Smorgasbord Posts from My Archives – The Literary Column with Jessica Norrie – Reading from the very start

In celebration of the imminent release of Jessica Norrie’s new book on July 22nd, I will be sharing her literary column posts again every fortnight over the summer. More about The Magic Carpet later in the post.

Reading from the very start

What is the beginning?

Before I wrote fiction and blogged, I was a translator, teacher and teacher trainer, with students ranging from 3 – 80+. I learned if a child learns young enough to appreciate different points of view through reading stories, the habit ebbs and flows but is never quite lost, with huge repercussions for how their lives develop.

Non-fiction can be told as stories too. The beginnings are usually clear, the plotting goes all over the place, the ends may be murky, but there’s always a story in there somewhere. It may be obvious – Henry VIII and his six wives, Harriet Tubman, Mahatma Ghandhi. Sometimes the story has to be disinterred, for example if it concerns people who were illiterate themselves or whose words weren’t thought important enough to record. But it’s always there.

The only time kids understand the world is when they read.”  Katherine Rundell, quoted in the Guardian. I think only is arguable but I’d happily substitute best or clearest. Never underestimate the power of even the simplest text to enable the process.

So what’s the first book I remember reading? Stand by for nostalgia!

Ant and Bee, by Angela Banner, was first published 1950. Perhaps it was the 13cm x 10cm format, just right for little hands, or the key words printed in red, or the clear illustrations pointing out exactly what those strange curly symbols signified – anyway, I loved the Ant and Bee books and gave them to my own children. Such simple examples of making sense of the world. Sadly, in my 1991 Ant and Bee: an alphabetical story, “G” is for “gun”. But the illustration, a toy cannon, is unthreatening, and more recent editions may have changed, as many illustrated alphabets did post the Dunblane school massacre.

I had picture books in various formats. Huge flat Babar books with curly script only my father could decipher. A wonderful story, now lost, illustrated in pinks and oranges, introduced me to the world of sultans, domes, minarets, and travelling on a magic carpet. Please comment if you can identify what this was! The Giant Alexander lived more prosaically in Maldon, Essex. Alexander was created by Frank Herrmann, a publisher who also brought the Dick Bruna Miffy books to the UK. I discovered that at Seven Stories, website of the UK National Centre for Children’s Books.

It’s invaluable to begin young to meet “other” cultures. Research proves reading fiction improves empathy, starting with children’s fiction. Laura Ingalls Wilder’s pioneer childhood was completely unlike my urban, sophisticated home but with her I found common ground – and adventure!

On chilly nights when I hug the radiators, there’s nothing like re reading The Long Winter to put my shivers in perspective. (I’m aware of debate over Ingalls’ depiction of native Americans and will return to that another time. As a child, I got another viewpoint from Scott O’Dell’s Islands of the Blue Dolphins.)

First edition Wikipedia.

My children, in their 20s, are the Harry Potter generation. I tell our story of one HarryPotter publication day here.

The J K Rowling of my childhood was Joan Aiken, whose heroine Dido Twite opened my eyes to child neglect, poverty, danger on the London streets, and inequality. What a strong female role model! Malorie Blackman and Jacqueline Wilson deal with such themes more realistically, but Aiken’s treatment within raucously exciting stories set in an imaginary historical period is unbeatable. Her words from the Joan Aiken blog sum her up:

“From the beginning of the human race, stories have been used…as magic instruments… (for) helping people to come to terms with the fact that they continually have to face insoluble problems and unbearable realities.”

Anyone a decade or so older than me may feel similarly about Narnia (there are contemporary questions about Narnian values, and I was surprised to find how racist much Babar looks now. But they remain ripping good yarns which I’d like to see edited for modern audiences).

There are a surprising number of orphan stories – I, Juan de Pareja  taught me about art and had a black slave hero. Janet Hitchman described foster homes and Barnardo’s organisations in The King of the Barbareens. Children have the right to loving, comfortable homes. Such children become confident adults. But if we want them to be caring adults too, they should have books like these. Hitchman was born in 1919: a century later too many children are still homeless or orphaned. We still need stories relevant to them: to help them feel valued, to reflect their lives and record the injustice they suffer, and to point the way forward.

My childhood books sound grim and worthy! But they weren’t – that’s the point about good children’s and YA literature. It mixes lessons with magic (The Little White Horse) (The Little White Horse); craft and tradition (Miss Happiness and Miss Flower) history (The Witch of Blackbird Pond) ), science fiction (The Master) or crime with spare, menacing dialogue (a bleak Scottish story I can visualise but no longer find). Some haven’t stood the test of time – Pamela Brown’s The Swish of the Curtain, Noel Streatfield’s Gemma – but I remember them better than the adult fiction I’ve been reading for the intervening four decades.

For children to understand this world, we must show them others – historical, imaginary, allegorical, funny. It’s even more important, in these days of staying in for fear of traffic, pollution and paedophiles.

It’s humanly possible for your childhood reading to be adrift of mine by 45 years either way.

I’d love to hear which stories formed you. Thank you for reading!

© Jessica Norrie 2018

My thanks to Jessica for this wonderful post that enables us to travel back in time to enjoy her most treasured reads. Stories that have stood the test of time.

