I love the public library. I grew up loving the library - granted it helped that the one in my hometown looked like a castle (C.M. Bailey Public Library, Winthrop, ME. Look it up!). It just seemed so great that I could have at my fingertips thousands of books, and that as I grew older, I discovered new shelves, new topics, as I spent more time upstairs (in the grown up section) and less time downstairs (in the kids and teens area). I started getting books on architecture, travel, and cooking.
As the adult I attempt to be, the wonder of the library has not gone away. It is such an invaluable resource to a community, a gathering place, a warm place, computers, internet, quiet, and best of all, books. Lots of them. Living in Seattle where there is a network of about 20 libraries means that just about any book, CD or DVD I could desire, I can get my hands on (and delivered to my local library, at that!). When I was unemployed for 3 months, I couldn't afford internet in my apartment and I spent my days at the library, using their internet, applying to jobs, and then cooling down by perusing the gardening and travel books, and heading home with a pile of cookbooks and DVD's.
Being able to test-run a cookbook is a wondrous thing. Sometimes I buy a cookbook and find that there are just a handful of recipes in it that I like - recipes that I am so glad to have, but a bit annoyed that the small shelf space I have for cookbooks is being used up by a cookbook that really could instead just be a handful of index cards. I love to get cookbooks out from the library, try a few recipes and then either write down the ones that I like or go out and buy the cookbook.
Last week I got "Chocolate & Zucchini", by Clotilde Dusoulier, the author of the same name food blog. As is the case often, I loved the dessert section of her cookbook but just didn't feel like I would make many of her other recipes. I jotted down the recipe for Gateau Chocolat Framboise (Chocolate Raspberry Cake) and made it this weekend to give to a couple whose birthdays were recently. They're like a 2nd pair of parents to me, so I was hoping the cake would be good. They were blown away, and I'm positive this will become a special occasion cake for me. It was quite straight forward to make and it was oh-my-god good.
So this is just one of the reasons why libraries are great. It brought this cake into my life - and that is a wonderful thing.
Gateau Chocolat Framboise from Chocolate & Zucchini by Clotilde Dusoulier.
Ingredients: 2 sticks butter, 8 oz bittersweet chocolate bits, 1 cup sugar, 4 large eggs, 1 1/2 cups raspberries (plus more for garnish, so buy a pint), 1/3 cup flour, 1 t fleur de sel or 1/2 t fine sea salt.
Directions: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and grease a 10" springform pan.
Slice small pieces (this is a very rich cake), and serve! Store the leftovers (if there are any) in the fridge.