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. My previous jobs are only relevant in as much as they have gifted me with a wonderful filing cabinet of memories and experiences which are very useful when putting pen to paper. 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. You can find the whole story here. Find out more at https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/about-me/

Monday Funnies…


If you have the Monday Blues.. then dispel them with some funnies from Crabby Road residents courtesy of The Story Reading Ape.. I take comfort in much of the wisdom offered…. especially the all-nighter!  Click the link to find the other gems on Chris’s blog.


Head over and find the rest…..thanks Sally

via Monday Funnies…


Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – New Book on the Shelves – The Bright Side of Darkness by J. E. Pinto

I am very pleased to welcome another new author to the Cafe and Bookstore today. J.E Pinto with her inspirational novel of family and urban life… The Bright Side of Darkness.

About J. E. Pinto

J. E. Pinto is a magnet for underdogs! Early in her married life, her home became a hangout for troubled neighborhood kids. This experience lit the flame for her first novel, The Bright Side of Darkness.

Pinto’s Spanish-American roots grow deep in the Rocky Mountains, dating back six generations. J. E. Pinto lives with her family in Colorado where she works as a writer and also proofreads textbooks and audio books. One of her favorite pastimes is taking a nature walk with her service dog.

The Bright Side of Darkness won a first place Indie Book Award for “First Novel over Eighty Thousand Words,” as well as First Place for “Inspirational Fiction.” The novel also won several awards from the Colorado Independent Publishers Association: First Place for “Inspirational Fiction,” Second Place for “Audio Book,” and First Place for “Literary and Contemporary Fiction.”

About The Bright Side of Darkness

What is a family? Rick Myers is a despondent seventeen-year-old who just lost his parents in a car wreck. His family is now the four teenage buddies he’s grown up with in a run-down apartment building. Fast with their fists, flip with their mouths, and loyal to a fault, “the crew” is all he has.

At least he thinks so until he meets Daisy, an intelligent, independent, self-assured blind girl. Her guts in a world where she’s often painfully vulnerable intrigue Rick, and her hopeful outlook inspires him to begin believing in himself.

But when the dark side of Daisy’s past catches up with her, tragedy scatters the crew and severely tests Rick’s resolve to build his promising future. Fortunately, his life is changed by a couple with a pay-it-forward attitude, forged out of their personal struggle with grief and loss. Their support makes all the difference to Rick and eventually to the ones he holds most dear as they face their own challenges.

“The Bright Side of Darkness” is a story of redemption and the ultimate victory that comes from the determination of the human spirit.

One of the recent reviews for the book

I cannot say enough about this book. It has changed this middle aged person’s view on reading for recreation and the power and excitement reading can bring to a person. I am a person who has struggled her whole life with ADD and reading skills, making picking up a book to just read a pretty disheartening experience most of the time. For the last 25 plus years, I have limited reading to work required materials only (or maybe something to help my daughter in school). When a very special person in my life suggested I pick up this book, I was very hesitant…another “have to” reading project.

I cannot believe how this book changed my opinion of the power of reading and the incredible picture of life the words could paint . I found myself looking forward to reading, thinking about the characters, being upset when I did not have time to read it and yearning to know how it ended and what would ultimately be the fate of the characters who had become my first literary friends. My mind was not wondering to anything else while I read. This author was able to describe the emotions and traits of these characters so deeply, bringing out both the good and bad in them as is true of all of us in real life. The characters were so real that I felt their pain, fear, hopelessness and ultimately their joy! The struggles seemed real and the outcomes seemed realistic, bringing me to moments of tears and laughter as I followed them in and out of the ebb or flow of their lives. She expresses her thoughts so clearly, and the details so brilliantly that I often thought these were real people in real neighborhoods for which she was just narrating their lives as they lived them.

Thank you very sincerely to this author for this positive and healthy experience with literature. Also thank you for so clearly and so very powerfully sharing the strength, courage and resilience of the human spirit, even when it seems to be against all odds. As a social worker, I have seen many things and worked with many people. I pride myself on kindness, persistence and empathy. But, this book allowed me to feel the characters struggles like they were my own, rather than walking beside those in their struggles as I have for many years.

This book will definitely not disappoint. What can I read next that will keep my excitement for reading alive?

