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Join Flavor of Italy each week for a look at Italian food and recipes, Italian culture, travel and history through interviews with Italy's cutting-edge creators, food personalities, locals and anyone else who has a fascinating Italian story to share.
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The Women Of Ill Repute

Maureen Holloway and Wendy Mesley

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Women of Ill Repute is a compliment. And not just for women! Wendy Mesley and Maureen Holloway have left CBC and CHFI to chat with sassy women about sex, family, politics, and media. Lots of secrets and no room for shame. Is it journalism or comedy? It’s both. Smart talk with tv and radio stars, comedians, authors, lawyers, politicos, restaurant icons and more. All of them brave, fierce and funny. Fun!
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In the heart of Brooklyn, amidst the bustling streets and diverse communities, lies a treasure trove of culinary heritage. It's here that Daniel Paterna, a proud Italian-American with deep roots in his ancestral homeland, has crafted a masterpiece that transcends mere recipes - it's a celebration of family, tradition, and Daniel's rich Italian-Amer…
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Ron Sexsmith says “I’m not really shy, I’m just Canadian”. He’s a singer-songwriter who has never had a top 40 hit, is not rich, but is deeply admired by the people he admires most. Bob Dylan, Paul McCartney, Elvis Costello, and Gordon Lightfoot, are all, were all, huge fans. Sexmsith’s songs, like “Secret Heart”, have been performed by everyone fr…
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Award-winning director and cinematographer Dianne Whelan does not choose easy topics. She’s made docs about Mount Everest, and the Arctic, but this one, about being the first to tackle the whole Trans Canada Trail, takes the cake. Or in this case, the reheated oatmeal. Dianne has called her new documentary “500 Days in the Wild”, because that was t…
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An intriguing article in a supplement to the Italian newspaper, the Corriere della Sera, highlighted Porto, Portugal as the top European travel destination of 2024. Coincidentally I was heading there soon after I saw the article. Porto unveiled a delightful array of delicious wines, and seafood delicacies, from succulent grilled cod to savory sardi…
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What IS the deal with boobs? Our preoccupation with women’s breasts isn’t just sexual, it’s social, historical, political and economic. No one knew that better than Carol Doda, a dancer and cocktail waitress, who, 60 years ago, dared to bare her nipples atop a baby grand piano as it descended from the ceiling of the Condor, a San Francisco nightclu…
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Homes for sale in Tuscany Italy? + A Tuscan Home Makeover In this week's episode of my Flavor of Italy podcast, I chatted with Dena Fenza, a prominent figure on Instagram known for her recipes, style tips, and lifestyle content. With nearly 150,000 followers, Dena has captivated audiences with her unique blend of Italian-American heritage and New Y…
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When Tassie Cameron first saw the opening credits for Law and Order Toronto: Criminal Intent, complete with the iconic DUN DUN sound effect, she felt a shiver up her spine. It was Cameron who was entrusted with the legendary series’ first foray beyond American borders, serving as show runner and head writer for the Canadian franchise. Tassie says T…
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At cheesemaker La Maremmana in Tuscany, just 2 hours north of Rome, buffalo milk is transformed into a myriad of buffalo cheeses by master cheesemaker Francesco, hailing from the famed dairy region of Battipaglia. La Maremmana produces a range of fresh buffalo cheeses, including hand-stretched buffalo mozzarella, ricotta, yogurt, and burrata. Addit…
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It felt like Old Home Week. A few years ago Tracy Dawson was on the CTV comedy show The Dish Show, co-hosted by you know who. Yes, of course, it was Mo. And Tracy is still tempting trouble, mouthing off and cracking jokes, only now she’s in L.A. She’s a comedy writer who’s just written her first book, “ Let Me Be Frank: A Book About Women Who Dress…
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Traditional Italian Risotto Recipes at Tenuta San Carlo. In this episode Tenuta San Carlo owner, Ariane Lotti, and I explored the Organic Marvels of Tenuta San Carlo: A Journey into Sustainable Rice Farming. Normally we think of rice growing and production in Northern Italy, in the Po Valley, but just two hours north of Rome along the coast you'll …
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Unlocking the Charms of Molise: Italy's Best-Kept Wine Secret Italy, renowned for its illustrious wine heritage, harbors hidden gems beyond the well-trodden paths of Tuscany and Piedmont. Among these treasures lies Molise, Italy's second smallest wine region, nestled between the Adriatic coast and the Apennine Mountains. Despite its diminutive size…
