Smorgasbord Posts from my Archives – Previous Reviews from 2022 – #Shortstories #Fame – Backstories by Simon Van Der Velde

During this series I will be sharing my reviews for books I posted during 2022 

Good books deserve to be showcased on a regular basis and I hope that it might entice you to either move the books up your groaning TBR’s or add the books to its burden!

Here is my review from April 2022 for a short story collection by Simon Van Der Velde – Backstories published by Smoke & Mirrors Press.

About the collection

Can you find the famous person hidden in every story? And once found, can you understand them?

‘Ingenious idea, brilliantly executed‘ – Daily Mirror

Backstories – ‘the stand-out most original book of the year’ – is a collection of stories each told from the point of view of one of my personal heroes, (or villains) back when they were just another Jew or black, or queer – back when they were nobody. Bullied, assaulted or psychologically abused, their road to redemption was never easy, and for some there would be no redemption, only a descent into evil.

These are the stories of people you know. The settings are mostly 60’s and 70’s UK and USA, the driving themes are inclusion and social justice – but the real key to these stories is that I withhold the protagonists’ identities. This means that your job is to find them – leading to that Eureka moment when you realise who’s mind you’ve been inhabiting for the last twenty minutes.

I should also add that this is a book that operates on two levels. Yes, there’s the game of identifying the mystery activist or actor, singer or murderer, but there is then the more serious business of trying to understand them. This in turn leads to the challenge of overlaying what you now know about these famous people onto what you thought you knew – not to mention the inherent challenge to your moral compass.

These are people you know, but not as you know them. Peel back the mask and see.

This book is dedicated to the victims of violent crime, the struggle against discrimination in all its forms and making the world a better place for our children. That is why 30% of all profits will be shared between Stop Hate UK, The North East Autism Society and Friends of the Earth. Simon Van der Velde January, 2021

My review for the collection

What a fascinating concept. We are bombarded by the details of those in the media who are the focus of the headlines. Most of the time we see what is in front of us, be it a glamorous celebrity, superstar athlete, award winning musician or even an infamous serial killer. Sometimes if a tell all biography is available we might be party to their past lives and motivations, but most of the time we never see passed the hype.

In this collection of short stories we are invited to speculate on the past lives of many of those known for their fame or infamy.  There are subtle clues inserted, with perhaps a reference to a song lyric, or a mention of a name associated with the subject of the story.

All the stories have an edge to them as they explore the reasons for a fall from grace or a rise to fame, most rooted in childhood or teenage experiences at the hands of others.They are in some cases disturbing and it is easy to accept that these could indeed be a catalyst for what comes later.

This is a brilliantly written and compelling short story collection that I can highly recommend.

Head over to read the reviews and buy the collection: Amazon UKAnd: Amazon US

Also by Simon Van Der Velde

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon UKAnd: Amazon US – Goodreads: Simon Van Der Velde Twitter: @SimonVdVwriter 

About Simon Van Der Velde

Simon Van der Velde has worked variously as a barman, laborer, teacher, caterer and lawyer, as well as traveling throughout Europe and South America collecting characters for his award-winning stories. Since completing a creative writing M.A. (with distinction) in 2010, Simon’s work has won and been shortlisted for numerous awards including; The Yeovil Literary Prize, (twice), The Wasafiri New Writing Prize, The Luke Bitmead Bursary, The Frome Prize, and The Harry Bowling Prize – establishing him as one of the UK’s foremost short-story writers.

Simon now lives in Newcastle upon Tyne, England, with his wife, labradoodle and two tyrannical children.


Thanks for dropping in today and I hope you will be leaving with some books.

Smorgasbord Health Column 2023 – The Body our Greatest Asset – The Circulatory System – High Blood Pressure, Sodium and the Salt debate by Sally Cronin

I have featured this series over the last ten years on a regular basis for new readers who might have joined the blog. Our bodies are are greatest asset. It has a long road ahead of if from birth, through the teen years, work life, parenthood, middle age and then into our 70s and beyond.

At every stage of our life healthy nutrition is essential to help the body develop and remain as disease free as possible. I appreciate that many of you may have read this series before, but I hope it will be a reminder of how amazing our bodies are, and simply eating the right foods, exercising moderately and not doing anything too reckless…will go a long way to enjoying later life to the full.

In this series I have been looking at the circulatory system and in the last post I shared the foods that can help keep your circulatory system healthy through your lifetime.

I advocate a food rich in nutrients found in fresh produce and avoiding the ultra processed foods that fill our shelves today. That doesn’t mean cutting them out completely as many are very tasty. However, they do come with a price and that is in the amount of additives they contain.

High blood pressure is common, it used to be the privilege of middle age and beyond and pills have been dispensed by doctors to combat the problem with instructions to cut out salt from the diet. This health problem is now impacting the younger generation and one of the reasons for this is the access to industrially manufactured and fast foods today.

High blood pressure and salt in our diet

Sodium is an essential macro-mineral that, along with potassium, helps to regulate the body’s fluid balance. It is an electrolyte (cation), which is an atom that holds a positive electrical charge, that performs essential tasks within each cell.

Unlike other minerals, sodium, or sodium chloride (table salt), has a very recognisable and almost addictive taste. It is very widely used in all industrially manufactured foods and it is very easy to consume unhealthy amounts without even knowing it.

One of the main medical conditions associated with excessive sodium intake is very high blood pressure, and heart disease, so keeping a check on our intake is vitally important.

Sodium deficiency is extremely rare today, and in fact it is estimated that we are consuming at least 5 times the amount of sodium that we should be.

What are the current recommendations for sodium?

The current recommendation is under 2,400 mg of sodium per day, which is approximately one level teaspoon or 6 grams of table salt.

