Friday 3 May 2013

Did I tell you about... ?

I know I have been talking about LitFest now for weeks - and you know what, I STILL haven't covered everything. Can you believe it?! That gives you a sense of just how much good stuff and exciting people we have lined up for your enjoyment. So I wanted to let you know about a few more events that are close to my heart, before we dive head first into the weekend. 

One very special event is Dorothy Cashman's Old Books to Treasure. Dorothy is a food historian and past graduate of the Cookery School. The weekend is all about food writing, but you don't have to be published to be a food writer. Most of us have treasured books of family recipes, with stains and jottings in them, which document what we have cooked, eaten and loved over generations,  and markers of how tastes have changed. So bring yours along to show Dorothy, she is eager to unearth some hidden gems, in a sort of Literary Antiques Roadshow. This is a free event, held in the beautiful Blue Dining Room of Ballymaloe House.

John Bowman is a giant in the field of broadcasting and a personal friend for whom I have immense admiration. Presenter of the RTE's Questions and Answers for 21 years, I am delighted to have him chair what is sure to be an enthralling Question and Answers session on Food and Wine on Saturday evening, with a hugely knowledgeable panel of Jancis Robinson MW, Margaret Jeffares, Margot Slattery, Nick Lander, John Wilson, Michael Kelly and myself. Whatever your burning food and wine questions, this is your chance to grill the panel and get answers. Or you can catch him on Monday when he chairs a discussion on Food Programmes on Television - are they entertainment, educational or empowerment. He will be joined by Ella McSweeney, John McKenna, Martin Shanahan, David Hare and myself.

And if you've ever wondered how Ballymaloe started out nearly fifty years ago, be sure to attend food historian Regina Sexton's event on Early Food Writing of Myrtle Allen, or grab this rare opportunity to enjoy a sumptuous afternoon tea with her on Saturday or Sunday, and hear her talk about life at Ballymaloe.

The sun is shining, sky is blue, and spring, though it has been slow to come is finally in the air, so we're anticipating a glorious Bank Holiday weekend here. Many congratulations to the winners of yesterday's giveaway, The Baking Batchelor and Maire, I hope you have a wonderful time at LitFest.