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Why does the serious man movie always get the nod? On the eve of the Oscars, Johanna Schneller says some things don’t change. Hence Oppenheimer getting the glory and Greta Gerwig and Margot Robbie getting snubbed. Wendy and Mo have different thoughts on the movie, but really? Barbie was huge! We talk to Johanna about Girl Power, why we love celebri…
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38 albums in, most of them gold or platinum, Bruce Cockburn is still Kicking at the Darkness. He’s a legendary singer-songwriter-activist who’s won 13 Juno awards, and is now heading out on tour with his latest, “O Sun, O Moon”, where he sings “In my soul, I’m on a roll”. Now 78, Bruce is still trying to make the world a better place. We talk about…
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The Historical Narrative of Horse Meat Recipes & Cuisine in Italy: When it comes to culinary customs, the journey across different cultures often presents moments of profound divergence. These encounters with unfamiliar foods can evoke a sense of cultural shock, prompting reflections on the intricate relationship between food and society. Horse mea…
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Measha Brueggergosman-Lee is a diva in the true sense of the word: a famous female opera star, with all the fierce discipline and flair for drama that that entails. But Measha is also a mother, a wife, a memoirist, a 7th generation Canadian descended from Black loyalists, on her way to finishing a Masters degree in practical theology. She does ever…
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Italian American food and cuisine is a flavorful fusion of Old World Italian traditions and New World influences, shaped by generations of Italian immigrants and their descendants in the United States. It embodies the rich culinary heritage of Italy while incorporating local ingredients and tastes. Italian American food blogger and recipe creator M…
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Is being a woman just like in the ads? Blood is blue, and we all need supplements that make us smell like a pina colada? Jennifer Gunter is a Canadian gynecologist who also writes for the New York Times, hosts a podcast, and has written several bestselling books: The Vagina bible, The Menopause Manifesto, and now: BLOOD, The Science, Medicine and M…
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Sicilian Cooking Classes at the Anna Tasca Lanza Cooking School in the Heart of Sicily. Tucked away on an estate in the countryside south of Palermo is the Anna Tasca Lanza Cooking School, a unique center dedicated to preserving and sharing the great food culture of Sicily. The spirit of the school, now run by Fabrizia Lanza, the founder’s daughter…
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Alan Doyle says the best part of leaving, is coming home. And home is Newfoundland. His elders voted to keep Newfoundland a country, but they lost the 1949 referendum and joined Canada. Alan is the first generation Canadian in his family. We talk about his love of touring, of music, of acting beside Russell Crowe, and partying in pubs. Alan plans t…
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Andrea Semonella, a Genoa local and co-founder of the popular website Discover Genoa, is dedicated to exploring the city. With a passion for food, Andrea and his wife, Marta, share their firsthand experiences and recommendations for the best places to eat in Genoa. We delved into their journey, and the hidden gems of Genoa's culinary scene, and som…
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Molly McGlynn has a lot to distinguish her: an accomplished writer and director, her first feature film Mary Goes Round won multiple awards at all the cool festivals, and she’s written for TV shows like Workin’ Moms, The Wonder Years and Grace and Frankie. Molly’s latest feature film, however, is a semi-autobiographical account of a teenager who di…
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If you think of Romeo and Juliet when you think of Verona you'd be right: Juliet's balcony is right in the city center. Or maybe Verona conjures up all the amazing Veneto wines produced in the area: it's another of Verona's incredible features. BUT: right now it's CARNIVAL SEASON and you may not know it but Verona is perhaps the oldest Carnival Cel…
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Blogger couple Ilene and Gary Modica of Our Italian Journey share why they chose Lucca in Tuscany for their retirement home almost from the moment they entered this charming walled city. Lucca is a city on the Serchio river in Italy’s Tuscany region. It’s known for the well-preserved Renaissance walls encircling its historic city center and its cob…
