It was the Night Before Thanksgiving

It was the day before Thanksgiving, and I was intent on a search, for a free Thanksgiving Dinner at the Ypsilanti Free Methodist Church. The flyer tacked to the telephone pole did assert "Come enjoy turkey and the the fixings, including pie for dessert! At 1800 Packard Rd., 4:30-6:30 pm, across from Ypsilanti High athletic fields, the feast will commence. So if you are planning to join us Nov. 21 on Wednesday, call 734-482-2055 to reserve a seat for the number attending. Happy Holidays!

Ruhlman’s Twenty: 20 Techniques, 100 Recipes, A Cook’s Manifesto

Imagine taking a cooking course at Le Cordon Bleu-Paris. What might you learn ? You would, undoubtedly, become familiar with the foundational cooking techniques which are universal to all cuisines and begin to master the use of basic ingredients which are common to many recipes. So, while you can’t necessarily skip over the ocean on a whim to improve your cooking and baking abilities, you can check out Ruhlman’s Twenty and read the book that will make you a better cook, by introducing you to these very things.

Michael Ruhlman has distilled all the possibilities of cooking techniques to the twenty he deemed the most fundamental. Number one technique: think. “Thinking in the kitchen is underrated”, he instructs. ”Before you begin. Stand still. Think.” Another technique: braise, which he calls, “a kind of emblem of the true cook”. Also: sauce. "Sauce completes a dish, adding succulence, seasoning and color...that's how you turn something good into something fantastic". And: soup. "If you've got chicken stock, you've got a meal". His instructions for all these various procedures are clear, concise and de-mystifying and, in addition, beautifully illustrated and demonstrated with pertinent recipes.

Releasing the untapped potential of key ingredients qualifies as technique as well, and he orients you to the best and most essential: onion, salt, egg, butter. “Butter. Give me butter. Always butter!” (Look here to see who said that.) Ruhlman is opinionated (do not use iodized salt; making bacon is easy; the egg is divine) and almost religiously devoted to the experience of preparing and presenting good food. The recipes he includes could be the essential canon of eating; you could own this ‘cookbook’ and never need another.

Health Benefits Of Indian Spices With Veronica "Rani" Sidhu, Author Of "Menus And Memories From Punjab Meals To Nourish Body And Soul"

Monday September 10, 2012: 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm -- Downtown Library: Multi-Purpose Room

Spices and herbs are nature's pharmacy and this timely topic will be discussed by Veronica "Rani" Sidhu, author of "Menus and Memories From Punjab: Meals To Nourish Body And Soul." Rani learned to cook North Indian dishes using an array of fragrant spices and herbs. Punjab is the "melting pot" of South Asia.

Colorful photos will enliven the discussion of spices and food of this fascinating region whose culture goes back 5,000 years. Attendees also will be able to taste a famous Punjabi dessert, Sevian (Toasted Vermicelli Pudding) - a recipe from her cookbook! This event also features a book signing and books will be for sale.

Time For A Cool Down

Back to school ads may already be in the papers, but it’s still summer!! And it’s still plenty warm. In the thick of summer, what’s better than an ice cream treat? Or how about a homemade ice cream treat? Even Better.

There are several books with a plethora of recipes to get your mouth watering. If you’re in the mood for homemade frozen treats such as ice cream, popsicles, shaved ice, sherbet, gelato, granitas, ice cream cones, merengue nests, mousse, or perhaps ice cream cake, check out The Ultimate Frozen Dessert Book or The Ultimate Ice Cream Book. Not all the recipes call for an ice cream maker! For even more books with frozen treat recipes, see this great list of more AALD-owned titles. Happy making!

Coney Detroit

It’s summer and things are hot and busy. Time to grab a dog, a Coke, and head to the beach. Perhaps a coney dog has your number, and if so, you aren’t alone. Apparently no one in the world is as crazy about coney dogs as metro Detroit is. Have you ever thought about the sheer amount Coney Island restaurants? Ever thought about the technique of what constitutes a great coney dog, or perhaps a coney pizza, coney omelette, or coney wrap?

The book Coney Detroit talks about the lore, the history, and the business of all things coney. It focuses on some establishments in Flint, Jackson, Port Huron, Kalamazoo, and Traverse City. It’s a fun little book, chock full of photos, for those interested in all things local.

