Ruminations and recipes from a small kitchen in a big city.


The baby wore blue.

That was yesterday. She sat in my chair and smiled.

Today she wore yellow, and there was a trip to town; two bookshops, one retail store (other) and the State Library. But before all that, coffee.

Brunetti is 75 metres - to the inch - from Flinders Street station if you don't count the platform, escalators and steps. I had coffee (Vienna); Tracy cappucino. The children (Thomas and Alexandra) ate a coarse-sugar dusted doughnut, Italian-style. It was fat and doughy and fresh, and then it was just some grains of sugar on a plate and more grains on their faces.

Dymock's is downstairs off Collins. Dymock's recently announced expansion plans. You can see why. Their staff are knowledgeable and the book selection is as good as it gets in a chain bookstore. Dymock's is also soaking up the foot traffic from the defunct Angus & Robertson and Borders, the latter of whose staff were in turn snooty, unobtainable, uninterested or even disinterested. By contrast, Dymock's people spout opinions about their favourite books to anyone who will listen. This creates a good atmosphere; makes the bookshop interesting. There's a cafe.

I didn't buy a book. The one I wanted would have been too heavy to carry around town, so another day.

Then the Foreign Language Bookshop, also downstairs off Collins, but the other side. Tintin, Herge et Les Autos is unobtainable in English so the French edition had to suffice. I can read about 75% of it, but the book is about his illustrations, chiefly cars. Herge was an illustrator for Ford in the 1930s. This book is a must-have for Tintin fans. It is a beautiful design, with a clean cover featuring a full-bleed illustration detail showing a frowning Captain Haddock driving an open-topped single seater coupe in the rain, with a smiling Tintin and a puzzled Snowy beside him. The title in block letters is the only encroachment on the illustration. The rain is not illustrated, but is overprinted via a special process in a high-gloss plastic over the matte illustration, so it shimmers and flashes as you move the book in your hand. The publisher's mark is an unobtrusive moulinsart script running vertically near the spine. The spine is the distinctive Tintin red with black title.

Lunch: Dondon. I've written about Dondon before and you cannot write anything new about Dondon. One point off for playing Wham instead of Tom Jones; we sat outside anyway. I couldn't sit inside and listen to that. Tram bells sound better. They bring the food out and iced tea is a bonus.

It was hot later, and the wind got up and tore the words out of our mouths and threw them away, so we had to lean in to converse. We caught the tram home. Its airconditioning was working. It cuts out for the peak; it works beautifully when the trams are empty.


Janis Gore said...

Oh, my. She's barely a baby anymore.

kitchen hand said...

She seems to have changed overnight.