Books for the Holidays

The holidays are coming, and we've got recommendations for gorgeous books that make great gifts. 

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Out of Old Ontario Kitchens, by Lindy Mechefske

About the book: Out of Old Ontario Kitchens is a window into the past, exploring the stories of the First Peoples and settlers. It pays homage to all those who trapped and fished and hunted; to those who cleared the land and planted crops; and most importantly to all those women — our mothers and aunts, our grandmothers and great-grandmothers and great-great grandmothers — who got up and lit the fire; who toiled and stirred and cooked and baked and who kept families alive through long hard winters, through plagues and depressions, famines and wars. Work every bit as important as agriculture, commerce, mining, politics, and the development of infrastructure.

With over a hundred historically sourced recipes as well as scores of old photographs, early artworks, botanical prints, and illustrations, Out of Old Ontario Kitchens is both a visual and virtual feast. If you want to know what life was really like in early Ontario, come to the table with us. Food stories are, after all, the real stories of our lives.

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Escape to Reality: How the World is Changing Gardening and Gardening is Changing the World, by Mark Cullen, with Ben Cullen

About the book: Why do we garden? Why should we? How is gardening changing the world?

These are just some of the philosophical gardening questions pondered in this heartfelt and gorgeously designed book. An informed and personal reflection on gardening in Canada from the country's preeminent horticultural expert, Escape to Reality goes beyond the hows that are the focus of most gardening books and explores the whys. In short, narrative essays, topics range from garden and nature as therapy to who we are as gardeners and what life values we gain through the experience of gardening. It also includes some practical tips for cultivating and coexisting with your garden. Co-written with son, Ben Cullen, bestselling author and horticultural consultant Mark Cullen's newest book is sure to find a home on the shelves of mindful gardeners across the country, and beyond.

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Recipes for Olive Oil and Vinegar Lovers Boxed Set, by Emily Lycopolus

About the book: Savor the culinary magnificence of the Mediterranean and the Middle East from the comfort of your very own kitchen! Italy, Greece, Spain, and Syria come together in one convenient box set, sending olive oil and vinegar lovers on a culinary adventure into the very heart of these rich, ancient cultures. Each one of these books shows you how to amplify the flavour in all of these dishes using four specialty olive oil and vinegar products, found at an olive oil tasting bar near you.

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Tunirrusiangit: Kenojuak Ashevak and Tim Pitsiulak, edited by Anna Hudson; Georgiana Uhlyarik; Jocelyn Piirainen

About the book: Kenojuak Ashevak shot to fame in 1970 when Canada Post printed The Enchanted Owl, a print of a black-and-red plumed nocturnal bird, on a postage stamp. She later became known as the magic-marker-wielding "grandmother of Inuit art," famous for her fluid graphic storytelling and her stunning depictions of wildlife. She was a defining figure in Inuit art and one of the first Indigenous artists to be embraced as a contemporary Canadian artist.

Ashevak's legacy inspired her nephew, Timootee (Tim) Pitsiulak, to take up drawing at the Kinngait Studios. In his relatively short career, he became a popular figure, known for drawing animal figures with a hunter's precision and capturing the technological presence of the South in Nunavut.

Tunirrusiangit, "their gifts" or "what they gave" in Inuktitut, celebrates the achievements of two remarkable artists who challenged the parameters of tradition while consistently articulating a compelling vision of the Inuit world view. Published to coincide with a major exhibition at the Art Gallery of Ontario, opening on 16 June and continuing until late August, Tunirrusiangit features more than 60 reproductions of paintings, drawings, and documentary photographs. Completing the book are essays by contemporary artists and curators Jocelyn Piirainen, Anna Hudson, Georgiana Uhlyarik, Koomuatuk Curley, Laakkuluk Williamson Bathory, and Taqralik Partridge that address both the past and future of Inuit identity.

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The Flower Can Always be Changing, by Shawna Lemay

About the book: "A lamp and a flower pot in the center. The flower can always be changing."—Virginia Woolf.

From the bestselling author of Rumi and the Red Handbag comes a new collection of brief essays about the intersection of poetry, painting, photography and beauty. Inspired by the words of Virginia Woolf, Lemay welcomes you into her home, her art and her life as a poet and photographer of the every day. Lemay shares visits to the museum with her daughter, the beauty in an average workday at the library, and encourages writers and readers to make an appointment with flowers, with life.

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The Scent of Pomegranates and Rose Water: Reviving the Beautiful Food Traditions of Syria, by Habeeb Salloum; Muna Salloum & Leila Salloum Elias

About the book: The traditions of Syrian cooking, which go back hundreds of years, are notable for their sensory components, in which aroma and texture are as important as taste and nutrition. Over the centuries, the unique dishes of Greater Syria (bilaad al-shaam) were preserved by those who cooked them. For cooks in imperial households, family homes, or on simple peasant farms, recipes were handed down from generation to generation. Despite centuries of occupation, economic hardships, and political strife, the people of Greater Syria continued to cook their bulgur, lentil, chickpea, kishk, and yogurt dishes as if life around them never changed.

Syrian-born Habeeb Salloum and his daughters, Leila and Muna, have researched and explored the far reaches of Syrian cuisine for many years (and in Habeeb's case, decades). Their resulting cookbook provides a succinct window into the dining tables of eighteenth and nineteenth-century Syria, when the region was influenced by the Ottoman Empire's reach into Persia and the Arab world. The book includes delectable, heart-healthy recipes—some familiar, some never before published in English—many of which have been updated and simplified for modern sensibilities. The book also provides a poignant window into Syrian culture and everyday life then and now—framed by ageless and truly beautiful food traditions.

