DCPLive is a blog by library staff at the DeKalb County Public Library!

May 2014

May 30 2014

Don’t Forget…

by Dea Anne M

…about the Adult Vacation Reading program! After all, many of us recognize how important sustained summer reading can be for children and teens in instilling a love of reading and fostering an appreciation of libraries. Well, we adults who love reading can participate too.

asr_posterScience is the theme for VRP 2014. Find out more about the “Literary Elements” program for adults here or visit any branch of DCPL. You only have to participate in three activities to complete an entry form: read a book, listen to an audiobook or download an online item from DCPL’s collection, or participate in one of DCPL’s book discussions. Remember, you can do any activity more than once. You must be 18 or older to enter and must have a DeKalb County Public Library card. (DCPL staff are not eligible for Adult VRP prize drawings.) Enter by August 4, 2014. Branch prizes are a VRP tote bag which includes a notepad and pen set and sticky flags. Systemwide drawings will be held for gift cards to area restaurants and a booklover’s tote bag. Pick up an entry form or enter online and get started reading today!


May 27 2014

2013 Bram Stoker Award Winners

by Jesse M

bsawinners2013A couple of weekends ago, the Horror Writers Association handed out its annual Bram Stoker Awards at the World Horror Convention in Portland. In all, fourteen haunted-house statuettes were awarded to the writers responsible for creating superior works of horror in 2013. Notable recipients included Stephen King and R.L. Stine. You can view the full list of winners here.

Stephen King won in the “Superior Achievement in a NOVEL” category for Doctor Sleep (a sequel to his 1977 novel The Shining). King, arguably one of the most well-known writers of popular fiction alive today, is famous for the plethora of his novels that have been adapted into successful films, including The Shining, Stand by Me, and The Shawshank Redemption, among many others.

R.L. Stine was one of two people honored with a lifetime achievement award (the other was editor Stephen Jones). This prestigious award is given in recognition of the recipient’s overall body of work. Throughout R.L. Stine’s lengthy career he has written fiction for kids, teens, and adults, and is responsible for the very popular Goosebumps series, among many others (including Fear Street, Mostly Ghostly, The Nightmare Room, and Rotten School series).

You can view a video of the awards ceremony here.

Horror fans may be interested to know that next year’s awards will be held here in Atlanta.


May 23 2014

Ready for Summer Break?

by Rebekah B


Hello readers,

When I was growing up, the school year began in September, after Labor Day, and came to a close some time in June.  I grew up in Baltimore, and I remember those summer days at school very well, as we did not have air conditioning, and the image and feeling of those greyish-pink textured plastic seats stuck to my legs as I tried to focus on final exams is forever burned into my memory! Summers seemed so much hotter and more humid, probably because we did not have air conditioning, and so that season was more vividly demarcated in my mind.  I also remember playing in my parents’ back yard with my siblings and cousin Alex, with a garden hose and faded red dolphin-shaped sprinkler attachment, the blazing hot pavement scorching the soles of our bare feet.  A few summers we were sent to day camps, but we much preferred to stay home and relish in the long days and freedom from scheduling.


Here in the Atlanta area, the school calendar is a bit different, with school starting and ending so much earlier.  It feels strange to start a new school year in the heat of summer, but each region has its own culture, rituals, and traditions.  Like many parents, I am challenged by how to keep my child’s mind and body occupied during the long summer break since I don’t have much time off.  Now that my son is 14, he can safely stay home alone, but he is still too young to work.  We don’t have funds for vacations, music or other specialty camps, so we have to be creative to make that time work for us–with improvised language lessons (Russian and Finnish), dog training classes, gardening, hikes, bike riding, day trips, taking photographs, and other art projects.  Try borrowing the Georgia State Parks Pass, Atlanta Center for Puppetry Arts Museum Pass, or the Go Fish Pass from DCPL for family outings, or attend summer events during the Library’s Vacation Reading Program.   Many organizations offer volunteer opportunities and internships for older teens, and some offer family volunteering with parental supervision. Communication with friends mostly happens through Snapchat or Facebook.  Without family nearby or close friends with whom to spend time, despite these activities, the summer can sometimes seem like a long, barren stretch.


Many families plan elaborate summer vacations or fill their children’s breaks with robotics classes, intensive science, math, or reading classes, swim meets, music or art training, organized sports, internships, or other camps and activities.