The Magic Carpet

Outer London, September 2016, and neighbouring eight-year-olds have homework: prepare a traditional story to perform with their families at a school festival. But Nathan’s father thinks his son would be better off doing sums; Sky’s mother’s enthusiasm is as fleeting as her bank balance, and there’s a threatening shadow hanging over poor Alka’s family. Only Mandeep’s fragile grandmother and new girl Xoriyo really understand the magical powers of storytelling. As national events and individual challenges jostle for the adults’ attention, can these two bring everyone together to ensure the show will go on?

Pre-order the book for July 22nd:

And on Amazon US:

Also by Jessica Norrie in English and German

One of the many reviews for the book

Roses are Amber VINE VOICE 4.0 out of 5 stars Literary Fiction 

The Infinity Pool is a piece of literary fiction set on an island where a camp exists called Serendipity, where men and women can go to relax, regenerate and find themselves in fairly basic and primitive surroundings. The camp offers holistic therapies, fresh food and the chance to meet like-minded individuals.

The story opens with an attack on a key member of Serendipity, it then turns back almost a year. Adrian is a known womaniser and searching for a fresh injection of life he befriends a young local girl. Island villagers already dislike visitors to the Serendipity camp, they find them intrusive and disrespectful of their local culture and customs. There is often an undercurrent of trouble waiting to erupt between the campers and the villagers.

When the camp re-opens the following year, the leader fails to turn up. Magda, the camp’s head housekeeper makes sure the camp continues to run as best she can, but some returning campers are disappointed by the absence and the camp’s atmosphere degenerates without their leader. Relationships with the villagers heat up and become violent.

You won’t find cosy characters here, many were selfish and awkward showing how they didn’t mix well with the locals. There are several storylines vying for attention, and the ending wasn’t what I expected at all. This book is quite different from lots of mainstream dramas, but will draw its own audience of readers.

Read the reviews buy the book:

and on Amazon US:

Find more reviews on Goodreads:

About Jessica Norrie

Jessica Norrie studied French literature at Sussex University, and trained as a teacher at Sheffield. Then she wandered into parenthood, told her now grown up children stories, and heard theirs. A qualified translator, she worked on an eclectic mix of material, from health reports on racehorses to harrowing refugee tales. She taught adults and children, co-authored a textbook and ran teacher training. In 2008 came the idea for “The Infinity Pool”, which appeared in 2015 (and in German in 2018). Her second novel “The Magic Carpet”, inspired by teaching language and creativity in multicultural schools, is published on July 22nd, and she is working on a third. She also spends time blogging, singing soprano, walking in the forest and trying to move out of London.

Connect to Jessica


I know Jessica would love your feedback on the post and it would be great if you could share. thanks Sally


Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives – #Potluck #Dessert – Kind of Purple Peach Upside Down Cake by Dolly Aizenman

Welcome to the  Posts from Your Archives, where bloggers put their trust in me. In this series, I dive into a blogger’s archives and select four posts to share here to my audience.

If you would like to know how it works here is the original post:

This is the third post in this series from the archives of Dolly Aizenman, who not only shares amazing recipes from around the world, but also shares the history behind them. We recently had some amazingly sweet and juicy peaches… and so this dessert immediately caught my attention…

Dessert – Kind of Purple Peach Upside Down Cake by Dolly Aizenman

This post is dedicated to two lovely ladies: my dear blogofriend Melinda and my new friend Lilly, the sweetest peach ever to come out of Georgia, together with her adorable husband.

This beautiful song has been performed by many great artists, but it is the legendary Ray Charles’ rendition that prompted the great State of Georgia to adopt it as the official state song.

Upsdwn peach cake 1.jpg

It was Melinda, my favorite purple person, who had mentioned that she loved peach pies, and thus challenged me with a task of making it purple. Having successfully made a purple cake once (see here), I did not expect any problems, and – oh! – was I wrong! But we’ll get to that point shortly; meanwhile, I confess: I cheated by using packaged cake mix (something I do very rarely). My kitty measuring cups correspond to ingredients required to be added to the mix. Note: to keep it vegan, simply substitute aquafaba for eggs listed on the box. If you are so inclined, you can also use any gluten free cake mix or your own cake batter recipe.

Upsdwn peach cake 2.jpg

These are sweet Georgia peaches, skin bursting with juice to the extent that my husband had to be very careful not to mangle these beautiful slices, but make them uniform. Transfer them to a bowl, sprinkle some brown sugar on them, and add a splash of rum (if you are adventurous). Leave them be for a few minutes, while you grease a baking pan.

Upsdwn peach cake 3

Lay the best looking peach slices in any pattern you like on the bottom of the pan, covering the entire pan. Chop up the rest of them and put aside. The best is yet to come!