However as you will read later in the post… that recommendation for table salt needs some revision as it is not the salt you add to your fresh ingredients that is the problem, unless it is excessive, but the hidden salt in the foods we buy ready prepared off  the shelves of the supermarket.

If I give you some comparisons for processed foods versus fresh foods you will see how quickly you can take in far more sodium than your body needs.

  • Half a can of baked beans contains 504 mg of sodium – fresh contains 5 mg of sodium
  • Half a can of mushrooms contains 400 mg of sodium – fresh contains 1 mg of sodium
  • Half a can of tomatoes with spices is 600 mg of sodium – home-made contains 4 mg of sodium.
  • 3 oz of salty bacon contains 1,197 mg of sodium – fresh pork chop 54 mg of sodium
  • A chicken frozen dinner contains 2,500 mg of sodium – freshly prepared 50 mg of sodium.
  • Packet of dry minestrone soup contains 6,400 mg – freshly prepared 100 mg.
  • Some other foods that we might eat on a regular basis have equally horrifying amounts of sodium including:
  • Baked ham 3 oz = 840 mg
  • French salad dressing 2 tablespoons = 438 mg
  • Half jar of pasta sauce =1080 mg
  • Half can of chicken noodle soup = 1160 mg.

We now have labels on food and for the most part, although they seem to be written in stupidly small print (mainly because there are so many ingredients they have not got room on the jar) we can find out how much of a certain additive there is in any processed foods that we buy.

N.B – Sodium in unexpectedly high levels can be found in products we take for granted are beneficial… such as effervescent painkillers. Marketed as fast acting pain relief the maximum recommended dose of 8 tablets also contain 1400mg – 1900mg of sodium to make them fizzy. This is equivalent to 3.5 grams to 4.8 grams of salt. Not only are they not recommended for patients on low sodium diets due to high blood pressure, research has identified that inflammatory auto immune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis are likely to be activated by high sodium levels.

Another surprising product that one would assume is healthy… unbreaded frozen prawns of all descriptions have 1600mg or equivalent to 4 grams of salt in a 6oz portion. This is because they use sodium tripolyphosphate as a preservative to prevent them losing water and going soggy when defrosted. Fresh prawns only have 202mg of sodium.

There are “sodium reduced” products on the market but be careful about the substitutes that have been use to produce this supposedly “safe” product. One of the most popular taste additives is MSG (monosodium glutamate) and that can sometimes be slipped in without you recognising it.

We rarely use ultra processed foods and have always used sea salt for cooking and for adding to food or Himalayan rock salt. I do keep an eye on that level and have a measured teaspoon of salt in an egg cup to add to my cooked meal. Usually there is some left at the end of the day.

Now for the reasons to include natural salt in your diet!

One of the first things a doctor will generally do, despite the fact that many of us have white coat syndrome which raises our blood pressure, is to measure it. As with the prescription of statins and the treatment of cholesterol ongoing research is identifying that the consumption of natural salt is not the culprit but the amount of sodium we are consuming daily from industrially produced foods.

And as always, I do not advise you to stop taking prescribed medication for high blood pressure without consulting your doctor.

There are a number of lifestyle causes for high blood pressure including being obese and lack of exercise. It is actually quite easy to blame the amount of salt in your diet and in the early days of my nutritional therapy work, I would see clients who had been following their doctor’s advice about reducing salt in their diets, but still had high blood pressure. It was only when they lost the additional weight, upped their exercise to a 30 minute walk each day and included specific potassium and nitrate rich foods in their diet that the blood pressure dropped to healthy levels.

I have been a nutritional therapist for 25 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.

As humans we evolved using natural salt in our diets and it is only since the introduction of pre-packaged foods in the last 100 years that we have been ingesting various forms of sodium which had led to a far higher amount of it in our diets than our bodies require.

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

For more than 40 years, we’ve been told eating too much salt is killing us. Doctors say it’s as bad for our health as smoking or not exercising, and government guidelines limit us to just under a teaspoon a day.

We’re told not to cook with it and not to sprinkle it on our meals. The white stuff is not just addictive, goes the message — it’s deadly. Too much of it causes high blood pressure, which in turn damages our hearts. We must learn to live — joylessly, flavourlessly but healthily — without it.

Well, I’m here to tell you that all of that is wrong. As a leading cardiovascular research scientist — based at Saint Luke’s Mid-America Heart Institute, Missouri — I’ve contributed extensively to health policy and medical literature.

I am associate editor of the British Medical Journal’s Open Heart, published in partnership with the British Cardiovascular Society, and I sit on the editorial advisory board of several other medical journals.

In my work, I’ve examined data from more than 500 medical papers and studies about salt. And this is what I’ve learned: there was never any sound scientific evidence to support this low salt idea. What’s more, as I explain in my new book, eating too little of it can cause insulin resistance, increased fat storage and may even increase the risk of diabetes — not to mention decreasing our sex drive.

Current daily guidelines limit you to 2.4g of sodium, which translates to 6g of salt (or sodium chloride) or slightly less than a teaspoonful.

If you have high blood pressure, or belong to a group considered to be at greater risk of developing it — such as being over 60 or Afro-Caribbean — doctors even advise you to cut your intake to two-thirds of a teaspoon of salt per day.

Yet salt is an essential nutrient that our bodies depend on to live. And those limits go against all our natural instincts. When people are allowed as much salt as they fancy, they tend to settle at about a teaspoon-and-a-half a day. This is true all over the world, across all cultures, climates and social backgrounds.

