Wednesday, February 23, 2005


I have been a life-long bibliophile. One of my greatest pleasures has been to read cookbooks. I started actually reading cookbooks when I was a teenager. About 20 years ago I found that what I really enjoyed reading was Culinary Literature. The subject heading for this genre of literature differs from bookstore to bookstore. Amazon has this type of book under the subject heading Gastronomy. Borders has this type of book listed under Food Reference and Literature. The Library of Congress subject heading for this type of literature is Class-T, Subclass, TX for Home Economics(Ewww). Unless you are in the library profession this means bupkus to you, but if you go to your public library and they are using the Library of Congress classification system the book would have a call number starting with TX.

I remember the first book in this genre that totally captivated me was Home Cooking by Laurie Colwin. This book was a compilation of some of her columns that appeared in Gourmet magazine. I went on to read some of her other writings and fell in love with this wonderful author. Sadly she passed away in 1992 at the age of 48. I purchased her wonderful books and treasure having them in my collection. Since then I have found other culinary authors who I have also enjoyed such as John Thorne and Matt Lewis Thorne, Amanda Hesser and Mimi Sheraton.

A new book that looks promising is Cookoff-Recipe Fever in America by Amy Sutherland. The author travels around the country attending cooking competitions. From chili contests that are more like frat parties to the National Chicken and National Beef competitions, Sutherland crisscrosses the country and along the way conveys her growing enthusiasm for and fascination with why one recipe or dish wins and another loses. The author also intersperses recipes throughout the book.

Another book that looks fun is Better Than Homemade: Amazing Foods That Changed The Way We Eat by Carolyn Wyman. This book was published by the wonderfully irreverent Quirk Books. Wyman has also penned books on Spam and Jello-O. In this book Wyman takes 46 very familiar products and gives a history as well as fun tidbits of information. Some of the products that she covers are Velveeta, Wonder Bread and Minute Rice.

One book that I just thought was wonderful was American Pie: Slices of Life (and Pie) from America's Back Roadsby Pascale Le Draoulec. This travelogue, cookbook, and wonderful treatise on pie is delightful. The author and her friend traverse the country looking for pies. As someone who likes to bake and is fairly decent at it, I have never been great at pie crusts. I stil don't know what I do-do I work the dough to much, not enough, ice cold water or room temperature water, what, what. This book taught me that there are so many different ways to make pie crust. The best thing to do is fine the way that works for you and stick with that. I was sorry when this book ended. I hope Ms. Le Draoulec writes more culinary travelogues. What a treat.

Monday, February 14, 2005

Nez Perce

While I was preparing to go out on Saturday morning I happened to catch a program on A&E about horses. It was called In the Company of Horses. I love all animals, but I can't say that I was ever one of those young girls who was just crazy about horses. I read Black Beauty when I was a kid and thought it was a nice story and all, but it never moved me the way Little Women did.

This program was very well done and I learned a lot. One segment of the program was about the Nez Perce tribe. I knew a little bit about these proud people, mostly about one of their 19th century leaders Chief Joseph. However, the fact that had escaped me was that they were excellent, revered horseman. One of the things that the government did to punish the tribe was to kill all of their gorgeous horses.

Now the Nez Perce tribe has begun a breeding program. This program was financed by the US Department of Health and Human Services (ony fitting), the Nez Perce tribe and a nonprofit group called The First Nations Development Institute. This program is a way for the Nez Perce tribe to re-establish their proud horsemanship that was so wrongly taken from them in the 19th century. The tribe are crossbreeding the Appaloosa Horse with a Central Asian breed called Akhal-Teke.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005


I have recently become fascinated with collars. Yes, those pieces of fabric that are hooked to our shirts, blouses, sweaters, dresses, etc. I am not a fashionista by any stretch of the imagination. I have found that the older I get the simpler I want my dress to be. Give me a nice pair of jeans, a nice pretty top in the summer, a nice sweater (love sweaters) in the winter and I am good to go. I was actually searching the QVC site for a particular type or sweater and I kept noticing all of the different sorts of collars and necklines that exist. This is only a partial list.

Collars:Buster Brown,button-down,convertible,club,crew,crosswick, cavalier,eton,johnny,laydown,mandarin,mock,notched,Peter Pan,rebato,Roman, sailor,shawl,split,straight-point, tab and wing. Now for necklines it even becomes more interesting: ballerina,bateau,cowl, funnel, jewel, keyhole, marilyn, roll, round,scoop,square,sweetheart, turtle and V.

Thursday, February 03, 2005


I have never been much of a joiner. I'm a loner and I like it that way, but there have been the rare occasions where I have joined clubs and even started clubs. Like the Rock Collecting Club I started when I was in grade school. That didn't last very long. I soon got bored of not finding any exciting gems like diamonds and emeralds. I really thought I could find them in Southwestern, PA. Then there was the Nancy Drew Book Club. That lasted much longer. I even made check out cards to put in my Nancy Drews. Could explain why I am in the library profession now.

I came across these two clubs in my wonderings. The first one is the American Name Society. I found this when I received the latest issue of A Common Reader catalog. I absolutely love this catalog. I've been receiving it for years and have purchased a few books when my budget allows for such fun. The catalog had a listing for the book, The Secret Universe of Names: The Dynamic Interplay of Names and Destiny by Roy Feinson. This book is about the meanings behind the names given to us. Since I've been interested in people's names I placed this on my book wish list. In researching this book a little further, I found out that the author is a member of the American Name Society. Their website says that they were founded in 1951, they have journals about the study of onosmatics (study of names and naming practices). I thought, okay, a high-brow linquistics club. Then I saw how they have a Name of the Year Contest. The winners for 2004 were the movie Fahrenheit 9/11, the host of the Daily Show, Jon Stewart, born Jonathan Stuart Leibowitz and lastly Al-Quaida (Al-Qaida, Al-Qaeda, etc). What fun.

On another note I found that there is an Ernie Els International Wine Club. Now for those of you who may have never heard of Mr. Els-he's a professional golfer. He teamed up with and started a wine club. Membership includes receiving two wines each month, food pairing suggestions, a personal letter from Ernie relating his golf and wine experience, golf tips, 15% discount on reorders of the featured club wines and a one-year subscription to Golf Digest.

I would love to include links for the clubs,etc. that I mentioned above, but I am still trying to figure out how to do that so please hang in there with me.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005


I will always be amazed at the wonderful bits of trivia I pick up on a daily basis. Remembering all of these bits of information is something that my poor, addled brain has a hard time doing. Short-term memory. What's that!!! But, ask me about a a brown dress with lace that I used to have in first grade and I can tell you all about it.

Here are some tidbits that I picked up in the last few days:

Sammy Davis Jr.'s mother was Puerto Rican.

Jamie Fox is a classically trained pianist.

There is a Celebrity Impersonators Convention. Last year (2004) it was held at the Imperial Palace Hotel in Las Vegas.

An apocopation is a type of metaplasm (don't you just love when you are reading a definition and then have to look up the words that are used to define the word that you didn't know the definition to in the first place) that refers to a shortened form of a longer word, where the end of the original word has been omitted. For example abs for abdominal and auto for automobile.

The marvelous Wikipedia has a listing of these words.