About Smorgasbord - Variety is the Spice of Life.

My name is Sally Cronin and I am doing what I love.. Writing. Books, short stories, Haiku and blog posts. . I move between non-fiction health books and posts and fairy stories, romance and humour. I love variety which is why I called my blog Smorgasbord Invitation and you will find a wide range of subjects. Free Book Marketing, Music, Health, Book Reviews, Short Stories, Poetry and Humour. Find out more at https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/about-me/

Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – Weekly News – #Reviews – #Memoir D.G. Kaye, #Biography #Afghanistan Mary Smith, #Poetry D.L. Finn.

Welcome to the Cafe and Bookstore Weekly News with recent reviews for authors on the shelves.

The first author with a review to share in D.G. Kaye for the memoir P.S. I Forgive You

About the book

“I hurt for her. She wasn’t much of a mother, but she was still my mother.”

Confronted with resurfacing feelings of guilt, D.G. Kaye is tormented by her decision to remain estranged from her dying emotionally abusive mother after resolving to banish her years ago, an event she has shared in her book Conflicted Hearts. In P.S. I Forgive You, Kaye takes us on a compelling heartfelt journey as she seeks to understand the roots of her mother’s narcissism, let go of past hurts, and find forgiveness for both her mother and herself.

After struggling for decades to break free, Kaye has severed the unhealthy ties that bound her to her dominating mother—but now Kaye battles new confliction, as the guilt she harbors over her decision only increases as the end of her mother’s life draws near. Kaye once again struggles with her conscience and her feelings of being obligated to return to a painful past she thought she left behind.

A recent review for the book

Harmony Kent 5.0 out of 5 stars A Book Everyone Should Read  Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 28 April 2021

As soon as I saw what this book was about, I had to read it, and I am so pleased I did.

Because of the difficult subject matter, and my own history, I had to take a deep breath before I plunged in. Not only has this writer’s honesty and bravery helped me to understand my parents a little better, it has also shown me precisely what my sister has become. I’d missed that, and this explains so very much.

It is a sad fact of life that, all too often, the victim becomes the perpertrator, unless we have the insight and strength to do something about it. I have long joked that I’m the reverse ‘black sheep’ of my family, and it seems to me that Debby is too. For all our successes, and the miracle of growing into well-adjusted adults in spite of it all, we will never be accepted by a parent who demands that we live their lies, manipulations, and abuses. The same with any sibling who demands the same.

Some lines that resonated with me in particular: 

Also by D.G. Kaye

Read all the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US – and: Amazon UK – follow Debby: Goodreads – : Blog: D.G. Kaye Writer – Twitter: @pokercubsterLinkedin: D.G. Kaye – Facebook: D.G. Kaye – Instagram: D.G. Kaye – Pinterest: D.G. Kaye

The next author with a recent review is Mary Smith for Drunk Chickens and Burnt Macaroni

About the book

Drunk Chickens and Burn Macaroni (subtitle) offers a remarkable insight into the lives of Afghan women both before and after Taliban’s rise to power. The reader is caught up in the day-to-day lives of women like Sharifa, Latifa and Marzia, sharing their problems, dramas, the tears and the laughter: whether enjoying a good gossip over tea and fresh nan, dealing with a husband’s desertion, battling to save the life of a one-year-old opium addict or learning how to deliver babies safely.
Mary Smith spent several years in Afghanistan working on a health project for women and children in both remote rural areas and in the city of Mazar-i-Sharif. Given the opportunity to participate more fully than most other foreigners in the lives of the women, many of whom became close friends, she has been able to present this unique portrayal of Afghan women – a portrayal very different from the one most often presented by the media.

One of the recent reviews for the book

Elizabeth Gauffreau 5.0 out of 5 stars Compelling & Highly Recommended  Reviewed in the United States on April 24, 2021

Mary Smith’s Drunk Chickens and Burnt Macaroni: Real stories of Afghan women surprised me. Going into it, I expected the memoir to be interesting, as its focus is on a part of the world I know very little about. What I did not expect was that it would be so compelling.

For three years in the 1990s, Smith and her partner Jon worked in Afghanistan for a nonprofit to provide healthcare and health education for women in Mazar-i-Sharif. Poverty, hygiene practices that led to disease, cultural myths, and reluctance to discuss gynecological problems with male doctors were all challenges Smith was faced with addressing.

She did it by establishing the Female Health Volunteer training project, whereby Afghan women would be trained to provide health education to the women in their villages, focusing on
antenatal care, safe childbirth and postpartum care, and the care of babies and young children who failed to thrive due to diarrhea.

The details of the volunteer training project and the story of each woman who participated in it were the highlight of the book for me and the reason I looked forward to picking it up again to read after a long day. The women were so proud of their ability to learn new concepts and practices, pass the required testing, and go back to their villages to use what they had learned to improve the health and wellbeing of others.

One of the most striking aspects of the book is how Smith describes the deprivation and unsanitary conditions in which she worked and lived. These conditions are described matter-of-factly and without the judgemental lens of squeamish first-world privilege. Along similar lines, Smith’s goal to help improve the health and living conditions of Afghan women and their children has none of the zeal of the missionary to proselytize and convert them to a Western way of life.

Threaded throughout the book is contextual information about the traditional role of women in Afghan society, marital relationships, changes in Afghan society toward modernization, and the political situation, which ultimately led to the takeover by the Taliban.

The last section of the book is devoted to what happened to the women I came to know and care about after the Taliban took over the country. Their stories of horrific tragedy and, ultimately, resilience are one more reason I highly recommend Drunk Chickens and Burnt Macaroni.  

