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.