Read more of the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0101KE0N6

And on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Bright-Side-Darkness-J-Pinto-ebook/dp/B0101KE0N6

Follow J. E. Pinto on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14120336.J_E_Pinto

Connect to J. E. Pinto

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/J.-E.-Pinto/e/B011AA6EQM
Amazon Author Page UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/J.-E.-Pinto/e/B011AA6EQM
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authorjepinto/
Author blog Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14120336.J_E_Pinto/blog
Guest posts about parenting in the dark: https://blindmotherhood.com/?s=Jo+Pinto
Regular guest posts: https://campbellsworld.wordpress.com/

Thank you for dropping in today and it would be great if you could spread the word about J. E. Pinto’s book on your own network.. Thanks Sally.

Jo Elizabeth is joining the other authors in the Cafe and Bookstore and details along with hundreds of books can be found in this directory: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-free-author-promotion/


Colleen’s 2019 #Tanka Tuesday #Poetry Challenge Recap No. 119, “Mystery & Attract” #SynonymsOnly

Time for the recap of last week’s poetry challenge from Colleen Chesebro.. Poet of the week with A Butterfly Cinquin is Olga Daciuk, and it is lovely… So many wonderful poems.

Colleen Chesebro ~ The Faery Whisperer

Welcome to the Tanka Tuesday Poetry Recap featuring the work of poets from around the globe. If you would like to participate in this challenge, you can learn the rules in the menu item calledColleen’s Weekly Tanka Tuesday Guidelines.

PLEASE NOTE: Don’t forget to count your syllables. Use this site: howmanysyllables.com.Click on the workshop tab. Then, copy and paste your poem into the box, and click “count syllables” at the bottom.

The best news I have to share is that the submission form titles are now changed! Below you will find the new titles in future challenges: (Many thanks to Charli Mills of Carrot Ranch.com for her help! ❤ )

However, I’ve heard from some of you saying that you can’t submit to the form on the challenge post. Please let me know if you have issues so that I can get WordPress to look at the…

View original post 2,250 more words

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore Update #Reviews – Teagan Riordain Geneviene, Robbie Cheadle, Elsie Hancy Eaton and Vashti Quiroz-Vega

Welcome to the first of the Cafe updates this week and after one of the busiest book selling season of the year, it is great to see the reviews coming in.

The first author with a recent review is Teagan Riordain Geneviene in the second book of her series Atonement in Bloom which was released in October last year.

About Atonement in Bloom

“Atonement in Bloom” continues the urban fantasy from the point where “Atonement, Tennessee” ended.The quaint town was stranger than Ralda Lawton could have imagined. The local population included supernatural beings of the fae variety. Although only she and a few others knew about that.In a past life, Ralda ― Esmeralda had been involved in something with those supernaturals and it had carried into her present life. In Atonement, Tennessee, that almost got her killed. Now she has new problems, and new supes to complicate matters.Atonement in Bloom continues the misadventures of Ralda, her friends, and neighbors in the small (but far from peaceful) town of Atonement, Tennessee. Her old house and cemetery are still there, along with Lilith the cat, quirky townsfolk, and assorted supernaturals.Now Lilith the calico sniffs out a strange beast.Fae foolery backfires. A friend is abducted.On a cold December day, Atonement, Tennessee comes into bloom.

One of the recent reviews for the book

“Atonement in Bloom” is the second book in the Atonement series and begins where “Atonement, Tennessee” left off. Ralda Lawton is settling into her new home, has friends and found supernatural beings, too. I loved the narrative going between Ralda and Lilith her cat. I appreciated seeing Atonement through the cat’s eyes. I’d like to think my cats are as observant as this calico. With Faes, glowing pigs, and failed magic mixed with mystery, a small town, a sudden appearing house, and a kidnapping–it was a hard story to put down. The relationship between Ralda and Bethany is endearing. They retained their memories from the first book, while others didn’t. Then help came from an unexpected ally, which added a new dynamic to their relationship. I loved the Tea Romm where Ralda and her friends met. I could picture myself having a cup of tea there easily. This is an imaginative, fun read that I highly recommend, but I’d start with “Atonement, Tennessee” first if you haven’t read it, so you don’t miss anything.

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07J5RRBLH

And on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Atonement-Bloom-Teagan-Geneviene-ebook/dp/B07J5RRBLH

Also by Teagan Riordain Geneviene

Read the reviews, buy the books : https://www.amazon.com/Teagan-Riordain-Geneviene/e/B00HHDXHVM

and Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Teagan-Riordain-Geneviene/e/B00HHDXHVM

Read more reviews and follow Teagan on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/13707141.Teagan_Geneviene

Connect to Teagan Geneviene  via her blog: https://teagansbooks.com/

Absolutely delighted to feature While the Bombs Fell which is written by Robbie Cheadle and her mother Elsie Hancy Eaton.

