Fabulous Fiction Firsts #258

In Jael McHenry's The Kitchen Daughter Ginny Selvaggio, a young woman living with Asperger's syndrome, in the attic of her family's enormous and historic home must learn to care for herself with her parents' unexpected death. Now her yuppie sister, Amanda wants to sell the house. Grieving Ginny retreats into her obsession with cooking, and at the wake, a batch of her Nonna's ribollita conjures up not only rich aroma and old family secrets, but also a ghost or two.

McHenry's debut novel is a "sensitive and realistic portrait of someone living with Asperger's,... (and) a touching tale about loss and grief, love and acceptance".

The author is an amateur cook who grew up in Michigan and Iowa. She now lives in New York, blogging about food and cooking at the Simmer blog.

Fans of foodie/culinary-themed Women's Fiction are no doubt familiar with Erica Bauermeister's The School of Essential Ingredients, Melissa Senate's The Love Goddess' Cooking School, and the lovely (and ghostly/magical) confections of Sarah Addison Allen.

Also hot-off-the-press in this genre are: Friendship Bread by Darien Gee (Pub. April 2011) and (audio) The Provence Cure for the Brokenhearted: A Novel by Bridget Asher (Pub. March 2011).

My Cooking Class: Step by Step Recipes

If you haven't already checked out the new cookbook series My Cooking Class, we now have a few including Pasta Basics. This cookbook series has a different kind of layout, with pictures showing what various steps look like in the process:

my cooking class example page

The recipes range from just a few simple ingredients to ones with many more steps. Here is an example of a simple pasta dish which is just tossed in a garlic, chili and oil heated mix:

Garlic, chili, oil spelt angel hair

Regardless of ingredients all recipes are easy to follow and make. If you are looking for good, delicious food that is easy and usually fast to cook look no further than the My Cooking Class series.

Author Birthdays: Hersh, Kingsolver, Okorafor-Mbachu

April 8th marks the birthday of authors Seymour Hersh, Barbara Kingsolver, and Nnedi Okorafor-Mbachu.

Seymour Hersh is an American award-winning journalist and author. Many of his articles were written for The New Yorker. He won a Pulitzer in journalism for his writing on the My Lai Massacre during the Vietnam War.

Hersh's books include a biography of JFK, called The Dark Side of Camelot, which portrays the late president as reckless, and was very controversial after its publication. He also wrote Chain Of Command: The Road From 9/11 To Abu Ghraib, which discusses topics like the torture and mistreatment of prisoners in Abu Ghraib.

Barbara Kingsolver is a multi-award-winning American author, whose latest novel was the popular The Lacuna, which won the Orange Prize for Fiction in 2010.

Kingsolver's best known work might be The Poisonwood Bible, which is about a missionary family who moves to the Belgian Congo in the mid-20th century. Her most interesting book, in my opinion, might be her non-fiction book Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year Of Food Life, which outlines Kingsolver and her family as they attempt to eat solely locally-grown food for one year.

Nnedi Okorafor-Mbachu is a Nigerian-American fantasy writer. Her newest book, Who Fears Death, was nominated for the Nebula Award in 2010.

Okorafor-Mbachu has written some young adult novels, which may be of interest to many teens in world literature classes who are looking for something a bit more modern than the classics. Her novel The Shadow Speaker is set in a futuristic West Africa and relays the tale of a girl with magical powers who is seeking vengeance.

Culinary Historian Andrew F. Smith Discusses His New Books: "Starving the South: How the North Won the Civil War" and "Potato: A Global History"

A. SmithA. Smith

Sunday March 27, 2011: 4:00 pm to 5:30 pm -- Downtown Library: Multi-Purpose Room

Nationally-known culinary historian Andrew F. Smith will make a special appearance to discuss his two new books. Join us to learn about Smith's fascinating gastronomical look at the war and its legacy in "Starving the South: How the North Won the Civil War." And hear about the captivating tale of an allegedly lowly vegetable that continues to change the world in "Potato: A Global History."

You may have heard or seen Smith interviewed on radio and television, including National Public Radio, Discovery, the History Channel, and the Food Network. Take advantage of this opportunity to see him live at the library!

This event, which will include a book signing, is cosponsored by the Culinary Historians of Ann Arbor. Books will be on sale at the event.

