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Pickle Me This

March 16, 2009


Like most people who’ve spent time working in libraries, I’ve got a thing about cataloguing. And it’s alpha-order for me as a rule, which you’d know if you’ve ever seen my own library, or my CD collection. I get a bit horrified when I hear about libraries ordered by size or colour, for example, which might be gorgeous to see, but how do you ever find anything? It also makes the books less books than decor, which is gross. The colour chaos of my own alphabetized spines are pretty mesmerizing anyway.

But today I had two overlapping experiences of cataloguing/classification that were quite remarkable. First, we went back to Good Egg in Kensington Market (because the weather was sunny and warm, and evidently most of the city thought the Market was a good destination.) My husband has grown very tired of having to venture in there over and over again to visit “my book”, Apples for Jam by Tessa Kiros. (It was actually her other book Falling Cloudberries that I originally coveted, but I decided Apples for Jam would be more practical, and it was almost just as beautiful.) I wasn’t about to just buy it, as it’s quite expensive, but having had enough of lingering in bookstores (he enjoys it less than I do, and it was the second one today), Stuart yanked the copy out of loving arms, and proceeded to the till. So now I own the book of dreams (this week), and can die now.

I’ve written about Good Egg before, how it’s a treasure trove. The books obviously selected with care, but the method of selection not always immediately obvious. That the children’s section contains Alligator Pie, The Carrot Seed, No I Will Not Ever Never Eat a Tomato, and sushi yuppie baby board books. In the window, Omnivore’s Dilemma (obvious) was on display beside Wetlands (for the avocado photo on the cover, I presume). Just the widest interpretation of “food books” imaginable, and I love it.

I love also Apples for Jam, just as much as I thought I would. And how brilliant that the whole book is organized, not by ingredients, or courses, or kinds of dishes, but by colour. Each chapter a colour, except the last two which are “multi-coloured” and”stripes”. So that strawberry sorbet is featured alongside tomato lasagne, beetroot gnocchi with baked ham and cheese bread pudding, white risotto in spinach broth and lemon rice pudding with roasted peaches. The whole book is a rainbow, and the order makes sense. I look forward to trying these recipes, and then the eating. Yum.

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