Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

The Edible City: Open Book Talks to Editors Christina Palassio and Alana Wilcox

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The Edible City: Open Book Talks to Editors Christina Palassio and Alana Wilcox

The Edible City: Toronto's Food from Farm to Fork (Coach House Books), edited by Christina Palassio and Alana Wilcox, is a must-read book for "Anyone in Toronto who eats." Fit that description? Then head to the Gladstone Hotel on November 15 for what promises to be a fun and enlightening launch. You can find full details on Open Book's events page.

Open Book: Toronto:

Tell us about your latest book, The Edible City.

Christina Palassio & Alana Wilcox:

It’s a collection of 41 essays – written by journalists, foodies, chefs, activists, teachers and gardeners – about food in Toronto: from four-star restaurants to growing kale on your balcony and everything in between, including peaches and poverty, processing plants and public gardens, rats and bees and bad restaurant service, schnitzel and school breakfasts.

OBT:

How did you research your book?

CP & AW:

The research part was mainly figuring out who and what we should include in the book. We talked to chefs and foodies and activists and asked what was on their minds, and then we sent out a call for proposals to individuals and groups – over 300 people! – we thought might be interested in contributing to the book.

OBT:

Did you have a specific readership in mind when you came up with the idea for your book?

CP & AW:

Anyone in Toronto who eats! The anthology covers so many different topics: food waste, eggs, how art and food can intersect, food security, Victory gardens, beer, Toronto’s food history, schnitzel and the architecture of restaurants are just a few of the topics in the book. (It’s a pretty fat one, too, with 312 pages of delectable essays!) There’s definitely something there for everyone.

OBT:

Describe your ideal writing environment.

CP & AW:

Our ideal editing environment, you mean? Ideally, there’d be a hammock and beach involved. Failing that, we both usually work at our desks here at Coach House – Christina’s is tidy and organized and Alana’s looks like a tornado hit it. And tea – we always have tea. (And sometimes cookies, though not often enough.)

OBT:

What was your first publication?

CP & AW:

Alana’s was a novel, A Grammar of Endings, way back in 2000. Christina’s editing debut came with The State of the Arts: Living with Culture in Toronto.

OBT:

If you had to choose three books as a “Welcome to Canada” gift, what would those books be?

CP & AW:

How about a “Welcome to Toronto” gift? We’re going to have to go all Coach House-y on this one: uTOpia: Towards a New Toronto, Girls Fall Down by Maggie Helwig and The City Man by Howard Akler.

OBT:

What advice do you have for writers who are trying to get published?

CP & AW:

Write a really amazing book.

OBT:

What is your next project?

CP & AW:

We’re undecided on whether or not to do another Toronto anthology next year – they’re a lot of work! Coach House’s next Toronto book, though, is Stroll: Psychogeographic Walking Tours of Toronto, by Eye Weekly columnist and [murmur] co-founder Shawn Micallef. It’ll be out in May 2010, and we’re thrilled to be publishing it!


Christina Palassio is the managing editor of Coach House Books. She co-edited The State of the Arts: Living with Culture in Toronto, GreenTOpia: Towards a Sustainable Toronto and HTO: Toronto’s Water from Lake Iroquois to Lost Rivers to Low-flow Toilets. She has also written for the Globe and Mail, the Montreal Gazette and Matrix magazine.

Alana Wilcox is the senior editor at Coach House Books and one of the founding editors of the uTOpia series, which includes uTOpia: Towards a New Toronto, The State of the Arts: Living with Culture in Toronto and GreenTOpia: Towards a Sustainable Toronto.

Christina Palassio recently spoke with The Edible City contributor Wayne Reeves about beer in Toronto. Listen to the interview HERE.

Coach House has listed some fun facts about The Edible City on their website. Click HERE for a snack map, a "Food Diary of a Coach House Pressman," "So, you want to make roti" and many more tasty tidbits.

For more information about The Edible City and to purchase a copy from Coach House's online store, please visit the Coach House Books website.

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