The Little Library Cookbook

You know that a book is a wonder when you stomp around the house muttering ‘I should have written this’. The wonderful new cookbook by Kate Young The little library cookbook really is one such SATHM (stomp around the house muttering) book.

Fiction and food are one of life’s irresistible combinations, and ‘literary’ cookbooks have always been a weakness of mine. I’m thinking of Cherry cake and ginger beer, The unofficial Harry Potter cookbook, and Dinner With Mr Darcy, the list goes on. However, there is something particularly appealing about Kate Young’s contribution to this unique foodie genre. Not only are the recipes seriously good- (if a cookbook contains a bread recipe that enables me to produce a loaf of crusty goodness rather than a forlorn looking dough worthy of papier mache, then I know that the cook knows their stuff), but also, the narrative is simply gorgeous. Young takes us on not only a culinary and literary journey, but also an engagingly personal one that had me wanting to reminisce, cook and read simultaneously.

Young includes the essential recipes that any respectable ‘library cookbook’ should have (I am of course thinking of Proust’s madeleine in particular here), but she also includes recipes from books that are simply dear to her heart. These include crab and avocado salad from Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar, chicken casserole from Barbara Pym’s Excellent Women, and gin martini and chicken sandwich from JD Salinger’s Franny and Zooey.

Young is not limited in her literary taste either, with ‘hunny’ and rosemary cakes’ worthy of Winnie the Pooh getting a deserved mention, and even vanilla layer cake as Anne of Green Gables originally intended getting its full due.

This was perhaps what I loved best about this gorgeous book — the lovely surprises when I turned page after page to also see one of my own beloved authors getting their recipe out there, such as mince pies from Kate Atkinson’s Behind the Scenes at the Museum, curried chicken from Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Homes, and eclairs from Nancy Mitford’s The Pursuit of Love. Young’s taste in both food and literature is so close to my own; I was busy lapping up every word and nodding profusely in agreement.

Observations really do make Young’s narrative a joy, see du Maurier’s Rebecca:

the sinister Mrs, Danvers, surely one of the most insidious and manipulative villains in literature, turns a story that could be romantic into one where even the crumpets seem to be a threat.

and E.M. Forster’s A Room With a View:

the thing is, I think meringues and coffee get a raw deal here. They’re meant to be emblematic of the comfortable, predictable life that Lucy lives as a young woman, but I think they deserve better… And so I am here to advocate for meringues and coffee.

I very much enjoyed her bookish reminiscences along the way, such as her passage on first reading The book thief:

I have a vivid memory of being reduced to tears by the ending, trapped in a window seat on a flight to Italy. Perhaps inevitably for a story narrated by death and set in Germany during the second world war, it’s devastating.

I also enjoyed the stories of family and friends along the way, in fact, as the youngest of three sisters, her dedication of Shirley Jackson’s ‘spice cookies’ to her own sister bought a bit of a lump to my throat (also, as my sisters would heartily concur, greater love hath no sister than this that she should lay down her cookie recipe…).

There is nothing not to love about this gorgeous book — engaging, beautifully presented, and full of scrumptious recipes, this really is a must read for all book loving foodies.

The Little Library Cookbook
by Kate Young
Published by HarperCollins New Zealand
ISBN: 9781784977672

See also: Moata’s booklist  Pop culture will eat itself for themed cookbooks for movies, TV shows, literature and art.

Learning music with Lynda

Have you discovered our Lynda? I have.

Lynda logo

I’m struggling with music notation and learning to read music… I should have paid attention when I tried to learn at 11, because now when I’m trying to learn at 55, it’s quite painful.

It just isn’t straight forward, there are weird rules and exceptions, and it’s more mathematical than I thought it would be. Add to that, I’m looking at it from a jazz perspective and my brain not only hurts but feels numb.

I’ve got books, and I’m in a class, but I recently thought, “hey there’s that Lynda woman in our Christchurch City Libraries eResources who offers videos to learn about just about anything… I wonder what she has to offer me?”

So I got my library card and my PIN ready to go: it’s one of our resources you do have to be a  library member to use. I logged into Lynda, after finding it in the eResources section of our website.

Next, the search for ‘music’, which yielded a plethora of results from Intro to songwriting, Insider’s guide to today’s music biz, and Finding music using apple apps, and there amongst them was Music Theory.

