National Homemade Bread Day is November 17th!

I was surprised to learn that on November 17th, in two weeks, we get to celebrate National Homemade Bread Day! This special day is a great excuse to learn about baking bread, discover information about its history, and experience the many delicious breads that the local bakeries in Ann Arbor have to offer.

The AADL has tons of great books to help you create delicious homebaked breads in your own kitchen. Check out The Fundamental Techniques of Classic Bread Baking and Flour Water Salt Yeast: the Fundamentals of Artisan Bread and Pizza for tips on how to get started. We also have Gluten-free and Vegan Bread: Artisanal Recipes to Make at Home and many other vegan and gluten-free oriented bread and baking books for those who have dietary restrictions. Beard on Bread has been a favorite of bread bakers since the 1970s and has more than 100 recipes in it, along with illustrations that kids (and adults!) may enjoy.

Of course, “homemade” doesn’t have to mean made in your own home. National Homemade Bread Day can be celebrated with other people’s homemade bread too! Try out Jefferson Market and Cakery for some delectable baked goods and swing by Angelo’s for a slice of their thick homemade raisin bread along with your brunch.

Enjoy your homemade feasting!

November is World Vegan Month

It's no secret that veganism - a lifestyle eschewing animal products - is on the rise. New York Times columnist Mark Bittman introduced to the world his popular "eat vegan before 6 p.m." diet this year with the release of his book VB6. Celebrities like Ellen DeGeneres, John Salley, Emily Deschanel, Russell Simmons, and even former president Bill Clinton have been vocal about the benefits of their plant-based diets. Articles about the rise of veganism have appeared in New York Times, Huffington Post, Business Week, and Psychology Today. Vegan athletes are popping up in all kinds of disciplines - running, cycling, mixed martial arts, even football!

Whether you're a longtime vegan, a vegetarian thinking about making the switch, or an omnivore curious about plant-based diets, AADL has lots of great cookbooks to help you celebrate World Vegan Month!

For delicious meal ideas, check out the classic Veganomicon, the phenomenal Vegan Soul Kitchen, or the recent homage to Betty Crocker, Betty Goes Vegan. Got a sweet tooth? Don't miss Chloe's Vegan Desserts (the Pumpkin Whoopie Pies are to die for!), The Allergen-Free Baker's Handbook (vegan and gluten-free diets can go hand in hand), or Easy as Vegan Pie (which also has savory pies - just in time for the holidays!). Just want to know more about plant-based living and its myriad benefits? We've got lots of books and DVDs on that.

Soup's On

We are in Michigan after all, and it's time to face the fact of cooling temperatures.

One of the best ways to do that is with a simmering pot of soup! We have plenty of books to help inspire your next simmering sensations.

If you're the type to aim high, you might take a look at Best Soups in the World. Here you'll find recipes for "Cambodian Stuffed Cabbage Roll Soup," "Blackfoot Bison and Blackberry Soup," and "Georgian Beef and Apricot Soup." The Culinary Institute of America Book of Soups will challenge you to make "Amish-Style Chicken and Corn Soup," and "Indonesian Chicken, Noodle and Potato Soup."

If you like your soup with a story, The Soup Peddler's Slow and Difficult Soups might be the soup cookbook for you. Contrary to what the book's title suggests, the soups themselves aren't slow and difficult. It's David Ansel's path as a soup peddler that proved to be a bumpy one.

Maybe you like to take the chill off without the help of animal-based broths. If that's the case Love Soup is an excellent choice. This book features 160 vegetarian recipes. Your mouth may begin watering as soon as you take in the table of contents where you'll find recipe titles like "Arugula and Apple Soup With Toasted Almonds," and "Roasted Poblano Chile Soup." If these sound good to you, you might also enjoy 365 Vegetarian Soups by Gregg Gillespie.

The cooler seasons last a while around here; maybe you'll find some new soup favorites to help you keep warm!

Happy Polish American Heritage Month!


Celebrate Polish American Heritage Month (ongoing throughout October) at the AADL! This annual event was first started in 1981 and celebrates Polish history, culture and pride, as well as the many achievements of Polish Americans. Whether or not you have Polish heritage, participating in Polish American Heritage Month is fun and easy. Listen to traditional Polish fiddle music by the Karol Stoch Band and try your hand at some Polish recipes. Kids may enjoy hearing ancient Polish fables and folktales read aloud to them, too.