Upsdwn peach cake 4

Based on my previous “purple cake experiment,” I thought that simply using beet juice instead of water will do the trick. But you know what happens to “the best laid plans of men and mice” – as you can see, the batter came out sort of orangy hot pink. The peaches were screaming for attention, the oven was preheated, I didn’t have another box of cake mix, nor the time to make my own batter, so – sorry, Melinda! – I proceeded to dump the chopped up peaches into the cake batter and pour the whole mess on top of nicely arranged slices. Into the oven it went. While it was baking, I found this great clip from one of the best movies of all times, and was once again deeply touched by the lyrics:

Sister, we’re two of a kind… Oh sister, have I got news for you

I’m somethin’

I hope you think that you’re somethin’ too

Upsdwn peach cake 5.jpg

Dear friends and sisters, Melinda and Lilly, and all the rest of you wonderful ladies in the blogosphere, you are not only “somethin’,” you are something else! I can just flip sometimes when I read some of your stuff (especially Melinda’s Monday Memes!), but meanwhile, I flipped the cake, which came out kind of not really purple, but delicious nonetheless. I did plop a blueberry on top, in a feeble attempt to add a purple touch.


  • 4 large or 5 medium ripe peaches
  • 1 box of yellow cake mix or equivalent amount of cake batter of your choice
  • Ingredients required by instructions on box
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • Optional: splash of rum or any liqueur


  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Mist baking pan with oil.
  2. Slice peaches into uniformly thin slices. Transfere to bowl, sprinkle brown sugar and splash rum on top. Put aside.
  3. Arrange peach slices on bottom of pan in pleasing pattern. Chop up remaining peach pieces.
  4. Mix cake batter according to instructions, replace water with beet juice, add chopped peach pieces. Pour into pan on top of arranged peach slices.
  5. Bake for 40 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes, invert.


©Dolly Aizenman 2018

About Dolly Aizenman

It wasn’t easy to keep kosher in communist Russia, where I was born and lived for 27 years, until I was allowed to leave. You couldn’t go to a kosher store and buy anything, from soup to nuts, with a Hecksher (kosher certification), the way it is in the US. Here, chicken is already shechted (slaughtered) for you, and cows conveniently label their own parts as “beef for stew.” As Yakov Smirnov used to say in the eponymous TV sitcom, “What a country!” After teaching for almost 40 years, I am now semi-retired, I love to cook, and I have time on my hands to share recipes and exchange new food ideas.

My recipes are different from traditional American Jewish food in that I literally adapt recipes from “the four corners of the world” to the guidelines of kashruth (Jewish dietary laws). I invite you to explore with me, to experiment, and by all means, to get your kids involved in the magical fun of transforming this-that-and the other into something spectacular to grace your table.

Kool Kosher Kitchen

From the four corners of the world – international fusion cuisine the kosher way! Cook Indian, cook Italian, cook Chinese and Japanese, or cook traditional Jewish; make it vegetarian, pescatarean, or vegan, make it festive and nutritious, always easy to make and delicious, for holiday and every day, but above all, have fun in your kitchen and make your kitchen a fun place to be!

One of the reviews for the cookbook

A beautiful cookbook… I loved the stories running throughout and I feel that I now know Dolly the cook, her glorious telling of her family history and the history of Kosher Cooking were enchanting and I learnt much.

The excerpt from The boyhood deeds of Fionn one of my favourites being ” Light swallows dart aloft, loud melody reaches around the hill, the soft rich mast buds, the stuttering quagmire rehearses ” added to the stories which wound themselves around Dolly’s recipes.

Two of my favourites Satsivi a spicy walnut dip which I could just see myself with my sundowners enjoying and the second the Kartofel Niki sweet potatoes encasing lovely mushrooms and lightly fried sounded just awesome. This was not just a cookbook it was a lovely journey through Kosher cookery which included how to store herbs and it all just meandered through her kitchen recipe after recipe with the stories.

Dolly Aizenman is another lady like me who cannot just write a recipe and it makes the dishes come alive and you so want to just sit down and eat them. If like me you want more than just a recipe then this is the book for you and why I gave it 5 stars.

Head over and buy the book in paperback or Ebook:

and Amazon UK:

Connect to Dolly Aizenman


My thanks to Dolly for allowing me to raid her larder.. I mean archives and share these great recipes with you… I hope you will head over and raid them too. Sally.

The small dog and the song of ‘hey…er, what the?’

An Ode from Sue Vincent…shenanigans before dawn involving the small black dog with attitude… be easier herding cats… lovely and entertaining.

Sue Vincent's Daily Echo

image: Pixabay

By the door an itchy small dog

Waits for access to the garden

Needs the cool of morning dewdrops

To appease the summer stifle

Bounds outside into the silence

Long before the birds have woken

Spots a space invader soaring

And the soundless dawn is broken

There above her guarded garden

Floating free a lone balloonist

Low and red above the treetops

Where the view should be unbroken

Dog offended by intrusion

Must defend her chosen air-space

Human counterpart goes diving

To begin the daily dog chase

“Shush, it’s early, folks are sleeping,

They don’t want to hear you barking!”

Dog escapes, growls impolitely

Disapproving of sky-larking.

Time to use the secret weapon

Offer treats, but unavailing,

Small dog still is on the warpath

And my options now are failing.

