I’m on a bit of a Penguin book grabbing frenzy at the moment and managed to pick up a grubby copy of ‘Mastering the Art of French Cooking Vol 2’ by Simone Beck and Julia Child. I’m not sure if I would have been aware of the book if not for sneakily watching ‘Julia and Julia once when it was on at home but I love it already because it is full of diagrams and lines like this:-
‘Use one hand only for kneading and keep the other clean to hold a pastry scraper, to dip out extra flour, to answer the telephone, and so forth’
I’m not sure why that line attracts me to the book, but it seems almost joyful to me. Of course you need to keep the hand free to answer the phone, life is still going on when you make a loaf of bread, you can talk to people and bake bread as well.
Maybe I’m influenced by Meryl Streep’s performance as Julia Child in the film but there seems to be a sense of joy in the writing of the book. I’ve an old grubby copy of Elizabeth David’s classic ‘French Provincial Cooking’ that I’ve flicked through over the last few years but it just seems to be missing something. I think it’s a sense of joy or enjoyment, or just having a bit of light-hearted banter
I think that is why I enjoy my Hugh Fearnley Whats-his-face books as there is a sense of joy in his writing whereas Delia Smith seems a bit less joyful in her cookery books. Perhaps the missing ingredient between cookery books I find useful and ones I love is a sense of joy.
In a larger sense, I wish I was more joyful sometimes, or enjoyed things a bit more. To often I let myself whinge or moan, find fault and be cynical about life. I don’t enjoy things and let others know that I didn’t enjoy it. I need to recover a sense of enjoyment about life because it’s life affirming, things aren’t all bad out there.