The Thanksgiving holiday is an opportunity for families to gather at the dinner table, express their love, enjoy each other’s company, and give thanks for what life has to offer. On Thanksgiving Day, people watch the parade in New York, the national dog show, and football games, but the holiday feast is the main event. Many families showcase a variety of food choices from their respective regions or countries.
Some families could decide to have mashed potatoes with their turkey instead of macaroni and cheese. Many people prefer collard greens to green bean casserole, or sweet potato pie over pumpkin pie. Apple, cherry, and blueberry pies might also make an appearance. Even though turkey, ham, and other meats can be served during Thanksgiving, plenty of plant-based or meatless options are now available for vegans and vegetarians. Many pescatarians will have seafood as one of their main entrees for their feast.
Being thankful for the time that you spend with your family and friends is vital. Our society has had its recent share of trials and tribulations, especially with the Covid-19 pandemic. We as a nation have a lot to be thankful for. So please, cherish the people you love and the time you have to celebrate together during this holiday season.
Brandon is a Customer Service Specialist at HCLS Central Branch who loves reading, football, and taking nice long walks around his neighborhood.
End of summer blues? Turn to the colorful fruits and vegetables of autumn for a mood lift. Filled with nutrients, seasonal produce offers a culinary treat.
The Complete Autumn and Winter Cookbook by America’s Test Kitchen includes side dishes, main courses, and desserts filled with the flavors of fall. An entire chapter is devoted to pumpkin, a low-calorie, vitamin-dense treat. The antioxidant beta-carotene in pumpkin lends it that beautiful orange color and blocks the free radicals that cause cells to age. The body converts beta-carotene to vitamin A which is essential for healthy eyes, skin, and bones. Try the slow-cooker creamy pumpkin-chai soup for a treat on a chilly day.
Winter squash, another rich source of beta-carotene, can be fun to prepare with the guidance of Cara Mangini’s The Vegetable Butcher. Squash is low in carbohydrates, for those monitoring sugar intake, and high in potassium, for those following a heart-healthy diet. Recipes include kale and spelt berry salad. Lutein gives kale its dark green color and helps protect the eye from developing cataracts and macular degeneration. Cranberries are high in vitamin C, which strengthens the immune system and helps shorten the duration of cold symptoms.
As temperatures drop, the grill is a wonderful way to prepare vegetables. In Green Fire: Extraordinary Ways to Grill Fruits and Vegetables from the Master of Live-Fire Cooking, Francis Mallman shares his unique Patagonian recipes. Prepare his salt-baked beets for a dish rich in fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Diets high in fiber have been associated with fewer digestive issues and lower colon cancer risk. Betalains, responsible for the purple-red color of beets, reduce inflammation and cell damage. Beets are also high in folate (vitamin B9), which has been linked to lowered risk of heart disease and stroke.
In Naturally Sweet Baking: Healthier Recipes for a Guilt-Free Treat, recipes include fall fruits such as pears as alternative sweeteners. High in fiber, pears have some sugar but do not have the high glycemic index that contributes to diabetes risk. The vitamin C, potassium, and antioxidants in pears add to their health benefits. Authors Carolin Strothe and Sebastian Keitel include a seasonal calendar as part of their guidance in baking without artificial coloring or processed sugar. Explore the baking collection at Elkridge’s DIY Education Center to find specialty cake pans available for checkout.
Low-Fat. Mediterranean. Atkins. Whole 30. Keto. Paleo. Vegan. Pegan. Pegan? (That’s paleo meets vegan.) While there is little consensus as to which diet is the best, there is near universal agreement that a healthy diet includes abundant produce – fruits and, especially, vegetables. But most of us still aren’t getting enough. According to the USDA’s most recent Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 90 percent of the US population does not get its daily recommendation of vegetables.
Whether you are already getting your five servings a day, we have a cornucopia of titles in our cookbook collection to help you incorporate more plant-based foods into your diet.
Meera Sodha’s East: 120 Vegan and Vegetarian Recipes from Bangalore to Beijing is an inspired collection of vibrant recipes, many originally published in her Guardian food column,”The New Vegan.” In her introduction, Sodha recalls when she first agreed to write the column that not only was she not vegan, she was in the middle of a major life change, having recently given birth to her first child. Excited by the writing challenge when she was seeing the world anew through her daughter’s eyes, she embarked on a journey to discover vegan recipes that would satisfy not just vegans but meat-eaters like herself. With a culinary background (and two prior cookbooks) rooted in her Indian heritage, Sodha broadens her horizons in East, with vegetarian and vegan recipes inspired by her travels in East and South Asia. The book is divided into chapters such as Snacks & Small Things, Curries, Flour and Eggs, Legumes, and Sweets. A few pages of “alternative contents” are also helpful, with categories such as Quick Dinners and From the Pantry, in addition to seasonal categories for those who like to cook by the calendar. This fall, I am tempted by Autumn Pilau with squash, lacinato kale, and smoked garlic, perhaps followed by some Pineapple Love Cake or Salted miso brownies.
