Sunday, 6 November 2011

Sunday November 6th, 2011 Sweet Little Treats

Good things come in small packages. As far as I can tell, nothing embodies this concept better than a book. Within the pages of books there are all manner of surprises, gifts and inspiration. With the fall season upon us and the descent of winter slowly creeping up, why not take a moment to mellow in the sweet little treats that life (and the Library) has to offer.

Over the last couple of years there has been a trend in cookbooks towards smaller sweets and baking such as cookies, cupcakes and mini-cakes. This year’s cookbook trend appears to be mini pies. As a girl who can’t say no to pie any day of the week, this revelation made me all sorts of happy. Two new books on this delectable topic are MINI PIES by Christy Beaver and HANDHELD PIES by Rachel Wharten. Here’s hoping that a change in the way we enjoy a slice of pie will finally lie to rest the debate of pie versus cake (because pie is clearly the superior dessert of choice).

Other areas of the food industry have scaled back in recent years as well. If you live alone or find yourself cooking for one on occasion, take a look at THE PLEASURES OF COOKING FOR ONE by Judith Jones. An editor for the culinary legend that was Julia Child, Jones has adapted many recipes found in MASTERING THE ART OF FRENCH COOKING to suit the solo chef. She offers practical advice on the key tools to have on hand in the kitchen when cooking for yourself and even gives recipes that will help reinvent your leftovers the next day.

For those interested in “putting up” preserves from this year’s fruit and vegetable harvest, but not interested in spending an entire weekend doing so, try something like WELL PRESERVED: RECIPES AND TECHNIQUES FOR PUTTING UP SMALL BATCHES OF SEASONAL FOODS by Eugenia Bone. This summer I discovered a new favourite recipe for small batch preserves – pluot jam. Found online by a friend, this jam is sweet and savory (with real vanilla, lemon thyme, rosemary, and lots of juicy pluots) and is perfect on pork tenderloin or a grilled cheese sandwich. For those interested in growing your own crops in a small garden or plot of land, the Library carries a wide variety of books on small scale gardening and farming.

Now is also the time to start thinking about Christmas. Whether your aim is to make easy gifts or just plain small gifts, the Library has books on knitting, crochet, toy-making, quilting, jewelry, woodworking and more. The knitters and crochet enthusiasts of Thunder Bay will already know that “small” projects like socks, mittens, and other winter accessories make perfect Christmas presents. What you may not realize is that the Library has enough patterns in its collection to accessorize an army.

For all the little things that make life grand, take some time out of your day to fully enjoy them. Maybe you want to consider sharing them with a friend as well. Remember that the Share the Library campaign is still going on and the draw will take place on December 16 at noon (just another added treat courtesy of your Thunder Bay Public Library).

Jesse Roberts

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