42. Sociable Bridge: And a Canadian bridge club makes publishing history

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The 80s were great for Canadian bridge. Along with Audrey Grant selection to replace Goren by writing the ACBL’ s official bridge manual, starting in 1980, a ladies bridge club in Calgary began publishing their Best of Bridge cookbook series. ‘

For 10 years the ladies had left husband and kids at home to take off for a weekend of “bridge, bacardis and buffets” as  they put it. Someone said, “Why don’t we write a cookbook, make money and we can afford taking a weekend in Vancouver?”

The thing is they DID it! The first edition of the Best of Bridge Series was published in 1980 and by the end of the 90s, millions of copies had been sold in Canada and the U.S.  Having self-published a few books myself, I am staggered at their achievment.

I love the introduction to the first book in the series that sets out rules and rituals of the club. Hostesses must provide two tables with ashtrays (this was still the smoking era), two or so bottles of wine, a good meal from Best of Bridge and a book of Goren. There’s to be no diets or helping with the dishes or talking about children, dogs or operations. No more than three glasses of wine per player. No killer instinct.

I didn’t come across the Best of Bridge series until the end of the 90s when I found one of the newer editions in an independent bookstore in Cocoa Beach.  I was so delighted to find it I called the publishers and told them of my on again off again book project about women’s bridge club history and pop culture. They sent me an autographed copy of  a current edition and I promised them I’d send them mine. But by the time I did that in 2009, they’d retired and I never did find a specific address where I was sure I could reach them anymore.

The series far as I now was picked up by another Canadian publisher and is still in print.


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