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Posts Tagged ‘Books’

Come live with me and be my love,

And we will all the pleasures prove

That valleys, groves, hills, and fields,

Woods, or steepy mountain yields.

The book remaining longest on my shelves, therefore deserving of Christopher Marlowe’s pastoral, is Waverly Root’s ‘Food’. Why should this be so? The poor old thing is broken-backed, it looks as if someone hit the edge of the bottom pages with red spray-paint lightly at some time, and the cover is the most repulsive olive-green to ever exist in the world.

In this case you can’t tell a book by its cover. Well, maybe you can. Depends on who you talk to.

Many people think Waverly Root was not quite de rigeur. Or rather, he may have been de rigeur but he was not right about a lot of things he wrote. This could be so. But above all, Waverly was entertaining, even in his sickening pea-green overcoat.

Let me show you Waverly. I’m going to flip open the book and see where it lands.

Broccoli. And E.B. White on broccoli. Chives. And He who bears chives on his breath Is safe from being kissed to death and then on to Martial on chives. FO, stands for fogas, a Hungarian fish. Yes, I know the fellow! LY stands for the lycopodium, whose root is no longer eaten as an aphrodisiac.

Parsley warrants a couple of pages, with a final mention of Platus then on to Chaucer in critical mode about a cook named Hogge of Ware who had some problems with parsley and a goose whose freshness might have been questionable

Of many a pilgrim hastow Cristes curs,

For of they persly yet they fare the wors,

That they han eaten with thy stubbelgoos;

For in thy shoppe is many a fly loos.

In the entry on rye we learn of witchcraft and ergotism.  SO stands for soump oil, a fat universallly used in the Ivory Coast, Chad, and East Africa, made from the intensely bitter fruit of the zachun-oil tree, which fails to explain why it is also called heglik oil

And Venus, of course, stands for a family of clams, notably the quahog, eaten with gusto in New England and when we get close to the end of the book, Waverly tells us that yellowtail (which in some places is called snapper or flounder) is called a I-don’t-know-what in Japan.

I don’t know what, either. But I do enjoy trying to figure it all out with Waverly.

And we will sit upon the rocks,

Seeing the shepherds feed their flocks

By shallow rivers, to whose falls

Melodious birds sing madrigals.

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Have you ever really wanted a book of some sort so much that you started to fantasize about owning it? I don’t mean like owning it part-time, taking it out of the library then returning it. I mean like a book you just have to own.

I have, and it’s strange, because I don’t really want to own a lot of books. Most books I read and give away, if I own them. Yes, even cookbooks. Because the ones that are pretty, really pretty – are mostly just that – only really pretty. Ultimately they are boring. And the ones that talk of one thing or another – or perhaps they have stories in them – unless there is something startlingly exceptional I really don’t want to have to have those books staring at me accusingly from my shelves as I once again run my fingers right past their spines when looking for inspiration or entertainment.

But this one book, I really want right now. It’s not available in the US as far as I know. And since it takes every bit of all my energy and resources to sit right here at home taking care of the usual things of children and life, I’m not about to hop on a plane to Paris to get this book.

But I have had a fantasy about getting the book delivered. And I assure you, this fantasy surpasses by far any fantasy a girl is supposed to have about her wedding. My fantasies about weddings mostly go as far as seeing the cake and wondering what it tastes like. Rather compressed, this wedding fantasy. Oh well.

But my book. Now that’s a different matter. This is how it would happen: I’d be sitting in my kitchen writing on my computer. I can see out the window next to me as I do this. The mailman would appear around the corner, spindle-shanked in his shorts and socks and sandals. My mailman I am sure listens to NPR in his spare time. He is of medium height, has curly dark brown hair and round wire-rimmed glasses and he looks as if he frequents the health-food store, worrying about things that people worry about who frequent the health-food store. But no, this is wrong. I can not have my book delivered by my mailman, for several reasons. One is that his shanks are too skinny. It worries me, his shanks. If they were lamb shanks sitting wrapped in a styrofoam tray wrapped in clear plastic at the grocery store I would not want to buy them.

Do you remember the song from the Sixties that had a phrase in the middle of it ‘Who wants to dance with the lady with the skinny laiiiigs?’ the guy mockingly sang out right in the middle of it, and boy, I’ll tell you at the age of five or six or seven that song made me feel quite discouraged. Apparently nobody wanted to dance with ladies with skinny legs, at all! And my legs were very skinny. I felt terrible.

But anyway. At least that now I have acheived a more Botticelli-like form I don’t have to worry about that anymore! At least now I can look at the Venus-Clamshell lady and closely analyze as much as one can do without a microscope exactly how rounded her tummy is and whether it is more or less rounded than mine, and how all this will affect my outlook on life.

So forget the mailman. My book will be delivered by the UPS guy. The big brown truck will pull up, and park. The UPS guy will hop out of the truck door and walk towards my door. Now I always get a little nervous when the UPS guy delivers anything because of one particular thing. Fact is, the guy is just about my height. And since I’m pretty short, this doesn’t happen too often. But when it does it can be a little weird, because guys whose eyes are pretty much on a level with mine have an unusual aura. At least they have an unusual aura with me, when their eyes meet mine, and this is what makes me nervous when I have to sign the UPS thingie. There is a strange energy emitting from the guy who is pretty much my height. He is looking at me, and as I have the ability to see parallel worlds that exist alongside this regular one every once in a while I know the parallel world that is existing here, coming from the short guys eyes out towards me.

In his parallel world, both he and I are in the same place at my door but in a flash he is no longer a UPS guy. In a startling instant his UPS uniform sort of rips off all by itself and he is dressed in a Tarzan outfit. He is King of the Jungle.

Trust me, I cut that parallel universe thing off right at that point. I don’t want to know any more about it.

But here he is, anyway, with my book. He greets me, does the parallel universe thing, I sign the UPS magical signing thing, and I have a cardboard box in my hand with ‘Amazon’ printed on it. Joy! Oh joy! My book is here!

The rest, dear reader, you must imagine. How I rip open the cardboard, lovingly caress the cover, gently turn then wildly flip through the pages, staggeringly thrilled at the entire thing!

I went through my shelves the other day, to see what books I’d kept through many travels, too many damp cellars, and much giving-away of books. Here’s the list:

Waverly Root – Food

Time-Life Series Cookbooks – Vienna’s Empire

Ellen Brown – Cooking with the New American Chefs

Lenotre’s Desserts and Pastries

Craig Claiborne – The New York Times International Cookbook

Judith Olney’s Entertainments

Witty and Colchie – Better Than Store Bought

Alan Davidson – North Atlantic Seafood

Evan Jones – American Food, The Gastronomic Story

Maria Polushkin Robbins – The Cook’s Quotation Book

Roget’s Pocket Thesaurus

One book short of a dozen, in this category! To have almost a dozen books of my dreams – this is good.

But I can still dream of yet another. Even if I do have to meet Tarzan’s eyes momentarily to get it.

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I’m not sure whether I think that people who read books who also cook are very amusing people in general or whether I136552743_6feec58175 think that people who cook who also read books are very amusing people. From the festival website:

April 1st is the birthday of French gastronome Jean-Anthelme Brillat-Savarin (1755-1826), famous for his book Physiologie du goût, a witty meditation on food. April fools’ day is also the perfect day to eat your words and play with them as the “books” are consumed on the day of the event. This ephemeral global banquet, in which anyone can participate, is shared by all on the internet and allows everyone to preserve and discover unique bookish nourishments

The photos of winners from previous years are wonderful (and hilarious at times also). (Click through the links to see more winners from the main page . . .)

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I LOVE IT!!!!!!!

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