One of my favourite reading finds this year was Agnes and the Hitman by Jennifer Crusie and Bob Mayer. It’s a Romance novel and an Action novel, but mostly it’s a novel about food.
Agnes is a curvy food writer who lives in an old plantation mansion in Georgia. It’s her dream house, just like the house in Gone with the Wind, only better… because it comes ‘with butter’. There is so much cooking and food in this book, mostly breakfasts and cakes. I don’t know why Agnes has so much food in her fridge/pantry, and who does the washing up. But she feeds everyone. It certainly made me want to cook for a crowd.
And Tara (with butter) has become a bit of a mental touchstone for me. Having a huge mortgage on a big old house is pretty stressful for Agnes (she’s about to default on her mortgage payments, has to host a wedding for inlaws from hell, oh, and everyone seems to want to kill her), but the essence of the idea of Tara (with butter) is, for me, having somewhere to settle, somewhere to call home, with enough produce and supplies on hand to be able to eat well. Really well.
At the same time as I have that dream, I also dream about vagabonding and going on a long adventure (knitting in iceland, bicycling my way through tuscany, learning french in paris, hitting the chicago blues festival, walking the high line in nyc). And you can certainly eat well on the road. But I also carry that idea of this place with hummocky paddocks, higher hills in the distance, a bit of a house to bang around in, friends who come visit, a cat on the porch and a long narrow twighlight.