American Red Cross Month, Credit Education Month, Expanding Girls’ Horizons in Science and Engineering Month, and International Ideas Month, to offer but a few. The National Nutrition Month could be just the impetus needed, I the blogger included, to reconsider and revamp our eating habits. For a start, peruse AARP New American: lose weight, live longer by John Whyte; The Amen solution: eat healthy with the brain doctor’s wife cookbook by Tana Amen with Kamila Reschke; The complete idiot’s guide to boosting your immunity by Murdo Khaleghi and Colleen Totz Diamond; Whole [electronic resource e-book]: rethinking the science of nutrition by T. Colin Campbell with Howard Jacobson. On May 18th, 1881, Clara Barton founded the American Red Cross. A Presidential Proclamation has been issued for Red Cross Month each year in March since 1943, however, in 1987, the Proclamation was issued with the title American Red Cross Month. For additional reading on Clara Barton, please try these: Clara Barton: founder of the American Red Cross by Barbara A. Somervill; Clara Barton: in the service of humanity by David H. Burton; and Clara Barton: professional angel by Elizabeth Brown Pryor. Credit Education Month can be bolstered by browsing the library at 332.743 or perhaps borrowing one or more of the following titles: Consumer debt Joseph Tardiff, book editor; Credit repair handbook: everything you need to know to maintain, rebuild, and protect your credit by John Ventura; Get your life back in six months: eliminate credit card debt by John Cees Freedom; What the FICO!: 12 steps to repairing your credit by Ash Cash; You’re nothing but a number: why achieving great credit scores should be on your list of wealth building strategies by John R. Ulzheimer. So let’s celebrate this month by being smarter with what we put into our bodies and what we put on our credit cards.
that dirty word “snow” to the past. Snow, this year, really has earned dirty word status. Even the whispering of the word can incite fear, panic, and anger that Mother Nature is bombarding us yet again. Anyway, spring will begin, according to Chase’s Calendar of Events, on March 20 “with the vernal equinox at 12:57 PM, EDT. Note that in the Southern Hemisphere March 20th is the beginning of autumn. The sun rises due east and sets due west everywhere on Earth (except near the poles), and the daylight length (interval between sunrise and sunset) is essentially the same everywhere today: 12 hours, 8 minutes.” For those of you among our patrons whose thoughts are turning to planting your gardens, come join us on April 2 at 7 PM in the Dix Hills building for an instructional session on Organic Vegetable Gardening 101. Registration is requested. For further information, please check out one or more of the following: Good bug, bad bug: who’s whom, what they do, and how to manage them organically (all you need to know to manage the insects in your garden) by Jessica Walliser; Grow great grub: organic food from small spaces by Gayla Trail; Growing vegetables by Simon Akeroyd; The heirloom life gardener: the Baker Creek way of growing your food easily and naturally by Jere & Emilee Gettle with Meghan Sutherland; Homegrown vegetables, fruits, and herbs: a bountiful, healthful garden for lean times by James Welsey Wilson; How to grow more vegetables: (and fruits, nuts, berries, grains, and other crops (than you ever thought possible on less land than you can imagine by John Jeavons; The resilient gardener: food production and self-reliance in uncertain times by Carol Deppe; Sugar snaps & strawberries: simple solutions for creating your own small-space edible garden by Andrea Bellamy; and What’s wrong with my vegetable garden?: 100% organic solutions for all your vegetables, from artichokes to zucchini by David Deardorff and Kathryn Wadsworth. Other important happenings on March 20th include the publication of Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe in 1852. “Her story first appeared in book form in 1852. It whipped up abolitionist sentiments in the North long before the Civil War. And its influence lasted long after that war. Today, when we call someone a Simon Legree, we are recalling one of Stowe’s characters; and if Uncle Tom does not mean today what it did to Mrs. Stowe, it is still drawn from her book.” This information was drawn from On this day in history by Leonard and Thelma Spinrad. It is also Mr. Fred Rogers’ birthday. “As Mister Rogers, he has taught generations of children the basics of life from social interaction and vocabulary to how to tie your shoes and play cat’s cradle. Mr. Rogers television show first aired in the early 1960s.” So start the countdown with me to the arrival of spring. 22, 21, 20 ….
