A Bouquet of Flours (including Gluten-Free)

Wednesday March 9, 2016: 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm -- Downtown Library: Secret Lab

This event is intended for grade 6 - adult

Keegan C. Rodgers, Head Baker at the People's Food Co-Op, leads this interactive and lively talk on the history, processing, uses, and chemical reactions of the flours used in baking.

Some flours which may be discussed include all purpose, pastry, cake, and bread flours, as well as wheat flours and alternative or gluten free flours such as garbanzo, sorghum, and rice.

Attendees will leave with new baking skills and literature to take home. Tastes of Keegan's baked goods will be included, too! This event is cosponsored by the People's Food Co-Op and is part of an ongoing baking series.

Sometimes Love is Cooking for Someone Else

I've put up lists of the library's yaoi manga before. Now, most scholars and readers will tell you that most yaoi manga, despite depicting boys love, is aimed at a female audience(check out this book if you're interested in learning more). These series are highly dramatized, romanticized, and on the whole very misleading about relationships between men. Thus I bring to you What Did You Eat Yesterday?

This manga series focuses on Shiro and Kenji, a gay couple that lives in Tokyo. Kenji works as a hair stylist, and Shiro works at a law firm. But no matter how busy their days are, they always share dinner together. The series focuses a lot on the relationship between the two main characters and how they deal with being gay in the conservative city of Tokyo, and how they discuss their difficulties over dinner, which Shiro usually cooks (there are quite a few pages in this series devoted to cooking). This is a more down-to-earth relationship, very believable, with none of the drama or overly romanticized scenes of standard yaoi series. The best part about this series is that it isn't entirely marketed to a female audience! So if you want to see a manga that more accurately depicts a gay relationship as well as a sweet story, check it out!

Then, whether or not you like the series, you can try Antique Bakery. This is a more standard yaoi series, short with only 4 volumes, but it still has an emphasis on food! And the series has even been made into an anime and a Korean drama if you're interested.

Ready, Set, BAKE!

Have you gotten hooked on The Great British Baking Show yet? Whether you are watching on Netflix or catching it on PBS, it's adorable and addictive, and will send you searching for a Victoria sponge recipe that uses American measurements.

Here are some ways AADL can foster your newly-awakened baking obsession:

Bakers looking to stretch their skill sets will find the recipes and instruction they need in The King Arthur Flour Baker's Companion: All-Purpose Baking Cookbook, which covers everything from A (apple pie) to Y (yeast breads), and probably something that starts with Z, too. Along with helpful technique tips, this cookbook provides ingredient and equipment advice helpful to bakers at all levels.

Dorie Greenspan's Baking: from my home to yours is a gem - Greenspan is a true expert and offers recipes ranging from easy to ambitious, but she provides plenty of illustrations and guidance along the way. Her World Peace cookies are not to be missed.

There's also The Cook's Illustrated Baking Book: baking demystified with 450 recipes from America's most trusted food magazine, or Baking Illustrated: a best recipe classic, both produced by the team at Cook's Illustrated, and which are heavily tested and laboriously detailed. As the founder of Cook's Illustrated, Christopher Kimball has cemented his reputation as a provider of precise instruction, and he's built a dedicated fanbase through hosting PBS' America's Test Kitchen and his appearances on public radio's The Splendid Table.

If bread is more your cup of tea than sweet desserts, try Flour Water Salt Yeast: the fundamentals of artisan bread and pizza by Portland, OR-based Ken Forkish. Bakers who are serious about bread will find both excellent recipes and the reasons why they work in this bread-baking bible. For bread-lovers who do have a sweet tooth, Beard on Bread by the inimitable James Beard is a good fit. Like all of Beard's work, it is eminently readable, but the recipes within are a little sweeter and softer than bakers interested in a more artisan-approach may desire.

True disciples of The Great British Baking Show may have to check out Mary Berry & Lucy Young Cook Up a Feast just to satiate their Mary Berry fixation. She's a good-hearted master home baker who provides tried-and-true methods for foolproof recipes, and instructions for getting things done ahead of time so you can properly enjoy an event for which you are baking.