Also by Mary Smith

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US – and:Amazon UK – Blog: Mary Smith’s PlaceGoodreads: Goodreads – Twitter: @marysmithwriter

The final author today is D.L. Finn for her poetry collection Just Her Poetry: Seasons of a Soul

About the collection

Take a journey with D.L. Finn as she blends her love of nature with her deepest emotions. Sit with her on the forest floor observing its tranquil beauty, or stroll along the ocean’s shore admiring the vastness of its horizon. Here in these peaceful moments you’ll be able to experience her thoughts and feelings in the light—and in the darkness. This is a thought-provoking collection of poetry that invites the reader into all the seasons of a soul.

One of the recent reviews for the collection

marjorie mallon5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful poetry about nature, emotions, and riding a harley!  Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 2 May 2021

I’ve been curious for some time to read D.L Finn’s work. In fact, she has so many enticing novels, short stories, and poetry to choose from it was quite a job to decide on which to try first. I opted for Just Her Poetry, it is a sweeping poetry book with part one focusing on poems about nature, the seasons, and musings from the back of a Harley! Part Two is entitled Seasons of A Soul and expresses the author’s emotionally poignant poems about her experiences in darkness and light. There is a bonus section of Some Readers’ Favourites and bonus poetry too.

It’s a lovely book of poetry, so personal and moving. It’s almost as if you are sharing a day out with the author sharing her life, loves and sorrows via her words. In the author note at the end she mentions how nature inspires her writing. I am the same; I loved it. I particularly enjoyed the section of poems written on the back of her husband’s Harley motorbike! Journeying, seeing little details, observational poetry at its best. And some special mentions of poems that I particularly related to: Fingers of The Sea, Trees, Ocean, (as the sea is my spiritual home and I adore trees!)

My recommendation: A wonderful collection of poetry. Highly recommended.

A selection of other books by D.L. Finn

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US – And: Amazon UK – Follow D.L. Finn: Goodreads – Connect to D.L. Finn – Website: D.L. Finn Author – Facebook: D.L. Finn Author – Twitter: @dlfinnauthor


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


Smorgasbord Laughter Lines – May 13th 2021 – Hosts Debby Gies and Sally Cronin – Exodus and Mary Poppins

Welcome to laughter lines. Debby was sent some great reminders of the last year and possible for some time to come!.       

If you have not discovered the non-fiction books by D.G. Kaye: Amazon USAnd: Amazon UK Blog: D.G. WritesGoodreads: D.G. Kaye on Goodreads – Twitter: @pokercubster

Check out Debby’s column here on Smorgasbord D.G. Kaye Explores the Realms of Relationships 2020

Now something from Sally

Mary Poppins…

Mary Poppins was travelling home but, due to worsening weather, she decided to stop at a hotel for the night.

She approached the receptionist and asked for a room. “Certainly madam”, he replied courteously. “Is the restaurant open still?” inquired Mary. “Sorry, no”, came the reply, “but room service is available all night. Would you care to select something from this menu?”

Mary smiled and took the menu and perused it. “Hmm, I would like cauliflower cheese please”, said Mary.

“Certainly, madam”, he replied.

“And can I have breakfast in bed?” asked Mary politely. The receptionist nodded and smiled.

“In that case, I would love a couple of poached eggs, please”, Mary mused. After confirming the order, Mary signed in and went up to her room for the night.

The night passed uneventfully and the next morning Mary came down early to check out. The same guy was still on the desk.

“Morning madam…sleep well?”

“Yes, thank you”, Mary replied.

“Food to your liking?”

“Well, I have to say the cauliflower cheese was exceptional. I don’t think I have had better. Shame about the eggs, though….they really weren’t that nice at all”, replied Mary truthfully.

“Oh…well, perhaps you could contribute these thoughts to our Guest Comments Book. We are always looking to improve our service and would value your opinion”, said the receptionist.

“OK, I will…thanks!” replied Mary….who checked out and then scribbled a comment into the book. Waving, she left to continue her journey. Curious, the receptionist picked up the book to see the comment Mary had written:


Thanks for dropping in and we hope you are leaving with a smile on your face… Debby and Sally.

Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives 2021 – #Wine – Recent News from the World of Wine Forgery by Carol A. Seidl

Since this series began in January 2018 there have been over 1000 Posts from Your Archives where bloggers have taken the opportunity to share posts to a new audience… mine. The topics have ranged from travel, childhood, recipes, history, family and the most recent series was #PotLuck where I shared a random selection of different topics.

In this series I have shared posts from the last six months of 2020 and the series is now closed to new participants.

This is the first post from July 2020 by Carol A. Seidl and explores the side of wine we rarely taken into consideration as we enjoy our glass of red or white at the end of the day or at a dinner party..

Recent News from the World of Wine Forgery

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Last summer I wrote a post about Rudy Kurniawan, perhaps the world’s greatest wine forger. His story is told in both a Netflix documentary, Sour Grapes, and an award-winning book, In Vino Duplicitas. Kurniawan, a young and charismatic wine dealer who scammed wealthy wine collectors out of millions, makes a beguiling central character. What’s more, there are several other intriguing personalities that graced his fraudulent trajectory. Last weekend, I thought I’d check and see what some of them are up to. This article updates my original post and adds a few missing details.