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More Abandoned Manitoba: Rivers, Rails and Ruins, by Gordon Goldsborough

About the book: Gordon Goldsborough returns with more compelling abandoned sites from across Manitoba. Armed with a drone and a deep curiosity about local history, Gordon had more stories to share than could fit into one book. Adventure into abandoned quarries, dance halls, hospitals and more!

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Fruit for Northern Gardens, by Sara Williams & Bob Bors

About the book: A comprehensive full-colour handbook for growing fruit in cold climates that is aimed at the home gardener. Includes a detailed map and reference guide to zones, hardiness, planting time, and best practices to ensure growth and survival.

From pincherries to haskaps, tree fruits to vine fruits, and everything in between, renowned horticulturalists Dr Bob Bors and Sara Williams delve into the science of growing and maintaining fruit plants for northern gardeners.

Each specific fruit plant is given its own chapter in this beautifully designed reference guide, complete with charts and colour photographs, outlining and describing the plant and its history, planting, care, and any problems (such as insects and disease) that are typically associated with growing it. Gardeners will be able to decide which plants would work best in their own gardens, and harvest the fruits of their success.

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Rebecca Belmore: Facing the Monumental, edited by Wanda Nanibush, by (artist) Rebecca Belmore

About the book: In a 2012 performance piece, Rebecca Belmore transformed an oak tree surrounded by monuments to colonialism in Toronto's Queens Park into a temporary "non-monument" to the Earth.

For more than 30 years, she has given voice in her art to social and political issues, making her one of the most important contemporary artists working today. Employing a language that is both poetic and provocative, Belmore's art has tackled subjects such as water and land rights, women's lives and dignity, and state violence against Indigenous people. Writes Wanda Nanibush, "by capturing the universal truths of empathy, hope and transformation, her work positions the viewer as a witness and encourages us all to face what is monumental."

Rebecca Belmore: Facing the Monumental presents 28 of her most famous works, including Fountain, her entry to the 2005 Venice Biennale, and At Pelican Falls, her moving tribute to residential school survivors, as well as numerous new and in-progress works. The book also includes an essay by Wanda Nanibush, Curator of Indigenous Art at the AGO, that examines the intersection of art and politics. It will accompany an exhibition at the Art Gallery of Ontario scheduled from 12 July to 21 October 2018.

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On Boards: Simple & Inspiring Recipe Ideas to Share at Every Gathering, by Lisa Dawn Bolton

About the book: Sharing food on boards is the perfect way to entertain family and friends. With minimum effort and maximum impact you can casually host in style and focus on spending time together, rather than being stuck in the kitchen. 

In On Boards, food stylist Lisa Bolton has put together 50 ideas for instantly approachable boards, all with effortless entertaining in mind, as well as 52 recipes for delectable savory and sweet additions like Beet Hummus, Bourbon Bacon Jam, Mashed Potato Dip and Chocolate Salami. All of the boards can be pulled together in very little time, and all include presentation and styling tips to make them (and you!) shine. Lisa also shows you how to style any assortment of food into a beautiful board so you can transform whatever is in your fridge and pantry!

With chapters on Everyday Boards, Holiday & Special Occasion Boards, Seasonal Boards and Around the World Boards, you will find inspiration for every gathering. Whether you are looking for a breakfast or brunch board; a board for a picnic, potluck or playdate; for Thanksgiving, Superbowl Sunday or New Year's Eve; for a huge celebration or a cozy date night for two, it is included in this collection of gorgeously curated boards.

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Hope Blooms: Plant a Seed, Harvest a Dream, by Hope Blooms, foreword by Arlene Dickinson

About the book: There is an old saying that it takes a village to raise a child, but Jessie Jollymore has experienced through the youth of Hope Blooms, an inner city initiative she founded that engages at-risk youth, that sometimes it takes the children to raise the village. A dietitian who worked in inner city health for 15 years, Jollymore witnessed the challenges people face every day with food security, isolation, discrimination, and poverty. An idea bloomed of creating sustainable, youth-driven micro-economies: growing local food systems, growing social enterprises, and mentoring youth to become leaders of change. This led to over 50 youth ages 6 to 18 leading the way in growing over 3,000 pounds of organic produce yearly for their community, building innovative outdoor classrooms, and building a successful Fresh Herb Dressing social enterprise, with 100% of proceeds going toward growing food, and scholarships for youth.

In this inspiring, vibrant book, the youth behind Hope Blooms tell the story of the social enterprise they built from the soil up, the struggles of "creating something from nothing," successfully navigating the world of business, and ultimately building resilience and leaving behind a legacy. Includes youth's words of wisdom, stories, and poetry, and over 75 colour photos.

December 11, 2018
Books mentioned in this post
Escape to Reality

Escape to Reality

How the World is Changing Gardening, and Gardening is Changing the World
edition:Hardcover
tagged : essays
More Info
More Abandoned Manitoba

More Abandoned Manitoba

Rivers, Rails and Ruins
edition:Paperback
tagged :
More Info
Rebecca Belmore

Rebecca Belmore

Facing the Monumental
edited by Wanda Nanibush
by (artist) Rebecca Belmore
edition:Hardcover
More Info
On Boards

On Boards

Simple & Inspiring Recipe Ideas to Share at Every Gathering
edition:Hardcover
More Info
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