Monday, June 15, 2009

Some favorite cooking and gardening books

I must admit, I wasn't happy to find I was having company over the weekend. Allergy symptoms have been causing swollen and itchy eyes, a sore throat, and stuffy head. What I really wanted to do was curl up on the sofa and read for a week... with the downstairs maids bringing me tea and scones.

However, I've have had a lovely time with family as Jean spent her first night and Saturday morning at our place before leaving to stay with my other sister. I've had time to rest as well as enjoy more family time. She flies back to Tampa on Tuesday. She's enjoying this trip a lot more then when she froze her giblets in October (pretty leaves are not worth the cold... or so says someone acclimated to Florida). I spent a couple days last week and Saturday "reading" some books not on my "Summer of All Things Lovely" list but still favorites... and lovely.

I pulled the cookbook Hollyhocks & Radishes: Mrs. Chard's Almanac Cookbook off the shelf. It is one of those cookbooks with great recipes and fun to read letters at the beginning of each chapter about growing a garden in northern Michigan. The recipes are from a friend of the author who owns a farm stand. Many of them come from customers but all had become favorites.

This book, along with The Victory Garden Cookbook (which is out of print and unfortunately expensive used on Amazon) are where I look when the seasonal fruits and veggies become inexpensive. I found it for Stephanie earlier in the year at the library's used book room ($2.00) so keep an eye out... it's worth it!

One of my first Amazon purchases was Marge Clark's The Best of Thymes. Actually, I started on Amazon looking for used Brambly Hedge books as soon as I found out a little granddaughter had been born. That same girl recently took home my Betty Crocker Cookies cookbook and two years worth of Tea Time magazines so I think she'd like Marge (eventually).

The Best of Thymes is a cookbook I've gone back to often. Marge was known not only as a wonderful cook but a master herb gardener. This book is divided into three sections, the longest is a series of chapters with each representing a popular herb and many recipes using each herb; the second section is all about herbal oils and vinegars, and the third contains her favorite delicious recipes which do not use herbs.

My all time favorite Holiday cookbook is by Marge, too. It is called Christmas Thyme at Oak Hill Farm, a combination of yummy recipes and crafts... all with the most beautiful pictures of Christmas at Marge's "elegant country" farmhouse. This was a Christmas present from my dear friend, BB (Belinda's nickname is Busy Bee and my family shortened it to BB) who lives in Texas. I will always be grateful to her for this book.

Marge Clark wrote a third book, too, but I don't own it. Unfortunately, she was killed in a car accident a few years ago and her books are harder to find but worth looking for.

I perused Victoria's The Heart of England and The Heart of France for a little sofa traveling loveliness. I believe most of these books are taken directly from the old Victoria magazine. I enjoy both very much. I admit to to loving all things British but France is pretty good, too. :)

Another book I found used at a great price is Suzy Bale's Down to Earth Gardener: Let Nature Guide You to Success In Your Garden. I don't remember when I bought it but it was cheaper than the shipping charge. I loved her Garden Parties book and it has come home with me from the library a few times. She also has a book called The Garden In Winter (or something like that) which looks quite interesting.

Anyhoo, this is a garden book you can sit back and read... great writing as well as beautiful pictures. It is still on my coffee table, waiting for the next time I take a break to read just one chapter. Reading it is like chatting with a friend who has been gardening for a very long time.

It reminds me a bit of a book I bought a year or two ago for Stephanie (and the granddaughters) called A Time to Blossom by Tovah Martin. It is a lovely book about gardening and mothers and daughters. It is a typical Tovah Martin book with lovely prose mixed with beautiful gardening pictures... wonderful!

Now all I need is to find more time to read. Hubby is going to a reunion of his Viet Nam war buddies in a few weeks. An Army friend he visited a couple years ago offered to pay all his expenses so how could he say no?

I think when he is gone, I'll spend those days with feet propped up and reading or watching something beautiful on DVD. Laundry can wait. Cooking can be sandwiches and fruit. Sounds like a vacation to me.

Picture: A Good Book;


debbie bailey said...

Have a great at-home-vacation!

scrappy quilter said...

Sounds like some wonderful books. I'll have to see if I can find any at the library. With moving next year, we have put a halt on purchasing anymore books. Hugs.

Cheryl (Copper's Wife) said...

Ooooooooooo, downstairs maids bringing tea and scones.....sweet notion that!

Thanks for the terrific reviews of cookbooks. They sound great.

Raewyn said...

Oh, I'm so sorry to hear you were sick, Brenda! I hope you feel better soon; your vacation does indeed sound lovely.

Guess what what? I was inspired by your "All thing lovely" reading list for June, so at midnight (I was up and about ;)) I started compiling a list. I was digging through my mom's homeschooling/parenting/faith books, and what did I pull out but Edith S.'s 'The Art of Homemaking'! I was so delighted and happy I couldn't stop beaming. After hearing you sing her praises, I had thought to myself, "Hm, that sounds like a good book. I would love to read it." And lo and behold, it was sitting on our shelves and I never knew! God is good...

I hope you have a wonderful little vactation, Brenda. Don't forget to make yourself a cup of tea! :)

P.S. Do you think you could keep my mother in your prayers? She had a very strong chest pain Friday afternoon, and went into the hospital fo tests at 1:00 pm today.

Wishing you a lovely book-reading-and-movie-watching-and-soul-resting day,

Raewyn said...

I forgot to add my thanks for all the lovely title you shared; now a have a good long list for the library! ;)

Marie said...

I remember when I was growing up, my mom had a Victory Garden Cook Book. I would give anything to have it now. Enjoyed hearing about the other wonderful books.

Marie said...

The Victory Garden Cookbook my mom had was from the 1940's not the beautiful book you can find at Amazon. I should have researched before I made the previous post. I would love to have both books.

Jennie said...

I borrowed the “The Victory Garden Cookbook” from my library it is a good recommendation.

Anonymous said...

Thankyou Brenda for the book recommendations. Enjoy the mini vacation!! :) I can't tell you how many times the Victory Garden Cook Book has come to my rescue. It is part gardening/part recipes. I have a cook book with an odd title. When I first came apon it used I bulked at looking through it. When you hear the title you will know why. The title is A Thousand Ways to Please a Husband under this title it says with Bettinas Best Recipes. The authors are Louise Benny Weaver and Jelen Cowles Lecron. The copyright is 1917. I have seen newer copies of it. It is part recipes part the story of a couples first year of marriage to include the ladies luncheons and meals the couple had together etc. It is woven together to tell you how the housewife then lived. Bettina keep talking of using the fireless cooker. Anyone know what that was in those days? There are a series of Bettinas coookbooks and I have others but I am sorry to add that none I have found have the stories too. :( I was so in hopes the other books would continue the story line. The first was written so you felt like you knew or were Bettina. Wonderful book and glimps into those times. You learn to cook new things and how to do it as she does or how she tells her friends she does. They talk of their clothes and homes etc too. Lots of fun. Jody

the pleasures of homemaking said...

I have both Suzy Bales books and the first is much much better than the winter book.

I'll have to see if my library has the Victory Garden book. Probably not. I was there today with the booklist of recommendations from your readers and barely found any of the books!! Luckily I found a Grace Livingston Hill book with 4 of her stories in it at Goodwill and I so LOVED The Enchanted Barn. I have few $ in my Amazon acct so I'm off to see what I can get there!


Sharon said...

Enjoy your mini vacation!And thanks so much for all the book recommendations and reviews.They are appreciated immensely.Blessings~Sharon

Anonymous said...

Aaahh, yes, when the men are away... So nice to relax and do whatever you feel like! Have fun!

Friend Debra