Library Love

November 9th, 2009    •  by Bethia    •   7 Comments »


One of the great things about living in Columbus is the public library system. I filled in a library feedback survey today and was reminded of how many services the library offers to the community: literacy, meeting spaces, computer access, job workshops and community events. I mostly use the library for borrowing books and DVDs and value it as a free and convenient resource. The Columbus Public Library system has a searchable website where you can reserve books online and add yourself to a waitlist for popular books. It doesn’t matter which branch the book is at – it will be transported to your library of choice to be collected.

I love leafing through cookbooks but try to resist the temptation of the cookbook section at the bookstore. Borrowing cookbooks from the library gives me the chance to experiment and explore before deciding whether to commit. Some cookbooks have a couple of enticing recipes but lack substance for a long term relationship. Some look good but don’t stand up to scrutiny and some are great to read but you are unlikely to attempt the recipes. When I find one that I have renewed twice and still don’t want to return, it is a good sign that is is worth buying.

Not working over the summer gave me more time to read for pleasure and the library allowed me to do that without feeling guilty that I was spending money on books. I rarely reread books and having to part with them once read doesn’t phase me.

Here are some of my recent food related reading highlights:
The Tenth Muse by Judith Jones  – Judith Jones was the editor to Julia Child, Madhur Jaffrey, Claudia Roden and many other famous food writers. In this book she talks about her life, her clients and shares both stories and recipes. It is also an interesting insight into how much the US culinary scene has changed over the course of her long career.

A Homemade Life: stories and recipes from my kitchen table by Molly Wizenberg, Great recipes and accompanying stories from the author of the blog Orangette. Molly’s account of her family is very personal and shows how food, family and emotion are so entwined together.

Sweet and Low: A family story by Rich Cohen – the story of the little pink packets. An eye opening and engrossing read that touches on so many other things family politics, the sugar industry, the mob, social history, the history of Brooklyn. Truth is stranger than fiction as they say – you couldn’t make some of this stuff up.

How to read a French Fry: and other stories of intriguing kitchen science by Russ Parsons. Food science, but not how it sounds. Fascinating tit-bits that you want to have someone to read aloud to. An entertaining read packed with answers to questions such as ‘why do onions make you cry?’ or ‘how to make the best french fries?’ along with useful tips and lots of practical recipes.

The library also has a number of food related movies: Mostly Martha, Tortilla Soup, Big Night and The Waitress. Here is a fantastic list of food related movies from Gastronomica to give you some more ideas.

Please feel free to share recommendations for food writing or cookbooks.

7 Comments to “Library Love”

  1. Love the libraries here! I read books a week, yes, plural. I used to just buy everything and it was becoming a bit of an expense…especially after the whole quitting my job and going to culinary school thing. Plus, there is just something about the smell of a library book.

  2. How to read a French fry appears to be popular as there are two copies in the photo!

  3. I read “Gumbo Tales” on the flight of my first visit to New Orleans, and it truly opened my eyes to parts of the city’s personality that I wouldn’t have seen otherwise. And I concur; we’ve got the best libraries in the country.

    • hungrywoolf
      November 13, 2009

      Gumbo Tales is one of the ones I still have to read. hmmm Maybe I need an excuse for a visit to New Orleans.

  4. Just finished a great Italian cookbook, Lucinda’s rustic Italian kitchen, which is full of tasty, simple recipes and Whole Grains for Busy People, a treasure trove of cooking tips and recipes. Cannot wait to go back for another bunch of cookbooks!

  5. Has anyone tried an eReader, like the Kindle? I’m interested, but love reading cookbooks, and I’m just not sure how that would work on an electronic device. There is usually a feature that lets you write notes on a page, so that would be helpful. And, it would be nice to have so many recipes in my purse when I find myself on an unplanned grocery trip. I don’t know though, there is something about the smell and feel of a real book . . .

    • hungrywoolf
      November 13, 2009

      I haven’t tried a kindle but I do use my iphone for looking up recipes or ingredients on the go.

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