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When she was 26, Emily O’Brien, a promising young woman (as they say) from Hamilton, Ontario made a really bad judgment call, and was sentenced to 4 years in prison for drug smuggling. That could have been the end of her story, as it is for so many, but Emily, given lemons, decided to turn them into lemon (and pepper and dill) flavoured popcorn. Wh…
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Part 2 is a deeper dive chat with the delightful author of Pasta Every Day, Meryl Feinstein. Our original recording was close to two hours, and it could have gone on longer, as Meryl is such a pleasure to chat with and full of wise insight on life, and getting your hands into Pasta. Meryl shares her insider tips on pasta-making: everything from the…
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Andrea Werhun embraces being called a whore. But she’s really about work, about making money, about boundaries, and yes, having a good time. She’s also an activist who is tired of feeling sex workers should be ashamed. Andrea was an escort and then a stripper for several years. She’s now published a glossy memoir full of naughty pictures and storie…
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Meryl Feinstein is charming and humble and a clever, creative, accomplished pasta maker and cookbook author. In just five years from when Meryl first created the Pasta Social Club she's moved on to write her delightful Pasta Every Day cookbook, with a fresh approach to pasta recipe creation. The book is full of exquisite photographs that transport …
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Happy New Year! According to Hello magazine, this is Pamela Anderson’s year! Or did they mean last year? Either way, we are witnessing a turning point in the life of our favourite Canadian bombshell. Yes, she has moved back to Vancouver Island, and Pamela has not one but two new TV shows, but she’s been making headlines - actual headlines - for dar…
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Recently one of my Substack newsletter subscribers, a wheelchair user, asked if I'd do a podcast episode all about Italy accessibility information for wheelchair users and those with a mobility/physical disability. So here it is! This episode is a deep dive into wheelchair accessible hotels, tours, trips, guides, travel packages, mobility equipment…
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You've probably wondered about the importance of a wine glass, and whether it really matters which glass you choose. I know I have! The short answer is yes – and no. Today sommelier Cynthia Chaplin and I delved into wine glasses, an apropos topic during the holiday season and with New Year's Eve right around the corner! The bottom line is the best …
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Join Maureen & Wendy for a special year-end episode celebrating the first full year of Women of Ill Repute! In honour of the fine guests who've graced us with their presence on the show, the Women of Ill Repute go through some of their favourite highlights from this year, such as Rick Mercer, Mary Berg, Marilyn Denis, Colin Mochrie and many others.…
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Jeannie Marshall's new book, All Things Move, opens the door to a thoroughly new way of experiencing the Sistine Chapel, and the magnificence of Michelangelo's work. All Things Move: Learning to Look in the Sistine Chapel "tells the story of Marshall’s relationship with one of our most cherished artworks. Interwoven with the history of its making a…
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The perfect Christmas holiday Day Trip from Rome is a visit to the northern Lazio hill town, Greccio. It's a tiny little town but this year it's the central focus of the Christmas holiday season worldwide. Why? It's where Saint Francis of Assisi created the original Nativity Scene (Presepe in Italian) in 1223 exactly 800 years ago. My husband and I…
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We’re not saying emotions aren’t real, or valid, but might they also just be … digestive issues? That’s one of Cat Alvarado’s theories. Cat is not a dietician. She’s a comedian, a self-styled Latina misfit, and a former teen bride (which she says may have happened on a sugar high). We talk about getting kicked out of church, reconciling sexuality w…
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Bologna is the city of porticoes, Europe's oldest university, amazing towers and culinary delights you can't even imagine. If you're hankering for something different and unique to do while visiting Rome then this is the day trip you'll want to make! Add magical Bologna to your bucket list and listen now for all the details. Are you interested in a…
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Can you be a vegan, a plus-size designer, and a feminist? Hilary MacMillan says of course! She also says age, size, old viewpoints begone, that Mo and Wendy can wear see-through clothes if they want to. (We don’t) Even the dreaded leopard print. It’s back! We talk about Barbie, cute cows, and super thin models. And we reveal more secrets…check us o…
