Beloved Books

Mar 06, 2024 by Rose O'Keefe

I decided to skim through Beatrix Potter 1866-1943: The Artist and Her World, (1987) by the National Trust. That didn’t work. An hour flew by as I started re-reading it. The first and last two of nine chapters were biographical and easier to follow but the constraints on women’s lives in her time felt crushing. Most of the book gave details about the images and stories she created that would thrill a die-hard fan, but were too much for me. The Appreciation on the last page about a man from New Zealand who visited Potter was very touching.

A Fifteenth Century Cookry Boke, compiled by John L. Anderson (1962) was full of recipes for meats, fish, foul, meat pies and tartes, fritters, milk, eggs, nuts, fruits, flowers, soups, sauces, cakes, breads and sweets. They were written in old English and almost impossible to understand. I kept a finger stuck in the glossary for constant reference. And the glossary is where the truth came out, such as that since most people lost their teeth, food was overcooked to a chewable mash. I was still recovering from the harsh poverty that characters like Crispin lived with in Avi’s Crispin: The Lead Cross, that the charming illustrations of a world in which people looked happy while hunting, fishing and preparing food, seemed unreal. #NinaLeen; #WomenHeroesandaFrog; #BeatrixPotter1866-1943; #NationalTrust; #AFifteenthCenturyCookryBoke; #JohnLAnderson;