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Author lectures on Ireland

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By Lisa King

Local author Viki Pidgeon received a warm welcome at the Shelby County Library on Thursday night when she gave a talk on Ireland.

Pidgeon is the recipient of an IPPY Award, from independent book publishers, for her cookbook, Ireland's Comfort Food, which she published in 2007.

Pidgeon, who has dual citizenship, both American and Irish, brought along some Irish food, prepared using recipes, from her book, to  share with her audience.

She also had copies of her book on hand, and it was easy to see why she earned her Ippy.

The cover of her cookbook is charmingly illustrated  (by her sister),  and features a lamb eating a bowl of soup under a shade tree with an Irish landscape in the background. The book is filled not only with authentic Celtic recipes, but also  with colors photos of Irish chefs in native dress, Irish landmarks and Irish landscapes dotted with quaint cottages and a castle or two.

Pidgeon, a Shelby County resident of 32 years, said she first fell in love with Ireland when she and her husband, Barney, traveled there in 1998 to visit his grandfather's farm.

"I have this vision of having my own little place in Ireland," she said, smiling wistfully at the map of Ireland she had brought to illustrate her discussion.

She explained  Irish customs, traditions and tourism, both in Northern and Southern Ireland.

"The best thing about visiting in Ireland is that you get to visit a foreign country but you don't have any problems with communication," she said, laughing. "And their accent is really charming."

She pointed out on the map the place where she attended culinary school in Ireland.

"In November 2005, I enrolled at the Belle Island School of Cookery in County Fermanagh in Northern Ireland," she said.  "The food in Ireland is really exceptional. The lamb stews and the fish dishes -- without question, they have some world class chefs in Ireland."

The main lobby of the library features  Pidgeon's book in  a glass display case.

Copies may be obtained through the library at 633-3803.