What’s Happening at the Library: Beat the Winter Blahs with Great Cook Books

Published 6:29 am Tuesday, February 15, 2022

To get through winter’s last cold overcast slog you need go no further than the first set of shelves on the right just inside the Library’s doors.

There, circulation manager, Lynn Wills, who, pre- pandemic, created wonderful eclectic displays of topical books on an octagonal table near the old public computer stations, has gathered a collection of gardening and cooking books that are so bright, colorful, and lively you can bask in their glow.

There are books by and about M.F.K Fisher, including “How to Cook a Wolf,” in “MFK Fisher: The Art of Eating” (call # 641 Fish). Written during WWII food shortages and rationing, “How to Cook a Wolf,” presents thoughtful essays about making good food with few ingredients and a positive outlook.

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Laurie Colwin’s “More Home Cooking” (call# 641.013 Colw) is full of low-budget, easy recipes for delicious family food with minimal fuss and bother. Each recipe is written in Colwin’s engaging conversational style. Laurie Colwin was
best known as a novelist. Try “Happy All the Time” (F Colw). Highly recommended.

Every Hippie had a copy of Molly Katzen’s “Moosewood Cookbook.” In Lynn’s display is “The Heart of the Plate” (call # 641. 5636 Katz) Molly Katzen’s Moosewood for the 21 st century.

Simple, savory, vegetarian recipes. For those whose tastes are more refined there’s “The Cook and the Gardener,” by Amanda Hesser (call # 641.65 Hess). In that book, Amanda Hesser writes about the year she spent as a cook at a 17 th century French Chateau and her seasonal collaborations with the chateau’s “seemingly impervious, charmingly sly…caretaker of…the kitchen garden,” M. Milbert. Even if you don’t want to go through the fuss and bother of her recipes, Hesser’s tales of M. Milbert are delightful.

Cookbooks are delightful in general. Which make them well worth reading in February.

The Clark County Public Library has a boatload of fabulous cookbooks, culinary memoirs and essays. Just start at call # 640 and keep on browsing.

One of the Library’s best new cookbooks is “Black Food,” edited by Bryant Terry (call # 641.59296 Blac). This is an anthology of writers who not only provide scrumptious recipes (vegan sweet potato coconut biscuits, crab and collard rundown, Edna Lewis’ Fresh Peach Cobbler with nutmeg sauce-I am dreaming of June), most entries also explain cultural contexts and give anecdotes about cooks. It’s a beautiful book.

If you’d like help finding types of recipes or styles of cooking, anything from austere to decadent, ask a Librarian for help. There are a lot of good, experienced cooks working at CCPL.

Have a delicious week at the Library.

Contributor and library aficionado John Maruskin wrote this column for the Winchester Sun.