Vegetable Butcher

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The Vegetable Butcher by Cara Mangini is satisfyingly compiled and creatively pictured. The book demonstrates exactly how to select, cut and use vegetables you may not even have been able to name as you see them freshly arrayed in your local grocery or farmers market.

Why not make this the year to try some new vegetables? I have never tried celery root, tomatillos and wouldn’t know what to do with sunchokes, but the author shows you how to prepare these and many more. Plus she includes recipes that look delicious.

After reading this book you will be able to identify types of lettuce, mushrooms (she names fourteen types), and herbs you find in the grocery store. You may discover a new favorite that you have deprived yourself of for years just because you didn’t know what it was or how to prepare it. An excellent resource, this book works well for anyone, especially for those who don’t have time to watch food shows on television.

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Glory Over Everything by Kathleen Grissom

glorySet in 1830, the tale follows Jamie, the son of a plantation owner and his slave Belle, characters from the Kitchen House, the author’s first book.

Henry, an escaped slave in hiding, helps homeless Jamie when he arrives in Philadelphia.

Confusion, truth and lies are at the heart of Jamie’s existence as he passes for white. The road he takes brings him to wealth and prestige but he is uncomfortable with the role he plays in society.

Jamie is compelled to assist Henry in finding his son Pan who has disappeared. They fear Pan is kidnapped and sold into slavery. At the same time Jamie is torn because if he goes south someone may recognize him as an escaped slave. His fears are warranted. Thus begins an escape from North Carolina through the Great Dismal Swamp. The bravery of the Underground Railroad conductors, both black and white are brought to life in the escape.

Especially compelling is Sukey, another slave from the Kitchen House, who tells her story about being sold over and again with resignation, sadness and strength. In the end, she takes control over the helplessness of the life she leads.

It is interesting to think about what attitudes have changed or have not changed in our country during the last 200 years.

If you enjoyed the Kitchen House you are bound to enjoy this story as well.

 

The Charm Bracelet

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The Charm Bracelet written by Viola Shipman will jangle your interest right away! If you are a fan of authors Debbie Macomber, Susan Mallery or local author Lori Nelson Spielman you may enjoy this work by a Michigan-based author.

Charming and sweet, the book is not only a story of 3 women but it is a message that no matter how old, your dreams should not be neglected.

The story begins in Chicago with mother Arden and daughter Lauren who for various reasons are not living their lives the way they wish. Both of them have put their dreams on hold.

Grandmother Lolly, who is very independent in her 70’s and lives in an adorable old cabin on an inland lake in a small town near Lake Michigan, hints to them that she would like them to visit. They go, intrigued and somewhat concerned because it is unlike her to ask.

There she enlightens her daughter and granddaughter on the meaning of the charms in her bracelet by passing down stories from her own time growing up on the lake. These lessons are sweet and lead to the women reflecting on their own lives.

After a long winter, the setting of early summer Michigan is pleasant to read. The tale flows smoothly and gently like soft tears. Don’t be surprised if you find a few of your own while reading this story.

In the end, this book is about challenging your fears, discovering your passions and finding the strength to follow your dreams. I think you may enjoy it.

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Michigan Electronic Library

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The other day I decided I would like to learn about wine. I have seen the rows of wine at stores and I’ve been overwhelmed. With friends I have shared a glass but never knew how to choose a bottle without wondering if it will taste like vinegar or cherry syrup!

So I exhausted the topic of wine at the library, and as the person who processes Mel (Michigan Electronic Library, available to all library patrons), I soon found a wonderful book about wine. The book explained about grapes, and what people are looking for when they raise the glass. I discovered exactly what the sniff and the swirl is all about! I learned about locations and soils and how weather plays a role. As I read, it came to light about why Michigan’s wine industry is growing in leaps and bounds even though our weather seems nothing like California’s. The book is Wineocology: Uncork the Power of Your Palate with Sensory Secrets from Hollywood’s’ Sommelier by Stansbury and Shink. You will have to order it though MeL. If you have never done that before we will help you at the library. Please ask.

I have more knowledge about wine now, at least enough to narrow down the types I may like. The rows of bottles are still overwhelming. I don’t have the time to read every delightful label as much as it would be charming to do so, besides stores don’t offer chairs. What I can say is this, when I wanted to learn about wine, I turned to the library and found a book that was perfect with delightful pictures. I could hold it in my hand and read, or I could put it down until I had more time.

To those who do not frequent libraries I must say, “How can you not?” I personally have no idea. For when it comes to learning, the library is the go-to place. It has always been that way for me. Cheers!