While it is a frequent habit to bathe the past in a golden nostalgic light, a quick google search will soon reveal that childhood was for most far from an idyllic realm for any child around the world through history.   For so many today,  being a child in the twentieth century is indeed a great place and time to live, grow, and to be loved and cherished. I am sure that so many children throughout the world today would be thrilled to be allowed to attend school year-round and to be relatively free from fear and violence.

Old Photos of Girls and Their Dolls (6)

Out of curiosity, I began to wonder what exactly is the history of summer breaks for children as well as the evolution of how children are treated as members of society throughout history.  I have read about child abuse and neglect being the common lot of children up until the twentieth century.  If you click on this link, (readers, beware: this article is not for the faint of heart!) you can read an article about the cross-cultural evolution of childrearing through the ages and around the world. We are very fortunate that our societies are constantly evolving as is our desire to be more self-aware, responsible, empathic and compassionate parents and human beings.  Not so long ago, even in the United States, many children were obligated to work to contribute to their families’ income, and to take care of their parents and siblings, whether in urban or rural settings.  According to historians at Old Sturbridge Village, a living history museum recreating an 1830’s New England farming village, most farm children went to school between the months of December and March, taking a break until May and then attending school again between May and August.  In the spring and fall seasons, children and adults worked together to help with planting the fields and harvesting.

children working

In the 1800s, urban schools in the United States also operated by a very different calendar than the one with which we are familiar today.  In fact, some of the problems families encountered then are not so different from ours.  For example, immigrant parents of the early 19th century needed safe and affordable places for their children to stay while their parents worked long hours in often insalubrious factories, shops or mills. At that time, children studied 11 months out of the year.

Around the world, each country has a different system and calendar, as well as varying amounts of paid vacation time for working parents.  If you click on the link, you can see the exact breakdown for all countries in Europe.  For example, when I lived in France, every working person had at least five weeks of paid vacation time.  Paid vacations were first instituted in France in 1936 after massive strikes and the election of the Front Populaire.  These social changes brought about a better quality of life for ordinary working people and transformed the summer season.

As is common throughout Europe, when I lived in France, school breaks for ski vacations were scheduled every February, with other breaks during the spring and summer.  Children were out of school every Wednesday, based on an old tradition in which in the past, children attended catechism or bible study on Wednesdays and older children would attend classes on Saturdays.  The school days were much longer than in the U.S.  For example, my son attended pre-school from 8:00 a.m .to 4:00 p.m., with a long nap break during the day.  Various regions of France would alternate departure dates for vacations, altering children’s schedules to help manage vacation traffic on highways, trains, and airways.  After school and during holiday breaks, centres de loisirs, something like our public recreation centers run by county governments, would take over, providing after-care and camps.  Overall, the system made attempts to create some harmony between adult and children’s schedules, allowing for an abundance of shared family time. When the government instituted a shortened work week, my employer allowed us to take off time on Wednesdays, allowing employees with children to spend the time together.

centre de loisirs Chateau-Bonheur

Browsing the web, it would seem that most countries around the world follow similar holiday breaks, depending on religious or secular holidays observed locally.  In South Africa, for example, the school year is broken up into four terms, the first three each 11 weeks long, and the fourth 9 weeks long, with a three week summer break from June 27 to July 21st.  Many parents and teachers believe that long summer breaks are not beneficial to the learning process, and various school calendars have been proposed to break up the school year more equitably.  On the plus side, I feel longer breaks in fall or winter allow families to spend less on off-season vacations and are less of a burden in general on the family budget.  Various studies on the theme of work-life balance seem to agree that a concordance of adult work timetables and children’s school schedules would be beneficial for all, allowing for more quality family time.

Today, most children in the western hemisphere are not expected to work or to contribute to the family’s income.  In fact, from extreme abuse and neglect which was a common lot for nearly all children around the world for millennia, the more modern model of child rearing sets apart childhood as a time of privilege to be enjoyed, and for the first time in human history, at least in highly developed countries, fathers are encouraged to actively participate in their children’s upbringing.  I personally find it encouraging that childhood has evolved into a special, magical time, and that children have begun to be considered highly desired members of society.  I am hopeful that we are collectively working towards a more balanced and aware society, in which each individual, whether child or adult, is valued.  I am also hopeful that this model will be extended to other cultures and countries where poverty, war, and other ills cause children to be the first victims.


