Jules Torti, a self-appointed junk food historian, shares sugary secrets and tasting notes from the kitchens of her youth. She believes a fond food memory is like the song you crank and put on repeat — it transports you back to a time and place that no longer exists.
Been There, Ate That: A Candy-Coated Childhood is a satiating grab bag of frosted nostalgia. Double-down on the 80s and 90s with big gulps of yellow dye #5, BHT, saturated fat and preservative-laden edible memories.
Jules Torti, a self-appointed junk food historian, shares sugary secrets and tasting notes from the kitchens of her youth. She believes a fond food memory is like the song you crank and put on repeat — it transports you back to a time and place that no longer exists. Been There, Ate That invites readers to revisit dormant tastebuds and return to the carefree era of sugar napalm. Remember when Cool Whip was an acceptable topping for just about anything?
In a sweet tribute to her grandmothers, corner stores candy sections, Quan 99 and cafeteria ladies everywhere, Been There, Ate That reveals a curious menu where the catch of the day includes fried earthworms and sometimes grasshoppers. From the exotica of "Mexican Hats" (her dad's signature dish) to "Fish Eyes" to the merits of "Nan Chapin's Green Fluff," Torti's memoir will make you crave the good ol' days (and the simple joy found in staining your fingers pink with Hostess Ketchup chips).
Torti grew up with good taste (and a steady feed of Pop-Tarts). Her memoir is a doggy bag of cherished elementary school hot dog days, picnics with Nan, adventures in Kraft Dinner (if you don't drain the water, you can make soup!) and the diversity of Jell-O. Her calling was more dinner bell than chef, but her appreciation for the evolution of a kid palate to an "adulterated" version is a wild road trip where food trucks dot every inch of memory lane. Think puffball, Three Blob Lunch, Pigs in a Blanket and deep-fried Oreos.
Been There, Ate That is a full kitchen sink with field notes from her eating adventures around the world (pan-fried piranha, red ant hot sauce, guinea pig and camel stew to name a few), pro tips from Torti's mother with a few leftovers for the doggy bag. Nostalgia never tasted so good! (Yes, even the fried smelts and Fish Eyes).
About the author
Jules Torti is the former Editor-in-Chief of Harrowsmith magazine. She has been published in The Vancouver Sun, The Globe and Mail, Our Homes, FASHION, Canadian Running and is a columnist for Massage Therapy Canada. After looking at 88 houses and living in a barn for a year, she unexpectedly found her home on the 45th parallel: halfway to the North Pole and better yet, halfway to the equator. She lives with her wife on the Saugeen Peninsula in Lion's Head, Ontario. Torti is the author of Free to a Good Home: With Room for Improvement (Caitlin Press) and Trail Mix: 920 km on the Camino de Santiago (Rocky Mountain Books). Despite outward appearances and an affection for kale and 12-grain things, she still believes that strawberry Pop-Tarts make for a well-balanced meal (and day).