Wish for clouds or morning breezes

To disperse the sailing culprit,

Curtains twitch, I’m thinking, ‘oh sh…’


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Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives – #PotLuck #wartime – Mercy Dogs 2014 by Annabelle Franklin

Welcome to the series  Posts from Your Archives, where bloggers put their trust in me. In this series, I dive into a blogger’s archives and select four posts to share here to my audience.

If you would like to know how it works here is the original post:

This is the third post from the archives of children’s author Annabelle Franklin who lives in a lovely part of South Wales. She blogs from the Literate Lurcher..or should I say Millie and Pearl do….Millie has sadly passed away now but lives on in the hearts and minds of her pack. In this post Annabelle pays tribute to the dogs who accompany soldiers into war and offer so much more than essential companionship.

 Mercy Dogs 2014 by Annabelle Franklin

Human wars are crazy affairs, with people getting together in great packs and tearing each other apart. We didn’t know until recently that animals have to take part in this lunacy, with no choice in the matter.

Back in ancient times, 700 dog years ago, there was a Great War with packs of humans from all over the planet all fighting each other. Like I said, a crazy business. Imagine that happening in the dog world!

In the Great War, dogs were used for all sorts of tasks on the battlefield. ‘Mercy’ dogs carried saddlebags full of medical supplies to wounded soldiers. If a soldier was dying, a Mercy dog would often sit with him to the end, giving comfort and easing his journey to the next world. We dogs are good at that.

Annabelle’s story Mercy Dog appears in a book of great stories about the Great War, written by members of Swansea and District Writers’ Circle and published by Accent Press. Also included is a piece called The Purple Poppy by J.J. Moffat, who writes about other animals involved in the War – horses, cats, pigeons, even glow-worms and slugs!

The book is called Unforgotten: The Great War 1914-1918 and you can get it Here

Unforgotten cover

I’m glad Pearl and I will never have to go to war. Somehow I don’t think we’d cope with it, especially Pearl with her fear of loud noises.

Mercy Dog photo found Here

©Annabelle Franklin 2014

About Annabelle Franklin

Annabelle Franklin is the author of two children’s books, ‘Gateway to Magic’ and ‘The Slapstyx’. Her short story ‘Mercy Dog’ has been published in award-winning anthology ‘Unforgotten: The Great War 1914-1918′ (Accent Press). She is a member of Swansea and District Writers’ Circle, and her short story ‘Haunted by the Future’ appears in the Circle’s 2016 horror anthology ‘Dark Gathering’.

Annabelle lives on South Wales’s stunning and magical South Gower coast. She shares her chalet home with two rescued sighthounds and blogs from the Literate Lurcher, well her two lovely hounds do.. Pearl and Millie.. quite the pair.

Books by Annabelle Franklin ** Gateway to Magic FREE JULY Smashwords

One of the reviews for Gateway to Magic on Goodreads

Apr 06, 2017 Thehappymeerkat rated it five stars

Steven Topcliff loves nothing more than sitting at home and playing videogames. But when his cousin Tracy visits she entices him to take a trip to the woods and when there she dares him to press a big red button. But what will happen if he presses it, and will he dare to do it?

I can’t believe how much I loved this book! ‘Gateway to Magic’ is an amazing fantasy adventure that reminds me a lot of tales like Alice in Wonderland. Steven’s cousin Tracy is an annoying girl and dares him to press a button which will take him to Fairyland. He doesn’t want to do it but he doesn’t want to appear scared either. The story is told in the third person and is so well imagined, I’m really amazed at how enjoyable this book really was.

It’s not really a spoiler to say that Steven does press the button and ends up in Fairyland. The adventure starts right away when Steven meets a strange character and there’s never a dull moment after that. The tale moves across different locations in Fairyland, the action is quick but you never get confused over where you are despite the fact that there are so many strange and unusual things about Fairyland. Along the way Steven has several adventures, all the while trying to get back home. These adventures are all so well imagined and so interesting that I couldn’t put the book down, constantly trying to see what happened next!

The characters in the story are well thought out, I particularly love Nigel and all the scenes with him. Not only are his circumstances funny but because of what he is, there are constant funny moment throughout the book. Steven’s character is an interesting one that many kids will recognise even though he’s not always that likeable. However I liked the way he developed through the story and it’s something some kids might recognise in themselves too.

I won’t go into any details about the rest of the story but it is really amazing with so much happening and a brilliantly good ending that is very satisfying. I liked the interesting twist of the question at the end. This story really has an amazing and almost ‘Alice in Wonderland’ wacky feel to it. Franklin has done an amazing job of creating a tale and fantasy world that is so, detailed, so different, and yet believable. I actually read and finished this book in one day I was that engrossed.

I’d really recommend this book to any keen readers of fantasy. Though aimed at children some adults with an imaginative mind might enjoy reading this too, I certainly did! It’s a brilliant book from start to finish and made all the more interesting by the videogame element. I can’t wait to read more of this author’s work!

Read the reviews and buy the books:

And on Amazon US:

And read more reviews and follow Annabelle on Goodreads:

Connect to Annabelle


My thanks to Annabelle for inviting me to share from her archives, and I hope you will head over to explore more for yourselves. Sally.


Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – New book on the Shelves – Are We There Yet? An Andorra Pett Adventure by Richard Dee.

