“Borrowed books, wildflowers, and plenty of ice for cocktails”.

While “there is no substitute for either good food or a comfortable bed … pretty much everything else in the material world can be substituted, or improvised, or gone without, or cobbled together … Books can be borrowed, wildflowers can be picked from roadside ditches, barrels can be transformed into perfectly good little tables, orange crates make for excellent chairs, cheap onions can replace expensive shallots without anyone tasting the difference, and there’s no need whatsoever to be ashamed of a kitchen that resembles “an old-fashioned tin pedlar’s cart”. All your guests really need is your warm welcome, plenty of good food and a steady supply of ice for cocktails.”

Love this. It’s from an article by Elizabeth Gilbert (elizabeth-gilbert-family-culinary-inheritance) about her great-grandmother Margaret Yardley Potter, who wrote the cookbook ‘At Home on the Range’. It’s a fascinating article, but I thought this particular bit was just lovely. Such budgeting wisdom. I love the whole bygone world it belongs to: onions, orange-crates, wildflowers, cocktails and a warm welcome.  Just add some dusky summer sunlight, F Scott Fitzgerald dialogue and maybe unrequited love between inebriated, stylish young whippersnappers? I’d come for tea any day.

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One comment

  1. And “good food” should not be confused with fancy food, or difficult food, or special-occasion food, or expensive food. All these things are nice in their way, but good food can be improvised and cobbled together too – and is none the worse for it.

    Some of the nicest meals I have had were composed of cheap ingredients and good company. A big pan of soup with bread and cheese, a casserole full of meatballs (easy ones, made of mince and cracker crumbs, cooked in tinned tomatoes with a bit of salt and sugar), or a batch of bread dough made into weird-shaped pizzas by laughing friends.

    I enjoy poncy food, but the important thing to remember is that it’s not compulsory.

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