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Archive for May, 2012

New Non-Fiction Book Club at DPL!

New Non-Fiction Book Club at DPL!

What do art theft, forest fires, chemistry, and murder have in common? If you said things that I participated in during my college years, you are no longer my friend (but you are also not very far off the mark.) All kidding aside, these are some of the subjects of books that will be discussed in Davenport Public Library’s new non-fiction book club, “Truth Be Told.” The goal of Truth Be Told Book Club is to offer a variety of books that span the Dewey Decimal System. This is a great group to join if you currently a member of another book club and you’d like to branch out, or if you are new to book clubs and are a fan of non-fiction. If you’re curious about the titles we’ll be reading, I have images of the book jackets below.

Spaces are limited and registration is required for this FREE book club. Call 563.326.7832 or visit www.davenportpubliclibrary.com to register.

Botany of Desire

Picture 1 of 7

May 18, 20120 comments
Grotesque or Gourmet? #5: Casu Marzu

Grotesque or Gourmet? #5: Casu Marzu

Do you like cheese but wish it were partially digested before you ate it? No? How about if it were partially digested by maggots before you ate it? Still no? O.K., what if the maggots were still in the cheese when it were served to you? Hey, where are you going?

Casu Marzu is a traditional Sardinian sheep milk cheese. It is made by taking a Pecorino cheese, removing some of the rind and leaving it out for the cheese fly to lay its eggs in. The eggs hatch and the resulting maggots digest the cheese, breaking down some of the fats which makes the cheese soft and spreadable. The cheese is usually served while the maggots are still alive, so look out; the little larvae can jump up to 6 inches.

The European Union once outlawed Casu Marzu due to food hygiene and health regulations. You’ll be pleased to find out that the ban on the cheese has been lifted due to it being a traditional food of the region.

Thus concludes Grotesque or Gourmet? Thank you for stopping by and I promise that next week my posts will contain 95% less maggots.

 

 

May 11, 20120 comments
Grotesque or Gourmet? #4: Huitlacoche

Grotesque or Gourmet? #4: Huitlacoche

Huitlacoche (or corn smut) is a pathogenic plant fungus that grows on the above ground portion of corn species. It is popular in Mexico where it is used as a filling in quesadillas and tacos or can be used fresh in soups and stews. Interestingly, corn smut contains lysine, an essential amino acid that is not found in uninfected corn.

Tacos huitlacoche

The fungus has had difficulty entering into the American and European diets as most farmers see it as blight. In 1989 the James Beard Foundation held a huitlacoche dinner and attempted to popularize the food in the United States by renaming it the “Mexican truffle.”

To be perfectly honest, of the foods covered so far in Grotesque or Gourmet? this is probably the only one that I would actually try. Just don’t call it “corn smut.”

Stop back tomorrow for the final installment of Grotesque or Gourmet? (Hint: I got to make foam maggots for the bulletin board for this one.)

May 10, 20120 comments
Grotesque or Gourmet? #3: Balut

Grotesque or Gourmet? #3: Balut

Don’t get me wrong, I love boiled eggs. Seriously, I like them way too much; I just prefer mine without feathers or beaks.

That sound you just heard is your soul dying just a little bit.

Balut is a fertilized duck egg that is boiled and eaten in the shell. Balut is commonly sold as a street food in the Phillippines and rumored to be an aphrodisiac.

The development of the egg before it can be cooked is a matter of local preference. In the Philippines, the ideal balut is 17 days old. The chick inside is not old enough to have developed a beak or feathers and the bones are undeveloped. The Vietnamese tend prefer their balut mature from 19 days up to 21 days, when the chick is old enough to be recognizable as a baby duck (cringe) and has bones that will be firm but tender when cooked (shudder).

Stop back tomorrow for more Grotesque or Gourmet?

May 9, 20121 comment
Grotesque or Gourmet? #2: Kopi Luwak

Grotesque or Gourmet? #2: Kopi Luwak

Yes, this is exactly what it looks like.

Have you ever thought to yourself, “This coffee tastes like poo”? Well, some people think that is a good thing. Kopi luwak is an expensive ($35-70 per cup) coffee made from the beans of coffee berries that have been digested by the Asian Palm Civet and then excreted. The coffee beans are then washed thouroughly, dried in the sun, and lightly roasted.

Ahhh, he's getting ready to make coffee for us.

Stop back tomorrow for more Grotesque or Gourmet?

 

May 8, 20120 comments