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Plain Anne Ellis



On our vacation to Ouray I picked up this book in the Colorado history section of a small bookstore on Main Street. It's autobiographical by a woman who spent most of her life in the Southwestern part of Colorado in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, cooking for mining camps, raising her children, and eventually getting elected Treasurer for her county! Here's some favorite quotations from the book:

"Why will people call cooking a menial task?-when it is the art of arts, and a good cook is a genius whose price is above rubies; who handles, daily, expensive materials, which, properly prepared are the foundation of all life and achievement. Of course, I think to waste good food by poor cooking is a crime and should be punished as such."

On her daughter moving away: "I hadn't expected to miss Neita the way I did miss her, and as the days passed I realized what Browning meant when he said something like this: 'We rear them and we love them, then we lose them.'"

"To read is almost as essential to me as to eat. And I feel far more hunger pangs when I am denied mental nourishment than I do at the loss of meals."

Anne Ellis lost her husband at a young age and had to make it on her own in a time when that often felt impossible. She had no formal education, but educated herself by reading. She won political victories to the astonishment of her rivals and kept whole mining camps full of men in line as the cook, knowing that good food can go a long way to make men behave themselves.

I've found this book fascinating!

3 comments:

I love it! I'll have to find it. You would love another book called A Lady's Life in the Rocky Mountains. It's also autobiographical about Isabelle Bird, who rode through the Rockies on horseback by herself in the 1800's. She got snowed in for the winter with some rough miner dudes in Estes Park!

September 17, 2007 at 11:05 PM  

i had to use those quotes over at my blog. they are amazing. i'm going to get my hands on a copy of that book.

September 23, 2007 at 8:07 AM  

I hope you guys like it. It's a sequel to the book Life of An Ordinary Woman, which I haven't read, but plan on borrowing from the library.

I'll have to check out that book about Isabelle Bird, too! Any relation to the Camp Bird mine where the Walsh's found their fortune near Ouray?

September 23, 2007 at 3:45 PM  

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