Well-crafted stories and expert culinary insights

May 2010

Fun and Games at Palace Kitchen

A couple of weeks ago I was in Portland for the International Association of Culinary Professionals conference, an event that’s a highlight of my year and has been for nearly two decades. I joined nearly 60 of my author-colleages at a public book signing event on the Friday afternoon of the conference, we each had our 4 or 5 feet of table space to do with what we wanted to showcase the book we were signing. Many brought food samples, some had props relating to their topic. A couple were even serving cocktails! By my tablemate to the right (Kara Newman, author of Spice & Ice) said she was sure I was having more fun than any of the authors there that day (and this coming from one of those who was shaking up a cocktail, hers with tequila, blood orange juice and jalapeno! YUMMMM).

I’d brought along my Slamwichcards to just show people one fun kid-oriented game with a foodie theme. And I had a bag of Bananagramstiles, working on an ever-expanding freestyle crossword of food-related terms. I was particularly enchanted when beloved writer and writing coach Crescent Dragonwagon spent a few minutes at my table lost in the joyful challenge of filling out the wordscape with a number of other food-related words, from “horehound” (an old-school herb traditionally used to make a hard sugar candy, or used in cough drops) to “love” (which, she pointed out, is often at the core of why we cook). That was a wonderful moment! Words and games bringing folks together. This example here is from a book signing I did this past weekend at Metropolitan Markets. Can tell you how many folks too one look at what I was doing and said “I love Bananagrams!!”

All that to lead into the fact that I’ll be having yet more fun on the road with Gourmet Game Night on May 13. The folks at Tom Douglas headquarters are all avid game-players and have dreamed up a fun evening at Palace Kitchen. We’ll be playing dominoes, sampling a few recipes from the book(Green Pea and  Mint Spread with Crispy Pancetta, Herb Marinated Shrimp, and Lamb and Olive Kebabs) and generally celebrating the release of the book in a fun and dynamic fashion.

Plus they’ll be stirring up one of the cocktails from the book too, yummy Orange Negronis, available at the bar that night. Come join in the fun!! Tickets are $10 to cover the snacks, and books will be available that night as well, all the info you need is here. Of course, I’ll be happy to sign those books that night too. It’s going to be a really fun evening.

Many thanks to the folks from Blue Highway Games who will be on hand to run the domino tournament and provide their general game-playing expertise. That shop at the top of Queen Anne was part of the inspiration behind the book. I figured that if a couple guys who used to be in the electronic gaming industry were turning their attention to retail of old-school board games, there had to be something to this trend of unwinding with friends and family around the table, not electronics required. Hope to see you next week!