Friday, September 9, 2016

Summer Serendipity

After Sunday School many years ago, my daughter excitedly ran towards me clutching a bouquet of paper roses she made.  They were simple beauties created from colorful tissues folded in accordion pleats, rimmed with pink lipstick and attached to green pipe cleaners.  I made some with my grandmother once too and had long-forgotten about them.  But my daughter was spellbound for days and even took her roses to bed with her at night, so charmed was she (and so tender her attachment to them seemed to her mother).

I love discovering sweet things that wind up capturing my imagination if only for a few weeks. And it was thus, when I happened across the image above in a cookbook I found at my favorite rare book shop on a Sunday afternoon a few weeks ago.  I bought the $3 book which isn't really that old or rare and then discovered to my delight that it is actually quite marvelous and inspiring.  But I initially bought it for the image which I later thought would be perfect for this end-of-summer post.

I didn't net much information about the portrait online - only that it was painted by Armenian artist Charles Atamian who is also responsible for some of my favorite seaside art.  I believe this picture is just an unframed canvas that was probably owned by the author of the cookbook and may have been gifted to him (a picture of the book is below).  It perfectly captures a beautiful moment by the sea just before summer slips away.  I love the colorful summery dress on the model and the bright turquoise ring on her left hand.  And I can almost smell the ocean tide and feel the sand under those waves stinging at my legs.

As for the book, I only ask myself, "Where has Roger Verge been all my life?"  Apparently in France, where he operated a few beloved restaurants which serve to this day, lovely Provencal cuisine.  There is much for me to learn about Verge, although I was sad to read that he died last year at age 85.  Still, he left behind heirs to manage his restaurants with the same passion he had and he left behind some terrific French cookbooks I have yet to explore at my library.  I have been cooking from the book all week and the menus are full of farm-fresh foods - perfect for end-of-summer.

For now, I'm content with my book which has gorgeous photographs, easy recipes, and a charming text which I am finding enormously engrossing as I laze about on the patio with the last batch of frozen lemonade.  I may not be taking my new cookbook to sleep with me like my little girl and her paper roses, but when not in my lap, it sits opened on the cookbook stand in the kitchen.  There, the beautiful image reminds me that some of the best simple pleasures are found when one is not looking.  And it reminds me to enjoy the warm but quickly waning days of summer.





10 comments:

  1. A friend and I stopped in the local used bookstore just yesterday before lunch. She was looking for a bird book that might cover the birds flocking to their backyard feeders. As I waited for her, I went to the children's section where I found a book with a beautiful cover, a painting as you've described above. I didn't buy it then but I'm tempted to go back because it was the story of a young girl's upbringing in nearby Tomales Bay. No doubt a hardscrabble life among the oyster beds.

    I like how you entertain yourself, Donna. Thank you for sharing your days, and thoughts.

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  2. I remember Alexandra Stoddard writing in one of her earliest books about dining at one of Verge's restaurants and how the salad he prepared was a work of art and she was reluctant to disturb it.

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    1. I read that book......and my husband and I went to that restaurant when in Provence researching for the building of our house! 20 years ago! Now to find the book in my library...and the name! But I will!!! Adore Alexandra!!! And all of her books!!!

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    2. Thank you Penelope. You know, it's pouring here in New England and cold...yet I pulled the book out last night and I felt like the sun was out again! Thank you for reading...Please check back again.

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  3. Sounds like such a lovely cookbook Donna. I wish you would share at least one thing you made. :-). Now its Fall!

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  4. Sounds like such a lovely cookbook Donna. I wish you would share at least one thing you made. :-). Now its Fall!

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  5. Cherre, I made the Apricot Charlotte which was a hit. I did the "Veal Chops with Anise and Garlic" only I used pork chops. This weekend I am trying the Apple Walnut Tarts. I still love the look, feel, smell of this cookbook!

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  6. I to have Roger Verge's great cookbook and I love the painting by Charles Atamian. Just returned from our little house in Brittany to my home in Scarborough, North Yorkshire, UK. Apple Charlotte, walnut tarts all created and enjoyed! . Colin

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