The book is a collaboration of twenty, and was written by Katherine Yung (Detroit Free Press reporter) and Joe Grimm. It was photographed by EXPOSURE.Detroit and printed in Detroit. Interestingly, all proceeds from the book go to the Gleaners Community Food Bank.

Smell & Tell: Using Your Sense of Smell For Creative Inspiration

Wednesday June 13, 2012: 6:30 pm to 8:45 pm -- Downtown Library: Multi-Purpose Room

Michelle Krell Kydd is a flavor and fragrance expert and award winning blogger who uses her training as a "nose" to bring stories to life. She is editor of an award-winning blog on smell and taste, Glass Petal Smoke.

This "Smell and Tell" workshop is perfect for food lovers and writers who are interested in smell and the autobiographical memories that it inspires.

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

Crafty Magazines for Kids

Fun, new, crafty ideas for kids are always waiting for you at the AADL. Check out the Library's diverse range of youth magazines for your next in-home project, be it a dynamic science experiment, a creative craft, or a racing vehicle.

Let's start with Muse: the magazine of life, the universe, and pie throwing. Yes, "pie throwing" really is in the magazine title, for this publication is all about maximizing the fun while learning about the natural world. Several of their science experiments are on their website, including the relevant Cell Phone Slip Up experiment that tests whether talking on a cell phone affects your concentration.

You may have seen Family Fun kids: fun stuff to make and do on the magazine shelf and wondered what kinds of projects were hiding inside. From Candle Making 101 to Cozy Bird Cottages to French Toast Casserole recipes (YUM!), this magazine -- as well as its website -- is a well so deep with ideas that if Tikki Tikki Tembo fell in, he might never come back out.

The AADL owns 68 youth magazine titles covering topics such as crafts, science, homeschooling, gaming, music, sports, nature, and everything in between. You can now request magazines for pickup at your local branch library.

More than Morels: Michigan Seasonal Mushrooms

Thursday May 3, 2012: 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm -- Downtown Library: Multi-Purpose Room

What makes mushrooming such a fun and interesting activity? Where and when can mushroom hunts be planned? How can someone tell if a mushroom is safe for eating? What is involved in cooking mushrooms? How can one preserve them?

Phil Tedeschi, President of the Michigan Mushroom Hunter's Club, will discusses popular Michigan mushrooms and share his ideas on Michigan mushrooming at this informative program.

Parent Advisory Shelf: Let’s talk food.

The Downtown library has a shelf in the Youth Department known as the Parent Shelf. On this shelf you’ll find a variety of parent-child related books on a multitude of topics- including everything from phonics to tantrums to potty training to diet. These books are available for checkout, and can be found in the catalog when searching “parent shelf,” if you’d like to have one sent to a branch of your choice.

There are some great books on food and nutrition for children that offer advice and guidance on topics such as dealing with picky eaters as well as nutrition facts. Check out Start fresh: your child's jump start to lifelong healthy eating, 44 things parents should know about healthy cooking for kids, or perhaps Healthy food for young children and these other nutrition books for some fresh ideas on food and children.

The Forgotten Spaghetti Farmers

On this date in 1957, the BBC aired a groundbreaking report on the harvesting of spaghetti trees in southern Switzerland. Up until this time, many people in the UK did not consume spaghetti, and therefore were unaware of the painstaking process involved in spaghetti farming.

Though the images from the story are quite pastoral, spaghetti tree cultivation is not for the faint of heart. Improper care of the spaghetti tree can result in a crop of difficult-to-eat dancing spaghetti or the accidental transmogrification of the spaghetti tree into a pizza plant. At first thought, this may sound even better, but pizza plants are an invasive species, and almost always attract most of a neighborhood’s pests to one’s garden. Even worse, spaghetti storms (sometimes including meatball hail) have been known to happen in areas where genetically modified spaghetti plants are grown in large quantities. Scientists are unsure of why this may happen, but some hypothesize about a process similar to that where it rains frogs: waterspouts (spaghetti trees are largely farmed in low-lying wetlands or artificially-created ponds) rip the spaghetti from the tree limbs (which are weakened by unnaturally large spaghetti pods), transporting it to relatively high altitudes, and carrying it over large distances. The winds are capable of allowing the spaghetti to fall in a concentrated fashion in a localized area. Some tornadoes can suck up a spaghetti pond entirely, resulting in what we loosely translate as the fabled “rain of pasta.”

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