From Behind the Bar to Behind Bars

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Rudy Kurniawan

Before his arrest in 2012, Kurnaiwan was known as a gracious host who threw lavish parties in the poshest New York and LA restaurants. After his felony conviction in 2014, Kurniawan filed and lost two appeals. The first appeal claimed that sentencing had been too harsh. The judge had ordered Kurniawan to serve 10 years in prison and pay $28.4 million in restitution. When a three-judge panel denied the appeal, a second appeal argued that Kurniawan’s lawyers had botched his defense by not demanding hearings to suppress evidence. FBI agents found the disputed evidence in Kurniawan’s home at the time of his arrest. The appeal claimed the agents conducted a warrantless search. Incriminating stacks of crates and wine bottles, however, lay in plain view of the front door of Kurniawan’s home. As a result, the second appeal also fell flat.

Kurniawan is currently incarcerated in a Federal Correctional Facility in Pecos, Texas. His release is scheduled for November of this year. Since he was living in the United States illegally, he’ll then be deported to his native country of Indonesia. In searching the web, I couldn’t find any information on why Kurniawan’s prison term falls short of 10 years. But, by all accounts he is a smart and likable fellow so I assume the early release is due to good behavior. Also unanswered is how much of the $28.4 million he paid off, whether he is still liable, and if returning to Indonesia will release him from any outstanding obligation.

Vigneron Turned Detective Turned Author

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Laurent Ponsot

Laurent Ponsot, an illustrious wine-grower from the Burgundy region of France, was a key witness at Kurniawan’s trial. Ponsot was one of the first to discover that Kurniawan was selling counterfeit wines. His revelation came after noticing that Kurniawan was about to auction off 97 bottles of wine from the Ponsot Domaine. A few dozen of those bottles, Ponsot’s Clos Saint-Denis, vaunted dates between 1945 to 1971. Yet, the winery had only been making the vintage since the 1980s.

Evidently, selling fakes does not equate to creating them. Initially, Ponsot couldn’t be sure if Kurniawan was a counterfeiter or if he too had been the victim of one. He spent the next several months traveling the world, retracing Kurniawan’s footsteps. He now claims that the second half of the Netflix documentary, Sour Grapes, is fiction. One of the details that he disputes is the identity of Kurniawan’s mother and brother. Ponsot believes that the family members in Sour Grapes are not related to Kurniawan.

Ponsot also alleges that Kurniawan, who’s real name may be Zen Wang Huang, maintained 9 separate identities. The vigneron-turned-detective has been promising to write a book about these and other discoveries that he made during the course of his investigation. However, the man has been extremely busy with a new business venture. In February of 2017, he shocked Burgundy aficionados by leaving his family’s estate to strike out on his own.

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The Burgundy region lies in Eastern France.

Disenchanted with the high-end collector’s market, Ponsot confided in a 2018 interview that he wants “to produce wines that people can open and enjoy.” His new venture has expanded beyond the creation and marketing of a couple dozen new labels. Ponsot is also constructing another winery with a visitor center where people can learn about the wines, vineyards and terroir of Burgundy. It’s not surprising that he’s had little time for a book… until now.

During France’s 2-month COVID confinement period, Ponsot installed himself somewhere in the Jura mountains and began writing his long-awaited book. I was a bit disappointed to learn that he’s only written “3 of 31 chapters”. But, at least he has outlined the story in enough detail to envision 31 chapters. In an interview with Wine Spectator, Ponsot said, “I have it all organized and in my head. It’s just a matter of writing.” Still, even maintaining his recent lockdown pace, it could take another year to finish an initial draft.

Déjà Cru?

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Red burgundies are made from pinot noir grapes.

When Ponsot first became aware of Kurniawan’s conterfeits, the fraudulent bottles were scheduled for auction by Acker Meral & Conduit, the oldest wine merchant in America. Hours before auction, at Ponsot’s insistence, Acker withdrew the lot of forged Clos Saint-Denis. It was hardly the first time, however, that Acker represented Kurniawan. In fact, the prestigious auction house successfully sold more that $35 million worth of Kurniawan’s wines. Last month, Acker’s integrity was once again called into question.

This time, Acker’s Hong Kong-based Asia Auction division was supposedly offering a 1924 bottle of Romanée Conti for up to $28,400. Domaine de la Romanée Conti burgundies are among the most coveted wines in the world. In 2018, a 1945 Romanée-Conti set the world record for the costliest bottle ever sold with a price tag of $558,000. Not surprisingly, DRC wines were among those that Rudy Kurniawan specialized in. His affinity for and deep knowledge of the Romanée-Conti domaine impressed friends and colleagues to the point that they nicknamed him Dr. Conti.

Both Romanée-Conti and Clos Saint-Denis labels belong to a larger class of wines known as Grand Crus. Grand Cru is the highest classification of Burgundy wines, representing less than 1% of the total production of Burgundy. Grand Cru red wines are made from pinot noir grapes and many argue that these wines are the best in the world. Since Kurniawan’s arrest, other of his Grand Cru counterfeits have turned up, resulting in multi-million dollar lawsuits.

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Old bottles of Grand Cru.

In the case of the recent Hong Kong auction, the questionable Romanée-Conti exhibited some surprising idiosyncrasies. First, the bottle’s label was handwritten. Second, the bottle appeared to be made from 19th-century glass, which was no longer in use in 1924. Third, the wax capsule protecting the cork was obviously not the original. When Don Cornwell, an LA-based attorney, noticed the inconsistencies, he posted an extensive warning about why he believed the bottle to be a fake. After receiving repeated warnings from Mr. Cornwell, Acker withdrew the bottle from its catalog.

In a recent article, covering the scandal, W. Blake Gray, US editor of wine-searcher, noted that in Acker’s bio for Kurniawan they claimed that the young collector had spent “years acquiring the best of the best.” This time, Acker’s Hong Kong catalog stated that the consignor “has always had a taste for the best… always buys from the most significant collections at auction, those where he feels the provenance is top-notch”.

