BOTM December: The cook and the gardener & Brahmin Reborn.

December has been a wonderful month and I am glad to say that due to the flexibility shown by the management of my cafe job, December has really felt like a holiday month! At the beginning of the month, Nathan and I had a 10 day holiday of which 4 days were spent with my family in the Netherlands and 6 days in one of my favourite cities: Paris! Since I had more free time than usual and because of a lack of TV on our holiday, I have unexpectedly been able to finish two books this month! Continue to read my book review!

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The Gardener and the Cook by Lucy H. Yates

Book review the gardener and the cook

The first book is a lovely old book from 1913 which Nathan bought off the internet for me. It is called ‘The Gardener And The Cook’ by Lucy H. Yates. The book is written after Lucy and her husband, whom she lovingly calls ‘the better half’, move to the countryside in Sussex. They have moved there because they wanted a quieter life, but also (and I think mainly) because the husband’s health is not very well. In their new house and with their new garden, Lucy immensely focuses on a healthy diet, since the doctor prescribed a ‘simple diet’ for the better half. To do that, she tries to set up their garden in such a way that it can provide them with fruits, herbs and vegetables all year long. In doing that she has Charlotte the French chef and Charles Mann (also called, Charlemagne) the gardener to help her. It takes them a long time to set up an effective and good system, but they manage in the end and she proudly tells the reader how they achieved it.

After having read this book, I think it is best described as a mutation between a gardening and a cook book in which Lucy allows herself to get into the most miniscule detail of any subject she talks about. Lucy describes, sometimes, very basic things. Things such as: how to make a salad dressing and how to best prepare potatoes. But she also explains things that were still unknown to me such as how to dry fruits and what aspects one needs to think off when setting up a storeroom. The book got me excited to try some of the subjects she mentioned and it definitely made me want to appreciate fruits and vegetables a lot more. I have to keep reminding myself though that some diet aspects back then would not really be appreciated nowadays. There always seems to be a lot of butter and sugar in the recipes Lucy mentions.

The fact that Lucy goes into so much detail made the book a bit boring to read at times and I really had to push myself to finish it. It causes me to have very mixed feelings about this book. It just wasn’t really the type of book that got me excited to sit down and read a long while.

Brahmin Reborn by Bhaskar Sreerangam

Book review Brahmin reborn

The second book I read this month was, however, completely the opposite. I finished this book in two days! The book is called ‘Brahmin Reborn’ by Bhaskar Sreerangam. Bhaskar attended the same church Nathan and I used to attend in Cardiff, Heath church. I only met Bhaskar once since he passed away quite soon after I joined Heath church. Him and his daughter in law, Esther Sandys, managed to finish this book just before he died. I was told by multiple people that the book is very good and I finally took the time to read it. Bhaskar was born and grew up in the South of India. He describes how he had a very happy childhood. He was just like his family a Hindu and the older he got, the more dedicated he became. The book describes what the Hindu faith entails. One very important aspect that keeps coming back in the book is that Hindu’s believe in re-incarnation. They believe that every Hindu starts out in a very low position in life (this could even be as an animal) and gradually could become a very high esteemed (almost God like) human. When a Hindu has done a lot of good in his life, he might become something better in his next life. If he has not done enough good or has done a lot of bad, he could turn back into a ‘lower’ animal or human in his next life. The book describes how there is this growing yearning in Bhaskar to know when he could reach heaven, because in a sense he gets tired of worrying whether he is ‘good enough’. According to the Hindu faith, a Hindu could eventually reach such a ‘holy’ state, that they could go to heaven. But Bhaskar finds out, that none of the Hindu’s he speaks with knows when that could be. Some even mention that more than a thousand re-incarnations per person could be needed. The problem is, none of the Hindu’s knows through how many re-incarnations they have already been. The book describes how he in his late teens, keeps on searching for answers and eventually became a Christian. His testimony gave me goosebumps and the book was so easy and fascinating to read! It also gave me an insight into the Indian culture and Hindu beliefs.

Do you want to read this book? Buy it here.

^ This is an affiliate links, which means I make a small commission at no extra cost to you. See my full disclosure policy here.

For the coming month I have three books lined up that I really hope to read. That sounds like a lot, but I will be honest and say that one of the books is one I nearly finished some other time!

I am very curious.. what are you reading? And have you read any of the books I mentioned above?

Much love, Jenna