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


Mar 7 2011

Oh, I would never eat there. . .

by Patricia D

I spent years working in the food service industry and the one thing that never failed to put a kitchen into a tizzy was a visit from the health inspector.  I was generally lucky enough to work in places where the managers cared about hand washing, keeping foods at a proper temperature, keeping out the vermin—you know, the little things.  I’ll never forget the epic battle Dishwasher Dude waged in one kitchen to get the ancient equipment, affectionately referred to as Scum Queen, up to the right temperature.  Apparently she needed a lot of sweet talk and just the right amount of soap to reach the magic number of 160 degrees.  Dude finally managed it while the inspector was watching, but we were all holding our breaths.  Of course, the kitchen lost a perfect score anyway because there was a cracked tile in the salad prep area.  Still, a 98 isn’t the end of the world.  That would be anything below 80.

I can live with just about anything above a 92 but below that, it gets dicey.  Down into the 80s is someone not washing his hands, food prep happening too close to cleaning materials or chicken thawing in the cooler over a vat of salad greens.  I don’t even want to think about what goes on below 80.   I look for those lovely yellow inspection reports before I order anything and I’ve been known to walk out of a place after finding a low score.  This has made for some on the fly dining choices at times but now I can plan better because the DeKalb County Board of Health now has the reports available on-line.  Take a peek for yourself and choose “Restaurant and Facility Inspection Scores” from the menu on the left side of the screen.  It’s a little fun, a little terrifying and goes a long way to helping me relax about the food I order.


Jul 21 2010

In Case You Need a Break From BBQ

by Joseph M

Vegetarian cuisine may not be the first thing that comes to mind when thinking of Atlanta’s dining scene, but it appears that local restaurateurs are doing a brisk business feeding those inclined to avoid meat products. According to a recent article from the organization People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), Atlanta ranks as number 4 in a list of the top ten most vegetarian-friendly big cities in the US. The ranking is based on the number of vegetarian and vegetarian-friendly restaurants per capita, as well as input from PETA supporters. Atlanta ranked higher than such notable metropolises as San Francisco and New York City; the top three slots in the list were taken by Washington, D.C., Portland, OR, and Albuquerque, NM. While Atlanta is still home to a thriving culture of meat eaters, the increase in alternatives is good news, whether you’re vegetarian, vegan, or an omnivore who just craves more variety.

Despite all the great restaurants, it’s rarely feasible to eat out every day, and the library has a wide selection of vegetarian and vegan cookbooks for when you’re spending mealtime at home. Two titles I’ve had good experiences with are Vegan with a Vengeance and Veganomicon, both by Isa Chandra Moskowitz, and both chock-full of tasty recipes that will satisfy a variety of different tastes.


Nov 6 2009

Stir it once, stir it twice

by Lesley B

Just about the last thing I want to do in the summer is fire up the oven, but in cooler weather soup sounds better to me than salad.  There’s always my thrifty Surprise Soup – want the recipe?  Look in the refrigerator, see what’s left over, add chicken broth and if it’s good, surprise! Occasionally I want to make soup that’s a little more, ah, planned. Looking in our catalog for ideas, I found:

Love SoupLove Soup: 160 all-new vegetarian recipes from the author of The Vegetarian Epicure

A collection of soup recipes, many vegan, from a renowned vegetarian cook. According to the reviews, it includes a pickle soup recipe. I’m not sure I want to eat that but I do want to read the recipe.

exaltation soupAn exaltation of soups: the soul-satisfying story of soup, as told in more than 100 recipes

This book comes from a fascinating blog (formerly a website) called SoupSong. Patricia Solley has been writing about soup online for more than 10 years, mixing soup history and local culture in with the recipes. Want to make a soup that’s a little out of the ordinary? Try Yemen’s saltah or a Turkish balik corbasi.

Closer to home, you could head to Buckhead to eat at Souper Jenny, recently featured in the AJC . The article includes some of Jenny Levison’s recipes and we’ve got her cookbook at the Library.

And while you stir, you can sing:

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Aug 24 2009

Is your food safe?

by Amanda L


Two years ago the State of Georgia saw a change in how restaurants are “graded” as far as food safety.  In some areas of the state the restaurants and the health inspectors are still trying to understand the relatively new law called the 2007 GA Food code ( Public Health Division’s Chapter 290-5-14)

How does this affect the everyday customer of the local restaurants? The scoring is different and can vary according to the various violations. Interested in what the health inspectors are looking for and how the law has changed for the employees of a restaurant? Check out this frequently asked question and answer page that the Georgia Restaurant Association created. The Georgia Divison of Public Health also has a wealth of information about food safety and code revisions.

If you want to know where your favorite restaurant or potential new restaurant falls in the scoring, the Dekalb Board of Health has a website where they post current scores. It can be found here. This site also gives information on understanding scores and a reference for violations.

So what if you’re like me and you don’t eat out too often. The library has several books about food safety that can help home cooks keep their food safe.

Food Alert!: The ultimate sourcebook for food safety


Food Safety


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