a delicious life

Friday, October 18, 2013

66 square feet - a delicious life - one woman, one terrace, 92 recipes by Marie Viljoen

The act of cooking has satisfied the hedonist in me; it is an act that gives 
me pleasure. But it also provided direction, occupation, and a sense of achievement when my life has been unhappy, method when structure has been needed. It has been a practical form of escapism, masking my tendency to withdraw. It has consummated celebrations in happy times and has always been a reward to look forward to at the end of a day. Cooking now is less about following recipes than about imagination, memory, desire, and inspiration; the latter often grows on the terrace outside, on the roof above my head, or is brought back from the day's market or foraging trip. 
In one dish I try to create a small pocket of perfection, an unassailable space in time when giving and taking pleasure in the present is the only goal. Even if it's just melted cheese on toast.

from the introduction of 66 Square Feet - a delicious life - one woman, one terrace, 92 recipes by Marie Viljoen

A delicious life & a delightful book. Our Marie's book arrived yesterday, I say our Marie because I know many of you that stop by 29 Black Street regularly also visit the (former) Brooklyn address (now Harlem tres exciting) of her long time blog 66 Square Feet. A blog about gardening, a 66 ft square terrace, foraging, nature, life, love, food & one incredible cad cat (Estorbo who has his own hilarious blog & facebook page).

I have been visiting Marie's, Storbie's & Beence's Vince's blogs for as long as I can remember. Like many of the blogs we come to love with a passion we're never quite sure how we ended up visiting them that very first time but we do remember that feeling of kinship, inspiration & delight that has kept us returning day after day after day ... year after year.

Vince, Estorbo & Marie from a Martha Stewart magazine article on bloggers who garden with passion

The writing is beautiful, funny & warm and if you've been reading her blog it's just more, another big fat yummy slice of Marie's unique, delightful & humorous take on life, gardening & food. Many of the gorgeous photos, spreads and cityscapes are taken by Vincent (her husband) a spectacular photographer, the rest mainly food & flora by Marie herself. I knew when I added it to my Indigo/Chapter's wish list ages ago, pre-publication, I would like this book but when it arrived yesterday ... oh my it was pure instantaneous love. The physical book itself is beautiful - it's the perfect size & heft, a well designed layout & concept (a month by month memoir style with a complete menu and cocktail for each month), smooth, luscious paper & gorgeous images.

I love this book. I just want to carry it around hugging it I feel so proud &  so very thrilled for Marie. I feel like we're old friends, she, Estorbo & I,  like often happens when you fall hard for a blogger. I'm relishing in this amazing success. Plus they've just moved 12 miles north to Harlem and to a way bigger terrace - I visit her blog now each day with a kind of crazed, new enthusiasm & anticipation of what's to come next, a new neighbourhood, new stories, new recipes, a new huge terrace, new shops ... I'm gushing I know but this book really is gush worthy ;-)

& Estorbo's blog (her big, black Dominican cad cat) with the very tick, very difficult to understand accent completely cracks me up and makes me snort loudly at my desk I love him as if he were my own cad cat - if you love cads cats and you know I sure do !! be sure to visit Storbie. Thank you Marie !

a gorgeous kitchen ranunculus & daffodil bouquet photo from the inside cover off 66 Square Feet by Marie


  1. It is a great book! Marie worked hard on it and sweated every detail. A rare example of perfection achieved. Treasure.

    I found Marie's blog when I was looking for images of plants for my garden. Noticed she liked cats, food, travel in addition to gardening: what's not to like, so bookmarked. Then through comments on Marie's blog, I found friends like Susan Black, Jane Winter, Bonbon Oiseau, Diane Patmore, Linda Carson... Eventually opened up the world of NYC to me. So for me the book also represents taking that unexpected turn and savoring all that followed.

  2. Honestly John I can't remember how I stumbled upon Marie and 66 Square Feet but I suspect it may have been through the beeg, blag, cads blog many, years ago when I'd first begun blogging. Perhaps it was from fellow cat lady Rachel at Slow Lane Life linked over to Estoboro's hilarious blog & from there to Marie's. I feel the same amazing connection to my virtual friends & family that you do. I think that's exactly why I felt like carrying the book around and hugging it last night because for me also it "represents taking that unexpected turn and savoring all that followed".

    Now with Storbie's health much improved after his unfortunate Typhoid scare + this very exciting move to Harlem, well ... savour, savour & more savour ;-)

    It feels like I've known you & Marie & Storbie forever, it feels like we've already shared laughter over drinks, had great conversations & enjoyed each other's company many times, well you actually have done those things - cat sitting E on several occasions and enjoying the hipness of Brooklyn + the fabulousness of NYC - which I continue to be tres envious of. One day I will cad sit the E cad. It feels like we are great longtime friends ... & we are.

    xo to you friend, Susan & les Gang

  3. Thank you very much, Susan. It is a really nice feeling when someone 'gets' it. Your own aesthetic and way of communicating it are wonderful, and they make yours an especially meaningful appreciation...

  4. thank you Marie ! & loads of love from the gang here at 29 Black Street

  5. ps Marie I myself love to cook, and I so loved the paragraph I pulled from your intro - it so beautifully & exactly expressed thoughts I didn't quite realize I had about my own feelings about cooking. That last line "even if it's just melted cheese on toast" - made me feel very happy, content & hopeful ;-)

  6. Love that lush loaded balcony.

  7. What a great post today! How timely... as we were over at a friend's getting jars of fresh warm honey and just talking about Marie's book, since my friend has a little patch of land and has a prosperous farm. Her photos are great (reminds me of growing up in NYC +NJ) and I love how she puts the temps, etc...brrrrrr. Tail wags to all. ~moose


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