About While the Bombs Fell

What was it like for children growing up in rural Suffolk during World War 2?

Elsie and her family live in a small double-storey cottage in Bungay, Suffolk. Every night she lies awake listening anxiously for the sound of the German bomber planes. Often they come and the air raid siren sounds signalling that the family must leave their beds and venture out to the air raid shelter in the garden.

Despite the war raging across the English channel, daily life continues with its highlights, such as Christmas and the traditional Boxing Day fox hunt, and its wary moments when Elsie learns the stories of Jack Frost and the ghostly and terrifying Black Shuck that haunts the coastline and countryside of East Anglia.

Includes some authentic World War 2 recipes

One of the recent reviews on Goodreads

What a lovely, poignant book! It’s the only one I’ve read that describes what life was like for very young children growing up during World War Two. There is also quite a bit of English history included, which I found quite interesting. The wartime recipes are a nice touch.
It’s told from the perspective of a girl aged 4-6 years old, and focuses mainly on the daily life of kids living through horrendous times, without truly understanding what was going on in the adult world. Many of the stories told reminded me of my Dutch father-in-law’s descriptions of growing up during WWII in the Netherlands.

It’s appropriate for young children as well as young readers. Fascinating read.

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07GZ2NZFK

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/While-Bombs-Fell-Robbie-Cheadle-ebook/dp/B07GZ2NZFK

A selection of books by Robbie Cheadle with Michael Cheadle and Kim Blades

Read all the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Robbie-Cheadle/e/B01N9J62GQ

And on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Robbie-Cheadle/e/B01N9J62GQ

Read more reviews and follow Robbie on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15584446.Robbie_Cheadle

Connect to Robbie via her blog: https://robbiesinspiration.wordpress.com/

And the third author today with a glowing review is Vashti Quiroz-Vega for the latest release, Son of the Serpent (Fantasy Angels Series)

About Son of the Serpent

In Son of the Serpent, award-winning author Vashti Quiroz-Vega crafts another fascinating glimpse into the dark, compelling world of fallen angels and demons, revealing more about their untold stories.

The war in heaven might be over, but the ambitions of the fallen angel Lilith reach far across the roots of history. Will there be a being powerful enough to stop her evil influence before the destruction of mankind?

Dracúl knows he is the son of Satan, but the rest of his memory has been taken from him. Alone and frightened, he awakens in a forest, beginning a quest to piece together who he is. The world he encounters is cruel, but he yearns to belong and find companionship. With each step he takes, another missing piece of his memory falls into place, revealing a truth that is ever more troubling . . .

A truth that will turn his quest for meaning into one fueled by the hot-blooded thirst for revenge. A truth that leads him to Lilith, the most wicked and ruthless of fallen angels and one he soon will have every reason to hate. His quest will consume him, perhaps ruin his life, but somehow Dracúl is determined to find both belonging and vengeance—to be good, in spite of his evil nature and the dark secrets that haunt him every step of the way.

One of the recent reviews for the book

The second book in the Fantasy Angel Series, “Son of the Serpent” begins where the first book left off. The abandoned son of Lilith and Satan, Dracul, awakens in a forest, not far from the cave where he was left to die.

Dracul’s name gives the reader a hint as to how he must survive – by draining the blood of animals for sustenance. Being all alone, the young man craves love and attention. He sets off in search of his mother, trying to understand how she could abandon her child.

The novel, written in the first-person, fluctuates between Dracul’s viewpoint and that of his mother, Lilith. At first, I thought this perspective was limited, but on further reflection, I realized the author’s motivation.

Most Bible tales are not told in the first person. Instead, they are retellings of past events, written by someone who was not present when the incidents occurred. However, this author chose to tell her story from the perspective of Dracul and his mother. In this way, the reader has the opportunity to understand the (perceived) character’s feelings and motivations, as if they were walking alongside them. I found this attitude to be refreshing.

The reader also takes a deep dive into the psyche of a creature conceived by two demon parents. Initially, Dracul is drawn toward the light instead of the dark, setting up great tension in his quest for justice. His pain accelerates, and eventually, he becomes obsessed with vengeance.

However, don’t be fooled into thinking that this tale is all love and light. The story is dark as pitch even as it skillfully weaves in characters and events from the Bible. I thought the ending was spectacular!

Some of the characters from the first book appear in the second book, tying the storyline together. My advice: read book one first. I highly recommend both books!

