How not hard it is to have fun

January 25, 2011 § 1 Comment

For the “this is what your tuition dollars actually buy” file, here’s my latest problem. Did you know that the UChicago library has cookbooks? You have to dig for them: go to Crerar, the scary science library that looks like a mental institution and is full of Very Serious med students, then proceed to the basement, which is possibly the silentest and sterilest floor, then jab buttons on the compact shelving until they heave forward, mammoth-like, and yield a gaping maw full of cookery.

This being UChicago, though, the collection isn’t just one battered copy of Mastering the Art of French Cooking from 1978. No, we’re talking scientific treatises on yeast, Sanskrit books on the art of curry-making, and gentleman adventurers’ guides to the finer spirits of the world.

So far, I’ve gotten out a relatively modest selection: Artisan Bread in Five Minutes A Day (I may never return it: late fees be damned, I must have my bread), The Vegetarian Epicure (classic 1970s cooking tips include using MSG in most soup recipes, LOL), Sundays at Moosewood Restaurant, Leafy Greens by Mark Bittman, and a book that is nothing but diagrams of how to slice, chop, or carve every fruit, vegetable, and animal that is unfortunate enough to find itself on your cutting board.

Had I space enough in my backpack and time, however, I definitely would have taken home Food and Drink in the Middle Ages, because, hello?! What a great convergence of interests! (Related fun fact: did you know that men used to be considered weaklings if they ate breakfast? Sucks to be them). However, my favorite has to be the following:

First of all, ugh, the cover is goddamn gorgeous. (Also: great title. Totally should have named my blog after it. Dammit!) But the inside contains lots of helpful tips on how to deal with various household tasks, from planning a garden to treating the vapors (really). It also has a detailed meal plan for every day of the year. And most of them seemed to include boiled meat, ew.

In the back was this old-fashioned-type checkout card, complete with a note from some Real Live Liberated Women (dated 1981) who seemed a bit nonplussed at the subject matter. Ladies, ladies. Where is your sense of humor? Also, did you not see that beautiful cover? How about marveling a little, huh?

The philistines. Sometimes I think I could’ve saved everyone a lot of time if I had just gone to finishing school.*

*Just kidding! That probably would have sucked.

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