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. I have some of my favorites listed here.