“Outside of a dog, a book is man’s best friend. Inside of a dog it’s too dark to read.”
~Attributed to Groucho Marx
I began my career in literary hoarding before I could speak.
Both of my parents were educators that devoured books and added to their diverse collections so when I was born, I inherited the bookworm gene, as well as an already full bookcase of my own.
Those two clearly had to break the mold after me because I was just too darn fabulous, but the damage had already been done. I not only loved books in my favorite genres but I love to read EVERYTHING I get my hands on. Books of all variety are revered old friends but I do especially love old cookbooks.
Even better if there is writing in the margins, old newspaper clippings or sticky notes hidden between the pages. Someone was moved enough to add their notes, thoughts and best intentions in there. I feel an odd connection to those that held that book before me, as if we were bonded in some strange fashion because we embarked upon the same journey in those pages.
I made my weekly stroll through the used bookstore, not looking for anything specific but wandering about until the right book picked me. As I chatted with the owner, a book caught my eye.
Hershey’s 1934 Cookbook called to me like a little vintage piece of gold.
“You light up like my wife does when she finds a treasure here,” he said. ” What do you see?”
I fetched it from the shelf and flipped it open to see the print year.
Fourteenth Printing of this book in 1983. Not terribly old but totally fantastic none the less!
A couple pieces of paper fell out.
“Sold!” I tell him, picking up the papers and putting them back inside for investigation later.
He laughs and teases that he’s going to start hiding things in his books on purpose since it gives me such a thrill.
On one of the scraps of paper was a pretty special poem.
Reminds me of so many foodie friendship moments of my own.
When first the land was settled
and the women all did come;
They brought with them the best they had
of treasures from their home.
Each one brought her recipes
across each different sea,
To make this place a home just
like the home that used to be.
Then in friendship of the land
they traded here and yon,
To learn of other’s different ways
to put the kettle on.
They gave their best to dearest friends,
who in turn gave to them, you see;
For ’twas like a visit from a friend
to use her recipe.
More often than not I have found some of my most treasured friendships began with food. Our foodie friendship is formed on common ground we all share. We cook it, shop for it, eat it, clean it, budget for it, grow it… acquisition and consumption of food takes up quite a bit of our time. An exceptional meal is a magnetizing force that pulls everyone together in such an artistic and passionate way. Creating bonds, sharing laughs, making memories that will last in our hearts far longer than that second helping will on your hips.
Even those few that have professed that they can’t cook, have at least one dish that makes them smile ear to ear when they talk about it.
Some pretty darn life changing moments have occurred after the words, “I have a recipe you HAVE to try” were uttered.
I may be geographically unsuited to having the privilege to stand in the kitchens most of the fabulous foodie friends I adore but by the powers of the Internet I can bring them close anytime.
When someone shares with you a recipe, a meal or demands you must take a bite because it is far too wonderful to miss, know that you are loved and a part of a wide net of foodie friendship. They are giving you their best because you are special.
We all do it a little differently… and that is a wonderful thing.