I've been on vacation, a solo road trip up the East Coast with stops in D.C. and Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Brooklyn. What started as a one day drive to and from Virginia to take my son to camp kind of spiraled. A mother of three? On a solo road trip for a week and a half? Unheard of, but here I am, and it's lovely. I love cooking — even those weeknight meals for my family — but this little break sure has been nice.
Unlike me, the friends hosting me have to work during the day, leaving me to my own devices. One day in Alexandria, I was drawn to the library, then to the cooking section, then to a two hour sojourn, which I spent reading about food and perusing cookbooks.
The Barrett branch of the Alexandria Library is particularly lovely, with a smiling staff, well behaved patrons, a fast wi-fi connection, and more than one place to spread out and dive into some pleasure reading. Also, it's a stone's throw from my aunt's place in Old Town. When I walked in, I was tickled to see Kitchn writer Emma Christensen's latest book, True Brews, featured on their new releases shelf. I had to Instagram it, of course!
That was my first pick, and I went upstairs to complete my stack. As Kitchn readers have observed many times, the library is a great place to look through cookbooks, and even check them out to try a few recipes, to see if you'd like to add them to your collection. (Emma's book is getting added to mine. The recipes sound delicious and the equipment list was totally accessible. Hooray!)
I have a few more picks to add to my bookshelf at home. Got any bookstore recommendations in Brooklyn? I love hitting an independent bookstore on vacation, since we don't have one in my hometown. While I did glean some useful information, I mostly enjoyed the chance to just sit and read, picking up one book after another, with no one demanding my attention, and no dinner to cook for that evening. Because the library was not my own, there was no risk of being interrupted by a friend. I sat at a beautiful oak table and read for two glorious hours.
When is the last time you were able to spend a couple of hours doing exactly what you wanted? And did it involve food? (Try as I might to get away from work, I love what I do too much to leave it behind!)