Read the rest of the article: Salt is not the problem

The Mineral Deficiency That’s Making You Gain Weight by Dr James DiNicolantonio

“Salted foodstuffs make people slim, whereas sweet ones make them fat.” —Pliny (A.D. 23 to A.D. 79), an ancient Roman author and philosopher

We’ve been told for decades to hold the salt at the dinner table for the sake of our hearts and blood pressure. The anti-salt campaign has blurred the picture about what salt actually does for us—besides making everything taste better. Salt is an essential mineral that has many vital functions in the body, which I go into more in my new book, The Salt Fix. Since we lose salt every day through sweat and urine, we need to consume some salt in order to live.

What happens when we aren’t getting the salt we need?

When our bodies become depleted in salt, the brain seems to react by sensitizing the reward system—and not just the reward system for salt, but the same reward system that drives us to other pleasurable activities. The purpose of that sensitization is that when we eat salt it induces a greater reward than usual, leading to an increase intake of salt. This primitive “reptilian” response in the brain is over 100 million years old and it has carried over from our ancient ancestors. Its goal is to keep us alive by preventing or quickly fixing a salt deficit in the body. In other words, the brain controls our salt fix.

In our modern world, though, this reward system, intended to save our lives after salt deficit, could be inadvertently leading to weight gain, and even obesity.

Read the rest of this post on the subject of salt in our diet: Is salt deficiency making us fat

The Salt Fix by Dr James DiNicolantonio, was published by Piatkus Books in 2017 and is now in Kindle.

Dr. James DiNicolantonio, PharmD, is the author of The Salt Fix, and a cardiovascular research scientist and doctor of pharmacy at Saint Luke’s Mid-America Heart Institute in Kansas City, Missouri. A well-respected and internationally known scientist and expert on health and nutrition, he has contributed extensively to health policy and medical literature. He serves as the associate editor of British Medical Journal’s Open Heart, a journal published in partnership with the British Cardiovascular Society. He is also on the editorial advisory board of several other medical journals, including Progress in Cardiovascular Diseases and International Journal of Clinical Pharmacology and Toxicology (IJCPT). For more information on Dr. DiNicolantonio, please visit The Salt Fix

One of the reviews for the book from a physician.

DoctorSH 5.0 out of 5 stars No longer in fear of salt!

I just finished the book, The Salt Fix by James DiNicolantonio. Well worth the read.
As a prevention and wellness family physician who prides himself in looking deeper at cause and effect in healthcare, I must admit that I had my blinders on when it came to salt. I too believed that salt was to be watched closely and tried to remain at the lowest recommended usage. Well, no longer! The author James DiNicolantonio makes a great case as to why limiting your salt to the national guidelines may be BAD for your health.
In my practice, I have different views than mainstream medicine in many areas of health and wellness. Why? Well, I have arrived at the point in my career when I am not afraid to ask the “experts”- “WHY?”.

Why is fat bad?  Why is cholesterol bad? Do cholesterol lowering drugs really save lives?

I like to dive deeply into cause and effect. But it appears like I did not look closely enough at how the human body uses salt. I was still advising people to watch their salt intake as I thought that the dietary recommendations were set in stone with irrefutable evidence.
Well……. Let me add one more question for the “experts”.
Why is consuming more than 2 grams of salt a day bad?

After reading The Salt Fix, I am disappointed in myself but that changes today. The author James DiNicolantonio very simply makes the case that the war on salt is as misguided as I believe the war on cholesterol and fat has been. He points out how salt is a vital nutrient that our body needs to stay in balance, just like fat and cholesterol. He clearly and simply shows how our body responds to different levels of salt intake.

He brings together many other aspects of my practice, writing about how it is not salt, but that other white processed powder, SUGAR, that is really the issue in most people with metabolic health issues. He points out how sugar can cause insulin resistance leading to Obesity, High Blood Pressure, Diabetes, Heart Disease, etc, etc. He then shows how too LITTLE salt also leads to insulin resistance, Obesity, High Blood Pressure, Diabetes, Heart Disease, etc, etc. See the twist?

Besides learning about the many beneficial aspects of salt, this book should make you a more skeptical thinker when it comes to national dietary guidelines. You should ask yourself, “Is there real proof that these guidelines are good for my health AND were these guidelines based on real medical studies or are they a dietary or political/industry power play?

If you are overweight, have High Blood Pressure, Diabetes, Thyroid Disease, or Kidney Disease, BUY THIS BOOK and READ IT. If you like salt but are afraid to use it, BUY THIS BOOK and READ IT. Then have a conversation with your physician(s). If they just restate the National Dietary Salt guidelines without understanding the true data, lend them this book, or buy them one so they can refer to it and help more patients.

The book is available in several formats: Amazon US – And Amazon UK: Amazon UK

And another more recent look at salt in the diet and how far too much sodium is obtained from industrialised foods rather than from natural sources from Chris Kresser

“Salt has been the subject of controversy in recent years, and has increasingly been blamed for a number of poor health outcomes, such as high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke. (1) Salt is ubiquitous in our modern diet, with Americans consuming an average of 10 grams of salt per day. Of this amount, about 75% is derived from processed food; only about 20% is naturally occurring or from discretionary salt use, such as that added in cooking or at the table (the rest comes from sources such as water treatment and medications). (2, 3) Most of what we read and hear about salt these days is telling us that salt consumption needs to be reduced, and it has even been referred to as “the single most harmful substance in the food supply”.

This is a two part post – Part One: The History of Salt

About Chris Kresser

Chris Kresser, M.S., L.Ac., is the creator of the ADAPT Practitioner and Health Coach Training Programs. He is one of the most respected clinicians and educators in the fields of Functional Medicine and ancestral health and has trained over 1,300 health professionals around the world in his unique approach.