The title Mostly Plants echoes a line from author-journalist Michael Pollan’s 2008 book In Defense of Food: “Eat food, not too much, mostly plants.” While recognizing the nutritional and cultural value of meat, he champions a diet of moderation composed mostly of whole foods, with meat being demoted from star to supporting player. In Mostly Plants: 101 Delicious Flexitarian Recipes from the Pollan Family, Michael Pollan’s mother, Corky, and sisters Tracy, Dana, and Lori have created a cookbook full of healthy, flavorful recipes designed to be on the table in 35 minutes or less. Each Pollan has her own dietary preference, some eating meat and others not. Their goal with the book is not to promote one particular diet but rather to shift “the ratio from animals to plants.” Each recipe features easy-to-read icons indicating if it is vegetarian, vegan, dairy-free, gluten-free, and/or fast, as well as helpful hints for adaptations (to make a vegetarian recipe vegan, for example). Beautiful photos fill the pages, highlighting such recipes as Mesclun greens with persimmons and Manchego cheese and Udon Noodle Soup with miso-glazed vegetables and chicken. The book finishes with a chapter devoted to sweets, the Apple Galette Rustique with apricot glaze sounding to me like a perfect fall dessert.
Fans of chef-activist Bryant Terry may know him as the author of the celebrated 2014 cookbook Afro-Vegan: Farm-fresh African, Caribbean and Southern Flavors Remixed. In his more recent book Vegetable Kingdom: The Abundant World of Vegan Recipes, Terry explores the realm of vegetables in all their glorious parts, from seeds to roots. In his introduction, subtitled “Fennel for Zenzi,” Terry credits his two daughters as his inspiration. “I wrote this book to make a diversity of foods from the plant kingdom irresistible to them, to inspire their curiosity.” Even the structure of the book, with recipes sorted into chapters based on which part of the plant is used (flower, bulb, etc.) came from his older daughter Mila’s gardening class assignment. The recipes exhibit a further geographical reach than his previous books, with influences from East and Southeast Asia, reflective of his wife’s heritage. The book offers a feast for the senses, not just for the eyes and the palate, but for the ears, too. Terry includes a song pairing for each recipe. Before I prepare Dirty Cauliflower with tempeh, mushrooms, scallions, and parsley, I will be sure to queue up the suggested track, “Flat of the Blade” by Massive Attack. Terry does not include a chapter on sweets, but I imagine that he would approve of my default easy dessert—a few squares of dark chocolate which is, of course, vegan.
If you are interesting in healthy plant-based cooking, consider joining HCLS Elkridge Branch for Plant-Based Nutrition: Everything You Want to Know and More! on Thursday, October 7 at 6:30 pm. University of Maryland Extension teaches participants about plant-based nutrition, the benefits of a plant-based diet, and how to shop and plan meals using plant-based foods.
Holly L. is an Instructor and Research Specialist at the Miller Branch. She enjoys knitting and appreciates an audiobook with a good narrator.
If you’re familiar with Korean cooking and YouTube, chances are you’ve heard of Maangchi. Originally born and raised in Korea, she now lives in New York City and has been uploading Korean cooking videos to YouTube since 2007. Always cheerful and armed with her trusty knives, she’s taught her 5.5 million subscribers the ins and outs of Korean cooking and the recipes she grew up on. And she is just fun to watch. Even if I’m not cooking, I will watch her videos just because she is a breath of sunshine; by the end, I always want her as my Korean auntie.
I work at the Miller Branch of HCLS which is in Ellicott City and home to Route 40, or Korean Way as it is designated by the state. Here, there is no shortage of great establishments that serve the most delicious cuisine that Korea has to offer, but if you’ve ever wanted to cook Korean food at home, I wholeheartedly recommend watching Maangchi’s recipe videos or checking out her books: Maangchi’s Real Korean Cooking or Maangchi’s Big Book of Korean Cooking. Through these books I have learned just how EASY it is to cook many of the staples I’ve had in Korean restaurants over the years. Bulgogi, kimchi, numerous jjigaes or stews, bibimbap, you name it; she has taught me all. Her recipes are so simple and so easy to make that you’ll be hosting your next get-together with her recipes and wowing everyone with your cooking prowess. I can personally attest to that. I recently hosted a small Korean BBQ party (where everyone had been fully vaccinated) and everyone was so impressed and so full by the end.
Both of her books are available to check out or reserve through the Howard County Library System. Believe me, you won’t be disappointed.
See you next time! Bye!
Maangchi at the end of every video
Peter is an Instructor and Research Specialist at the Miller Branch and just loves to eat.
