Friday, October 05, 2007

the recipe for happiness?

It has to be said that caught knitting is rarely caught cake baking. In fact, since the great Rock-Cakes-at-My-Birthday-Party Debacle of 1977 (is it really polite to point out to the hostess--me-that her rock-cakes are so solid they could do duty as genuine rocks?) I have entirely abandoned such culinary pursuits. Oh, apart from the time I was dragooned into helping my nieces assemble a gingerbread cottage. It ended up looking more like an abandoned shack, and I solemnly informed them that this was due to "too much excitement", rather than admitting to my complete lack of skill in the sweetmeats department...

Caught knitting is also (a)untidy, (b)incapable of sewing a straight seam and (c)very fond of buying cookery, needlework and beautiful homes-type books and magazines. In fact, poor old Graham once came to visit my bachelorette pad, tripped over a pile of (dirty) laundry, then nearly got smothered by a landslide of balls of yarn and snapped "if only you would spend time doing good housekeeping rather than reading it". These days I am a reforming character. Well, the laundry is under control and the yarn is stowed in baskets, and pop-up landry bins, and duvet bags and hampers, and cardboard boxes and.... Just don't look at my desk, which is the untidiest spot in the house!

But I still indulge my idle dreams of domestic perfection, so I've been eagerly awaiting the publication of Yarnstorm's book: The Gentle Art of Domesticity. I hadn't actually been planning to buy it until a paperback became available, but then I discovered My Recipe for Happiness: no quince jelly. This is a mealy-mouthed attack on Jane Brocket (Yarnstorm) by Liz Hunt inThe Telegraph, and such viscious writing that I felt compelled to go and view the book immediately.

This took quite some doing, as the book itself is hard to classify. In Waterstones I was told that it was in "Crafts" but it eventually turned up in "Household". In Heffers it was in the cookery section, though there is scarcely a recipe in it. (There are, however, some illustrations of awesome shark attack cakes complete with red jam injuries. Yum. Maybe it is time to do more cake-decorating wtih the nieces?)

Difficult as the book may be to categorise, Liz Hunt certainly has some choice labels for Jane Brocket, though. How about "yet another proselytising former high-flyer turned homemaker"?

I'll let you make up your own minds about both the book and the article. But (inspired by Brocket's photography) I'm now off to arrange lots of pretty still-life shots of yarn and needles to make labels for all those items that I try to sell alongside the quince jelly on the market each Thursday!

edited to add several hours of reading later, I'm delighted that I bought the book. Got so absorbed in it, in fact, that I forgot to take the pictures. Ah well, maybe tomorrow (after a day's felting course, yippee).

6 comments:

Daisy said...

I'm certainly going to be looking out for the book - I couldn't believe it when I read that review!

Karen said...

Here's another vote for Jane: whether we follow her lead and try to do the things she does, or simply admire her talents and aspire to her level of creativity (while having other priorities or skills ourselves), she has written a lovely book.

SusieH said...

That IS a pretty vicious review...

Thanks for the comment and the tip about UK needles - I've been diving for my conversion charts and needle checker doo-dad quite a bit lately!!

Mary deB said...

Nasty, that, wasn't it? I'll keep my eye out for the book.

2ply said...

The Telegraph's review sounded like sour grapes from a bitter person who needs to have more proper fun. BUT the many comments after the review were very encouraging and supportive.

Crafty librarian said...

We made quince cheese (membrillo) yesterday from all the quinces that we kept tripping over in our alleyway. Yum. Did you know there is a party celebrating this very book with Jane Brocket at I Knit London on the 20th. There will be cake and everything apparently - I'm there!