Fiction lovers might enjoy The Art of Baking Blind by Sarah Vaughn, a story about contestants in a baking competition who learn a thing or two about attempting to leave their real-life struggles behind and aiming for culinary perfection. There's also Simply From Scratch by Alicia Bessette, about a widow who enters a baking contest to shake off her grief, and ends up finding a friend in a motherless neighbor girl who came for the desserts, but finds more benefit in the companionship.

Knead any more proof of AADL's baking resources? No? How about another baking pun? No again? Well, happy baking, friends!

2016 Michigan Notable Books Announced!

The 2016 Michigan Notable Book Award winners have been announced! These are books recognized by the Library of Michigan for "celebrating Michigan people, places, and events."

There are 20 books on the list, covering a wide variety of topics and aimed an an array of different audiences, including children's books, nonfiction, fiction, and poetry. This list covers the Michigan Notable titles available for borrowing through AADL, but wait, there's more! Back in October, AADL hosted David Maraniss for a discussion of his book, Once in a Great City: a Detroit story, which can be downloaded or viewed directly library's site.

This list will lead you to explorations of niche Michigan industries, celebrations of famous Michiganders, National Book Award-finalist storytelling, and mouth-watering recipes. So, congratulations to our new Notable authors, and next time you seek a pleasant, Michigan-inspired read, look about you.

Mix It Up!

You got a new fancy blender for Christmas. Now what? It’s time to mix it up! While there are a plethora of smoothie recipes online and in books, here are a few recent faves that offer simple recipes with a punch and without a lot of fuss.

The Blender Girl Smoothies offers 100 gluten-free, vegan & paleo friendly recipes, which include many solid and delicious recipes as well as quick info on how to go rogue and just DIY up your own concoction. With so many books and online blogs with smoothie recipes it's nice to have a collection of stellar recipes all in one quick spot and it's my go-to book when the blender's out! To contrast those healthy smoothies... 101 Blender Drinks is not super new, but the cocktail recipes included will have you grabbing a bag of ice and longing for summer patio days.

Warming Centers and Stations Up and Running for Winter

Washtenaw County is again expanding its daytime and overnight warming to provide safe, warm spaces for individuals experiencing homelessness during severe winter weather.

To address these very real needs, the Winter Emergency Shelter/Warming Center Response work group has worked with local agency partners to provide additional beds this winter. In addition to the 50 beds at the Delonis Shelter, an Overnight Warming Center will be hosted by three congregations on a rotating basis thru March 30th of 2015 from 7pm-7am, and operated by Shelter Association of Washtenaw County (SAWC).

Overnight Warming Center participants are required to check in between 7 pm and 8 pm at Delonis Center, 312 West Huron Street. Individuals will be screened for access to housing resources, then will be bused to the offsite location. At 7:00 am each morning, participants will be transported to the Saint Andrew’s breakfast program.

The Daytime Warming Centers will be open 9 am-4 pm each day and participants will be required to give their name every day they attend to keep track of the community need. Monday-Friday daytime warming center will be at the churches on a rotation basis, with the Delonis Center operating Saturday and Sunday from 7:45 am to 7 pm.

In cases of extreme cold, when public schools are closed (20 below, with or without wind chill), additional temporary warming stations will also be available to any Washtenaw County resident. Individuals in Washtenaw County who are at risk of or experiencing homelessness can call 734-961-1999. For more information about the warming center, please contact Andrea Plevek at pleveka@ewashtenaw.org or 734-544-3039.

NPR's Best Books of 2015

NPR recently released its Best Books of 2015 list, an in depth yearly endeavor where critics and NPR staff choose their favorite books of the year and compile them into a genre-spanning list of several hundred titles. I love that, along with the expected books on the list that are getting accolades from numerous publications and organizations, NPR’s list always contains more obscure titles that many readers likely missed over the course of the year.