A reminder again that this is not a recommendation that you stop taking medication and suddenly start eating high levels of salt. But, as always I do recommend that you stay away from industrially produced foods and add salt to your food to taste when it has been prepared.

Next time the potassium rich foods that you should be including in your diet to help naturally maintain a potassium balance in the body.

 ©sally cronin Just Food for Health 1998 – 2023

A little bit about me nutritionally. .

About Sally Cronin

I am a qualified nutritional therapist with twenty-four 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 21 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, radio programmes and posts here on Smorgasbord.

You can buy my books from: Amazon US – and: Amazon UK – Follow me :Goodreads – Twitter: @sgc58 – Facebook: Sally Cronin – LinkedIn: Sally Cronin


Thanks reading and I hope you will join me again next week…Sally.


Smorgasbord Book Promotions – New Book on the Shelves – #Memoir #Greece Unpacking for Greece: Travel in a Land of Fortresses, Fables, Ferries and Feta by Sally Jane Smith

Delighted to share the news of the recent release of the memoir Unpacking for Greece: Travel in a Land of Fortresses, Fables, Ferries and Feta by Sally Jane Smith.

About the book

When Sally sets out for Europe with her mother’s 1978 travel diary in her pocket, she is searching for the wanderlust she lost in a devastating overseas road accident.

As she ventures into the heart of the Mediterranean – wandering volatile landscapes, exploring historical sites, pairing books with places and savouring the tastes of Greece – she finds it is possible for a clumsy, out-of-shape woman on a budget to experience a life-changing journey.

In a story told with warmth, humour and a fascination with Greece’s natural and cultural heritage, Sally connects with her past, overcomes her fears and falls in love with life again, one olive at a time.

One of the early reviews for the book

Unpacking For Greece took me on a journey of body, mind and spirit. Much more than a memoir of physical travel, Sally also navigates through themes of trauma and loss, on a voyage to rediscover her wanderlust. Though there are some deeper and poignant moments, this memoir is ultimately uplifting and inspiring. Filled with healing, hope, wit and self-effacing humor. You feel such a connection to Sally which grows stronger with every page.

Each site you visit together, her evocative and delicate descriptions make you feel as through you are experiencing them through your own senses. Even places I had previously visited, I found myself learning something new about their rich history or exploring them from an alternative angle.

There is a beautiful sensitivity in Sally’s writing, which makes this memoir truly special. Not only in her moving self-reflections, but also the concious ways she respects the culture, history and people she encounters. This memoir made me question my own humility at times. And also, as I enter mid-life myself, it provided the affirmation that life can always be considered extrordinary if it is defined by your passions. 

Read the reviews and buy the book: Universal LinkAmazon AUAmazon US – And: Amazon UK

Sally Jane Smith has also contributed to the following anthology.

Buy the books: Amazon AUAmazon USAmazon UK – Follow Sally Jane: Goodreads –  Website – Facebook: Journeys In Pages – Twitter: @JourneysInPages

About Sally Jane Smith

Sally Jane Smith has lived on five continents and visited thirty-three countries, but she gives credit to Greece for turning her into a writer. She has worked in museums, universities, a language institute, a residence for people with disabilities, an art gallery, a primary school and a wildlife park. She also co-hosts two book clubs and assists the organisers of a biennial book-themed convention. She is currently based in Australia.

Sally completed a Varuna residency in 2018 and has published travel articles in Gulf News and TripFiction, and craft pieces in Women’s Ink! and Brevity Blog. Sally’s story of her great-great-grandmother’s extraordinary life appears in the anthology Itchy Feet: Tales of Travel and Adventure. Her exploration of travel and grief is included in the Newcastle Short Story Award Anthology 2022.

Excerpts from the Packing for Greece series have been awarded First Place Non-Fiction in the Port Writers Open Literary Competition and shortlisted in the National Writing Competition organised by the Society of Women Writers NSW.


Thanks very much for dropping in today and it would be great if you could share the news of Sally Jane’s new release… thanks Sally



Smorgasbord Food Column – Carol Taylor’s Green Kitchen Rewind – Homemade Bread, Plastic Alternatives, Grated Cheese

As Carol takes time this year to complete her two cook books I thought it was time to share her labour, time and environmental saving series of posts from 2021. Excellent tips on creating healthy, cook from scratch dishes for sustainable ingredients. I will hand you over to Carol.

Those of you who know me well know how passionate I am about cooking from scratch using fresh ingredients, the environment and ensuring that the food I make for my family is clean and as chemical free as it can possible be.

I am also of an age where I need to keep myself as healthy as I can by eating a varied diet which will also keep me at a healthy weight as long as I continue to exercise which in my case is walking daily…

This series will cover sustainability, news on food production…changes for the better and maybe a villain or three…haha, a recipe or two including some plant- based recipes, hints and tips on making my household a little greener…aka recycling and composting.

I will make mistakes of course … there is so much we could do just not all at once, some changes depend on our own lifestyles as above all… we want a happy household not one which is fanatical about going green at the expense of being frankly… miserable …what works for one does not work for another we have to find our own happy medium based on our circumstances and budgets.

It isn’t easy …in theory we know what we should do …ditch the plastic…grow our own vegetables…install solar panels…there is so much…we could empty all our cupboards, our fridges and freezers, throw out all the plastic, the bottles of household cleaners, shampoos etc etc …Start from scratch…

The reality is it wouldn’t work …our recycling bins could fill a skip all on its own, veggies take time to grow and imagine all that shopping you would have to do to replace everything.

THEREFORE I have looked at what I can do gradually…every small change is a bonus.