I find it astonishing that wine collectors are happy to spend enormous sums on wines when the provenance of that wine fails to clearly identify its owner. Buyers simply rely on the auction house to have done the proper due diligence. Yet, the auction house is hardly an uninterested bystander to the sale, taking a 6% cut from the final profits. When Gray contacted Acker in June with questions about the suspected fraud, they stood by the wine’s heritage, naming two of the bottle’s previous owners, neither of which happened to be the current owner. There seems to be so much subterfuge in this business that even experienced journalists like Gray are unable to truly verify a given wine’s authenticity. Novelist turned wine columnist Jay McInerney suggests that many wine buyers are more than happy to pay for their illusions and don’t care that much about legitimacy.

Koch’s Vendetta

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Bill Koch

As I wrote last year, billionaire Bill Koch was one of Kurniawan’s many victims. A wine collector with over 40,000 bottles, Koch took such trickery personally. When he discovered dubious bottles among his stock, he assembled a crack team of private investigators to gather information on Kurniawan and other potential counterfeiters. The cost of the operation is purported to exceed the value of Koch’s entire collection by $20 million. It’s safe to say, Bill Koch was the wrong person to mess with.

In 2011, Koch filed a lawsuit against Royal Wine Merchants, Ltd., again hoping to recapture money spent on counterfeits. Just before the case went to trial, in 2014, the two parties reached a settlement. The court order prevents Royal Wine Merchants from ever directly or indirectly selling, causing to be sold, offering for sale, consigning, or distributing “Certain Fine and Rare Wine”. This includes any container of wine purported to have a vintage earlier than 1976, or priced above $2500/bottle, or priced above $5,000/magnum.

However, last month, Don Cornwell, the same LA-attorney who denounced the Hong Kong offering, noticed several bottles for sale on Royal’s website that violated the court order. What’s more, Cornwell believes many of the bottles are potential counterfeits.

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Wine is for Drinking

I know practically nothing about wine collecting other than the little I’ve learned from writing these posts centered on Kurniawan. But apparently, trying to put an end to fraudulent wine deals is a bit like playing whack-a-mole. Perhaps naively, I’m glad to know that I’ll never be in a position where I feel compelled to spend time, energy, and money on a hunt for someone who has sold me a bad bottle of wine.

My sister-in-law has a saying that she coined at a young age, “candy is for eating, not for saving”. It’s become a family-wide meme. After completing the research for this post, my latest culinary motto fittingly extends the concept to the consumption of wine.


Con-Man Kurniawan Exits Prison then Vanishes From the Public Eye

Other Resources

©Carol A. Seidl 2020

carol bio

About Carol A. Seidl

I divide my life into three phases. Phase 1: After earning a Master’s of Science in Engineering, I spent 17 years working in the software industry, founding, operating, and selling two software companies. The businesses I ran with my husband were our babies or perhaps we were their slaves, but we dearly loved working together and had time for little else. Phase 2: At the age of 40, I became a mother with the birth of my son shortly followed by twin girls. My passion turned from professional work to staying home with “3 under 3” and looking after aging parents. When my kids went off to school, I decided to pursue a long-held desire to learn French, eventually earning a Master’s of Arts in French Language and Literature. Phase 3: Now, I’m working on becoming a writer. My blog is a space where I investigate subjects that are of keen interest to me. I mainly write about French life and culture but you’ll also find articles on other subjects. In addition to my family and the great outdoors, I cherish reading, travel, history, culture, cooking, fitness, and dinner parties with friends.

Connect to Carol: Blog: cas d’interetFacebook: Carol SeidlTwitter: @caseidle

My thanks to Carol for allowing me to share posts from her archives and I hope you will head over to discover more. Thanks Sally

Smorgasbord Health Column – Family Health A-Z – Allergies and Intolerances – Part Two – – #Dairy #Leaky Gut

Although the focus has been on Covid this last year… there are still other health issues that have not gone away. Many are improved with simple treatments and dietary changes and in this series I am going to look at some of the more common issues.

I know that many of you who follow the blog will have seen the following post before but for those new to Smorgasbord, I hope you find useful.

Last week I covered the differences between an allergy and an intolerance and also at some of the more common triggers for anaphylaxis.

This week a look at dairy, which does have many nutrients that the body needs, and for most of us… there is no problem in eating moderately (too much cheese and butter, whilst good for you, can put weight on).

The subject of eating fat has had us all going around in circles for years. One minute you need to dump it all and the next it is poor carbohydrates on the chopping block. I have written a number of posts on the subject. Unhealthy fats: Industrially produced fats and Healthy Fats: Essential Fatty Acids and Good fats

Milk Allergy

Milk or Dairy Allergy is surprisingly common but there is some confusion over milk allergy and lactose intolerance.

A dairy allergy is an immune response that results in inflammation and tissue damage and it can be exhibited in any part of the body causing a wide range of problems. It is an immune response to the protein, Casein, in Cow dairy products that the body perceives as a threat. It is very rare for there to be the same reaction to the protein found in Goat’s milk which is a different protein. It is usually a genetic problem passed down through the family. If someone is reacting to both the casein in cow’s milk and the different protein in Goat’s milk then it is more likely to be leaky gut syndrome where inappropriate proteins are escaping into the bloodstream and causing an allergic reaction. I go into more detail about leaky gut later but here are the protein specifics for cows and goats.