MY RATING: Character Believability: 5  Flow and Pace: 5 Reader Engagement: 5 Reader Enrichment: 5 Reader Enjoyment: 5 Overall Rate: 5 out of 5 Stars

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07HS4C3B7

and on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Son-Serpent-Fantasy-Angels-Book-ebook/dp/B07HS4C3B7

Also by Vashti Quiroz-Vega

Read the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Vashti-Quiroz-Vega/e/B00GTXG5W4

and on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Vashti-Quiroz-Vega/e/B00GTXG5W4

Read more reviews and follow Vashti on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7122693.Vashti_Quiroz_Vega

Connect to Vashti via her website/Blog: https://vashtiqvega.wordpress.com/

Thank you for dropping in today and I am sure there might be a book or two that will have left with you…..thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine Weekly Round Up – Good intentions by Grandmas, Bird Watching and Halley’s Comet

Doesn’t time fly when you are having fun. Well I am anyway and I hope you are too… It has been a busy week offline with various projects and also taking advantage of the cold but sunny weather. It is hard to believe that it is January 20th already but it is great that the evenings are growing lighter by a few minutes each day.

My thanks as always to you for dropping in so often and keeping me motivated and here are some of the posts you might have missed..

This week Linda shares the delightful!! coat that her Grandmother managed to find at the charity shop for her..


Getting to know you – Sunday Interview with author Denzil Walton.



The first part of our trip from Houston to Carlsbad Caverns and to see Halley’s Comet on its once in a lifetime visit.


The title of this series came about as I dipped into a Thesaurus to find some words for a poem I was writing. I noticed that a great many words that reflected (see what I mean) key elements in our lives began with the letter ‘R’. In this first post quite a bit about what I think about RESPECT


Chapter one of the sequel to my first book written 20 years ago which followed my 18 month challenge to lose 150lbs. I am told at 42 that I am unlikely to make 45!


This week I look at the nutritional elements of Asparagus and Carol Taylor turns this very healthy vegetable into some delicious meals.


Colleen Chesebro’s Tuesday Poetry Challenge.

I have chosen ‘Secret and Draw’ for my key words this week and I am also trying my hand at a Haibun… here is the link  where you will find a description of this form which is a combination of prose and poetry.


I have discovered the secret to eternal youth. I stand before the mirror. With eyes almost closed the image blurs. Wrinkles disappear. Hair regains its colour. The extra pounds fall away. I am tall and strong. A reflection of how I used to be. I draw the image towards me absorbing its essence.

Do not be deceived
Challenge the silver backed mirror
Remain young at heart.


New book on the shelves





Author Update -Reviews





Thanks for dropping by and hope to see you again next week… Sally.

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Sunday Interview – Getting to Know You with #children’s #wildlife author Denzil Walton

Please join me in welcoming children’s and wildlife author Denzil Walton who has recently published his latest in a series of wonderful books for children to encourage them to participate more in the natural world.

We will find out more about Denzil’s motivational writing a little later.. but first more about the author himself.

I am a freelance writer living near Leuven in Belgium. Originally from the UK, I have lived in Belgium for over 30 years. I am the author of four “Nature Walks Near Brussels” books and the creator of the popular Discovering Belgium blog. Most of my writing work is in the industry sector, but I am now working on a series of books under the theme “Encourage A Child”. The first ones focus on nature study, with titles such as Encourage A Child … to watch birds, study wild animals, enjoy creepy-crawlies, learn about trees, care for the planet.

Time to find out which of the questions Denzil has selected

Welcome to the blog Denzil and can you tell us about your craziest experience

When I was 22 years old I was unemployed, living in Manchester in an old and cold rented house, while trying to make a living as a freelance journalist. I wrote to my sporting hero, the Manchester United and England footballer, Steve Coppell, asking if I could interview him. To my total surprise not only did I get a reply, but he agreed to meet me! We met in the Old Trafford Grill Room, where we were served a pot of tea and scones. Mr. Coppell turned to me and said “Shall I be Mother?” and poured me a cup of tea. Sitting opposite my idol, drinking tea from fancy teacups and eating buttered scones was just too overwhelmingly surreal for me. I totally froze, and had great difficulty getting my questions out and noting down his replies. It wasn’t a total disaster though. The article was published in the Manchester Evening News and was one of my first journalistic successes.

Describe your worst online experience?

