Sunday, May 14, 2006

A New Time Waster

I got turned on to LibraryThing through a link on one of Matt's friends' blogs. It's really easy to use, and fun to see what I've got, and how obscure most of it is. It allows you to search on either Amazon or Library of Congress or some other libraries, and add the books to your own personal collection. If you get it through Amazon, there's a good chance it'll have a cover graphic with it. It not only displays information about your books, but you can add tags like Flickr, and you can see how many other LibraryThing users share the books in your collection. I've only added a little over a hundred so far (and if I want to add more than 200, I have to pay), and I've found out that no one else has a copy of Blue Falcon (big surprise), and three people have ten of the same 104 books that I've entered. Looking at the books we have in common, I find that all three of them display the same SF/Fantasy/Comics/Movie-related interests that I do, but also (and this really was a surprise), two of them also had The Frugal Gourmet. A popular book among guys who can't cook but want to learn, I guess.

Because let me say this about Jeff Smith. He may have gotten overhyped. He may have made mistakes in his cooking, and some of his recipes really didn't work out that well. But he was the guy that got me cooking for the first time, because he basically said, "It's not about knowing a bunch of technical terms and getting all the measurements right and sweating over a hot stove. It's about having fun and playing around and finding what tastes good and sharing that with the people around you, and most of all, it's about loving food." I've had very few real epiphanies in my life, but the moment I saw my first episode of "Frugal Gourmet," with Jeff Smith making Chicken Piccata and realizing that, hey, I could do that, I was hooked. I had always hated cooking, and failed miserably every time I tried, but that one episode changed my opinion, of cooking and of myself. And though I'm not one of those guys who cooks all the time, I'm no longer afraid of the kitchen, and most times when I cook, I like the results.

And that's huge.

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