Today I had to return my books to the library, both Julia’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking and Julie Powell’s documentation of her quest to cook the entire book (The contents not the book itself.) And actually, Julia’s book was due 3 days ago, but I just was too lazy after work to got those extra 3miles out of my way to return it.
There is a sense of emptiness about losing these friends. I have perused Amazon for Julia’s tome, but they have strategically listed it at $24.95 making it just under the $25 free shipping bar. One day I know I will add this to my collection which has been growing at an alarming rate lately. Not only do I have two shelves of bound cookbooks covering everything from the latest Food Network stars to cheapies from the 70s that I picked up at garage sales and thrift stores mainly for the kitchy pictures. Underneath these weighted pieces of particle board rest almost 10 years of cooking magazines that are like porn to me with succulent pictures and empty promises of quests unconquered. In addition to all of these, I have shelves of papers in my den with recipes freely printed from a host of Web sites and waiting to be categorized and bound.
But I miss this book. And I miss Julie as well. Her prose and way of speaking about food as if it is the little voice inside my head have been a friendly reminder of my passions. I can see how she, and Julia, saw food as a representation of sex in a way and this has made me in my single-girl time willing to wait for the good stuff over the fast-fling! It has also reminded me of the power of cooking and the lusciousness that each step holds for those willing to put the time in. Chopping, fondling, rinsing, kneading, eating with my fingers and washing away the mess with warm soapy water, all hold sensations that I have been missing lately.
It seems that the impression these books has left on me filters into many other things in my day. For instance, as I was catching up on True Blood (spoiler alert) I watched MaryAnn slice a human heart she had extracted from one of her minions and use it to make a soufflé. I thought of Julie and how brave she was to touch, cook and eat kidneys, livers and such, in fact relishing them. I don’t think I could do that. Then when MaryAnn served her guests Tara and Eggs the Hunter’s Souffle as she called it, they ate it up like animals starved for ages. Very gross in a way, and I thought I had a very open mind.
It was also Julie’s book that opened up the conversation that Farida and I had on the plane to NYC and who knows what else. But like all things bookish, it is time to move on and find another writer to absorb. And of course, I have plenty of recipes to explore. And like Julie, I have a few adventurous friends to share them with making it good for everyone involved.
What’s your favorite cookbook??