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On a budget? Need Cooking Inspiration? Try the library.

Posted Sep 26 2008 12:00am

I’ve been hearing lots of news stories from media outlets across the country this week, including one from the Boston Herald that the down economy has lead to increased patronage at libraries. I’m glad this is getting increased media attention because sadly funding has not kept up with the circulation and visitation increases. I’m also a bit of a library geek so I’d love to see more funding come their way!
I mention this because I know we’re all looking for ways to cut back on our food expenditures, whether that’s by eating vegetarian more often or cutting back on dinners out. Checking out cookbooks from the library, rather than buying them, is also another great cost-saving measure. I’ve been doing this for a few years now and it’s been fantastic. In addition to helping me cut back on my impulse cookbook purchases, it’s also helped me discover so many more new recipes and cookbook authors. I only have the space and money to buy a few cookbooks per year, but by using the library I find myself perusing at least a dozen cookbooks each month for recipes and ideas. I often use it as a way to “test drive” cookbooks to see if will be the kind of cookbook I’ll want to reference again or again, or one that just sits, collecting dust.
Libraries can also be a great place to find interesting cookbooks that are out of print or of local interest. When visiting Chicago, for example, I found that their library had a pretty good sized collection of local church and ladies’ group cookbooks.
Yes, the Internet is also a phenomenal resource, especially with creative bloggers and mega sites like Epicurious.com, but there is something about leafing through a physical book that is inspirational to me.
What about you? Are you finding in this economic environment you are turning for different resources for culinary inspiration or have your habits remained the same?

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