The Bistro

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Join us here in The Bistro for a discussion on the entire Gamache series. Feel free to ask or answer any questions about any of the books or the series as a whole.

3,649 replies on “The Bistro”

Haha – Anna, I had to go back and look up “doona” again – I had somehow gotten the word mixed up in my mind with the “snood” that you and Erin and her friend, I think, bought when you first arrived in Washington. In many ways, that is a product that seems more European to me – the idea of not having to have a top sheet, just a washable duvet cover, often made of two sheets. I had to laugh at the idea of it going on wrong and then inextricably tangling the sleeper up in the night. I used to do the duvet and cover thing when I was single (in the middle of my life), but dh hated the idea, and so now, we have three layers on the bed – top sheet, blanket, and bedspread. Vern manages to steal the blanket (the middle layer) only during the night – I swear he must have supernatural powers! I end up in the morning with the two light layers, but no blanket, and on these cold mornings, I dream about snow!

I have a new metal nonstick pie dish Julie. Not glass. I have popped pie in the oven after overcoming a couple of challenges. I forgot a rolling pin and a pastry brush. Wine bottle works well and I improvised. Don’t know this oven so flying blind

So lovely to see you all by the fire people! A magical place the Bistro..especially on a misty wet day such as we have here at the moment. What a good idea it was to go skiing yesterday when the skies were blue! We had a good time but my fitness levels need some work. Even all the walking we have been doing hasn’t quite prepared me for ski slopes but it was a start and a good start to the New Year.
It is perfect pie weather today and so I must do something about a pie dish and a couple of proper knives….
Just giggling here as Erin emerged from her bedroom with her doona…queen sized…complaining that the doona was in the cover the wrong way round. She complained in a comedic way to her father as it was he who was responsible, then proceeded to try and fix it. She eventually asked for help from mother with “How do normal people put the doona cover on without crawling inside? It’s a two man job! What if I end up living alone!!”
I demonstrated an easy method while discussing the etiquette of asking friends round to help with household chores (but if you have to best to do it before becoming irretrivably entangled in the doona cover) and answering questions of why we don’t just use blankets. The good news is Erin is making her bed and cleaning her room.

So nice to see everyone – Anna, that hot toddy sounds delicious, and I don’t even have a cold! Good old Gabri! So sweet and thoughtful. Barbara, I, too, hate the idea that Louise will lose Bishop soon, though I guess we should consider it a blessing that it wasn’t sooner, as the vets seemed to think it would be. I agree, the idea that a pet would be left suddenly alone and not understand what has happened would be so sad. But I also think it would be so nice to have a sweet little companion for the last years of life, too. So full of love and care without any kinds of judgment or differences of opinion… maybe I need a pet rock, hahaha.

Needing a pie plate is pretty basic, Anna – what kind will you get? I’ve been through the gamut this year and I’ll tell you that I’ve used my bottomless tart pan and my smaller springform pan much more than a regular pie dish, though I’ve made mostly things that are not apple pies, hahaha. I now use my glass pie dish almost exclusively, so I can see how my bottom crust is looking.

A Happy and Blessed New Year to each of you. I didn’t see the new year in as Carol and I went to bed at 9:30. I remember the days of arriving home at 2:30 or 3:00AM on New years Day. Can’t do that now.
The sound of rain on a tin roof is a very special sound to me. There was a time when most houses here had tin roofs as the house I grew up in did. This was the first house with a modern roof I lived in. One area of town that saw a lot of building in the 1920’s has many tile roofed houses. All stucco and in Spanish style. I can hear the rain through the vent hood over the range if I am in the kitchen/family room area.
As always, LP’s newsletter is great. I hate the idea that Bishop will be lost this year. Our Petey is definitely the last pet. I can’t bear the thought of leaving one without us.
Again, Happy New Year.

Thanks for the reply. I now realize the Bistro exists&whereit exists, so here is my original query:
“Thanks for the discussion. I like the Penny books so much.
I have been going back over the AGR text to look for the connection between LeDuc and the outside partner, when he was desperate and made the error to communicate. Gamache later describes the key event to Charpentier and Brebeuf(maybe), but, prior to the murder chapter, I cannot find any indication of Leduc making contact, and such contact being known to Gamache.
I am mostly surprised that I missed it! (but still loved the book!) Cheers.

Happy New Year to one and all. Hugs to all of you in the Bistro and to Louise who inspires us with her writing and her caring.

I love listening to rain anytime but especially in bed at night. Do you many tin roofs here? At home a galvanised roof was very common but tile seems more common in the cities particularly. Rain on a tin roof is a delight. Drought makes rain very much appreciated.
Thank you forvthe kind words Cathryne. HNY

Ah, darling , thoughtful Gabri. Honey especially can be so helpful with a persistent cough. You have been going full speed ahead for so long, Anna, I’m glad you are relaxing by the fire and allowing yourself to be nursed a bit.
Happy New Year to you and to all! I am enjoying listening to the rain as I lie in bed. Such a pleasure in San Diego where we’ve had so little rain for several years of drought.

Ah Cathryne, I have definitely been contemplating a pie. First I need a pie dish! It surely would make the place smell homey and warm. Wish you could all come over and have some.
It is nearly New Year. I should be asleep but there are people in the party room next door being noisy and I am still coughing. Think I will just sit here by the fire in the Bistro. I see Gabri has bought me a hot toddy of lemon and honey…how thoughtful.

I am waiting to hear you’ve made your first apple pie in your new home, Anna. You’ve been very busy, but one dark, cold day this winter an apple pie would be fun and smell wonderful!

