So I just finished a non-Canadian book, Julie and Julia by Julie Powell, and while there really are no Canadian aspects to the book, I thought I would take the opportunity to look at an often overlooked type of book- the cookbook.
I am not going to say much about Julie and Julia, except that as a general rule- if you are writing a book about a blog, you should include the blog entries as part of the book. I felt like I was missing a lot of the story because she references her blog a lot and I have never read it. But besides that, it was decent, funny, and foody, just how I like it!
But it did remind me of the GREAT chefs, cooks, cookbook writers, and food authors we have here in Canada. Really, we are pretty lucky. I love cooking and baking but more than both of those I love reading about cooking and baking and that includes cookbooks. Out here in Edmonton we have a local heroine who has created a cookbook empire that dominates stores across the country- Jean Paré
While there are many cookbook authors I could talk about, Jean Paré holds a special place in my heart because her books, Company’s Coming, are so familiar to me (I think my mom owns everyone!).
Not only that, but right after I read Julia Child’s book, My Life in France, a few years ago, I picked up Jean Paré’s biography, Jean Paré: An Appetite for Life by Judy Schultz. Now, An Appetite for Life isn’t a bad book- it is an interesting story and fairly well written, I just wouldn’t run around calling it a must-read Can Lit book or a must-read food book either. But, for someone who knows and frequently uses Company’s Coming cookbooks it is worth the read.
Jean Paré wrote her first cookbook in 1981 (150 Delicious Squares, if anyone is curious) and has written countless books since then. The recipes aren’t particularly Canadian (especially new ones, which have a greater international flair- but with our great multiculturalism, maybe that is Canadian), but there is something so Canadian about Company’s Coming- perhaps purely because you can buy them everywhere and their bright food photographs draw much attention.
So maybe we need a food literary cannon! It can be decided the Canadian Culinary Book Award folks who just last week gave the newest Company’s Coming, Small Plates for Sharing, a gold award!-Tory