Lauri Sturdivant is interested in how our friends and families gather around a table sharing meals and telling stories. In this column she shares recipes and stories from people in Siskiyou County, and restaurant reviews from her travels. Read full interviews, find recipes and reviews at TheBillPlate.com. If you’re interested in sponsoring this column in the Mt. Shasta Area Newspapers and the Siskiyou Daily News, call (530) 842-5777 or (530) 926-5214.

Our Siskiyou County libraries have more than 1,500 books dedicated to food preparation. There are almost 500 books with the word “cookbook” in the title. A quick search with Dunsmuir librarian Karen Spivack and we came up with another 750 that have the word bake or cook in them. There are another 300 cookbook titles in the library’s e-books and Kindle offerings. All of our libraries subscribe to magazines and many are dedicated to eating gourmet, gluten free, keto, paleo, quick meals, diabetic and friendly recipes; even People magazine has a celebrity recipe section. Most newspapers have a food section with recipes, often in the Wednesday and Sunday editions. There are hundreds of novels with food as their central theme and authors often provide recipes.

You can borrow specialty books on how to make soups, stews, salads, the ultimate burger, the sweetest cupcakes and the perfect croissant. Some books focus on savory ingredients such as garlic, lemon and mushrooms. There are kid’s cookbooks and cookbooks on how to cook for kids. I found books with instructions for foods to make as gifts. There are books on foraging and preserving foods by drying, smoking, canning and freezing.

With your card you can check out a cookbook with recipes in French, Moroccan, Indian, Japanese, Italian, Caribbean, Mexican, Spanish and Thai cuisines. There are books on barbecue, southern, South Beach and California eating. Entire books are dedicated to kitchen tools like the Crockpot, Insta-Pot, blender and the spiralizer.

A quick look at the online catalog reveals books a specializing in diets such as Paleo, Keto, Dr. Atkins, etc. Then there are the salt free, high fiber, diabetic, gluten free and super foods. Some books were dedicated to working families who need healthy simple week day meals that can be made in 30 minutes. Others offer tips and recipes for elaborate spreads for holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Lots of famous folks have written cookbooks including poet laureate Maya Angelo and country singer Trisha Yearwood. Some cookbooks have menus inspired by books including the Outlander novels and Western author Zane Grey’s book has recipes specializing in fish and fowl cooked on a camp stove. Several television shows have their own recipe books including Rachael Ray and The Chew.

The library owns a copy of the iconic TV chef Julia Childs tome “Mastering the Art of French Cooking.” It has 524 classic French recipes in 726 pages. Many well-known chefs have multiple cookbooks to please their follower’s interests. Martha Stewart has about 25 cookbooks that include cooking school that gives instruction on a how to hold a knife, another gives entertainment advice.

I like to browse the cookbooks section and borrow a couple that seem interesting. I read through them for inspiration in search of that one recipe I will add to my favorites. Don’t forget to cruise the libraries book sale where you can purchase used magazines and books including cookbooks. You never know where you’ll find you next favorite recipe.