Cookbooks

Cookbook #3: FINALLY!

noun_12289_ccOn my table lies a book, and there it has lain all winter. At that time my mind only had one track: to spend the least amount of time outside of my bed. The meals were quick and inhaled more than eaten. One quick bite and I ran back and once again kindled a hearth within my sheets.

And still the dusty blue jacket remained untouched as I questioned the purpose of this blog, the futility of self-expression, and the apathy of readers in this god-forsaken city of shut-down metros, 7ft snow piles, and winds that seemed to increase in velocity at every street corner. It lay there calling me. My own steadfast tin-soldier; it knew that someday its time would come.

And then one day, my ride home was not in darkness. The flowers were blooming and so too I returned to life. And as I walked freely around my house my eyes dropped on my steadfast soldier who had lain all winter waiting for me.

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Das praktische Kochbuch “The practical cookbook” was written on its cover and as I opened and flipped through its pages, I understood why. Ada Boni’s book whispered of the delights of Italian cooking, and how mothers and housewives must learn to cherish and dedicate oneself to the ART of cooking. From its dark blue cover to the rigid Fraktur designed by a precise and punctilious bookbinder this book speaks to a different era and a different sentiment than Ada Boni’s. For Davidis,  “practical housewives and cooks will agree that you cannot consistently use or trust other cookbooks on the market. Because they too often consist of expensive, foreign components.” Davidis’ hope was to bring “Sparsamkeit” (thriftiness), “schnell” (quick) and “nützlich” (useful) recipes to the German housewife, not the art of cooking. “Praktisches Kochbuch für die gewöhnliche und feinere Küche”: “A practical cookbook for everyday and refined cooking…with a special emphasis on beginners and prospective housewives” that’s the title of a book that will not try to deceive you with its superficial garishness, it will give you sound, simple recipes and sometimes that’s all a housewife really needs.

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This is a broad generalization, but perhaps this is a common distinction between Northern and Southern European cultures. Being of sound protestant upbringing, Northern Europeans downplay the joys of good eating. If you have watched Babette’s feast you already know this.The contrast between how lovingly and adroitly Babette prepares the meals to the hesitance and misgivings with which the Danish sisters approach this meal is a perfect example of how greatly attitudes can vary. But don’t take my word for it, just watch the scene yourself.(Especially great is min 7:45 to min 8:05)

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I don’t mean to say that Northern Europeans do not love food. As one friend recently said, “Who doesn’t love a good baked potato?” It may not be vol-au-vent, but there’s beauty in simplicity and practicality as well.

Although spring is coming, the tomatoes are still watery and tasteless, the eggplants are being imported from Chile, the only fruit I have eaten in a long time is frozen. And so I turn from the flavors of summer to the flavors of spring.

Also, sitzen wir uns am Tisch und geniessen wir die Speisen!

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5 Comments

  • Reply Davidis’ Walk Down Memory Lane | the forgotten recipe: Explorations in cooking and translation July 6, 2015 at 7:07 pm

    […] recommend a peak. I was struck by how many of the cookbook covers were renditions of Davidis’ Praktische Kochbuch. Needless to say, it’s a neat way of seeing just how popular she was. I’ve added a few […]

  • Reply Direct Translation: Pea Soup | the forgotten recipe: Explorations in cooking and translation July 7, 2015 at 5:42 pm

    […] yesterday. Of course, there are tons of other cookbooks but I found tons of versions of Davidis’ Praktische Kochbuch. Needless to say, it’s a neat way of seeing just how popular she was. I’ve added a few […]

  • Reply Cookbook #4: Spain, Franco, And Spain’s Very Late Go to Cookbook: 1080 Recipes | the forgotten recipe: Explorations in cooking and translation July 14, 2015 at 12:49 am

    […] with Boni’s flowery language, enough with Davidis’ succinct instructions, and it’s not time for canning yet, so no Norwegian either! Today we celebrate Spain and […]

  • Reply Cookbook #4: Spain, Fascism and 1080 Recipes - Forgotten Recipes October 15, 2015 at 5:28 pm

    […] with Boni’s flowery language, enough with Davidis’ succinct instructions, and it’s not time for canning yet, so no Norwegian either! Today we celebrate Spain and […]

  • Reply Direct Translation: Pea Soup - Forgotten Recipes October 23, 2015 at 4:31 pm

    […] yesterday. Of course, there are tons of other cookbooks but I found tons of versions of Davidis’ Praktische Kochbuch. Needless to say, it’s a neat way of seeing just how popular she was. I’ve added a few […]

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