Recipes from America's Rich Immigrant Heritage

Preheat those ovens, dear readers, and grab a copy of Greg Patent's A Baker's odyssey : celebrating time-honored recipes from America's rich immigrant heritage. After visiting the kitchens of more than sixty bakers around the country, Patent (an immigrant himself) discovered the baking secrets, cultural significance and treasured recipes of immigrant families from a multitude of countries around the globe. His cookbook's authentic recipes are grouped by cooking style, rather than nationality, allowing readers to see the connections between regional specialties (like Chicken & Potato Sambouseks from Iraq vs. Samosas from India vs. Shrimp Rissois from Portugal).
If the idea of nibbling Australian Lamingtons (what chocolate cupcakes are to Americans), getting messy with Koeksisters (South African deep fried pastries) or baking up Szarlotka (Polish apple pie) sounds appealing to you, I highly recommend this book. The author includes a big list of mail order sources for baking gear and specialty ingredients that you may not be able to find in your local market. Also, for the baking challenged (like myself), a DVD is included with the book that demonstrates baking techniques for items like Cannoli, Schwabisch Pretzels and Thai Shrimp & Bean Sprout Fritters. One word of caution - if it isn't already obvious to you - these recipes are NOT for people on a diet! Mmm...bring on the butter.

Raspberry Picking

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On the lookout for something fun for the entire family, gets everyone to enjoy the great outdoors and is easy on the pocket book?

Then raspberry picking at Makielski’s Berry Farm should be your destination. Located on 90 acres of woods, ponds and berry patches just 8 miles from downtown Ann Arbor, this beautiful place is a wonderful gem you’ll want to return to year after year.

Pack a picnic, get the kids and the dog (yes, well mannered doggies are welcome) in the car and motor over to a wonderful day in the country and pay only $3 a quart for raspberries.

Then come home with your crimson treasure and start baking! Look at The Berry Bible, Luscious Berry Desserts, Good Housekeeping Best-Loved Desserts, Heirloom Baking With the Brass Sisters, Pure Dessert and Ice Cream and Frozen Desserts for inspiration.

Be sure to freeze some so this winter you can remember the gorgeous day you spent out there when you put raspberries in your oatmeal.

Summer Heat

Wow! It's been HOT outside lately! Many of us have taken refuge from the heat in ice cream shops, movie theatres, or even busted out our hat fans, but that just isn't enough. What we all need to cool off is a good old-fashioned cannonball into ice cold water. If you're feeling hot under the collar, take an afternoon off from the air conditioning and head for a pool or local beach. The area has many beaches to choose from including Heath Beach, the Waterloo Recreation Area, the Pinckney Recreation Area, and the Island Lake Recreation Area. Even thinking about hanging out at the beach is fun. When is the last time any of us built a sand castle?

Summer Reading for the Food Obsessed

I'm not much of a "foodie" but I do love to travel and was intrigued by the title Around the world in 80 dinners : the ultimate culinary adventure 50,000 Miles, 10 Countries, 800 Dishes, and 1 Rogue Monkey. In 2005 culinary experts Cheryl and Bill Jamison, known for award winning titles like The big book of outdoor cooking and entertaining, used their giant stash of frequent flier miles to head off on a three month vacation around the globe in search of food and adventure. In March they published this book, offering readers the chance to live vicariously through their journeys in Bali, Australia, New Caledonia, Singapore, Thailand, India, China, South Africa, France and Brazil. This is not a cookbook, although they do provide authentic recipes from their destinations, as well as travel information about hotels, restaurants and points of interest (like the National Elephant Institute in Lampang, Thailand). If you're looking for a literary masterpiece, this is not the book for you - due mainly to the quirky flip-flopping between first and third person narrative. However, if you seek some light, insightful and humorous reading, filled with enthusiasm for food and travel, this will make a great choice for summer.

New Knits on the Block

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Let me make a confession: I don’t know how to knit. And working at the library with a slew of fabulous, fun and new knitting books, well, I feel a bit guilty. I was recently searching for the movie The Goonies in our catalog and a wonderful book came up in the search instead: New Knits on the Block. A book that features knitting projects inspired by costumes, toys and decorations. What does that have to do with The Goonies, you ask? There is a knitting project called Goonie’s Treasure Bath Set, Which consists of a Jolly Roger wash cloth, a stuffed parrot, eye patch, and head scarf- all stitched up for bath time play. The fun doesn’t stop there. The book also has directions to knit the following: a St. Elmo’s Fire firefighter hat, Labyrinth felted wizard and princess hats, a Schneider tool set and pouch (my personal fave), The Tooth is Out There alien tooth fairy pillows, a Benetar guitar pillow, and even The Last Unicorn dress up headpiece. I could go on and on with the pop culture titled, magically adorable crafty projects. If I could knit I would make these treats for every kid I know, and possibly a few for myself.

The author, Vicki Howell, is the host of DIY’s Knitty Gritty, and is well respected in the knitting world for her funky, hip edgy designs. (I know it’s summer and folks don’t want to knit scarves in the summer, but these are toys! And toys are needed year round.)

Summertime, the living is easy

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"Summer parties are so easy: throw something on the grill, reach into the fridge for cold beverages and sides, call friends. But wait, it gets easier. Barbecue guru Steven Raichlen's Barbeque! Bible is available in a 10th anniversary edition this year, while newcomers to hosting will find everything they need to know in Party Basics for New Nesters, the latest book from Maria McBride, author of a series of wedding planning books".

And if you are a fan of the Foodnetwork and find yourself still watching those re-runs of HGTV programs, why not sign up for the Lifestyle newsletter from our new service - BookLetters.

Once a month, you will receive via email or RSS feed a list of the best new cookbooks, gardening guides, pet care manuals and more - from self-help and fitness to home decor, books designed to fit your active lifestyle and renew your spirit.

OOh! AAh! Fireworks!

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Grab the blankets and head to the Fireworks Extravaganza on Saturday, June 28th at Hudson Mills Metro Park. Fireworks begin at 10:00 p.m. but come early for the concert by Big Pinky & the Joint Effort Band.

Aerosmith

People... Guitar Hero 4 is coming out later this month! Offically titled Guitar Hero: Aerosmith, this game is sure to be just as fun (if not moreso) than the rest in this game series. In my opinion the Aerosmith songs are the most fun to play in the previous releases; an entire disc of their songs is going to rock our socks off. If you would like to familiarize yourself with the band's work, the library holds their albums as well as literature based on their history. Additionally, we also carry a wealth of information on learning to play the guitar for those of you that want to move beyond the plastic guitar.

Pedal Power

Hey Commuter Challenge enthusiasts! Check out the book Pedal Power: The Quiet Rise of the Bicycle in American Public Life. DePaul University Professor J. Harry Wray takes a look at how the simple act of riding a bike may impact perceptions of the world. Professor Wray says, "Because the world is experienced in a different way on a bike than it is in a car, the rider inevitably thinks of that world differently than does the driver." (page 18). The author had the idea for the "Biking and Politics" class in which he and his students ride 35 miles through the South and West side of Chicago.

Mario Kart!

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Mario Kart has been released for the Wii and is, pardon the cheesy language, super fun. The game has sold more copies than the previous five Mario titles for the Wii combined and is a solid investment guaranteed to entertain you for hours on end (as you compete with friends in person and online). But of course, one of the most exciting updates to the game is the implementation of the Wii remote as the steering wheel. If you find video games interesting, you may enjoy looking into the library's databases' information on the history of gaming. Try running a search for Video Game History in General Reference Center Gold or First Search, and let us know what you think of the databases!

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