DCPLive is a blog by library staff at the DeKalb County Public Library!
May 2 2016

The Hard Way…But Worth It

by Dea Anne M

Gardening. Learning to sew. Making jam and pickles. I do enjoy a project, and I recently decided that I would learn how to make sourdough bread. I’ve been baking bread for a long time now but sourdough has always seemed an entirely different realm – the “wild frontier” of bread baking in more ways than one.

If you don’t know already (and I had to do quite a bit of reading to find out myself) sourdough is generally not leavened with commercial yeast. Instead, most sourdough involves a loose mixture of flour and water or a “starter” which begins its potentially long existence by being allowed to sit and ferment in order to capture and develop the wild yeasts that exist in the flour and in the air around it.

“Developing” is the tricky part though. Consensus doesn’t seem to exist on how long the process actually takes. One simply feeds and stirs and brews and smells the starter until it’s “ready” …but what does this mean? A primed starter is supposed to have “a few bubbles” or “some bubbles.” Come on, already, how many bubbles are we talking about?

A spoonful of a starter that is ready is supposed to “bob gently in a cup of room temperature water.” Well, what if your spoonful looks and smells ready (at least to one’s own untutored eye) but plummets to the bottom of the cup like a bag of sand? Was the water too warm? Too cold? Was the spoon of starter too full? Not full enough?  Is the moon in the wrong phase right now thus making any alternative baking project a vain and laughable endeavor? Maybe sourdough never blooms correctly in an election year…a fact that everyone else knows, and I would have too, if I’d only been paying close enough attention. Woe is me.

I suppose that’s what I get for choosing to grow my own starter instead of purchasing one or obtaining some from an acquaintance. The latter would have been the sensible course of action, but I suppose there’s a big part of me that often wants to do things the hard way. In any case, after about a week and a half, I got tired of fiddling with and poking at my starter and decided to just dive in. Ready or not…I would bake some bread! And…it worked! Much to my astonishment, my maiden loaf of sourdough rose high and proud, the crumb was well-textured and the crust crispy. It tasted great…if I do say so myself. Call it beginner’s luck (I know I do), but I have more hope now for the possible success of future sourdough adventures. What I also have is a starter that should remain happy and active as long as I take care of it. This means keeping it from getting too cold or too hot and keeping it fed on a regular basis. It’s sort of like living with a pet…albeit one that you grew yourself…but I don’t mind as long as I can keep making tasty bread.

According to this story that NPR ran in 2006, sourdough is quite possibly the oldest form of leavened bread, well- known to the ancient Egyptian, and as is probably true of other foods that we find yummy, such as yogurt, cheese and Toll House chocolate chip cookies, was discovered by accident. Of course, the images that come to my mind when I think of sourdough are wagon trains full of settlers heading for the American West or would-be millionaires flooding the Yukon during the Klondike Gold Rush – folks who traveled far away from places where commercial baking powder and yeast were available. There are stories, in fact, of miners sleeping with their sourdough starters during the Alaskan winters in order to keep the precious mixtures from freezing.

Do you think you’d like to give this interesting form of baking a try? If so, I recommend the following resources from DCPL.

San Francisco has long been considered the American epicenter of sourdough and one of the acknowledged masterstartine is Chad Robertson who co-owns Tartine Bakery in the heart of the Mission District. Robertson’s  Tartine Bread will provide you with a little bit of San Francisco in your own kitchen. You won’t find an encyclopedic collection of recipes here – Robertson’s primary concern is conveying technique – but you will discover how to make really terrific bread and pick up a few ideas on what to with it on the way.

Another well-regarded master of bread is Lionel Vatinet. Vatinet is a founding instructor of the San Francisco Baking passionInstitute and now co-owns La Farm Bakery in Cary, North Carolina. Vatinet’s bakery (which is also a restaurant) produces bread baked according to traditional methods that incorporate slow, careful development. The sourdough “boule” possess an aura almost mystical in the enthusiasm it inspires and, at five pounds, the loaf boasts heroic proportions. A Passion for Bread shares Vatinet’s exceptional body of knowledge with the home baker. Learning to bake good bread can be frustrating and exhilarating in equal degree. This excellent book is like having a bread professor at your elbow guiding you every step of the way. I highly recommend it.

