It seems that knowing what a person loves to read opens a little window directly to his or her heart. It is always a joy to set aside a book knowing just the person who will love it, but it was a particular thrill to find one for our beloved customer, Lil Knower. Of course it wasn’t hard to see Lil’s heart, she shared it openly and freely, and with an exuberance that is rare and refreshing. Lil loved cookbooks, as many people do, but she particularly loved the vintage treasures that show another time in history, another cook’s treasured notes, another window to another culture. She was a kindred spirit who would take a cookbook home just because “I don’t think I have anything on Czech cooking”. Her room sized collection would do a university library proud. Best of all, she used her cookbooks, with delicious results that she loved to share. There are many things I do not know about her, but many important things I do know from the books she loved and conversations held while choosing her favorite cookbooks as well as the mysteries and spiritual topics she favored.
Lil loved her family fiercely and intensely, but had plenty left over for the stray souls she gathered in under her wing. Her passing this week leaves many people with a hole in their life, including all of us here at the bookstore. We will miss her deeply. I know her memory is best honored by trying to emulate her warmth and caring towards others, but I also know I will remember her when I try making corn pudding, or taste molasses cookies, see a Swedish dinner menu, or price another tattered cookbook stuffed with notes and handwritten recipes.