For Andorra Pett fans, Richard Dee has just released a prequel, taking you back to the beginning to the young Andorra aged ten.  Are we There Yet?

About the book

The story begins

Ten-year-old Andorra Pett and her best friend Maisie are on holiday, in Devon. Amid trips to the beach and the moors, they stumble on a mystery, in an old caravan in the woods.

Who is the owner and what is he hiding?

Years before she arrives at the Oort Cloud Café, Andorra gives us an early glimpse of her talent for solving puzzles.

Head over and buy the book:

and on Amazon US:

A Selection of other books by Richard Dee

One of the reviews for Andorra Pett on Mars

Andorra Pett returns for more hijinx bringing her brand of drama and action down from the space station orbiting Saturn to the red dusty plains of Mars. Leaving her cafe, her life with new-squeeze Derek for the funeral of a best friend from years gone by. But nothing, as usual for Andi, is as it seems. A suicide that seems suspicious, hidden ill-gotten gains in the canyons of Mars, her ex Trevor up to no good and two different groups of mobsters on her tail, this would not turn out to be a quiet visit for Andorra and her best friend Cy.

Unsurprisingly Andi and Cy find themselves limping from one dramatic situation to another from the moment Trevor shows up on the station to seek her help down on the red planet. From the very start trouble follows her in the form of personal shadows from two mob gangs and the police and the constant suspicion that Maisie didn’t take her own life and that nothing Trevor says seems to be entirely truthful.

Once again Richard Dee has crafted an entertaining, light hearted story that brings twists and turns throughout. It was a wonderfully warm and cozy feeling returning to a cast of familiar characters in Andi and Cy, getting to properly see Trevor who was only really referenced in the first Andorra Pett book, alongside cameos from Maz and Derek. A new supporting cast also bring something fresh to Andorra Pett on Mars, while the book retains its style that firmly ties in to the first book.

In need of a book I could pick up and find myself instantly enthralled with, I turned to this and it very much lived up to my expectations. The story moved quickly yet never once did it feel rushed. The menace was always there but did nothing to overpower the lightness that now feels like the style of Dee and his Andorra Pett books. Considering I work full time I ploughed through this book in a matter of four days from start to finish and immediately wanted more. Luckily I will only have to wait until later this year for the third book in this fantastic and fun series of books.

Read the reviews and buy the books from Amazon US:

And on Amazon UK:

Read more reviews and follow Richard on Goodreads:

About Richard Dee

Richard Dee is a native of Brixham in Devon, England He left Devon when he was in his teens and settled in Kent. Leaving school at 16 he briefly worked in a supermarket, then went to sea and travelled the world in the Merchant Navy, qualifying as a Master Mariner in 1986.

Coming ashore to be with his growing family, he used his sea-going knowledge in several jobs, including Marine Insurance Surveyor and Dockmaster at Tilbury, before becoming a Port Control Officer in Sheerness and then at the Thames Barrier in Woolwich.

In 1994 he was head-hunted and offered a job as a Thames Estuary Pilot. In 1999 he transferred to the Thames River Pilots, where he regularly took vessels of all sizes through the Thames Barrier and upriver as far as HMS Belfast and through Tower Bridge. In all, he piloted over 3,500 vessels in a 22-year career with the Port of London Authority.

Richard is married with three adult children and two grandchildren.

His first science-fiction novel Freefall was published in 2013, followed by Ribbonworld in 2015. September 2016 saw the publication of his Steampunk adventure The Rocks of Aserol and of Flash Fiction, a collection of Short Stories. Myra, the prequel to Freefall was published in 2017, along with Andorra Pett and the Oort Cloud Café, a murder mystery set in space and the start of a series featuring Andorra Pett, an amateur detective. He contributed a story to the 1066 Turned Upside Down collection and is currently working on prequels, sequels, and new projects.

Connect to Richard


Thank you for visiting today and please help Richard get word out about his latest book… thanks Sally

#TarotTuesday – The Hermit

Jan Sikes shares a tarot card and its influence on Tuesday’s and here is The Hermit.. find out more by heading over…

Writing and Music

Welcome to another TAROT TUESDAY!

My jaw literally dropped when I pulled this card for today. The synchronicity goes way beyond a simple coincidence. You just can’t make this stuff up!


At the beginning of every year, I pull twelve cards – one for each month. And, the card I had pulled for July, back on January 1st, was The Hermit!

So, today I bring to you The Hermit!

The Hermit card is from the Major Arcana, and you may recall they are the cards that represent life lessons, karmic influences and the big archetypal themes that are influencing your life and your soul’s journey to enlightenment.

The Hermit shows that you are taking a break from everyday life to draw your energy and attention inward and find the answers you seek, deep within your soul. You realize that your most profound sense of truth and knowledge is within…

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Smorgasbord Health Column – What causes your Cravings – Part Three – Salt and Trace Minerals by Sally Cronin

Welcome to the series on a sensation that has been blamed for our consumption or over consumption of certain foods since we were old enough to make excuses! How often do we tell ourselves or others that ‘we crave’ chocolate, crisps, cheese, soda, fried food or even something non-food related… such as dirt or coal?