I’ll repeat at this point that sourdough is a fermented substance but don’t let that fact give you pause. Let me assure fermentedyou that Charlotte Pike’s beautiful book Fermented will ease any qualms that you might harbor. Pike is a cooking instructor and food writer in the United Kingdom and she knows her ferments. Sourdough baking is one chapter in a book that encompasses fermented fruit and vegetables like sauerkraut and dairy products like yogurt and labneh, but Pike’s instructions are excellent and those sourdough recipes include much more than bread. I, for one, can’t wait to bake the Sourdough Chocolate Cake.

Sourdough baking is, for me, turning out to be a pursuit much like gardening has been – a fascinating and sometimes frustrating process in which the journey has been worth the trip. If you decide to take your own little jaunt…well, happy baking..and let me know how it goes!

 

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Apr 29 2016

You Gotta Be Kitten Me!

by Hope L

PrecButchOkay, so I like cats.  No – I love cats.  So, naturally, I have had a number of cats in my homes over the years, but right now we only have two (you know, to keep each other company).  I think two is a very good number:  manageable, affordable, and plus – we only have two laps available in my home, after all.

But it is spring, and I am ever-so-tempted …  It doesn’t help that our pet sitter, who volunteers at a shelter, keeps sending us cute pictures of their newest residents.  We’ve let her know that, thank you, but we think two is a very good number.

Then, there was last spring, when a litter of kittens and their mother turned up (under a vehicle!) at a county building near my library branch, and they called the ‘crazy cat lady’ for assistance.  I was happy to help, and planned to move said cats to the nearby animal shelter for medical attention and adoption, BUT – they were full.

I ended up fostering a litter of kittens and their mother, for a grand total in our home of  nine cats.

catCan you imagine how very easily things can go downhill from there?

And so this year, instead of bringing any new members into the family, I am doing my part by encouraging you to adopt.  This way I can feel like I’m doing something to help the babies, and still go home to a reasonable number of two in my home.

I hear you chuckling out there, clucking you tongues like hens getting together for a game of Bunko.   “This crazy cat lady won’t be able to help herself!  Who does she think she’s kidding?”  you ask snarkily.

Well, snark away.

I am bound by a new covenant with my spouse:  two is a very good number when it comes to cats in our home.

But you may not have any pets, or you might just have more laps in your home, so here, for your consideration and/or enjoyment, are some cuties:

Clink the links in the pictures below for the DeKalb County Animal Services website.

seethedogs seethecats

 

During our April adoption special, dogs over 25lbs and all cats may be adopted for $25! Note: All standard adoption criteria applies.

Adoption fees include spay/neuter,
vaccinations, deworming, microchip
and heartworm or combo test

Dogs – $95
(Dogs over 5 years old $40)
Cats – $75
Adoption to persons over 55 years old – $40

 

 

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Apr 19 2016

Monkey Town, U.S.A.

by Hope L

Smiths

While reading the latest issue of my favorite DCPL mag, Smithsonian, I learned that one can still visit Monkey Town, U.S.A. ( actually Dayton, Tennessee), where they celebrate annually one of the most controversial trials in our nation’s history.

“Pretty much every summer since 1988, this tiny Appalachian town (pop. 7,200) has roused itself to celebrate that publicity stunt gone viral.  The Scopes Trial Festival, held over two weekends in July, features live bluegrass, tractor and craft shows, and a fried-Oreo food truck.  A storyteller spins his tales like a barker at a sideshow.  The centerpiece of the festival is a town-commissioned musical, Front Page News, which re-enacts the trial in the vast courtroom where it was held.

The play, performed by members of the nearby Cumberland County Playhouse, is essentially a rebuttal to Inherit the Wind ( both the DVD of the film starring Spencer Tracy and the book by the same name are available at DCPL).  The Hollywood version of the trial is widely loathed in Dayton, and the Front Page News does hew much more closely to the court transcript.”

Both the book and the DVD are available at DCPL.

 

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Apr 15 2016

Small Changes-Big Results

by Dea Anne M

Believe it or not, I haven’t always been someone who makes her bed.

“What difference does it make?” I would ask. “I’m just going to get back into it.” Thus cleverly employing the sophisticated logic used by generation after generation of (lazy/busy/distracted) college students – the only problem being that I was about six years old when I first uttered the words.  After my parents explained to me that – first: daily bed-making was a good discipline that I would someday be grateful to have acquired and second: that people my age who knew what was good for them generally did as they were told – I made my bed.

