The Stories of A Cookbook

“Books are the quietest and most constant friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counsellors and the most patient of teachers.”  ~ Charles W. Eliot

A Taste of The Mediterranean by Farrow and Clark, book cover
A picture of the cover of our special cookbook.

Eating together has always been a rich part of my relationship with my husband, even while we were dating.  He has always expressed his artistic side through his cooking, and loves to experiment with recipes, adding his own twist.  He gets recipes from everywhere: old magazines, Youtube, cooking shows.  As we celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary this week, I want to tell you about the one cookbook that has most influenced the meals we’ve shared with family and friends on special occasions, as well as quiet meals at the end of a long day.

When my husband and I were on our honeymoon in Gimli, we went for a walk one afternoon, and found ourselves in a charming shop near the hotel. The small store had been there for a long time, and I believe that it is still there.  It is located in the corner of an old building, and has an eclectic collection of goods: everything from clothing to unique toys to books.  And that is where my husband first spotted this book, and I encouraged him to splurge, to go ahead and buy it.

A Taste of the Mediterranean Clark and Farrow
The book is full of gorgeous photographs of the Mediterranean.
A Taste of the Mediterranean Clark and Farrow, a page from the book
It is a well researched book with lots of interesting information about the ingredients and regions.

There was something special about this book, A Taste of The Mediterranean, by Jaqueline Clark and Joanna Farrow.  As we looked through the pages, it felt like such a labour of love.  It was a well-researched feast for the eyes. The colours, the imagery of far away places, and mismatched ceramics that were so clearly part of a real, time-worn collection, and of course, the recipes.  It simply connected our imaginations to a world of possibility.  And it still does.

I will always remember the first, official “Greek Feast” that this book inspired.  (Though we are not greek, we could have been!) Early in the spring of our first year of marriage, my husband decided to make a special dinner for my small Winnipeg family (much of my family lives elsewhere).  Several days in advance, he started to prepare: shopping, cutting, dicing, marinating.  He planned to serve lamb, with all the fixings: from Greek salad, lemon potatoes and homemade tzatziki sauce to a decadent dessert.   We decorated the kitchen in sparkling lights, and prepared to illuminate the living room and dining area with candles.

Then, on the morning of the big dinner, Winnipeg was hit by what was being called ‘The blizzard of the century’.

It was unlike anything I had seen before or since.  I mean, I’ve seen blizzards, but this was something else.  The city was paralyzed.  For the first time in more than 50 years, school divisions would have to cancel classes on the upcoming Monday.  And that night, we had to cancel our dinner.  It was disappointing, but there was no choice.  Now, we wondered, what to do with all of this food?

At the time, we lived on the 10th floor of an apartment building, and my husband’s best friend happened to live on the 9th floor (he had been the best man at our wedding).  So, our friend lucked into an impromptu invitation to our Greek Feast.  Much to our delight, our friend would later declare jovially that it was this kind of evening that makes life worth living.

It was such a surreal experience. Picture this: through the glass doors of our balcony were the awe-inspiring sights and sounds of freezing blizzard winds whipping record amounts of snow into white-out conditions. Meanwhile, inside our apartment, the atmosphere was glowing with warmth.  We were celebrating life with an exuberant home-cooked feast.  Rich culinary fragrances.  Lively greek music (and all other kinds of music, too).  Red wine.  Dessert.  Laughter. This contrast deepened the exhilaration of witnessing a winter spectacle.


That dinner marked the beginning of many memorable meals to follow.  But some were memorable for different reasons.

I remember, shortly before I got pregnant, I kept telling my husband that the next recipe he should attempt was the ‘Polpettes’, which are fried little morsels of potato with feta cheese.

Well, early in my pregnancy, I developed terrible nausea and was having trouble eating.  In an effort to help, my husband surprised me one day with a big batch of these freshly fried Polpettes.

It was at that moment, as my husband was smiling at me with eyebrows raised in anticipation of my reaction, that I realized I had developed an undeniable aversion to fried food.  I didn’t want to hurt his feelings, so I tried picking at the morsels with my fork, admiring them, and pushing them around in an effort to stall actually putting a bite in my mouth.  Breathing through the sensations that were welling up in my stomach, I had to put my fork down and break the news to him.  Understanding the situation, he quickly took the plate from my view, and I honestly can’t remember what, if anything, I ate instead.  Probably plain toast.  We still chuckle.

This cookbook has accompanied us through so many experiences.  We have turned to its recipes for ideas when celebrating, and to raise our spirits during difficult times.  There have been moments of exuberance, and quiet evenings – sitting by the fire place, dipping fresh baked olive bread into a velvety mix of oil and vinegar.  Unlike most cookbooks that may yield 1,2, maybe 3 favourite recipes, this one has contributed more than 30 recipes to our culinary repertoire.

