Mary Berg of Mary’s Kitchen Crush shares three favourite short story collections by Canadian women

Mary Berg is the Ontario home cook who was a winner of TV’s MasterChef Canada and is currently host of Mary’s Kitchen Crush. Berg is also the author of her debut cookbook, 2019’s Kitchen Party. 

Berg is an avid reader and loves short stories: “I’ve always found short stories to be such an interesting way to gather information and learn about whatever the author’s trying to tell us.”

She spoke with Shelagh Rogers about three of her favourite short story collections by Canadian women authors: Shut Up You’re Pretty by Tea Mutonji, Guest Book: Ghost Stories by Leanne Shapton and Even that Wildest Hope by Seyward Goodhand.

Shut Up You’re Pretty is a book by Téa Mutonji. (Arsenal Pulp Press, Sandro Pehar)

“The short stories here definitely read more like a novel, especially in comparison to a lot of the other short story collections I read, which are usually not linked by a protagonist or a narrator. 

“You kind of jump forward in time from the protagonist Loli. She’s this very young girl, a new immigrant to Scarborough. You’re just watching this person get dropped into the middle of cold Canadian winter, figuring out their life and trying to find a space for them.

The short stories here definitely read more like a novel, especially in comparison to a lot of the other short story collections I read, which are usually not linked by a protagonist or a narrator.

“The writing of that first story of that very young protagonist was really fascinating to me because it sounded young. It didn’t sound like an adult woman was writing it. But it also still kept the distance that is kept throughout the short story collection. 

But it’s almost like you and the narrator Loli are standing on one side of a fogged piece of glass. You’re looking at her life. And it’s very pragmatically told. Horrible things are happening and beautiful things happen but it’s all told very pragmatically and very matter of fact and very these are the things that happened.

Which to me makes me love the character more because it makes me dig in and figure out why they’re being like that and why they present their life in such a way.

The Next Chapter17:00Téa Mutonji on Shut Up You’re Pretty

Téa Mutonji talks to Shelagh Rogers about her Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize nominated novel, Shut Up You’re Pretty. 17:00

Guest Book is a book by Leanne Shapton. (Robbie Lawrence/Penguin Random House Canada)

“I was trying to read it at nighttime and I had to pull the covers up and tuck my legs up — because it’s eerie and spooky.  The haunted nature of it is so much more beautiful than any scary movie or anything I’ve ever read before. It was really something. 

The first story in the collection showcases really someone just watching people walk through street lights and the street lights, in my mind, kind of act similar to how a short

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Air National Guard Volunteers Assist at Alaska Kitchen > U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE > Story

Since mid-August, Alaska Air National Guardsmen assigned to the 176th Force Support Flight Sustainment Services, who are local to the Matanuska-Susitna Borough area, have been volunteering their time to assist the Five Loaves, Two Fish Kitchen in Wasilla, Alaska.

“As a force in readiness, the relevancy of the National Guard increases through the flexibility of these Airmen,” said Air Force Master Sgt. Franz Deters, the senior noncommissioned officer in charge of the volunteer effort.

The kitchen relies on donations from the Food Bank and other foundations to prepare quality meals for local Mat-Su residents in need. The organization employs only one professional chef, Air Force veteran Mike Gordon, and the rest of the staff is completely made up of unpaid volunteers. The kitchen is next door to Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, whose kitchen committee heads up the operation.

“When the guard started volunteering here, we were very short staffed,” said Duane Hanson, one of the kitchen’s dedicated civilian volunteers. “Their work here has kept us on track in our efforts to help as many people as we can.”

The airmen work twice a week for three hours each day, preparing about 600 meals per month.

We get to help Alaskan citizens, filling in at a time when there are fewer available volunteers, all while getting training that allows us to gain additional experience in our jobs that we do for the guard.”

Air Force Master Sgt. Franz Deters, Alaska Air National Guard

The airmen are certified in food handling, with years of experience cooking in the Air Guard. They have been assisting the kitchen in food preparation, which consists of peeling, cutting, dicing and cooking various food items, before being put into sealed packages.

“I take pride in the fact that I work with a team that never says ‘It’s not my job,'” Deters said. “I work with men and women who will volunteer to go where they can have the biggest impact.”

According to Deters, this unique volunteer opportunity to serve the local community also helps his team meet mission essential training requirements for their work in service career fields for military service.

“We get to help Alaskan citizens, filling in at a time when there are fewer available volunteers, all while getting training that allows us to gain additional experience in our jobs that we do for the guard,” Deters said. “It’s really a win-win.”

Good Shepherd Pastor Rick Cavens, retired Alaska National Guard chaplain, oversees the kitchen staff. The kitchen provides meals to My House Homeless Teens Resource Center, Knik House and Family Promise. Recently, the kitchen started a meal program for Mat-Su School District families, with the intention of providing a food portion big enough to feed an entire family.

