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!