My first impression of this book (recommended by a co-worker) was not favourable. I thought it was nothing more than a journal of a foodie's gluttonou...moreMy first impression of this book (recommended by a co-worker) was not favourable. I thought it was nothing more than a journal of a foodie's gluttonous road trip, highlighted by visits to farms viewed through rose-tinted glasses.
Hmph. So much for first impressions.
Instead, the reader is treated to a provincial hop-scotch, each chapter highlighting one type of food (oysters, apples, wine, etc.) and the farmers who produce it (sometimes laboriously so). So while there are ample descriptions of meals as poetry (such as only a foodie, I'm assuming, can render), Apples to Oysters is so much more. Sometimes funny, sometimes heartrending, it's a journey into the lives of farmers who are striving to coax Mother Nature's bounty from the soil and the water, instead of taking it by force - or choking her with a cocktail of chemicals.
I'm glad I read it, even though it made me uncomfortably aware of how much the food we eat (and how it is produced) impacts our lives. It also gave me a sense of history and appreciate for the farming lifestyle.
My ancestors were farmers. One side came to Canada before it was Canada, barely 5 years after the War of 1812. They eeked out an existance and prospered in the wilderness of the Ottawa Valley. They raised large families and lived off what they could produce. My great-uncle was the last to farm, raising lambs and cows. The operation was a far cry from the hundreds of acres once possessed by our family, but, as a confirmed bachelor, it would end with him. I spent the first 3 years of my life there, and while I can't place those distant memories (I've been told all about it though), the yearning to return to that life is like a dull ache in my heart. That, however, is unlikely to happen (unless I marry a farmer and living the city hardly guarantees that option) and that, much life the feelings provoked by Apples to Oysters is a very bittersweet feeling.
(As a side note, based on the arrangement of the chapters, the title should have been Oysters to Apples, but that's just my opinion! ;)(less)
I'm not a fan of the show, so I wasn't expecting much. But I was surprised by how much actual content (recipes) there was, as opposed to just talking...moreI'm not a fan of the show, so I wasn't expecting much. But I was surprised by how much actual content (recipes) there was, as opposed to just talking about the show, family, etc. Good for a beginner baker (especially the cookies).(less)