My paternal grandmother, a gentle and optimistic lady who tried valiantly to walk the tightrope that stretched between her grandchildren’s desires and firm parental rules, assured me that I would sleep more soundly in a nicely made up bed. “Like a baby,” she  promised. “An angel!” Well, I no more wanted to go to sleep at night than I wanted to make a bed during the day so that argument, unfortunately, didn’t carry a lot of weight.

My maternal grandmother, an equally loving woman who, nonetheless, possessed a steelier approach to life, often reminded me that not only was I lucky to sleep in a real bed, but I was also lucky to have it all to myself. The straw with which her childhood mattress was stuffed seemed to grow ever scratchier with each retelling of her story just as the number of sisters and cousins with which she was required to share it grew more numerous. Like a lot of somewhat indulged children, I didn’t much enjoy being reminded of just how good I had it. (I realize that I’m making my younger self sound like a bit of a brat and well…I won’t disabuse you of that opinion. I apologized to my Mom recently, again, for being such a rotten kid and her surprise seemed completely genuine. “You were a joy,” she said. “A wonderful child!” Which just goes to show how a person’s memory can play tricks on her mother.)

So, life went on and I made my bed but not quietly. I’m sorry to report that this task was one which I regularly swore – to anyone who would listen meaning usually just myself –  that I would never perform (ever!) once I was old enough to do as I pleased and that is exactly what happened. Actually, I continued to make my bed during my first year of college – mainly because the young woman with whom I shared a very small dorm room was an extremely tidy person and to not do it  would have been too embarrassing – not to mention the fact that she was from my hometown (also small) and she knew my parents!

After that first year however, I dove right into the pleasures, as well as the responsibilities, of what I considered a fully adult life – a life in which any making of the bed other than on laundry day was out of the question. Funny thing though, this little act of daily rebellion began to lose more and more of its allure as time went by. I can’t even remember when the tide definitely changed for me, but I’ve been a dedicated daily bed-maker for some time now. I think that it has made a difference for me in ways that are subtle but very real. I don’t want to over-romanticize the whole thing but leaving my house with a made up bed each day gives me a little boost – as though the fact that I’ve already accomplished this one thing might mean that I could  accomplish still more. I also feel as though getting into a made up bed at night helps me to sleep better…just like my grandmother said it would!

I bet you thought that I was leading up to yet another post on housekeeping – probably centered around the proper way habitto make a bed. Well I’m not. What I’ve actually been contemplating is habit and its force in our lives. Merriam Webster defines “habit” thus: “a usual way of behaving: something that a person does often enough in a regular and repeated way.” We hear a lot about “bad” habits – where they come from and how to change them but what about “good” habits – or, I suppose, more specifically, positive habits? Sure making my bed every morning leaves me with a tidier bedroom and provides positive feelings of accomplishment at the start of the day and repose at the end of it, but could the value of habit provide even more profound and long lasting effects in my life? According to Charles Duhigg’s The Power of Habit, making your bed every morning is “correlated with better productivity, a greater sense of well-being and stronger skills at sticking with a budget.” No, Duhigg isn’t suggesting that a making the bed will clear up your sinus issues or keep your bank account from dipping into the negative. What he is saying is that some initial effort toward paying regular attention to small things can lead to a habit of paying concentrated attention to larger projectconcerns.

Gretchen Rubin, author of the excellent and very readable books The Happiness Project and Better Than Before, addresses bed making specifically on her website. While acknowledging that happiness for some people (those who grew up in overly rigid households, perhaps) happiness might include not making the bed. She goes on to say that committing to daily bed making, or to any small resolution, can help with life’s more challenging issues. Says Rubin: “…picking one little task and doing it regularly, can help you gain a sense of self-mastery. Making your bed is a good place to start and tackling one easy daily step is a good way to energize yourself for tougher situations.”

How about you? Are you a bed maker or not? By the way, if you do want to know how to make up a bed, let me, yet comfortsagain, recommend Home Comforts by Cheryl Mendelson. Mendelson’s advice on all aspects of home care is thorough – to say the least – but she will never come across as strident (I promise!). You’ll find no insistence on hospital corners here but, of course, if you desire them there is excellent instruction on creating them to perfection. I highly recommend it.

 

 

 

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Apr 13 2016

National Poetry Month 2016

by Joseph M

April is National Poetry Month, and if you are looking for ways to celebrate and explore the medium, DCPL has a lot to offer.

We have works available by a multitude of poets, from Edgar Allan Poe to Langston Hughes, Phillis Wheatley to Kahlil Gibran, and Emily Dickinson to Natasha Trethewey, just to name a few.

