For Maids Who Brew and Bake

For Maids Who Brew and Bake

Curious cures and delicious recipes from the 17th century are to be found within these pages. With syllabub and loblolly, pottage, and spiced bread, this book describes a way of life long gone. It holds a collection of interesting and tasty tidbits with everything from dream interpretation to diet tips, "use a measure of eating that thou mayst live long and if thou wilt be in health, then hold thine handes."

Excerpts from old English manuscripts and Newfoundland letters paint a vivid picture of how Newfoundland's earliest settlers might have lived.

"An excellent off-beat book which combines culinary delights with history."
Paul O'Neill, author and historian

"Imaginative, learned, passionate, this uniquely displayed book re-connects the olde New Found Land culture with its new whilst teaching us how to cook. I love this book."
Donna Morrissey, author of Kit's Law and Downhill Chance

Excerpt - To make bisket bread, otherwise called French bisket


Rain, Drizzle, and Fog

Rain, Drizzle, and Fog

Newfoundlanders love to talk about the weather. And why wouldn’t they? The province is known for its great gales, fierce blizzards, destructive glitter storms, blizzards, and hurricanes. It’s also known for its fast-changing conditions: if you don’t like the weather, they say, wait five minutes and it’ll change.

Sheilah Roberts delves into the archives, history books, and newspaper stacks to find stories of Newfoundland weather—the joys of a beautiful summer, the sorrows of a treacherous winter and unpredictable spring, and all the mauzy days in between. Reports from 400 years of Newfoundland and Labrador weather are interspersed with traditional weather lore, snippets of science, and dozens of fascinating photos. With a foreword by CBC’s Newfoundland and Labrador weather expert, Ryan Snodden.

video link
Sheilah and Ryan on CBC

Excerpt - . I lay with seven great coats around me at the bottom of the boat and it was with difficulty that I escaped being burnt with the frost
Jan. 26th, 1796
... I parted with my friends in this harbor in peace and seven men rowed me ten miles in a skiff to Harbourgrace; they had to beat through much ice and the frost was very severe. I lay with seven great coats around me at the bottom of the boat and it was with difficulty that I escaped being burnt with the frost.
- Methodist preacher William Thoresby

A 1965
On Christmas Day, 1965, St. John’s experienced unseasonably warm temperatures. The residents enjoyed the mildest temperature on record since 1944. By Boxing Day, the temperature had risen to 11°C, and most of the snow in and around St. John’s had disappeared, allowing grass and mud to peek through. The Avalon Peninsula recorded one of the warmest temperatures for North America, apart from the most southerly areas of the United States. Central and western areas were not so fortunate; they were hit with a snowstorm that deposited about 23 centimetres of snow in some places with winds gusting to 121 kilometres per hour. The heavy snows blocked highways in Central Newfoundland with massive drifts, and many motorists abandoned their cars wherever they got stuck. Corner Brook reported snow accumulations of 47 centimetres from Friday to Monday night.

Rain, Drizzle, and Fog - Reviews

The Joys and Sorrows of Newfoundland Weather

The Northeast Avalon Times
Jean Graham.
“Stories about province's weather are delightful. In "Rain, Drizzle & Fog," Sheilah Roberts has gathered many of your favourite weather stories ( and even some you didn't know, I am willing to wager...mixed them with history and science, and topped them off with some classic expressions. I am testament that this book, Roberts' first since the equally absorbing "For Maids Who Brew and Bake" of 2010, will provide hours of pleasure...Rain, Drizzle, and Fog” is delightful fun and entertaining education. I am surprised nobody thought of writing it before now but am happy Roberts has done so.”

Goodreads - - Jan 17, 2015. Caren rated it 4 of 5

Unless you are a meteorologist, you may think a book about weather in one locale sounds pretty dull. Ah, but if that locale is the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador, the extremes of weather experienced there could fill (and has filled) a book. The author has produced a very well-organized and engaging account of what the hardy residents of this province contend with year after year. I like her approach: she has divided the book by season and begins each season by looking back to the earliest historical accounts of weather in the province.

She peppers each section with weather lore and sayings, along with scientific explanations as to whether they are valid. She has enlivened the text with lots of interesting old photographs too. The ones showing snow up to rooftops with tunnels through to the doors of houses, or those of people standing on snow at the level of housetops will give you pause.

The Telegram - Weather and wordplay

Robin McGrath

Published on April 11, 2015

“Rain, Drizzle and Fog,” Sheilah Roberts’ new book, is an interesting account of the vagaries of Newfoundland weather, with some Labrador weather thrown in for good measure.The work is divided into 12 chapters, one for each month of the year, and each chapter gives historic accounts of that month, relevant weather folklore and an explanation of the weather science that helps to explain the events recorded. From earliest times, Newfoundland’s settlers and visitors obsessed about the weather, and Roberts draws on the letters and diaries of merchants, military, missionaries and ordinary working people, giving snapshots of the country and its weather from the 1500s on.


Denise Flint

Published April 2015

There are some fascinating bits of history here. One learns, for example that early settlers believed that weather was consistent across latitudes, so they expected the weather in St. John's to be similar to that of Paris. They soon realized their mistake. ...whether mauzy, misky, or even loggy, the weather is always a fascinating subject to talk (and read) about.

Full Speed Ahead

Errol's Bell Island Adventure

Winner of the 2018 Bruneau Family Children’s/Young Adult Award

Full Speed Ahead

Full Speed Ahead: Errol's Bell Island Adventure.

This is the story of a young mouse named Errol who takes a ride on a ferry and visits the mines of Bell Island. Errol’s best friend, Old Rat, has told him wonderful stories, about how the mice and rats first came to Newfoundland as stowaways on the big sailing ships. Errol longs to have his own adventure but his parents are unhappy when he strays too far from their garbage box home. Errol, however, is a mouse on a mission and he decides to go in search of adventure. A tale of narrow escapes and dogged determination, it’s “Full Speed Ahead” for our intrepid rodent. Errol’s 'Bell Island Adventure' is a ‘first chapter book' for ages 7 and up. NOW AVAILABLE Just click on the Buy Now button.


Flying Ace

Errol's Gander Adventure

Flying Ace

In Flying Ace: Errol's Gander Adventure, Errol, the adventurous little mouse from Beachy Cove, takes to the sky when he meets Natasha, a young girl playing with a very special toy airplane. Later, Errol gets a chance to visit the aviation museum in Gander and begins a magical journey back in time. He meets Dan, the radio operator of a full-sized Hudson bomber, and together they make a top-secret flight across the Atlantic. But when an enemy plane appears over Ireland and threatens the safety of craft and crew, only Errol can save them from disaster.

Bottoms Up

Bottoms Up

When fishermen sailed over from Europe and the British Isles to harvest fish in the seas off Newfoundland and Labrador, they brought their drinking culture with them. The harsh conditions of life and the strenuous labour paired with availability of cheap liquor nurtured a strong culture of drink, not only in Newfoundland and Labrador but in many other places in colonial North America.
To stand on the deck of a ship in the roaring winds and pelting, rain, snow, ice, hail, or spray, and to risk one’s life and limb every minute of every working day was not for the faint of heart. A shot of grog may have been the only thing to keep you going.
Strong liquor keep the cold out and the warmth in. Add to this, numbing poverty and nagging hunger and you will begin to understand Newfoundland and Labrador’s relationship with alcohol.

Contact Sheilah

Provide some details and Sheilah will contact you as soon as she catches Errol.