A couple of weekends ago Mike and I went to the Frankfurt Book Fair. The International Book fair invites publishers (mainly, I think) and other book industry people along for a week long trade fair. On the last weekend it is open to the public, and lets just say I don’t really get why people go. I seriously felt like I had landed on another planet (and it wasn’t because all the German youth turn this into a dress up Comicon event). It cost 15 euros per person for a day and 21 euros for a weekend pass and quite frankly I should have put that money towards more books. Here’s my issues….
- Firstly, you couldn’t buy books at the fair. If you arrived on a Saturday or too early on Sunday the publishers were not selling books. Even if they did start selling them after 2pm on Sunday they weren’t going to sell them at a discount. The strange thing was that a lot of publishers had books shrink-wrapped and ready to go. One publisher had about 30 Jamie Oliver books all ready to sell. I’m sure there was a good reason, like it was too much trouble, there would be too many line ups etc. But really with some careful planning and thought I’m sure they could sell books the whole way through.
- Secondly, authors did readings and interviews in aisles. Some publishers had organised authors to come for book signings, readings and interviews. Great right? Nope. One author we passed was right in the middle of an aisle next to the publishers stand. We and 1000s’ of other people had to push past her and the small crowd that had gathered to listen. Another author came to a publishers stand for an interview and the crowd went through the aisles, into other publishers stands and basically anywhere someone could stand, but you had no chance of seeing the author. Why didn’t someone set up a place for these people to conduct their readings and for a crowd to sit/stand out of the way? If you thought you were going to see your favourite author that day, chances were slim.
- Thirdly, everyone was carrying show-bags but no one was giving them out, what were Germans collecting in these magical show-bags? My guess brochures, catalogues and rubbish – ever heard of the internet? Pretty sure you can find all the information in those catalogues on the internet. As there was no one giving out show-bags near us my guess is that they were more shopping bags given to people as they collected too many brochures. No one offered Mike and I one. To go with this lack of show bags lots of publishers were giving certain individuals (their friends and relatives) drinks and nibbles. You also had to have vouchers to get food or other items from some stalls. Where did you get these vouchers from? Who the hell knows.
Germany has some really lovely and impressive book stores, I totally love them. They are Twice/Thrice the size as of the ones in Australia and a lot more inviting with cafes and reading areas. I can’t understand why someone would pay 15euros (the book fair averages around 300,000 people a year) to go to the book fair when it doesn’t offer as much functionality as a book store where entry is free. The only thing that saved it for us were the International English publishers. Some of the stall holders at publisher stands were selling the books heavily discounted (and keeping the money on the side –maybe :) ) and one publisher gave Mike a book that he really, really wanted for free because they weren’t selling their books (he was a really nice man).
At the fair we did see this book, Vegan for Fun, and after I went to the book store (like everyone else – I knew, cause they were all carrying show bags) to buy the book. The bookstore was making a killing that day. I was really frustrated at the book fair as I had felt a bit ripped off, but this book made it all better. The pictures are lovely and everything looks really yummy. I also wanted to buy a German cookbook to try new “local” ingredients.
The first recipe Mike wanted to try were the Snicky Bars, randomness was out the window this week for a more direct approach. These were really nice (if you like peanut butter). They taste just how they look. Sweet biscuit bottom, sweet sticky peanut centre and melted chocolate on top; don’t count the calories. This recipe isn’t hard but does take a while to complete. Firstly you have to make the base by making pastry and letting it sit in the fridge, then you need to bake and cool it. So you need a good afternoon to get this one done.
I was also pleasantly surprised to be proved completely wrong when it came to a cooking technique. The recipe stated that you needed to roll out the peanut butter mixture between to pieces of baking paper in order to get it on to the base. “Never”, I thought, “the peanut butter will run everywhere!” But I was completely wrong. It was actually the only way to get it on to the base!
These were a really easy, uncomplicated, yummy snack! Two thumbs up!
This recipe comes from:
by Attila Hildmann