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The cookbook wars continue. August 6, 2008

Posted by ourfriendben in wit and wisdom.
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The normally tranquil tenor of life here at our friend Ben and Silence Dogood’s little cottage, Hawk’s Haven, located in the scenic middle of nowhere, PA, was briefly disrupted last night by the latest flareup in an ongoing war, I mean, uh, difference of opinion. Prior to the renewal of hostilities, Silence had been out on a shopping excursion to Pier 1 with our good friend Huma and her sons, Rashu and Sasha, because Huma needed a few dishes to complete her set. Our friend Ben was at home, happily watching one of Silence’s less-favorite movies with our golden retriever, Molly, and assorted cats. Here’s how it went:

Silence, rushing sheepishly past our friend Ben towards the kitchen with two suspiciously large bags: Uh, hi, Ben!

Our friend Ben, stopping the movie, follows Silence into the kitchen: What’s all this?! Was Pier 1 having a yard sale?

Silence, reaching into one of the bags, extracts a jar of preserves: Oh, no! We also went to Williams-Sonoma—did you know they’d opened a Williams-Sonoma store out there?—and I got all kinds of interesting stuff like this quince preserves. And look at this! [Reaches back in bag, triumphantly extracting a couple of packets of dried, green-tinged beans.] Flageolets!

OfB: But what’s in this other huge bag? Isn’t there a [ominously] Barnes & Noble out there by Pier 1?

Silence, airily: You won’t believe this, Ben! The Barnes & Noble was closed!!! There was just an empty shell where that huge store used to be. It was always so popular, too! I’ll bet they just moved out to the new upscale mall. What were you watching in there, anyway? One of your stupid Jeff Goldblum movies? Or was this another nostalgia-fest with some old episodes of “Bonanza” or “The Saint”?

OfB, undeterred by this attempted topic change, lunges past Silence and extracts the other bag. Accusingly: Silence, this is a Borders bag. You go out to help Huma get dishes, and you manage not only to find a bookstore, but to drag everyone else in there. I just knew it! [Looks in bag.] Oh my God, there are cookbooks in here. More cookbooks!!! [Looks despairingly around kitchen at shelves exploding with cookbooks.] Where are you going to put any more?!

Silence: But Ben, look at these! Look at this fabulous book on goat cheese! [Shoves book under Ben’s nose, displaying fabulous food photography and delicious recipes.] You love goat cheese as much as I do. How could I pass this up?! And look, The Peppers Cookbook by Jean Andrews, “The Pepper Lady.” It’s a definitive guide to selecting, using, and cooking with peppers. These recipes look really good, and think how pleased Richard will be when he comes to dinner and we’ve made one of these spicy-hot dishes just for him!

OfB, extracting a third cookbook: Twelve Months of Monastery Salads?! Sheesh, Silence, do you really need a book on how to make salad? Much less twelve months’ worth of salad recipes? I had no idea monks ate so much salad!

Silence: C’mon, Ben, this is by Brother Victor-Antoine d’Avila-Latourrette! You know how much we love his other books—Twelve Months of Monastery Soups, Fresh from a Monastery Garden, From a Monastery Kitchen, and This Good Food. These salad recipes are seasonal, too! They should help us make the most of our CSA produce and bring us closer to our dream of eating locally year-round. [Looks pointedly at Ben’s waistline.] We could stand to eat more main-dish salads around here, anyway.

OfB, ignoring this, grabs the last book in the bag: What’s this, a library book? [Looks at library tag.] It’s from the New York Public Library! Global Vegetarian Cooking. [Suddenly struck by a happy thought.] So Huma lent this to you, and you’ll be taking it back to her to return the next time she or the boys head into the city?

Silence: Er, no. It’s a discard book. She gave it to me for my, ah, collection.

OfB groans, looks pointedly around kitchen: So where do you propose to put these latest additions to your, “ah,” collection? In the oven? That’s about the only space we have left.

Silence glares at OfB, then smiles sweetly: No worries, I’ll find a place for them. [Pretends to think.] I know! Just think how much more room we’d have if we got rid of all those Jeff Goldblum movies, and the collected episodes of “Bonanza” and “The Saint”?


[Curtain falls.]



1. Cinj - August 6, 2008

Poor Ben. Just think of how well you’ll be eating though….

Ha! Good point!

2. kate - August 6, 2008

A cook can never have too many cookbooks (or so says my cookbook-collecting sister). OFB should just resign himself to Silence’s collecting habit.

So right, Kate! Ben, are you listening? Ben?! BEEEENNNNNNNNN…

3. Curmudgeon - August 6, 2008

Even though I missed the earlier skirmishes in this cookbook war I just had to join in. Check out our post today. Ben, Ben, Ben…

Ha!!! Great post, Curmudgeon! I just hope this generation isn’t getting the cookbook WE deserve, or if we are, that I simply haven’t yet seen (or written) it…

4. deb - August 7, 2008

I doubt very seriously you are going to win this one Ben.

Listen up, Ben!

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