A few articles about the realities of childhood around the world today:




Some books about childhood in the DCPL collections:

Children at Play: An American History by Howard P. Chudacoff

Growing Up in Medieval London: The Experience of Childhood in History by Barbara A. Hanawalt

Last Child in the Woods: Saving our Children from Nature Deficit Disorder by Richard Louv

Remarkable Children: Twenty Who Made History by Dennis Brindell Fradin

Ancient Greek Children by Richard Tames

American Children’s Literature and the Construction of Childhood by Gail Schmunk Murray

The Glass Castle: A Memoir by Jeannette Walls


May 21 2014

Old Lady Blues

by Hope L

hopscotch-ladies“You can only be young once.  But you can always be immature.”  Dave Barry

I woke up this morning and looked in the mirror and saw an old lady looking back at me. When I was a youngster, let’s say a pre-teen, I thought  “old” was around fifty.  And fortyish was middle age because most people live until age 80-85.

But now, having turned 51 this past January, I notice I’m feeling older physically but my mind still feels quite young–juvenile even.  But I remember the truth when I see my AARP card.  Or my gray hair.  You get the idea.

Suzanne Somers, yes, the creator of the “ThighMaster” (or Chrissy, as those of a certain age will remember) says the key to slowing the aging process is, among other things, bioidentical hormones.   In her book Ageless: The Naked Truth about Bioidentical Hormones, she claims:

“By adding back to my system what stress and toxins have depleted, I am reversing the aging process by making myself younger on the inside.  I am staving off disease so that even while growing older chronologically, I am restoring and preserving internal youth and energy.  The number of my age has become irrelevant.  It’s about having young energy.  I have it … you can, too!”

Young energy!  That’s what I’m missing!  Bring on the hormones.

Oh, and also my memory is slipping.  Can’t Remember What I Forgot: The Good News from the Front Lines of Memory Research by Sue Halpern compares ordinary age-related memory loss to diseases like Alzheimer’s:

“Here are some numbers:  Eighty-three percent of us are worried about not being able to remember one another’s names.  Sixty percent are concerned about our tendency to misplace the car keys.  Fifty-seven percent of us are disturbed that we can’t recall phone numbers a few minutes after we’ve heard them.

“When researchers from the University of Maastricht in the Netherlands queried four thousand people, one in two people over sixty-five said they were forgetful.  While that may not be surprising, the researchers also found that one in three people between twenty-five and thirty-five reported memory problems, too.  Invariably, though, the younger folks attributed their lapses to stress, while the older ones thought that they were caused by disease.”

OMG!  (The juvenile in me coming out.)  Just last night I was getting ready for bed and started to spit mouthwash into the trashcan instead of the bathroom sink. I knew immediately it was a mistake, of course, definitely not an old-age thingy (juvenile language, again!). Perhaps I was just tired or preoccupied. Maybe getting old is on my mind lately because I just helped my parents move into an independent living facility here in Decatur.

I’m convinced, though, that exercise is the answer.  In Fitness After 50 by Walter H. Ettinger, MD,  Brenda S. Wright, PhD, and Steven N. Blair, PED, the authors claim the benefits of exercise include:

“Increasing physical activity improves longevity, flexibility, function and independent living, bone strength, restful sleep, weight control and well-being.  Increasing physical activity decreases risk of heart attack, stroke, developing type 2 diabetes, some cancers, fractures, depression, obesity, memory loss and dementia, and gall bladder disease.”

That’s why I see septuagenarians and octogenarians at the gym tearing it up!

“Old is always 15 years from now.”  Bill Cosby

Now, I don’t want to sound dumb, but the one good thing I must say about getting old is that some things are finally making sense.  For example, in my younger days I never understood why the signs on 285 sometimes said north, south, east or west–but now I know it is because it is a circle.  Hence the name “The Perimeter.”   I’ve also just learned that not only are both “baldfaced” and “boldfaced”  lies  acceptable terms for shocking behavior, but that actually most Anglophones in the world  use  “barefaced.”

By age 80, I might just get algebra …

“In youth we learn; in age we understand.”  Maria von Ebner


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May 16 2014

Seeing Red

by Dea Anne M

I suppose that I’ve always had a thing for red fruit.  One piece of family lore has it that when I was about two years old my aunt, a recent bride, and her new husband volunteered to keep me for a week. Maybe my parents were otherwise occupied–probably with my newborn brother–or, I don’t know, maybe Aunt Libby and Uncle Tommy just wanted the practice. Anyway, the two of them apparently convinced me to eat all of my dinner each night of my stay by promising me sliced tomatoes for dessert. Apparently, the taste of summer tomatoes held much more allure for me than say ice cream or pie.

