Archives for posts with tag: Food

One of the great pleasures of my job is unpacking the new materials that arrive daily at the library. Books, DVDs, CDs – you name it, I get my hands on it fresh out of the box. Because I’m fortunate enough to receive this first look, I come across treasures that otherwise might not appear on my reading radar.

One such treasure is “Fanny in France,” a children’s book – juvenile fiction, to be precise – written by the esteemed chef and restaurateur, Alice Waters, with Bob Carrau. This delightful work is comprised of a series of vignettes about the food, friends and fun that Waters’ daughter experienced in France as a child.

Whether she’s describing a daylong effort making bouillabaisse at a Marseille vineyard, an impromptu picnic when becoming stranded while harvesting wild oysters, or making delicious cheese from the freshest of sheep’s milk, Fanny’s adventures and narrative voice enchant the reader with her honesty and sense of wonder.

Join her in the excitement of Bastille Day in Paris, eat sea urchin pulled from the ocean moments before, and get lost in a bustling outdoor market in Nice. Meet characters like Monsieur Poilane, a traditional baker who offers Fanny a “kid-size bubbling apple tart” straight from the huge brick oven in his basement, or Alice Waters’ artist friend Martine, who scours flea markets for special dinner party accoutrements and feeds a crowd of nine with one roast chicken.

Pick up valuable culinary tips. Learn to select fish by looking at the eyes; “if the fish’s eyes are shiny and clear and they look right back” at you, it’s good to eat. Cook like a chef by putting together a mirepoix, “a special mixture of carefully chopped vegetables and herbs that French people use to start lots of things they cook.” When making pizza dough, handle it tenderly, only stretching it as far as it wants to go; “let the dough guide you,” Fanny instructs.

In addition to anecdotes, “Fanny in France” contains recipes for the dishes mentioned throughout the book. Looking for light meal ideas? You might try the Watercress or Garlic Soup, or even a Salade Nicoise, an omelet or a Croque-Monsieur, also known as a grilled cheese sandwich. Want to wow dinner guests? Consider the Couscous Royal with Chermoula, a spicy North African herb sauce, or the Roasted Herbed Rack of Lamb. Craving something sweet? Throw together an Almond Brown Butter Cake or Chocolate Souffle for a decadent treat.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the glorious, adorable artwork by Ann Arnold. Its colorful detail adds a wealth of richness to “Fanny in France.”

Finally, lest you think you’d need a few years of high school French to read this book, never fear. There is a glossary in the final pages of “Fanny in France,” and the author does a great job of casually translating as she goes along. Nevertheless, I found to my delight that I’d retained enough of my six years of French to understand everything.

You can find “Fanny in France” in the Children’s Department of the Joplin Public Library.  I hope you relish it as much as I did. Happy travels, and bon appetit!



Do you like to get information and discover new things in a concise visually appealing way? You must be (or might want to be if you are not) a magazine reader.

Magazines, first published in the 17th century, were initially only for the rich. New methods of printing in the 1900s changed that and now they are a popular way for everyone to keep abreast of news, current trends and to be informed on just about anything.

Joplin Public Library has over 200 magazines and 20 newspapers available to users whenever the library is open.  Most of the magazines you can check out and take home to read.

The library has also offered users online magazine and newspaper articles for more than 15 years. These articles accessed through Ebscohost are indexed for easy research using keywords and can be used online anywhere with a library card number.  You can get lots of information but you can’t easily browse an issue.

About two years ago we added Flipster which lets you read a full issue of a magazine 24/7 using any internet-enabled device and your library card number. These full-page, full color issues give you access to some of the magazines you once had to visit the library to get and you can browse all you want.

Now we have another way for you to get magazines online using the same website you go to get ebooks,  Shared by a consortium of Missouri public libraries the site offers ebooks, audiobooks, and video.  Now some of the libraries are contributing to a shared collection of 138 magazines.

Unlike Flipster these magazines have to be checked out and downloaded to be viewed and they download to a Nook or Nook app.  But you find them in the same place you get your ebooks, you get to keep them longer, and the Nook app is easy to get and use.

Some of the titles are the same ones you’ll find in the library and/or on Flipster such as The Atlantic, National Geographic, Bloomberg Businessweek, Prevention, Better Homes and Gardens, and Reader’s Digest.  However many of the titles are new to our collection and cover a variety of interests.

If you like to read about the latest in health and fitness, you’ll find Shape, Women’s Health, Men’s Health, What Doctors Know, Amazing Wellness, and Oxygen.  Publications from associations are also available such AARP the Magazine, Weight Watchers Magazine and Arthritis Today.