The difference between cow and goat casein profiles

Apha-s1 is the major casein protein present in cow milk and has been identified as one of the major cow milk allergens. By contrast the major casein in goat milk is ß-casein, and alpha-s2 casein is the main alpha casein present. Goat’s milk contains only trace amounts of an allergenic casein protein, alpha-S1, found in cow’s milk. Goat’s milk casein is more similar to human milk.

The most common symptoms associated with a Milk Allergy in babies are also very serious as they can include the anaphylaxis (severe allergic reaction) which is life threatening and has a very rapid onset. However all new mothers should be aware of the inability to thrive, constant crying, vomiting, wheezing, rashes and stomach upsets.

In children ear infections are very common – the reason being that the Eustachian tube which opens into the back of the throat is not fully developed in children and is easily blocked by mucus which provides a warm breeding ground for bacteria. The inflammation of the tube is usually caused by an allergy – most often dairy as this is usually the first foods after breast feeding or formula that a child will eat and drink.

There are a number of tests available to confirm milk allergy.

In adults these are the likely symptoms: sinusitis, heartburn/reflux, constipation, diarrhoea and irritable bowel syndrome.

Some others are as follows: Abdominal Pain – Acne – Anxiety – Arthritis – Cold Sores – Fibromyalgia – Gas Headaches – Heartburn – Indigestion – Iron deficient anaemia – Irritability – Joint Pain – Lactose intolerance – Osteoporosis – Poor immune function.

Dairy allergy relates to all types of milk from a cow, cheese, butter, yogurt, cottage cheese, ice cream – it also includes anything else which contains the protein casein such as whey and lactalbumin which are unfortunately found in many processed foods. If you suffer from these symptoms and use industrialised foods you need to read the labels very carefully.

Lactose Intolerance

Lactose intolerance is in fact an enzyme deficiency not an allergy – however lactose intolerance can be the result of a dairy allergy.

Lactase is the enzyme that digests the milk sugar lactose. People with lactose intolerance usually experience an upset stomach, bloating, gas and loose stools. Unfortunately these also mirror symptoms of milk allergy.

If someone has a milk allergy, damage can occur to the digestive tract which inhibits the production of the enzyme lactase therefore adding the lactose intolerance to the list of symptoms.

Milk allergy is estimated to affect 2% of infants and young children in the UK. That percentage decreases as the child ages and it rare to find onset after 12 months. Breastfeeding reduces the risk significantly. Usually 9 out of 10 sufferers will grow out of the allergy by age three. Obviously 1 in 10 children do not outgrow it and these are the children most likely to pass on the response to their own children.

This means that it is only likely to persist in those with a strong family history of allergies especially to other food allergies such as eggs, soya, peanuts or citrus fruits.

If someone is experiencing a severe allergic reaction to a particular food you are likely to see the following: Skin problems such as eczema and dermatitis, gastro problems such as nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea. Breathing problems such as wheezing, coughing, rhinitis, asthma.

Leaky Gut syndrome

In a normal healthy person the small intestine acts like a sieve only permitting the breakdown products of the digestion into the bloodstream. These include the obvious nutrients but also fats, proteins and starches – all of which are very well digested and the larger molecules such as bacterium and toxins are excluded.

As part of this process, Villi, which are finger like projections from the wall of the intestinal tract with even smaller hair like extensions called microvilli, serve as a point of absorption for nutrients. The essential nutrients that the body needs such as glucose, amino acids are carried through the microvilli into the cells of the villus via a transport system comprised of carrier molecules.

If someone is suffering from a leaky gut the intestinal lining has become inflamed and the microvilli become damaged. They cannot then produce the necessary enzymes and secretions necessary for the absorption of nutrients.

Normally there is a strong wall of cells which prevents the larger molecules containing bacteria and toxins to pass through, however when there is an area of inflammation this structure becomes weakened and these harmful molecules can pass through into the bloodstream. This provokes an automatic response from the immune system which produces antibodies (proteins that locate and attack foreign objects as they are seen as antigens).

If this was a one off, the body would cope with the invasion and the gut would return to normal, but if the intestinal wall is damaged and the process is on-going then the immune system is unable to control the leakage of toxins and they begin to leak back into the liver causing that organ to become stressed and overburdened.

The liver

I have featured The liver in a previous post but here is a little reminder of how important this organ is in relation to our digestive process and the way we react to the food we eat…

It is the largest gland in the body and plays a really important part in detoxification as well as having many other functions including: producing bile, containing bile acids, which aid digestion, filtering out toxins, such as drugs, alcohol and environmental toxins, storing glucose as glycogen, then breaking it down about 4 hours after a meal to be converted to glucose to regulate blood sugar levels, converting ammonia to urea and removing damaged red blood cells.

Leaky Gut completely overworks the liver because it floods it with additional toxins diminishing the liver’s ability to neutralise chemical substances. When it cannot cope with the level of toxins the liver expels them back into the bloodstream. The circulatory system then pushes the toxins into the connective tissues and muscles where the body stores them to prevent major organ damage. The liver doesn’t get the time to go back and rid the body of the toxins.

You then have a build-up of toxins in the tissues and major organs leading to inflammation and all the symptoms associated with allergic reactions. Including those of milk allergy and lactose intolerance.

In fact the person suffering from leaky gut usually test positive for a great many allergies, not because they are allergic to a specific substance or food but because their immune system is in overdrive – this leads to the chronic forms of conditions such as arthritis and asthma.

The biggest problem is that therapists and doctors will begin to remove essential foods and nutrients from the diet to try and overcome this massive reaction when in fact they should be treating the root cause which may be something such as – Candida Albicans. Starving the body of a broad spectrum of nutrients is not the answer, starving the Candida is.

