Honoring Mothers On Their Own Special Day

Some say the holiday we celebrate traces its roots back to the 16th Century British holiday of Mothering Day, the annual custom of visiting one’s mother church annually, which meant that most mothers would be reunited with their children on this day.

In the United States Mother’s Day was first observed in 1907 when Anna Jarvis asked her Philadelphia church to hold a service in memory of all mothers on the anniversary of her mother’s death. Jarvis and friends undertook a letter writing campaign in 1909 lobbying for the creation of a national Mother’s Day. In 1914 Congress designated the second Sunday in May as Mother’s Day.

Mother’s Day is celebrated on different days in other world countries. For example, Spain and Germany honor mothers on the first Sunday in May. In Ireland and the United Kingdom it is celebrated on the fourth Sunday of Lent.

Little Heathens – a book for Mother’s Day

Little Heathens

Little Heathens: Hard Times and High Spirits on an Iowa Farm During the Great Depression by Mildred Armstrong Kalish

The 80-something Kalish writes with simplicity and directness about growing up on an Iowa farm in the thirties. The details of meal preparation, crops and care of the farm animals are so specific they ring with authenticity.

Daily life is made vivid with the telling detail – the feel of grass on bare feet, a snack of new potatoes with a shaving of butter, or preparing dandelion greens after a long winter. She describes how the kids were assigned tasks such as gathering tomatoes, potatoes fresh from the garden, milk and butter from the cellar for dinner. Yet she doesn’t romanticize the work involved in preparing and cleaning up after three meals a day.

Read this with your mother, grandmother, or any older relative and share their memories of a way of life fast disappearing from our collective memory. Thank goodness for memoirists like Kalish.

The Splendid Table’s How to Eat Supper by Lynne Rossetto Kasper and Sally Swift

how-to-eat-supper.jpgAs a devoted fan of NPRs The Splendid Table, I was anxiously awaiting this cookbook. I must admit at first glance I was slightly disappointed because I didn’t see lots of food pictures. It took almost no time though for me to fall in love with How to Eat Supper.

As loyal listeners know, Lynne and Sally share an immense curiosity about all things food. Like the show, this book goes far beyond the recipe to include history, techniques, references, and great stories. There is also a “Building the Library” blurb every few pages that suggests other great cookbooks. Some wonderful quotes about food and eating from a diverse group of people, the likes of Henry David Thoreau to Miss Piggy are also included.

Even though the categories of recipes run the usual gamut of salads to sweets, the individual recipes themselves are far from the normal supper fare. Not to worry though, even novice cooks will find that these are things that they can cook.

I’m going to try the Pan Crisped Deviled Eggs. Let me know what recipe you try!

CD’s for spring

Dare I say, it might be time to turn off the DVD player or Tivo and finally spend some time outside.

I’ve been watching you, and some folks have been just driving around to feel what the moving air is like coming in the car. How long has it been?

Anyways, here are some new CD’s for all ages and interests that just hit the shelves at Davenport Public Library. Click on the links, put a hold on them, give ’em a road test and tell us what you think.

Black Keys — Attack and Release

Mariah Carey – E=MC2

Gnarls Barkley — The Odd Couple

Madonna — Hard Candy

Portishead — Third

George Straight — Troubadour

3 Doors Down — 3 Doors Down

Neil Diamond — Home Before Dark

The Armchair Traveler: Scandanavia (it’s cold, but hot)

scandinavian-crime-novels.jpgIn the last ten years, there has been a renaissance of Swedish, Norwegian, and Icelandic crime writers. The brooding and world-weary Nordic antihero has emerged as a leading trend in mysteries.

The Redbreast by Jo Nesbo

Voted “Best Norwegian Crime Novel of all Time” by Norwegian book clubs, this is a good example of parallel storytelling. Detective Harry Hole is drawn into a case with ties to World War II and Norway’s cooperation with Nazi Germany. Alternating between the Russian front and contemporary Oslo, Hole finds that aging collaborators are being murdered one by one.

Sun and Shadow by Ake Edwardson

Swedish detective Erik Winter likes the finer things in life (he is a sharp dresser with a taste for good jazz and fine food), but pressures of his personal life and work are taking their toll.

The Man Who Smiled by Henning Mankell

This is the fourth in the Inspector Wallander series; Swedish author Mankell was one of the first of the Scandinavian wave of crime writers. In this one, Wallander is ready to quit the force in Ystad when a friend asks him to investigate a death (and is then killed himself).

The Torso by Helene Tursten

Irene Huss is an interesting example of the female side of law enforcement. She is a stressed out cop in Gothenburg, Sweden. Tursten’s strength is depicting the demands of the job and an equally demanding family life

Other fine writers are Asa Larsson, Kjell Eriksson, Arnaldur Indridason, Karin Fossum and, of course, Peter Hoeg.

The Art of Mexican Cooking by Diana Kennedy

The Art of Mexican CookingMexican cooking is more than tacos and salsa; it is in fact a rich, complex and varied cuisine with distinct regional differences. Originally published in 1989, The Art of Mexican Cooking by Diana Kennedy is back in print filled with not only recipes, but stories and information about the unique, delicious foods of Mexico.

This is a cookbook for aficionados; many of the recipes and techniques are advanced (making blood sausage or cleaning a squid), but there are many accessible dishes as well (such as Mexican masa ball soup) Emphasis is on authentic ingredients and produce, most of which are now readily available in American markets. One chapter is devoted just to chilies and another on the sauces and relishes of Mexican cuisine, as well as chapters on corn, pork, chicken and desserts among others.

