IT USED TO be that, in any given bookstore, it was easy to tell the people who were looking for cookbooks. They'd stand there, dodging poets and biography hounds while balancing a heavy stack of books. Hunkered down on the floor with three volumes on Chinese food, they would desperately cross-check to discover which ones contained the most reliable recipes--while other shoppers tripped over them. In cookware shops, they would wander up and down the aisles, muttering to themselves and lamenting the fact that there were so few cookbooks on the shelves.
That was before the opening of The Cook's Library. These days smart cookbook buyers are sprawled in easy chairs in the new shop on West 3rd Street, munching on little tidbits provided by owner Ellen Rose and exchanging advice about cooking classes, catering companies and the like. For Los Angeles has, at last, given up its status as the only major American city without a bookshop for cooks.
The Cook's Library is a pleasant place. "Take an avocado from my tree," Rose is likely to say, pointing to a basket on the table. In addition to all the latest cookbooks she carries a small selection of older books, books and periodicals from abroad. It's the sort of place where the question of which Chinese cookbook is best results in an honest answer. It is also a dangerous place--cookbook collectors will find it impossible to leave The Cook's Library empty-handed.
The Cook's Library is located at 8373 W. 3rd St., Los Angeles; (213) 655-3141.