I've been frequenting the library lately because I love books and can't afford to buy a lot of them. I used to have an attitude about the library. Why would I want to read books that have been handled by strangers? Then I grew up and had to pay bills...needless to say, I dug out the old library card (which I got when I was in third grade...the signature is rather cute as I had just learned how to write in cursive).
I've been checking out a lot of cookbooks lately for inspiration. I found three this past week that related so well to using cooking/food to socialize and planning ahead when you cook.
So here's where I play the part of book critic:
By: Judy Gelman and Vicki Levy Krupp
You can buy it lots of places and on Amazon
Because I'm such a book lover, one look at the table of contents causes my heart to flutter. The authors have chosen 100 books and paired them with recipes that relate to each book in some way. The books range from classics to contemporary best sellers.
Sometimes the recipes match the books country of origin like the recipe for Scallion-Ginger Fried Rice given in the chapter on The Good Earth by Pearl Buck (set in China). Sometimes the recipes are for food mentioned in the book like the recipe for Roman Punch in the chapter on The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton. Sometimes the recipes go with a book's theme like Hot Cocoa for Chocolat (by Joanne Harris) or Honey Cakes for The Secret Life of Bees (by Sue Monk Kidd).
Each chapter includes a brief synopsis of the book, an explanation of how different foods play a role in the book, and one or two recipes based on those foods. Then the authors profile a book club that has read that book. There's even a "More Food for Thought" section in each chapter that gives suggestions for ways to pair certain foods with the book.
This book is endlessly fascinating to me because it has recipes like a cookbook, but reads like a regular book. I have a feeling I'll be buying this book before too long.
The Cooking Club Cookbook: Six Friends Show you how to Bake, Broil, and Bond
By: Katherine Fausset, Cynthia Harris, Lucia Quartararo, Lisa Singer, Rebecca Sample Gerstung, and Sharon Cohen Fredman
Again, it's available lots of places and on Amazon
Cook for the Week: Leisurely Weekend Cooking for Easy Weekday Meals By: Diane Morgan, Dan Taggart, and Kathleen Taggart
Available on Amazon
So there you have it, folks. The library is a great place to find new recipes and inspiration for your kitchen adventures...and to rent seasons of Murder, She Wrote on DVD.