You could only start attending the German American School when you were ten and my mom was not going to drive for two years without my brother in attendance also. It seemed to be raining every Tuesday night that we went to German American class to learn reading, writing and speaking German. That could not have been true, that it rained every Tuesday night, but it sure seemed like it did. I had a slight head start on my brother because when I was born my parents only spoke German. They knew English, in fact they met brushing up on their English skills in an evening class, but probably thought that since I was not yet attending school, German should be the language spoken at home. This gave me an advantage as it could be viewed as an immersion technique. Back then I railed and argued against going to German American School but now, many years later, I can understand that my parents only wanted to give me a bonus. In addition, if you know a language and your friends don’t , you can speak to your parents and/or relatives confidentially. Language is defined by Merriam Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, tenth edition, as “the words, their pronunciation, and the methods of combining them used and understood by a community.” In Germany, children start a language, usually English, in the second grade. In the equivalent of sixth or seventh grade, the students choose another language – French, Russian, or Italian. Here at the Half Hollow Hills Community Library, we have many resources to assist you, our patron, in the acquisition of another language. We have Mango, a computer-assisted language acquisition program. In addition, we have CDs and books to help you start or further your language studies. The New English Speakers’ Conversation group meets on Tuesdays from 10 AM to 12 N. “Join this friendly group of people from around the world who have fun practicing the English language together. For more information, call Catherine Given at (631) 498-1225.” For Conversations in French, parlez-vous Francais, join us on either Tuesday March 4th or April 1st at the Melville building from 7 to 8:30 PM. This conversation group is perfect for you if your French is a little rusty or you are planning a trip to France. Join this fun group and practice speaking French in a comfortable and relaxed atmosphere. All levels are welcome.
weather in general. I started to think about all the extreme weather situations which can occur, such as blizzards, heat waves, hurricanes. This topic then evolved into researching Dewey Decimal classifications and trying to determine where these events fell in the classification. Earthquakes, tsunamis and volcanoes are not weather conditions but I included some resources related to these events. Earth Sciences, according to Dewey Decimal, covers Gross structure and properties of the Earth (551.1); Volcanoes, earthquakes, thermal waters and gases (551.2); Surface and exogenous processes and their agents (551.3); Geomorphology and hydrosphere (551.4); Meteorology (551.5); and Climatology and weather (551.6). Earthquakes, tsunamis and volcanoes are covered in Earth Sciences but not in Climatology and weather but their occurrence can also have a devastating effect on society. One or two books which stuck in my mind and promoted this long divergence is The Children’s Blizzard by David Laskin and Wave by Sonali Deraniyagala. Another title, which is on my To-be-Read list is, Hot time in the old town: the great heat wave of 1896 and the making of Theodore Roosevelt by Edward P. (Parliament) Kohn. Further reading(s) which touch on Earth Sciences and how they effect us are: Blizzard: the great storm of ’88 by Judd Caplovich; City adrift: New Orleans before and after Katrina by Jenna Bergal [et. al.]; A climatology of recent extreme weather and climate events [electronic resource] by Tom Ross, Neal Lott; Doomsday volcanoes produced by Darlow Smithson Production Ltd. for NOVA/WGBH Boston; Fukushima: the story of a nuclear disaster by David Lochbaum, Edwin Lyman, Susan Q. Stranahan and the Union of Concerned Scientists; The great earthquake and firestorms of 1906 : how San Francisco nearly destroyed itself by Philip L. Fradkin; The great deluge: Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans, and the Mississippi Gulf Coast by Douglas Brinkley; Pray for Japan [videorecording DVD] a Pray for Japan Film LLC production in association with Animation Studio Art Land. These are but a few of the books and/or resources covering weather and Earth disasters. For information on preparation, please see www.ready.gov/today. Stay safe out on the roads and in your home during a weather situation.
looking forward to those days when snow was predicted. The possibility of a snow day seemed, in those long ago winters, to hover enticingly just out of range. The idea of all the snow day options: sledding, snowman building, fort building and snowball fights appealed to the child I was. The sheer beauty of an all-white landscape with a few stalwart evergreens displaying their piney branches could overwhelm the hardest of hearts with Nature’s beauty. Now that I am older, I see snow differently. I still see the beauty in a pristine landscape and the tree limbs outlined in diamonds and pearls. However, beyond the beauty of the landscape lie the hidden dangers of too much ice and snow on the cables, too much ice and salt causing corrosion and potholes. Now I worry about the difficulty of navigating roadways and other travelers. Even if you are a safe driver, the weather is a significant factor. You may use caution in traveling the roads but another traveler may think his vehicle is better equipped to handle bad weather but all it takes is a second’s inattention or an unseen patch of ice, and you could find yourself doing a 180 as my father recently witnessed. Mother Nature seems to have taken a dislike to our sometimes cavalier attitude towards her and the balance inherent in anything and everything. According to Guinness World Records 2012 edition “the worst damage toll for a snowstorm was a total of $1.2 billion worth of damage caused by a storm that traversed the entire east coast of the U.S.A. on March 12-13, 1993. In all, 500 people perished in this monumental winter storm, which has been described by one meteorologist as a storm with the heart of a blizzard and the soul of a hurricane.” “Longest time in full body contact with snow Jin Songhao (China) was immersed in a pile of snow for 46 min. 7 sec. at the Center Square, A’ershan City, Inner Mongolian Autonomous Region on January 17, 2011.” Other snowy facts from Guinness state “the largest snowball fight involved 5,387 participants at the 17th Mount Taebaek Snow Festival, Gangwon-do South Korea on January 22, 2010″ and the largest snowball which was rolled by “Wesley Fowlks and a team of nine other participants (all U.S.A.). The snowball measured 23 feet, 2.5 inches in circumference. It was rolled at the University of Massachusetts’ Dartmouth Campus, Massachusetts, on February 1, 2011.”
