Here’s the ninth (September) of the 12 book challenges for this year (read one book a month that has been on my shelf for over a year, that is, purchased in 2013 or before). There are no direct ties to food in the book, although quilters do always bring food when they get together. Thinking about quilting made me feel very much like working around the house. And since it was too hot to go outside to do a lot of work today (88 degrees and humid), I did lots of inside cleaning and laundry and cooking: I made taco salad meat & bean mix (to freeze for lunches); meatloaf (also to freeze for lunches in coming weeks), low-carb squash casserole (because I had squash left from last week that wouldn’t last much longer), and my classic chewy three-ginger cookies (because the cool weather last weekend made me feel like fall cooking).
This book was not at all what I expected. I was interested the quilting aspect in particular, and bought the book at the quilt museum in Paducah. Hidden in Plain View: A secret story of quilts and the underground railroad, by Jacqueline L. Tobin and Raymond G. Dobard, PhD., seemed to be about the story of the role quilts played in the Underground Railroad. And it is, as the author heard the story from one who had the history and was passing it along. But the author also went to other experts to put the story of the “Quilt Code” into the context of the time, admitting that some of the theories as to what the Code meant are literally theories, that historians do not know for sure. Her research stretched over five years, and she says that the “search for the origins and context for this book placed me in the company of an exciting cast of people: African American scholars, Sea Island basketmakers, Gullah storytellers, African textile specialists, low-country agriculturalists, historical preservationists, some of the last African American craftspersons carrying on their ancestral traditions, and Mississippi Delta story quilters” (p. 163). It was interesting, and I learned a lot more of facts – and some theorizing – about the Underground Railroad in general. And a little less about the quilt part of it than anticipated. Nonetheless, interesting reading.