Library has cookbooks full of ideas for homemade gifts

Published 12:00 am Friday, October 31, 2008

By Rebecca Hyde
Rowan Public Library
This season’s gift giving is approaching. And it may last well into the New Year for those who want to catch up in responding to unexpected presents or acts of kindness.
If you like to plan ahead, browse through a few books on the subject of food. Some may be food for thought and will entertain the armchair cook. Others may energize you.
With a few notes on recipes, ingredients and equipment, you’ll be ready to spend time in the kitchen producing and packaging loaves of bread, jars of preserves and assorted cookies. Why not make the gift of a complete dinner?
“Sweet Gratitude: Bake a Thank-You for the Really Important People in your Life,” by Judith Sutton, offers advice on how to match the person with the gift: brownies and bars that travel well, toffee thins without eggs, a mousse to take to a dinner party. Maida Heatter, the “Cookie Queen,” always carries brownies to give away in her purse .
“The Best Bake Sale Ever Cookbook,” by Barbara Grunes, sets itself apart from other baking books because of the three Ps: presentation, portability and portions. What works for fundraising is appropriate for gift giving. Helpful tips for packaging and transportation are included.
In “Simply Sensational Desserts: 140 Classics for the Home Baker from New York’s Famous Pâtisserie and Bistro,” by François Payard, the recipes are supposed to be simple and the results sensational. Almost every recipe is stunningly photographed.
What is Payard’s secret? If you can recognize a ripe peach, you can make a great peach tart. Translated, that means: If you know how to select fruit, if you are willing to buy quality ingredients and to invest some time (not too much), you can make great desserts.
Do “weekend cakes” demand two days of baking? Mais non (But no), Payard means “a cake that does not have to be refrigerated.” It’s a “no-headache” cake to bake and carry.
In contrast to professional baking guidelines, “Home Baking: The Artful Mix of Flour and Tradition around the World,” by Alford and Duguid, offers a more casual approach. You are to have fun making good food for people you love. Categories of recipes to choose from include: “For Those Who Can’t Eat Gluten,” “For Those Who Prefer Whole Grains,” “To Feed a Hungry Crowd” and “To Make as a Present.”
A cake, a loaf of bread, a tin of cookies ó these are presents to be enjoyed and not stored away.
Computer classes: Headquarters ó Monday, 7 p.m., Heritage Quest Online; Nov. 20, 2:30 p.m., eAudiobooks with N.C. Digital Library.
South ó Tuesday, 11 a.m., online auction selling; Nov. 24, 7 p.m., Digital Photography: Part Two.
Classes are free. Sessions are about 90 minutes long. Class size is limited and on a first-come, first-served basis.
Children’s Program: September-November ó Weekly Story Time. Headquarters ó Tuesday, 10 a.m., Toddlers and Moms (18-24 months); 11 a.m., Toddlers and Moms (24-36 months); Wednesday, 11 a.m., Tiny Tots and Moms (infants-18 months); Thursday, 10:30 a.m., Three through Five; 4 p.m., Noodlehead Story Times (4-8 years). South óMonday, 10:30 a.m., Preschool Time (3-5 years); 4 p.m., Noodlehead (4-8 years); Wednesday, 10:30 a.m., Toddlers and Twos (18-35 months); Thursday, 10:30 a.m., Baby Time (babies and toddlers); East ó Tuesday, 10:30 a.m., Preschool (2-5 years); 4 p.m., Noodlehead, (4-8 years); Wednesday, 10:30 a.m., Preschool (2-5 years); Thursday, 11 a.m. Baby Time (6 months-2 years).
Tuesday Night at the Movies: Nov. 18, “A Streetcar Named Desire”; Nov. 25, “On the Waterfront.” All movies are rated G, PG or PG 13; some movies are inappropriate for younger audiences. Children should be accompanied by an adult. Free popcorn and lemonade.
Displays: Headquarters ó Foundation by Rowan Public Library; South ó holiday Beleek and Fenton Glass by Kathy Murphy; East ó Jr. Poppy Education by AL Unit 112.Literacy: Call the Rowan County Literacy Council at 704-216-8266 for more information on teaching or receiving literacy tutoring for English speakers or for those for whom English is a second language.
Web site: For a listing of all library programs at all library locations, www.rowanpublic