You can also check out poetry events, like Poetry Atlanta Presents, a Georgia Center for the Book event at the Decatur Library on April 26. Click here for more details.

I also recently discovered a nifty website called the Favorite Poem Project, which features people all over the country reading aloud and speaking about poems they love. Check it out, and maybe you’ll discover a new favorite.

How will you celebrate National Poetry Month?

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Apr 8 2016

Red Pill, Blue Pill

by Camille B

Matrix Image

You take the blue pill — the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill — you stay in  Wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes.”

What would you do if you were faced with a decision like the one in The Matrix? And I beg all of you rational, left-brained readers out there to indulge me a little; today we put aside reality, logic and reason for a moment to play a game of ‘what if?’ I’d also like to state for the record that this is all strictly fantasy.

What if you woke up one morning and realized that everything you believed to be true all your life was a lie? You’re told that it’s all been one huge fabrication. You’re then given the choice of two pills, a blue one that will allow you to continue living life unchanged with you being none the wiser, or a red one that represents truth, whatever that truth might be, and a chance to have a true existence in the real world.

Would the decision be a hard one for you? Or would it all be fairly simple? Be honest with yourself, would you give up everything you know and love right now, family, friends, loved ones, if you found out that it’s all been nothing more than a simulation? Especially when you have no idea what the alternative might be?

Imagine you have a beautiful wife (or husband), great kids, a wonderful job and you only have three years left on your 30 year mortgage. You can live with that right? I know I can.

The thing is though, none of it is real. There’s no wife, there’s no mortgage. It’s all been a fabricated reality. What would you do? Some might say: leave well enough alone.  But can you? Would your conscience allow you to continue living a lie, as great as that life might be? Wouldn’t there always be that nagging question at the back of your mind: I wonder what was behind door number two?

As one writer questioned, “Is it better to live a harsh reality or a comfortable fantasy? And why? Would you continue living that lie if you realized that trading it for the truth would mean living a harsher reality? Even one that might downright suck?” They say, what you don’t know can’t hurt you, and ignorance is bliss. But is it though?

According to Matt Lawrence, author of Like a Splinter: The Philosophy Behind the Matrix Trilogy, “How you answer this question will come down to how much you value pleasure in comparison to truth.” Is pleasure all that really matters, or is truth valuable for its own sake?

Wikipedia’s take on the red pill and its opposite, the blue pill, is that they are popular culture symbols representing the choice between embracing the sometimes painful truth of reality and the blissful ignorance of illusion.

In most of the surveys I checked while writing this post, it seemed that most people leaned towards facing the cold, hard truth and went with the red pill http://forum.kerbalspaceprogram.com/index.php?/topic/80676-the-matrixpersonality-test-poll-red-pill-or-blue-pill-truth-or-ignorance/ even though there was a certain comfort to be found in taking the blue one.

So  how about you? If you had to choose, which would it be, truth or happiness? Would you take the rose-colored glasses off to see the world as it really was or would you stay with an illusory yet safe and predictable life?

 

Find on the shelves at DCPL

The Matrix (DVD)

Total Recall (DVD)

The Rule of Thoughts- James Dashner

Game Over- Andrew Klavan

Bubble World- Carol Snow

Elusion- Claudia Gabel and Cheryl Klam

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Mar 28 2016

March is Women’s History Month

by Jencey G

A recent book that was released in the DCPL system is The Forgotten Room which includes local author Karen White, Beatriz Williams, and Lauren Willig.   They collaborated to a write book that integrates the skills of each author to tell one seamless story.  Did I also mention that writing The Forgotten Roomthis kind of book has not been done before?  Readers are left with the question which author wrote which part of the book?

The story is told from three different points of view.  Kate Schulyer starts the story.  She is a doctor during World War II at a hospital in New York.  A patient arrives that night named Captain Ravenel.   Kate doesn’t get much credit for her skills as a doctor, but decides to take on his case anyway.  Can she cure him?  Olive Van Alan is demoted from well to do debutante to house maid.  The Pratt mansion she works in is the same one that her father designed, and we also know as the hospital during World War II.  Olive’s presence coincides with dealing with her feelings about her father’s death. Will she be able to get her revenge?  Then there is Lucy Young who works at a law office and conveniently rents a room in the Pratt mansion.  Her eyes are set on working with the young Mr. Schulyer who has the Pratt family as a client.   Will she be able to find out what has happened to her family?

