Congratulations are in order for Dee Hobsbawn-Smith, a former chef, cooking educator and food advocate, who has become the first Saskatchewan writer to win a prize at the High Plains Book Awards. Foodshed: An Edible Alberta Alphabet, won the culinary award last weekend at the High Plains Book Festival, which celebrates writing in various disciplines and genres from across the American northern plains states and Canada’s three Prairie provinces.
Foodshed (published in 2012 by Touchwood Editions), is an intimate guide to Alberta’s sustainable food scene, profiling more than 75 of the province’s growers and producers, arranged alphabetically from asparagus growers to zizania (wild rice) cultivators, along with twenty-six original recipes, one for each type of produce. Dee is a recipe writer and creator of food – I’ve known her for decades, and learned plenty from attending her classes at the Cookbook Company in Calgary.
But the book also has a political edge, it speaks to various agricultural issues, hot topics like sustainability, 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.
Poet and activist Hobsbawn-Smith recently relocated from calgary to her family’s farm west of Saskatoon; she’s the author of three popular cookbooks, including The Curious Cook at Home.
Congratulations to dee for such a well-deserved award!