Teen (and Parent) Magazine Update -- Home Schooling, Conspiracy Theorists and Luchador Socks

image by Odin Fotografia, Flickr.comimage by Odin Fotografia, Flickr.com
As winter and spring duke it out for supremacy, a beautiful new collection of magazines has blossomed in our teen room. Check out these lovely flowers:

For Teens:
Audrey -- All about Actress Olivia Munn, plus an article on the presence of Asian-Americans in mainstream TV shows.

ESPN Magazine -- See athletes strut their stuff in this special Style Report, in more ways then one, plus Derrick Rose shows off his luchador socks.

Rolling Stone -- Where else can you see Snooki, rock star Sammy Hagar and conspiracy theorist Alex Jones in the same place? Plus, 2011's coolest new faces.

Sorry, parents, I've only got one magazine for you this time, but it's a good one:
Home Education Magazine has ideas on teaching your kids about gardening and food, as well as a list of books for Women's History Month!

Get out your umbrella and come check out these cool magazines!

Healthy Eating For Kids

Check out the new series Food Is CATegorical for a way to teach your Kindergarten - 3rd graders about the food pyramid. Using humor and rhyme ("They're loaded with fiber - a friend to your body. They help you digest food and make you go potty."), this series of six books comes from author Brian Cleary, who created the Words Are CATegorical and Math Is CATegorical books. Choose from the following titles:
Apples, Cherries, Red Raspberries : What Is in the Fruits Group?
Black Beans and Lamb, Poached Eggs and Ham : What Is in the Meat and Beans Group?
Green Beans, Potatoes, and Even Tomatoes : What Is in the Vegetables Group?
Macaroni and Rice and Bread By the Slice : What Is in the Grains Group?
Oils (Just a Bit) to Keep Your Body Fit : What Are Oils?
Yogurt and Cheeses and Ice Cream That Pleases : What Is in the Milk Group?

Kids Read Comics Extravaganza

KRC ExtravaganzaKRC Extravaganza

Meet some of the most super cartoonists in the Southeast Michigan area at the Ann Arbor Art Center and work with them to make some comics and manga of your own! SEE a gallery exhibition of cartoons and comics pages by cartoonists from Michigan and beyond! LISTEN as some of Michigan's brightest cartoonists lead presentations on how to make comics! WATCH comics being created live on site! PARTICIPATE in fun and interactive storytelling and drawing events with local cartoonists! Whether you're a kid or an adult, if you've ever wondered about making your own comics stories, this free event will have something for you!

Saturday, March 12 --- 10:00 am to 8:00 pm --- Ann Arbor Art Center, 117 West Liberty St.

Eat Tweet, and other Twitter lit

Maureen Evans brings us Eat Tweet: A Twitter Cookbook, 1,020 recipe gems from the Twitter community’s @cookbook. Evans was the first person to tweet recipes on the social media site Twitter, and currently nearly 60,000 followers are getting daily recipe doses from Evans through @cookbook.

With Twitter comes a 140 character limit per post. What? A recipe that’s only 140 characters long? Yes, and here is a book compiling all those tweets. With only 140 characters for each recipe, you can fit a lot of recipes into one little cookbook, as is the case here. Also great about the word limitation, is that the recipes are quick and easy. The book is complete with a glossary to some of the shortcuts used in the recipes, to ensure that they maintain Twitter’s rules. The book is divided into categories and features recipes for all times of day and types of meals. Basics like sauces and stocks, as well as soups, meats, pastas, drinks, and more.

Fans of the Twitter-side of this book might also enjoy Twitterature: The World's Greatest Books In Twenty Tweets Or Less, featuring laugh out loud tweets from famous literary characters. Or there’s Historical Tweets: The Completely Unabridged and Ridiculously Brief History of the World, where history’s biggest personalities share their innermost thoughts via Twitter. LOL indeed.

Eat This, Not That

'Tis the season for parties and food as we visit with family and friends! "Eater's Remorse" may begin to creep up as we find ourselves overindulging in delectable holiday treats!

Worrying about packing on the pounds through the holiday season doesn't have to put a damper on your holiday enjoyment! Instead of an expanding waistline you can acquire expanding knowledge that will help you make the best and healthiest food choices this season.

The authors of the Eat This, Not That! series have just released a new edition to help you fight an expanding holiday waistline. When you know how many calories, fats, and sugars certain foods contain before you eat them, you can stick to a diet throughout the holiday season. With more knowledge and control, you will be better prepared to enjoy your favorites while leaving the diet busters alone!

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