My day job is a technical copywriter, which involves, among other tasks, writing product brochures. Occasionally I will ask permission from a client to display a brochure on my website as an example of my writing skills. One particular client gave his permission for a certain brochure, which I put online. The next day he rang me up. He was furious! I had put the wrong brochure online. Instead of a brochure of an older product, I had put online a brochure I had just written – of a product that had not yet been launched! He was so angry because that product was due to be launched at a major – and expensive – press event; not on a freelance writer’s website. There would also be problems if the competition were to see it too. Of course I immediately removed it from my website, but getting Google to remove it was another thing altogether. Actually it was a nightmare. I had visions of being sued for millions of euros of lost sales. Thankfully the brochure eventually disappeared from online searches, without too much harm being done. But I had more than a few sleepless nights!

What is your favourite childhood song and why?

It’s the theme tune to my favourite children’s TV programme, “Tales of the Riverbank”. This involved live animals such as Hammy the Hamster and Roderick the Rat enjoying various adventures on toy boats or cars, with their voices narrated by the great TV presenter Johnny Morris. The original series ran from 1960-1963, and was in black-and-white. What’s interesting about the theme tune is that it’s not what you now normally associate with a theme tune for a children’s TV programme (i.e. something jolly, upbeat, with kid-friendly rhymes). It was a lovely piece of classical guitar music! Enjoy:

Do you prefer cats, dogs, or neither?

Dogs, most definitely, mainly because cats can be extremely harmful to the environment! Harsh words, but let me explain. The Mammal Society estimates that cats in the UK catch up to 275 million prey items a year such as mice, voles, shrews and birds. This is an extraordinary figure, and only relates to the number of prey items known to have been caught: not the additional number that cats didn’t bring home. I am not referring to house cats that seldom set foot outside, but to the ones that roam outside for much of the day. These are natural born killers, and their predative instincts are causing havoc to native wildlife. For this reason I will also take the opportunity to encourage parents to really think seriously before buying a cat for their children.

What is your favourite music genre and why?

Recently I rediscovered my love of music from the Alternative/Indie scene. I used to listen to a lot of bands in this genre when I was younger, but over the years I lost touch with the music scene. Now though, thanks to Apple Music and a pair of Bluetooth headphones that one of my daughters bought me for my birthday, I have been able to get up-to-date with the latest groups in this genre, which I love for its freshness, energy and vitality, as well as its originality. On my playlist at the moment are Tennis, Young The Giant, The Wandering Hearts, Local Natives, Real Estate, The Strumbellas, Saint Motel, and Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness, whom you can see in this video:

Encourage a Child to Watch Birds

“What’s that bird?” asks a child. “What’s it doing? Why are its feathers so colourful? Can we feed it? Where does it nest?” You would love to encourage the child in their interest … but you are not a birdwatcher, so how can you? Or an older child wants to learn birdsong, or study owls – but you are lost for ideas.

This is why “Encourage A Child To Watch Birds” is so valuable. It includes 10 Non-Screen Ideas to inspire a child to discover nature through watching birds. From studying the ducks in the park, through which books to read, how to choose a pair of binoculars, what food to put out for garden birds, why nest-boxes are necessary, how to listen to and learn birdsong, discovering what owls eat and other topics, you will now be able to inspire a child in the fascinating hobby of watching birds.

Why are the ideas “Non-Screen”? Children are active on screens for an increasingly large proportion of their lives. This book aims to activate children, sharpen their senses and show them the fun to be had AWAY from the screen.

Putting the ideas in this book into practice could help to develop a child’s powers of observation, improve their aural skills, introduce them to ecological concepts, teach them basic nature conservation practices – and increase their enjoyment of the natural world.

The book is backed up by Resources on the Encourage A Child website for each of the 10 Ideas, including photographs, hints & tips, links, reading lists etc.

One of the early reviews for the book

This little gem of a book is designed to help adults encourage children to get away from their computer screens and outside to watch birds. The book gives some good, basic facts about the birds you and your child might see and provides questions you can ask to encourage the child to watch the birds and talk about what they’ve seen. I know a bit about birds and still learned new facts, but this book makes it easy to start even if you know nothing at all about birds. The activities and discussion points are open enough that they’re suitable to use with a child of any age and you don’t need to live in the countryside to use this book – it focuses on parks and gardens, even apartment buildings. It begins with the easiest of activities – watching ducks on a pond – and progresses to things like how to use binoculars and dissecting owl pellets! The book is well-written, easy to understand and there is a sense of great enthusiasm for the subject throughout the pages. Thoroughly recommended to share with a child.