The library also has many books written in Polish in our World section, as well as books and CDs to help you learn and master the Polish language, whether you are an interested beginner or an out-of-practice native speaker. Try Colloquial Polish: the complete course for beginners, or Mastering Polish with 2 audio CDs, which also comes with a Polish-English dictionary.

For information about Polish history in Michigan, read about the first Polish people to settle in Detroit in Detroit’s Polenia, by Cecile Wendt Jensen. You can also learn about the contributions Polish people have made to Michigan culture and about the attraction that many Polish people feel to our state in Poles in Michigan, by Dennis Badaczewski.

Happy Polish American Heritage Month, and Miłego dnia!

Gumbo time

National Gumbo Day is coming up! If you're looking for an excuse to celebrate gumbo, October 12 is your day.

There seem to be as many possible explanations of where the word gumbo originates as types of gumbo. However, most sources will tell you that the word likely originated from one of its two main ingredients, okra or filé. The Bantu word for okra, which itself comes from Africa, is ki ngombo or quingombo. In the language of the native Choctaw, filé was known as kombo. We know that Louisiana, gumbo's home, was influenced by the French, the Spanish, those of African ancestry and those of Native American ancestry. With gumbo, we can see and taste Louisiana's melting pot.

With this in mind, it's no surprise that gumbo is different things to different people. Some people thicken it with okra; others wouldn't think of putting a slice or pod of okra in the dish. Some gumbos include filé powder, others don't. Some people depend on a roux to thicken the dish. The AADL cookbook collection can get you started on an exploration of this delicacy.

Chef, author, and restaurateur Josh Besh gives you a variety of gumbo recipes in his book My New Orleans. There are "Drew's Chicken and Smoked Sausage Gumbo," "Blake's Duck, Green Onion, and Chicken Sausage Gumbo," and "Seafood Gumbo" among others. That's not all; you'll find over 200 recipes in this book.

Beyond Gumbo, by Jessica Harris, is a cookbook that focuses on the "Atlantic rim." The recipes in this book venture beyond Louisiana, but focus on creole food from a variety of cultures surrounding the Atlantic. Here you'll find a recipe for "Aunt Sweet's Seafood Gumbo."

If you like your recipes presented in a down to earth fashion, Down Home with the Neelys might be your perfect gateway to gumbo cookery. Here you'll find a recipe for "Nana's Southern Gumbo," delivered in their signature casual style.

Happy National Kale Day!

Today is National Kale Day! A whole day to pay extra attention to the yummy, delicious, truly beneficial green leafy vegetable known as kale. Put this super food in green smoothies, have a kale salad, toss it in a burrito, in chili, or on pizza! Bake it into chips, eat it raw, or massage it up. Kale is super hearty and versatile, ready to go in just about any dish.

For a few books from AADL on kale and other greens check out Spinach and Beyond and Wild About Greens. For books outside of AADL I recommend The Book of Kale: The Easy-To-Grow Superfood and Kale The Complete Guide to the World's Most Powerful Superfood.

And for some extra fun: Perhaps you remember when Chick-Fil-A went up against a Vermont artist and T-shirt creator stating that his slogan “Eat More Kale” was too similar to their slogan “Eat More Chickin.” The matter still has not been settled, as Chick-Fil-A claims that “Eat More ____” is their property.

Lastly, local gardener Diana Dyer (garlic!) has a blog called 365 Days of Kale where she offers a ton of recipes, info, and insight on the health benefits of kale.

How will you be celebrating Kale Day?!

That's Right-- National Corned Beef Hash Day

On August 8, 1974, Richard Nixon ordered his last meal as the President of the United States. Deviating from his usual breakfast of wheat germ and coffee, he ordered corned beef hash. You have to wonder what he would have thought about this comfort food having its own day. That's right; September 27 is National Corned Beef Hash Day.

In case you don't know, corned beef hash is often a mix of beef, onion, potatoes, and spices that are mashed together and then cooked with other ingredients. In many places in the United States, corned beef hash is served primarily as a breakfast food. It is often served with eggs, which is how Nixon ate it on his last day as commander in chief.

If this has whet your appetite and you're interested in making your own corned beef hash, there are several books that will help you do this.