Many of us were confined to our homes and immediate neighbourhoods for nearly two years in some places…

The upside is that it we became a nation of cooks again we are baking bread, cooking from scratch, hearing how the environment is changing for the better… so many good things have came out of this maybe it is what was needed to make us focus on change…A reset…

I now bake bread every other day…Sandwich Loaf…a Nigella Recipe…


• 500 gm Bread Flour
• 2 tsp sea salt
• 2 tsp caster sugar
• 7gms instant yeast
• 125ml milk
• 150 ml of cold water
• 100 ml of boiling water
• 3 tbsp butter melted

Let’s Bake!

Put the flour, salt, sugar and yeast in a bowl and whisk to combine then add liquids and butter and draw the mix together cover and leave for 10 mins…I now use a shower cap which is brilliant as plastic wrap never stuck to the bowl and the cap stays put…Leave for 10 minutes then knead for 10 seconds(yes) and leave for 10 mins and repeat this 3 times…

On the last one shape and put in a bowl cover and leave to prove for about an hour…Knead and shape and put in a 2lb loaf tin for the final prove of about 1 hour sprinkle a little flour on the top of the loaf…

Once proved put into a preheated oven on 180/200 and bake for 45 minutes…remove from the oven if you like a softer crust I cover the loaf once I removed it from the oven with a clean t/towel for about 5/10 mins just to soften the crust slightly.

I followed this recipe to a T and it came out perfectly it slices very well for sandwiches and makes lovely toast or just bread and butter…

It is the first time I have followed Nigella’s recipe and it is one of my top 5 bread recipes now…The whole family loved it!

N.BNow I am confident making this bread yesterday I swapped 100gms of the flour for a stoneground whole wheat flour it was perfect. Next time I will use 150gm the reason I am doing this gradually is that it is such a nice recipe that by doing gradually I can see if I need to make changes to the liquid so far no… maybe today I will need a little more liquid we shall see.

I have also learnt about how different flours affect the texture and rise of my bread…I have had some disasters I have learnt how salt can halt the rising of the bread if it comes into contact with the yeast, now I am using the shower cap to cover the dough it means plastic wrap has been taken off the shopping list… I no longer use it.

When I looked at what I really used it for …I didn’t want to buy it anymore …The cost to the environment is stunning…

My First change: This is an easy one…

  • Today, consumers around the world have plastic wrap brands at their disposal made of PVDC, PVC, and polyethylene.
  • Plastic infiltrates the environment
  • Thin, flimsy, plastic-like bags are difficult to recycle; without specialized equipment they clog machines. And even when plastic wrap is recycled, it’s costlier than using virgin materials.
  • When it ends up in landfills or incinerators, both PVC and PVDC can release a highly toxic chemical called Dioxin, says the World Health Organization.

Did you know?

Americans buy enough plastic wrap to shrink wrap Texas?

Yes, I use a shower cap but it can be reused over and over it in no way reflects the amount of cussing and plastic wrap I use trying to get it attached to the dang bowl…


My bread making is now stress free… plastic wrap begone…Two birds with one stone!

But I hear you how can I keep my sandwiches fresh…

Everything you need to know is here…Here’s one I prepared earlier…smile x

Latest Recycling News September 2019 – Carol Cooks 2

Clean food and chemical free is another passion which means all my recipes will portray that…

“There are too many people who count calories and not enough counting chemicals”

I truly believe this and now we are spending more time at home …can we not take 5 and start looking at the foods we eat and use so we know what they really contain? Any highly processed food will contain preservatives and chemicals…That’s a given..

All these chemicals do affect our health…I am not saying don’t ever buy processed foods I buy some things maybe products I can’t replicate at home but there is much I can and frankly most of it is so easy I ask myself why have I not done this before…

I do not spend every waking minute in my kitchen…its too hot for one thing but I do spend time researching recipes and the content of some foods and whether or not I can replicate them at home…For me time well spent…

If you have any favourite food and would like me to do the research on whether or not it will be easy to replicate in your kitchen please let me know.

Did you know?

  • It’s a given that processed foods can save you a little time. But what you gain in convenience, you lose in money, environmental impact and maybe even health.
  • That’s because processed foods require more labour to convert them from their natural state to something that fits in a box, bag or tub.
  • You’re also paying for the chemicals added to the processed food to keep them fresh.
  • You’re paying for the packaging, too, which is totally worthless once you get it home. Indeed, $1 out of every $11 you spend at the grocery store you spend on packaging you throw away.

I will give you a simple example…Shredded Cheese.

Pre-shredded cheese always comes in a plastic bag or tub along with chemicals to prevent mould growth and even the dust from wood pulp…yes, that is correct it is added to prevent the cheese from clumping.

Why not grate your own cheese instead?

It will be fresher, cheaper and you can minimize packaging if you buy a chunk of cheese from your deli counter rather than in the dairy aisle.

To me so many of these changes are minute…Take minutes to do and tick all the boxes pun not intended…lol

Are you ready to join me in making your kitchen a little greener, are you ready to cook from scratch more often and to count chemicals instead of calories?
Love Carol xx

©Carol Taylor 2021

About Carol Taylor

Enjoying life in The Land Of Smiles I am having so much fun researching, finding new, authentic recipes both Thai and International to share with you. New recipes gleaned from those who I have met on my travels or are just passing through and stopped for a while. I hope you enjoy them.

I love shopping at the local markets, finding fresh, natural ingredients, new strange fruits and vegetables ones I have never seen or cooked with. I am generally the only European person and attract much attention and I love to try what I am offered and when I smile and say Aroy or Saab as it is here in the north I am met with much smiling.

Some of my recipes may not be in line with traditional ingredients and methods of cooking but are recipes I know and have become to love and maybe if you dare to try you will too. You will always get more than just a recipe from me as I love to research and find out what other properties the ingredients I use have to improve our health and wellbeing.