“I have two extended families, my church and my military family,” Cavens said. “The National Guard has offered a tremendous helping hand during this difficult time of uncertainty. We’re very thankful for their hard work and dedication to helping the local community.”

(Army Sgt.

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Is the White House haunted? Jenna Bush Hager shares creepy story

The White House has certainly seen its share of residents, but have any of them seen ghosts?

TODAY’s Jenna Bush Hager paid a virtual visit to “The Kelly Clarkson Show” on Monday and said there are ghosts in the historic residence.

“True or false: There are ghosts in the White House,” the talk show host asked.

“True!” Jenna replied. “And listen, Kelly, you would’ve liked these ghosts because they were very musical.”

Jenna added that the spirits were “friendly” and “compassionate” to her and twin sister Barbara Bush.

She also shared the creepy story during a conversation on TODAY in 2018 with Hoda Kotb.

Jenna recalled the time she and Barbara may have encountered the undead while living in the White House during their dad’s, former President George W. Bush’s, time in office.

The sisters were in their shared bedroom when Jenna’s phone rang. “It woke us up in the middle of the night,” she explained. “We had a fireplace in our room, and all a sudden we started hearing, like, 1920s piano music as clear as day coming out of the fireplace.”

It was so spooky that Jenna said she jumped in her sister’s bed. “We were both awake!”

Jenna and Barbara Bush (Paul Hawthorne / Getty Images)
Jenna and Barbara Bush (Paul Hawthorne / Getty Images)

To make things even more suspect, it wasn’t a one-time thing. “The next week, we heard the same thing but opera,” she said.

They ended up talking themselves out of the possibility the place was haunted, but a White House staffer made her question it again.

“I said, ‘Buddy, you wouldn’t believe what we heard last night,’ and he goes, ‘Oh, Jenna, you wouldn’t believe what I’ve heard.’”

Ghost stories from the White House are nothing new. Many former presidents and people who have lived there have reported seeing or feeling the presence of President Abraham Lincoln. And Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands apparently even fainted at the “sight” of him.

There have also been reports of ghost sightings for Abigail Adams, Dolley Madison, Andrew Jackson and even British soldiers walking the hallways. (*Shudder!*)

But Jenna insisted the ghosts she and her sister potentially came in contact with had good intentions. “They were friendly ghosts,” she assured us.

This story was originally published Oct. 15, 2018.

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New Vietnamese restaurant tells family’s immigrant story

Years before Manh Trac was born in Ho Chi Minh City, his mother performed at the local circus, balancing her petite frame upon spinning barrels. She had terrible motion sickness, but she also had six siblings to help feed. So if it took some daredevil stunts to accomplish that, so be it. 

a person standing in front of a group of people posing for the camera: Family portrait at Yen's Kitchen, from left: Phuong Trac, Mike Du, Yen Nguyen, Hung Trac, Manh Trac. The Vietnamese restaurant is at 7364 Lake Worth Rd., Lake Worth.

© Allen Eyestone, The Palm Beach Post
Family portrait at Yen’s Kitchen, from left: Phuong Trac, Mike Du, Yen Nguyen, Hung Trac, Manh Trac. The Vietnamese restaurant is at 7364 Lake Worth Rd., Lake Worth.

When that wasn’t enough, Yen Nguyen learned to cook. She set up a lunch stand in an industrial neighborhood and sold steaming bowls of her homemade noodle soups to factory workers on break. Her long-simmered beef pho and pork-broth soups picked up a following. Soon she had a food cart to roll into the local zoo, where she could sell bags of homemade Vietnamese street snacks to visiting families. 

When her son was born, she moved the food enterprise to her front porch. At 25, Manh Trac tells that story as if he witnessed all of it himself, with details so vivid you can taste the chili oil in his mother’s popular spicy beef vermicelli bowls. 

He tells the story today from Yen’s Kitchen, the bright, month-old restaurant his mother opened in a suburban Lake Worth plaza that’s home to three churches, a pizzeria and a new-ish Asian market. Manh may be standing a world away from that front-porch stand of their native Vietnam, but the scents and flavors of their homeland surround him in the small, casual eatery. 

“Everything you see here is made by my mother,” says Manh, referring to the neat shelves of street snacks and spices his mom makes and packages. “We’re just her supporters.”

a person cooking in a kitchen preparing food: Yen Nguyen drains noodles as she make a pho bowl at her restaurant, Yen's Kitchen. Open since late August, the Vietnamese restaurant is at 7364 Lake Worth Rd., Lake Worth.

