A Sense of Taste, A Sense of Place,

With the arrival of the Holiday Season, everyone is focused on families, friends, and parties, which usually means food.  That’s great because I love to eat; but awful because I’m a lousy cook.  I mean world-class lousy.  I’m the gal who confused teaspoons and tablespoons in Home Ec. class and braised radishes with too much oregano. (Who braises radishes anyway?) My newlywed cooking turned Meat Loaf into Meat Cake and made my husband a permanent fan of take-out.  I’m slowly getting better at the domestic arts but it’s hard overcoming a kitchen philosophy I created years ago that states, “When it comes to cooking, I’d rather read.”  Luckily, I live in the South, a region of great writers, as well as great cooks, and, at times, those two fields overlap.  When that happens, the results are cookbooks that feed the body as well as the soul. Cross Creek Cookery I’ve written before about Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings and her great love-affair with central Florida.  One of the most remarkable chapters of her wonderful book, Cross Creek, recounts Marjorie’s own development from lousy to gifted cook and her joy learning Southern cuisine. The only problem was the book was published during World War II…

Home Story
Stories about Stories / October 10, 2017

All stories are about being human and all humans need a spot they can call home. More than shelter or status symbol, “home” is part of a person’s identity and many writers are known for theirs.  Faulkner didn’t stir from Rowan Oak unless he was forced to.  Daphne du Maurier’s obsession for Menabilly changed the course of her life.  But both of these homes are grand houses of great estates, spots most of us could not relate to.  So I traveled to Cross Creek, the home of Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, a simpler structure if no less beloved. In fact, so much of MKR’s happiness and identity were tied to her home, she wrote one of her best books about it.  And, from the moment you enter her gate, you can see both Cross Creek and the writer are cherished by those who remember them. City-bred, Marjorie didn’t flourish as a writer until she moved to the backwoods of Florida and Cross Creek is still off the beaten path.  No disoriented tourists, adrift from Disney, will turn up at its borders. No major hotels or even gift shops entice explorers with the “Cross Creek Experience”. You have to look for the…

When home is a place where you’ve never been: Cross Creek

William Shakespeare, that quotable fellow, said “Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them.”   That’s how I feel about home.  Many people I know are raised with a real sense of identity, knowing who they are and where they belong long before they learn how to read.  That place of origin, for good or for ill, is home, undeniable as DNA.  Others have to make a place for themselves in this world and a few of us enter a strange site and realize with amazement that this place centers us like no other.  It’s a shock, like first falling in love, and it changes the folks who experience it.  That realization of finding home is central to Marjorie Kinnan Rawling’s book Cross Creek  because it’s not just about the first heady days of romance.  Cross Creek is the love affair between a discoverer and place. The two were an unlikely match.  Mrs. Rawlings was a thirty-two year old journalist whose career and human marriage were both showing wear but not many signs of success.  She was educated, politically liberal and although she could write, she had not found her “voice”, that prerequisite of transcendent…

%d bloggers like this: