Saturday, November 9, 2013

DOUBLE WINNER: A Call To Write: September & October, Apples and Thanks

Hey y'all! I have chosen the two winners for the September and October Stationary & Stamps giveaways! I asked you guys to tell me what your FAVORITE food to eat this time of year. I'm a biiiiig pumpkin girl, but these two responses got me salivating for something a little different! 

The Apple cards will go to Ann! Ann says:

                "Pumpkin bread (thanks Grandma!) with a mug of hot apple cider :)
                      Oh and "apples" - being a teacher and all..."

And The Merci cards will go to Sabrina H.! Sabrina says: 

                "This time of year always makes me want Southern Style baked Mac n Cheese. 
                  I also love spaghetti squash and spicy turkey sausage ragout." 

Ladies,  please send me the address you would like your stationary and stamps to be mailed to theculinarylibrarian[at]gmail[dot]com! 

Thursday, October 17, 2013

A Call To Write: September & October, Apples & Thanks

For the past two months, maybe even the past three, I have taken to scheduling my life out by the minutes. Dinners with friends, phone calls with parents, trips to the grocery store, self-budget meetings and sometimes even sleep. I have been busy- again. I’m bored of saying it, but it continues to be the truth. Maybe I can finally get a hang on scheduling some Culinary Librarian time again though. Can’t speak for you guys, but I know I’d enjoy once more sharing with you on the regular.

So here we are with more stationary and stamps, two month’s worth in one post. I had come up with these little sparkly red apples for September just after my summer vacation on the Cape and was filled with those old back-to-school feelings. So here they are now, untimely but still autumnal and just as cute. These will be sent with vintage flower seed USPS Stamps – fruit and flowers!
IMG_5838 IMG_5841

Monday, September 9, 2013

WINNER: A Call to Write: Golden Paris

I'm so excited to send out these warm golden Eiffel Tower cards to this month's winner. Your responses opened my mind to what a fantasy life could look like - islands, farms, places close to home and near the ocean.  Maybe we will all find ourselves in our dream worlds for a time - and may they be as wonderful as we imagine! 

The comment I chose as winner comes from Linda Kindlon (I wrote about her baked goods two winters ago, read it here). I returned from my vacation on Cape Cod last month and one of my favorite things about being there is finding amazing little bakeries serving warm pies, stellar breakfast pastries or to-go chowers and bisques. I never imagined the lives of the people baking up these treats, so I was happy Linda got me thinking about them in a new way... 

             I would love to be baking somewhere in cape cod in a quaint bakery or cafe :)

Linda, please send me the address you would like your stationary and stamps to be mailed to theculinarylibrarian[at]gmail[dot]com! 

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

A Call To Write: Golden Paris

This month’s giveaway is a bit tardy. I spent a week on Cape Cod this month and allowed myself to push back August’s giveaway until now. Hopefully you’ll think it has worked out well for both of us…

While on vacation I made sure to pack a few books for beach reading. The weather was a bit windy and I didn’t really have one good beach day of pure reading this year (I’m used to having at lease two). One day it rained. We’ve gone to Cape Cod most summers since I was very little, and whenever it rains- we shop. This year we changed it up and went shopping in Harwich and Orleans later in the day. As you may guess, I love to hit up all the bookstores I can find when on vacation. There are always fun local authors and regional cookbooks. This year I found myself picking up Paris, My Sweet at Main Street Books in Orleans. I’d had my eye on it and after flipping through it, I felt like it might be the vacation read I was meant to discover. I ended up whipping through it in just a few days. Amy Thomas is passionate about sweets, Paris, New York and thinking about her love life – I could instantly relate to her.

After being back in New York for a few days and having started seeking out some of her NYC recommendations (mainly Vosges chocolates which is right by where I work – I’m not obsessed with their Verde Caramels) I was feeling wistful for Paris. Hopped into Paper Source for my monthly stamp searching ritual and found an excellent Eiffel Tower stamp. Et, voila! This month’s giveaway was born:

The embossing powder I used on these is called "Queen's Gold" and I'm a little obsessed with it! I love the clean metallic gold it creates. As for stamps, this month's winner will get a smattering of Forever Stamps from my collection. 

Now the question. Amy loves Paris, studied there in college, dreams about visiting it, fantasizes about living there... I do the same. So I want to know:

Where is your fantasy home? 
If you could live anywhere new - even just for a year - where would you choose? 

