It’s been a whirlwind couple weeks, first finding out that The New York Times chose Rice & Curry as one of their favorite cookbooks of 2011, and then beginning a mini book tour that day in Washington D.C. I already posted the Sri Lankan Embassy’s press release regarding the book launch, which was held at the official residence of the Ambassador of Sri Lanka, his excellency Mr. Jaliya Wickramasuriya, but I would be remiss if I did not write about it myself, and personally thank the Ambassador for all his efforts to promote the book as well as the country of Sri Lanka itself.
When I first approached him with the book, it was, in fact, his idea to do a launch party at his residence. I provided him with a list of 30 names, mostly press, and I expected that, perhaps, he might serve some Sri Lankan short eats. The ambassador, however, ended up going all out and inviting about 100 people, serving them a full Sri Lankan buffet dinner. In addition to press, other diplomats, people from the U.S. State Department, and friends were in attendance, making the event a very memorable one. The ambassador even had his own chef demonstrate how to make the popular Sri Lankan street food known as “hoppers” (appa), for which I gave a running commentary.
The food, was, of course, amazing, thanks to the efforts of the Ambassador’s head chef, Buran and his staff who served such favorites as chicken curry, fish ambul thiyal, ala thel dala (curried potatoes), eggplant curry, and even the more obscure pineapple curry–the recipes, for which, are all in my book.
After dinner and a dessert of flan, I signed more books and mingled with the diverse crowd.
All in all, it was a wonderful evening and an auspicious launch for my book. I was especially happy to have my mother, Chandra Fernando, in attendance since she was really the inspiration behind the book, and my biggest supporter and fan. Thanks, Ammi!
Also, hats off to the Ambassador, his whole family, and the entire embassy staff, who have really supported myself and the book, as well as doing an amazing job representing the people and country of Sri Lanka.