Celebrate Cinco de Mayo with some real Mexican food!

To The Swift edited by Joe Drape

To the SwiftGlamour, tradition and, oh yeah, bourbon – what’s not to like about the Kentucky Derby? It’s also, of course, America’s premiere horse racing event and sets the stage for the Triple Crown (the Derby, the Preakness in two weeks and the Belmont three weeks after that)

Of the 40,000 Thoroughbred foals born in the United States each year, only 20 get to the Kentucky Derby. Only eleven horses have gone on to the win the Triple Crown. To the Swift chronicles the triumphs and heartbreaks, drama and hope of this beautiful and exciting sport. Heavily illustrated and filled with stories of not only the winners but those that came up short, this collection of stories from The New York Times combines original reporting with new essays on the sport.

Now, what was that about bourbon? The key ingredient for mint juleps of course! No traditional Kentucky Derby Party would be complete without them.

Let the Shopping Begin!

Farmer’s Market season is upon us! Despite the flood, The Davenport Freight House Farmer’s Market will be open bright and early Saturday morning. Check out the Radish for a comprehensive list of all the area markets. Besides the great produce, there well be other fun events in which to partake while shopping. The Davenport Public Library will be there for storytelling on the third Wednesday of each month. Cooking demonstrations are scheduled later in the season. Support our local farmers and feel good about helping to reduce the amount of fossil fuelPlenty it takes to get produce from field to fork. Here are a couple of books that helped inspire me to be a locavore.

In Plenty: One Man, One Woman, and a Raucous Year of Eating Locally, a Vancouver couple recount their experiment of living on a diet of foods grown within 100 miles of their home. They went so far as to not use salt or oil since these staples were not locally produced. They also experience the joys of growing some of their own food as well as getting to know local producers of the items they purchase. The authors learn a lot about nutrition, uncommon varieties of fruits, vegetables and herbs, as well as share their experiences in canning tomatoes and making jam. While not everyone will want to take such a radical approach to being a locavore, this book offers an eye-opening account of what it means to step outside Animal, Vegetable, Miracleof the industrial food system.

Well known novelist, Barbara Kingsolver also took a year to drop out of the industrial food pipeline. In Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life, she chronicles her family’s move to rural Virginia where they vow to buy only food raised in their own neighborhood, grow it themselves, or learn to live without it. The Kingsolver’s plant a huge garden and spend considerable time making pickles, canning tomatoes, and even making mozzarella. They even abandon their previous vegetarian ways and discover the pleasures of conscientious carnivory as they raise chickens and turkeys.

Where’s the beef…indeed.

Wendy\'s buyoutArby’s swallowed up Wendy’s last week after a buyout from its parent company. It’s bad news for all you baconaters out there.

Lets remember the good times in the days of Dave Thomas as we weep over our Biggie combos.

Did you know founder Dave Thomas….
-was adopted
-dropped out of high school and earned his GED late in life?
-dreamed of running a hamburger restaurant, since Columbus, Ohio DID NOT HAVE ONE.
-starred in over 800 Wendy’s commercials
-once worked for KFC’s Colonel Sanders as a franchise operator.

Check out the book of an inspiring man who wasn’t skimpy with the portions.

Rest in peace, Dave.

New DVDs for May at the Library

May 2nd

P.S. I LOVE YOU

Holly Kennedy ( Hilary Swank) is beautiful, smart and married to the love of her life – a passionate, funny, and impetuous Irishman named Gerry Kennedy ( Gerard Butler) . So when Gerry’s life is taken by an illness, it takes the life out of Holly. Before he died, Gerry wrote Holly a series of letters that will guide her, not only through her grief, but in rediscovering herself. The first message arrives on Holly’s 30th birthday in the form of a cake and a tape recording from Gerry, who proceeds to tell her to get out and “celebrate herself”. In the weeks and months that follow, more letters from Gerry are delivered in surprising ways, each sending her on a new adventure and each signing off in the same way; P.S. I Love You. With Gerry’s words as her guide, Holly embarks on a journey of rediscovery in a story about marriage, friendship and how a love so strong can turn the finality of death into a new beginning for life. … IMDb

May 13th

THE GREAT DEBATERS

“The Great Debaters” is a fictionalized account of a true story. In the early 1930s, in the Jim Crow South, a small, all black school in Marshall, Texas, called Wiley College produced a debate team of such skill and renown, they were invited to compete against the white college champions, an unprecedented event in its day. Mel Tolson (Denzel Washington) is the professor at Wiley College Texas who wants to encourage his students to have big dreams.

” The Great Debaters” is a story of self actualization, self-reliances and the triumph of the underdog. This is one of the year’s best films.” – Roger Ebert

May 20th

NATIONAL TREASURE 2 – BOOK OF SECRETS

National Treasure 2 is the follow up to the box-office hit National Treasure. Treasure hunter Ben Gates (Nicolas Gage) and his fellow treasure hunters (Justin Bartha and Diane Kruger) along with his parents ( Jon Voight and Helen Mirren) set forth to prove his great-great grandfather’s innocence. Ben’s ancestor has been implicated as a key conspirator in Abraham Lincoln’s death. Ben follows an international chain of clues that takes him on a chase from Paris to London and ultimately back to America and leads to the President of United States and the world’s most treasured secrets.

I found this movie fun. One and a half hours of action and suspense.

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