When it's cold and damp outside and I'm recovering from the holiday gluttony I usually spend a little bit of time looking back over things that have somehow informed me in my life. One of the things that I do is re-read Moby-Dick. Not just any Moby-Dick but a Norton Critical Edition that I bought, gosh, Twenty or more years ago for 25 cents. This year, with my things being all packed up and scattered between storage, the house and my studio, I couldn't find it. I searched and searched for it going through boxes, basically being a maniac. I know I could have just gotten a new copy, But I had to have that specific one. Then one night I looked at the cookbook shelf and there it was. It was sitting with an anthology of M.F.K. Fisher's writings and a copy of The Irrepressible Toy Dog. Bang it hit me. I remembered that I put all three together in August when Ruby died. I was so sad at the time and had gathered up some comforting things.
So I've been reading the Melville and the Fisher and remembering Ruby, This time though the edition I had been so desperate to locate of the Melville has been driving me crazy. It's yellowing and binding is gone so I have decided to let that one go. I'll buy a new copy. I'm also letting a little bit of the sadness of missing Ruby leave. I'm reading the Fisher though and letting it remind me that when looking back at things its O.K. to get a little teary and good to see what has made me. I'm letting it point me into the next direction.
So somehow all of that has lead me to think of making cassoulet. Sometime in the wintry cold of late January or early February I will perform another winter ritual and make the cassoulet.