©Sally Cronin Just Food for Health 1998 – 2021

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

If you would like to browse my health books and fiction you can find them here: My books and reviews 2021


Thanks for visiting and I am always delighted to receive your feedback.. stay safe Sally.


Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – New Book on the Shelves – #Historical #Romance Lubelia Alycea: One Hundred Years by J.E. Spina

Delighted to share the news of the latest release for J. E. Spina – Lubelia Alycea: One Hundred Years

About the book

Lubelia Alycea leaves her native country of Madeira, Portugal to travel to her new home – America.

This is the story of how a strong, resilient young girl grows into a formidable woman. She must survive many tragedies in her lifetime, separation from family, sickness, death, betrayal, and a lost love. Will she find happiness and a new love in her life?

Will she be strong enough to face the storms ahead and still keep her family together? Will the secrets in her life destroy her and all that she holds dear?

An early review for the book

Trish 5.0 out of 5 stars Powerful, yet endearing! Reviewed in the United States on May 3, 2021

This is an enjoyable story about the life of a young woman who leaves behind all that she knows to venture into a new world in hopes of making a better life for her children. Follow her through her hardships and successes as she struggles to support her family and fulfill a promise she made to her dying husband. Lubelia Alycea is a strong woman who shows endurance and tenacity. This is a good read for anyone whose ancestors before them left their homeland in hopes of a better life in America. It is powerful and endearing at the same time!

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

Other books for adults by J.E. Spina (her children’s books can be found in the Children’s Reading Room )

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US – and :Amazon UK – Follow Janice: Goodreads – blog:Jem’s BooksTwitter: @janice_spina

About J. E. Spina

Janice Spina is multi-award-winning author with 16 children’s books, and five for adults. (Her children’s books now have 9 book awards for a total of 26 awards overall.) She is also an editor, blogger, book reviewer and supporter of fellow authors. Her husband John is a talented illustrator for all her award winning books.

Janice’s short stories have been published in others’ anthologies and in The Writer’s Newsletter, Her logo is Jemsbooks – books for all ages! Her motto is – Reading Gives You Wings to Fly! Come soar with Jemsbooks! Happy reading! To find out more about Janice and her work head over to her About Page


Thanks for dropping today and it would be great if you could share the news of Janice’s latest book.. thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Blogger Daily – Wednesday 12th May 2021 – Filmreview Beetley Pete, #BookReview Olga Nunez Miret, #Gingercake Elizabeth Merry,

A small selection of posts I have enjoyed in the last few days and I hope you will head over to enjoy in full.. thanks Sally.

The first post today is from Pete Johnson.. Beetley Pete and is a film review for a film that sounds both heartwarming and inspiring.

Film Review: My Feral Heart (2016)

Every so often, a British film-maker delivers a low-budget independent film that far exceeds the output of the famous directors and massive Hollywood studios. ‘My Feral Heart’ is a fine example of that. Directed by Jane Gull, and starring Steven Brandon, this film won fourteen international awards, yet is little-known in this country. Thanks to BBC 4, I was able to watch it, and I will say from the start that it is exceptional. 

Head over to find out Pete’s thoughts on this film and watch the trailer:
Film Review by Beetley Pete – My Feral Heart 

The next post is a review from Olga Nunez Miret for Hyde: There is not Jekyll, only Hyde by Craig Russell.

Hi all: I bring you a book that will be published in a couple of days by a writer whose previous book I enjoyed. Recommended to readers of historical fiction who love a touch of the Gothic/horror.

Cover of the book Hyde by Craig Russell with a Celtic design, of three spirals in Gold, the triskelion, on a green and black background.

Hyde: A thrilling Gothic masterpiece from the internationally bestselling author by Craig Russell

When it comes to Gothic crime, Craig Russell is peerless. Absolutely stunning.’ – M W Craven

From international bestselling author Craig Russell comes a modern Gothic masterpiece.

Edward Hyde has a strange gift-or a curse-he keeps secret from all but his physician. He experiences two realities, one real, the other a dreamworld state brought on by a neurological condition.

When murders in Victorian Edinburgh echo the ancient Celtic threefold death ritual, Captain Edward Hyde hunts for those responsible. In the process he becomes entangled in a web of Celticist occultism and dark scheming by powerful figures. The answers are there to be found, not just in the real world but in the sinister symbolism of Edward Hyde’s otherworld.

He must find the killer, or lose his mind. A dark tale. One that inspires Hyde’s friend . . . Robert Louis Stevenson. 

Head over to enjoy Olga’s review for this intriguing sounding book:
Olga Nunez Miret and her review for Hyde by Craig Russell

The final post is a delicious recipe for ginger cakes from Elizabeth Merry...

Ginger Cake Recipe | An Easy One.

Image – Elizabeth Merry WordPress

I made this cake yesterday; a recipe I hadn’t used for ages. The cake turns out very soft, a bit crumbly, and totally delicious. As you can see from the photograph here, I’m about to cut myself a (huge) slice and have it with lovely coffee. 

Head over to grab the recipe for this lovely cake: Elizabeth Merry – Easy to make Ginger Cake.


Thanks for dropping in today and I hope you will head over to read the posts in full.. thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – New Book on the Shelves – Pre-Order – #Psychological #Thriller A Year in the Life of Belinda Brand by Lucinda E. Clarke

Delighted to share the news of a new release by Lucinda E. Clarke –  The psychological thriller –  A Year in the Life of Belinda Brand – on pre-order until May 14th at a special price.

A Year in the Life of Belinda Brand by [Lucinda E Clarke]

About the book

Belinda Brand becomes an overnight sensation when Hollywood offers to make a film of her runaway bestseller. A confident, modern woman, she has the world at her feet – and a secret she is convinced no one will ever discover. Leah, her gentle and long-suffering stepmother will guess, but she would never betray her, or would she?