© Allen Eyestone, The Palm Beach Post
Yen Nguyen drains noodles as she make a pho bowl at her restaurant, Yen’s Kitchen. Open since late August, the Vietnamese restaurant is at 7364 Lake Worth Rd., Lake Worth.

A hand-painted mural lights up a wall with a sign that translates to “Second Sister of Saigon” — it’s a popular Vietnamese movie title that seems made to order for his mom. Not only is she a second-eldest sister from the city formerly known as Saigon, she’s an industrious woman like the film’s protagonist.  

That’s his mother in the kitchen, ladling 18-hour broth into deep bowls. What you don’t see: The many hours Yen Nguyen spends making the snacks she packages, the desserts displayed in the cooler, the traditional teas she brews, the sandwich meats for her banh mis and the batter for her Vietnamese crepes. 

a bowl of soup: A pho bowl is served at Yen's Kitchen Vietnamese restaurant in suburban Lake Worth.

© Allen Eyestone, The Palm Beach Post
A pho bowl is served at Yen’s Kitchen Vietnamese restaurant in suburban Lake Worth.

Manh, who was 8 when his family came to America in 2003 and who holds bachelor’s degrees in business management and communications, handles the operational side of the restaurant while his father Hung Trac and sister Phuong Trac, who

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Trump, WH blend denials, justifications in reaction to New York Times story on taxes

While President Donald Trump’s initial reaction to the New York Times’ bombshell report that he paid little to no federal income taxes over nearly two decades was to dismiss it outright as “totally fake news,” his defense has since evolved into defense of tax-avoidance practices.

a man wearing a suit and tie: President Donald Trump speaks to reporters during a news conference inside the James S. Brady Briefing Room at the White House, Sept. 27, 2020, in Washington.

© Ken Cedeno/Reuters
President Donald Trump speaks to reporters during a news conference inside the James S. Brady Briefing Room at the White House, Sept. 27, 2020, in Washington.

In a series of tweets Monday morning, the president attacked the Times for “bringing up my Taxes & all sorts of other nonsense with illegally obtained information” and argued he was “entitled” to what he claimed.

“I paid many millions of dollars in taxes but was entitled, like everyone else, to depreciation & tax credits,” Trump tweeted, defending how much he has paid in taxes without directly challenging the specific numbers raised by the Times.

But he did not answer reporters’ shouted questions at a Rose Garden event Monday afternoon.

The paper denies Trump’s tax information was obtained illegally. ABC News has not independently verified the Times’ account.

Donald Trump wearing a suit and tie: President Donald Trump speaks on COVID-19 testing in the Rose Garden of the White House, Sept. 28, 2020.

© Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images
President Donald Trump speaks on COVID-19 testing in the Rose Garden of the White House, Sept. 28, 2020.

In a story published Sunday, the newspaper reported that the president paid just $750 in federal income tax the year he was elected and that same amount during his first year in office. The Times also found that he paid no federal income tax at all in 11 of the 18 years of information they examined.


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Trump is the only president in modern history not to release his tax returns and could resolve the lingering questions about his taxes once and for all by simply releasing the information voluntarily. But instead, Trump has claimed that an ongoing audit prevents him from doing so.

While it’s not true that an audit prevents the president from releasing the information, as even his own IRS commissioner has confirmed, it is the case that the president is undergoing a decade-long audit battle over a $72.9 million tax refund, the Times report found.

Beyond the intricacies of the Times’ reporting, the story paints a damning portrait of a president who was elected on his image as a wealthy and successful businessman but whose records tell a story of a deeply indebted and struggling business empire stretched beyond its means.

MORE:The Note: Stagnant race, battleground deficits highlight Trump debate-season challenges

The president’s evolving defense to the report followed a “Fox and Friends” appearance by his son and business partner Donald Trump Jr., who similarly attacked the report without disputing its key claims and defended the use of maneuvers by the president to lower his tax bill.

“It’s ridiculous. My father has paid tens of millions of dollars in taxes, if he does things where you get depreciation, where you get historical write-offs like we did when we took on the risk of building the Old Post Office in

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Ugly Story From American History, Inspiring Stories Of Art, On View At Shofuso Japanese House And Garden

The Underground Railroad will always serve as America’s greatest example of ordinary citizens sticking their necks out to help those suffering under the crushing weight of the nation’s racist institutions. Another example can currently be found in a most unusual place, the Shofuso Japanese House and Garden in Philadelphia during its new exhibition, “Shofuso and Modernism: Mid-Century Collaboration between Japan and Philadelphia.”

Organized by The Japan America Society of Greater Philadelphia (JASGP) with support from The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage, the exhibition celebrates the friendships and transcultural exchanges between Junzo Yoshimura (1908–1997, Japan), George Nakashima (1905-1990, US), Noémi Pernessin Raymond (1889-1980, France) and Antonin Raymond (1888–1976, Austria-Hungary), through their collaborative architectural projects.

