When my kids were small, we made weekly trips to the library for fun and entertainment. When they got older, we went to do research for homework (yes, before the Internet was available 24/7 in homes).  When the kids got older I stopped going.  I’m not sure why, but I started buying the books I read and didn’t step foot in the library for probably 7 years.  That all changed when I started doing Once-a-Month-Cooking (OAMC).

I wanted to review the bulk cooking books before I committed to buying one (read the OAMC books I reviewed and which I bought here). I’ve never been one of those people who plop down with a cup of coffee at Barnes and Nobles and reads through the books before buying.  Not my thing, plus, I’m so prone to accidents that  I’d likely spill on one and have to buy it.

Anyway, things have changed at the Library since the days of being shushed by gray-haired ladies. Our library now has a study area with vending machines, computers literally in every corner and on the end of most bookshelves, and self-checkout.  But even better, books can be reserved online and when they’re available, an email is sent that the book is waiting for you.  I love it!  Granted, this feature has been available for a long time, but they’ve made it even easier.

My library system also offers many of their audiobooks online for free. They download directly to my computer and I can then transfer them to my iPod.  As an avid audiobook fan, this has saved me hundreds of dollars a year.  The also have free e-books, videos, and music!

Today I stopped by the library to pick up the book I went online last week to reserve, “Flashforward“. The ABC TV show is one of my favorites and it’s been canceled.  As it stands, they’re not even going to film a closing episode.  I’m so bummed.  I had to know how the story ends so I picked up the book.  After reading just one chapter (sitting in the Library parking lot eating my lunch), I’m hooked.

Cookbooks and more - my trip to the library

While I was there, I decided to browse the cookbook isle. There I  picked up Alton Brown‘s “I’m Just Here for More Food: Food x Mixing + Heat = Baking and found out that punching down your dough is bad for it. I love the way he presents the science behind the cooking.  I also got an older book, “Cover & Bake (Best Recipe)” which says it has the best macaroni and cheese recipe in it (they tried 35 different batches) – I’ll let you know how it goes.  I also picked up the enormous cookbook, “Moosewood Restaurant Daily Special: More Than 275 Recipes for Soups, Stews, Salads and Extras” – I’ve made their whole-wheat  foccacia before and loved it!  My final book choice (only because I couldn’t carry any more an forgot to bring a bag!) was “Back to the Family: Food Tastes Better Shared with the Ones You Love” by Art Smith.  He was Oprah’s private chef, but I fell in love with his style when I watched him on the Food Network’s Iron Chef’s show.

I’m surrounded by books as I write this and I have to  say I’m smiling. If you don’t hear much from me in the next few days it’s because I’m making mac & cheese, folding my bread instead of punching it, and finding out how the story ends to Flashforward (no thanks to ABC!).  Visit your Library, there’s something there for everyone.