last holidays, trying to get away from it all whilst the womenfolk were cooking on christmas eve afternoon, garebear and i did our annual trek to the antique malls of tupelo, wherein i found a GEM.
Good Cooking, Good Looking: Recipes from Atlanta's Bachelors. by bonnie irvine. (c) 2003.
which was, of course, immediately purchased because $2 (!!!!) and because, looking at the cover, i thought, omg, what an amazing christmas present for N. it was only upon actually reading it that i thought, omg, i am never parting with this majestical thing.
i come from a family of fierce and intense enthusiasms. so it was surprising how totally unenthused garebear was as i read aloud special selections from this life-writing/cultures of dating masterpiece the whole way back to the farm.
"the best way in which a woman caught jason's eye was 'by looking into my eyes...'" jason's "ideal woman is a country girl that is both cute and sexy at the same time."
"for fun, you will find michael playing the board game LIFE." michael's "ideal woman 'is independent, funny, sexy, outgoing, she has a taste for adventure and she has dark hair and light eyes.'" (dark eyed blonde women apparently need not apply.)
i giggled. garebear was having none of it. stop reading that stupid thing! he bellowed. it seems 21st century-style dating- where people "surf the net" and publicly admit to loving phantom of the opera- does not amuse him.
my cousins were a different story, as they immediately saw the appeal. quickly, it was dubbed "The Bachelors." as in: where are The Bachelors? go get The Bachelors... i miss looking at The Bachelors.... ooooooooh, we're looking at The Bachelors again.
as we sat at the kitchen table poring over this book for the next four days, garebear would wander through, shaking his head, and exclaim, you're STILL looking at that thing? like its charms had limitations.
believe you me: its charms have no limitations. and its possibilities seem endless.
steven claimed "any woman in home depot with a glittering eye is a target of my love." we wondered: has he spent all the intervening years trolling home depot looking for women with glittering eyes?
willie's "ideal woman is about 5'2" to 5'7", 110 to 140 pounds, pretty legs, and likes shopping at Victoria's Secrets." did he find her? we asked.
ditto for jim, whose "ideal woman" has "red hair, green eyes, if 5 feet 8 inches tall, 120 pounds, and being successful in her career is important to her." (so, save that one inch, me! [sorry jim, all of your recipes feature fish so no.])
what made joe decide to match his tie to his apron? we wanted to know. in a cookbook full of glamor shots, posing all matchy-matchy whilst actually cooking appeared a bold choice.
jerald's ideal date was a date he already had when he "met a girl in atlanta at a bar who was on a business trip" and "they spent several hours talking"- "a magical experience" that reminded jerald "there is beauty in the world." jerald, we wanted to ask did you ever get over that girl?
we were devastated to discover that the website goodcooking-atlanta.com no longer did, so we could "find more information about the bachelors and more photos," as bonnie irvine promised.
garebear did not understand our sadness. when he saw The Bachelors going into my bag to bring back to london, there were eyebrows of disapproval and an audible intake of breath. you're taking THAT back with you? he asked, in a tone he might also have used were i trying to sneak in crystal meth.
the charms of this volume are not limited to my family. upon hearing about it, N was keen to see and so, post-new year, the pair of us sprawled out in a booth at dirty martini, poring over The Bachelors and their recipes.
if i had more time and a bigger kitchen, i'd suggest we do a series of dinner parties featuring the work of The Bachelors, i said, two martinis later. but at some point we'd arrive at jason m.'s barbequed baby beef ribs and red, white and blue parfait, and i just don't know if i can go there.
N nodded knowingly, then furrowed her brow. is it because it's meat? she asked. or because his favorite song is bette midler's "from a distance" and "being a republican and being a protestant are two very important aspects of jason's life"?
then she paused. and she said, no. i know. it's because jason m. is looking for a woman who is "sweet, smart, healthy with child bearing hips or extra large heart with medium jeans."