Calling All Culinary Conspirators!

Today I went to the library to return two books. Pretty simple errand, right? You’d think. Unless you know me well enough to know that upon entering the library I immediately got sidetracked, found two other books I wanted to read (plus Freaks & Geeks on DVD), and did I remember to return the books? NO. No I did not. Instead I checked out the two I’d found, and left with all four. I’m really together like that.

Of course, the consequence is: I have to go back to the library. OH NO. THE HORROR. How will my memory ever improve if this is the kind of reinforcement it gets? Positive reinforcement for completely and utterly failing to remember the purpose of the errand. This is why I make to-do lists. And even THAT isn’t 100% effective; I’ve gone into a store before with two things on the list, and forgotten about one of them. That’s a 50% rate right there, which as any K-12 student knows – with the possible exception of Montessori students – is not a passing grade. Thank goodness we don’t get graded our errand skills; it would be downright embarrassing to get a “needs improvement” next to “Library.”

My other book-related errand of the day was to take a box of books over to the local used & rare book store, Bearly Read Books. They bought over half of what I’d brought, which earned me some store credit. So I browsed around, and what did I find but this:

The Conspirators’ Cookbook, by Century Downing (which Betty Ann and I agreed could not possibly be his given name…could it?), published by Knopf in 1967. Other than being bright orange and green, the title jumped out at me, and then I started reading, and…how could I NOT take it home? Apparently it’s out of print – it doesn’t show up on Goodreads at all, Amazon only has a few used copies, all from ’66 or ’67, and Google image search didn’t come up with a cover image at all, which is why I provided you with this lovely authentic one.

What Google DOES bring up, though – fifth hit – is an article titled “Bomb-Making Manuals: Explosive Content” from the ADL (“When the FBI arrested the conspirators , law enforcement agents recovered the bomb-making manuals Anarchist’s Cookbook and Homemade Weapons, in addition to…”)

So be careful Googling recipes from this. And when it comes to the blue wire vs. the red wire, I hope your memory’s better than mine.

What I’m reading: The Tin Princess, Philip Pullman
What I’m listening to: a mishmash of stuff – The Cure, The Replacements, The Lemonheads, The Pogues, The Kinks…theme being “bands that begin with ‘The'”


Filed under books

2 responses to “Calling All Culinary Conspirators!

  1. Lisa Taylor

    I have a copy of this. It’s one of my favorites. I’ve never cooked a single thing from it, but I’ve read it from cover to cover quite a few times.

    I’ve always assumed it WAS his real name. The book was published around 1967, and from the way he writes, it’s possible that he was 67 years old at the time. I assumed he was born in 1900, hence his name.

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