Around the Island

Back to the kitchen — by the book!


“Mastering the Art of French Cooking” was first published in 1961 by Julia Child and her two coauthors, Louisette Bertholle and Simone Beck. That book, along with her long-running cooking shows on PBS, is widely credited with being a key force in changing the way Americans have thought about, cooked and shopped for food in the decades since. 

More than 40 years later, in 2002, writer Julie Powell began cooking her way through “Mastering” and chronicling her experiences in a blog that became a successful book, “Julia and Julie: My Year of Cooking Dangerously.” This summer’s movie version of Powell’s book has prompted a resurgence of interest in all things Julia Child and “Mastering the Art of French Cooking” is once again on the best-seller lists. 

Even if you’re not into classic French cooking, many of the principles Ms. Child espoused still hold true. Home cooking is a wonderful way to reconnect with family and friends as well as save money and even improve our health. Cooking at home may be the single best strategy for weight control, as it allows us to control ingredients and portion sizes. 

And there is no better time than fall to head back into the kitchen and transform the produce of the area’s overflowing farm stands into great homemade meals. If you’re thinking about adding more home cooking to your life or are simply looking to invigorate your regular repertoire, the library is the place to start, both for new resources and a chance to meet some of the people who are making a difference in our local food supply. 

During last week’s Friday Night Dialogues, Tullia Limarzi spoke about the Slow Food movement; Hoot Sherman talked about how the Peconic Land Trust is working to preserve local farmland; and the steward of the manor, Bennett Konesni, passed out freshly dug carrots as he regaled the audience with a recap of his first year farming Sylvester Manor under the auspices of a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program. (For more on Sylvester Manor’s activities, check out 

And since nothing complements good food like a good glass of wine, the next “Dialogue” will feature long-time chef and restaurateur John Ross, who will speak about the evolution of the North Fork wine industry. So mark your calendars for Friday, October 30 at 7 p.m. for this exciting event and be sure to check out the library’s full calendar at

New cookbooks to suit everyone’s taste, diet and budget abound on the shelves, from Portuguese specialties to quick-fix meals to plenty of calorie-conscious suggestions. And don’t forget, you can always use the library’s high speed computers to browse popular recipe websites such as and print out a new recipe before you head to the grocery store.

See you at the library!


“The Face on Your Plate,” Jeffrey Moussaieff Mason

“Well-Preserved: Recipes and Techniques for Putting Up Small Batches of Seasonal Foods,” Eugenia Bone

“Eat, Memory: Great Writers at the Table,” Amanda Hesser

“Debbie Macomber’s Cedar Grove Cookbook,” Debbie Macomber

“The Story of North Fork Wine,” John Ross

“Ratio: The Simple Codes Behind the Craft of Everyday Cooking,” Michael Rulman

“Julie and Julia,” Julie Powell

“Pure Simple Cooking: Effortless Meals Everyday,” Diana Henry

“Robin Rescues Dinner: 52 Weeks of Quick-Fix Meals,” Robin Miller

“Cook Yourself Thin: Skinny Meals You Can Make in Minutes,” Lifetime

“Hungry Girl: 200 Under 200,” Lisa Lillien*

“Canyon Ranch: Nourish: Indulgently Healthy Cuisine,” Scott Uehlein and Canyon Ranch

“Emeril at the Grill: A Cookbook for All Seasons,” Emeril Lagasse

“Serious Barbecue,” Adam Perry Lang

“The New Portuguese Table,” David Leite

“Paula Deen’s The Deen Family Cookbook,” Paula Deen and Melissa Clark

“The Best Skillet Recipes,” Cook’s Illustrated

“Rustic Fruit Desserts: Crumbles, Buckles, Cobblers, Pandowdies and More,” Cory Schreiber and Julie Richardson

“Martha Stewart’s Cupcakes,” Editors of Martha Stewart Living

“Fairies Cookbook,” Barbara Beery

“The Deluxe Food Lover’s Companion,” Sharon Tyler Herbst and Rob Herbst

“Vefa’s Kitchen,” Vefa Alexiandou

“Gourmet Today,” edited by Ruth Reichel

“Love Soup: 160 All-New Vegetarian Recipes,” Thomas Anna

“Mark Bittman’s Kitchen Express: 404 Inspired Seasonal Dishes You Can Make in 20 Minutes or Less,” Mark Bittman

“So Easy: Luscious, Healthy Recipes for Every Meal of the Week,” Ellie Krieger

“Cake Mix Doctor Returns!” Anne Bryn


“All the Living,” C.E. Morgan

“The Deep Blue Sea for Beginners,” Luanne Rice

“The Invisible Mountain,” Carolina DeRobertis

“Let the Great World Spin,” Colum McCann

“The Magicians,” Lev Grossman

“Once on a Moonless Night,” Sijie Dai

“Rules of Vengeance,” Christopher Reich

“The Signal,” Ron Carlson

“Summer House,” Nancy Thayer

“Swimming,” Nicola Keegan

“The White Queen,” Philippa Gregory*

“The Traffickers,” W.E.B. Griffin and William E. Butterworth IV

“The Best of Times,” Penny Vincenzi

“The Law of Nines,” Terry Goodkind

“92 Pacific Boulevard,” Debbie Macomber (large print)

“Smash Cut,” Sandra Brown (large print)

*New York Times bestseller