I get the kind of thrill from walking into a library that most people would experience if they were dropped invisible into See’s candy factory. My personal black hole is the non-fiction section, where I love to lose myself in anything at all – Dior and Saint-Laurent, show tunes, teach-your-self calculus (that one didn’t go so well) skinning a squirrel, packing a parachute, surviving a tsunami. Something in me needs to know all this. I just wander through the numbers, sampling and moving on. (How do librarians ever get anything done? Perhaps they become like me, working in the kitchen all day surrounded by deliciousness, but never feeling hunger? ) My hummingbird-like sweeps through the non-fiction section net me inspiration and something I can only describe as a weird kind of synthesis, like all these odd blips and orts get mashed – or maybe pureed – into a much bigger picture. Yes, I work with food, write about food, but food is nothing less than life and history on a plate and that is why everything about food engages me so deeply. It is the story of many worlds, of worlds in collision, of science and art and society and culture. It comes from somewhere – it isn’t just recipes. . I find inspiration and understanding in the oddest places. The library gives my food roots and wings.
My local library has been a huge part of my life since I was a little girl. I remember going there with my mother every week and looking forward to pulling up a chair in the children’s section, cracking open a brand new book and disappearing into a world of fantasy and daydreams.
These kinds of childhood memories might be familiar to many, but what I bet you didn’t know is that your local library is also an excellent resource for culinary inspiration. From contemporary and historic cookbooks, to cooking magazines, culinary focused films and cooking shows, you can find just about anything you need to whet your appetite at your local library. I can think of no better way to discover great ideas for home cooking than to check out a handful of cookbooks, magazines or culinary DVD’s from the library. Not only are there tons of subjects to choose from, but you can read and cook to your heart’s content without buying a bunch of books, which in the end saves you money while giving you a chance to experience a book before purchasing it. So, the next time you’re seeking culinary inspiration, head to your local library. You just might be surprised at the many tasty reads you will find.