Foodshed wins at High Plains book awards

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MARCH, 2016

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Dee Hobsbawn-Smith has become the first Saskatchewan writer to win a prize at the High Plains Book Awards. Her fifth book, Foodshed: An Edible Alberta Alphabet, won the culinary award at the High Plains Book Festival, which celebrates writing in various disciplines and genres from across the American northern plains and Canada’s three Prairie provinces. The festival took place in Billings, Montana, on Oct. 25-26, 2013.
Foodshed, published in 2012 by Touchwood Editions of Victoria, is an intimate guide to Alberta’s sustainable food scene; Hobsbawn-Smith profiles more than seventy-five of the province’s growers and producers, arranged alphabetically from asparagus growers to zizania (wild rice) cultivators, and contains twenty-six original recipes, one for each type of produce.
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The book also examines a number of agricultural issues, including sustainability and the environment, animal welfare, and farm labour, and takes a critical look at government involvement.
“Foodshed has already won a gold medal in the “Best Food Literature Book” (Canadian English-language) category of the 2013 Gourmand World Cookbooks Awards, and was a readers’ choice for the top Alberta entry in the CBC’s 2012 Cross-Country Cookbook Shelf poll.”
Three of the nine High Plains awards were won by Canadian writers this year, the first time in the event’s nine-year history that an award has gone to a writer from north of the 49th parallel. The Anatomy of Edouard Beaupre, a novel based on the life of Saskatchewan’s famous Willow Bunch Giant, won in the first book category for Sarah Kathryn York of Toronto. It was published by Regina’s Coteau Books. Barb Howard from Bragg Creek, Alberta, was a finalist in the short story category with her Western Taxidermy.
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“Foodshed is less cookbook — though it contains 26 recipes — and more treatise on the importance of knowing where our food comes from and how it is grown and raised,” writes reviewer Christine Twito in the Billings Gazette. Patricia Robertson in The Globe and Mail wrote “Foodshed is a rich encyclopedia of facts, farm-gate lore and original recipes. It’s also a politically engaging narrative… don’ t let the alphabet theme fool you. This is no tame nursery rhyme; it is a locavore call to arms.”

Hobsbawn-Smith, also a poet and fiction writer, relocated to her family’s farm west of Saskatoon in 2010, after many years in Calgary, where she owned a restaurant and catering business, and was a freelance food writer; her widely read column, The Curious Cook, was a staple in the Calgary Herald for almost a decade. She’s the author of three popular cookbooks, including The Curious Cook at Home. Shop Talk, her definitive resourced guide to food shopping in central Alberta, was a best-seller. She’s currently completing an MFA in creative writing at the University of Saskatchewan.

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“Bread & Water is an emotionally arresting, beautifully written series of essays.”

~ Jurors’ Citation, Saskatchewan Book Awards, University of Saskatchewan President’s Office Nonfiction Award

“Food is a wonderful agent for storytelling... and Bread & Water demonstrates this brilliantly.”

~ Sarah Ramsey, starred review, Quill & Quire

“[Bread & Water is] An amazing feast... riveting... eloquent.”

~ Patricia D. Robertson, Winnipeg Free Press

“[Bread & Water is a] sensuous experience; she brings her poet’s eye and ear to everything within her purview.”

~ Professor emerita Kathleen Wall, Blue Duets

“A deep love of the art of cooking that includes the language of fine dining (cassoulet, confit) even if the lamb was raised in Olds and she picked the rhubarb herself... she impressively manages this collision of worlds with a wholesome, approachable style.”

~ Megan Clark, Alberta Views

“These finely focussed poems [in Wildness Rushing In] invite us into a sensuous and emotionally rich landscape.”

~ Don McKay, winner of the Griffin Poetry Prize

“The writing [in Wildness Rushing In] is honed and textured, the senses so alive that you can practically taste the language. There are moments of brilliance rare in a first book.”

~ Jurors’ Citation, Saskatchewan Book Awards

“dee Hobsbawn-Smith’s stories [in What Can’t Be Undone] are written with a poetic edge. Her descriptions, particularly western landscapes, are often luxurious, lending themselves a kind of nuanced impression, a delicate fingerprint on the reader’s mind. "

~ Lee Kvern, Alberta Views

“[Foodshed is] A rich encyclopedia of facts, farm-gate lore and original recipes... a politically engaging narrative in which Hobsbawn-Smith articulates the challenges and joys faced by small-scale producers... don’ t let the alphabet theme fool you. This is no tame nursery rhyme; it is a locavore call to arms.”

~ P.D. Robertson, The Globe & Mail

Taste Canada Book Awards Finalist
Taste Canada Book Awards Finalist

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