Cookbooks & Drinking Tea

Vancouver

Everyone seems to be in some stage of de-cluttering, down-sizing, and reorganizing these days.  I’m not one to make New Year’s resolutions for many reasons, not only because those imposing promises made to myself on January 1st seem to lose vigour around January 15th.  I find that the first two weeks of January are best used to recall the glow of the holiday season while resting with a cup of tea and a good book.

February is an entirely different matter.   Spring is around the corner.  The hint of colour is rising from the dark earth and a fine mist of rain has come to the West Coast of British Columbia.  Now is the time to focus on the task at hand.  Yes, I am in the de-accumulation phase of my life-cycle. Every year, I take on a specific project, more of a “bite-size” approach.  I have spent years accumulating; so a few years to do the opposite seems only fair.  Besides, I enjoy the decision-making process of sorting through my inanimate things that, as we all know, hold precious memories.   My current assignment: to tackle my bookshelves filled with cookbooks.

Cookbooks have an enormous storage capacity for every kind of recollection, from birthdays, weddings, anniversaries to farewells and funerals. They travel with us through the course of our lives, accumulating exponentially with the evolution of food preparation.

I have made myself a pot of tea, a blend of rosemary, lavender, ginger, cinnamon and black pepper; and have settled down in my favourite chair with my cookbooks gathered together, some on the floor and others on the coffee table.  It will take some time to go through them all, for I expect to recall many “cooking” adventures.

As Ruth Reichl once wrote: “Pull up a chair. Take a taste. Come join us. Life is so endlessly delicious.” 

 

30 Comments Add yours

  1. I recently had to downsize because we were moving to a much smaller place.
    Letting go of some of my books was the hardest thing that I had to do.
    I donated a lot of them to the library. If I want to read them again….I will go there!

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    1. Clanmother says:

      Oh Mary!! I know exactly what you mean. Books define our lives, mark the transitions, and add drama, humour, knowledge etc to our daily routines. To me, they are the best form of entertainment and source of information. Libraries are my most favourite destinations. My de-cluttering project seemed to mount as the days past. It is easy to accumulate – I’ve had years of practice at it. But the opposite, well, there is a different matter altogether. Thank you for connecting – looking forward to getting back to blogging.

      Like

      1. Yes! It was easy for me to get rid of things…but when I came to my bookshelves, it became difficult. It was then that I realized how much I am connected to books. When my husband was in the military, we moved about every 3 years. The first thing I did when I moved to a new place was find a library. That was my comfort. Now I have heard talk about closing a lot of the libraries down, because everything can be done electronically…including books. NO! OH NO!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Clanmother says:

        I know exactly what you mean, Mary! Libraries have always given me a sense of permanence in a mercurial world. Books and libraries will continue to transition into new forms of communication. We live in interesting times.

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  2. Roxanne | The Lemon And Jar says:

    Absolutely beautiful!! Loving it!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Clanmother says:

      Thank you so much for stopping by!!!!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. How did this February project go? Thanks for the gorgeous skyline photo.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Clanmother says:

      Still working on it! Once I started on the cookbooks it became a huge decluttering project. Now the whole family is involved! I can hardly wait to go back to simply drinking tea!😃 thanks for stopping by … I’ll be back to full time blogging soon.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I like the reflections here on cookbooks. I look through my mom’s cookbooks and note her handwritten notes as well as stains of food – it makes me smile. YOU also make me smile 🙂 AS WELL, thank you for lovely skyline photo!

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    1. Clanmother says:

      I know exactly what you mean, Christy. The notes, the stains, even the feel of the well-worn pages brings back a flood of memories. I have decided to make bread from scratch! Should be an interesting exercise! 🙂 I was looking at my grandmother’s 3 by 5 cards and found a recipe for making soap from lye. There are many stories hidden in the folds of a cookbook!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. How wonderful to hear of your bread-making exercise! Please let me know how it goes, R. I like how you see books as more than words but instead as experiences. I like how you see layers, as I do. Wishing you a wonderful Sunday 🙂

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      2. Clanmother says:

        Thank you so much Christy for your comments. Over the past few months I have been considering the next steps for this blog. Food is the centre of human experience, from births, to weddings, to anniversaries to celebrations of life. I knew someone who kept the family recipes in a safety deposit box – those precious instructions were valued far above gold. As for books – they keep the narratives going from generation to generation. How would we live without them? All the very, very best for a new week.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Aquileana says:

    As spring was around the corner by then, I guess that in that context, organizing stuff and tossing aside things we might not use anymore is a sort of experience of cyclical renewal, somehow…
    By the way, I loved Ruth Reichl’s quote “Pull up a chair. Take a taste. Come join us. Life is so endlessly delicious”. Sending you all y best wishes, dear Rebecca! Aquileana ⭐

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    1. Clanmother says:

      Thank you Aquileana!!! I always appreciate your insight and clarity. The experience of cyclical renewal – a wonderful phrase. I have found that it is easier to accumulate than de-accumulate. We are very good at collecting things, but have difficulty letting go, not because we are attached to the material possession, but because we cling to the meaning behind them. My grandmother kept every letter that she received. They are a treasure trove of life as it was in her time. My challenge going forward is to gather this knowledge and somehow integrate the thoughts held in those letters into my time line. It is all about memories that bring back a sense of community, of hope, of joy. I love that Ruth Reichl’s quote for that reason – it is about sharing the feast of living. Thank you for your best wishes – mine are coming back to you with equal speed. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Ms Frances says:

    I don’t see a couple of my favorites. You must have already put them on the “save shelf”. Good for you, we all need to say “goodbye” to some things we have enjoyed.