The Joy of Cooking has a recipe for Cabbage Stuffed With Corned Beef Hash. If you're looking for another interpretation of this dish from the "dean of American cookery," you'll find a recipe for Quick Corned Beef Hash in James Beard American Cookery.

Ellie Krieger has written a number of cookbooks that focus on healthy choices. For a healthier take on corned beef hash, check out Comfort Food Fix.

Perhaps Emeril put some "bam" his recipe for Baked Eggs With Corned Beef Hash. You can try his interpretation of the dish in Sizzling Skillets and Other One Pot Wonders.

Finally, if you see corned beef hash as a "manly" dish, maybe the Eat Like a Man cookbook is your best source for this meal. If you like the results, maybe this book is, indeed, the only cookbook that a man needs, as suggested by its subtitle.

However, if you'd just like to have it like Nixon did, this article claims to have that recipe.

Celebrate National Butterscotch Pudding day!

Who knew that there was a such thing as National Butterscotch Pudding Day?

Indeed, there is!

Maybe you've never made your own? This doesn't have to be the case.

The New York Times Dessert Cookbook has a recipe for it. That's not the only treat you'll find in this volume. Florence Fabricant, a long time food writer for the New York Times, put together this collection of 400 dessert recipes that appeared in the paper through the years. There's a wide range of recipes here, as well as essays and holiday menu suggestions.

I've mentioned this book before, but Make the Bread Buy the Butter has a recipe for butterscotch pudding, along with other foods you might not otherwise think to make at home.

David Leibovitz gets a bit fancier with his take on it with Butterscotch Pudding With Coffee-Caramelized Bananas in Ripe for Dessert. This book will inspire you with unique recipes like Brazil Nut, Date and Ginger Tart, or Pineapple Frangipane Tart.

As we head into fall, a bit of butterscotch pudding might be the perfect way to transition from light summertime treats to the deeper flavors of autumn.

Fun Fall Cookbooks

One thing I look forward to every fall is my family’s yearly pilgrimage to our local apple orchard. If you have a cellar full of bags of apples that you don’t know what to do with, The Apple Lover's Cookbook and An Apple Harvest: Recipes and Orchard Lore will show you how to make delicious meals and treats.

On a cold, blustery autumn day there isn't anything better than curling up with a good book with a bowl of hot stew. Soups, Stews and Chillis: A Best Recipe Classic is an excellent place to start and will teach you the basics like the good old standby chicken noodle soup and beef stew. If you want to get adventurous and try something new, however, you might want to try Recipes from the Night Kitchen and The Best Soups in the World. You can find more soup and stew recipes here in the library's catalog.

Fall is also pumpkin and squash season, and The Compleat Squash has a section on how to make transform these gourds into tasty fall meals.

And if you hunt (or you know someone who does) The Venison Cookbook will teach you how to incorporate venison into your meals.

Chocolate Milkshakes

Give me an excuse to think about, drink, or even be near chocolate milkshakes, and I'm in. This time, the excuse is National Chocolate Milkshake Day, September 12.

"Chocolate milkshake" isn't the sort of thing that will easily generate a well-populated catalog search, but don't worry. We've done some digging for you. Many of AADL's cookbooks have recipes for unique ice cream + chocolate concoctions.

For example, if you're in the mood for a Chocolate Stout Milkshake you can find a recipe in Baked: New Frontiers in Baking. If you like chocolate and mint, you might enjoy Bobby Flay's Fresh Mint-Chocolate Speckled Milkshake, which you can learn how to make in Bobby Flay's Burgers, Fries and Shakes. In fact, if you like chocolate milkshakes, this book won't let you down with recipes like Banana-Milk Chocolate Crackle Milkshake, Double Chocolate Milkshake, Dark Chocolate Milkshake With "Fluffy" Coconut Cream, and a few other chocolate-featuring milkshakes.

Flavor Exposed: 100 Global Recipes From Sweet to Salty, Earthy to Spicy gets creative with its treatment of chocolaty shakes. Here you'll find a recipe for a Chocolate Brownie With Gula Melaka Toffee and Chai Milkshake. In case you don't know what gula melaka is, you're not alone. I looked it up; it's palm sugar.

There you have it, an excuse to try a few new treats.

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