05 October 2008


I must be coming round a bit because I decided to participate in the Musings Sorted Book Challenge. As you can see, I came up with rather a sad little story. Only one of these books is mine, the others belong to John, but he seems to have most of the prime book space in the house whereas most of mine are in boxes in the cellar. Colette's "Earthly Paradise" was in the pile rather than the one here, but my copy is so worn out now from frequent dippings in that the spine is illegible. Strange that I managed to find another book of the same title .

Raking in the cupboards is perfect rainy afternoon activity, restful and therapeutic. A few weeks ago when I was engaged in some procrastinatory play I did a bit of patchwork.

As I've said before, I try to curb my own collecting tendencies but that does not mean that I can't make use of others. These come from John's little collection of King Penguins. The covers are beautifully designed, capturing the essence of the contents. The illustrations are a bit more hit and miss depending on the subject matter.

One of the reasons I was raking in the cupboards was to find the"Life in an English Village" KP, illustrated by Edward Bawden and drawn from his home village, Great Bardfield in Essex. Published in 1949, the book has two types of illustrations - set pieces depicting collections of tea pots, baskets, corn dollies, and then coloured lithographs of people around the village - a housewife in her kitchen, the cobbler, a tailor sitting cross legged, the village pub, the baby clinic, Sunday evening, the vicar. I thought it would be interesting to repeat the exercise with a photographic essay to see how much, or how little, things had changed. (I might even get round to it one day.)

The examination then set me off to see what other Bawden works I had tucked away and I sorted some from my old cookery books. He decorated Ambrose Heath's "Good Food throughout the Year" - a noble book lauding the virtues of food in season, originally published in 1932 and revised in 1964. Bawden's illustration for October is lovely - apple picking, billowing clouds from bonfires, baskets and barrels of fruity deliciousness.

Unfortunately, the illustrations are more to my taste than some of the recipes - an excess of butter and creamy sauces. And I'm not all that taken with the idea of tripe casserole either. But let me leave you with what Mr Heath has to say about October: "The holiday season is over and at last we have more time for our culinary contemplations, and those who from pleasure or necessity cook for themselves will find the shorter evenings leading them to the stove rather than to the open window."

Indeed. As Mr Heath observes, the season of soups is upon us.



Juliet said...

Oh, those King Penguins! Divine! I have a few, but not enough to make such a glorious patchwork. Thanks for playing the Sorted challenge too. So many of the stories people have come up with are wistful and sad ...

j said...

Beautiful covers- thanks for the large image.

"I thought it would be interesting to repeat the exercise with a photographic essay to see how much, or how little, things had changed. (I might even get round to it one day.)"

Please do. If you could manage to find time, that would be fascinating to see/read about.

Oh, you don't care for tripe casserole, Dear? ;)