Well, that’s still true.  I believe that tomatoes are the supreme fruit (and they are a fruit botanically speaking) followed closely by strawberries. I also believe that the best of both are those acquired in as fresh a condition as possible–and for me that means the ones that I grow in my very own back yard.  I’m still waiting for the tomatoes to start coming in, but (and feel free to accuse me of bragging here…because, well, I am) to say that the strawberry crop this year has been “bumper” would be putting it mildly. So much bumper in fact that I have had enough to freeze and make refrigerator jam.

And that’s the thing about having a garden–you have to plan for the surplus if you are “lucky” enough to have it. My plan this year includes lots of canning (I hope), or as both my grandmothers called it, “putting up.” I’ve posted here before about canning and preserving but since then, DCPL has added some new and exciting resources. Check these out whether you’re growing your own or picking out the best of the season at a farmers market.

First up, and a fun find, is Food In Jars: Preserving in Small Batches Year-Round by Marisa McClellan. McClellan creates the charming canning blog Food In Jars and her emphasis in the book is on preserving seasonal food in small batches. Such an approach is bound to help a canning novice feel more comfortable diving into the process–quite a change from the month-long canning marathons I remember from my childhood. Steam-fogged kitchens and frazzled nerves are no longer necessary to preserving the good tastes of the season. Also by McClellan is Preserving by the Pint: Quick Seasonal Canning for Small Spaces, which is similar in philosophy and approach. (DCPL owns this only as an eBook for now.)

A very beautiful book is The Art of Preserving by Lisa Atwood, Rebecca artCourchesne, and Rick Field. Copiously illustrated with gorgeous photographs by France Ruffenach, the book is equally abundant in its recipe offerings. You’ll find plenty here to guide you in making jams, preserves, pickles and salsas along with suggestions on how to use the resulting bounty. Chicken Lime Soup with Pickled Jalapenos anyone?

Speaking of using your preserves in recipes (because you don’t, after all, want to just line your shelves with jars in order to simply fruitadmire them…although maybe you do!), Put ‘Em Up! Fruit: A Preserving Guide & Cookbook: Creative Ways to Put ’em Up, Tasty Ways to Use ‘Em Up by Sherri Brooks Vinton will provide you with plenty of innovative ideas. Eighteen types of fruit are represented in this nifty little book (including tomatoes!) and offerings range from Spring Rolls with Asian Dipping Sauce to Momma’s Manhattan (made with cherries that you “maraschino” yourself). Yum! Also by Vinton is Put ‘Em Up!: A Comprehensive Home Preserving Guide for the Creative Cook, from Drying and Freezing to Canning and Pickling.

Finally, my current favorite canning guide is Saving the Season: A Cook’s Guide to Home Canning, Pickling and Preserving by Kevin West. This book is gorgeous, with beautiful photography throughout along with a wonderfully written text that chronicles West’s preserving journey. From a “ramp dig” in Cass, WV to Plymouth, MA for a cranberry harvest, you will be charmed with West’s engaging and lively reports of his many road trips taken in search of the finest in preserving traditions. Equally intriguing are the recipes. I for one can’t wait to try Sunshine Pickles and Canadian Ketchup although it might take me awhile to work up to Nostradamus’s Quince Jelly.

Do you can and preserve or do you know someone who does? Do you have memories, fond or not so much, of canning?

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May 14 2014

The Genius of Bill Peet

by Joseph M

When I was a kid, one of my favorite authors was Bill Peet. I remember being enthralled by the fantastical art and creative storytelling in books like No Such Things and The Wump World. However, I only recently became aware that before becoming an author and illustrator of children’s books, Bill Peet had a career in the film industry. It turns out that he had worked as a story writer and sketch artist with Walt Disney Studios from 1937 until 1967, and he had a hand in many of the classic animated films produced by Disney during that period. Some of my personal favorites that he was involved with include Sleeping Beauty and 101 Dalmatians, among others.

DCPL has a wide selection of the author’s work available for your reading pleasure; click here to see a catalog listing.

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May 9 2014

Deadly Adventure

by Hope L

everestGeorge Mallory and Andrew Irvine disappeared trying to do it in 1924.  Some believe they were actually the first. Tenzing Norgay and Sir Edmund Hillary finally did it in 1953 and had the film footage to prove it.

Many have since climbed to the summit of Mount Everest, but almost 200 have died trying–most recently 16 Sherpa guides who were killed in an avalanche in April while hauling supplies on the mountain.