I am quite the nester too Julie which I have been spending quite a bit of time doing to make the apartment feel homey. Still holidays are fun too, just a bit tiring.
You will be pleased to know Barbara, we did another museum today. Rather we did the annex of the Air and Space museum out near Dulles airport. It is actually better, I think, than the main section in town. They have the Discovery space shuttle, a Blackbird, the Enola Gay and a Concorde among a huge selection of craft. I really enjoyed it.
Happy New Year everyone.

Haha – if it was me, Anna, I’d be definitely for pottering and making a nest. To me, home is always a “safe harbor” from the harshness of the world, and I can imagine that this is more needed these days than ever before! I’ve always done whatever I could to make sure that it felt like “home” when you came in and shut the door, whether that meant painting everything in shades that calm and cajole me, or just making sure that each person is celebrated when walking through the door. It’s so important to me, and has never let me down, even when I lived alone. It makes life so much happier and easier.

At the same time, planning a trip and poring over maps and restaurant guides, etc., also makes me very happy. Lots of things in this world to see and do… I hope each of us has the chance to have both in plenty of quantity in the coming year.

Hi Barbara. We have been to the Natural History Museum and Air and Space and wandered the Mall. I will make sure to do some more with Erin.
Like you I plan many trips. I have been very fortunate to make a great number of them but many more like the train journey have yet to happen. Mind you, after the last couple of weeks I am looking forward to pottering and making home a home. First things first…piles of washing!

Julie, your post about Canada reminded me of many years ago when I wanted to take a train across Canada. I think it would be thrilling. Of course, I never got to take the trip. I studied about the towns and areas along the way. I had planned to keep a detailed journal and later write about the places I saw and the people I met.

A Christmas day posting on the AGR discussion page. Just checked and found it.
Glad you are back, Anna. What a wonderful time you must have had.
Take time to catch your breath then go for the adventure in DC. I have often thought of how great it would be to just decide to go to one of the Museums, Memorials, etc. any day just because you can.
I hope you enjoy the events and activities that are coming up.

We didn’t get to our hotel until 930 pm and raced to the restaurant for food. Then it was straight to bed. I wish we had more time Nancy as seeing you would have made the delay a joy!!

Anna, I’m sorry we missed you. Maybe next time we can get together for a visit. I used to fly from Sudbury (Northern Ontario) to Pittsburgh to visit my parents in the winter. I always stayed overnight in Toronto so I could see friends for a few hours. It also kept me from missing the next connection if there was a storm. (But really, I loved being able to see my friends.)

I was very sad the opportunity was missed Nancy but the timeline was tight. Catching up with friends is a good reason to stopover and avoiding missed connections is another. We nearly missed the plane home again. Lots of snow in Toronto delayed our flight. Never mind. Home now and very tired.
Thinking of you Nancy and will try to get that way again.

Thanks for the lovely long informative post Julie. I do wNt to do the train trip across Canada. It is on my very long wish list.
Tonight we are spending the evening in Montreal having missed our connection. Hopefully our bags will show up and we can go to our hotel and triple hope there is a food option. Staying calm.

Oh Anna, where are you? Will you have time in the morning before going to airport? We are only about 2 miles from the city center and I’d love to meet you. Is your hotel near the airport (that’s not far from us either)?

Have an uneventful trip, Anna. Are you going to be in DC on January 17th? You’ll have to tell us what it’s like. I imagine just being in the city will be quite strange – lots of protests expected, I think, and lots and lots and lots of security, which I’m afraid will all be needed.

Sharon, welcome to our little corner of the Bistro – we hope you like it, and we haven’t hogged all of the chairs by the fire. Since it’s in our imaginations, we always think that we can ALL have a coveted seat by the fire… Do tell us what it was like growing up in Paris – if there’s ever a city that captures people’s imaginations, that’s it!

Anna – Canada is very large and you’ll never see it all, hahaha – the area Nancy is talking about is often called “The Canadian Shield” and is marked by wild outcroppings of stone that is not seen anywhere else in North America. http://tinyurl.com/hbmp5xn

If you have the time, and feel like it – a great way to “see Canada” is to take the train across the country – it takes 2 weeks, but could be amazing, and will definitely give you the idea of immensity of the country. Canada is the second largest country in the world, second only to Russia (even after the breakup of the USSR). Lake Superior, which we’ve been talking about, is the largest freshwater lake in the world by surface area. The largest and most westerly of the Great Lakes (all of which have been very unimaginatively named), it really is a “great” lake – holding 10% of all the fresh water on earth. It was a really interesting place to grow up. There is still quite a bit of “wilderness” there, as 90% of Canada’s population is strung along the US border, leaving millions of square miles empty and wild and very beautiful. I often used to shake my head at whatever people would have traveled across the sea, and then across the land to come to a place like Winnipeg, and decide “yep – this is the place we’re going to stay”. I just KNOW it was summer when they did, because if it had been winter, they’d have kept on going. By the time you get to Winnipeg, heading west from Ontario, you have left the Canadian Shield right behind you. You are getting to the prairies, which have their own bleak beauty. They continue unimpeded for three large provinces, before you come to the Rocky Mountains, which are very large. Just the other side of that, you have the west coast, which has its own microclimate, and is Canada’s California! There is a lot to see.

Gentle snow is swirling and twirling beyond the airport windows in Quebec. We are about to start heading ‘home’. Haven’t quite spent enough time in the apartment for it to feel completely like home yet but it will. Thinking of you all

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