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A Taste of Haida Gwaii

Food Gathering and Feasting at the Edge of the World

by Susan Musgrave

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canadian, western provinces, essays
list price: $39.95
also available: eBook
category: Cooking
published: 2015
publisher: Whitecap Books
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In addition to winning lifetime achievement awards as a writer and poet, since 2010 Susan Musgrave has been the proprietor of Copper Beech House, a beautiful bed and breakfast that has for decades played host to authors and prime ministers, artists and adventurers who visit the remote archipelago of Haida Gwaii.

In her first cookbook, the famous poet uses her humour and incisive wit to bring cooking and living on the former Queen Charlotte Islands to life with stories gathered over decades. With its evocative tales and wild cuisine, this book offers a unique take on food that could only be developed living off the coast of British Columbia.

More than collecting recipes, Musgrave follows the seasons with guides to gathering the freshest local ingredients for recipes that reflect Canada's wild West Coast. This book is a recommended read for fans of food, good humour and the Pacific Northwest.

Why not include A Taste of Haida Gwaii in your next meal with one of these recipes:

  • Hands-Free Cloudberry Jam
  • Spruce Tip Mayonnaise
  • Mussels Trudeau
  • Rose Spit Halibut with Wild Rose Petals
  • (Almost) Flourless Chocolate Torte with Thimbleberry Elderflower Liqueur Coulis
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On Haida Gwaii you don't see a lot of "glistening stemware" (you'll see glistening silverware at least at Copper Beech House where it is polished, if not daily, then annually by the tireless Jules) and the only limousine I know of is the one Smokin' Joe has parked in his front yard as a rusted-out garden ornament, but we can assume that all the wild foods we pick, harvest, or catch, though not organically certified, are beyond organic: eating local is the new organic; foraging is the new eating local. Wild foods grow wildly, wherever they choose to put down roots, not where anyone with a wad of pesky certified organic produce stickers says they are allowed to grow. Wild foods defy domestication and won't be tamed.

"There are captivating and fun photos throughout, and stories both personal and universal. There is much to learn from the book, and not just about cooking. I really appreciated having some of Susan's Haida neighbours and friends introduced in photos and stories, and there are many other cultural treasures, such as thirty-four words for salmon in the Haida Language, not to mention all the ways of smoking and preparing salmon."
BC Studies

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Contributor notes

Susan Musgrave
has been labelled everything from eco-feminist to anti-feminist, from stand-up comedian to poet of doom and gloom, from social and political commentator to wild sea-witch of Canada's northwest coast. She is the author of 19 books of poetry, numerous works of fiction and non-fiction, and several books for children. In 2014, she received the Matt Cohen Award: In Celebration of a Writing Life from the Writers' Trust of Canada. She lives in Masset, Haida Gwaii where she is the proprietor of Copper Beech House.

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Editorial Review

"A Taste of Haida Gwaii made me want to immediately set the book aside and email Copper Beach House on Haida Gwaii to reserve a room in anticipation of breakfasting on Susan Musgrave's signature scrambled eggs, accompanied by a slice or two of her still-warm-from-the-oven sourdough bread, with the legendary B.C. poet herself presiding at the stove. Musgrave is a born storyteller, and A Taste of Haida Gwaii is peppered with anecdotes from a life that's been full of incident... You turn the pages, moving from one mouth-watering recipe to another, the spaces in between filled with the kind of stories that one friend would regale another with over a mug of tea and a plate of freshly baked cookies, while storm winds whip through the cedars just outside the door."
Vancouver Sun

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About the Author

Susan Musgrave

Susan Musgrave is a critically acclaimed, award-winning poet, novelist, columnist, reviewer, editor and non-fiction writer. She has been nominated, and has received awards, for her poetry, fiction, non-fiction, personal essays and children's writing, as well as for her work as an editor.
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