Chocolat spends a lot of time studying A Field Guide to Smaller Mammals, Birds & Insects of the Cape Peninsula. Time and again it has provided useful tips and hints for her menus. You can’t beat a really good recipe book. Every home should have one.
One of her favourite reads is Edward Lear’s famous poem The Owl and the Pussycat. It combines most of her pleasures : romance and travel. She loves the way that romance develops as the Owl and the Pussycat sail along in their beautiful pea-green boat. How could anyone resist being wooed with song accompanied by a small guitar? She likes the fact that there is such inter-species co-operation – the pig willingly selling his ring for one shilling, while the turkey who lived on the hill conducted a brief, but moving wedding ceremony. And then the wedding feast: mince for the Pussycat and slices of quince for the Owl followed by sedate dancing on the beach beneath the light of the moon. Altogether an enchanting poem.
The same cannot be said for the infantile poem The Cat in the Hat by Dr Seuss. Chocolat does not know what sort of a Doctor Seuss might have been, but it certainly wasn’t anything to do with elegant verse or beautiful illustrations. She finds the sledge-hammer rhyming pattern quite distressing and as for the grotesque cartoon illustrations! Well – the less said the better.
She fancies she may tackle the old Roman poet Catullus next. Poems with titles such as Tears for Lesbia’s Sparrow and The Death of Lesbia’s Sparrow sound very promising.