16 Jan 2021

With This Wedding Cake

Q. What are some wedding cake-related superstitions? . A. This sweet embodiment of forever love is rife with superstitions. Pity the Medieval couples forced to seal the fate of their marriage with wedding cake jenga. Great piles of spice buns were piled one atop another into an unwieldy tower. The

13 Jan 2021

The Good Luck Bagel

Q. What are some of the many superstitions people have that involve bread? . A. Well, I’ll start with a personal experience … If there was a theme to be put on our wedding troasts, it would be my lifetime of klutzy mishaps, and my mountain-biking husband’s extreme neatness. “Liz,”

11 Jan 2021

Green-Eyed Neighbours

Q. Neighbours can make the deepest of friends. But, what kind of things make those who live side by side jealous of each other? . A. We see it in The Simpsons and the Flintstones, Three’s Company and Mary Tyler Moore, from Friends to Seinfeld, Modern Family to Succession. In

09 Jan 2021

Puggles, Porcupettes + Pufflings

Q. We know about kits, cubs, calves, chicks, pups, but what are some less common names for baby animals? . A. Alligator: hatchling Ant: antling Alpaca: cria Baboon: infant Boar: shoat Cicada: nymph Cod: codling Cormorant: shaglet Echidna: puggle Goat or sheep: yeanling Grasshopper: nymph Hare: leveret Hedgehog: piglet .

06 Jan 2021

The Foods They Craved

Q. Which foods have bewitched well-known historical figures? . A. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s wrote mounds of  letters – to his wife ‘Stanzi’, to friends, to family. Amongst all the interesting details, we get a keen peek into appetites of the day. One meal that Mozart craved from a young age?

04 Jan 2021

Most Borrowed Books

Q. What were the most borrowed library books in 2020? . A. Open or closed, the Vancouver Public Library was busy during Pandemic 2020. CBC News reports that digital book borrowing went up 50% over the year. Which were the most borrowed books? . Adult Fiction Print books The Testaments by

01 Jan 2021

12 Grapes for 2021

Q. Why is there a run on grapes in Spain on the days leading up to New Years Eve? . A. The grapes are for a tradition said to date back to the late 1800s. How to bring in a New Year of good fortune and health? Eat one grape

30 Dec 2020

Ladies Whistledown and Crackenthorpe

Q. Lady Whistledown, aka the Gossip Girl of Netflix’s wildly popular 1800s drama Bridgerton, is quick to report on the scandals of the British upper classes. Who were some of her real-life equivalents?   A. ‘London is awash these days with Ambitious Mamas.’ So writes the pseudonymous ‘Lady Whistledown’ in

28 Dec 2020

Detective + Spy Words

Q. What are some lesser used or vintage words for the world of spies and detectives? . A. Wannabe Nancy Drew/Hercule Poirot/Sherlock Holmes to the books … Argute Shrewd Birdwatcher A spy Cannon-Shooter A private investigator who specializes in tracking down pickpockets Chicken Feed The real but ultimately harmless intelligence

25 Dec 2020

Favourite Christmas Songs

Q. Merry Christmas to all who celebrate! What are your go-to Christmas carols or songs?  Which holiday songs are most broadly favoured? . A. On the serious side of Christmas, a personal nod for In The Bleak Midwinter, with music by Harold Darke set to a poem by Christina Rossetti.