Good morning, and welcome to the weekend.
Grab your cup of coffee or tea, and sit down with a selection of this week’s great reads from The Globe. In this issue, Geoffrey York and Adrian Morrow journey into the darker corners of the cocoa industry. Travelling to Ivory Coast, which produces 40 per cent of the world’s cocoa, York was struck by the open prevalence of child labour. Young children work on the forest floor, gathering cocoa pods, despite decades of talk about sustainability and improving poverty and income levels. In the Dominican Republic, Morrow saw a stories-high mountain of unbought cocoa waiting to be sold, which he said would likely remain there until cocoa prices decrease for market buyers. He also saw farmers living in abject poverty, many of whom have never even tasted the chocolate they work so hard to make.
Ian Brown takes a whiff of Carby Musk, the new Drake-scented candle and the inner workings of celebrity fragrance powerhouses.
And Janice Dickson reports on a new evidence-based nature prescription program aimed at helping the sick by encouraging them to spend time in nature.
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Despite having a cocoa farm in the remote West African bush, Félicien Angui and his family have never seen a chocolate bar or known its taste, but they know life is getting harder – and more expensive. Canadian consumers, seeing labels that boast of “100 per cent sustainably sourced cocoa” on many of the most popular chocolate products in supermarkets, might never imagine that hunger and poverty are the grim daily reality for millions of cocoa farmers in Africa and Latin America. Now, those misleading labels are at the heart of a continuing battle in Africa.
If you’ve ever wondered what Canadian rapper Drake smells like, Better World Fragrance House (also founded by Drake) has got you covered. The candle, called Carby Musk, “actually smells like Drake – it’s the personal fragrance he wears,” according to BWFH, and presents notes of musk, amber, cashmere, suede and velvet. Ian Brown reports on how a candle king with a legendary nose brought the scent of a rapper to your living room.
Francis MacDonald found that his cancer was easier to manage by seeking creative ways to deal with his stress and getting outdoors. Now that he’s recovering, he hopes others can do the same. Janice Dickson reports on PaRx, Canada’s national evidence-based nature prescription program, which encourages people dealing with a range of health issues to spend time in nature.
Jillian Horton’s late sister, Wendy Anne, wasn’t even 10 years old when a mass in her brain changed the course of her life, leaving her without the ability to talk, write, walk, regulate her emotions and control her body in space. In today’s world, Wendy Anne could have relearned complex tasks with the help of trained professionals. But in a small 1970s Prairie town, there was no rehabilitation team. In her own words, Jillian recalls the struggles of her parents to find support for their daughter, and letters, written by Wendy Anne before she died, that offer a window into the personhood, eccentricity and absolute hilarity that was so often stripped from her late sister.
As Mother’s Day approaches, Mark Pupo reflects on his childhood with his late mother, Helen, who inspired him to write the cookbook, Sundays: A Celebration of Breakfast and Family in 52 Essential Recipes. In it, he revisited her many recipes that he later prepared with his son. The childhood she created for him despite and maybe even because of her struggles with happiness, he writes, was the best preparation for being a parent he could ask for.
On Mother’s Day weekend, author Sara Petersen pens her love-hate relationship with “momfluencers,” tracing their history from the creation of Betty Crocker to the long list of brands that have used our deeply entrenched ideals around motherhood and domesticity to sell products. The result? A millennial-mom aesthetic that’s instantly recognizable. In her own words, Petersen attempts to answer the question: If a millennial mom has a baby but nobody sees her home filled with wooden toys, nursery decorated in ochre and sage, or rust-coloured linen jumpsuits, is she even a millennial mom?
Eurovision is easily the cheesiest, most over-the-top singing contest in the world, where no outfit is too outlandish and no amount of glitter too much. But when the final of this year’s Eurovision Song Contest takes place in Liverpool on Saturday, the war in Ukraine will take centre-stage, with Ukraine-stamped everything, Ukrainian musicians and refugees highlighting the event.
Drawn from the headlines
Canadian Icon Gordon Lightfoot has died. – ORILLIAMATTERS.COM, May 1, 2023, as drawn by Graham Roumieu for the Globe and Mail.