Bread & Water: Essays

Bread & Water was published by U of R Press in 2021.

An early notice in the Winnipeg Free Press describes it as an exploration of “the notion of hunger — particularly the hunger of the soul….this collection of farm-to-table essays tackles floods, the plight of refugees, aging gracefully, cooking methods passed down through the years and more.”

When chef and writer dee Hobsbawn-Smith left the city for rural life on a farm in Saskatchewan, she planned to replace cooking and teaching with poetry and prose. But—as begin the best stories—her next adventure didn’t quite work that way.
 
Food trickled into her poems, her essays, her fiction. And water poured into her property in both Saskatchewan and Calgary during two devastating floods.
 
Bread & Water uses lyrical prose to examine those two fundamental ingredients, and to probe the essential questions on how to live a life. Hobsbawn-Smith uses food to explore the hungers of the human soul: wilder hungers that loiter beyond cravings for love. She kneads themes of floods and place, grief and loss; the commonalities of refugees and Canadians through common tastes in food; cooking methods, grandmothers and mentors; the politics of local and sustainable food; parenting; male privilege in the restaurant world; and the challenges of aging gracefully.
 
It is an elegant collection that weaves joy into exploring the quotidian in search for larger meaning.

Here’s an excerpt from writer and author Karen Anderson’s blog, Savour It All:

“I am whizzing my way through Bread & Water by dee Hobsbawn Smith like beaters churning through egg whites. I love it. I wouldn’t put it down at all if life didn’t keep pulling me away from my cozy curl up with it. I want to soak it all up in one great read like bread sopping up every last drop of gravy…

This fun, energetic wild child of a woman is also one of the most ambitious, disciplined, fire in the belly, get things done bad asses I know…

When you read Bread & Water, you’ll learn about her life as a chef, food journalist, restaurateur, Slow Food advocate and later novelist and poet. The work spans her early life in B.C and Alberta, mid to now life in Saskatchewan and food and travel writing about Canada from coast to coast throughout her life…

Another indelible mark is dee’s curiousness. She is a top notch food journalist. She not only asks the tough questions, she’s able to make sense of the answers for others…

Can you hear the peace my friend has found? This woman on fire has finally burned down to glowing embers. And everyone knows, that’s when the magic happens.”