"Perhaps there is some secret sort of homing instinct in books that brings them to their perfect readers."
"That's what I love about reading: one tiny thing will interest you in a book, and that tiny thing will lead you onto another book, and another bit there will lead you onto a third book. It's geometrically progressive--all with no end in sight, and for no other reason than sheer enjoyment."
Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Barrows
My son gave me a wonderful Christmas present. It has my favourite things all wrapped up in one: history, culture, cooking and keeping notebooks....curious?? It's a book, (a signed copy, bless his heart! ) called Bought, Borrowed and Stolen: Recipes from a Travelling Chef. The idea is wonderful; based on her diaries as a child travelling with her family (her father made historical atlases) and then on her exploration of the food of other cultures as a chef, Allegra McEvedy turns what were essentially her notebooks on travel and food into a gorgeous and inspiring conversation (with the occasional salty word, just so you know.) As if the personal experiences, photos, ephemeria and delicious menus weren't enticement enough, she also shares photos of the knife collection she has made on her journeys. She has sought out a handmade knife from each country she has visited.
So why this note under Book of Centuries? (I knew you would ask.) McEvedy's knife collection immediately made me think of the way Mason's students would pick one special thing to follow and draw throughout the centuries, often in the same position on each page. (I am sure had McEvedy kept a Book of Centuries, she would have been drawing knives.) Beyond that even, there is a map on the flyleaf which appears to be a map of the world with the countries she has visited circled in coloured pencil. I had already had in mind to make the last map page of my Book of Centuries my hand drawn map of the world with a list of the countries I have traveled to listed on the lined page opposite with the dates of my journeys. This cinched it! Now, what to cook first??
"They were not going to school to learn where they were, let alone the pleasures and the pains of being there, or what ought to be said there. You couldn't learn those things in a school. They went to school, apparently, to learn to say over and over again, regardless of where they were, what had already been said too often. They learned to have a very high opinion of God and a very low opinion of His works--although they could tell you this world had been made by God Himself.
What they didn't see was that it is beautiful and some of the greatest beauties are the briefest."
Wendell Berry, Jayber Crow