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Encourage-Child-Watch-Denzil-Walton-ebook/dp/B07KB5VZX4

And on Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Encourage-Child-Watch-Denzil-Walton-ebook/dp/B07KB5VZX4

Read more reviews and follow Denzil on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/42774707-encourage-a-child-to-watch-birds

Other books in the series available on Smashwords

Connect to Denzil Walton.

Website: https://encourageachild.org/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/encourageachild
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/encourageachild/
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/denzilwalton/

My thanks to Denzil for joining us today and I am sure he would be delighted to receive any questions and comments.. thanks Sally

Does The Michelin Guide Have A Female Chef Problem? Only FIVE Female 3-Star Michelin Chefs In The World!


Following on from his article last week on Chef Dominique Crenn and her third Michelin star, John Rieber takes a closer look at the disparity between female and male recipients of this coveted award. Follow the link to read the rest of this comprehensive article.

Does The Michelin Guide Have A Female Chef Problem? Only FIVE Female 3-Star Michelin Chefs In The World!

Michelin’s Lack Of Stars For Female Chefs…

First, bravo to Chef Dominique Crenn for receiving her third Michelin Star last fall, for her incredible cooking at her restaurant Atelier Crenn in San Francisco…more on that in a moment.

While my wife and I were thrilled for Chef Crenn, who has been featured on the terrific Netflix series “Chef’s Table”, it also stunned me to learn that she is the first female Chef in the United States to EVER receive this honor – in 118 years of publication!

Where Are The Female Chefs?

Yes, I was very surprised that NO female Chef in US History has EVER been given three Michelin stars – how is the possible?

And here’s another interesting fact: of the 120+ Three Michelin star restaurants around the world, only five are run by women: Arzak (Elena Arzak), Maison Pic (Anne-Sophie Pic), Dal Pescatore (Nadia Santini), Sant Pau (Carme Ruscadella, described by Michelin as a “short-haired feisty Spanish-Catalan chef”), and now, Atelier Crenn.

Here is Chef Crenn in her kitchen the night we ate at the restaurant. When she received the third star last fall, Eater San Francisco reported on their website that the honor was overdue:

Atelier Crenn earned two stars by 2013. With the exception of Baumé, all of her two-star brethren that year — Benu, Saison, Manresa, and Coi — had already been elevated to three stars. Quince, which held a single star that year, was promoted to three in the 2017 guide. All are run by male chefs (Coi was downgraded in 2019).


via Does The Michelin Guide Have A Female Chef Problem? Only FIVE Female 3-Star Michelin Chefs In The World!

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – New book on the shelves – #Paranormal- End of Day (A Hode’s Hill Novel Book 2) by Mae Clair

Delighted to share the news of the latest release of Mae Clair End of Day (A Hode’s Hill Novel Book 2)

About End of Day.

Generations of Jillian Cley’s family have been tasked with a strange duty—tending the burial plot of Gabriel Vane, whose body was the first to be interred in the Hode’s Hill cemetery. Jillian faithfully continues the long-standing tradition—until one October night, Vane’s body is stolen from its resting place. Is it a Halloween prank? Or something more sinister?

As the descendants of those buried in the church yard begin to experience bizarre “accidents,” Jillian tries to uncover the cause. Deeply empathic, she does not make friends easily, or lightly. But to fend off the terror taking over her town, she must join forces with artist Dante DeLuca, whose sensitivity to the spirit world has been both a blessing and a curse. The two soon realize Jillian’s murky family history is entwined with a tragic legacy tracing back to the founding of Hode’s Hill. To set matters right, an ancient wrong must be avenged…or Jillian, Dante, and everyone in town will forever be at the mercy of a vengeful spirit.

One of the early reviews for the book

I was eager to read Mae Clair’s latest Paranormal Thriller, as I had been so delighted with the first in this series. (Cusp of Night) I love it when a book exceeds my demands for intrigue and excitement. End of Day does just that and then some. This author takes you into her work with seamless artistry. You are invited to participate in every wonderfully atmospheric scene. You are able to see, smell and feel the location, as the author takes you ever deeper into her creation.

The character’s possess rich depth and the ability to make you invest in them and the outcome of their individual quests and their at times urgent need of answers.

The wonderful combination of times past that are inextricably connected to the present is delivered with great skill. Author Mae Clair has a deft and assured touch with this genre. It’s marvelous to read a book from an author who so clearly loves what she is creating. That talent shines through every paragraph.

