So I checked out the cookbook section of the Brooklyn Public Library main branch on Eastern Parkway and Flatbush recently. I was expecting a hodgepodge of random works, stuff like the Ladies Home Journal Guide to Dinner Parties or House Beautiful Cooks Mexican, with maybe a few gems mixed in. Sort of like the library's CD collection.
It's pretty great. The have all the recent books from the heavy hitters, and you get to take them out for *three weeks*. they have the Julie Sahni canon on India; Kennedy and Bayless on Mexico; Hazan on Italian; Wolfert; Bittman; etc. etc. I checked out Lynne Rossetto (I always want to spell it "Risotto") Kasper's "the Italian Country Table," which so far has proven every bit equal to its considerable hype; and Penelope Casas' "Delicioso: the Regional cooking of Spain." The selection may not be particularly adventerous, but it includes many of those must-have books that many of us don't have the money or space to buy and store. You'll even find home-brewing guides.
When spring comes, and the Grand Army Plaza farmer's market is flourishing, it'll be a great place to step in for ideas and inspiration.