As usual if I have more than 10 entries I will randomly choose a winner, otherwise with 10 or fewer I will choose my favorite response. After only one week (September 4th) I will choose and announce the winner on The Culinary Librarian. The winner will need to email me the address they would like me to send the stationary and stamps within 48 hours. If the winner doesn't respond I will choose a new recipient and announce the new winner on blog. If you are having trouble commenting in the comments section, email your response with the subject line “Golden Paris” to theculinarylibrarian[at] by 11:59pm EST on September 3rd.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

WINNER: A Call to Write: Sirens and Lighthouses

This month's giveaway may be my favorite stationary/stamp combo to date - I LOVE the glittery mermaids and the lighthouse stamps remind me of my mom and aunts who love lighthouses. As we didn't get ten comments, it is up to me to choose the winner. 

The comment that spoke to me did so due to personal vanity. One of my favorite physical qualities is my hair. Thanks to its natural thickness and wave and the fact I've never, ever dyed it - I have locks to brag about. Mermaids are known for their amazing hair and Willy D hit upon how they get it:

           Mermaids are the children of the sea, and would never eat their siblings. Mermaids 
          eat kelp and wakame which accounts for their lustrous hair and shiny scales!

Willy, please email me the address you would like me to send your stationary and stamps: theculinarylibrarian[at]

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Bastille Day 2013!

Doesn’t it feel like summer is whizzing past on super speed? August is just around the corner and I feel like the season is just getting going. Regardless of time, one of the highlights of my summer is always the FIAF Bastille Day celebration on East 60th Street! I’ve been fortunate enough to be able to attend the festivities every summer I’ve lived in New York.

Unlike other street fairs (of which there are many in this city) FIAF’s Bastille Day celebration is strictly French. My regular company (my friends Kyle and Patrique from my study abroad in Paris) were absent from the festival this year, but my mom finally made it down from Albany to join in the fun! 

This year I was able to see the festivities from a new perspective. I can easily see and enjoy that all the food, treats, books and other goodies being sold at the booths lining the streets have a French influence in a genuine capacity. A few of my friends walked the event and didn’t necessarily see how French it was. When I see Le Souk restaurant I know that Moroccan food is French food because it is a francophone country, that the long lines for crepes are justified, in a way, because no – you can’t get a walk-up crepe in New York like you can in Paris. The essence of the entire event screams France to me and it is what I love the most about it. Even though I don’t leave the streets of New York, or even the Upper East Side to get to it, I am transported by scents, the sight of tons of macarons and canelés, and by the in-and-out sounds of French conversations in my ears. To have all of this at once is rare and special to me.

Monday, July 15, 2013

A Call to Write: Sirens and Lighthouses

Summer is in sweaty, full swing in the city and I have my thoughts on crystal clear swimming pools, waves breaking on the beach and cooling off with cocktails. Luckily I will experience all of these things in the next two months. As August approaches I have vacation on my mind. When I was little my family went to Cape Cod every summer for a week or two. The rough, cold Atlantic ocean is a comforting place for me and filled with happy memories. When I think about the ocean my mind wanders to those mythical creatures I learned about when I was only 2 or 3 years old at the movies: mermaids. With mermaids and their siren calls to sailors I thought how perfectly paired green glitter mermaid stationary and the newest USPS Lighthouse stamps would be.

So here they are!:
GlitterMermaidsandLighthousesIt may be hard to tell in the photo, but those mermaids are indeed embossed in shimmering green glitter. 10 cards and 10 stamps just waiting to swim out to a whimsical friend, a seaside relative, or maybe an in-land dreamer.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

WINNER: A Call To Write: All-American Summer & Lobsters

I hope you've been having a nice, relaxing holiday weekend. I celebrated the 4th with family and friends and LOTS of delicious summer food; hot dogs, hamburgers, chips, steak, cold beer, margaritas and salty brownies. Your responses for ultimate summer foods made my mouth water! I'm looking forward to the weeks ahead where I get to revel in the summer's bounty. 

Now for the winner of the June stationary & stamps giveaway. This response included one of my favorite dishes to make and something that epitomizes summer vegetables for me. It was Hannah's comment about ratatouille!:

            Ratatouille, from The Art of Simple Food. One of the first things I'd ever cooked, 
            from the first cookbook I'd ever bought. 

            I'd moved to Pittsburgh for grad school, out of college dorms, out of home, and 
            knew I 
had to start cooking for myself or else I wouldn't eat. It was the very end of   
            summer, a couple of weeks to adjust to the city and a new climate before classes 
            started. I knew the dish by name from the movie, knew all the ingredients could be 
            purchased locally, knew that it'd be delicious. And it was. Whenever I make it, I     
            think of summertime, and how I began to learn to take care of myself.