This book is very interesting!  I have read books by both Karen White and Beatriz William.  I was not able to see whose writing is whose.  I haven’t read anything by Lauren Willig the third author, but I plans to.   The book is structured so that each chapter is either Kate, Lucy, or Olive’s story.    Just enough is revealed to keep the reader interested and continuing through the story.   I highly recommend this book!

You can read more by Karen White, Beatriz Williams, and Lauren Willig in our catalogue.  Don’t forget to check out The Forgotten Room.

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Mar 24 2016

Mommy and Me

by Hope L

MommyRecently the Workplace Advisory Group of the DeKalb County Public Library volunteered for a project to help the Mommy and Me Family Literacy Program located in Clarkston.  The DCPL volunteers will be fixing up a space in the school for mothers and their children to read and relax during their school day.

The Mommy and Me Refugee Family Literacy Program is a nonprofit school located in the heart of Clarkston where immigrant mothers and their children learn together.

When I found out about this program, I was delighted.  For a time I worked at the Clarkston Branch of DCPL, and it was (and is) a very busy place!  There were many immigrant children, most of them refugees whose families fled to this country from their homelands.

According to their website, the school’s students come from more than a dozen countries from around the world: Eritrea, Burma, Bhutan, Rwanda, Somalia, Sudan, Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran, The Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, and Burundi.

From the Mommy and Me website,

​We are a nonprofit school located in the heart of Clarkston, Georgia where immigrant mothers and children learn together.

A family literacy program, we offer four components of instruction: (1) ESOL classes for refugee women, (2) onsite early childhood development program for their young children, (3) Parent and Child Time sessions to promote family engagement, and (4) weekly workshops on parenting, health/nutrition, and life skills.

“Clarkston’s transformation dates back to the late 1980’s, when the U.S. State Department and various resettlement agencies chose Clarkston as an ideal site for refugee resettlement.  A mass exodus of middle-class whites to Atlanta’s more affluent suburbs left behind inexpensive apartments that could serve as affordable housing for newly arrived refugee families.  The easternmost stop on MARTA, Clarkston also offered its residence access to public transit and a commute to employment opportunities in Atlanta.”

To find out more about the program or to volunteer or make a donation, click on the link below:

Mommy and Me Family Literacy | about us

 

 

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Mar 21 2016

Vegas, Baby!

by Hope L

Ouvegasr recent trip to Sin City was so much fun.  But unlike 30 years ago, when I was busy scarfing up the bargain buffets up and down Las Vegas Blvd., sampling pounds of the product at a chocolates factory, and singing along with Barry Manilow (“Oh, Mandy!  Well you came and you gave without taa-king …”) at a show (well, it was the 80’s!), I found myself in a city totally changed – unrecognizable from where I last left my hard-earned dollars.

There is no such thing anymore as ‘cheap eats,’ free this or that (unless you are a very high roller) or kitschy cafes.  No, Vegas – save for The Fremont Street Experience and several of the quickie wedding chapels downtown – is now a fancy-shmantzy collection of hotels, convention venues, and high-end shopping meccas, with of course swank casinos sprinkled in the mix.

For example, we ate breakfast at the hotel where we stayed, The Venetian, and it would cost us $40 with no problem.  A steak dinner ran around $85 per person (plus sides and drinks!) one evening at a restaurant in the Venetian Restaurant Row. I had the fish stew which was $37, plus $12 if you wanted a  side dish of mashed potatoes, asparagus, etc.  It was a very tasty meal, but come on!

venhall

And, even though it was shocking that everything has changed, there was still a lot of smoking going on in Vegas!  I guess there is no such thing as a non-smoking establishment in a town nicknamed Sin City, where drinking, eating and gambling excessively are the order of the day.

Fortunately, though, out West there is so much to do and so many things to see, that one need not get bogged down in anything that is not to their  liking.  While we did mostly the casino/restaurant/shopping thing this time, there is a natural wonder (Grand Canyon National Park) and other worthwhile scenic wonders (Zion National Park, Death Valley, Hoover Dam) within driving distance from Las Vegas.  We went on a beautiful helicopter tour of Hoover Dam, and I swear the pilot (a petite blonde gal barely old enough to drive a car, let alone fly a helicopter) could’ve been my granddaughter!

Before going – even though I had lived in Arizona years ago and had traveled to all of these places – I consulted with some publications available at DCPL, one of my favorites being:  Fodor’s 2016 Las Vegas  by writers Jason Drago, Heidi Rinella, Susan Stapleton, Matt Villano, Mike Weatherford ; editor, Eric B. Wechter,  which was a good basic refresher on the area and more importantly, on the different types of gambling one might encounter and the strategies and odds on each; and Luck : understanding luck and improving the odds by Barrie Dolnick and Anthony H. Davidson.

