Did You Know? (Pasta Edition)

That the difference between noodles and macaroni is eggs?

pastatheitalianwayNoodles are made with egg solids and a finely ground semolina flour called durum. Macaroni is made from only normal semolina and water. This information is from the entry on ‘Pasta’ in the 2015 World Book Encyclopedia.

Macaroni is just one type of pasta. There are hundreds of different shapes for pasta and thousands of names for those shapes. Each region of Italy has its own name for certain types of pasta. Sauces & Shapes: Pasta the Italian Way by Oretta Zanini De Vita and Maureen B. Fant has a nice section on pasta types and directions for making them as well as the best recipes for the types of dough you will need.

silverspoonAccording to The Silver Spoon for Children: Favorite Italian Recipes by Amanda Grant there are two main types of pasta: fresh and dried. Fresh is made with flour/egg and dried is flour/water. This book has wonderful recipes and easy directions for the future chef in your house. I think kids will really enjoy making the dishes in this book.

Pasta Modern by Francine Segan has some wonderful recipes for some nontraditional pasta uses. Examples include making mock pasta “pretzel” sticks or little pasta bird nests. They seem like fairly easy recipes that you can make with either your own homemade pasta, or start with store-bought.

meltWe cannot talk about pasta without mentioning macaroni and cheese! Melt: The Art of Macaroni and Cheese by Stephanie Stiavetti and Garrett McCord has dozens of recipes for this comfort food and variations of it you probably would never have dreamed of!

Besides being a delicious food, macaroni was historically used as a definition for a young British man who had travelled abroad in the18th century and exaggeratedly imitated continental fashions. Everyone called them dandy’s. This leads us to Yankee Doodle sticking a feather in his hat and calling himself “macaroni”.

crankeedoodleWe have several books with the poem “Yankee Doodle”. The original poem was written in the mid 1750’s and can be found in the book American Poetry: The Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries but the version we have all heard and know so well is actually a parody. Crankee Doodle by Tom Angleberger is a very fun story version of the poem that parents will probably enjoy more than the kids!

macandcheeseLastly, Mac and Cheese are two characters in a series of kid’s books written by Sarah Weeks. Mac is fun and lovable while Cheese is grumpy. These are perfect beginner reader books.

Did You Know? (Ivory Edition)

elkThat elk have two ivory teeth? The two well-defined upper canine teeth (also called buglers, bugle teeth, whistlers or tusks) of elk are rounded, extremely hard and ivory-like. I found this information in the book Elk by Erwin A Bauer on page 35. A lot of this book was researched and photographed in Yellowstone Park. I found it very interesting with beautiful pictures.

Technically, ivory is the term for any animal tusk used as material for art or manufacturing. Elk ivories are indeed tusks, of the same material and chemical composition as those sported by walruses, wild boars and elephants.

ivorysghostsElephants by Sally Morgan tells us how ivory has been collected from elephant tusks until the animals were nearly extinct. There are now laws to stop the import of ivory. She also gives other facts about the largest land mammals on earth. Ivory’s Ghosts by John Frederick Walker gives an in-depth history of the hunting/poaching of elephant tusks and discusses the controversial issue of the ivory ban, and what to do with the stockpiles of tusks from elephants that have died from natural causes.

worldofthewalrusWalruses have also been severely hunted for their ivory tusks. Peter Knudtson tells us that their tusks are primarily used for pulling themselves out of the water and onto the ice in the book The World of the Walrus.

blackivorysoulCarved ivory can hold “special” properties, as in the Nancy Drew book The Mystery of the Ivory Charm by Carolyn Keene. Ivory is also used in the album title and the title of song #5 on the music CD Black Ivory Soul. It is a wonderful CD by Angélique Kidjo who is one of the world’s best-loved African singers.

itsallaboutthedressAnd lastly, ivory also refers to color; there are so many different shades of white! Many brides choose ivory, champagne, diamond white, ecru, vanilla or candlelight for their wedding dresses instead of just plain white. Look at some beautiful choices in the book It’s All About The Dress by Randy Fenoli.

Did You Know? (Survival Edition)

plantsonthetrailJerusalem artichokes, serviceberries and blue camas roots are just a few of the plants you can eat to survive. Sacagawea taught Lewis and Clark about them and other plants on their expedition. This information is from the book Plants on the Trail with Lewis and Clark (chapter 3 “Plants as food”)  by Dorothy Hinshaw Patent.

We have a lot of books about Lewis and Clark and their journey, but I was particularly impressed with all of the sketches and copies of their original journal entries in Lewis & Clark: an Illustrated History  by Dayton Duncan and Ken Burns. The DVD of this book is based on is also available.

Ccookinglewis&clarkooking on the Lewis and Clark Expedition by Mary Anderson has a recipe for Roasted Jerusalem Artichokes and some other simple recipes that were probably staples in the men’s diets along the trail. I also discovered that there are no Jerusalem Artichokes in Jerusalem! However, looking at the Eyewitness Travel Guide for Jerusalem & the Holy Land with all the historic and cultural places that you can visit, really makes me want to travel there.

sacagaweaWithout Sacagawea, everyone on the expedition probably would have starved. There are many books about her. Most of them mention her finding and digging up roots and plants to help feed the men. Sacagawea: Westward with Lewis and Clark by Alana J White also tells the story of a near disaster with the boats and how she happened to save many books, clothes, a magnet, a microscope and the captain’s journals that were washed out of the pirogue. A few days later the two captains named a branch of the Musselshell River ‘Bird Woman’s River’ probably in her honor.

Northwest Foraging: the Classic Guide to Edible Plants of the Pacific Northwestsassurvival by Doug Benoliel lists many plants that you may even have in your yard. There are drawings and directions for using the plants, and information about whether you use the bulbs, the stalk, the leaves or flowers.

We have many areas in Washington where you can “get away from it all.” In case you decide to go hiking or camping up in the mountains, you may want to take SAS Survival Handbook: for Any Climate, in Any Situation by John “Lofty” Wiseman with you. You will learn how to harvest and safely prepare food, make a camp, basic first aid and many other things that you hope you will never need to know!

 

Did You Know? (Knitting Edition)

kitchenerThe Kitchener stitch used in seamless knitting was designed by Lord Kitchener, a British military hero of the Boer War and WWI, to keep the toes of socks from irritating his soldier’s feet. I found this information on page 91 in the book The Knitter’s Companion by Vicki Square.

Ghosts of the Empire: Britain’s Legacies in the Modern World by Kwasi Kwarteng has a chapter that talks about Lord Kitchener. It begins: “Perhaps no figure represented the British Empire at its late Victorian zenith better than Lord Kitchener. Even today, his image is familiar because of the most famous poster campaigns of all time, in which the caption reads ‘Your Country Needs You’….” Although I learned a lot about his military career, it did not talk about him knitting, or having socks made for the soldiers.

sockstoknitThe Kitchener stitch is mostly used in knitting socks and underarms of sweaters. Sometimes in patterns they use the term “graft” instead of “Kitchener stitch”, this is the case in the book Socks to Knit for Those You Love by Edie Eckman. Knitters who make socks know about the dreaded ‘second sock syndrome’ (where you just can’t make yourself start the second sock) and as a solution to this problem, there is now a big trend in making socks two at a time so matching is no longer an issue, as in 2-at-a-Time Socks by Melissa Morgan-Oakes. Making them from the toe up eliminates the need for the graft at the toe, as Knitting More Circles Around Socks by Antje Gillingham teaches you to do.

whyknot21thingstoknowmathjamk

If you think that you can’t knit, and would just end up with a tangle, perhaps you should take a look at Why Knot? by Philippe Petit and just learn to tie knots instead. He shows how to tie more than 60 different knots, with easy directions and practical uses for each one.

Good foot care is very important, especially if you are diabetic. 21 Things You Need to Know about Diabetes and your Feet by Neil M Scheffler, DPM, FACFAS tells us that there are now socks with a copper or silver weave that helps prevent bacteria and fungus from growing (example: athletes foot). Also your socks should not be too tight. The best design has no seams, so the socks will not cause an ulcer in the skin where they rub.

Socks are educational too! There are sorting and counting songs, such as “Sorting Socks” a song on the MathJam. K Music CD by Judy & David to play for your little ones.

Astronomy Day

universe2

Have you ever wanted to look through a telescope? Then come and help us celebrate Astronomy Day! We will be hosting the Everett Astronomy Club on Saturday May 10, 2014 in the Main Library Children’s Activity Room. The Everett Astronomy Club will have telescopes set up that you can look through, as well as video and computer displays and amateur astronomers to answer your questions.

At the event, you can learn about light pollution, observing techniques, stars, galaxies, planets and meteorites. Weather permitting, they are going to try to set up a telescope outside for solar observing. We have lots of books about astronomy if you are interested in learning more either before or after the program!

astronomy books

The group will also have their telescopes set up at Harborview Park on Friday May 9th and Saturday May 10th from 6:00 PM until midnight (weather permitting) and you can gaze at the stars there as well.

 

Did You Know? (Golf Edition)

The word golf actually comes from the Dutch word “kolf” meaning club?

oxfordwordorigins

I had always thought that the name GOLF was derived from an acronym for “Gentlemen Only, Ladies Forbidden”, but in researching this I found out that the idea is actually an urban legend. The word “golf” was first mentioned in 1457 in a Scottish edict banning certain games, as they probably distracted people from archery practice. There are several theories as to where the term came from, but no one ever suggested the acronym theory until the 20th century.