I love Alice Water's Art of Simple Food, too, and I'm looking forward to picking up the new edition when it comes out in the fall! Hannah, please email me the address you would like me to send your stationary and stamps: theculinarylibrarian[at] 

In a couple weeks I will be posting July's giveaway and I am very, very excited for it! One word: glitter! Keep an eye right here for it! 

Friday, June 21, 2013

A Call To Write: All-American Summer & Lobsters

Lobsters are good any time of the year, but something about them screams summer to me. As today is the summer solstice it is time I finally share my June stationary & stamps giveaway with you. I debated going with something a bit more directly patriotic, but when I saw the lobster stamp at Paper Source earlier this month I was immediately drawn to it. Growing up I was fortunate enough to have a mother who believed in things like lobster and filet mignon and champagne. Lobster has been a favorite food of mine for decades now. Maybe it is because my family goes to Cape Cod in the summer where lobster is always on the menu in a variety of forms, but to me I always think of bright red lobsters in summertime.

So this month I present you with eight lobster note cards, embossed by yours truly, with ocean blue envelopes to bring home that red, white, and blue just in time for an all-American summer. The stamps are also All-American – the Pioneers of American Industrial Design Forever stamps.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

The Cookie of the Month Club: A Gift for my Father

My father is a man of simple pleasures. He loves watching the Yankees win, pouts when the Giants lose, and aims to always beat his lowest score on Sundays at the golf course. When it comes to food he enjoys unassuming tastes; hot dogs and hamburgers, a good steak, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. The one food I could call him a connoisseur of is the cookie. He loves cookies. He even has a nightly ritual of eating one or two with a small Tupperware cup of milk either hanging around the kitchen or watching the end of “the game” on the couch.

This past Christmas I wanted to come up with a creative gift for him. It always feels like I’m giving him a Yankees t-shirt or a new box of golf balls (which are surprisinglyPeanutButterarrived expensive, by the way!). I searched. I thought. Finally, an idea dawned on me: The Cookie of the Month Club. A homemade batch of cookies delivered directly to my parent’s doorstep with a new flavor every month. An idea that would support his love of cookies and my love of the post office and baking!

Throughout middle and high school I did a lot of baking, almost always with a set purpose: a youth ministry picnic, Key Club bake sale or to be sneaked into a crush’s locker for Valentine’s Day. Eventually I started getting complaints from my dad and my brother that there were never any cookies left for them. Now with me in living in Manhattan, baking more than ever, and my parents a few hours north of the city the situation hasn’t changed much. There’s plenty being made, and little getting to my dad. The Cookie of the Month Club allows me to share what I bake with my dad all year long. I love the excited text message or phone call that comes once my dad receives the monthly shipment and the feedback he gives on flavor and texture.

Friday, May 24, 2013

WINNER: A Call To Write: The Original Instagram and Stamps of Poets

Thank you to all who entered the May stationary and stamps giveaway! Your replies were appropriately poetic.

Since we had fewer than 10 entries, I've chosen my favorite response.

I am a sucker for love and stars and late nights, so Jessica you won me over!:

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

A Call To Write: The Original Instagram and Stamps of Poets

‘fore Insty filters
‘twere captured moments- instants
film and Polaroids

That was a little haiku I wrote for you to tell you about my May giveaway! This month we’re getting extra nostalgic – not only will we celebrate the love of the handwritten postal letter but also remember how we used to visually capture our moments. I found some Polaroid note cards with matching envelopes. Harkening back to the days before Instagram and filters and smart phone photography when film reigned supreme and when immediate photography resulted in sometimes messy, funky, filter-esque images to cherish.

I figured pairing them with these sweet Poet Forever stamps from the one-and-only USPS made for a nice little package:
Unfortunately there was a pretty poor showing for last month’s giveaway. Hopefully this one will pique a bit more interest. Here comes the question…

Question Number Three:

Images are becoming our primary form of communication more and more. When we don’t have the words we text or email a photo. When we want to say something sassy or funny we send memes with limited text and funny picture to match. And I don’t understand SnapChat but I think it is all about temporary images that cannot be captured for long… So my question is:

Do you have a single picture or image (printed or digital) that you truly cherish?
Is there a moment of something in your mind you see as clearly as a photo, though none exists?

Thursday, April 25, 2013

WINNER: A Call To Write: “Bon Appetit!” Stationary & Earthscapes Stamps

Sadly only one entry for April's giveaway, but luckily it was a good comment! Congratulations, Karli! 