After this trip, I now ‘understand’ that luck comes and goes!

And so … I had a lot of fun:  ate too much, gambled too much (and lost too much money), and shopped too much.  But Vegas is a place just made for going overboard.  And, “What happens in Vegas …”

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Mar 18 2016

Tastes Funny

by Dea Anne M

If you read this blog with any regularity, you might assume that I read only thrillers, memoirs and cookbooks. Of course, having just said that, I realize how very flattering to myself I’m being to even imagine that you’d devote a spare moment toward considering my reading habits. In any case,  I am, in fact, a huge fan of humorous writing – both fiction and non. Of course “funny” is subjective but I consistently find myself favoring sly, ironic, often British, writing such as that practiced by H. H. Munro – better known as Saki – and Pelham Grenville Wodehouse – better known as P. G. Wodehouse. I have also enjoyed some of Dorothy Parker’s and Christopher Moore’s writing as well aseducation  the absurdities and antic word plays of James Thurber. But one of the writers I have most enjoyed over the years is someone who is still active today – Calvin Trillin.

Trillin, primarily a print journalist, has worked for Time magazine as well as The Nation and is currently on the staff of The New Yorker. In fact, it was his reporting for the latter on the integration of the University of Georgia that became his first book,   An Education in Georgia: Charlayne Hunter, Hamilton Holmes and the integration of the University of Georgia.  Trillin is also a well-known poet – particularly on the teppersubject of politics. The George W. Bush presidency, in particular, receives his wry treatment in Obliviously On He Sails and A Heckuva Job. More recent poems appear in Dogfight: the 2012 Presidential campaign in verse.  Trillin is also the author of a well-received (and very funny) novel Tepper Isn’t Going Out. As may be apparent, Trillin addresses a wide range of subjects in his writing but the concerns that seem to be closest to his heart are travel, food and family. In fact, it is Trillin’s family stories which are some of the most interesting and emotionally rewarding.

His daughters, Abigail and Sarah, have appeared often in his essays – and still do even though both are adults now with families of their own. Both girls, even raised as they were in the culinary paradise of New York City by parents with adventurous tastes, were apparently extremely picky eaters. Which is perhaps odd…or maybe familynot odd at all.  The young Sarah, for example, always insisted on carrying a bagel with her on family trips to New York “just in case.” Abigail, who sounds like the soul of kindness, was “complimenting me on my Cheerios until she wised up at about the age of three.” Trillin’s Family Man is a delightful meditation on the anxieties and joys of raising children written by a man who clearly – and very happily – has always put his family at the very center of his life. Just as lovely, and to my mind incredibly moving, is his portrait of his wife, Alice Stewart Trillin who died of heart disease on September 11, 2001. About Alice is a wonderful tribute to a woman who he clearly adored and who, from the moment he first met her in 1963, never stopped trying to impress.

It was Trillin’s food writing though that hooked me first, most specifically, the so-called Tummy Trilogy – which consists of the books American Fried, Alice, Let’s Eat and Third Helpings (you can find the first and the third of these at DCPL). Trillin makes it clear that he isn’t much of a cook saying that, in the kitchen, he is “more of an idea man.” Still his culinary writing reveals the open mind, liberal taste buds and zestful approach to living that signify a gourmet of the best sort. Some of Trillin’s funniest quotes come from these books, for example:

(on revolving dining palaces situated at the top of tall buildings) “I never eat in a restaurant that’s over a hundred feet off the ground and won’t stand still.”

(on his mother’s cooking) “The most remarkable thing about my mother is that for thirty years she served the family nothing but leftovers. The original meal has never been found.”

(speaking as a proud Mid-Western son about his native city) “The best restaurants in the world are, of course, in Kansas City.”

(on the hazards of venturing an opinion about what actually constitutes chili) “I like chili, but not enough to discuss it with yensomeone from Texas.”

You can find more of Trillin’s very amusing culinary essays in Feeding a Yen: savoring local specialities from Kansas City to Cuzco. For a worthwhile general sampling of his writing, check out Quite Enough of Calvin Trillin; forty years of funny stuff.

How about you? Are you a fan of humorous writing and, if so, who do you recommend that I read next?

 

 

 

 

 

 

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