Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Grand Cookery

This winter I accepted a treasure.

One of my aunts gave me a box full of recipes and cookbooks, many once belonging to my grandmother. I skimmed through the contents a while back, but with the pending Snowpocalypse*, I feel inspired to dig.

*or 'pending Snowmaggedon'.**
**Or 'pending attack by Snowzilla'.*** 
***Or replace 'Snowzilla' with 'Mega-Blizzard'.****
****I want to give the thing the benefit of the doubt. A friendly name. Nick. Nick the Blizzard.

My aunt highlighted a couple of items, including The Boston Cooking-School Cookbook by Fannie Merritt Farmer, 1925. Ragged, fused, and unbound pages make it impossible to say whether this quote would have been read before or after the dedication.

Cookery means the knowledge of Medea and of Circe and of Helen and of the Queen of Sheba. It means the knowledge of all herbs and fruits and balms and spices, and all that is healing and sweet in the fields and groves and savory in meats. It means carefulness and inventiveness and willingness and readiness of appliances. It means the economy of your grandmothers and the science of the modern chemist; it means much testing and no wasting; it means English thoroughness and French art and Arabian hospitality; and, in fine, it means that you are to be perfectly and always ladies – loaf givers. - Ruskin
I doubt that any of my other cookbooks, not even the most treasured or delightful, start in such a grand style: mythical and biblical allusions, a sense of charge and purpose, a reference to cultures, and finally, etymology. What wonders will be contained herein?

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