Your Library Staff at Home- Cookbook Adventures

As you may have guessed, I love books. My home library includes a little bit of everything- classics, poetry, science fiction, horror, graphic novels, and a variety of cookbooks that I’ve been gifted or picked up throughout the years. Traditionally, my home library organization mostly consisted of “put the books wherever they fit” and “let’s start stacking books under the coffee table”… but my husband and I recently purchased a new home and I now find myself with more space and shelving than ever before! I have a dedicated cookbook area in my kitchen, plenty of time to try out recipes that have long sat flagged with Post-it notes, and no plans to leave the house (except for groceries) for some time- could there be a more perfect time to experiment in the kitchen?

Today I’m sharing a few cookbooks I’ve been working my way through, along with links to some favorite recipes I have (successfully!) made myself so you can try at home.

The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook by Deb Perelman

Both The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook and the follow-up Smitten Kitchen Every Day by Deb Perelman are fabulous, and Deb writes with such a conversational and encouraging tone, you will feel emboldened to try even her most complicated recipe. She is a home cook from NYC and her tasty comfort food is perfect for the stress we might all be feeling right now. I recommend making her one-pan farro and tomatoes– an easy dish that requires few ingredients and even fewer pots and pans!

Sister Pie: The Recipes and Stories of a Big-Hearted Bakery in Detroit by Lisa Ludwinski

I am totally obsessed with Sister Pie bakery. My brother-in-law lives in Detroit and whenever I visit we make sure to schedule a stop at this awesome bakery, snagging pie slices and cookies to take back with us (or consume entirely on the drive back home). I highly recommend making the sweet beet pie or the honey lemon meringue- both are crazy delicious and included in the cookbook!

Oh She Glows Every Day by Angela Liddon

Liddon’s cookbook is full of healthy vegan recipes and usually utilizes pantry staples and basic ingredients, so you don’t need to go to any specialty stores for ingredients (and nobody wants to go to a basic grocery store now, let alone a specialty store!). Try this quick pantry dal that you can make with basically whatever veggies you have around the house.

Half Baked Harvest Super Simple by Tieghan Gerard

Fun fact- Gerard grew up right here in Northeast Ohio! She lives in Colorado now but there are definite Midwest influences in many of her recipes, and she particularly adores broccoli cheddar soup recipes inspired by her childhood love of Panera Bread. Her crinkle top brownies are my absolute favorite brownie recipe, but be warned you may be tempted to eat the whole pan. Exercise extreme caution.

Veganomicon by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero

This was one of the first cookbooks I ever purchased (I own the original edition but the 10th anniversary edition has new recipes and updates!) and it is still one of my favorites. With extensive recipes for every occasion and meal, these vegan recipes are so delicious and flavorful you don’t need to be vegan to appreciate them. Time consuming and oh so delicious, I highly recommend making her eggplant moussaka with pine nut cream. It has been my go-to recipe for potlucks and parties for years, but also a great family dish for home because it will provide delicious vegan leftovers for days!

Don’t forget you can access an amazing array of cookbooks to browse as well through our digital library! And most of the cookbooks highlighted above include a recipe link to the author’s blogs, which are full of hundreds of more delicious recipes. Another great place for recipe discovery online is from the New York Times Cooking site, who are currently allowing free access to many more recipes than usual for non-subscribers.

What fun and exciting dishes or baked goods have you whipped up at home these past couple weeks? What do you have planned for April cooking? I’m hoping to try out some more Sister Pie recipes!

Your Library Staff at Home- Our Favorite Poetry

Happy National Poetry Month from all of us at Rocky River Public Library! National Poetry Month was launched in April of 1996 by the Academy of American Poets to remind the public that poets have an integral role to play in our culture and that poetry matters. You can read more about National Poetry Month and ways to get involved here!

Below you will find some favorite poems and poetry collections curated by RRPL staff we hope you will enjoy, along with lots of links so you can explore our favorite poets from home.

Dori’s Poetry Pick: “Sorrow Is Not My Name” from Bringing the Shovel Down, by Ross Gay

You can find more of this Ohio born poet’s work on his website, in our digital library collection, and through the Poetry Foundation website.

Megan’s Poetry Pick: “The Lake Isle of Innisfree” by William Butler Yeats

You can read more from Yeats, widely considered one of the greatest poets of the 20th century, through the Poetry Foundation, or choose from four of Willam Butler Yeats poetry collections in our digital collection, including some of his early poems and an audiobook.

Greg’s Poetry Picks: Don’t Call Us Dead: Poems by Danez Smith and
Bury it by Sam Sax

Read more of Smith’s award-winning poetry on his website and on the Poetry Foundation website. You can find more of Sax’s work on his website, through the Poetry Foundation site , and you can check out his debut collection of poems, Madness, from our digital library collection.

Nicole’s Poetry Pick: Blud by Rachel McKibbens

You can listen to audio performances of some of McKibbens’ poetry on her website or read some of her poetry through the Poetry Foundation.

Carol’s Poetry Pick: “The Widow’s Lament in Springtime” by William Carlos Williams

You can check out a collection of Williams’ early poems from our digital library in addition to reading more of Williams’ poetry through the Poetry Foundation.

Stacey’s Poetry Pick: “Still I Rise” from And Still I Rise: A Book of Poems by Maya Angelou

We offer quite a few of Angelou’s amazing poetry collections in our digital library, and many of her poems are available on the Poetry Foundation website.

We’ll be celebrating poetry all month long over on the library’s social media, so be sure to keep your eyes peeled for more staff favorites, book spine poetry, and more. If you want to participate, consider recording yourself reading a favorite poem and sharing it on social media! We can all #shelterinpoems while we shelter in place- thanks to the Poetry Foundation for that wonderful hashtag!

Nicole’s Top Ten of 2019

It was such fun to look back on what I’ve read this past year and pick my favorites! Below you’ll find mostly adult fiction titles, including some standout graphic novels, as well as a stellar young adult novel (Wilder Girls!). 2019 was also the year I dabbled in reading outside my comfort zone of generally weird and spooky, venturing into the land of romantic fiction and true crime. Much to my surprise, I was so utterly charmed by a romance novel that it ended up on this list (I’m looking at you Chloe Brown). I hope that if you haven’t read one of these titles you will be inspired to stop by and check it out this winter. Maybe you will also find yourself pleasantly surprised by broadening your reading horizons *wink*. Wishing you a joyful holiday season and happy reading!

The Familiars by Stacey Halls

Wilder Girls by Rory Power

Kid Gloves by Lucy Knisley

Break the Bodies, Haunt the Bones by Micah Dean Hicks

Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo

The Institute by Stephen King

Get a Life, Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert

Monstress, Volume 4: The Chosen by Marjorie M. Liu

Orange World and Other Stories by Karen Russell

Gender Queer by Maia Kobabe