying on convenience foods. The self-sufficiency of our grandparents' time is long gone.
But another shift seems to be occurring. The current economic crisis means more and more people have less and less money to spend on foods. The local eating movement has gone from being a trend to a necessity as more people rely on farmer's markets and growing their own foods.
If you are one of those people who is making a move to local eating, then Independence Days: A Guide to Sustainable Food Storage & Preservation is the book for you. This book will walk you through every single step of food preservation including buying in bulk, storing food, and technique. And even if food preservation doesn't seem like an option for you, this book still has some easy and necessary tasks that you can do to reduce your reliance on industrial agriculture.
This is a fascinating book. It begins with food storage which applies to everyone. Astyk covers the many reasons people need to have stocked food pantries and helps you examine your own life to find out what your needs are. I've always kept a little extra food on hand during the winter months just in case of a snowstorm, but this book has helped me to develop that a bit further.
I will admit there were times it was a little depressing to think about why I would possibly need to keep 60 pounds of oats on hand at all times, but Astyk provides a realistic view of why food pantries are important. Hurricanes, snowstorms, power outages, or job loss are all reasons why it is important to have extra food on hand.
The second half of the book goes into food preservation, the tools needed, the different techniques, and how and when to preserve different food. In addition to this, Astyk includes various family favourite recipes using foods that are stored and preserved.
I can pretty much guarantee that after reading the first few chapters of this book you will already be clearing space in your cupboards and making a list of foods to stock up on. Don't worry if it seems as though it will cost a lot of money, Astyk gives you some tips on how to stock up on the cheap.
There is something for everyone in this book. You don't have to live on a farm or have a large plot of land to have need for this book. I live in a high-rise in the city and I have walked away from this book with many tips and ideas. I may not end up in my kitchen making jam or pickling vegetables but I definitely feel as though I have begun to take charge of my own food security.
Monday, November 8, 2010
Sunday, November 7, 2010
Friday, November 5, 2010
Thursday, November 4, 2010
Everyone is wondering what is the matter with Morris? His son Martin was killed in Afghanistan after Morris, a pacifist, dared him to join the army. Now he has been let go from his job as a newspaper columnist and his grieving wife has left him. He has withdrawn all his money from the bank, cut off most of his contact with the outside world, is trying to rescue a prostitute and has immersed himself in the works of great thinkers. Will Morris be able to find the answers he is looking for or is he forever lost?
The Matter With Morris is about a man in crisis, dealing with the consequences of his actions and words while trying to understand the nature of the world around him. Morris Schutt is a very interesting man. He's not Mr. Popular nor does he care to be. He doesn't always think before he acts. But he is trying to figure out how to fix his mistakes, or at least how to stop making them.
My feelings on this book are mixed. I thought the premise of the story is good and relatable - how one deals with grief in our current time of international conflict. There is a lot to question about our world, the people who run it, and those who are fighting our wars. I could agree with Morris on many of his viewpoints, especially with his reflections on how the great thinkers works still apply today. Morris' letters to the Prime Minister and the corporation who manufactured the gun that killed his son were poignant.
But there was also a lot of disconnect from Morris for me. I'm not sure why given that the book is all about Morris and how he drifts through his time of crisis. The writing style is simple and Morris is easy to follow. I did feel a bit more for him toward the end of the book.
I think in the end, I was expecting more from this book because it has been shortlisted for the Giller Prize, and other books from the longlist were able to pull me in quicker than this one. I do think that this is worth a read however, that David Bergen has some interesting observations on life and war and how they intersect.
Tuesday, November 2, 2010
If you have ever stood in front of your closet and asked yourself "what should I wear?" then Nina Garcia has the book for you. Nina Garcia's Look Book helps you figure out what to wear for every occasion. From a job interview to a black tie wedding, and everything in between, the fashion director of Marie Clare magazine and Project Runway judge will make sure you never question your wardrobe choices again.
This book is extensive. Every situation in which a woman finds herself is covered (including some rare situations like meeting a potential surrogate.) In addition to covering clothes, Nina talks about appropriate hair and makeup. Two cool features are "rule breakers we love" and "rules are made to be broken" which help show that fashion isn't always about strict rules but is about dressing appropriately.
This is a great, necessary book that I think all women will love. It is divided into different sections - work, dating, day, night, holidays, life events, weddings and dream travel - and every woman will find what she needs.
What is really great about this book is that it's not rigid in what it tells you to wear. You don't need to buy a whole new wardrobe, have the latest trends or dress in a certain style. The book helps you to pick outfits from what is already in your closet. The illustrations, by Ruben Toledo, are adorable and the book has a beautiful layout.
I think this book is a must-have. Nina Garcia knows fashion and she knows how to make women look good, and with this book you will never find yourself underdressed or overdressed again.