Shopping the Cookbook Aisles of the Big Book Sale
As Joe Eskenazi mentioned yesterday on the Snitch, SFoodie's sister blog, today is the first official day of the Friends of the Public Library's annual Big Book Sale at Fort Mason. This year brings more books and more days: It will be open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday, and on Sunday ― aka $1 day ― from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
A devoted Friends of the Public Library sale-goer, both here and in Seattle, I hit the sale at lunch today, finding crowded parking lots and tables ringed by semi-obsessive book shoppers. (The truly obsessive showed up last night for the members-only preview sale.)
What they left is the stuff you see in thrift stores: diet books, microwave books, magazine anthologies, 1970s French cookbooks (a couple of great ones, actually), friends-of-Oprah books, and tons of Junior League recipe compilations, all priced from $2 to $5 until Sunday. Anyone considering buying the Tiny Thai Cookbook for a friend should admit that this is its eventual destination.
Nevertheless, I managed to spend almost $30 to flesh out my shelves. Among the haul were one of the cookbooks on my wish list (Grace Young's Breath of a Wok); minor classics from Marion Cunningham, John Mariani, and Maida Heatter; Victoria Wise's fascinating 1986 American Charcuterie; and a Chinese food-term dictionary. The organizers say they'll be freshening up the stock as the sale goes on, which could cause new treasures to emerge. In fact, in the boxes below the table I spotted a Paula Wolfert book in pristine condition.
I already own a copy, so I left it for you to find. Good luck.