Thursday, July 11


I'm fascinated by the dedications found in books.  Frequently, the dedication page is first one I turn to when I bring a new book home.  Like a window into the author's secret world, it's a tantalizing peek into another life and time.  The words can be as simple as a single name, leaving my imagination to run wild.  Or they can be complicated, a personal poem cascading like a river through the stained and tattered pages.  Deep, poignant, eternal - I love to lose myself in those words.  Since food is so close to my heart, and getting lost in a cookbook is a favourite pastime, cookbook dedications are the ones I find most poetic.  Here are just a few, from some of my most treasured cookbooks, that I find most inspiring.  The images are mine, the words, of course, are not.

And the one I find most touching from Lidia Matticchio Bastianich to her first granddaughter, Olivia.

As I'm working through the pages of my own cookbook, as I'm stirring a pot or slicing vegetables to add to the giant soup pot of life, I find myself pondering the words of my own dedication.  Words of affection, words of respect.  To whom am I cooking this meal?  To whom will I leave this legacy?  Perhaps it's for my grandmother, as I press out the spongy dough to her caraway bread sticks.  It glides along the cool marble slab, then springs back again.  Perhaps to my son, as I layer lasagna sheets with meaty ragù into the pan for his favorite meal.  Or perhaps to my daughter who is sleeping quietly at midnight as I wearily stir together cupcake batter for a birthday party the next morning.  She knows I'll always have a safe, nut-free alternative to cake packed in her bag.  Food explodes with such life and resonates with such purpose when it's cooked beneath the shadow of someone you love.  Who are you cooking for today?

No one who cooks, cooks alone. Even at her most solitary, a cook in the kitchen is surrounded by generations of cooks past, the advice and menus of cooks present, the wisdom of cookbook writers. -Laurie Colwin

Finally, though it's not from a cookbook, a post on dedications wouldn't be complete without sharing my very favourite, personal dedication.  From my father to me in a book he wrote when I was just a child.  Simply . . .

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