Cooking Tips for Desperate Fishwives
An Island Memoir
About the Book
Winner: Silver – Culinary Narratives, Taste Canada Awards 2023
Part love story, part survival story, part meditation on family dysfunction, this offbeat memoir chronicles the unpredictable life of a young wife and mother on Gabriola Island.
In 1989, twenty-three-year-old Margot Fedoruk left Winnipeg and her volatile Slavic-Jewish family for the wilds of BC to work as a tree planter and to contemplate her mother’s untimely death from cancer. There, she met Rick Corless, a burly, red-headed sea urchin diver, and soon found herself pregnant and cooking vegetarian meals for meat-eating divers on Rick’s boat, The Buckaroo, as they travelled along the rugged northern BC coastline.
Eventually, the unlikely couple settled on Gabriola Island to raise two girls, dig for clams, keep chickens, clean houses, and make soap to sell at the local market. As she washed windows with stunning ocean views, Margot also wiped away lonely tears, determined not to repeat the same mistakes as she had witnessed during her parents’ marriage made in hell. Through dark humour, vivid descriptions, and quirky characters, Margot’s reflections on marriage, motherhood, isolation, food, and family paint an unforgettable portrait of a modern-day fishwife left behind to keep the home fires burning. True to its title, Cooking Tips for Desperate Fishwives is a memoir infused with recipes, from the hearty Eastern European fare of Margot’s childhood to more adventurous coastal BC cuisine.
—Jan Wong, award-winning author of Apron Strings: Navigating Food and Family in France, Italy, and China
—Caroline Woodward, bestselling author of Light Years: Memoir of a Modern Lighthouse Keeper
—Jack Knox, bestselling humourist and author of Fortune Knox Once: More Musings from the Edge
—Kathy Page, Rogers Writers' Trust award-winning author of Dear Evelyn
—Frank Moher, award-winning playwright, journalist, and media critic
—Amber McMillan, author of The Woods: A Year on Protection Island
—Sheryl Normandeau, author of The Little Prairie Book of Berries