I’ve written in the past how much I love my job and how rewarding it is to work with the public. In addition, I’ve told our readers how much pride I have to work in such a beautiful building in the Town of Norwood. I’ve shared stories about attending Literary Lunches with the 6th graders at the Coakley Middle School and reading to children in the public schools during Read Across America week each spring. I’ve written about programs that we give at the library including our frequent film series, author nights, book discussions, Scrabble and Music Sundays. One of the joys of my job is encouraging our staff to offer these rich and diverse programs to adults and children in Norwood. These are some of our “finest hours” at the library and it gives us great pride to fill the Children’s Room or the Simoni Community Room.
I’ve also shared with you that one of the best parts of my job is ordering books for the non-fiction collection. As a non-fiction reader myself, I love to find out which books are coming out in future months. I like to keep you informed and I write about these in our eNews updates and post them to our website so that you can request them early from the library.
And that’s exactly how I’ve become a cookbook reader. I’ve loved cooking since I was a young adult and I’ve relied on friends, relatives, magazines or newspapers for their suggestions. I’ve collected my own library of cookbooks, purchased on whims or given to me as gifts. But it was only when I began to choose them for our library that I decided to make sure that my choices have been good ones. It’s my job to read cookbooks. Someone has to do it and I love it.
That’s how I discovered the “Beat This! Cookbook” by Ann Hodgman with a foreword by Elizabeth Berg. Berg herself loves reading and writing fiction (“Range of Motion” and “Year of Pleasures” are two of her many books) but when she has asked by National Public Radio to recommend a book, Berg chose Hodgman’s book. On that recommendation, I decided to bring newly-published “Beat This!” on vacation last week.
Was I hooked! I was halfway through reading the book on our first night away. Hodgman was a way of describing her choice of recipe, her enjoyment of the finished product and her family history that is quite simply delicious. She adds some of her advice in large quotations throughout the book and even those are fun to re-read.
“Chili is further proof of my rule that every recipe is better if you add sausage or bacon.”
Or “It’s so much more fun to bite into something triangular than something rectangular.”
Or how about “I try not to feel too embarrassed about relying on a convenience food during a major national holiday.”
I had already brought ingredients to cook for my household for nearly the entire week so when I finished the book on the beach I didn’t quite get to make any of the recipes in Hodgman’s book. However, I will be trying some of Hodgman’s recipes soon. “Pure, Rich, Great Caramels” and “Strawberry Gelato” sounded yummy to me.
Another book I took along on vacation was “At Elizabeth David’s Table: Classic Recipes and Timeless Kitchen Wisdom.” It is wonderfully entertaining and enlightening. Renowned food writer Ruth Reichl wrote the preface to the book and she describes chef David’s personality in and out of the kitchen. Included in the cookbook are Elizabeth David’s (1913-1992) chatty introduction to each recipe and the instructions are written in a knowledgeable go-to-it style. Try “Stewed White Beans” or “Chicken Baked with Green Pepper and Cinnamon Butter.”
I brought “Ancient Grains for Modern Meals” by Maria Speck and “Jekka’s Herb Cookbook” by Jekka McVicar for inspiration. They aren’t quite as irresistible to read but they are wonderful cookbooks full of healthy, delicious recipes.
This summer my husband and I chose to rent a former B&B to house our large brood which included our grandson, our grown children, their spouses or partners and friends for our week at the Cape. As our son-in-law put it, there were an “obscene amount of bathrooms.” One of the other great features was a spacious gourmet kitchen fit for our family of foodies.
I discovered that the owner had written her own cookbook. Tucked on a shelf in the bright, sunny kitchen was “Sleep On It” by Carol Gordon. It is a collection of recipes meant to be made the night or day before so that the host or hostess (in this case, bed-and-breakfast owner) can sleep in until at least 6 a.m. In fact, the subtitle of Ms. Gordon’s book is “Prepare Delicious Meals the Night Before that You Can Pop in the Oven the Next Day!” We had fun reading that cookbook and trying some of the easy appetizer recipes on our hungry, sunwashed crowd.
One of the best values at your library in Norwood is expensive non-fiction books like cookbooks that you can borrow, browse and read bits and pieces without purchasing them. If you can’t resist having them in on your own bedside table or kitchen counter you can always find them at a bookstore. But we have a wonderful cookbook collection that grows larger each month and we love to share it with you. Be sure to visit the Morrill Memorial Library, call the Reference librarians (781-769-0200) or visit the Minuteman Library Catalog on our website, www.norwoodlibrary.org.
Once again on May 23, 2017, the Morrill Memorial Library's submission to the Massachusetts Library Association 2015-2016 Public Relations Awards won first place in the News category. A representative 25 columns were submitted. They were written by Charlotte Canelli, Nancy Ling, April Cushing, Allison Palmgren, Kate Tigue, Liz Reed, Bonnie Wyler, Diane Phillips, Norma Logan, Jeff Hartman, Sam Simas, Nicole Guerra-Coon, and Meredith Ruhl
On May 4, 2015 the Morrill Memorial Library's submission to the Massachusetts Library Association 2013-2014 Public Relations Awards won first place in the News category. A representative 24 columns from 2013 and 2014 were submitted. They were written by Marg Corjay, Shelby Warner, Nancy Ling, Diane Phillips, Brian Samek, Bonnie Wyler, Marie Lydon, Norma Logan, Allison Palmgren, April Cushing, Liz Reed, Kate Tigue, Jillian Goss, and Charlotte Canelli.
Library staff have written over 492 columns since 2009.
Tuesday, July 12, 2011
The Cookbook Reader
Charlotte Canelli is library director of the Morrill Memorial Library in Norwood. Read her column in the Norwood Transcript & Bulletin this week.
Posted by Charlotte Canelli at 3:33 PM
Contributors to the Morrill Memorial Library "From the Library" Column
Library Director, Charlotte Canelli began writing columns for the Peterborough Transcript in 2001 when she was the Youth Services Librarian at the Peterborough Town Library, 2001-2005. Soon after becoming the director of the Morrill Memorial Library, she began to write weekly columns for the Norwood Bulletin and Transcript. Since February 2009 other Morrill Memorial librarians have written many other columns. They include: April Cushing, Vicki Andrilenas and Liz Reed, Adult and Information Services Librarians; Jean Todesca, Kate Tigue, Nicole Guerra-Coon, Children's Librarians; Allison Palmgren, Technology Librarian; Sam Simas, Web Designer; Bonnie Warner, Literacy and Outreach Librarian; Diane Phillips, Technical Services Librarian; Norma Logan, Literacy Coordinator; Nancy Ling, Outreach Librarian; Cynthia Rudolph, Graphic Artist and Circulation Assistant; Jeff Hartman, Sr. Circulation Assistant; Margaret Corjay, Circulation and Outreach Assistant; Patricia Bailey, Circulation Assistant; retired librarians Hope Anderson, Marie Lydon, Shelby Warner, Margot Sullivan and Tina Blood; previous MML librarians, Beth Goldman, Kelly Unsworth, Brian Samek and Jenna Hecker; and library interns Kirstie David, Meredith Ruhl, Samantha Sherburne, Melissa Theroux and Khara Whitney-Marsh.