I love perusing cookbooks and discovering new recipes and there are plenty of titles on food and cooking. I downloaded Allrecipes and am looking forward to viewing Cook’s Country, EveryDay with Rachel Ray, Taste of Home, Gluten-Free Living, and many others.

For those of you into crafts and hobbies look for Thread, Woodworker’s Journal, Hobby Farms, Bead & Button and Cloth Paper Scissors.  You will also find Do It Yourself, Family Handyman and House & Home among others.

With the election later this year many of us are taking more of an interest in current events and what is happening in the world. Newsweek, National Review, The Week, The Onion and mental_floss will keep you informed.

Lifestyle magazines are popular in our print collection and you will see several of those titles here – Redbook, Brides, O the Oprah Magazine, Country Living, and Reader’s Digest. In MoLib2Go you can also get American Cowboy, Guideposts, and More.

Another popular category is home and garden.  Look for Birds & Blooms, Dwell, HGTV Magazine, Country Gardens, and Elle Décor.  We also have several you can find in both print and online such as Good Housekeeping, House Beautiful, Midwest Living and Rodale’s Organic Life.

There are a lot more titles than I can list here like TV Guide Magazine, Air and Space Magazine, Guns and Ammo, Budget Travel, First for Women and Family Circle.  Go to MoLib2 Go and browse the titles.  You are sure to find something that interests you.

If you have any trouble with downloading or just want to be walked through the process first, call or come by the Reference Desk. We are happy to help.

   In the The American Way of Eating: Undercover at Walmart, Applebee’s, Farm Fields and the Dinner Table a journalist, Tracie McMillan, takes a year to work in various parts of the food industry.  She works 2 month at each job, lives off the wages she earns and with the people with which she works.

The premise intrigued me; I could experience vicariously other jobs and ways of life. But this book is much more than a foray into other jobs.  It’s a mix of real life with a hefty dose of research into the way our food network forces some Americans to eat they way they do.

McMillan first began to wonder about how America eats covering poverty for a New York City magazine.  Her assumption was that eating healthy was too expensive. She was raised to believe that healthy meals made from scratch were for “fancy people”.  Then she was assigned to report on a cooking class offered by a youth services agency and met Vanessa.

Vanessa, a high school student, knows what foods are good for her and even likes fresh fruits and vegetables.  But for Vanessa cost is not the only thing preventing her from eating a healthy diet.  A lack of choice and lack of time figure just as prominently in her food choices.  For Vanessa it was easier to find junk food in her neighborhood and city than healthy food.

This book is the result of McMillan’s quest to understand why.  She first began to explore food choices in her own neighborhood and then the city.  What she discovered is that there are very few supermarkets in the city and the poorest neighborhoods have the fewest.

These food deserts, a community with insufficient grocery stores for its population, exist across the country (check out the USDA website for the food desert locator map).  So why in a country where it is far easier to eat well than in most of the rest of the world do we have difficulty obtaining healthy foods?

Her quest for answers begins in the fields of California.   It takes her a week to find her first job as a grape picker.  From there she moves on to peaches and garlic.  For each job she details what she does, how she gets hired, where the food she picks is going, and a history of the industry.

But the really interesting part in these jobs and the others she takes is her interactions with the people with which she works and lives.  Despite the scholarly tone of some this book, McMillan does a good job capturing the essence of the people she works with in her various jobs.

In the California fields she finds people who are barely making enough to feed and shelter their families sharing what they have with her.  They help her find jobs and then help her do the jobs when she is slow or the work is too much.  They befriend her, feed her and in some cases offer her a place to stay.

Her next stop along the path of food is the store.  She chooses to try her luck at a Walmart produce department in Michigan.  She chose Walmart because they are the top selling grocer in the United States, providing 22% of all groceries sold in this country.

She eventually gets a job stocking shelves in a Walmart on the outskirts of Kalamazoo. She leaves this job abruptly when she realizes that a move to the produce department is unlikely.  Her next Walmart job, in a suburb of Detroit, is in produce and for those that shop at Walmart may give you more insight than you want about how produce was handled at that time.

Her last stop on the food path is an Applebee’s Restaurant in Brooklyn, New York.  She works as an expediter who ‘dresses’ the plates, groups the orders for the table, and keeps the food moving from the kitchen to server.  As with the other jobs you find about food preparation and distribution in the restaurant industry as well her experience working at the restaurant and living in New York City on the wages she earns.

This informative book has an extensive bibliography for further exploration and may make you take a closer look at the way you eat and why.