I generally prefer Italian or Chinese cooking because of their larger emphasis on seafoods and vegetables. But give me a hunk of cheese and a slice of bread and I am a very happy camper. GermanLife magazine recently profiled Raclette. The article entitled “Swiss Raclette: the ultimate cheese melt” by Sharon Hudgins gave me some valuable insights into one of my favorite culinary delights. Raclette, Sharon Hudgins writes, is a melted cheese dish said to have “originated in Switzerland’s French-speaking Valais canton sometime in the 1500s. The term raclette comes from the French word racler to scrape … According to one Swiss story, a medieval vintner toiling in his vineyards took a lunch break to eat some hard mountain cheese, coarse country bread, and his own wine that he’d brought from home. Since it was a cold day, he built a small fire to warm up. However, he moved too close to the fire, and his cheese began to melt. Quickly trying to salvage the meal the vintner scraped off the melting cheese and spread it on his bread. Voila! Raclette was born. Another story has Swiss cowherds toting a big wheel of cheese with them as they tended their animals in the high summer pastures. At night they built a fire in the mountainside to cook their dinner and accidentally left the wheel of cheese sitting on a big stone too close to the flames. They quickly scraped the melted cheese off the stone and well you know how the rest of the story unfolds.” Raclette is a meal to be savored. It, by no means, can be considered a fast food. Our Raclette oven has six trays with a grill pan above. A wooden paddle is provided for coaxing any cheese remnants to flow over your potato or bread slice. To aid digestion, it is recommended that the diner drink shots of Kirsch or some other fruit flavored clear liquor. The dish can also include sautéed mushrooms, onions, bacon, etc. For a greater list of cheese options, please consult some or all of the following: Cheese: a connoisseur’s guide to the world’s best by Max McCalman; The Cheese plate by Max McCalman; Cheeses of the world by Bertrand Nantet and others; Di Bruno Bros. House of Cheese: a guide to wedges, recipes and pairings by Tenaya Darlington; The Fondue bible: the 200 best recipes by Ilana Simon; A Passion for cheese: more than 130 innovative ways to cook with cheese by Paul Gayler; The Telling Room: a tale of love, betrayal, revenge, and the world’s greatest piece of cheese by Michael Paterniti; The uncheese cookbook: creating amazing dairy-free cheese substitutes and classic “uncheese” dishes by Joanne Stepaniak. So let that cheese come to room temperature and buy a fresh-baked bread and enjoy one of my favorite treats. Don’t forget the capers or cornichons to add a little kick.
Penn Hongthong was the instructor of the past Thursday night’s cooking class. The class was entitled Chinese New Year Cooking and was both entertaining and delicious. Penn is a skilled public speaker and kept the class’s interest easily. She made three Chinese dishes in under an hour. She shared with us many little informative tidbits. For instance, she washes all her vegetables first, even if, she is going to peel them. A plastic Ziploc bag stands at the ready to receive any little odds and ends not used in recipe preparation. These remnants are then utilized to make vegetable broth. Penn was born and grew up in Laos, a small country that is bordered on the north by the Chinese province of Yunnan, on the northeast by Vietnam, on the northwest by Burma, on the west by Thailand, and to the south by Cambodia, Penn also emphasized that the village where she spent her formative years was fed on one chicken for the whole village. That’s probably stretching it a little but it brought to mind a childhood favorite of mine, Stone Soup told and pictured by Marcia Brown or Stone Soup retold by Heather Forest. One of the class participants came because she is anticipating an exchange student and wanted to make that student feel welcome by knowing how to prepare a few familiar meals. Penn stated that the dishes can be modified to your individual tastes. If you prefer an Italian eggplant over Chinese eggplant, go ahead and use that. If you are on a low-sodium diet, use or increase the amount of another spice. The dish should be pleasing to the eye as well as to the palate.