A little sweetness (or a lot)

If you plan to stay home for Valentine's day and want to bake a decadent chocolate dessert for your sweetheart, look no further. The Library has special cookbooks filled with luscious chocolate dessert recipes. And check out our new Ann Arbor Cooks database which includes a Victorian chocolate torte and other tried and true recipies from local cooks.

We are what we eat

Michael Pollan, author of the popular The Omnivore's Dilemma has written another highly persuasive book on what he considers eating well, i.e., "...Don't eat anything your great-great-grandmother wouldn't recognize as food." In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto, examines the question of what to eat based on what is healthy, not to his mind any packaged product that makes extraordinary claims about its health benefits. People generally eat what the brilliant marketers tell them is good to eat, says Pollan, not seeing beyond the multi-million dollar "food" business. Pollan also debunks, having done his homework, popular notions including the idea that dietary fat causes chronic illness. Here, Pollan's plea is, "Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants."

Cookbooks for cooks of all kinds

This week, two recent cookbooks from both ends of the spectrum, Veganomicon: the Ultimate Vegan Cookbook and The Bacon Cookbook, are sharing more than just shelf space at the library.

NPR's The Splendid Table features interviews with each of the cookbook authors. Listen to the program and see sample recipes from the books on the show's website. Choose from a vegan Asparagus Quiche or Bacon and Peanut Butter Chocolate Truffles (or make both, omnivores!).

On frankenfoods and international trade

The European Union's in trouble! And with the World Trade Organization, no less. A deadline is looming for the EU to lift its ban on genetically modified foods (GMOs), affectionately called "frankenfoods." The EU says that the foods are dangerous. The United States, among others, thinks that the ban is just convenient way to protect EU farmers from competition. Thus, as any good American would do, the US government sued, via the WTO.

Europeans are deeply skeptical of GMOs, claiming that there are adverse health effects and the risk of contaminating other crops. Many people beg to differ, claiming that there is no evidence that GMOs are unhealthy. Ultimately, then, the debate boils down to whether, in a world where free trade among countries is the norm, an individual country has the right to block genetically modified foods from their markets.

Of course, there are plenty of other ways of dealing with GMOs than outright bans. Democratic presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich, for instance, thinks producers should say whether a food GMO ingredients. But the question is, what do you think? Should the EU be able to ban genetically-modified foods? Should the US do the same? Should we label foods, as Kucinich suggests? Other thoughts?

Good Food, Fast

If you’re trying to plan a holiday meal, but find yourself short on time, Nigella Lawson, has 130 quick recipes to help you out.

Listen to her recent Talk of the Nation interview and then check out Nigella Express: 130 Recipes for Good Food, Fast.

For a sneak preview, find a few of Nigella’s recipes on the NPR site.

Breaking News: Locavore is the Word


The New Oxford American Dictionary 2007 word of the year is Locavore, meaning someone who eats locally grown food. We’re sure this year’s choice was based on the success of Slow Food Huron Valley and the Ann Arbor Farmer’s Market in bringing local food to local folks in Washtenaw County. There are plenty of local food links, heirloom recipes and more at Ann Arbor Cooks, your one-stop locavore site.

Longone's Lost Cookbook Author


Ann Arbor's own Jan Longone, curator of the Longone Culinary Archive at the William L. Clements Library makes an appearance today in the New York Times with A 19th Century Gost Awakens to Redefine Soul, about Jan's quest to uncover more information about Malinda Russell, author of "the earliest cookbook by an African-American woman that had ever come to light." The Ann Arbor District Library is one of the lucky recipients of a limited-edition facsimile of the only known copy of Mrs. Russell’s cookbook from the Longone Center. The Ann Arbor Cooks website provides digital access to a growing collection of heirloom local cookbooks.

Christmas Cooking

Pula DeenPula Deen

Well it's that time of year. Time to start planing what to eat during the upcoming Holiday season. Click here for a list of library holiday cookbooks. One specific new book to consider is Paula Deens latest Christmas with Paula Deen which is to be reviewed on the Diane Rehm show on 11-28-2007. The library also subscribes to the magazine "Cooking with Paula Deen" at the downtown branch.

Ann Arbor Cooks

Ann Arbor CookbookAnn Arbor Cookbook

AADL is proud to present Ann Arbor Cooks, a new online database of local historical cookbooks and heirloom recipes, created in partnership with the Washtenaw County Historical Society, the Culinary Historians of Ann Arbor and Ann Arbor Hadassah. The Washtenaw County Historical Society provided the core collection of cookbooks from their archives at the Museum on Main Street and will play a continuing role in enhancing the online collection with more items from their archives. Ann Arbor Cooks also presents a complete set of digital copies of Repast, a publication of the Culinary Historians of Ann Arbor. So dig in! You can search or browse the entire collection of recipies; read the cookbooks cover to cover; or send us recipes of your own.

Join us for the premiere of Ann Arbor Cooks!

Join us Downtown at 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, October 25, for the premiere of Ann Arbor Cooks, our new online database of local historical cookbooks and heirloom recipes. On hand to introduce this new service will be the nationally-known (and always enjoyable!) heirloom cooking experts from New England, Marilynn and Sheila Brass, authors of Heirloom Baking with the Brass Sisters. This delightful evening includes a demonstration of Ann Arbor Cooks, a discussion of heirloom baking by the Brass sisters, and refreshments made by the Washtenaw County Historical Society from heirloom recipes. The Brass sisters will also sign their book, for sale at the event courtesy of Nicola's Books.

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