The Best of Bridge Ladies


Do you know how things in your life sometimes create a circle in a very serendipitous fashion? I am experiencing one of those “full circle” times right now. As a Sobey’s blogger I have prepared a post for their Better Food Lovers Blog site about last holiday season when we “faked” Christmas morning.  The two recipes that I made for our Christmas brunch were from The Best of Bridge series: Christmas Morning Wife-Saver which I have renamed “Domestic Partner-Saver” and Land of Nod Cinnamon buns.

I have to keep my beloved collection of the Best of Bridge Cookbooks in boxes made to hold periodic files because there are worn and torn.  Included in my collection are a couple of “Best Of” compilations that I pack when I am heading up to lake country for a month.  So I literally can’t live without them.

When I look back at the B of B recipes, I see how they evolved with my cooking and lifestyle (or perhaps it was the other way around).  As a newlywed and new Mom, I relished the opportunity to mix a half dozen ingredients from my pantry (often one of them was cream of mushroom soup) and “voila”, have the concoction come out absolutely delicious every time.  As the years went by and I wanted to lighten up our meals and use less processed ingredients, the B of B ladies seem to be focused on the same concerns and they began rewriting recipes and incorporating more and more ingredients from my refrigerator rather than my larder.

In the midst of this time, I noticed too, that on the front fly leaf where the Bridge ladies always had their group pictures, that one of their friends was missing.  This struck me more deeply than you can imagine; wondering about the circumstances surrounding what I had assumed was a passing but imagining how the ladies would have rallied round their friend, that family and each other with gifts of food= love.

My readers know about fanaticism about artichokes and that was first fostered by one of the early B of B recipes: Artichoke Nibblers.  Every year about this time, I will make up a huge batch and then wrap and freeze them for last minute guests, to take as hostess gifts and to serve every Christmas eve when we have friends over for a glass of wine after church.

Last week, I got a call from a publicist about a couple of food-styling assignments and sure enough, one was for the cookbook tour of a new Best of Bridge book.  The ladies have teamed up with Sally Vaughan-Johnston to create The Best of Bridge Slow Cooker Cookbook which includes a number of old favourites.  My little crock pot is as old as our marriage, (it is missing its only knob) and sits in our furnace room where excess appliances are stored if not in regular use.  But it has been pulled out many times recently, not only because I (and many other cooks) have busy lives, but because we realize that the slow cooking method (think pulled pork) is an exceptional way to use a “lesser” cut of meat and yet provide a delicious and nutritious meal.  And as I have just posted recently, even though I do not need the convenience of the slow-cooker to the same extent, because I work from an office in my home, I still love to have the aromas wafting through the house now that winter is upon us.

I received my advance copy of the cookbook and I see on the back cover that somehow I missed the publication of “Bravo” and “Fanfare” Bridge Titles.  Now I know what I will be asking for on my Christmas list.

I have not tried any of the slow cooker recipes first hand but that will occur in the days to come and I will share my successes.  In the mean time, I am off to purchase a couple of new slow cookers.  The $20. gift that I received 29 years ago deserves a quiet retirement and I plan on taking her out to the kitchen at the beach house.

Kath’s quote (my love of quotes originally came for the B of B, where every recipe has a quote on the bottom of the page):

All my life’s a circle

Sunrise and sundown.

Moon rolls through the night time

Til the daybreak comes around.

All my life’s a circle

But I can’t tell you why

Seasons spin around again

The years keep rollin by.


It seems like I’ve been here before

I can’t remember when.

But I’ve got this funny feelin

That we’ll be together again.

No straight lines make up my life

And all my roads have bends

There’s no clear cut beginnings

And so far no dead ends.- Harry Chapin

Love -that is all.


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posted under Cookbooks
7 Comments to

“The Best of Bridge Ladies”

  1. Avatar November 19th, 2012 at 9:12 am Heather, Mmm... is for Mommy Says:

    Love this post, and I love the old Crock Pot too…. love the features of the new ones though ;) So many neat patterns adorn the old ones.

  2. Avatar November 19th, 2012 at 9:27 am Kelly Says:

    I recently inherited my parent’s crock pot which was my a wedding gift from the 1970s – so my crockpot is doing its own little full circle. The “low” setting doesn’t work anymore, but it still cranks out a killer chili.
    Thanks for the great post!

  3. Avatar November 19th, 2012 at 9:29 am Kathryne Says:

    Wait until I share their Perfect Pork Chili with Tex-Mex Cornbread, both made in a slow-cooker!

  4. Avatar November 19th, 2012 at 12:42 pm Mary Halpen Says:

    What a lovely article – the “Ladies” and I are really touched by your comments.
    We retired in 2008 and then we met Sally – the Best of Bridge continues!
    Sadly, there are only 4 of us left: Helen Miles, Val Robinson, Joan Wilson and myself. Our friendship is still very important to us. We travel, volunteer, spend time with our families and support Sally’s efforts whenever we can.
    I hope you are enjoying the Slow Cooker book – we certainly are!
    Cheers Mary Halpen Partner, Best of Bridge Cookbooks

  5. Avatar November 19th, 2012 at 2:12 pm Kathryne Says:

    Mary, thank you so much for honouring me with your comment here. All the Best (of Bridge and that life has to offer)!

  6. Avatar May 9th, 2013 at 2:41 pm Elena Says:

    I was introduced to the Best of Bridge series 20 years ago and have gone on to using them exclusively ever since. I completely adore all the recipes I have tried and think the “ladies” are wonderful.

    You know when you are at a function and you try a dish and say “that is so good, I want the recipe”? Years later I have come to realize that those dishes I have tried over the years at functions have been Best of Bridge recipes. I haven’t tried a recipe yet that I haven’t loved.

    I thank the “ladies” for always providing us with recipes that always produce amazing results and recipes that I can now pass on to my children.

  7. Avatar May 9th, 2013 at 3:06 pm Kathryne Says:

    Elena, Thanks for writing. What you say is so very true. I was at a cook off this weekend. My son said “Hey Mom, someone has entered your “Classy Chicken” recipe. I smiled to myself knowing that it is the Best of Bridge’s Classy Chicken’s recipe. My kids loved the dish growing up and it stills holds up to be entered in a cook off contest.

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