We tend to assume that our craving is a form of addiction that only one food or drink can satisfy, but in fact it is more likely that it is our body reacting to a lack of an essential nutrient absent from our regular diet. Or that we are under stress and that has resulted in a imbalance in our hormone production.

During this series every fortnight, I am going to be looking at some of the causes of a craving, whether it is a need for an essential nutrient or is down to a habit that has formed or because we are stressed. I will also give you the food fix that will supply that nutrient or suggest some strategies to cope with an unreasonable expectation for a food by your body and your mind.

Last week: Need Chocolate?

Salt cravings and trace minerals.

Women in particular can be hit by a salt craving as they experience more hormone fluctuations than men.

We sometimes forget that certainly during ovulation, your body is preparing for pregnancy. It requires the optimum environment for egg fertilisation, and then safe implantation in the womb. If you are deficient in essential nutrients, even those that have a less major role in our body’s health, there will be a nudge to ingest what is required.

Trouble is there are mixed messages. Our brain signals what it needs but it gets lost in translation, so when we get a craving for salt, diving into a bag of chips smothered in table salt is not exactly what the message contained.

This also happens when you have a chemical imbalance that has disrupted your healthy PH balance in the body and this can happen during stress events, after a crash diet, or following an illness where eating has been irregular.

It can also result from dehydration which I covered in the first of this series.

Recently I wrote about some of the myths surrounding salt which has been demonised to the extent that some people are actually deficient in sodium. Here is a reminder of that post and then a look at the trace minerals that your body is asking you to find to restore its balance.

I originally shared this post two years ago and I wanted to update it with any new reports to support this surprising perspective on the salt we consume in our diet.

One of the first points that I want to make is that I am not suggesting that you consume industrialised foods that contain not only high levels of sodium but also many other additives that do not do your health any good at all. I am very much in favour of a ‘Cook from Scratch’ philosophy when it comes to our food, especially when cooking for young children, in which case you are the person who controls how much salt is consumed through cooking and supervising what is added to meals.

I have been a nutritional therapist for over 20 years, and one of the essential elements of my work has been to remain informed of new research as it becomes available. This has sometimes turned previously held beliefs on their head, and a number of experts and research studies do make us reassess our position on salt in the diet.

I have always watched my salt intake as high blood pressure has been a family health concern. I have also been obese for a great many years of my life and certainly have always struggled to maintain a healthy weight. I do not take any medication of any kind and I have worked to keep my blood pressure at normal levels.

However, if this research is to be believed, I may well have been going about this the wrong way by reducing my salt levels too far.  I have read several articles written by Dr. DiNicolatonio and I am sharing excerpts from two that I suggest you read and consider.

I am not suggesting that you suddenly dive into the salt pot and certainly not to stop taking any medication. I am however excited to discover more about this line of research and will be keeping an eye on other studies.

Top scientist says all you’ve been told about salt is WRONG: It won’t give you a heart attack – while having too little will make you fat and ruin your sex life

You can read the rest of the post especially if you have a sugar craving!:

Apart from drinking plenty of fluids to ensure that you are not dehydrated, you do need to include foods in your diet, that are not industrially manufactured with additives, including an imbalance of nutrients.

What are Trace Minerals.

You will see a great deal of information on the need to take in sufficient calcium for healthy bones and nails, and magnesium to prevent cramps and to improve energy, but there are other trace minerals that are equally important, even though we do not need in huge amounts… these include chromium copper, iodine, iron, manganese, selenium and zinc.

If you do not include sufficient trace minerals in your diet then this could be the reason that you reach for a bag of chips plastered in salt!  Or even that bar of chocolate!

Here is a list of the minerals the body needs and the foods where you can find them.

If you are eating a varied diet with foods from the list, you should be getting sufficient without supplementation. If you are over 50 you may find that you do need additional support in the form of a high quality multi-vitamin and mineral supplement. However, first make sure you are getting from the best possible source which is fresh food.

Go through the list and make a note of any of the minerals that you may not be getting sufficient off based on the food groups that contain them.  And questions please ask.

Calcium – dairy, sardines, canned salmon, green leafy vegetables.

Chromium – Whole grains, potatoes, onions and tomatoes – liver, seafood, cheese, chicken, turkey, beef, lamb and pork

Copper – olives, nuts, beans, wholegrain cereals, dried fruits, meat, fish and poultry.

Iodine – cod, mackerel, haddock, eggs, live yoghurt, milk and strawberries.

Iron– shellfish, prunes, spinach, meats, cocoa.

Magnesium –dairy, seafood, apples, apricots, avocado, brown rice, spinach.

Manganese – beans, brown rice, spinach, tomatoes, walnuts, fresh fruit.

Phosphorus – poultry, whole grains.

Potassium – most fresh fruit and vegetables but in particular bananas, apricots, Brussel sprouts, kiwi, nectarines, potatoes.

Selenium – halibut, cod, salmon and tuna, mushrooms and Brazil Nuts.

Sodium – the best source of natural sodium is fish and shellfish, plainly cooked without batter.

Zinc seafood, pumpkin seeds, wheat germ, egg yolks and tofu.

