My grandmother, the family dowager empress, was not a cook, so it's fitting that the few recipes I have from her appear in a cookbook not meant for cooking. She sent it to me as a gift for Christmas 1986Under Cottage Roofs: A Cookbook, published by the members of the West Beach Club of Hyannis Port, Massachusetts. The book is 150 pages long, printed on copy-shop card stock and illustrated with amateurish line drawings of sailboats and seashells, and the recipes it contains are truly dreadful.
It is an object of no value, in other words, as a cookbook or as anything else. But if my house caught fire and I could run inside to pluck just one thing from the flames, I would seriously consider choosing this book.
Why do I love it so? My devotion to Under Cottage Roofs is eccentric, not least of all because I am someone who appreciates the value of a real cookbook. My shelves sag with volumes dog-eared and stained from hard use. But my copy of Under Cottage Roofs is as clean and well preserved as a jewel on velvet.