By Gini Rainey
Today is a beautiful day in East Texas! The sky is blue, the temperature is cool, the leaves are turning – who could ask for anything more? We are nearly a week out from a Presidential election that apparently has turned a lot of people’s world up-side down, but thankfully, every morning the sun still comes up and life really does go on. That being said, there have been times when I wasn’t sure I would be able to survive an event and one that comes to mind was the first time I cooked a meal for my in-laws. Obviously this was early marriage, and our apartment in Houston wasn’t overly filled with kitchen gadgets. I remember that I cooked some sort of beef roast and had made some sort of potatoes to go with it. Naturally, one would make a nice gravy to go with said roast and potatoes, right? So, I made a gravy that wasn’t quite so nice – it tasted good, but with all the lumps, it wasn’t exactly something to be proud of. These days, if my gravy turned out like that, I would either use a whisk, my blender, or run it through a sieve, but back then the only thing I could come up with was, are you ready for this? Panty hose. Yup, ran that stuff through the toe and came up with a really nice and smooth gravy that my MIL complimented me on! Of course, she didn’t see my mad dash to the bedroom to retrieve said panty hose.
So, where is all of this heading? Well, I have this absolutely lovely cookbook of Nigella Lawson’s in front of me today. “Nigella Bites” was published in 2002 by Hyperion and is 244 pages of wonderful recipes and amazing photographs by Francesca Yorke. And where’s the connection between the personal life story and this cookbook, you might ask? Well, Nigella included a recipe for Pasta E Fagioli that calls for “1 knee-high hosiery” and she says that “it’s the first time I’ve included a knee-high hosiery sock among any list of ingredients! By all means bundle the rosemary and onion into cheesecloth if it makes you feel more satisfactorily homespun, but I am just not one of those efficiently traditional domestic types that keeps cheesecloths and muslins on hand.” So, when I saw this statement I finally no longer felt alone in my creative applications for the kitchen!
This book steps out of the usual boundaries as far as sections are concerned. With titles like “All-Day Breakfast,” “TV Dinners,” “Party Girl,” “Trashy,” and “Templefood,” you can be sure that Nigella is just as creative with her writing about food as she is cooking food. And while other cookbooks pretty much stick to one course or type of food per section, Nigella hits a little bit of everything in each section. As she says, “I’m not interested in pleasing food snobs or purists, or in eating just one type of food….but there is surely a place for a bit of kitsch in the kitchen.”
I must admit that I am strangely drawn to the “Trashy” section which contains recipes for “Ham in Coca-Cola,” “Watermelon Daiquiris,” “Fried Peanut Butter and Banana Sandwiches,” and “Deep-Fried Candy Bars with Pineapple,” to name a few. But, back to the Pasta E Fagioli and the way that Nigella writes her recipes, they read like a well-written novel. For example “Using the flat side of a large knife, press down on the whole garlic cloves so that their papery skins tear and begin to come away.” You could get totally engrossed reading a cookbook like this, while your family sits around with tummies growling. So, I’m going to share her recipe with you and try to make it brief. First, soak 3 cups of dried cranberry beans (pinto beans work well, also) in a large bowl of water for at least 6 hours – or overnight. Then drain, put into a large saucepan and add 5 cloves of smashed garlic. Take your knee-high hosiery sock (or square of muslin or cheesecloth) and put in 2 leafy sprigs of rosemary and one onion, peeled and quartered, tie off and add to beans. Cover with cold water, cover and bring to a boil, then turn heat down and simmer for an hour. When the beans are tender add salt to taste and remove the sock or muslin. Remove about a cup of beans and process in a blender along with a tablespoon of tomato paste and 1 ¼ cups of the bean-cooking liquid. Now add 3 tablespoons of olive oil to a small saucepan and add a minced or micro-planed clove of garlic and sauté until soft, but not colored and then add a sprig of finely chopped rosemary, cook for a scant minute and then add the liquidized soup/beans and cook for another minute or so and add back to the large pan of beans. Bring back to a boil and add 7 ounces of ditalini, tubetti, or any other small pasta tubes and cook according to package instructions. Serve with crusty French bread and fresh butter, and wow! What a great meal for a Sunday evening.
May 19th: Book Signing for Patricia Taylor Wells at Tyler Public Library
Book Signing for Patricia Taylor Wells & Makerspace At The Library
The Tyler Public Library is located at 201 S. College Ave., Tyler. For more info call (903)593-7323 or go to tylerlibrary.com.
All storytimes will be in Taylor Auditorium.
