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Thursday, March 24, 2011

Someone's in the kitchen!

I have really gotten myself in the soup… naively agreeing with the irresistible Barbara-Jo McIntosh, of that wonderful store Barbara-Jo’s Books to Cooks, to “participate” in a little fund- and friend-raising event for Vancouver Opera. Before I knew what hit me, I had agreed to preside over her in-store kitchen for an evening of food and the arts, based around the witty American writer Pat Conroy’s eponymous new cookbook.

Because I spent ten years living in the South – Charlotte, North Carolina to be precise - and because I really love to eat, and because I exaggerate my abilities as a cook to those I think that will impress, I have found myself “hosting” an event this Tuesday evening. As we progressed in the planning of this little soiree, I imagine that reality began to dawn on Barbara-Jo and she has wisely filled out the evening’s personnel with people who actually know what they’re doing: there will be a real chef to cook the difficult dishes!

Friend Mollie Massie will be reading selections from the cookbook (which is much more than just a collection of recipes) in her authentic Southern voice with her authentic Southern charm, and Jim Byrnes will provide the live music.

At one point I thought I was really home free, and would only have to stand around and lend my august presence to this gathering….but no. I was recently informed that I would be cooking some of the dishes after all, with Chef Glenys supervising and doing the real work. So earlier this week I lured friends over for the very yummy Country Ham with Bourbon Glaze, which turned out very well (who can argue with bourbon and maple syrup?). This weekend I am enticing more unsuspecting friends over for my first-ever attempt for gumbo (with shrimp, crabmeat, andouille sausage, bacon, a whole chicken…) and a grits casserole made enticing by the addition of a bit of heavy cream.

I am a fair cook, and quite excited to be cooking and visiting with folks this coming Tuesday evening – I’m pretty relaxed about it all because I know that whatever I might attempt to do or not do, Chef Glenys and Barbara-Jo will be right there and everything will be scrumptious and the whole evening will be a fun-filled success. Bon appetit!

There may be room for a couple of more adventurous souls – if interested, here are the details:

Vancouver Opera Fundraiser with Jim Wright
Tuesday, March 29, 6:30 p.m.

Food and the Arts have always shared a special bond. This evening we celebrate both at a fundraising dinner theatre for Vancouver Opera.

This evening James Wright, General Director of Vancouver Opera, joins us in the kitchen for a festive evening of fine food and drink and the arts. Jim, an enthusiastic cook, will be behind the hob cooking a fine menu from The Pat Conroy Cookbook: Recipes and Stories of My Life by Pat Conroy. An evening at the opera would not be complete without music and drama so this evening will feature live music with Jim Byrnes and readings from The Pat Conroy Cookbook by Mollie Massie. Proceeds will be donated to Vancouver Opera.

Guests: 20 Cost: $195.00 (The evening includes a copy of The Pat Conroy Cookbook).

For more info or reservations call Barbara-Jo’s Books to Cooks: 604-688-6755

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