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It’s real! After a year of trying we finally got Carolyn Taylor to come on the podcast. She was one of the Baronesses on the comedy series Baroness Von Sketch, very funny: perfect! But her excuse for delaying us seemed like a joke. She said she was gonna be busy doing a TV series about choreographing an Olympic level pairs skating routine to Whitne…
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The Piedmont Region is Italy's overlooked, "hidden" gem! This is a region overflowing with culinary goodies: Barolo and Barbaresco wine, Alba white truffles, gianduia chocolate. The landscape is magnificent and deserves exploration to uncover and enjoy the region's marvelous castles, wineries, and historic landmarks. Listen to my chat with Carlotta…
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Ok, she’s done everything. Much Music rock ‘n roll host/producer, president at SONY Music Canada, honcho at CBC Radio, and all-around do-gooder. Seriously. Through it all, Denise Donlon has tried to use her powers for good. She has fought for women, gay people, for racial diversity, and usually had a lot of fun while she was at it. She spills about…
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Last week we took a deep dive into Piedmont and its luscious food and wine, closing our visit at the 500 year-old Tenuta Carretta for lunch. The Tenuta has several restaurants - one a Michelin star restaurant - great accommodation, and wines. Piedmont wines are world-renowned and this remarkable wine region produces more DOCG wines than any other I…
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Hard to believe, but there was a time when flying was … glamourous. Not just for passengers, but for the crew, especially the stewardesses, as they were called. They were the goddesses of the air, beautifully groomed, alluring, international jet setters. Of course they also dealt with unwanted advances, brutal hours in high heels, and a constant at…
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For a dip into the past - not centuries ago, but 1,000 years ago - to the magnificent Tenuta Spannocchia in Tuscany, not far from Siena. Here you'll experience country accommodation with delicious hearty meals of homemade pasta, delicious pork products made onsite from heritage breeds. It was two years ago that owner Randall Stratton and I chatted …
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Wendy has a problem with rules. But some rules matter. Like the rules of improv. Naomi Snieckus loves those. And so does Maureen. Naomi talks about Improv Rule #1: Yes, And. About the importance of supporting a partner in comedy or drama or a podcast. And yes, in life.Naomi started doing improv at Second City in Toronto, and is now an actor, produc…
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Sperlonga: a secret southern Lazio coastal hill town with fabulous views, rich history, luscious seafood and wine, award-winning beaches, nearby islands for excursions - just about everything you could want in a seaside location near Rome. And Irene at Amyclae Experience has created all kinds of food and wine, and cultural, itineraries to help you …
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Family secrets are now the stuff of tell-all memoirs, thanks largely to Jeannette Walls and her book The Glass Castle. Jeannette turned the book world - and the world in general - on its ear with her account of growing up rootless, homeless and in dire poverty. Jeannette has now moved on to fiction. Hang the Moon is her latest, the story of an intr…
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Vivek Shraya wants to talk about failure. She has a new TV series on CBC called “How to Fail as a Popstar”. Vivek says that failure is what keeps her up at night. Why didn’t she become the next Madonna? Did people think she was too brown? Too queer? Or maybe she was too held down by people’s expectations? Vivek embraces the failure, and argues we n…
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Trento DOC is an appellation for white and rosé sparkling wine made in Trentino, Italy. Trentino developed this appellation, the second in the world after Champagne, to ensure quality and distinction. Only Chardonnay, Pinot noir, and Pinot Meunier with Pinot blanc are permitted, and they must be grown in a well-defined area within the Province of T…
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Jon Dore is a national treasure, or will be when he returns to Canada from Alaska, where he’s been living these past few years. He’s not everyone’s cup of maple syrup, however. His humour lurks on the dark side: domestic arguments, pregnancy, cancer, his own surprise diagnosis of epilepsy. There are few borders Jon won’t cross, literally and figura…
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The fifteenth century Villa Taverna, commissioned by Cardinal Consalvi. Beginning in 1933, the U.S. Embassy rented the Villa from Taverna’s daughter. During World War II the property managed to avoid destruction by serving as a convalescent home for the Italian military. Returned to the U.S. Government in 1944, the Villa and gardens were purchased …
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