Cooking the books? Who me? No, I've not been doing any creative accounting......I've been to London this week to visit my favourite bookshop (apart from the Kibworth Bookshop mentioned here http://thinkingofthedays.blogspot.co.uk/2012/05/days-of-mooching-about-in-bookshops.html)
This is the bookshop that really does cook the books...every day in a test kitchen at the back of the shop.....and each time I visit I feel like one of Pavlov's dogs. He was the behaviour theorist who realised that dogs could be trained to recognise that food was coming. A ring of the bell and they started salivating.
I'm like that, I start drooling as soon as I walk into Books for Cooks...always. The sight and smell of over eight thousand brand new books about food....culinary memoirs, recipe books , the history of food....I'm in heaven.
Mind you there's enticing aromas coming from the back of the shop too..... wafting their way along the bookshelves.....
There's nothing more exciting than finding a really nice new recipe.....especially if someone has already tested it for you....and that's what happens here...every day, dishes from some of the thousands of books in stock are created. This time, they are...
Lunch service starts promptly at 12 noon..we are already sitting down. The laksa arrives...fragrant, with a freshness and zing about it, and we decide to order a glass of wine . Eric Treuille the joint owner arrives with a bottle of Cahors from his own biodynamic vineyard in France.
"It is cheaper this way"he says in an oh so sexy French accent and puts the bottle on the table. We look at each other....it's still very early...a bottle? But he's so charming, and we have the collective willpower of a band of vampires at a local blood bank. The bottle is polished off pronto.
We're enjoying ourselves , especially when bowls of the slow roasted pork with plum sauce and rice are put on the table.
Noisy "Oohs, aahs "and gasps of pleasure puncture the air -moist pieces of pork with spicy rich plummy sauce are hitting the spot. It sounds as if we're auditioning to do voiceovers for a porn film.
Then Laura and I watch in amusement as Suzie determinedly attacks the chocolate and sour cream peanut cake. She's concentrating, hardly speaking until the last mouthful. "That's really good" she says...high praise indeed from a laconic northerner.
By now there's quite a queue of people waiting to eat...Eric is expertly weaving his way around the tables, the queue, chatting away with everyone. It's buzzy and the place is packed so we make our way over to the till to pay for lunch and the books we've bought. Rachel takes our money...she's an American who arrived in London with her partner eight months ago. She came into the shop within days of being here and promptly asked for a job.
But that happens a lot at Books for Cooks apparently. Years ago Rosie Kindersley walked in, and Heidi the then owner offered her a job on the spot. Then Eric walked in one day and ...well, let's just say he didn't only get the job! He and Rosie hooked up, they bought the bookshsop and the rest is history.
Books for Cooks isn't just a bookshop..for me it's a foodie heaven. There's a passion, a warm welcome....there's cookery workshops upstairs..( I'd love to get to one of those soon) plus a series of adorable paperbacks containing all the favourite recipes tested in the kitchens....recipes that work and that are firm favourites of mine.
I can't wait to return......more details from here....http://www.booksforcooks.com/
To my other passion now, music. Today's track is nothing to with food, meals, or bookshops....it's what I'm listening to at this very moment ...such an under rated band,...Minus the Bear with Throwing shapes....
I love this song....reminding me of sunny days and sultry nights in Cottesloe, Western Australia.....a soundtrack to a magical time.....