Exciting for me hence the title of my blog, Retired No One Told Me! I am having a wonderful ride and don’t want to get off, so if you wish to follow me on my adventures, then welcome! I hope you enjoy the ride also and if it encourages you to take a step into the unknown or untried, you know you want to…….Then, I will be happy!

Carol is a contributor to the Phuket Island Writers Anthology Amazon US

Connect to Carol – Blog: Carol Cooks 2 – Twitter: @CarolCooksTwo – Facebook: Carol Taylor

Thanks for dropping by today and I know Carol would love your feedback.. thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Funnies 2023 – Hosts Sally Cronin and Debby Gies – SUVs and Stud Fees

Firstly, some funnies foraged from the web from Debby Gies – D.G. Writes 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 expert foraging…

D. G. Kaye – Buy: Amazon US And: Amazon UK Blog: D.G. WritesGoodreads: D.G. Kaye on Goodreads – Twitter: @pokercubster

Debby’s latest post in her series Spiritual Awareness. Signs, Synchronicity, and Energy   

Now something from Sally’s Joke book archives….

Stud Fees

Farmer Dan got into his car, drove to the neighbouring farm and knocked at the door. A young boy, Eddie, aged about 10, opened the door.

‘Is yer Dad home?’ Dan demanded.

‘No, sir, he ain’t,’ Eddie replied. ‘He went into town.’

‘Well, then,’ inquired Dan, ‘is yer Mum here?’

‘No, sir, she ain’t here neither. She went into town with Dad.’

‘How about your brother? Is he here?’

‘He went with Mum and Dad,’ explained Eddie patiently.

Farmer Dan stood there for a few seconds, shifting from one foot to the other and muttering to himself.

‘Is there anything I can do for ya?’ Eddie asked politely. ‘I know where all the tools are, if you want to borrow one. Or maybe I could take a message for Dad.’

‘Well, it’s difficult,’ answered Dan uncomfortably, ‘I really wanted to talk to your Dad. It’s about your brother Howard getting my daughter pregnant.’

Eddie considered for a moment, ‘You would have to talk to Pa about that,’ he finally conceded. ‘If it helps you any, I know that Pa charges £600 for the bull and £60 for the hog, but I really don’t know how much he gets for Howard.’

 We hope you are leaving with a smile on your face… thanks Sally and Debby.



Smorgasbord Book Promotions – Book Review – #Murder Death at the Asylum: Rhe Brewster Mystery Series, Book 5 by N. A. Granger


Delighted to share my review for the latest release by N.A. GrangerDeath at the Asylum: Rhe Brewster Mystery Series, Book 5

About the book

Attending the opening of a new commercial center, Rhe Brewster, an ER nurse and police investigator, and her husband Sam, chief of the Pequod police department, save the governor of Maine from a sniper attack. They are assigned to a task force to find the sniper, at the same time trying to identify the person who has stolen Rhe’s personal data and is using it to run up thousands of dollars in debt and even steal their home. Rhe treats a student from Pequod University raped following a night at a local bar and soon discovers there is a serial rapist on the loose.

The threats to Rhe and Sam escalate as a sociopath from Rhe’s past reemerges in a strange twist. Are any of these perpetrators linked?

Maine’s most tenacious sleuth is back, surrounded by the colorful characters who populate the coastal town of Pequod. In this fifth installment of the Rhe Brewster Mysteries, Rhe’s strength and determination are tested to their limits while she tries to protect her unborn child.

My review for the book June 6th 2023

What a great story, interesting characters and setting for this story. I love the family unit that the author has created with multi-tasking mother to be Rhe, her husband Sam who is Chief of Police and her son Jack from her previous marriage to Sam’s brother.

Although this is the fifth book in the series it easily stands alone with a brief overview to set the scene and I found it very easy to get into the flow of the book immediately. All the main characters and those in a supporting role form a strong cast of players as the drama unfolds.

Rhe and her family live in a close knit community and when a sniper takes aim at the Governor of Maine it hits hard for everyone. As well as being an ER nurse, Rhe works part-time in the police department a job that she loves and she assists with the investigation into the shooting and a dangerous rapist on the prowl. However, there is a more personal danger about to intrude into their peaceful life, a hangover from one of the previous books in the series.

As well as contending with the unsettling activities of their unknown enemy, Rhe also has to deal with her boss at the hospital who is out to get rid of her because of her stand against him, and a troubling series of drug thefts from the emergency room.

All these different threads come together in this fast paced thriller with many unexpected twists and some heart-stopping moments.

The ending leaves the door open for another in the series which I understand is in the works and I look forward to catching up with Rhe Brewster again sometime soon. Highly rcommended.

Head over to read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon US – And: Amazon UK

Also by Noelle Granger

Head over to read more about Noelle A. Granger and buy her books: Amazon US – And: Amazon UK Blog: Sayling Away – Goodreads:Noelle A. Granger – Twitter: @NAGrangerAuthor

Author Logo

About the Author

Noelle A. Granger grew up in Plymouth, Massachusetts, in a rambling, 125-year-old house with a view of the sea. Summers were spent sailing and swimming. She was also one of the first tour guides at Plimoth Plantation. Granger graduated from Mount Holyoke College with a bachelor’s degree in Zoology and from Case Western Reserve University with a Ph.D. in anatomy. Following a career of research in developmental biology and teaching human anatomy to medical students and residents, the last 28 years of which were spent at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine, she decided to try her hand at writing fiction. The Rhe Brewster Mystery Series was born.