When menacing notes appear after the Awards ceremony in London and then follow her across the Atlantic, Belinda realizes someone is threatening to expose her.

As she struggles to stay calm, her best friend disappears, Belinda’s celebrity life turns into a nightmare and there is no one she can trust.

If the Brand family thought they could lead a quiet, normal life, they were wrong. Danger continues to lurk in the shadows.

A fast-paced, page-turning psychological thriller, full of surprises, twists, and turns.

For fans of Karin Slaughter, Claire McGowan, Valerie Keogh, and Liane Moriarty.

Head over to buy the book at the pre-order price of 99p: Amazon UK –  And $1.38Amazon US

A selection of books by Lucinda E. Clarke

One of the reviews for the third book in the series A Year in the life of Deidre Flynn

Lesley Hayes5.0 out of 5 stars Another superb book from this award winning author!  Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 15 September 2020

As a long-time fan of Lucinda E. Clarke’s writing, I was delighted to be given a review copy of her latest book. I hadn’t read either of the previous ‘A year in the Life…’ novels, and wondered whether it would spoil my enjoyment to be picking up the story from Deidre Flynn’s perspective. It definitely didn’t! The clever device of three separate journal accounts (written by Deidre herself, Leah, and her niece Belinda), added extra depth and history, and the author skilfully wove the back story contained in the previous books into the narrative, so I was quickly up to speed with the details that led to the ongoing drama.

I won’t reiterate the story itself – the blurb tells you enough – but instead I’ll focus on what a gripping tale it is, with memorable characters and true to life dialogue, and enough plot twists to keep me eager to find out what unexpected happening the storyline would throw up next. There are characters who made me laugh (and not always kindly!) and ones who made my blood boil. No spoilers, so you’ll have to find out for yourself who the heroes and villains are in this superb psychological mystery thriller. Once again, I applaud Lucinda E. Clarke for her mastery as a writer. I’m just going to have to read the first two books now!

Read the reviews and buy the books : Amazon US – And : Amazon UK – Blog: WordPress Lucinda E. Clarke — Follow Lucinda: GoodreadsTwitter: @LucindaEClarke

About Lucinda E. Clarke

Lucinda E Clarke [not her real name] was born in Dublin, but has lived in 8 other countries to date. She wanted to write but was railroaded into teaching. She had a habit of “falling” into other careers, announcing on radio, then scriptwriting for radio and television. She has been a professional writer since 1986 winning over 20 awards for her work, including mayoral speeches, company profiles, drama documentaries, educational programmes for radio and television, adverts, news inserts, court videos, National Geographic, cookery programmes, to name but a few!

She lectured in scriptwriting, had her own column in various publications, and written for national magazines. She was commissioned for two educational books by Heinemann and Macmillan, and book reports for UNESCO and UNICEF.

She graduated into running her own video production company in South Africa.


Thanks for visiting and I hope you will take advantage of the pre-order price for Lucinda’s new book and will check out her others. Thanks Sally.


Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – Share an Excerpt from a previous books 2021 – #Psychic #Thriller Reluctant Medium (Rachel Blackstone Paranormal Mysteries Book 1) by G G Collins

We put a great deal of effort into promoting our new, recent and upcoming books but often our previous releases get sidelined.

In this latest series I am offering authors in the Cafe and Bookstore a chance to promote an earlier book (not your most recent) by sharing an excerpt from the book of 500 words. At the end of the post you can find out how to participate.Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – Share an Excerpt from a previous books 2021

Today GG Collins is sharing an excerpt from  Reluctant Medium (Rachel Blackstone Paranormal Mysteries Book 1)

Reluctant Medium (Rachel Blackstone Paranormal Mysteries Book 1) by [G G Collins]

About the book

The shaman told Rachel: “Allow the power to flow through you. Don’t try to capture it. You wish only to borrow it.”

All Rachel Blackstone wants is to talk with her father; solve the mystery of how he died. Using a Native American ceremony given to her by a shaman, she summons him in this paranormal mystery. Instead, a soul intent on revenge slips through and threatens people she loves. Now the Santa Fe, New Mexico reporter must follow the evil spirit, uncover its purpose and send it back. The shape-shifter has horrific powers. Rachel is tormented by what she has unleashed. There’s more. She’s seeing dead people; which frankly give her the creeps. Some are helpful; others lead her away from the truth.

One spirit, a lone wolf, seems to have an uncertain allegiance. What she, and friend Chloe—both fledgling women sleuths—uncover is an earthly scam involving both the quick and the dead. Rachel must play a dangerous game of fantasy treasure hunt to stop the ruthless ghost. To survive, she must discover her own psychic powers during a climatic supernatural storm of earth, wind and fire. In this thriller, to fail is to die.

An excerpt from Reluctant Medium

Joseph had not disclosed what would happen, probably because she hadn’t asked. At the time, her father was alive and it never occurred to her she might want to attempt such an experiment. A shape began to form in front of her; subtle colors carried on smoke eddy, sluggishly wrapped around a central shaft of air. Fear kicked in. She expected joy at the opportunity to see her father again, but how would he appear?

Rachel hadn’t considered that possibility. She willed the confusing ethereal episode away. But the coming proceeded. She could not stop it. What was that movie? The Monkey’s Paw? A grieving mother wished for the return of her dead son, only to discover him at the door, not as he lived, but as he died in all its horror.

