Saturday, February 20, 2010

A Visit with Gladys

Imagine opening a wooden screen door and stepping into a bright kitchen. A Blue Willow plate covered with shortbread and cluster of fresh picked tulips standing in a Mason canning jar rest on an oilcloth covered table. Your friend smiles, beckons you to sit as she pours tea. This is the warm and comforting feeling readers get from picking up a Gladys Taber book where they are lifted away to a quieter, gentler time.

I have most of Taber’s books, the collection started when I inherited a couple from my Granny’s things. I set them aside to read later, long after her death, as I wanted to enter her world and taste in books with leisure. One long winter I picked up one of the Stillmeadow volumes and loved it. After reading all Gran’s books, I began to search for more. My mother-in-law also was a lover of Taber works, so I picked up copies for her along the way.

Taber wrote about 50 books including cookbooks, and she was regular columnist for periodicals like Ladies Home Journal and Family Circle during the 1960's. As I girl, I used to read her column “Butternut Wisdom” where she talked about her daily life in a Connecticut country home raising gardens, Cocker Spaniels, and Irish Setters. Yes, her writings are dated. There are no cell phones, computers, microwaves; cars had fins, women wore head scarves knotted under their chins on windy days, clothes were hung to dry on a line outside to flap in the breeze. Her recipes used loads of butter and cream, fresh vegetables, and cakes were made from scratch.

I like visiting Gladys Taber’s world. I try to reread one of her books every winter. This year I have failed to so yet because of too many other commitments. I have missed her, but if I can get there yet this winter, I know Gladys will wave, invite me in, and will already have the kettle on!

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