All of this information came from the book The Oxford Dictionary of Word Origins. I found several things in this book that are interesting – -“nephew” can also mean grandson, “dude” is from the German word for fool and “tent” actually comes from the Latin tendere which means “ to stretch”,  since tents were made from stretched animal skins. Take a look at this book and see which words surprise you!

arnie&jackYou can use your “kolf” (clubs) and work on improving your game with some of the books published by Golf Magazine about improving your swing, drive or putt. There are many other instructional books and DVDs in our catalog as well.

We have many books about golfers. One is Arnie & Jack: Palmer, Nicklaus and golf’s greatest rivalry featuring (obviously) the famous Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer. We also have biographies about Tiger Woods, Michelle Wie, Bagger Vance and Sam Snead among others.

goodwalkspoiledJohn Feinstein used the phrase A Good Walk Spoiled as the title for his tell-all book about being on the pro golf tour in 1993-94. Mark Twain is mistakenly given the credit for defining golf that way, but it is not clear where it originated. Even if he didn’t say it, maybe he would have if he’d been given the chance! Read about some of the witty things he did say and wrote in his 2 part autobiography.

spidersinthehairdoWe have many books about urban legends full of “absolutely true stories that happened to a friend of a friend of a friend.” While I didn’t find G.O.L.F. in any of the ones we have, I sure had fun reading some of the other stories! Urban Legends by Thomas Craughwell, Spiders in the Hairdo by David Holt & Bill Mooney and Encyclopedia of Urban Legends by Jan Harold Brunvand are all good choices.

Did You Know? (Fungus Edition)

The biggest living thing in the world is the Honey mushroom?

funguskingdom

You can’t see it because it lives mostly underground, but it measures 24.6 miles from side to side, and is at least 2400 years old!

I found this information on page 7 in the book The Fungus Kingdom by Rebecca Stefoff. Scientists call it an Armillaria ostoyae and it was discovered in the year 2000 in the Blue Mountains of Oregon. There are others in the United States as well. This book is filled with information and pictures concerning the six different types of fungi.

fieldguidetomushroomsSince there are so many toxic varieties of mushrooms that look very similar to edible ones, you should NEVER eat mushrooms you find unless you are 100% sure of what you have. Even with an identification guide like Field Guide to Mushrooms of Western North America by R. Michael Davis, you must be very careful.  I like mushrooms, but I must admit I am afraid of eating ones that don’t come from a grocery store! The book 100 Edible Mushrooms by Michael Kuo gives excellent tips on identification and tells whether a certain mushroom may have poisonous look-alikes. There is also a small section of recipes.

mushroomcultivatorTo make it easier to know exactly what type of mushroom you have, you can grow your own mushrooms. The Mushroom Cultivator by Paul Stamets can help you get started growing your own mushrooms at home. It can be as easy as starting with pre-inoculated mediums or as technical as designing a sterile room and cultivating your own agar culture. I was surprised how many details are involved in growing mushrooms, but this book is extremely informational.

gorgeousworldofmushroomsThen, once you have bought, found or grown your mushrooms, Northwest Essentials by Greg Atkinson has a section of recipes with some yummy looking choices including mushroom bisque and marinated chanterelles. If you need more, A Cook’s Initiation into the Gorgeous World of Mushrooms by Philippe Emanuelli has many recipes with directions and photos of mushroom dishes that you could make.

buzzedSome people deliberately eat or drink mushrooms “recreationally” because of their toxicity!.Buzzed: The Straight Facts about the most Used and Abused Drugs by Cynthia Kuhn, PhD, Scott Swartzwelder, PhD and Wilkie Wilson, PhD tells about the psilocybin mushrooms and their hallucinogenic effects on people.

darkemperorPeople even write fictional stories about mushrooms. There is a short story in the book The Stories of Ray Bradbury called “Boys! Raise Giant Mushrooms in Your Cellar!”. It is dark in the cellar….. and we all know mushrooms love that! But, if your kids are afraid of the dark, then Dark Emperor & Other Poems of the Night by Joyce Sidman may be a better choice of book that shows them a magical side of nighttime. It has pretty pictures and a nice little poem about mushrooms growing in a forest, with other poems featuring a spider, a cricket, a bat and more. Another story for kids is Mushroom in the Rain a book about animals taking cover in a rainstorm. It shows children the importance of sharing and is written by Mirra Ginsburg.

trashorigamiAnd finally, for those of you who just can’t get enough mushrooms, you can make your own origami mushrooms! Trash Origami by Michael G LaFosse and Richard L Alexander is full of fun ideas for using recycled candy wrappers, old calendar pages and those left-over bits of wrapping paper.