If you are looking for an alternative salt that has a balance of trace minerals and is more beneficial than table salt… Himalayan Pink Sea Salt... and here is an extract from an article that you might find interesting. It is more expensive than table salt but you don’t require as much and it provides a package of minerals as a bonus.

As scientific research has pointed out, “US Dietary Guidelines recommend a daily sodium intake 2300 mg, but evidence linking sodium intake to mortality outcomes is scant and inconsistent.” (1) The right salt in the right amount is actually very good for your health. Pink Himalayan sea salt contains over 84 minerals and trace elements, including calcium, magnesium, potassium, copper and iron, so it does more than just make your food taste better. Let’s look at why you may want to make the switch to pink Himalayan salt for the its impressive health benefits. Instead of skipping salt all together, why not give it an upgrade?

Read the complete article:

I hope you have found useful and please don’t hesitate to ask a question about the post. Thanks Sally.

©Sally Cronin Just Food for Health 1998 – 2019

My nutritional background

I am a qualified nutritional therapist with twenty years experience working with clients in Ireland and the UK as well as being a health consultant on radio in Spain. Although I write a lot of fiction, I actually wrote my first two books on health, the first one, Size Matters, a weight loss programme 20 years ago, based on my own weight loss of 154lbs. My first clinic was in Ireland, the Cronin Diet Advisory Centre and my second book, Just Food for Health was written as my client’s workbook. Since then I have written a men’s health manual, and anti-aging programme, articles for magazines and posts here on Smorgasbord.

If you would like to browse my health books and fiction you can find them here:

As always delighted to get your feedback and questions. This is not intended to take the place of your doctor’s presence in your life. But, certainly in the UK, where you are allocated ten minutes for a consultation and time is of the essence; going in with some understanding of how your body works and is currently functioning can assist in making a correct diagnosis.

Some doctors believe that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing. However, I believe that understanding our bodies, how it works, how we can help prevent health problems and knowing the language that doctors speak, makes a difference.  Taking responsibility for our bodies health is the first step to staying well.

Thanks for dropping in and please help spread the word by sharing..Sally.

Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives – #PotLuck – Major Accident – The #Horse Came Back Alone… by Laura M. Bailey

Welcome to the  Posts from Your Archives, where bloggers put their trust in me. In this series, I dive into a blogger’s archives and select four posts to share here to my audience.

If you would like to know how it works here is the original post:

This is the third post from the archives of Laura M. Bailey who blogs on a number of subjects including history, family, horses, Southern lifestyle and cookery. This story is a testament to Laura’s fortitude, warrior spirit and her faith… a long road back from this accident.

Major Accident – The #Horse Came Back Alone… by Laura M. Bailey

He was one tall drink of water and I could not keep my eyes off him as he sauntered into the stable. My husband and I both were like a couple of cartoon charters. You could practically see heart bubbles popping over our heads and within a couple weeks, he was ours!


A tall black & white paint with a striped coon tail. First to Fly, was his name but we called him Jet…well, my husband called him Jet, I called him Big Sexy. As I’ve stated in my ” Mud Boots” posts, I know nothing about horses and have never been on one but I am as my family calls me, Cinderella. I both love and attract all kinds of animals and I loved this guy. We really didn’t know anything about him except his new owner needed rent and sold him to us cheap.


A few days later, Clay saddled him in the paddock and set me on his back. We’d both seen small children on him so Clay was confident that I’d be fine. Weirdly, I had the worst feeling about it. It was the sickening feeling of foreboding. I couldn’t explain it and felt silly so I kept my mouth shut and choked back my anxiety. (More than anything, I didn’t want Clay to think I was a sissy!)

Sure enough, Jett started toward the loafing shed. I gently pulled back on the reins but, nothing! He just kept going! He was so tall that the tin roof caught me across the ribs, scraping me right off his backside and I hi the ground flat on my back! Sweet mercy, that hurt but I darn sure wasn’t going to show it so I just laughed it off. (Found out much later that I fractured the S1)


Clay took this just shortly before…

The next day, Clay put me on him again, first in a round pen then this little arena area. All went well except that nagging feeling just wouldn’t go away. The only way I can describe it was a fight or flight sensation and everything in me screaming to…STOP! DON’T! RUN! But, there was no way on earth I’d tell Clay what I was feeling. I didnt want to sound foolish…I should have trusted him to understand. They say pride goeth before the fall.

With me assuring him that we were fine, and we were, Clay left to let our mares out in another 80 acre pasture to graze. Jet and I wandered around the stable, strolling down the lane between the pipe and cable paddocks. The next thing Clay knew … the horse came back alone!


Literally the very next picture on his phone! I made him take it. Even like this, I could see the humor in it! Lol

One moment we were walking along then suddenly, Jets hoof dropped into a deep hole in the ground! He started scampering backward, head back and eye’s wide! He was spooked! I tried to pull back hard on the reins to stop his flight but he jolted forward flying into a sprint. I pulled so hard his head was back almost to my chest, his eye’s wide with terror and barreling down the lane towards the end. He’d have to cut left or right at the crossroad so I braced myself and called out, “Oh Father!”

