Sometimes when I read a book I really like, I do a Facebook post recommending it, and every now and then I get really inspired and write a blog.
This blog combines a book, my transparent emotional life, and this god-awful earache I am experiencing.
Today I finished “The Sharper Your Knife, The Less You Cry” by Kathleen Flinn. And knives notwithstanding, I cried when I read the last pages.
I’m having an emotional day. I have an awful ear infection and I feel miserably ill. In my usual style, I waited way too long to see the doctor and I now know why little kids cry and pull their ears. So when one doesn’t feel good physically, it is easy to feel emotionally crappy. I have no job and have not had one for nearly a year. I am told that is enough to make anyone cry. Last week I had a conversation with a friend about not working, depression, insanity. As you can see, our talk apparently degenerated rapidly. I told her I had decided years ago that I was intellectually insane. Defined by me – I’m so overly-analytical that no matter how hard I try, I cannot always tell how I feel because I’m intellectualizing everything instead of just being. This may be why I’m not feeling crazy about being unemployed and almost broke; I just keep thinking about it. And turning it over. And looking at it from the right and the left and the top and the bottom. And concluding there is no reason to be depressed. I’m alive. I have a great family and nice friends and a dog I adore. I love where I live. What good would being depressed do? Attitude is everything. Right? But part of me “feels” like crap. I think I say all this to try to explain why I cried over a book I loved without good reason. For one requires a reason to weep?
I am programmed to have loved this book. A woman is laid off from her job, depletes her savings account, moves to Paris, attends and graduates from Le Cordon Bleu cooking school, falls in love and gets married, learns tons about herself, and writes a book about it.
I learned again I know nothing about cooking. The hardest, and by hardest I mean most time-consuming and detailed thing I have ever made, recipe I have ever followed, is Julia Child’s Beef Bourguignon. Recipe here if you have a snowy Sunday afternoon to spare.
After I did it, I swore I’d never do it again. But time has dulled the memory of this undertaking and I’m planning on doing it soon. This winter. Why not? It was fabulous. I think everyone who loves to cook should stretch now and again. It’s good for you. Kathleen Flinn cooked every single day like this. I’m impressed. Her book includes recipes.
The very end of this book, there is a paragraph that reads as follows:
How many tears did I cry because I didn’t know what I wanted? “The sharper your knife,” as Chef Savard had said, “the less you cry.” For me, it also means to cut those things that get in the way of your passion and of living your life the way it’s meant to be lived.
Also from the book – toward the beginning (I looked hard to find this passage for you):
“Chef says that with a dull knife, it’s true, you end up pressing too hard on the onion. This crushes the cells, causing volatile oils from the onion to be released, and it’s the oil that makes you cry.”
I was also very happy about how much written French I understood – like 98% of it. The cooking and the French relate like this. I am considered a decent cook by lots of people – even myself. I can speak French – more than most and some people think I am actually good at it. But here is what these two things have in common. I cook enough to know I’m not that good. I speak enough French to know I’m not that good. But I keep on trying and enjoy learning more.
Kathleen Flinn met Julia Child twice – the first time at a food writer’s workshop. Also from the book:
She took copious notes of the morning’s session. As we broke for lunch, she closed her notebook with a satisfied smile. “I always love to come to this workshop. You learn so much. “This amazed me. After all, she was Julia freakin’ Child. I assumed she knew everything there was to know about food and cooking. I politely told her so. She laughed. “Oh, no, you can never know everything about anything, especially something you love,” she said, patting me on the knee. “Besides, I started late.”
Kathleen Flinn grabbed the opportunity that presented itself to her. It wasn’t exactly what she wanted but it turned out to be the best thing that ever happened to her. She was brave and she was rewarded with a wonderful experience.
In conclusion (laughing at myself), I loved this book. I can see lots of my reading friends loving it. Especially those who like to ponder, cook, travel, learn. Those who strive for something a little more. Those who have considered, if only for a moment, of tossing it all and doing something different.
Happy Reading my friends!