You can view all of the titles from the list that we have available in our catalog here.

So what’s on this list of nearly 300 books? Here’s a preview:

In Speak, by Louisa Hall, a young Puritan woman travels to America with her unwanted husband, while in other time and place Alan Turing writes letters to his best friend’s mother and a Jewish refugee tries to reconnect with his distant wife. Elsewhere in time and space, a lonely young girl speaks with an intelligent software program and a formerly celebrated Silicon Valley entrepreneur is imprisoned for making illegal lifelike dolls. How does Hall tie all these characters together? As they all try somehow to communicate across gaps, Hall connects their stories, creating an amazing book that is a blend of historical fiction, science fiction and fantasy.

V is for Vegetables offers more than 140 simple recipes for cooking vegetables in unique and unexpected ways at home. Author and chef Michael Anthony has cleverly divided the chapters of the book by vegetable, so if you ever find yourself staring at kohlrabi or tomatillos in the grocery store, curious about how one cooks such things, this is the book for you! And even expert cooks will be refreshed by Anthony’s new ideas for ways to use common vegetables like broccoli, tomatoes, carrots and squash.

The Battle of Versailles tells of a little-known event that took place at the Palace of Versailles: as a fundraiser for the restoration of the palace, the world’s elite gathered in the grand theater there for a “fashion competition” of sorts: five American designers (including Oscar de la Renta and Anne Klein) faced off against five French designers considered to be the best designers in the world—Yves Saint Laurent, Hubert de Givenchy and others. The American clothes were expected to be a laughingstock but instead, the garments and the energy of the models who wore them wowed the crowd. By the end of the evening, American fashion in the world had transformed from a footnote to an enormous influence, not only on style itself but also on the way race, gender, sexuality and economics were treated in fashion in the years to come.

Smell and Tell: Baking with Flavor

Wednesday January 20, 2016: 6:30 pm to 8:45 pm -- Downtown Library: 4th Floor Meeting Room

This event is intended for adults and teens (grade 6 and up).

Food grade essential oils are a great way to add flavor to pastry and chocolate creations. A few drops are all you need to make memorable desserts.

Flavor and fragrance expert Michelle Krell Kydd will teach you how to use food grade essential oils to make exquisite tea cakes and cookies without a mixer. You’ll learn how to work with a “master dough” and use your sense of smell and taste to create unique and interesting flavor combinations.

Michelle blogs at Glass Petal Smoke, an award-winning blog that explores the connections between scent, food and science.

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #568

The Improbability of Love * * * is film director and documentarian Hannah Rothschild's debut novel, spinning "a dazzling tale--both irreverent and entertaining--of a many-layered, devious world where, in the end, love triumphs."

The novel opens on a blistering July day when all of London (and the world) turn out at the auction of THE painting - "the first time that a painting has been marketed with a world tour, a biography, an app, its own website, a motion picture and a documentary film", a painting rescued from a junk shop only 6 months before, after languishing behind a rubber plant for 50 years. 300-years ago, an unheralded Antoine Watteau created an homage to his unrequited love, entitled The Improbability of Love. Along the way, it passed through the hands of emperors, popes, and kings before finding its way to Nazi Germany.

Annie McDee, recovering from a long-term relationship, relocates to London and works as a chef for owners of Winkleman Fine Art. On impulse she buys a lovely little painting as a gift for a new and unsuitable boyfriend, and innocently sets off an art-world and geopolitical cataclysm.

"An opulently detailed, suspensefully plotted, shrewdly witty novel of decadence, crimes ordinary and genocidal... the book is at its best when delving into the lives of the many people affected by the Watteau."

"Rothschild packs the narrative with vivid details, especially about art and food (she is a Trustee of the Tate, and in 2015 became the first woman to chair the National Gallery, London). For readers who particularly enjoy the blend of art, mystery and intrigue, as in Donna Tartt's The Goldfinch; Nicole Kruass' The History of Love ; and B.A. Shapiro's The Art Forger.

* * * = 3 starred reviews

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