Leeme un Cuento/Read to Me Storytime (children 3-6 years old), Mondays at 10:30am
Lap & Play Time (babies up to 18 months) features stories, songs, and playtime with developmental toys at 9:30am every Wednesday
Toddler Explore Storytime (children under age 3) is on Wednesdays at 10:30am
Read Aloud Crowd Storytime (children 3-6 years old), Thursdays at 10:30am
May 5th (2-4pm) – LEGO® Block Party – Children ages 3 and up, bring your imagination for an afternoon of building and playing! LEGO® and Duplo Blocks are provided.
May 26th (2-4pm) – Makerspace – This continuing STEM education for children and teens will feature May 12th: Drawing with Finch™ Robots and May 26th: Maze Challenge with Finch™ Robots.
May 19th (10:30am) – Family Movie Matinees – Families are invited to watch fun feature-length films in the library’s auditorium. A different movie will be shown each day. Pillows, blankets, and carpet friendly snacks welcome.
Every Tuesday (4:30-5:30pm) – Teen Tuesdays – If you are in Middle School or High School you’re in! The Library will have games, activities, and fun just for teens. Earn volunteer hours completing special projects. Descriptions for weekly activities can be found at library.cityoftyler.org/Programs/Teens. Events are:
May 1st: Free Play with Finch™ Robots
May 8th: Dancing with Finch™ Robots
May 15th: Battle Bots with Finch™ Robots
May 22nd: Scavenger Hunt
May 5th (10am-12 noon) – EastSide Fiber Artists – An open gathering of all things fiber. Whether you quilt, knit, crochet, weave, spin, needle felt, etc. Bring your current or completed project and make some new friends.
May 11th (11:30am) – “Sex in the Garden, All About Propagation” with Debbie Watkins will be presented as part of the Smith County Master Gardener Series.
May 17th (5pm) – Reel Talk – This event is like a book-club, but for movies! Free to attend.
May 18th (1-3pm) – Veteran’s Movie – Join this biweekly screening of movies presented especially for veterans. This free event is held the first and third Friday every month.
May 19th (10am-3pm) – Book Signing for Patricia Taylor Wells – Local Author Patricia Taylor Wells will be selling copies of her new memoir, “Mademoíselle Renoír à París.”
May 29th (10am) – Club Read – Join the Club Read group in discussing this month’s read, “News of the World” by Paulette Jiles.
Every Tuesday (10am-1pm) – Quilting Class – Learn the art of quilting at the Library. Fabric and quilt patterns will be provided. Participants are asked to provide their own sewing machines, if you have them, plus scissors, and neutral or white thread. For details and a complete list of supplies please contact the Library’s information desk.
Every Tuesday (5:30-6:30pm) – Evening Meditation – Learn the practice of Heartfulness Meditation with Gayathri Kambhampati.
Every Wednesday (5:30pm) – Gentle Yoga – This gentle yoga class will be taught by Meagan Vrba who is certified in yoga, CPR, and first aid.
Every Saturday (11am-12 noon) – Crochet Classes will be held in the 3rd floor Internet Center Workroom. These are free classes. Learn to crochet with Library staff and volunteers. All materials are provided. All experience levels are welcome.
Get Prepared for Summer! Here’s Your 2018 Summer Reading List
What’s on Your Reading List for Summer?
By Gini Rainey
“Little Fires Everywhere” by Celeste Ng
If you are interested in reading a book that has won nearly every award out there, then this is a must-read for you. Scheduled to be a series next season on Hulu, this page-turner follows the perfect-on-the-outside family as their life is shattered by a nomadic artist and her daughter who land in their neighborhood.
Written by the same author of Everything I Never Told You, Ng doesn’t disappoint in the building of three-dimensional characters who can hold their own in the real world. With opposing family values creating social conflict after social conflict, this book is simply a book of contrasting human characteristics. While the topics of conflict were introduced gently, there is nothing gentle about the impact of they had on both families.
Although this book started out slow, it wasn’t long before it turned into a can’t-put-down page-turner. I found that I couldn’t read this book without feeling anger, sympathy, joy, worry, hope, and loss. Little Fires Everywhere might be a fast read, but it is definitely an emotional roller coaster, so get ready for an excellent literary ride.
Rating: 5 of 5, Copyright 2017 – Penguin Books
“The Book of God: The Bible as a Novel” by Walter Wangerin, Jr.
If you’re anything like me, reading the Bible straight through is nearly impossible. Studying individual verses on my own time is easier, but leaves a lot to be desired as far as any kind of continuity. The Book of God was recommended to me by one of my pastors a few years ago as a means to provide me with a greater understanding of the Bible. Written in novel form, Wangerin helps to make the ancient men, women, and events come alive with vivid detail and dialogue.
