Saturday Beans & Sunday Suppers: Kitchen Stories from Mary's Farm by Edie Clark
Nonfiction - Essays
2007 Powersbridge Press
Finished on December 7, 2015
Rating: 4/5 (Very Good)
It seems to me that our three basic needs, for food and security and love, are so mixed and mingled and entwined that we cannot straightly think of one without the others. So it happens that when I write of hunger, I am really writing about love and the hunger for it, and warmth and the love of it and the hunger for it... and then the richness and fine reality of hunger satisfied... and it is all one. ~ M.F.K. Fisher
Life-saving iced tea, Indian pudding "as it should be," dandelion wine made in the days when flowers mean peace, roast lamb on an Icelandic farm, baked beans from those who know best, cod cheeks and ale. Take this journey from the early 1960s all the way to the present and visit all kinds of kitchens on the way through the decades. In Saturday Beans & Sunday Suppers, you'll discover a delicious collection of thoughts, memories and recipes, all about food, written by one of New England's most treasured writers. Here, food is not just sustenance but life and spirit and communion all in one. Guaranteed to inspire an appetite, for life and for good food, happily prepared.
What a delightful book! I enjoyed each and every chapter. My dear friend, Nan, gave me this book several years ago and I decided to give it a try, starting on the day before Thanksgiving. It was the perfect sort of book to read during the busy holiday season and I read one or two chapters each night. Each chapter includes a recipe and I marked all but one or two to try. Here's a list, just for fun:
Not Aunt Peg's Fish Chowder
Aunt Peg's Iced Tea (with lemons and oranges)
French Onion Soup
Vinegar Cake (chocolate cake, from The I Hate to Cook Book by Peg Bracken)
Indian Pudding (cornmeal, molasses, milk & eggs)
Vermont Baked Beans
Chicken and Dumplings (I already have a wonderful recipe, but I'd like to try this one since it's meant to be cooked in a crockpot)
Cold Cucumber Soup
Nothing fancy or elaborate, but her remarks about these recipes made me eager to try them.
On food and memory:
When I sat down to write this book, I believed I was going to write about some favorite New England foods and include the recipes for each. But as the book progressed, I realized that food cannot be separated from place and memory, family and events from the past. In a way, then, there is no more powerful memoir than the food itself, a sensory cue strong enough to conjure the past as present, the present as past. Aromas and touch can bring back the pageant of what came before.
Food, made by our own hands or passed to us from loved ones, is, without parallel and without guise, our lifeblood. It is what creates us, mind and body and spirit. Some food is simply nourishment, passed to us through a window of a fast-food chain and eaten from our laps as we navigate traffic. This is hardly food, only fuel, and even that is questionable nourishment. Food created by us and for us is our substance, the essence of love and reminiscence.
I knew nothing about Edie Clark before reading this culinary delight and now I'm curious about The Place He Made, her memoir about her husband's death from cancer, as well as The View from Mary's Farm, an earlier collection of her essays. She has that writing style of familiarity, reminding me of a cozy afternoon spent with a good friend, sharing a cup of hot tea and meaningful conversation. Highly recommend!
Food is an adventure, food is communion, food is comfort, food is love. Food is a very big way that we live our lives. We might as well make it good. ~ Edie Clark
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