I settled on learning musical notation and worked my way through a series of videos that I could stop, back up, repeat until some of what I was reading and practising was sinking in. There was also music theory for songwriters, improvisation and theory, and one I’m obviously not quite up to, Music Theory for Fun!

In the process, I learnt that you can adjust the skill level to suit you, as well as choose from specific authors and teachers, the length of course you want and a wealth of other limiters to make the learning truly suited to you.

But wait, you say I’m not interested in music theory.. stick with me here, because there are so many other things to learn, such as:

  • Become a Photographer
  • Publish an eBook
  • Become a Web Designer
  • Become a Motion Graphics Artist
  • Be a Small Business Owner
  • Be a Six Sigma Black Belt

So, check out our Lynda and expand your horizons… I’ll keep on with my key signatures and triads (not of the Chinese gang variety!)

Start your Chinese learning with nursery rhymes

Nursery rhymes are easy to remember, short to sing and have fun actions! So, in preparation for New Zealand Chinese Language Week (16-22 October) why not start your Chinese learning with Chinese nursery rhymes? Here are some easy Chinese nursery rhymes you can try. The best part is that you don’t have to worry about the different tones in Chinese. Try to match the tune.

Twinkle Twinkle Little Star

Twinkle, twinkle, little star
How I wonder what you are
Up above the world so high
Like a diamond in the sky
Twinkle, twinkle, little star
How I wonder what you are

小星星
xiǎo xīng xīng
一闪一闪亮晶晶
yì shǎn yì shǎn liàng jīng jīng
满天都是小星星
mǎn tiān dōu shì xiǎo xīng xīng
挂在天空放光明
guà zài tiān kōng fàng guāng míng
好像許多小眼睛
hǎo xiàng xǔ duō xiǎo yǎn jīng
一闪一闪亮晶晶
yì shǎn yì shǎn liàng jīng jīng
满天都是小星星
mǎn tiān dōu shì xiǎo xīng xīng

Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes

Head, shoulders, knees and toes,
Knees and toes, knees and toes,
Head, shoulders, knees and toes,
Eyes, ears, mouth and nose.

頭兒,肩膀,膝,腳趾
tóu ér jiān bǎng xī jiǎo zhǐ
膝,腳趾 膝,腳趾
xī jiǎo zhǐ, xī jiǎo zhǐ
頭兒,肩膀,膝,腳趾
tóu ér jiān bǎng xī jiǎo zhǐ
眼,耳,鼻和口
yǎn,ěr,bí hé kǒu

Numbers

1, 2, 3
yī èr sān
4, 5, 6
sì wǔ liù
7, 8, 9
qī bā jiǔ
10
shí
(repeat backwards)

Christchurch City Libraries have a good range of Chinese learning materials as well as the eResources Mango Languages and Rosetta Stone.

Come join our New Zealand Chinese Language Week Celebration in the libraries from October 15th to 22nd.

If you would like to learn more Chinese nursery rhymes, do check out the Bilingual Babytimes every Tuesday at 11am in Te Hāpua: Halswell Centre.

Bilingual storytime with Anita
Bilingual storytime with Anita, New Zealand Chinese Language Week 2016, Flickr File Reference: 2016-09-Bilingual_storytime-Anita.jpg

Anita
Te Hāpua: Halswell Centre

Isaac House

Isaac House stands in solitary splendour on the corner of Colombo and Armagh Streets. Located at 779 Colombo Street, it is a Category 2 listed heritage building in the distinctive Georgian Revival style. It was completed in 1927 for Henry Owen, proprietor of chemists
Cook and Ross. If — like me — you are a fan of this architectural style, 69 Worcester Street is another fine example.

The owners of  Isaac House kindly let the public in to have a gander yesterday to see how they have restored this gem. Here are some photos from the past, and yesterday.

Male and female cabin crew of TEAL standing at the corner of Colombo and Armagh Streets [ca. 1960] CCL PhotoCD 11, IMG0044
Male and female cabin crew of TEAL standing at the corner of Colombo and Armagh Streets
[ca. 1960]
CCL PhotoCD 11, IMG0044
National Bank
National Bank 1963. Corner of Colombo and Armagh Streets. Flickr HW-08-FE-12
Victoria Square and Armagh Street
Wednesday 17 September 2014. Flickr 2014-09-17-IMG_2188
Isaac House
Wednesday 11 October 2017. Flickr 2017-10-11-IMG_3833

More about Isaac House