School’s out and the cicadas are gone – it’s time for summer fun! Howard County Library System is open for browsing and borrowing, using computers and printing, as well as attending Tails & Tales in person, outdoor classes for children. Our hours are Monday & Thursday, 10 am – 8 pm; Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday & Saturday, 10 am – 6 pm, and we are closed on Sundays. At this time, our study and meeting rooms are not available, but we are otherwise open for business.
We can’t wait to see you again! When you visit your local branch make sure to pickup the brand new July/August issue of source. It’s summer and it’s time for…
Authors. We are thrilled to host two bestselling authors this summer. Daniel Silva (Wed, July 21 at 7 pm) writes the long-running spy thriller series featuring Gabriel Allon, master art restorer and Israeli spy/assassin. His latest book, The Cellist, explores one of the preeminent threats facing the West today—the corrupting influence of dirty money wielded by Russia. Gail Tsukiyama (Thu, Aug 5 at 7 pm) offers brilliant historical fiction, often centered on lives of women. Her newest book, The Color of Air, examines the threat of volcanic eruption to a Hawaiian community. Register at hclibrary.org > classes & events.
Reading. It’s not too late to join Summer Reading. Anyone can participate, with challenges and prizes for all ages. Check out Jean’s favorite children’s books for summer, listed on page 8. And Relaxing. Which is better the book or the movie? Decide for yourself from the when you read books, then watch movies adapted from the story. How faithful was it? Or, simply borrow some fun family movies to enjoy together.
Learning. Ready for in-person classes? Join us for outdoor experiences. Prefer to stay virtual? We have online classes and book discussion groups! Pick up one of our NEW literacy activity kits for children or STEM activity kits for teens.
Adventures. Find tips for new hikers, trail suggestions, and how to make the most of day trips. Play is a form of learning and is especially important for children’s development.
Fresh food. Everything is green and growing! Produce is at its peak, and farmers markets are happening all over the county. Read about simple ways to eat healthy, along with a few recipes and cookbook recommendations (You can also request a bundle bag.).
Preparing. Summer is always over too soon, but we’re here to help you get ready to go back to school. Kindergarten, Here We Come! is a favorite for parents and kids preparing for their first school milestone. For students entering sixth grade, Middle School Pep Talk features tips about what to expect.
Being Brave. Share your stories about witnessing or experiencing bias, racism, or discrimination in Howard County – as well as your stories of hope. Your stories may be shared (anonymously) with community leaders, organizations, and groups. The more stories provided, the greater the impact.
And: We invite everyone to vote (in the Out & About category) for HCLS as the best place in Howard County to visit with kids! VOTE HERE!
Something kind of funny happened at the holidays: every member of my family was gifted a cookbook. I’m not sure if this is in recognition that we all like to play in the kitchen or the need to find some new recipes as we have grown seriously bored with our old usuals. Both?
Last year in a gift exchange, a colleague presented me with Plenty by Yotam Ottalenghi. I was only vaguely familiar with the author’s name but was no particular fan. He’s an Israeli-English chef, restauranteur, and cookbook author. He owns several delis and restaurants in London and specializes in Middle Eastern flavors and cuisines. I was immediately intrigued by the beautiful photography and the series of recipes that concentrate on types of foods. Vegetables, grains, and other plants are often side dishes on my table, and this book shows how to make them the stars. While some of the recipes required ingredients I don’t always keep on hand and the time to think my way through a new process, the couple I have tried have been wonderful. The green couscous, overflowing with fresh herbs and scallions, was a lovely addition to summertime meals.
For Christmas, my son gave me Ottolenghi Simple by the same chef author, having noticed my enjoyment of the previous book. As the name suggests, this book contains simpler recipes. SIMPLE is an acronym for recipes that stands for: Short on time, Ingredients ten or fewer, Make ahead, Pantry-led, Lazy-day dishes, and Easier than you think. Not every recipe partakes of all the categories, but it offers a nice shorthand at the top of the page. Ottolenghi’s pantry differs significantly from mine, but shopping provides part of the fun of new recipes. Discovering different tastes and textures is the main reason I like to check out cookbooks and get busy in the kitchen. I have tried one recipe from this book already: Baked rice with confit of tomatoes and garlic. Baked rice was easy and turned out perfectly. Next time, though, I will halve the recipe because we ended up eating it all week. I posted a picture of my newfound deliciousness on Facebook (like you do) and promptly recommended this book to a friend who wanted the recipe.
The library owns a wide array of cookbooks for you to borrow, from celebrity chefs such as Ottolenghi to cooking with certain kitchen appliances (Do you have an Instapot or slow cooker?) or even for specific dietary needs. Celebrity chefs is one of the current topics for Bundle Bags, where staff will browse the shelves for you. Or, you can always chat with us about what you’re looking for. I wish you happy cooking!
Kristen B. is a devoted bookworm lucky enough to work as the graphic designer for HCLS. She likes to spend winter reading, baking, and waiting for baseball to return.