I will admit that even though I love the language used in the King James Version, there are times when the lilting phrases make it difficult to comprehend and focus on the core messages. One of the greater bonuses gained by reading this version is the flow of the stories, especially when reading the Old Testament.
With this book, Wangerin has provided Christians and non-believers a better understanding of the history of the Bible in addition to the many translations and paraphrases of the Bible that are already available. He has taken what historians know about the lives of people in Biblical times and woven it with the historical books of the Bible and provided us with a new and intrinsic way to view the people of the Old and New Testaments.
Rating: 5 of 5, Copyright 1998 – Zondervan
“The Unmasking of Dr. Harrison Miller Moseley” by Stella Brooks
Are you a WWII history buff? How ‘bout a Texas high school football fan? Are you interested in an aspect of Ft. Worth’s Depression-era history?
If any or all of those topics catch your eye, you will get your money’s worth of stories from the book “The Unmasking of Dr. Harrison Miller Moseley” by Stella Brooks. It offers such unique nuggets of Texas and WWII history that has yet to be addressed.
Author Stella Brooks, in her first published work, achieves an informing and warm balance between biographical facts and connecting the reader to the characters.Similar to non-fiction biographies, this book is written in third person. The author does a great job connecting the reader with Miller’s thoughts and emotions allowing the reader to watch the story unfold before their eyes.
It is obvious to any reader that this book was well researched and that much of the information was provided to the author through her first hand interviews with Dr. Moseley and his “brothers” from the Masonic Home. By the time the last page is read, it is clear this story was told not only with paper, pen and ink, but also with heart. It is a true account of Miller’s life that could not be told in any other way.
From the author Stella Brooks, “His wife forewarned me that he had never discussed his life. He had given small morsels of information, but nothing more. But it was one of those small morsels that had me intrigued. I knew there had to be more to this man. Something was missing Expecting the same resistance, I knocked on his door. He must have felt instant trust because he spilled everything. Miller’s wife said ‘Stella, You have the magic key. Miller has never told anyone about his past, not even me.’ Those close to Miller echoed the same. It was a miracle indeed. This book is a lifetime of silence unmasked. I will always cherish our friendship.”
“The Unmasking of Dr. Harrison Miller Moseley” is a gripping story of faith, dedication, perseverance, and overcoming adversities in order to achieve greatness.
Rating: 5 of 5, Self Published
Barnes & Noble Booksellers, Story Times
Barnes & Noble Booksellers Story Times
Every month Barnes & Noble (B&N) has a variety of events. All events are free to attend. B&N Booksellers is located at 4916 S. Broadway, Tyler. For more info on this and other events call (903)534-3996 or go to barnesandnoble.com.
April 28th (11am) – “Scientist, Scientist, Who Do You See?” Storytime – Full of rhyming fun, “Scientist, Scientist, Who Do You See?” features appearances by some of the world’s greatest scientists. Young readers will enjoy learning about scientists and how they changed the world.
May 5th (11am) – “Llama Llama Loves to Read” Storytime – Llama Llama is becoming a reader and can’t wait to show his mother everything he’s learned. Join this storytime and activities featuring this beloved character.
May 12th (11am) – Mother’s Day Storytime featuring “I’ve Loved You Since Forever” and “Everything Is Mama” – Join this special Mother’s Day storytime featuring books by bestselling authors Hoda Kotb and Jimmy Fallon. Activities to follow.
May 19th (11am) – “Fancy Nancy and the Wedding of the Century” Storytime – Join this storytime and activities in celebration of the Royal Wedding. In this wonderful book about weddings big and small, Fancy Nancy helps out the bride and attends a fabulous party.
May 26th (11am) – “An Elephant & Piggie Biggie!” Storytime – Elephant & Piggie are back to celebrate 10 years of friendship in this special collection featuring five classic Elephant & Piggie stories. Join this storytime with activities to follow.
EGuide Magazine’s Gig Guide
Date Night: From Fancy to Simple, Tyler Offers a Lot of Romance
July 4th: Freedom Fighters 5K Race and more races!
Theatre Guide: “The Odd Couple” Performing Mother’s Day!
Liberty Hall: “Finding Dory” Swim Along June 2nd
May 19th: “Nut Job 2, Nutty by Nature” Movie Nights at Bergfeld Park
October 13th, Award-Winning Band MercyMe in Concert
Festival of Fruit: 34th Annual Tomato Fest Saturday, June 9th
May 20th: Pooches on The Patio!
May 17-24th Foodie Events: Boards & Bites Coming Soon!
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