Tuesday, April 11, 2023

Bay Leaves and Bowknots and A Doughnut for Dessert


Once again trying to play catchup with planned posts, here is an early March picture of the hyacinths from our garden. 

And three books I recently enjoyed.

 I featured the middle one in the stack, Confessions of A Closet Master Baker by Gesine Bullock-Prado at my other blog, Dewena's Window link here.

The second one, The Quality of Mercy (1963) is the latest book by Margaret Culkin-Browning that I've read (others here)

 Honestly, I didn't enjoy this book as much as the other ones by Culkin-Browning although I do love the writing of this author who lived at her estate called Friendly Hills in Tyron, North Carolina until her death at 92 years old. I think her later books were on social consciousness themes and they have begun to pale on me. I don't like my novels wrapped up into a social consciousness package anymore. After decades of reading serious subjects, now  in my dotage I just need to read a relaxing book. 

There was only one paragraph in this book that called my name and kind of shows what I enjoy reading now.

 Leaving America for "war-blitzed London to serve the displaced and dispossessed," Pamela falls in love with an Englishman and goes home with him to meet his mother who shows her to her bedroom. 

She closed the door of the Jade Room and left Pamela alone. It was named because of the color of the velvety rug, the faded green of the wallpaper, and the leaf green outside the opened casements carried on the harmony. Guests who surely had been comfortable here had almost worn through the pattern of bowknots and bay leaves on the linen slipcovers of the chairs, had softened the cushions on the rosewood sofas and made it necessary to mend the silk coverlet on the bed. It seemed to Pamela that the room accepted her, offered comfort.

See what I mean? Give me a whole book of an English country home and I'm happy. 

Now this last book, Full Cry (2003), beckoned to me at Goodwill because I used to read Rita Mae Brown's other Sister Jane's Virginia Jefferson Hunt club mysteries, such as Outfoxed and Hotspur. I also have read her Mrs. Murphy mystery series too.

 Brown's Sister Jane--her nickname, not her religious calling--is the 70 year old hunt master, at one with her horse and loving the hounds with a passion. 

In know, I know, the poor fox. RH and I love them too and leave food out for ours but I block that out when reading these mysteries because Rita Mae's wise foxes talk to each other and are elusive heroes in the books. The hounds and horses talk to each other too and no, it's not corny any more than her cat and dachshund talking in her other series is.  Not to Rita Mae Brown's faithful fans.

This is what draws me:

The American way of hunting, most particularly in the South, involved manners, hospitality, and strict attention to the pleasure of one's guests.

And truthfully, I enjoy the food, especially the Hunt Breakfast.

Three different types of grits, succulent ham, roast turkey, and a joint of beef crowded on the long hunt table, along with salads, breads, hot buttered carrots, squash and the ubiquitous deviled eggs. The special dessert consisted of a hot glazed doughnut with a huge scoop of vanilla ice cream plopped in the middle, fudge sauce drizzled over that.

Lord have mercy, this breakfast lover would be in line around the Jefferson Hunt Breakfast table.

If I could ride a horse in my 70s. 

If I could afford to join a Virginia hunt club. 

If it didn't involve killing foxes.

If, if, if.

Otherwise I'll sit in a sunny corner and read about Sister Jane and hope she doesn't break her neck before her next birthday.


"You know, Jane, I think aging is a return to your true self" her close friend Tedi tells her.

 I think so too so let the foxes talk.