Almost Collectors’ Items… and aren’t we all?

Feb 16, 2015 | 4 comments

 

Ark Cookbook, 1985

Ark Cookbook, 1985

As soon as I saw the package, I knew exactly what was inside that brown wrapping paper. Ark cookbooks! They aren’t strictly collectibles yet – not by most standards, anyway. But they are treasured by those of us who knew the Nanci Main and Jimella Lucas version of the Ark Restaurant from its beginning in 1981 to its demise in 2008.

So when my once-upon-a-time neighbor down the road, Nancy Holden, wrote: I have several cookbooks from the Ark in very good condition. Since they would not mean anything to people here I was wondering if you could get them to a good place – I had no compunctions about saying yes.

Ark Cookbook, 1986

Ark Cookbook, 1986

I could have argued that even in the wilds of North Carolina (or is it South Carolina or maybe Florida) there are undoubtedly folks who dined at the Ark back in the day.  And, even so, any true foodies would love the recipes – especially anyone hankering for a taste of Northwest Cuisine, Nanci and Jimella’s specialty.

But for us, the best parts are the signatures and personal messages in each volume from the chefs. And the photographs of here! And of food we remember so well we salivate as we turn the pages. And of the people, many like Faye Beaver and my mom, long gone. Plus there were all the little tidbits of information – some historic then and all historic now!

Ark Cookbook, 1990

Ark Cookbook, 1990

There were three books in the package. On top was The Ark Restaurant Cookbook with its introduction by James Beard, their first, published by Ladysmith in 1983.  This was the 1985 Penguin paperback version.  Next came Bay and Ocean Ark Restaurant Cuisine, published by Ladysmith in 1986. And, finally, was The New Ark Cookbook, published by Chronicle Books in 1990. But, there was one missing.

We checked our shelves of cookbooks and found it: The Best of the Ark and More published in 2003. But that was the only one of the four that we could find. The search was on! Where could they have gotten to? Didn’t we just have them out the other day? And where are my mother’s copies with all those personalized notes from Nanci and Jimella?

Undoubtedly, we’ll be searching for weeks. And, until we find them – thanks, Nancy Holden! We will be keeping these until further notice.

4 Comments

  1. Jane E Smith

    I have a treasured copy of The New Ark Cookbook autographed by Jimella. I would love to find others!

    Reply
    • sydney

      Sandy Stonebreaker says that copies are beginning to show up at the Friends of the Library Sales — one or two per sale. Keep an eye out!

      Reply
  2. Stephanie Frieze

    Dianne Bachmeier gave me the 1990 on in the hopes I would produce some amazing meals. Still working on that.

    Reply
  3. Ruth maloney

    So I have another version that was published in 1983.

    Reply

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