If you want a read that challenges you, a read that leaves you gasping and hungry to keep reading, then End Of Day is an absolute must-read.

I love it when I finish reading a book with a grunt of satisfaction, as I did with this one. I will be revisiting these pages again when I need a hit of beautifully written Paranormal work. I am delighted to add to my reading year with a novel of this quality.

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/End-Hodes-Hill-Novel-Book-ebook/dp/B07CKFDQ1

And on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/End-Hodes-Hill-Novel-Book-ebook/dp/B07CKFDQ1

A selection of other books by Mae Clair

Read all the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Mae-Clair/e/B009I61ND0

And on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Mae-Clair/e/B009I61ND0/

Read more reviews and follow Mae on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6468716.Mae_Clair

About Mae Clair

A member of the Mystery Writers of America and International Thriller Writers, Mae loves creating character driven fiction in settings that weave contemporary elements of mystery and suspense with urban legend and folklore. Married to her high school sweetheart, she lives in Pennsylvania, and is passionate about writing, old photographs, a good Maine lobster tail and cats.

Connect to Mae Clair

Website: https://maeclair.net/
Blog: https://maeclair.net/blog/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/maeclair1
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/maeclair

Thank you very much for dropping in today and please share the news of Mae Clair’s lastest release. Thanks Sally

Smorgasbord Health – Size Matters – The Sequel – Chapter One – Life or Death? by Sally Cronin

This is the updated and fifth edition of Size Matters and will be re-released later in the year. Although it contains much of the original material in relation to my own personal story, the programme has evolved over the last 20 years.

Although I studied nutritional therapy back in the mid-1990s, I have continued my studies and developed new programmes for healthy eating that are tailor made for the individual rather than a one size fits all. I still believe that the key elements of this basic weight loss programme I will share with you in this updated version works. Even when I work with clients who have arthritis or diabetes, I still approach their programmes from the three dimensions that I outline in this book. Our physical approach, our mental attitude and our emotions are all factors in how we overcome disease and obesity, and should all be addressed when looking for the right programme that will work for each individual.

You can read the introduction to the series in this directory: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/size-matters-the-sequel/

Chapter One – Life or Death?

Whatever people might say, size does matter. It matters when you can no longer take a bath because you can’t get out of it unaided. It matters when an entire plane load of passengers hear you ask for an extension for your seat belt. It matters when you are in a restaurant and get stuck in your chair, to the point where you are in danger of taking it with you when you leave. It matters when you are too embarrassed to take off your clothes in front of anyone, including yourself.

A snapshot of where the obesity epidemic is now.

According to a number of reports, there are currently 50,000 + super morbidly obese men and women termed as ‘shut ins’. They are so obese they are unable to go out of their homes, are usually bedridden and have multiple health issues. Their obesity does not just result in their own catastrophic circumstances. It also has a life-changing impact on their families who have to adopt the role of carers.

In a recent series on the subject, it was interesting to note that one of the causes of their obesity is the food that most of the well-meaning family carers are feeding them. High fat and sugar processed meals several times a day and without activity there is only one result, increased weight. Interestingly in one of the programmes that I watched, the mother whose two daughters were already morbidly obese underwent a stomach reduction. She lost weight in the following months, but it appeared that she was eating the same foods, only less. There seemed to be little nutritional change or education and her daughters did not lose weight alongside her as they were still consuming the same piles of high calorie foods as before.

To me this is a very serious and clear indication that the obesity epidemic is already with us and like a giant oil tanker at sea, will take a great deal of time to stop and reverse. Too little and too late, the governments are making ineffective efforts to halt the alarming trend. And I do understand that it is difficult to know where to start with education of parents and children. This is just one aspect that needs immediate action, since the industrial food manufacturers have a hold on us with their addictive chemical concoctions that are listed in smaller and smaller print on the labels .

My successful attempts to put on weight.

I have always been very successful at is putting on weight. I love food: the taste, the texture and the satisfied feeling at the end of a wonderful meal. My problem has been that I have always enjoyed most things to excess. At certain times in my life I have drunk too much alcohol, smoked too many cigarettes, and by the age of forty-three had eaten myself into a size 30 pair of jeans at a weight of 330 lbs. (150 kg).

The trouble was that being large seemed to fit my personality. At six foot tall, at my top weight, I was almost as big around. People used to say that I could carry the weight and still look smart. I spent a great deal of money on clothes, always looking for that outfit that would make me feel better about my appearance. I mostly wore black or navy-blue, but occasionally I would defiantly buy something white or bright and cheerful for the summer.

