Local Mission Eatery is a lunch spot in San Francisco where all the vegetables, fruit, meat, fish, dairy, eggs, olive oil and rice used in the restaurant come from California. Sandwiches using the freshest, local ingredients available are the specialty. Local Mission Eatery also wants to get people cooking for themselves and offers classes, which they call labs, that are hands on and local focused.
A decade ago, an eatery using all local ingredients and teaching back-to-basics cooking classes would have been novel. Now, while important and admirable, it’s nothing new. Local Mission Eatery is doing something out of the ordinary, though, with its Cookbook Library.
With a selection that offers “classics and new releases, quirky finds and grand tomes, savory and dessert books, single ingredient studies and comprehensive reference works,” there’s something for every level of cooking skill.
Membership in the library is $35 a person or $50 a couple. Members receive a library card that allows them to take out one cookbook at a time for one week. The library doesn’t mind a little cooking oil or other small stains on the book, but if it gets dropped in tomato sauce or put in the broiler, a replacement fee will be charged.
I took a look at the titles offered (opens as PDF), and I ran down the list to see how many of the titles I have in my own cookbook library. Of the 141 volumes in Local Mission Eatery's growing library, I own two – Chez Panisse Vegetables by Alice Waters and Judgment in Paris by George Taber (which isn’t a cookbook, but it’s a great read).
If you’re in the San Francisco area, check out Local Mission Eatery, its labs and its Cookbook Library. If you aren’t, take a look at the list of books in the library and see how many you have. You may just find a title or two that you realize you should have. I did.