Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Angelo Bucco's notebook

Artie Bucco's Nuovo Vesuvio is hurting. The problems: tired menu, tired decor, and Artie himself. He's a "warm" and "convivial" host, the guidebooks say, but people want to be left alone to eat and talk; they don't want to listen to his line of patter. One night, with the kitchen closed and some late arrivals wanting a meal, Artie takes out a notebook of his grandfather's recipes and rediscovers the vocation of cooking.

The people at The Sopranos have done a fine job of distressing, but — all due respect — it's easy to recognize this composition book as the kind that one can buy in any big-box store. An old, truly old, book would have a hard, thick cover, and something other than the single sans-serif word Compositions. I'm thinking of the Royal "Vernon Line" composition books of my elementary-school days, with varnished covers and watermarked paper. (Alas, I cannot find a single image of such a composition book online. But I recently saw a reproduction of a Royal inside-rear-cover in R. Crumb's Crumb Family Comics [Last Gasp, 1998].)

Artie is about to prepare coniglio (rabbit), with an animal he shot in his garden. Enjoy!

[Images from "Luxury Lounge," The Sopranos (sixth season, seventh episode). Click for larger views, and note the metric measurements.]

More notebook sightings
Les Dames du Bois de Boulogne
Journal d'un curé de campagne
The House on 92nd Street
The Palm Beach Story
Pickup on South Street
Red-Headed Woman

Another Sopranos post
Mediterranean fatalism

comments: 4

T. said...

"An old, truly old, book would have a hard, thick cover, with serif type thereon."

YES! I love that line, and I LOVE your notebook sightings! There's something so alluring about a notebook...the scribbles I voyeuristically try to decipher...the aroma of the pages, if I happen to be holding it in my hands...the book-ness of it - full of possibility, perhaps intrigue, secrets, dreams, lies, new beginnings...Great posts, Michael!

Michael Leddy said...

Thanks, T.!

I'd like to see a company such as Levenger revive the Royal design. Could it happen?

Shannon said...

I am just beginning research into the history of Composition notebooks, in part for my work, and in part for the pure pleasure of it. It all began with trying to date a specific design - a book with no manufacturer information, but "Compositions/ MADE IN U.S.A./ 59 cents" printed on the front cover. I have started off gathering images of Composition notebooks that have been dated (years of use): I now have a list of manufacturers that I will reach out to. Have you ever tried to delve into this history?

Michael Leddy said...

No, I’ve never moved past just feeling nostalgic about the Royal Vernon line. (To think that such beautifully made notebooks were in the hands of schoolkids!)

Your Pinterest collection looks wonderful from what I can see. I’ll have to use my wife’s Pinterest account to see more. Best wishes for your hunt.