06 Jul 2020

Beautiful Old

Q. How do the words we use affect our impressions of people, places, ideas or things that are ‘old?’ . A. Kintsugi. It’s a gorgeous word used to describe the Japanese practice of repairing broken ceramics with gold-dusted tree sap lacquer. No tossing that vase because it’s broken in half.

03 Jul 2020

Downton Dining Disturbance

Q. What would it take to throw a wrench into the rigid world of Edwardian dinner parties? . A. Revenge is a dish best served backwards. In the fastidiously ritualistic world of Edwardian Britain, it was easy to exact revenge on one’s nemeses at dinner. Want to mortify the hosts?

01 Jul 2020

Canada’s National Sports

Q. Happy Canada Day! 🇨🇦 What are Canada’s national sports? . A. ‘Are?’ ‘Sports – plural?’ Even those who have never stepped a foot inside Canada will not have much trouble guessing Canada’s winter sport. Why, it’s hockey, of course. Put it this way: I’ve met multiple Canadians who, when

29 Jun 2020

Caught Red-Handed

Q. Afraid to ask, but where does the expression ‘caught red-handed’ come from? . A. Caught Red-Handed Blood on their hands. Today, if you’re ‘caught red-handed,’ you’ve been busted in the midst of a transgression; there’s no denying what you’ve done. The phrase dates back to 15th Century Scotland where the

26 Jun 2020

Dinner With Louis

Q. If you were lucky (?) enough to be invited to feast with the ravenous King Louis XIV, what would you be expected to eat? . A. Well, here’s a peek at a Sun King party menu that was recreated by chefs at the Palace of Versailles in 2010. A

24 Jun 2020

Post Checkout Snooping

Q. Hotels. Remember those? Other than soggy towel mountains, what do hotel staff find after guests leave their rooms for good? . A. First, the abandoned bric-a-brac. A Choices Hotel Canada survey found the items most commonly left in hotel rooms are… Abandoned or Forgotten items i. Toothbrushes ii. Phone

22 Jun 2020

Fairy Tale Famished

Q. Why are there so many starving characters in Grimm’s Fairy Tales? . A. As you grit your teeth through Grimm horrors and triumphs, you’re constantly faced with extreme hunger, be it in tatty children wandering too far from home or a behooded villain out for a human snack. The

19 Jun 2020

Due For A Purple Patch

Q. What are some English idioms that reflect the hope that things just have to get better… at some point.   A. Due for a purple patch A purple patch is a sustained period of good luck and serious success. The expression stems back to Imperial Rome, where only emperors

17 Jun 2020

Jamaican Jerk Spice

Q. What is in Jamaican Jerk Spice? . A. When people learn that I’m half Jamaican, conversations quickly turn to the beautiful Blue Mountains, the turquoise sea, reggae, fresh mangoes, hard dough bread, and jerk spice. Jerk chicken, jerk pork, jerk breadfruit. The origins of jerk spice are up for

15 Jun 2020

Late Night, No Laughs

Q. Yet another strange slice of pandemic life: watching late night comedy and Zoom sets without any audience laughter. It makes one think of laugh tracks – how did they come to be and what’s their future in a socially distanced world? . A. It’s been jarring watching late night