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    1. Clanmother says:

      There are quite a few on my “save shelf” – stay tuned for some of my favourites!! It is so very hard to say “goodbye” so I’m going to find a way to save them on my computer. Ah – now there is another great place to hoard things! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Dina says:

    What a lovely shot of Vancouver, dear Rebecca! ❤ The weather is good in the Rhine Valley right now and I just got back from a long, brisk walk in glorious sunshine. 🙂

    I love this post. My mother turned 80 last year and she has the same approach as you, clearing all the corners, going over the bookshelves and the cupboards and lots more. Every now and then she calls me to hear if I'd like to have this or keep that or she can give away my things from the past. It brings back so many precious memories. Thank you for quoting Ruth Reichl; “Pull up a chair. Take a taste. Come join us. Life is so endlessly delicious.” It went straight into my little book of gems. 🙂
    ReDucing and reUsing is fine, but mainly and before all, it reminds me to think twice before buying! 🙂

    Big hug to you from the Four of us,
    with loving fayriedust from Siri and Selma,
    Dina xo

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    1. Clanmother says:

      Thank you so much for sending Siri and Selma’s loving fayriedust. I felt it through the cables and wires. I have been thinking a great deal about accumulating these past few years. We are skilled in the art of addition, but have very little experience in the art of subtraction. Perhaps we feel our lives diminishing, when we downsize and let go of our “stuff.” Or maybe it is a signal that the way in which we participate within our society is changing. It really is a delicate balance, something that your mother has mastered.

      I agree – I think twice before buying. The words “more is less” has become a mantra when I head out shopping. A few years ago, I read Mary Catherine Bateson’s book, Composing a Further Life: The Age of Active Wisdom and had to smile when I came to this thought:

      “Sorting gets harder as time goes on–it requires a sort of ruthless decisiveness, while indecision results in endless dithering. Five moves, they say, equal a fire. But those who haven’t moved may begin to need a fire.”

      Hugs coming across the waters to my dear friends!! 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Dina says:

        Thank you so much for this loving thoughts and inspiring words, Rebecca. I think reducing and subtraction is not a matter of getting old, only wise, clear and free of clutter. It clears the mind and makes room for creativity,
        But I have to admit, I find it very hard to get rid of books. I’m a booklover and book collector. maybe i need the company and the support of the loving books to feel wise getting older? 😉
        One day I’m facing my final move; from Germany to England, ha, that’s going to be a real trial, combining two book collectors under one roof, two times thousands of books challenging each other …:D
        I have order “Composing a further a life”, thanks for the tip! Amazon makes it so easy to order before I even get the chance to think twice … 🙂
        ((((HUGS)))) ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤

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      2. Clanmother says:

        Ah!! Books – they are the most valuable treasures in my house. My father loved books and collected them all of his life. When there were not enough shelves, he would store them under beds, and pile them up wherever there was free space. I grew up loving books. There is something about the feel and smell of the pages. I know that there is some precious nugget of information captured in the words. You must write about your transition from Germany to England. You would be able to provide invaluable advise to anyone facing the same situation. There are many things to consider, especially now that we have the ability to choose digital and audio.

        I know exactly what you mean about Amazon! One click! I found Mary Catherine Bateson through a quote. Then I found out that she was Margaret Meade’s daughter. Many hugs coming back your way. I so enjoy our dialogues. 🙂 ❤

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Gallivanta says:

    Oh my, what a delightful task. Cookbooks are wonderful but I haven’t ever cooked my way through an entire book of recipes as in Julie and Julia. Have you?

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    1. Clanmother says:

      I read the book, Julie and Julia; actually went to Julie’s blog after viewing the movie. No, I have never, ever made it through an entire book of recipes. And yet, cookbooks entice me with their possibilities, especially those that offer a gourmet meal in 30 minutes. After a busy day at work, I would come home and watch the food channel because it allowed me to recall times in my mother’s kitchen when we actually sat down for all three meals. Today, many people (including me) simply cannot accommodate that structure. Actually, I like a less formal approach, which includes smaller meals more often in the day. I read an article a few years back that suggested that we look at cookbooks because we know “someday” we will have the time to really spend in the kitchen. One thing is certain, food is a wonderful way to share a conversation.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Gallivanta says:

        Maybe ‘someday’ we will but, much as enjoy cooking, what I want ‘someday’ is to run away from the kitchen, or let someone else cook for me. 😀 At least for a few months. 😉

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      2. Clanmother says:

        I laughed out loud when I read your comments! We may want to cook and bake – that is the glamorous part. But let us not forget the hard work is in the clean-up. I have never seen anyone washing pots and pans on the food channel; nor have I seen a photo of the clean-up grace the glossy pages of a cookbook!!!

        Liked by 2 people

      3. Gallivanta says:

        So very true. Cookbooks should include, alongside each recipe, an illustration of the toll it will take on the kitchen. Actually we have a NZ cook/recipe creator named Alison Holst. I like her recipes because they involve very little equipment. I rarely make a mess when I use her recipes.

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      4. Clanmother says:

        Just found Alison Holst and have already toured her amazing website. I notice that her son is now following in her footsteps! 🙂

        http://www.holst.co.nz/

        Liked by 2 people

      5. Gallivanta says:

        Yes, he is and he has the same pragmatic approach to cooking.

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      6. Clanmother says:

        I am looking forward to exploring his website. Thank you again, dear Gallivanta! 🙂 Hugs!!

        Liked by 1 person

  9. cindy knoke says:

    It is so wonderful to read a post from you. British Columbia is so devastatingly beautiful. Just like it’s citizens. Just like you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Clanmother says:

      Cindy – you always make my day pure sunshine, even when it’s pouring buckets here in Vancouver. Your fresh approach to life is truly inspiring! 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

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