Into Thin Air:  A Personal Account of the Mount Everest Disaster, written by Jon Krakauer and published in 1997 (which I had read a few years back and read again now after the April tragedy) tries to explain why so many, including the author,  have found climbing Everest irresistible.

But the rewards of the endeavor of summiting Everest (the beauty, the awesome thrill of the senses, and the feeling of accomplishment of this amazing feat) are eclipsed by Krakauer’s vivid account of the danger, the ethical dilemmas, the ego trips and the sometimes gruesome effects of climbing at 25,000 feet.  As the recent avalanche in the news and previous tragedies prove, the book’s cover also relates a dark side of the mountain:

“When Jon Krakauer reached the summit of Mt. Everest in the early afternoon of May 10, 1996, he hadn’t slept in fifty-seven hours and was reeling from the brain-altering effects of oxygen depletion. As he turned to begin his long, dangerous descent from 29,028 feet, twenty other climbers were still pushing doggedly toward the top.  No one had noticed that the sky had begun to fill with clouds.  Six hours later and 3,000 feet lower, in 70-knot winds and blinding snow, Krakauer collapsed in his tent, freezing, hallucinating from exhaustion and hypoxia, but safe.  The following morning he learned that six of his fellow climbers hadn’t made it back to their camp and were in a desperate struggle for their lives.  When the storm finally passed, five of them would be dead, and the sixth so horribly frostbitten that his right hand would have to be amputated.”

There is more than enough concern to go around. The consensus among many climbers is that tour companies running the expeditions (obtaining permits, visas, supplying tents, food and guides) often present the experience as something for practically anyone who has the time and money.  Also, tourism is the lifeblood of the small towns in the area. Krakauer’s account is nothing short of amazing, filled with details and even quotes from criticisms of his own actions/inactions on that fateful expedition.



May 7 2014
Post image for National Mother Goose Day

National Mother Goose Day

by Glenda

We started off the month with National Mother Goose Day on May 1. Mother Goose Day was founded by Gloria T. Delamar, author of the book Mother Goose: From Nursery to Literature. The day is now celebrated throughout the United States.  The Library features nursery rhymes and Mother Goose in our storytime programs. Other ways to celebrate Mother Goose is to act out some of the rhymes or even bake something from a rhyme. If you would like to read some Mother Goose books, or compare rhymes in various books, you may be interested in Mother Goose: A Collection of Classic Nursery Rhymes selected and illustrated by Michael Hague, Tomie de Paola’s Mother Goose, and Black Mother Goose Book arranged by Elizabeth Murphy Oliver. Stop by your local library and introduce yourself to Mother Goose.


May 2 2014

How to cook a book

by Dea Anne M

Cookbook publishing, in this country at least, used to have a fairly rigid path. You might be an “expert” such as Fannie Farmer, a domestic scientist whose Boston Cooking School Cookbook came out in 1896. As immensely  popular as Farmer’s book became, she paid for it to be published.  You might be a corporate entity such as General Mills, whose creation–Betty Crocker–became a cultural icon and birthed a seemingly endless series of cookbooks such as Betty Crocker’s Country Cooking and Betty Crocker the Big Book of Cakes. You might be an established chef such as Jacques Pepin, whose first book, La Technique, is still used as a textbook today and who has published numerous books since including Fast Food My Way and Essential Pepin: More than 700 All-Time Favorites from My Life in Food.  Naturally, there have always been talented amateurs like Irma Rombauer whose Joy of Cooking has been continuously in print since 1936. Generally speaking though,  getting a cookbook published could be very difficult for anyone without the right credentials or connections–or enough financial wherewithal to pay for an initial printing (as Rombauer did).

Well, the advent of the personal blog has changed the publishing landscape and the popularity of cooking blogs cannot be denied. Part of the appeal, I think, lies in the fact that these bloggers are not usually professionals (i.e., chefs) and though many may have experience in the food industry, for the most part they have no specialized training. What the most popular food bloggers share, and convey through their writing, is enthusiasm and a unique vision. A good photographer doesn’t hurt either. Blogging about food and cooking isn’t a guaranteed path to print publication. One has to be able to write well, of course, and most bloggers who get book deals have a lengthy and firmly established presence online as well as a following of devoted fans.

Would you like to check out the print offerings of some of these bloggers? DCPL has plenty to choose from. Here are some that are fairly recent and certainly notable.