Cooking up something good for May....! Keep an eye here for more great stationary and awesome stamps.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

A Call To Write: “Bon Appetit!” Stationary & Earthscapes Stamps

Last month I gave away some of my absolute favorite postcards from Good Food Jobs and adorable Apple postcard stamps which I have since become a little obsessed with sending out to my friends. This month I have crafted flat note cards using my embossing “skills”. These are sky blue note cards paired with an ocean blue envelope – the perfect set to pair with the gorgeous Earthscapes Forever stamps I will be sending along with them!

When I went shopping at my favorite Paper Source for Easter supplies/presents I came across this Bon Appetit banner stamp. Having recently watched Julie & Julia on my train ride back to the city a few days before I thought it would be just right for my April stationary giveaway!
BonAppetitApril2013EarthscapesApril2013I loved your responses to last month’s question. I’m glad to see enthusiasm over the handwritten letter – but it does go to show how rare they are nowadays! Do your part to romance someone’s day by taking a moment to write out a little note or greeting, slap a stamp on it and pop it in the mail! Throughout this year please feel free to send me a message about what you’re sending and receiving through the mail – together we will make a difference and can keep the Post Office alive and kicking!

Monday, March 25, 2013

UPDATED: A Call to Write: March 2013 Winner!!!

Thank you for your entries! It was a good first month... let's get more and more entries every month! I want to hear if you guys are sending more mail and loving on the USPS since the giveaways began! Almost everyone who entered showed a little love for the handwritten letter.... so next time you say to yourself "I should really write to them.." ... do it! They will love it! 

To choose this month's winner I used; the results: 

The winner is: Hello from the Little Tree!!

She said: 

            I think that the most romantic gift I ever received was a carefully crafted 
            care package, but there's nothing like a good love letter!

Please email me within 48 hours where you would like me to mail your sweet Good Food Jobs postcards and apple postcard stamps! theculinarylibrarian[at]

No word from Little Tree so second winner was #3... Marnely Rodriguez-Murray! Please email me where you would like your postcards and stamps to be mailed! 

I will have next month's giveaway up in the second week of April, so keep an eye out! Next month will be homemade stationary, super snazzy stamps and to give you a hint the stationary was inspired in part by the one and only Julia Child! Get ready!  

Saturday, March 9, 2013

A Call To Write: Revitalizing the USPS through Giveaways!

Did you know I love postal mail? I come home everyday and open my mail box, allowing my breath to catch as I turn my key with anticipation that I’ll discover something sent with love and care carrying the unique penmanship of its sender. More days than not I am fortunate to fill my hands with a cache of magazines, letters and when I’m really lucky checks. Odds are I send more cards than your grandmother does. If you ever looked through my wallet the chances are high you would find some stamps. Some may call me old-fashioned, others would just say I have an old soul but I have always been nostalgic for the ways of the past. And mail, day-by-day, becomes increasingly archaic.

For a while I’d been trying to come up with a way to amplify the usage of the Unites States Postal Service beyond my own weekly mailings. My best audience is still right here on the Culinary Librarian, so I figured it would be smart to work out a giveaway that somehow include the post office. If you’ll remember from my last giveaway I took up embossing recently and have been making my own stationary ever since. Going one step beyond just giving away homemade cards which might be slipped under doors or place in a loved ones suitcase I have decided to give away stationary AND stamps for the next year in hopes it will start an organic chain reaction of everyone sending each other notes, letters, baked goods, sonnets, and so on and so fourth! I’m really hoping enough of you share my intense fondness for the act of sending mail and get on board. If things go really well in the first few months I will happily give away more than one set of stationary and stamps a month… Let’s start the Postal Revitalization!!!

March 2013 marks the first month of the Postal Revitalization. To begin I will be giving away a set of sassy postcards from Good Food Jobs along with thirty-three cent postcard stamps! I’m talking postcards that declare in big bold lettering “BRING HOME THE BACON” – who wouldn’t want to find bacon in their mail box?!

Since their inception I have been a huge fan and supporter of Good Food Jobs. One day it lead me to a part-time job with them as a scout. Taylor and Dorothy are truly fabulous, passionate people who luckily enough are in charge of the one-and-only Good Food Jobs. Beyond being a place to search for or post excellent opportunities in food, the site is a stupendous resource for the food-loving community. Not only is it possible to see what jobs are currently available in the food world it is also a place to learn about what is even possible when imagining making a living off a love of food. The Gastrognomes Blog profiles the movers and shakers, the leaders and bakers in the food community. Their newsletter provides a mid-week boost for its recipients to keep seeking out their dream food jobs, encouraging ways to network and grow within the food community and also announcing anything exciting coming up for GFJ on the whole. It is so much more than a job searching/posting website.

Currently they are in the midst of a slew of their own giveaways and unveiling of new tools to make finding your dream job easier in addition to being their everyday awesome. Be sure to sign up for their newsletter and watch Facebook and Twitter for the upcoming giveaways.