To the outside world I appeared to be fat, happy and super-efficient at work. Nobody knew about the tears when I saw myself naked in the mirror, nobody saw me starving myself all day and then raiding the refrigerator late at night, stuffing myself in an eating frenzy. I was someone who cracked jokes at my own expense to make people laugh. They would have been horrified to see the real me, so I kept it hidden.

As far as other people knew, my diet consisted of cereal for breakfast, a salad sandwich for lunch, and chicken and vegetables at night. That was actually true. What was equally true was that I consumed vast quantities of food in secret. On the way to work there would be a stop at the drive-through for two breakfast rolls. There would be at least five chocolate bars throughout the day, fried ham-and-cheese sandwiches, a tub of rich ice cream and a takeaway most week-nights. I was in control of many parts of my life, such as my job and my relationships, but I was out of control with regard to my own body and my eating habits.

Then the nosebleeds started. Sitting in a meeting or watching television, I would suddenly feel the blood seeping from my nose. I had enough common sense to know that I was in serious trouble and, although I tried to ignore the signs that my body was failing, deep inside I knew things could not go on much longer.

The crunch came when I went home to Portsmouth for my parents’ fifty-fifth wedding anniversary. My father, who was nearly eighty and suffering from both cancer and a blood disorder, looked healthier than I did. I sat bolt upright in the only chair in the room, since getting onto and then off a sofa was beyond me at this point. I was wearing an expensive new outfit, which, on reflection, resembled a brightly coloured circus tent covering me from head to toe. My mother and father had prepared a beautiful buffet lunch. I visited the table two or three times and was aware of a number of pairs of eyes watching the amount of food I put onto my plate. I am sure that my mother was more than a little concerned about her elegant little chair, which creaked every time I sat down.

Later that day, as I drove along the motorway on my return to London where we were living at the time, I suddenly began to cry. Luckily there was a service station nearby and, pulling into an isolated part of the car park, I cried my eyes out. I honestly believed that my life was over. I blamed everything and everyone, hating myself and, for the first time in my life, contemplating suicide. At that point, I was not even considering how much pain I would cause my husband, who has loved and supported me always, or my family. I did not value my lovely home or have any belief in a compelling future. All I could see was a fat, middle-aged woman with a bloated face and an awful sense of failure.

Eventually I got back on the road again but when I got home that evening it was to any empty house as my husband was away in America on business. Most of the night I spent wallowing in self-pity, grieving for what I felt was missing in my life. Thankfully, I did nothing to hurt myself further. I say ‘further’ because I already had several years of self-destructive overeating behind me. And that is the point. I was responsible for what I put in my mouth. At this point I laid the blame squarely at my own door and it was only later on my search for answers did I discover that other factors should also shoulder some of the burden.

That day was one of the lowest points in my life. I was a forty-two year-old, morbidly obese woman with a very limited future unless I could dig myself out of this massive hole I had dug myself.

Today I am sixty-six and whilst not quite as slim as I was when I had lost all my excess weight, I am still healthy enough not to need medication for any of the usual middle-aged or obesity related health conditions. For the last twenty-four years I have continued to study and research obesity and work with others to help them unlock the doors that held me prisoner for most of my adult life.

Working with others has also kept me focused in a way that I might not have been otherwise.
However I am not perfect, and there have been times in the last 15 years particularly when stress nearly brought me back to the brink again. Thankfully I now have the mental and emotional tools to be able to pull back from going over the edge, but the process is ongoing.

As others who have lost very large amounts of weight have found, it is easy to slip back into bad habits, and it takes willpower and determination to keep the pounds off. It does not help that effort, when the foods that some of us crave with high fat and sugar content, are everywhere and available night and day if we need them.

At 330lbs, my dietary history was littered with fad and starvation diets that resulted in rebounding weight every time. When I reached rock bottom and felt completely powerless, I knew that if I went on another crash diet, I would just end up putting on more weight than ever. I needed to learn why this was so. I had to learn, and learn fast, what it was that compelled me to eat and eat, when I had so much else of value in my life.

There was something fundamentally wrong with the way I had approached my weight problem. I wasn’t sure if it was physical, mental or emotional, but I had to find out and fix it.

I had a very powerful incentive. I had to save my life.

©SallyGeorginaCronin Size Matters 2001 – 2019

Next time – Chapter Two – A Good Place to Start.

You can read the introduction to the series in this directory: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/size-matters-the-sequel/