When it comes to cookbooks, are all the best names taken?

A while back, Editor Joe and I had the chance to peruse the stacks at the Library of Congress, escorted by Constance “Connie” Carter, who has been a reference librarian there since 1965 and head of the science reference section since 1971.

Hang around her for more than, say, three minutes and you will come to understand that the unsinkable Molly Brown and the Energizer Bunny are slackers by comparison. Carter’s ability to recall material in an instant, with such enthusiasm, is both awe-inspiring and a little depressing — as in, what are the rest of us not doing with large parts of our brains?

If you’re thinking about, about to be or are in the midst of writing a cookbook, I suggest a trip down to the John Adams Building. If you play your cards right (see details, after the jump), you’ll be able to spend time with at least 34,000 food and nutrition titles — and that’s not counting a few reading rooms with books that are centuries old.

For now, check out the titles on these LOC beauties (and I apologize for poor image quality):

To visit the cookbooks in the Adams Building or use books for research at the Library of Congress, you need to obtain a reader registration card. Go to the James Madison Building, Rm 140, at Independence Avenue and First Street SE. The card is free and is good for two years. The John Adams Building is at Independence Avenue and Second Street SE.

Visiting hours: 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays; 8:30 to 9:30 Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.