In Search of Peace – December 13, 2004 Column


For anyone who is looking ahead to delightful gatherings with family and friends and is wondering: What should I cook? What should I give? How will we survive all this joy and delight? Calm down! Your local public library can help you not just survive but thrive through the next few weeks.

We have Martha Stewart Living, Cooking Light and Bon Appétit in the periodicals to help with recipes and décor. Look in 641.5 for a heap of cookbooks. Try Simple to Spectacular by Jean-Georges Vongerichte & Mark Bittman for recipes that go from basic to fancy. The book includes detailed recipes and lots of photos. The New Vegetarian Epicure by Anna Thomas, includes 325 recipes for non-carnivores with menus that go from casual to formal. Anyone have a slow-cooker (crockpot)? Fix-It and Forget-It Recipes for Entertaining by Phyllis Pellman Good and Dawn J. Ranck includes simple and fancy party recipes designed to be fixed way ahead of the event. On the same theme, check out Do-Ahead Entertaining: Cooking in Advance for Any Occasion by Malabar Hornblower. Her recipes are divided by the size of the crowd: starting with an intimate party of four and moving up to a section on entertaining large groups. She also includes a section on how to plan and prepare for an event. Finally, for the overachievers, we have a copy of Masterpieces of French Cuisine with recipes contributed by the chefs of
France’s leading restaurants.

Want to celebrate on a shoestring? Great Parties on Small Budgets by Diane Warner has tips for providing a good time for all ages without deflating your bank account. A book on the same theme, but focusing on children is Any Day is a Holiday Party Book by Meredith Brokaw and & Annie Gilbar. Moving upscale? Try Entertaining by Martha Stewart. This book includes recipes and instructions for a children’s Christmas party, a Christmas open house for fifty, and a Christmas day dinner. Includes intimidating photos of the variety guaranteed to provoke the “I can’t possibly do anything that looks like that!” reaction.

Use the Vermont Online Library to expand the library’s collection. I did a sample search on Kwanzaa, for example and found a large number of articles available in full-text. It is easy to download, print or e-mail items from this resource. Here are three articles you can access for yourself: “Out of Africa: feast on Kwanzaa's fruit of the harvest,” Carla Davis, Vegetarian Times, Dec 2003; “Kwanzaa in the
USA,” (Festival Of  The Month) Geographical, Dec 2001; and “Welcome everyone to your Kwanzaa celebration,(You Can Make It), Doreen Macklen, Highlights for Children, Dec 2001. Call, e-mail us at or come into the library for instructions on accessing the Vermont Online Library.

Quick library notes: New books are in from the Midstate Regional Library, including 3 yoga books, two parenting books, 2 novels and some (I hope) entertaining non-fiction, including Homesexuality and Civilization by Louis Crompton, Parting the Desert: The Creation of the Suez Canal by Zachary Karabell and Investor Therapy: A Psychologist & Investing Guru Tells You How to Out-Psych Wall Street by Dr. Richard Geist.


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