Rachel continued to watch and wait. New sounds began. Like shot hitting a window in a staccato report, small fragments of matter were being yanked from the gaseous haze only to become magnetized to the core of whatever was developing. The room had become so hot she felt clammy.

“Dad?” she asked cautiously. Instead of her father’s gentle voice another reverberated inside her head.

“Fool!” It streamed through her mind like a banner trailing a plane. “You dare to intrude in things you do not understand. Once you have opened the gates of heaven or hell, there is no return.” Rachel shook her head to clear the disturbing statement. The mask fell, hitting her arm, tumbling to the floor. The cuff link came loose and bounced, stopping near a heating vent. She tried a reality check, reminding herself she was in the living room of her house. Safe. There was nothing to fear, but an occasional mugger or drive-by shooter.

She wanted to stand, but fatigue held her down. Her hand rose to her mouth as a figure materialized. This couldn’t be right, she thought logically. Her father looked nothing like this.

The man was too tall, too dark. She studied the figure searching her memory for a matching image.

“Where’s my father?” Her words were barely audible her mouth was so dry.

“Daddy’s busy.” The voice was contemptuous. “How did you know I wanted to come back?”

She willed her legs to work and pushed herself upright. The twig snapped in her hand, causing her to drop the paho. “No!” The scream of rage caught in her throat, thwarted by the mix of odors.

“You’re sputtering, Rachel.” He knew her! “How is brother dearest? Still looking over his shoulder?” The comment carried a threat.

Before she could think of anything to say, the arrogant spirit hastened to the front door and vanished, through it, beyond it, into the night.

Rachel stared at the door, willing it to reveal the truth of what just happened. She’d made a terrible mistake. “Oh, my god,” she whispered. “What have I done?”

©GG Collins

One of the reviews for the book on Goodreads

Sep 07, 2012 Reading Reindeer 2021 On Proxima Centauri rated it five stars it was amazing  · 

I totally enjoyed reading “The Reluctant Medium,” and am thankful to see it is a series, so I can look forward to more. A very fast-paced story, yet there are pauses for the reader to recuperate, while the protagonist enjoys her friendships-long-term as well as new and budding-and takes time out to think through the situation in which she has, completely inadvertently, immersed herself and others.

Rachel Blackstone, a reporter, left Santa Fe when she left her husband, moving to Tulsa and experiencing a depressing reduction in her life style. Then her father died in an inexplicable vehicular accident below the Santa Fe Ski Basin, and Rachel is convinced it was more than an accident. An interview with a wise elderly Hopi shaman inspires her to try to recall her father to life temporarily, but instead, the ritual unleashes a “monster,” an evil spirit determined on returning from the dead to wreak havoc and achieve vengeance. The spirit claims a link to Rachel’s brother Chris, disliked mayor of Santa Fe, so she drives all night back to Santa Fe to help. What she finds is a complex of difficulties, danger, budding romance, and tension, which renders the novel engrossing and thought-provoking. 

A selection of other books by G.G. Collins

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US – And: Amazon UK – Read more reviews and follow G G Collins:Goodreads – Blog: Reluctant Medium at Large WordPressBlog 2: Parallel Universe at Large WordPress – Twitter: @WriterGGCollins

About G G Collins

G G Collins writes the Rachel Blackstone Paranormal Mysteries, the Taylor Browning Cozy Mysteries and young adult novels. Her love of mysteries began as a teen when she read “We Have Always Lived in the Castle” by Shirley Jackson. From that time on she loaded up on mysteries from the library: cozy, police procedural and romantic suspense. Later on, it was Stephen King who drew her attention. “That scene when a character looked into her sink at a bowlful of lettuce that filled with blood; I was hooked!” With an interest in many metaphysical subjects and science fiction, she began writing paranormal mysteries. They are infused with Native American traditions and the American Southwest with many of her stories set in New Mexico and Arizona.

G G Collins loves the southwestern US where many of her stories are located. She can be found hiking through ruins of the ancient ones and enjoying New Mexican cuisine. When not traipsing about, she makes up stories with great friendships, quirky characters and, oh yeah, dead bodies. In real life she shares her time with a man, several neurotic—and psychic—cats and the ongoing struggle to grow a garden.

Thank you for visiting today and I know that GG would love to hear from you.. thanks Sally.

How to participate in this series

In this latest series I am offering authors in the Cafe and Bookstore a chance to promote an earlier book (not your most recent) by sharing an excerpt from the book. Please check the link if it has been some time since you were promoted in the Cafe.

The aim of the series

  1. To showcase a previous book and sell some copies.
  2. Gain more recent reviews for the book.
  3. Promote a selection of other books that are available.
  4. Share an excerpt from the first book in a series to encourage readers to buy following books.

I will top and tail in the usual way with your other books and links, bio, photo and social media. I will also select a review that I feel has the best selling pitch for the book.

  • This series is open to authors in the Cafe and Bookstore who have more than one book (as this already gets promoted on a regular basis) and have reviews for that book I can select from. Cafe and Bookstore
  • I suggest an extract of 500 words or a poem that you feel best reflects the theme of your collection. This is a PG rated blog and there are younger readers so it would be great if you could bear that in mind.
  • If you have an illustration or images you can attach to the email for me to include. No need to send the cover as I will have that or will access from Amazon.
  • I will check reviews on Amazon sites as well as Goodreads and select one I feel is a great advertisement for the book.
  • As an author in the Cafe and Bookstore I will already have all your details, links and covers of other books so need to send anything further.
  • Please send your excerpt and any accompanying images to sally.cronin@moyhill.com

N.B..If you participated last year in the two series and would like to check which book you shared, please email and I will let you know.

Look forward to hearing from you.