So much more than a mere cookbook, Seasonings: Flavours of the Southern Gulf Islands (Harbour Publishing; $29.95) overflows with quirky info and gorgeous colour photographs, not just of food but also of chefs, farms and spectacular island scenery. Authors Andrea and David Spalding, who live on Pender Island, profile local foodie folks such as guerrilla cheese maker David Rotsztain, “bread lady” Heather Campbell, “potato man” Roger Pettit and master gardener Linda Gilkeson, whose “Sex in the Garden” workshop is always popular. (Don’t get too excited: the topic is pollination.) The Spaldings recount delightful tales about island eccentricities, including the Pizza Garden Project on Pender Island, smoked tofu sandwiches in the high school cafeteria on Salt Spring Island, and the ongoing battle between island gardeners and wild deer, who treat local gardens as all-you-can-eat buffets.
Filled with info on island festivals and fairs, such as Nettlefest on Galiano Island and the Salt Spring Island Apple Festival, the book also includes extensive write-ups about popular island fare: lamb, oysters, BC spot prawns, lavender, mint, cheese, blackberries, mushrooms, locally produced beer and wines, and much more. Last but definitely not least are the recipes. Divided into four sections, one for each season, the mouth-watering recipes include sweet chilli broiled salmon, snow peas and pea shoots (spring), lavender and lemon butterflied lamb (summer), rainforest mushroom soup (fall) and winter pear and apricot tart with red wine chocolate sauce (winter). If a Gulf Islands jaunt isn’t on your immediate agenda, this cookbook-cum-travel guide just might change your plans. Find it at local bookstores.—Sheri Radford