I regained consciousness on my final bounce…in an overgrown, empty paddock at the end of the lane. I knew immediately my back was hurt badly. The pain was exquisite, so exquisite that I didnt feel that both of my arms were broken too.

We had been in a long draught, the sun beating down and 110°. I knew I needed help but Clay had no idea where I was, couldn’t see my form beneath the tall grass, my location or even that I was in trouble so I made a decision.

I decided to try to stand. I rolled slightly to one side, attempting to push up into a sitting position but couldn’t seem to push up. Glancing over, I realized my arm was broken though I didn’t feel it at all. I rolled to the other but caught sight of the arm and how it formed a Z.

Plan C…I clawed my way up with my elbows and began walking toward our truck at the front of the stables. It’s the funniest thing how right before you pass out, everything begins to sparkle. I didn’t want to fall so I squat to the ground and laid back. Afterwards, I took on plan C again the continued toward the parking lot.

Mid way, Clay finally saw me. He’d seen the horse running loose and caught him. From across the stable, he yells “What happened?” I could barely breathe much less yell so I just shook my head and kept walking. He’s a horseman, can ride anything into the dirt and like all horsemen, “ya fall off a horse, ya get back on!” I still die laughing at the thought that he was literally bringing me back the horse!

As he neared, he asked “are you ok?” I whispered “hospital.” He looked shocked! “You kidding me?” he said. I held up my arms that now formed the letter Z. “What do ya think?” Just then you would’ve thought I’d said my water broke! He screamed for me to (get this) “get to the truck!” So I muttled along. He went to put the horses up.

Once I arrived at the truck, I also became aware that my hands didn’t work so I had no way to open the darn door and was not looking forward to climbing up into it either. I plodded to the back and leaned against the tailgate like a plank.

Just then a lady pulled up right in front of me, hoped out of her SUV with a big smile and chipper greeting. “Can you help me open my door? I had an accident.” The emotions scrolled across her face in rapid dawning, first confusion then her eyes honed in onto my arms, then horror. She burst into tears and helped me into the truck just as Clay arrived.

Bless his heart and damn my pride. He put on the emergency blinkers and he wanted to speed to the ER but they way to the hospital from where we were was non-stop 4way stops at every block! I sat silently, too afraid to put what I knew into words, as if saying them put loud would make it real.

It wasn’t until he had to apply the brakes and I screamed that I was forced to tell him about my back. The look on his face was a mixture of heartbreak and terror.


The shortest end to this tale is this…Jet threw me, back first into a steel pole at between 35-40 mph, 21 days in ICU. I had a shattered L1 vertebrae, fractured S1, both arms at the wrists, ( 1 had to be sawn off and reattached later) tons of metal to put me back together, 3 year full recovery. My husband, my mom, and God held me up through it all. It’s a miracle that I can walk and live a perfectly normal life. I have some bad days of course but on those days I remember how very blessed I am.w

Note: It was also through This that we discovered who and what Jet was. He was an own son of Texas Hero and the next years top racing prospect! Race horses dont whoa when you pull the reins. They’re trained to fight against the bit. In effect, my attempt to stop him was actually telling him to GO! And he did! This is how I began “My life In Mud Boots”, became a Racehorse owner, breeder and rancher! Lol


© Laura M. Bailey 2018

What a story… and inspiring….

About Laura M. Bailey

This blog is my attempt to write down the bones of a crazy, random, uncharted life and all the shoes I’ve worn along the way… From beach baby to city girl, wife. Mother, grandmother. Daughter, sister, coolest Aunt ever, construction worker, grease monkey, writer, poet, Publicity director, public speaker, tattoo studio owner and artist, crafter, cook, music promoter, race horse owner, breeder, Rancher and above all a flawed human profoundly in love with God. Within these stories I hope you’ll find the sorrows , joys, inspiration in ordinary places, sheer hilarity of life and all the common threads that connect us all.

Connect to Laura


My thanks to Laura for allowing me to share posts from her archives and I recommend that you head over to explore for yourselves.

Smorgasbord Laughter Lines – Comedian in Residence D.G. Kaye and a joke from Sally’s Archives – Drive your spell checker nuts..

First Debby Gies shares some of the funnies this week that she feels you should not miss.. ..D.G. Kaye Writer Blog is where you will find an archive full of wonderful posts across several subjects including writing tips, social issues and book reviews.

My thanks to Debby for spotting these.. and please give her a round of applause.

D. G. Kaye – Buy:
Blog: Goodreads: D.G. Kaye on Goodreads

Catch up with Debby’s monthly Travel Column here on Smorgasbord:

Now for an oldie from my will drive your spell checker nuts...

Do my eyes deceive me?

I cdnuolt blveiee taht I cluod aulaclty uesdnatnrd waht I was rdanieg The phaonmneal pweor of the human mnid .Aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn’t mttaer inwaht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoatnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be in the rghit pclae.The rset can be a taotl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit a porbelm.Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe.Amzanig huh? Yaeh and I awlyas thought slpeling was ipmorantt!

Thank you for joining us today and we hope you are leaving with a smile on your face.. thanks Debby and Sally.