Saturday, May 4, 2013

Cooking for Gracie - Spaghetti with Anchovies, Walnuts, Mint and Breadcrumbs

Today’s book: Keith Dixon’s Cooking for Gracie. A surprising choice for me. Why? Allow me to tell you before getting to the book itself.

Since even before Raphaël’s birth, people have been giving us a lot of stuff. A lot. Most of the gifts were predictable, but very welcome: clothes, toys, gift certificates, more clothes. Others were pleasant surprises: a baby food maker, a soothing noise-maker (which doesn’t really put the baby to sleep, but is still really cool). I’m grateful for it all. But there is one type of gift which I specifically asked people not to give me (and fortunately, most of them complied): parenting books.

My dislike of parenting books (and most self-help books, really, but let’s stick to this particular genre today) stems from way before I ever became a parent myself: it started during my teen years. I was a fairly typical teenager, undergoing all the angst, drama, and emotional rollercoaster those years often entail. But around that time, my mother started developing the annoying habit of attributing anything I did that rubbed her the wrong way to my age. “I know teenagers are unkempt / rude to their parents / selfish, but I will not have you wear your hair like that / speak to me that way / behave in this manner.” It was as if I had been labelled practically overnight, and anything I did would inevitably be traced back to that label. Granted, not all her criticisms were undeserved: my hair was indeed a mess most of the time, and I wasn’t always the most thoughtful daughter. But I could have been the best-groomed, most polite, most altruistic teen, and my mother probably would have found something else to blame on teenagehood. Because I was no longer a child, and that, apparently, was the greatest sin of all.

And one day, while browsing through one of our many bookshelves, I found The Book.