• January 2008 I began looking for Mastering the Art of French Cooking (MTAOFC) after reading Julie & Julia
• August 2009 I started writing about The Quest after finding a new version of MTAOFC at Costco – but a new copy was not the point, a seasoned copy was the point
• September 2009 MTAOFC hit #1 on the New York Times best sellers list for the first time, 48 years after it was originally published
• October 2009 I visited a used book store in The Village near the Diner, but no cookbooks what so ever
• October 2009 I found an original copy of the New York Times Cookbook by Craig Claiborne and felt one step closer
• December 2009 I finally watched Julie & Julia the movie, and received a whole bunch of cookbooks that were my great Aunt Mary’s for Christmas – there was a copy of New York Times Cookbook by Craig Claiborne, but no MTAOFC
• January 2010 I went to a bunch of thrift store book sales, bought about 50 cookbooks for a project I’m working on, but, again, no MTAOFC
• February 2010 I received a wonderful present, my grandmother’s original cookbook, although still not MTAOFC
In the meantime, I have been searching yard sales, thrift stores, used book stores, checked MTAOFC out from the library, and perused the book at Barnes & Noble but refuse to purchase an “unseasoned” copy.
Recently, I was away on a business trip for the past two weeks, returning Sunday night (hence the lack of culinary delights at the Diner). I’ve been trying to get settled again and refocus. This morning everything came into focus…
I was making a cup of tea and just happened to look up on the shelf past my recipe binder, which I used last night to make Julia’s Potage Parmentier (Leek and Potato Soup). There was something different, something unusual, something that made me gasp and literally took my breath away! There, looking down on my between my magazine holder of Paula Deen and Food Network magazines, and my Food Lover’s Companion was a familiar, but unexpected, orange label with “French Cooking” stating out. If it had been any closer it would have bitten me!
There, on MY shelf, was Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child, Louisette Bertholle and Simone Beck! It is seasoned, yet in great shape. I opened the front cover and below what looks like the original owners signature was this:
To My Wife Holly,
The owner and operator of Holly’s Diner. Hoping this treasure brings you and your guest(s) year after year of good food made with love…
I Love You…
My eyes are welling up as I read it again!
This MTAOFC is an original edition, published in 1961.
I can’t believe it! HH had it waiting for me since Sunday when I returned home and I just discovered it this morning! Boy, I have been in a daze for the past few days!
Apparently he decided I would never be able to find MTAOFC at a yard sale or thrift store, and certainly would not find it in my price range - cheap. So he took it upon himself to do a little research, enlist the help of a few friends (thank you Patty, Abby and Lisa!) and procured a copy for me.
So in MY kitchen/Diner, on MY shelf is MY copy of Mastering the Art of French Cooking. (Actually, I think it's going to stay tucked under my arm today until I have the time to sit down and read it from cover to cover.)
Now we all know he is my Handsome Husband, but this confirms the other thing I have known all along, he is the PERFECT Handsome Husband for me.
Thank you HH, I love you so very much, I can’t wait to get cookin’!
The Quest, finally, comes to a very happy ending.