The joy of useless information

One of the few times we managed to tear ourselves away from our lovely little cottage by the sea in Saaremaa, we went to Kuressare public library. José wanted to check his mail and work a little in a place of suitable scholastic silence. So I went along, and kicked my heels for a while, until I found a corner full of American books. All the classics were there.
Do you think I plumped for Wharton or Faulkner? Think again. I went home with The joy of cooking. Norman Mailer or John Updike didn´t have a chance.
And what do you think I found, on idly turning the pages? This text:

"About ground meat for hamburger.
Merchants of the German port of Hamburg, through centuries of trade with Estonians, Latvians and Finns, had cquired the Baltic taste for scraped raw beef; but it was not until the St. Louis World´s Far in 1904 that broiled, bunned beef was introduced to the rest of the world by the Germans of South St. Louis as hamburger."

Who knew? I never thought to find a mention of Estonia in The joy of cooking, which just goes to show that thumbing through the classics always pays out. Maybe I should try and see what I can find in Moby Dick, next time.

12 comentarios:

startcooking dijo...

Thanks for sharing all the joys of your summer holiday! I have always found Estonia to be a magical place. It is so sad when people rush off the cruise ships and only spend an afternoon there. The inspiration for my web site actually came alive while I was in Estonia. It shall always hold a very special place in my heart.

Anónimo dijo...

Serendipity rocks!

Lydia dijo...

In my town, our library looks exactly like your drawing of your seaside cottage! A wonderful old red-painted building, with white doors and window shutters. And it has several editions of The Joy of Cooking, and even cake pans that you can borrow! Libraries are wonderful places.

xps dijo...

Me alarma tu incultura. Siempre te dije que el Sr. Mc.Donalds era en realidad de Tallin.

Cottage Smallholder dijo...

So glad you had a good holiday. It's awards day at Cottage Smallholder and you got one!

Guru dijo...

Alucino. Otra vez siento el frescor del bosque. Y se agradece ... que ya sabes que por aquí Lorenzo ataca sin piedad. ¡Qué a gustito estoy mirando esa casa!

MyKitchenInHalfCups dijo...

I don't consider information useless if it increases my enjoyment of the world. The Joy of Cooking is a surprising book just for this kind of info. Love the cottage!!

Julie dijo...

I love the picture of this cottage -- it's so charming! And, Lydia, your library must be charming also and I think having cake pans available to lend is such a great idea!

Pille dijo...

Lovely picture - and I'm glad to have seen it before all other readers :)
And indeed- who would have thought that Julia Child mentions Estonia in her epic book!?

lobstersquad dijo...

startcooking: estonia is the best. I feel the same about the cruises, but hey, at least when they leave, Tallinn is lovely and quiet in the evening.
anónimo: indeed it does
lydia: I want to go to your library!!!!
xps: je-je, bonita.
cottage: thanks so much!
guru: aquí ya ha llegado el calor, qué asco
mykitchen: you´re right. also, if it´s useless it sticks better in the brain
julie: totally agree with you, the pan lending is genius
pille: well, next time I hope you´ll see the cottage, too!

Sandi @ the WhistleStop Cafe dijo...

Your drawings are always the best, glad you are enjoying the summer!

Hannah dijo...

Moby Dick actually has an entire chapter about chowder!