Muscle Memory

Buy the new book, "Beaucoup Arlo & Janis!"Today's "Arlo & Janis!"

One of my favorites in my library of cookbooks is “The Cooking of Provincial France,” one of 27 volumes from a Time-Life Books series called “Foods of the World” that I picked up in a used bookstore somewhere along the way. You know Time-Life Books: a serialized collection of folio-size books on a theme, lots of pictures, easy reading for general appeal. I’m sure some series are better than others, but judging by my cookbook of recipes from French country kitchens, the “Foods of the World” series is excellent. I like it so, I went online this weekend to see what else might be available out there from this series which was published over 40 years ago. The answer was, a lot. Without exerting myself, I found dozens of used books from the series, even some near-complete sets, all selling for little money. I haven’t bought anything yet, but I will.

Also this weekend, I did purchase several pieces of china from an old pattern that belonged to my grandmother. This china was never elegant or expensive. It was a set that was produced in Japan after World War II and, as I recall, was a gift from my aunt and uncle to my grandmother. I have the dishes today, and over the years some have been chipped or broken. So I went on the Internet, searching for replacement pieces from this simple, unremarkable set of china. Found ’em. Now, my set is larger and more complete than when it was given to my grandmother brand new, and the shipping cost me more than the china.

I make a lot of fun of technology and its place in our lives today, but sometimes I have to admit it’s pretty amazing.