Book Club Discussion Questions

December 5, 2018

Here are some suggestions for discussion topics for your book club. We would be interested in your comments and suggestions coming out of the discussion. E-mail them to me at

  Maps, Markets and Matzo Ball Soup: The inspiring life of Chef Gail Hall
Book Club Discussion Topics
1. Twyla wrote: (page 21) “The more Gay (Spiegel) revealed of the Silverberg family history, the more I began to understand that Gail’s career in the food industry shouldn’t have come as a surprise to anyone.” In the same way that Gail’s early life foreshadows her career as a chef and entrepreneur, are there any clues to your future career contained in your childhood memories?
2. What is your earliest food memory? Do you have any fond memories of favourite foods or events featuring food?
3. Twyla identifies three facets of Gail’s life in Parts 5 (as mentor/mentee, page 71), 7 (as friend, page 105) and 9 (as crusader, page 171). Were any of the facets surprising to you? Why or why not? Can you identify multiple roles and/or identities in your life?
4. Gail is remembered fondly by so many people. What part of her legacy is most precious/unique/inspiring to you? What do you want your legacy to be?
5. Which of Jon’s business Insights resonated most deeply with you? How are Gail’s values and ideals reflected in her business practices?
6. Which of the culinary tours described in Part 9 (page 139) do you wish you could have gone on? Why? What appeals to you the most about that style of travel?
7. Gail’s story is shaped by the places she inhabited: growing up in Toronto, moving to Alberta, travelling to many countries. How did these places shape her life and career? How has “place” been significant in your life journey?
8. Gail’s cooking classes and entertaining style demonstrated her advocacy of good food served in the presence of good friends (page 225). Has good food, shared with good friends enriched your life? How?
9. Gail had many valued friends and colleagues but shared a special relationship with the KTG (Part 7 page 105). What role did those women play in her life? What did Gail do to nurture their devotion/support/loyalty? Who are the people in your life that might play this role?
10. Gail maintained that she “lived with cancer” and “scheduled cancer into her life” so as to minimize the disruption to her busy life. On page 196, Twyla expresses that “a relationship with cancer is a solitary and user-specific one.” How does this compare with the way that you, or people in your circle, have dealt with serious illness?
11. As her career evolved, Gail became more passionate about local, healthy and sustainable food. How has (or might) her philosophy influence your food choices? Where can you find information locally about the causes Gail advocated?

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