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Wednesday, March 02, 2005

So I got lucky..


I certainly did. Wandering around semi-aimlessly in Santa Cruz the other day -what a gorgeous town it is by the way- I found a gold mine. Well, it would be one if you were as into books as I am. This gold mine is otherwise called Logos bookstore, a used book and record store in downtown Santa Cruz.

The rambling space was jam-packed with -what else- used books of all sorts. Directed by my guide, who is as big a book geek and an even bigger food geek than I am, I made a sharp left turn as I entered the store, and there I found shelf after shelf of cookbooks, some nearly new, others old and crumpled, with an authentically funky, mildew-y aroma of properly aged books.

I dove right into the stacks. Then somehow a whole hour went missing from the universe, and I finally emerged, grinning from ear to ear, with an arm load of amazing finds. There were two Richard Olney classics: The French Menu cookbook and Lulu's Provençal Table. There was an interesting one, published in the 70's, with recipes from women chefs in France. As a fan of Madeleine Kamman's When French Women Cook, I am very curious to read this. Two of the finds were from the higher end of the gastronomic scale, French Chefs Cooking and Gault-Millau Dining in France. Some of the recipes in these two books are a tad tedious, but the stories are simply fascinating. I also found one book from the famous La Varenne cookery school in France called La Varenne's Paris Kitchen.

And to top it all off was a bright yellow little book -not just any book, mind you- the Alice B. Toklas cookbook! Yes, that one, with that famous fudge recipe.

This is the food of Paradise -of Beaudelaire's Artificial Paradises: it might provide an interesting refreshment for a Ladies' Bridge Club or a chapter meeting of the DAR. In Morocco it is thought to be good for warding off the common cold in damp winter weather and is, indeed, more effective if taken with large quantities of hot mint tea. Euphoria and brilliant storms of laughter; ecstatic reveries and extension of one's personality on several simultaneous planes are to be complacently expected. Almost anything Saint Theresa did, you can do better if you can bear to be ravished by 'un évanouissement reveillé.'

You see, I really did get lucky. So what now? In the name of research, you think? ;-)


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