18 October 2006

Coincidence? Or a Sign of Approval?

You can't always get what you want. Most of the time.

I had a meeting tonight at the public library. I got there early and went straight to the used-book room, where books are 50 cents each.

There it was. My father’s favorite French cookbook, the one he could not afford to own, but would check out of the library several times a year: “The Art of French Cooking by the Great Contemporary Masters of the Cuisine,” 861 pages with the pull-out gastronomical map of France still in its pocket.

The same book. Not the same book at a different library. The same book, for my husband and I moved back to our hometown a few years ago. The book sat on the library shelves for 40 years. It was already 10 years old when my father discovered it.

I thought about the book once in a while, enviously, wishing I owned it. I assumed the library got rid of it long ago, and since I borrow books from another library, I never bothered to check for it. Or I forgot to. Who knows.

“If you ever want to buy me something, buy me this book,” my father once said. I was in college then and had no money.

It was the book he often took into the pantry with him, to dream, to ponder to create.

Now it’s mine. Grilled Quails Berchoux. Breton Galettes. Anise Cakes. Beef Filet Dauphine. Larks in Shrouds. Spinach Jaqueline.

I may not work my way through the whole book.

But now it’s mine.


15 comments:

Kalyn said...

Very cool.

Fiona said...

Your father was at your side today, that book was meant to be yours.

Every time you take a look at it it will remind you of your father.

More than just coincidence :)

Fiona.

L Vanel said...

It's a sign.

Mimi said...

I think so, too, especially since I'd been feeling very bad lately about his short life. As we grow older we understand our parents so much better. I think, I hope was a sign that it's OK. He was a very compassionate and soft-hearted man.

veuveclicquot said...

I loved reading your account. He's now with you every time you pass by or look, or even better, cook from your book. :)

Loulou said...

I love the way life surprises us sometimes.
You'll get many years of pleasure out of this book.

Judy said...

WOW! Love this story...don't you just love fate?

Mimi said...

It's very weird because I started thinking a lot about the book after I began this blog in June. And a few days back I was wondering whether or not I should go on with this.

It's not the first time what I've taken to be a sign of some sort. But I'll save the other for another post. I'm still trying to sort it out — I usually don't put a lot of stock in this stype of experience.

But now I am not so sure.

cheflooey said...

some things are meant to happen...when they do they just blow you away

Andrea said...

Mimi - this is such a lovely post. Actually this one and the previous one. My mother was the chef in our family and I miss her so much - especially when I get a notion to make a certain dish and I reach for the phone before I remember that she's not here to ask anymore.

I don't think it is any coincidence at all that you found this very book.

Mimi said...

I don't think it was a coincidence, either.

It made a very bad and busy week so much better.

christine said...

What a wonderful story. Things like this happen when we need them most. Trust in it. And keep blogging. We would miss you sorely if you didn't.

Mimi said...

I will — this was the sign I needed!

Lisa said...

That's a charming story that brought tears to my eyes! And quite amazing, that you ultimately got the book. Thank you for sharing that.

My father's life was also short (he died at 56), so I empathize with you.

Mimi said...

Thanks, Lisa.

Wish there was some magic pill to take that would allow us to appreciate our parents when we are young.