First up is Stuffed: The Ultimate Comfort Food Cookbook: Taking Your Favorite Foods and Stuffing Them to Make New, Different and Delicious Meals by Dan Whalen. On first flipping through the book, you may very well say to yourself, “Wow, this guy really likes Mac and Cheese!” You’ll find Lobster Stuffed Mac and Cheese Balls, Mac and Cheese Stuffed Chile Relleno, Mac and Cheese Ravioli and what has to be the ultimate…uh…”stuffed food”…Mac and Cheese Stuffed Burgers. This is the somewhat startling item featured on the book’s cover. (Whalen did his own photography, and he is good). It doesn’t look like my sort of dish but I know a couple of ten-year-old boys who would consider it completely awesome. Whalen is the author of the popular blog The Food In My Beard. Whalen’s writing style is humorous and upbeat, his recipes creative, and his enthusiasm for cooking is infectious. Stuffed is a fun book and well worth your time. You might pass on stuffing a hamburger with mac and cheese, but you will certainly be inspired to get into the kitchen.

Ever wonder how to spend quality time in the kitchen when your days are filled with caring for your family? Check out The Naptime Chef: Fitting Great Food into Family Life by Kelsey Banfield. Banfield, a passionate cook, found her usual naptimecooking patterns completely thrown after the birth of her daughter.  Once the baby started napping in the afternoon though, Banfield discovered how to cook all or parts of meals during that quiet time and began sharing her techniques and tips on her blog The Naptime Chef. As most regular cooks know,  it isn’t the actual cooking time but the time spent prepping a dish that can be an issue. Banfield provides really practical make-ahead tips with each recipe as well as a “naptime stopwatch,” which tells you how much time you’ll spend prepping the dish and how much time cooking. Preparation time for most of the recipes is 20 minutes or less, so you really can prepare meals during your child’s naptime, or soccer practice, or after bedtime. I am not a parent myself, and the book assumes a certain level of basic skill, but it seems to me The Naptime Chef could well be a valuable resource for any busy parent.

In 2005, Anna Ginsberg committed to baking a different cookie every day for acookie year and to writing about it on her blog Cookie Madness. Nine years later, the site is still going strong and includes recipes for pies, cakes, and other baked goods. The Daily Cookie: 365 Tempting Treats for the Sweetest Year of Your Life is the in-print result of Ginsberg’s baking adventures. It’s one of the most fun cookie books I’ve seen. Each day’s recipe is themed to a “holiday.” Are you an Elvis fan? Pay tribute by baking a batch of Peanut Browned Butter Banana Bacon Cookies on The King’s birthday (January 8th). Is celebrating Barbie’s birthday (March 9th) a must at your house? If so, don’t miss the Pretty Pink Melt-Aways. One feature that I especially like about this book is that a color photograph accompanies each recipe. I’ve recently dropped wheat and wheat products from my diet, but Ginsberg provides gluten-free as well as vegan options.  The Daily Cookie is a must try for anyone who like to bake (or eat!) the sweet things in life.

Merril Stubbs and Amanda Hesser’s elegant website Food52 is the inspiration behind The Food52 Cookbook: 140 Winning Recipes from Exceptional Home Cooks. A distinctive feature of the site is that many of the enormous number of 52recipes come from the site’s followers. These home cooks hail from everywhere and together have created what is literally an online community cookbook. The best of these recipes have been collected in The Food52 Cookbook. This is a gorgeous book with its clean layout and color photographs of each recipe.  The recipes are organized by season and include such delicious sounding fare as Lemon Basil Sherbet (summer), Cider Braised Pork with Calvados, Mustard and Thyme (fall), Lentil and Sausage Soup for a Cold Night (winter) and Absurdly Addictive Asparagus (spring).  Make no mistake, this is not a cookbook for kitchen novices or anyone on the hunt for “quick and easy” recipes but for experienced and passionate cooks this one is a definite must.

Finally, we come to Deb Perelman who creates the wildly popular blog Smitten smittenKitchen. The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook features the inventive recipes, witty writing and lovely photography that have won Perelman’s blog so many devoted fans. She provides do-ahead tips, fun anecdotes and a fair number of delicious sounding vegetarian recipes such as the tempting looking Mushroom Bourguignon. Perelman is obviously a devoted baker and the number of bread, scone, cookie and cake recipes might make the carb wary take pause. Regardless,  I would urge any devoted cook to take a look at The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook. It will be well worth your time.

Do you follow food blogs? What are some of your favorites?