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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

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

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

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

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.

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