Foodie meet Library

Momofuko has been well worn

I would rather tell you how many shoes I have in my closet than how many cookbooks I own.  And actually, it’s not about how many I own, but how many I use regularly.

And when I say use, I obviously mean for recipes (my current 4-5 favourites rotate in and out of the kitchen) but also the books that I love to look at, that remind me of somewhere I travelled or just tell a good story or the books that I WILL use when I finally get around to doing some pit cooking in my backyard.

Pit Cooking (

But, if you love and use cookbooks you also know that, like an uncomfortable shoe, there are disappointments.  Recipes that never work or are too vague, purchases that were spontaneous “yes! I WILL be an expert confectioner!” and the trendy stuff  (how many Jamie Oliver cookbooks does one house need?).

I also do not mean to imply you have to cook out of a cookbook to enjoy it.  Not at all.  But, at least for myself, now that I know what I like I have a better idea what is a worthwhile investment of money and shelf space. And it forces me to look and flip through and appreciate the book right away as I will have to return it sooner or later.


I myself forgot about the library for many years.  With amazon and ebooks downloading in a flash, it seemed troublesome to go somewhere to physically check out a book.  In fact, it did not even occur to me that the library had modernized since I was 12 and is now (gasp) on-line.

I got myself a card and now I just log on, put a hold on the cookbooks or books I want and I am sent an alert when it arrives at the branch of my choice.

Sometimes it takes a day or two and sometimes a few weeks (but how exciting when the email arrives saying Happy Day! The Art of Living According to Joe Beef is mine!! ).

Test Drive Potential Cookbooks

Now with cookbooks I borrow them.  I read them and maybe try a recipe or two.  And generally have a clear sense of whether I need this particular book at my fingertips at a moment’s notice.

And I feel a little more satisfied when finally making a purchase.  Yes, I took the book for a test drive.  It performed as I’d hoped.

And while you’re at the great place called The Library you can also get books such as this:

Or, something beautiful and simple such as this:

And all in all, the place just smells like books and pages and everything is organized and you can hide in a corner where no one knows you reading the latest issue of The New Yorker.

Or just looking in fashion magazines for shoes to buy.


Filed under Blogs with cooking tips, Cookbooks, Magazines (+recipes from), Ruminations on the Edible

10 responses to “Foodie meet Library

  1. CarolAnn

    The library is a super place to check out cookbooks! I used to do this all the time but got lazy recently. Must plan a trip. CarolAnn

  2. Great idea- especially since shelf real estate is at a premium due to my LCBO Magazine addiction.
    I got a library card last year when I joined a high-brow book club and couldn’t be bothered to buy (or read) the books. #EnglishLitmastersfail

  3. I was like that too.. And I was forced into the library world by having a toddler and hoping he would read one day and learn to love books. But there seems to be libraries close to any location so pick-up and drop-off (ALWAYS LATE) takes 10 minutes.
    PS I joined a low-brow book club. Much less stress!

  4. Lisa

    Like you Sue, I was forced back into the library world due to my inquisitive child who seems to love books as much as I did as a kid. We are so privileged to have such an amazing network of resources in this great city of ours.

  5. Lisa

    BTW we’re SO coming over for your backyard pit meal. We adore kalua pig, which we’ve had a number of times in Hawaii. It’s cooked in an underground ‘imu’. So amazing!

  6. Do you think we could make it work? We should try!!!

  7. Lisa

    Not sure where we can get the rocks or banana leaves tha we’d need though…

  8. Glenn Brown

    Whenever I read about home-served meals in England, cheeses are served at the end.
    Can you recommend a good reference about how to choose cheeses for ending a meal? I am concerned to be careful about not too much hard cheese, for health reasons.
    Thanks for any info/advice.
    Glenn Brown

    • Hi Glenn,

      I also love to have cheese after a meal, sit around and nibble as litle or as much as you want. I think you can approach this two ways. You can pick one cheese, buy a larger wedge and it will be a beautiful end to the meal or centerpiece if you’re sitting around a table. In this case I might stay away from softer, richer cheeses that are filling. Maybe a clothbound cheddar or a mountain style cheese (Beaufort, Gruyere, Ossau Iraty, ect) would be nice. You did mention you want to stay away from hard cheese so you could try a semi-soft washed rind or even a ripened goat cheese (Valencay or Grey Owl from Quebec). A blue cheese always works with some fresh apple or pear.

      If you want to put out a cheese plate–I would say choose by your own mood–only keep in mind how filling your meal was. Make sure you have something lighter and tangy like a chevre for those that are full or even a wedge of parmesan –small bite yields big taste.

      Again, have accompaniments that like the fresh fruit or sparkling wine that help cleanse the palate between bites. And tea and cheese makes a lovely post-meal pairing!

      Lastly–if you choose to serve cheese instead of dessert, you could buy a luscious triple-creme (like Delice de Bourgogne) and cut maybe a 1 oz wedge and serve individually with a bit of fruit compote or something like that.

      Does this help? I hope so.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s