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.
‘Tis the season for… Holiday Cookbooks! Not 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.
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.
“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.
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.”
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!
Portland Public Library’s Choose Civility Initiative invites you to engage in conversation about how we can make a difference in our local community. What kind of engagement interests you? What opportunities exist? Where is there need? Also, meet with local organizations that seek volunteers – someone like you!
7:30am : Coffee, treats & networking
8:00am : Opening program — exploring volunteerism’s benefits for individuals, organizations and communities (and the challenges, too!)
8:45 (ish) : Volunteer Resource Fair – Organizational introductions and small conversations. Meet representatives from local organizations and learn about opportunities for participating in Portland.
Confirmed organizations include (but are not limited to) : United Way of Greater Portland; YMCA of Greater Portland; Greater Portland Animal Refuge League; Maine Tool Library; Learning Works; 2Degrees Portland and more!
(*If you’d like to share information about a project or civic engagement effort or opportunity for volunteering, please contact Kim Simmons at Simmons@portland.lib.me.us)
The social justice organization Facing History and Ourselves offers online resources on “Choosing To Participate.” Featuring an online exhibit, in partnership with the Smithsonian Exhibition. Among the questions they ask, is a central query : “How can I make a positive difference in the world?”