The series features Rhe Brewster, an emergency room nurse, as the protagonist. Rhe lives in the fictional coastal town of Pequod, Maine, (similar to Plymouth) and Granger uses her knowledge of such a small town, her experiences sailing along the Maine coast, and her medical background to enrich each book in the series. In the first book, Death in a Red Canvas Chair, the discovery of a wet, decaying body of a young woman, sitting in a red canvas chair at the far end of a soccer field, leads Rhe on a trail that heads to a high-end brothel and a dodgy mortuary operation.

The second novel in the Rhe Brewster Mystery Series, Death in a Dacron Sail, was released in 2015, and finds Rhe responding to a discovery by one of the local lobstermen: a finger caught in one of his traps. The third book, Death By Pumpkin, begins with the sighting of the remains of a man’s body in a car smashed by a giant pumpkin at the Pequod Pumpkin Festival. Up next? Death in a Mud Flat.

In addition to the Rhe Brewster Mystery Series, Granger has had short stories, both fiction and non-fiction, published in Deep South Magazine, Sea Level Magazine, the Bella Online Literary Review, and Coastal Style Magazine, and has been featured in Chapel Hill Magazine, The News & Observer, The Boothbay Register, and other local press. Granger lives with her husband, a cat who blogs, and a hyperactive dog in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. She spends a portion of every summer in Maine.

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Music Column – The Big Band Era with William Price King and Sally Cronin – 1940s – Tommy Dorsey, Harry James, Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers

Welcome to the 2023 series of the music column where I am joined as always by Jazz singer and composer William Price King.  We hope you will join us every Tuesday for some of the chart hits of the big band era from the 1930s through to the 1950s.

Some of the earlier videos are not of the best quality however where possible we have sourced remastered copies to share with you. Considering some are almost 100 years old, it is remarkable that they exist at all.  A testament to the love of the music of that era. Along with our selections each week we will also be showcasing some of the iconic dancers of the era.

Here is my next selection from the Big Band chart in the 1940s Tommy Dorsey

Tommy Dorsey with Jo Stafford & Sy Oliver “Yes Indeed!”

“Yes, Indeed” was composed by Sy Oliver in 1941 in the style of a swing spiritual. It was first recorded by Bing Crosby and Connie Boswell with Bob Crosby’s Bobcats on Decca Records. Tommy Dorsey’s version with Jo Stafford and Sy Oliver on vocals was later released and peaked at #4 on the Billboard charts.

Here is my next selection from the 1940s from Harry James

Harry James “You Made Me Love You (I Didn’t Want to Do It)” (1941)

“You Made Me Love You (I Didn’t Want to Do It)” is a popular song from 1913 composed by James V. Monaco with lyrics by Joseph McCarthy. It was introduced by Al Jolson in the Broadway revue The Honeymoon Express (1913), and used in the 1973 revival of the musical Irene.

Harry James and His Orchestra hit big in late 1941 and early 1942 with a million-selling instrumental version of the song as a trumpet solo featuring James. It was released as the B-side of “A Sinner Kissed an Angel” but proved the much bigger hit, peaking at no. 5 on Billboard’s National and Regional Best Selling Retail Records chart in late November 1941 during an 18-week run (including ten non-consecutive weeks in the Top Ten). the78prof

Other sources: Wikipedia – And: Jazz Standards

Fred Astaire (born Frederick Austerlitz; May 10, 1899 – June 22, 1987) was an American dancer, actor, singer, choreographer, and television presenter. He is widely considered the greatest dancer in film history.

His stage and subsequent film and television careers spanned a total of 76 years. He starred in more than 10 Broadway and West End musicals, made 31 musical films, four television specials, and numerous recordings. As a dancer, his outstanding traits were an uncanny sense of rhythm, perfectionism, and innovation. His most memorable dancing partnership was with Ginger Rogers, with whom he co-starred in a series of ten Hollywood musicals during the age of Classical Hollywood cinema, including Top Hat (1935), Swing Time (1936), and Shall We Dance (1937).

Ginger Rogers (born Virginia Katherine McMath; July 16, 1911 – April 25, 1995) was an American actress, dancer and singer during the Golden Age of Hollywood. She won an Academy Award for Best Actress for her starring role in Kitty Foyle (1940), and performed during the 1930s in RKO’s musical films with Fred Astaire. Her career continued on stage, radio and television throughout much of the 20th century.indiana5959

Here are Fred and Ginger dancing to Night and Day

Your Hosts for The Big Band Era

William Price King is an American jazz singer, crooner, and composer.

His interest in music began at an early age when he studied piano and clarinet in high school. At Morehouse College in Atlanta where he grew up, he sang in the Glee Club and studied classical music. After graduation he went off to the Yale School of Music where he earned a Masters degree. From there he journeyed to New York where he created a jazz trio ‘Au Naturel’ which performed in some of the hottest venues in Manhattan including gigs on Broadway and the famous ‘Rainbow Room.’ These gigs opened doors for performances in Montreal and a European tour.

While touring Europe he met a lovely French lady, Jeanne Maïstre, who, a year later became his wife. King left the group ‘Au Naturel’ and settled in the south of France where he started a new life on the French Riviera, opening his own music school – the “Price King Ecole Internationale de Chant.” He has had the pleasure over the years of seeing many of his students excel as singers on a professional level, and some going on to become national celebrities. He continues to coach young singers today, in his spare time.

Blog– IMPROVISATION William Price King on Tumblr – Buy William’s music: William Price King iTunes – FacebookWilliam Price King – Twitter@wpkofficial
Regular Venue – Cave Wilson

Sally Cronin is an author, blogger and broadcaster who enjoyed four years as part of the team on Onda Cero International’s English speaking morning show in Marbella and then for two years as a presenter on Expressfm the local radio station in Portsmouth. She co-presented two ‘Drive Time’ shows a week with Adrian Knight, hosted the live Thursday Afternoon Show and The Sunday Morning Show guests including musicians and authors. Following this she became Station Director for a local internet television station for two years, producing and presenting the daily news segment, outside broadcasts and co-presenting the Adrian and Sally chat show live on Friday evenings.

