Monkey Weddings & Summer Sapphires
South Africa to Nova Scotia: Stories, Recipes & Memories
Colleen Thompson is an award winning writer and photographer, with over 1000 bylines to her name.
Her passion for food and photography led to her first book “Monkey Weddings & Summer Sapphires.”
“Monkey Weddings & Summer Sapphires” is a lovely telling of a childhood spent in Johannesburg, South Africa, and of settling into adult life and motherhood in Nova Scotia, Canada. The author’s voice is strong and lyrical, with vivid dreamlike descriptors.
The narrative is told through the seasons as an insider, but also as an outsider, as someone “from away.” Each season begins with a memory and a story of the season in South Africa and unfolds into life in Nova Scotia, often showing similarities and differences alongside anecdotes, co-incidences, memories, and traditions.
Recipes, collected from travels, family, and friends, are scattered through memories, which allows the story to be told with the foods and dishes as the conveyance. The changing seasons, the natural beauty that surrounds everyday life, and the abundance of local produce serve as the inspiration to each chapter.
Part narrative, part recipe book “Monkey Weddings & Summer Sapphires,” is as comfortable in the kitchen as on the coffee table with beautiful imagery and storytelling. Long narrative headnotes and stories give readers a new way of interacting with foods and allow them to connect in an authentic and personal style.
"The title of the book “Monkey Weddings & Summer Sapphires” was inspired in part by one of my fondest childhood memories. In Johannesburg, when it rains and the sun is still shining we called it a “monkey’s wedding.”
As a child I would be enchanted by the thought of the wedding. Where exactly would it be taking place? Who would be invited? What would they eat? Mangoes, guavas, mulberries, granadillas and juicy sugar cane sticks, for sure. The feast at the wedding would conjure up vivid make-believe menus consisting of all of my favorite childhood foods.
In Nova Scotia our lives are now surrounded by blueberry bushes that grow wildly – in thickets on the edge of our forest, alongside our regular walking trails, beside the winding paths down to the beach and in abundance in the Annapolis valley where the blueberry festival is celebrated each summer.
These little blue-black jewels with star-shaped crowns on top of their heads are the sapphires of summer. Their tart, distinctive flavor has found a place in our daily lives and their place at the table of the feast would be most welcomed by the monkeys."
"Monkey Weddings & Summer Sapphires," is available in bookstores, Amazon in hardcover and Ebook, as well as here.
Follow the journey on Instagram @monkeyweddings