Now let’s get down to business:

The Prize:

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Under the Covers: Exploring Below the Dust Jackets of Cookbooks

I’m not sure what compelled me to get under there. Maybe it was a lustiness that arose from the shirtless, tanned, fish-tossing-in-a-rough-ocean photo towards the beginning of the book that make me remove the dust jacket on Chef Ludo Lefevbre’s first book, Crave: The Feast of the Five Senses. Since that first time, I’ve wiggled my hands under the cover of many a hardcover cookbook to see what I might find or quickly bent back a front over to peek between the glossy paper and cardboard cover. Often enough the results are uninspired, a design space forgotten. But once in a while I hit the jackpot and discover lush photographs or gentle textures and reap my reward by carefully running my fingertips over the book with a glassy-eyed gaze. My heart swells, my stomach growls and my grin widens.

Chef Ludo’s interior is elegant enough, a blacked-out background with khaki-colored text. Organic swirls mimic the title on the cover, the black and off-white print play up his then edgy-rockstar cooking style:

Others simply utilize the space to mimic their cover art, such as Dorie Greenspan’s Baking: From My Home to Yours, Paula Wolfert’s The Food of Morocco, and Nigella Lawson’s Nigella Kitchen: Recipes from the Heart of the Home. Not exactly inspired, but better than nothing: DorieBaking

Some go as understated and tasteful as desired… not just on book covers…

Monday, January 14, 2013

New Year's Eve 2012: Jazz, Drinks, and Hors D'Oeuvres

New Year's Eve 2011 was a night longed to recapture throughout the entire year following it; the first party I threw on my own. So as New Year's Eve 2012 (and my birthday) rolled around again I was excited to celebrate in style and aimed to match or top last year's Moroccan fête. The Moroccan bug had bitten me hard last year. There was no turning back once I'd set the menu - full of tagines and salads. I waffled a lot over this year’s theme but finally decided on “Jazz” and opted to serve only appetizers. The idea carried through tremendously well.

This year's party was in my new apartment, which is luckily a lot bigger than my old place . Throughout the course of the night almost everyone that had been invited, plus guests of theirs showed up! My home felt full and joyous, never crowded and stuffy. Everyone brought sparkling wines, and their own beverages of choice. A few of my friends even brought a signature cocktail - the Wild Hibiscus Royale made with whole hibiscus flowers in syrup, rose water, mint and topped with sparkling wine. Floral and bubbly - just my style! As the jazz music improvised and played on a full and vibrant menu was served.... 

To start, I decided I had to have a homemade vegetable platter – done in my style. The ladies of my family always make their own vegetable platters for parties; why pay someone to breakdown and arrange raw produce? My way includes: celery and carrots (never baby carrots), red pepper (no need for gassy green or other colors), cucumber spears (better than crinkle cut rounds), green beans (a favorite of my Aunt Maureen’s vegetable tray), and finally cauliflower (a different splash of color than broccoli and one of my favorite things to eat everyday). The arrangement was done by alternating the green selections amid the rainbow of colors around a dish of homemade (but admittedly rather flavorless) yogurt and herb dip:
20121231-img_0946 Next was creating a fruit platter I’d want to see served at a party. In general I avoid fruit salads when I’m out and about in the world. So much melon! Damn filler fruit! My guests deserved a mix of luscious fresh and dried (it is winter, after all) fruits. Blood oranges made an appearance last year in the romaine and orange flower water salad so they were in, along with navel oranges. Grapes, watermelon, blueberries and strawberries are always party pleasers so they joined, too. Then I happily found cherries at Fairway so they made the cut and for dried fruit I chose apricots and cranberries. In all, it was the most colorful platter on the table:
For the main appetizers I went with a mix of hot and room temperature choices to make for easy timing throughout the evening. Last year’s planning happened quickly and organically way ahead of December 31st thanks to Paula Wolfert’s wonderful tome on Moroccan cuisine. Literally a few days before this year’s party I found myself scrambling for hors d’oeuvre ideas I could easily make without too much preparation. I hit the cookbooks hard and came out with a stellar mix of recipes from some of my go-to cookbook authors and a few creations of my own.

Cheryl Sternman Rule’s Ripe became one of my favorite cookbooks in the time it took me to get home on the 6 train from the IACP Book and Blog Festival this past April. I’d made her Watercress Butter over the summer and saw it spread on water crackers and being gobbled down by my guests. My predictions were spot on and full mouths questioned “mmm, what is this!?” The garlic and lemon laden appetizer was a total pleaser.