She and her husband David have now returned to Ireland where they live on the Wexford Coast where she blogs and continues to write books.

Books :Amazon US – And: Amazon UK – More reviews: Goodreads – blog: Smorgasbord Blog Magazine Twitter: @sgc58 – Facebook: Sally Cronin – LinkedIn: Sally Cronin

Thanks for tuning in and as always we love to hear from you.. thanks William and Sally.



Smorgasbord Book Promotions – New Book and Album on the Shelves – #Contemporary #Romance – Venetian Rhapsody by Tonya Penrose #Music by David Bazo

Today I am not only delighted to share the news of the latest release by Tonya Penrose, but also of the unique collaboration with David Bazo who has created the music to accompany the book. You can listen to a wonderful trailer for the album later in the post.

About the book

In a glancing moment, Eduardo and Sofia experience a chance encounter that alters how they see their world and ignites a grand love. A romance where the barriers of time’s constraints fall away…leaving them with an unfolding mystery around their powerful connection. Two encounters a year apart bring plenty of complications, smiles, and undeniable love.

A companion album, Venetian Rhapsody, by award-winning composer and musician David Bazo highlights the story’s unfolding.

One of the early review for the book

Joy Shelton-York 5.0 out of 5 stars This love story is a unique experience.  Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on May 27, 2023

Venetian Rhapsody is not an ordinary love story. It is an experience. Tonya Penrose allows us to take an emotional journey along with the characters into the birth and rebirth of a timeless romance. Venice, the City of Love, provides the perfect ambiance for this story. From the initial meeting, I was instantly intrigued and drawn to these charismatic characters, Sofia Martin and Eduardo Diaz. They are both successful, levelheaded, and likable people who find themselves drawn to each other in inexplicable ways. Neither are looking for love and both have other important commitments, but fate seems to have a hand in continuing to put them in each other’s paths despite their resistance. The beautiful companion original music written and produced by David Bazo enhances the mood, heightens emotions, and tantalizes your senses. Venetian Rhapsody Prelude and Venetian Reverie especially were so hauntingly beautiful I was brought to tears.

Sofia Martin is a doctoral student who is finishing up her program and will be returning in two weeks to Boston to become a museum curator. Eduardo Diaz is an olive grower from Spain who is in Venice to meet with his uncle. Her first glance of Eduardo Diaz in an outdoor café sparks a feeling of familiarity Sofia can’t identify. A second brief accident between the two is both charming but contentious. After a third meeting at Sofia’s professor’s home, the two decide to spend some time together. They both soon realize they know personal things about each other they call “unexplainables.” Trying not to look too closely at their growing feelings, the two get to know each other by exploring Venise.

Tonya Penrose is a master of humor, quick wit, and snappy dialog. This makes the journey fun, entertaining, and gives us insight into the characters personalities. It also worked especially well as Sofia and Eduardo continued to keep things light and deny their feels, minimizing their connection. Ms. Penrose also has a way of creating such vivid descriptions that you can almost feel the breeze, taste the Italian delicacies, see the sunlight dancing across the canals, smell the fresh bread wafting from the bakery below Sofia’s flat, and of course, with the assist of Mr. Bazo, hear the mandolin/guitar players serenade the patrons and tourist. I felt as if I was physically drawn into the page and wasn’t released until the last page.

I highly recommend this beautiful love story and the accompanying music. 

Head over to read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon US –  And: Amazon UK

Also by Tonya Penrose

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon USAnd: Amazon UKRead more reviews: Goodreads – Website: Tonya Writes – Facebook: Tonya PenroseTwitter: @TonyaWrites

Tonya Penrose

About Tonya Penrose

As an author, Tonya’s moved by the effect humor and inspiration-driven narratives can have on readers. She is enthusiastic about crafting stories with beguiling characters, adding dashes of snappy humor, and engaging dialogue that leaves her fingerprint on each page.

When Tonya relocated to the mountains, she found fresh writing ideas waiting. From her favorite porch chair gazing at a tranquil lake, the nudge to scribe her first novel, “Old Mountain Cassie: The Three Lessons” came calling.

And from her beach chair, the idea for the cozy series, Shell Isle Mysteries presented. “Baubles to Die For” and “Red, White, and Boom.”. “Murder by Numbers” is the new release for the series.

“A Secret Gift” is a romantic romp that promises smiles, sighs, and secrets.

“Charm” a multi-genre novel that’s a new release. It’s available for a movie/series option.

Tonya confesses new respect for a chair’s ability to motivate writers.

Her fiction and non-fiction stories are published in numerous anthologies, e-magazines, local press, and literary magazines. She’s listed in the Poets and Writers Directory. She chooses to write multi-genre fiction under the pen name Tonya Penrose.

Here is the delightful trailer for the album

The soundtrack album for the book is available: David Bazo Bandcamp – Venetian Rhapsody

About David Bazo

David Bazo is a versatile musician with a background of more than 30 years, more than 100 songs published internationally and more than a hundred live performances behind him, as a soloist and integrating different musical formations. Producer, arranger and music performer for singers, soundtracks, New Age, Pop, TV, Theater and much more.

Connect to David Bazo on his website: David BazoTwitter: @davidbazo – Instagram: David Bazo Music – Facebook: David Bazo Music – YouTube:David Bazo Music


Thank you very much for dropping in today and it would be wonderful if you could share the news of this unique and delightful collaboration by Tonya Penrose and David Bazo.