A Taste of the Mediterranean Olive Bread
This snapshot was taken a while back, one weekend, when my husband was inspired to bake a couple of olive bread loaves. Here they are ready to go in the oven. Too bad my picture doesn’t really capture it’s beauty!
A Taste of The Mediterranean, Olive bread picture.
Sadly, when the bread came out, I never thought to take a picture! So here is a detail from a photo in the book (A Taste of The Mediterranean), to show you what the finished product looks like. Yummy!

You could say that this book has become a kind of reminder to live life fully.  To savour each bite.  And to some small degree, like that Greek Feast, maybe things haven’t always gone exactly as expected, but we’ve always made the best of times.   I guess that’s been our recipe.

And really, that is how this book has become – more than a cookbook – a book about stories of our life together.

A Taste of The Mediterranean, the bookmarks and papers on a well worn book.
A well loved and often used book.

Thanks for visiting me here at Home… Hurrah!  Hope you enjoyed the post.

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Carina Spring

Hi! So glad you stopped by my little blog, where I joyfully embrace creativity. Here, at Home... hurrah!, I celebrate the beauty and depth of everyday moments, explore what life has to teach us, and share some of the interesting things I see and learn along the way. Thanks for the visit!

20 thoughts on “The Stories of A Cookbook”

  1. Oh, your husband cooks! What a happy woman you could be! 🙂 I like men who like and want to cook. In my home mom always made everyday food, but almost never baked, except very rarely she made one special (and very delicious) pound cake. But every Saturday my father came work in the afternoon and started baking – different pies and cakes. This is one of my most favourite part of my childhood. 🙂

    The post brings back many great memories of mine. Thank you so much for this. 🙂
    And it’s always pleasure to read about yours. You have this great ability to make everyday life seem so colourful and to show us how much beauty is in small things. Life is full of scents and colours and flavors. And all we must to do is, like you said, “to savour each bite” to live fully.
    Perfect post! 🙂

    1. Hello Hanna, thank you for this beautiful comment! I loved reading about your memories from childhood, very heartwarming. It makes me so happy that you enjoyed the post. Xoxo

  2. Lovely, lovely post! Happy anniversary to you and your husband. Yes, good food shared with friends and family make any day special, and special days even more special. That book sounds like one that any home cook would love to have. And, oh, that olive bread!

    1. Greeting Laurie! Thanks for the comment. I’m so glad that you enjoyed the post. Isn’t it the truth that breaking bread together really connects people and elevates the experience. Hope you are having a great week. ☃❄

  3. I love reading cook books and I know this one too, a lovely book indeed. I collect vintage cookbook, preferably with lots of handwritten notes in it. Cook books represent domestic history and your story is even above that, so lovely!!! Xo Johanna

    1. Hello Johanna! That is so cool that you collect cookbooks, we uave some really neat vintage ones,too. I know we share a love of vintage shopping! So true that cookbooks can become such a part of family history. Their role in the kitchen gets them a special place in the heart. Thanks for the lovely comment.☃ XOXO

  4. Dear Carina, I’ve loved so many of your posts but this one really hits home and it might be my favorite. I could imagine being there in that big snowstorm with you, enjoying the sights and the aroma and the TASTES. Your lucky best man too. What a great way to spend a snowstorm. You know you could have really lost it over all the guests not being able to come last minute, but instead you turned lemons into lemonade. Like when you walked home in the snow when the bus got stuck. Always an adventure with you. I love that your husband cooks for you, my friend. My brother-in-law cooks for my sister often. He is Italian and a great cook too. Your cookbook is a treasure, even more so your marriage. Happy for you my friend, it’s obvious you are soulmates. Happy 20th anniversary to you and your husband, and wishing you many, many more happy years together. XOXO

    1. Dear Allie, thank you so much. I appreciate the comment, and the kind words. Yes, I’m quite sure you would have really appreciated that kind of an evening – the atmosphere and the food. ❄☃ I do feel very lucky to have a hubby who loves to cook. I just try to keep up with cleaning the kitchen! Hope you are having a good week, managing to adjust to the the quieter days after the lovely holiday time. Take care, friend. XOXO

  5. How beautiful! I love to collect cook books but almost never cook from them. I just read them.
    But this is reminding me that they could easily be another one of those things that we use in our everyday life that later becomes a beloved treasure.
    I loved these stories and your inspiration to write about your cookbook. 🙂

    1. Hi Libby, thanks for sharing that. I really get that there is something about a good cookbook that is so enjoyable, even just to read. I’m so glad that you enjoyed the stories, thanks for stopping by.

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