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Cooking, Culture, and Community October 18, 2007

Posted by bookgoddess in Books, library programs, Reading lists, West Palm Beach Public Library.
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I chose the theme of cookbooks for this month’s “All You Can Read Book Buffet” because October is National Cookbook Month (and because almost everyone loves food and many people love cookbooks).  And yes, there were some yummy selections.  But it turned out to be about more than that.

As I was making my choices, I was reminded that food is about so much more than taking in enough calories to get our daily tasks done.  The two themes that stood out for me, and that overlap considerably, are culture and community.

I started with my own cultural heritage – quite a mixture, really – and the first book I chose was the wonderful Florida Cookbook:  From Gulf Coast Gumbo to Key Lime Pie by Jeanne Voltz and Caroline Stuart.  They do a terrific job of bringing together the diverse regions and cultures that contribute to Florida cuisine.  And there are wonderful anecdotes and information about Florida cooks, restaurants, and specialty foods like swamp cabbage and stone crabs.

Other selections are from many of the world’s cuisines and culinary techniques (click here for the whole list), but one of my very favorites is Hungry Planet:  What the World Eats with text by Faith D’Aluisio and photographed by Peter Menzel.  This fascinating volume documents the eating habits of the world by showing families in several dozen countries with their weekly grocery shopping gathered around them in their homes.  Other photographs portray markets, food, and ways of life.  Statistics on income, overweight, and other related topics are provided.  From Great Britain to Bhutan, from spacious houses to rented rooms, everyone needs to eat. 

Recently, I attended a multicultural event in which people brought dishes from their native cuisine, or that of their ancestors, to share.  It was a wonderful dinner, and we all had the opportunity to try something new.  And I have to think that, in general, people who sit down and share a good meal have a much better chance of getting along.

I hope there’s a good meal and good people to share it with in your plans!

All the best,

The Book Goddess

P.S.  If you would like to be notified of book-related events at the West Palm Beach Public Library, please send your e-mail to me at albeet@mycitylibrary.org.

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Comments»

1. October is National Cookbook Month « Care’s Online Book Club - October 18, 2007

[…] Published October 18th, 2007 Uncategorized I just read on the blog written by Book Goddess that this month is National Cookbook Month.  She highlights a few great points about why food is […]

2. bkclubcare - October 18, 2007

hi! It’s my post (which I’ve already edited the first sentence…) above! I stumbled upon your blog from the tag list on the main wordpress dashboard, I think…. I clicked on ‘books’. Great blog!

3. waltzingaustralia - October 18, 2007

Wow. I didn’t know there was an official month for cookbooks. Of course, because I’ve now run out of shelf space for cookbooks, I think I’ll just browse through them to celebrate. But it’s fun to know that they warrant their own month.


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