The Secret Life of Bees: Cooking Your Way Through College
I’ve been learning a whole lot from August, June, and Rosaleen. Zach and I are learning a lot at school, too. Living here brings sweetness to my life like the warm summer breeze feeling I get when eating honey cakes. I forgive you, Momma, and I forgive me too. I forgive me for the things I did, for taking you away from me when you are all I ever wanted. August said that you can’t focus on what’s scratched you. That when you’re hurt, you just have to patch it up and move forward with deliberation. August said that getting hurt is just like drinking bitter tea. When you taste bitterness, all you gotta do is add some honey to sweeten that tea right up. Oh, August. She always brings things back to honey and bees—but it works like magic. Bees, she says, are the wisest creatures on Earth. Honey and Bees are the secrets that go unnoticed until you stop, listen, and let them teach you. Bees have taught me patience, love, forgiveness, and loyalty.
Next year, I’ll be going off to Virginia for college. I won’t be able to hold onto the bees or to the Calendar sisters or to the Boatwright’s peptodismal house for much longer. I’ll be taking the grassgreen notebook Zach gave me that one perfect summer day and will continue filling my thoughts with it. Only this time, someone will be assisting me. Momma, I got a scholarship at a writing school. Mrs. Henry would be proud. She always said that I was smart. It was up to me to believe her. I wish you could see how much I’ve grown since then.
I was in the kitchen the other day while Rosaleen was making May’s favorite banana pancakes. As she flipped the cake over, and the sizzling of the uncooked batter hit the pan, Rosaleen told me that I wouldn’t be able to eat as well next year. It got me thinking that I should keep a book, a book filled with the smells of those banana pancakes, the tastes of sweet honey, the love of May’s graham cracker trails. And so I got the idea of making a cookbook to carry the memories of Tiburon with me wherever I go. I could write a story, but since I’ll be writing all my life, Rosaleen told me I also needed to learn how to cook. With June, August, and Rosaleen’s help, I put together the next few pages to remind me of my sweet, honey-filled life in Tiburon. I’ll be taking three boxes of the Black Madonna Honey with me next year just like you took the label with you. I hope that you’re up there somewhere, Momma, laughing with May, and eating honey too.
This is a cookbook inspired by Sue Monk Kidd's "The Secret Life of Bees". The recipes' central ingredient is honey, as the novel is set on a beekeeping farm. The cookbook is written from the perspective of Lily, the protagonist of the novel. The recipes are supposed to be accessible to any college student living in a dorm with access to a dorm kitchen. None of the recipes were found online, as I was trying to replicate the experience that Lily would have had looking through home cookbook recipes. All the recipes are either taken from cookbooks or concocted from my mother and my imagination. The true pleasure of cooking is the simplicity that can come along with it, while all the while producing a scrumptious result. I hope this cookbook does just that for you, dear readers and fellow bakers/cooks.