I entered the contest and anxiously waited to see if I would get an email informing me I had won a pair of tickets. Sadly, no such email ever arrived in my inbox. But one did arrive in my friend Cindy's! She had written a great entry, and the judges obviously thought so too. When she asked me if I wanted to go with her it took me less than half a second to say yes. (The half second was spent feeling guilty because if I went that meant her daughter Jennifer wouldn't be going.)
We headed into the city early so we would have time to browse at the bookstore, one neither of us had ever been in before. It was an incredible place! Also, a dangerous one as my friend pointed out before we arrived. (We both have a weakness for cookbooks.) Imagine a whole store devoted to nothing but books about food. In addition to cookbooks there were books about travel and food, and classics that have a strong food theme running through them.
At the far end of the book store there is a kitchen, and an island to seat people. The store does quite a few cooking classes, as well as hosting events like this one the CBC was sponsoring. Here they are, prior to the brunch, getting things ready.
Aside from the fact I was in a store filled with nothing but books about food, the biggest surprise for me was being given a drink before we ate. And by drink, I don't mean a nice cup of tea. The only other time in my life I've had alcohol before noon is when I've indulged in a splash of whisky over my porridge.
The brunch itself was delicious, sort of a take-off on a traditional full English//Irish breakfast.
As soon as we finished eating the host of North by Northwest, Sheryl MacKay, interviewed Alexander McCall Smith. That interview will be on the radio either this Saturday or Sunday. You can check the link at the top of this post later in the week if you are interested in listening, and if you can't listen to it when it's broadcast you can always catch the podcast.
He is an incredible man, and also happens to be my favourite living male author. At one point in the interview he talked about the importance of forgiveness, and about how we have lost our sense of community. They were the very words you would expect to hear Mme. Ramotswe speak on those subjects. It wasn't all serious stuff though. The humour you read in his books also comes out in real life when he speaks.
His latest book is another in the No. 1 Ladies Detective series, The Woman Who Walked in Sunshine. There's something very appealing about that title. There was something also very ironic about it, as Vancouver was in the midst of what is known as a rainfall event. Here we are, getting our copies of the book signed.
Thanks Cindy for inviting me!
And for those of you who are wondering what was in that drink, here you go...
Flemington Cocktail from the book: Apothecary Cocktails by Warren Bobrow3 Tablespoons muddled stone fruits ( I used frozen pitted cherries)1 ounce Honey Simple Syrup3 ounces Scotch WhiskyFew drops Angostura bitters1 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice1 large sage leaf, chiffonadeMuddle the fruit in the bottom of a cocktail shaker. Add the honey simple syrup, Scotch Whisky, sweet vermouth, bitters and lemon juice and shake for 20 seconds. Strain the mixture into a martini glass and garnish with the chiffonade sage leaf. Sip slowly until the dark clouds start to lift.