Their brilliant artwork takes on added dimensions when their remarkable back stories are discovered.

The married Raymonds first visited Japan in 1919 to work for Frank Lloyd Wright on the Imperial Hotel in Tokyo. They subsequently set up their own architectural offices in Tokyo in 1922, where they would live and practice for the next 18 years.

Yoshimura started working for the Raymond’s architectural office in 1928 when he was still a student and continued to work with the Raymonds until 1941.

Nakashima started working at the Raymond’s firm in 1934 until his return to Seattle in 1941. Shortly after returning to the U.S., the Nakashima family was sent to the Minidoka internment camp in Hunt, Idaho.

Following Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor, 120,000 people of Japanese descent living on America’s West Coast were sent to internment camps. They were American citizens, like Nakashima, his wife, also of Japanese descent, and their baby daughter.

In 1943, the Raymonds interceded and successfully vouched for the Nakashimas, thus allowing the family to take refuge at the Raymonds’ Farm in New Hope, Pennsylvania where they would eventually settle and set up Nakashima’s house, studio and workshop.  

George Nakashima and his wife, Marion Okajima, were both American citizens, both born in the United States. Both were college graduates with degrees from prestigious universities, George with an undergraduate degree from the University of Washington and a master’s degree in architecture from MIT, Marion a degree from UCLA – exceedingly rare for a woman in 1940s America. George Nakashima had traveled the world as an American citizen.

That didn’t matter.

Both had Japanese ancestry so they were rounded up by the U.S. government and their freedom was taken away. No crime was committed. No trial was held.

The Raymond’s, neither of whom were born in the United States, but both possessing the golden ticket to opportunity in American–being white–possessed the influence to free the American-born and

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His Whole House founder Molly McNamara shares her story of loss to build suicide awareness

Trying to navigate through a maze blind without legs — this is how Molly McNamara describes the feelings of pain and hopelessness accompanying the trauma of suicide.

McNamara is the founder and executive director of the Cypress-based nonprofit His Whole House, a ministry that uses a faith-based approach to help trauma survivors. The organization works to “break the cycle of trauma and shame” through training, mentoring and counseling. Among its clients are people whose loved ones have attempted or carried out suicide, as well as individuals who may themselves struggle with suicidal thoughts.

“We are not a crisis intervention ministry…however, what I’ve come to understand is there is a long-term recovery period for all of us — including myself,” said McNamara, who had herself overcome attempts of suicide as a teenager.

As a suicide survivor, McNamara will be sharing her story of loss and resilience during a live online talk Sept. 30 in observance of National Suicide Prevention and Awareness Month.

On March 31, 1998, McNamara said she received the most horrendous news of her life — her son, Adam Thomas, had died of suicide.

“It was in that moment that I became the most reluctant survivor of suicide and truly felt a very, very dark cloud come over,” she said. “It had been one of several traumas that had occurred within a short period of time. I’d lost both my parents just months before…and this was my only living child. It was something that took me to the bottom of my ability to function and I felt as if I was in a maze, blind without legs.”

She lived in the oppressive shadow of that dark cloud for 11 years. She finally came to recognize that what she’d experienced was trauma — the trauma of loss. She founded His Whole House in 2010.

“When I came out of the silence of my own pain and trauma and started the 501(c)3, my intention was

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WRAL story garners donations, volunteers for Raleigh soup kitchen ::

Leaders of the Shepherds Table soup kitchen in downtown Raleigh are thankful for an overwhelming response to their plea for help. It came after a WRAL story highlighting the ministry’s decline in volunteers and donations largely due to the impact of COVID-19.

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Rachael Ray shares video, story of her Lake Luzerne house fire

A man riding by her house on an ATV alerted her to the flames

Photo of Lauren Stanforth

In the season premiere of her syndicated show Monday, Rachael Ray had a segment about the fire that partially destroyed her home in Lake Luzerne, Warren County in August.

In the clip, Ray talks about how she started a fire in her fireplace, and a while later a man jumped off an ATV in her backyard and yelled that her roof was on fire.

The famous chef and talk show host recounted how she tried to run upstairs and get her notebooks and her mother’s class ring, but heard fire crackling in the walls. She said a Hadley-Luzerne firefighter had entered the house and yelled at her to get out

She then had Greg Amyot, New York fire investigator, take her – and viewers – through what is left of the home. Amyot also discussed the challenge of there being no fire hydrants in her remote location, and how firefighters that night had to transport water from a half-mile away. The home, while heavily damaged on the second floor, appears to be able to be reconstructed.

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