The latest in Susannah Seton’s Simple Pleasures series is Simples Pleasures of the Kitchen (Conari Press, Boston, 2005). Seton gives us a wonderful anthology of food stories, recipes, crafts, quotes, and clips from famous works, contributed by writers around the world, including Seton herself.
In his introduction to the book, Jonathan King declares, ‘My kitchen is without doubt the heart of my home.’ Susannah Seton takes this up to make her book an attraction for any and every member of a home through all the seasons of the year. Corresponding to the four seasons of the year, the book has four divisions: Spring Flings, The Savor of Summer, Autumn’s Abundance, and Cozying Up in Winter. All sections teach a lot: cooking, decorating, making kitchen calendars, napkins, and candleholders, and many things that one needs in a home kitchen. Common to all the items are two merits: simplicity and brevity. For readership, this means ease and alacrity to practice one’s hands on the items presented. What pleasure lies in preparing a simple snack and relishing it, you get to know from Seton’s book.
Simple Pleasures of the Kitchen is not for the gourmand only. It is a book of memories stirred by things as simple as a nice cup of coffee, or a loaf of hot bread. Writers share the memories of their parents, grandparents, family, houses, pets, and rides-everything that inspired the soul with a tickle in the stomach. Some of these are nostalgic, others just light and entertaining, and still others motivating. Modes change with flavors.
Among the micro-items of the book are interesting quotes by some very celebrated names like Oscar Wilde, William Shakespeare, Henry James, Cervantes, Emily Dickinson, Jane Austen, and many others, all joining life with food. Proverbs of some languages tell us cultural food themes. And of course there are interesting bits of information, as one by Boyd Matson: “Believe it or not, Americans eat 75 acres of pizza a day.”
Simple Pleasures of the Kitchen is a book for all those who eat and know its joy. Those who do not can get it from Susannah Seton’s book.