standing Westerly Library

I’m not sure I’ve mentioned it before, but I love food and I love to eat. Forgive me if I’ve written about food before! As far as I’m concerned, you can never say enough about the joy that food brings to life! Good food is one of the principal sources of happiness in life. When I’m eating lunch, I’m one meal ahead thinking about what I am going to have for dinner. You’ve got to plan ahead after all! Cooking, on the other hand, is more of a necessity, and while I don’t necessarily love to cook, I do enjoy watching cooking shows and perusing cookbooks.

One of the most popular cookbook authors, based on the number of times his books are checked out of the library, is Yotam Ottolenghi, whose recipes usually have Middle Eastern-inspired flavors and are fairly simple, many having less than 10 ingredients and taking less than 30 minutes to prepare. According to his restaurant’s website, “we are very serious about making people happy through our food.” He describes his food perfectly as “sunny”. If you haven’t already, you must check out one of his cookbooks. The pictures are gorgeous and even though I am vegan, many of his recipes can be adapted to be made without animal products and are still very delicious!

BV (Before veganism), I had a couple of favorite cookbooks. I loved a book called “Egg: A Culinary Exploration of the World’s Most Versatile Ingredient” by Michael Ruhlman, which was pretty ironic given that I have never really liked eggs. While there are certainly lots of recipes and information included, what is really striking is his charming writing style. For instance, he writes about eggs being a miracle of nature. Another favorite was “Avec Eric” by Eric Ripert. Beautiful pictures accompany scrumptious-sounding recipes.

According to the authors of “Great Chefs of France,” Anthony Blake and Quentin Crewe, chefs are artists who constantly seek perfection. This 1978 book introduces 12 restaurants that received the most coveted of awards, three stars from the Guide Michelin. Speaking of French things, if you are more in a watching mood instead of reading, check out the DVD “The French Chef with Julia Child.” If there ever was someone who showed complete joy when cooking, it was Julia!

Food brings people together. Families, friends, and sometimes strangers share food and between bites talk about their life. Often it is a social occasion — after all, a party isn’t a party unless there is food! If you haven’t already heard, the library has a Cookbook Club once a month. It’s a great concept where participants bring a recipe to share that they have chosen from a particular cookbook. Likes and/or dislikes are discussed while eating lots of yummy food! Sounds perfect, right? If you can’t make the meeting (and please note — registration is required for every meeting), make sure you peruse our cookbooks and DVDs. Both collections are very large and you are sure to find something you like!

Top-requested books

1. “Where the Crawdads Sing” by Delia Owens

2. “Becoming” by Michelle Obama

3. “Educated: A Memoir” by Tara Westover

4. “Run Away” by Harlan Coben

5. “Nine Perfect Strangers” by Liane Moriarty

6. “The Silent Patient” by Alex Michaelides

7. “The 18th Abduction” by James Patterson

8. “Redemption” by David Baldacci

9. “Never Tell” by Lisa Gardner

10. “The First Lady” by James Patterson

Top-requested movies

1. “Green Book”

2. “Bohemian Rhapsody”

3. “A Star is Born”

4. “Vice”

5. “Mary Poppins Returns”

6. “Can You Ever Forgive Me?”

7. “The Favourite”

8. “The Wife”

9. “Aquaman”

10. “If Beale Street Could Talk”

Top billing

For All Ages

MONDAY — 4-6:30 p.m., Tax Prep Help with AARP! First come, first served. SIGN-UP BEGINS AT 3 PM; 5:30-7 p.m., Conversation Class – for English Language Learners; 5:30-7:30 p.m., Homework Help/Tutoring (for grades K-8) – homework help and then tutoring in individual subjects, done by teens; 6-7:30 p.m., Adult S.A.G.A. meeting -- a discussion and support group about LGBTQ+ stories and issues in books, movies, TV shows, and more; 6-7:30 p.m., Cookbook Club! – this group meets once a month, picking a different cookbook each time for members to select a recipe to prepare and bring in! Please note: registration is required every month.

TUESDAY — 10-10:45 a.m., Family storytime for all ages; 3:30-4:30 p.m., Teen S.A.G.A. meeting -- a discussion and support group for teens 12-18 about LGBTQ+ stories and issues in books, movies, TV shows, and more; 5:30-7:30 p.m., Knit and Crochet Group! – a friendly knitting, crochet, needlework, and yarn craft club; 6-6:45 p.m., Meditation Group – all ages and experience levels welcome! 6-7:45 p.m., Quilters Corner – all are welcome to this quilting club; 6-7:30 p.m., Renaissance Toastmasters – meets twice a month to share stories and get comfortable speaking in front of an audience.

WEDNESDAY — 10-10:45 a.m., Storytime for ages 1-3; 3:30-5:30 p.m., Life Happens (with Yulyana from DVRC SC) – for teens, a fast paced board game where we will play through different solutions to problems all of us might face in life; 4:30-7:30 p.m., Shoreline Robotics Practice – For teens grades 7-12 interested in STEM and Robotics; 5:30-7 p.m., Conversation Class – for English Language Learners.

THURSDAY — 10-11:30 a.m., Conversation Class – A free conversation class for English Language Learners; 10-10:45 a.m., Storytime for ages 3-5; 3:30-5 p.m., Game Bonanza – for teens, board games and cards! We have everything from the Game of Life to Cribbage. Snacks provided; 5:30-7:30 p.m., Chess Club – All ages and experience levels are welcome, no sign-up required; 5:30-7:30 p.m., Homework Help/Tutoring (for grades K-8) – homework help and then tutoring in individual subjects, done by teens; 6-7:30 p.m., Dementia Family Caregiver Support Group -- A trained former caregiver will be facilitating all group sessions. The groups will be a safe space to discuss the unique challenges of care giving.

FRIDAY — 3:30-5 p.m., Teen Baking Club – for ages 13-18, help bake something in the library’s kitchen! Learn the basics of baking and working together. Pre-registration required! 4-5:45 p.m., Shoreline Robotics Practice – For teens interested in STEM and Robotics.

SATURDAY — 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m., Tax Prep Help with AARP! First come, first served, space is limited. SIGN-UP BEGINS AT 9 AM; 10 a.m.-2 p.m., Make & Take Crafts for children! 10:30 a.m.-12 p.m., Adult Writers Workshop – A group-led prose writing workshop; 1-2 p.m., An Introduction to Genetic Genealogy -- Genetic genealogist Matt Hannan offers guidance and advice about ancestral DNA testing and how to use it to take your genealogical research to the next level.

Caroline Badowski is a reference librarian at the Westerly Library.

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