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Participating in Portland: a Portland Public Conversation

posted: , by Kim Simmons
tags: Programs & Events | Adults | Teens | Seniors | Art & Culture | Government | Portland History

Join the Choose Civility Initiative tomorrow, November 25th at 7:30 am  for a Thanksgiving week public conversation on the topic of “participating.”

(Coffee, Treats & Networking / 8:00am program start)

Thanksgiving asks us to amplify a spirit of generosity and inclusion that we hope to find in ourselves and our communities throughout the year.  Despite high levels of perceived incivility in our culture, we also live in a time where “giving” happens frequently, in formal and informal ways. The connection between thankfulness, service and a stronger community is robust — that is, we know that when everyday people give their time and energy to strengthen their communities it serves everyone… but we also know that civic engagement is sometimes easier said than done.

Tomorrow (November 25th) we will share strategies for increasing pathways to civic engagement, share stories of how and why volunteering matters, and tackle some of the obstacles that make volunteering hard.  We will also feature a dozen area nonprofits to share a sample of volunteer opportunities available now!Among the organizations participating, we will learn from the United Way of Greater Portland, Maine Animal Refuge League, Learning Works, the Maine Tool Library, League of Women Voters, Lift 360 and more!

Also happening this week: MPBN will offer a special “Maine Calling” on the topic of Thankfulness on Wednesday.  MPBN and the Maine Community Foundation are sharing  “Voices of Giving” throughout this month, documenting all sorts of reasons that people choose to give their time, money, and other care.   Bangor Daily News is sharing stories of people for whom the rest of us “should be thankful.”  We offer books on thankfulness, including this wonderful list of poems.

 


Yes, chef! Whet your appetite with new cooking booklists.

posted: , by Elizabeth Hartsig
tags: Recommended Reads | Adults | Teens | Kids & Families | Seniors | Art & Culture

 Recommended reads for classic and brand-new cookbooks and food memoirs.

 “Always start out with a larger pot than what you think you need.” -Julia Child


Holiday cookbooks on display at the Main Library.

Holiday cookbooks on display at the Main Library.

‘Tis the season for… Holiday CookbooksNot everyone needs a holiday for an excuse to sleuth out mouth-watering recipes. But if you’re thankful for cooking, and you aim to embrace the whole season of crafting pies, cakes, and turkey (and turkey alternatives and cranberry relish and latkes and squash and stuffing and gorgeous cookies)…or whatever special treats you like: we can fill your bellies with words of instruction. Click on our holiday cookbook reading list here.

 

 

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Home cooking. Each fall yields wonderful harvests from Maine farms: brussels sprouts lined up on green stalks, like processions of tiny cabbages; savory, dark-ringed yellow delicata squash; sweet orange pumpkins waiting to be pie. And from the sea: buttery lobster, briny oysters. Find Maine recipes for your Maine-sourced ingredients here, including compilations of local recipes from our towns and islands, as well as recent cookbooks from Portland businesses like Standard Bakery and the Harbor Fish Market.

 

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Foodie cookbooks. Lovers of seasonal, farm-fresh produce, vegetarian cooking or cured meats, old classics or experimental new recipes: we’ve got you covered. Browse through a list of our beautiful newer cookbooks, including Olives, Lemons, and Za’atarBar Tartine; Thug Kitchen; The Oh She Glows Cookbook; or A Boat, a Whale, and a Walrus. If you like cooking in a bigger pot, or you’re thinking of monthly gatherings this winter to stave off the cold?…Try “Soup Night: Recipes for Creating Community Around a Pot of Soup.”

 

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“Potatoes are one of the last things to disappear, in times of war, which is probably why they should not be forgotten in times of peace.” -M.F.K. Fisher

Food memoirs.  If it’s food stories and the wit and wisdom of some of the finest food writers that you love- like M.F.K. Fisher’s spirited defense of writing about food in times of hardship, in her classic How To Cook a Wolf; Eddie Huang’s sharply funny tales of food and life in Fresh Off the Boat; Lucy Knisley’s lovely drawings and stories in her new graphic novel Relish; or Daniel Duane’s thoughts on How to Cook Like A Man (for his family)- try this list. Read for thoughts on food and friendship, food and culture, food and farming, food and wartime, food and identity, and LOTS of food and love.

 

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Wet your whistle. Barkeeps: check out our mixology or homebrew offerings, and make great drinks. Or perhaps you’re more interested in the science of beer? Wondering about the purple basil or the tarragon floating in your cocktail? Pick up Mark Denny’s Froth or Amy Stewart’s The Drunken Botanist: The Plants that Create the World’s Great Drinks.

And last but never least…a reading list to help create desserts for all, whether sugar free, gluten free, or forever sweet-toothed.


All “Whet Your Appetite” booklists:

Festive Feasts: Holiday Cookbooks

Fish, Farm, Fork: Maine Cookbooks!

The New Joy of Eating: Foodie Cookbooks

How to Cook a Wolf: Food Memoirs

Home Barkeep’s Guide to Cocktail and Brewing Books

Baked Goods: Dessert for Everybody


 


Forget the Turkey: Poems of Thanksgiving

posted: , by Elizabeth Hartsig
tags: Adults | Teens | Kids & Families | Seniors | Art & Culture

An image of the children's book "Giving Thanks."

Forget the turkey. Do you think of the Thanksgiving table as a place for jokes, speeches, storytelling, banter, quiet rumination…or…poetry? Take a gander at the Cranberry Cantos, a sampler of Thanksgiving-related poems chosen by the editors at the Poetry Foundation. Selections include Richard Blanco’s poem “América,” from his book “City of a Hundred Fires,” which you can find at PPL (Blanco’s new memoir, “The Prince of Los Cocuyos,” is also well worth a read). Or find other poets at PPL who are mentioned in the sampler: Maxine Kumin, Joy Harjo, Eamon Grennan, CK Williams, Paul Lawrence Dunbar, and Sharon Olds.

If you read just one of the poems, be sure to check out Dunbar’s very wonderful “Signs of the Times,” which wins my vote for poem I’d most love to hear read aloud at the Thanksgiving table.

Speaking of recitations…here’s a link to a recording of poet Kevin Young reading aloud Sharon Olds’ selection, “First Thanksgiving,” (a poem of a daughter coming back from college for the first time since she’s left home). PPL also has Kevin Young’s own new collection, “Book of Hours.”

A picture of Kevin Young.

Kevin Young.

Other possibilities for your Thanksgiving poetry reading:

If all this isn’t enough poetry for you, please join us in December for PPL’s Poetry Aloud Winter Poem Spectacular. What’s Poetry Aloud all about? Bring a poem you love by a published author to read aloud to your fellow poetry-lovers in the Rines Auditorium on the night of Monday, December 22. Since our readings have gone so quickly in the past, feel free to bring two “short or medium sized” poems or one longer poem to read. Doors open at 5:45; the reading will take place from 6-7 sharp on the eve of December 22. We’ll have wonderful treats as usual. And we don’t usually focus on specific themes, but this time around, feel free to share one of your favorite wintry, festive, or holiday poems!

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