I have a confession. I’m a book whore. Not quite as snobby as I used to be, but I am certainly more picky. All and all, I think the transition is good. When I was younger, during my pre-college years, I just wanted books. Specifically, new books. Shiny books no one else had owned or read. I wanted the clean pages. The unbroken spines. The ready-to-be-dog-eared-by me corners. Even if I didn’t read them, I wanted them.
And then I grew up. I realized having books for the sake of books was a waste of space. Good books, the ones I pulled again and again from the shelf, were what mattered.
I learned used books come with a certain charm and, if chosen correctly, deliver even more knowledge.
As a freshman in college, I ended up with a used copy of the Odyssey. I was rather butt-hurt, until I began reading. The student before me had been smart. They took great notes, with clean handwriting. They even made the occasional funny comment. Throughout the book, they’d tracked women’s roles. Suddenly, I was tracking women’s roles. Hello brownie points.
Now, I can spend hours in used bookstores. I’ve found it’s best to visit in floor-friendly clothes – the kind you don’t mind getting a little dusty when you plop down between shelves. I love the worn edges of used books and the flattened creases of previously dog-eared corners. I like to look for a note at the front or back. Sometimes I find copies of books such as Molly Wizenberg’s, A Homemade Life and it makes me sad. I have trouble leaving it. I want to buy it and find it a new home immediately. And then, I think about the lucky person who will inherit it and read it like I do – over and over and over again. And I leave it, to let someone else discover it.
But, there’s a new bookstore in Freemont. A bookstore full of new books where I could also spend hours. (Floor-friendly clothes not needed. There’s very little dust here.) Book Larder, a community cookbook store, carries nothing but cookbooks. This isn’t a smaller version of a national chain’s cookbook section. You won’t find all the ghost written, shiny covered books by big named chefs thrown in your face. Books are not so packed into shelves it’s hard to slip them out and peruse. Rather, it’s a carefully selected collection of cookbooks. Opened last November by Lara Hamilton, a former Microsoft gal, the store also features a demonstration kitchen and frequently has small bites laid out.
Visiting with a friend the one weekend, I asked about a cookbook for diabetics. “I only have one,” Lara said, “but it’s fantastic.” Lara, you were not wrong. Reading and cooking through Sam Talbot’s, The Sweet Life, shows a life of diabetes without boundaries.
Unlike most diabetic cookbooks, this one is not centered around Type 2 diabetes. And, it’s filled with recipes which appeal to a non-diabetic, like myself. It’s really quite fabulous.
Check out this simple Roasted Garlic and Roasted Garlic Oil recipe. It’s a great way to hype up the flavor of any dish.
Roasted Garlic and Roasted Garlic Oil
Adapted from Sam Talbots, The Sweet Life
Word to the wise, make sure everyone eats this or else things might get a little smelly for the non-indulgent.
I made one change, swapping olive oil for the grapeseed oil Sam uses, because it can get a little pricey. Use the roasted garlic smashed as a spread on sandwiches, lightly chopped and sprinkled over sliced tomatoes or whole, straight from the jar. Sub the oil in when a recipe calls for traditional olive oil for an instant burst of flavor.
2 cups olive oil
20 garlic cloves, peeled
Heat the olive oil over low heat in a large saucepan. Once the oil begins to shimmer (be careful not to let it boil) add the garlic cloves. Cook the garlic uncovered for 1 hour and 15 minute, or until the cloves are easily mashed with a fork. Store the cooled oil and garlic cloves in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
NOTE: Don’t worry when olive oil solidifies in the refrigerator. Yes, it will look a little suspect. But, it’s completely okay. Let it come to room temperature naturally or set the container in a bath of lukewarm water.