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Make the best of summer flavors

By Gretchen Beilfuss Witt
Rowan Public Library
Some among us have green thumbs. My mother and daughter-in-law have them. Alas, I do not.
However, this time of year with flowers, herbs and other plants at every corner store, the yearning increases for fresh fruits and vegetables in your shopping basket, your backyard garden patch or on your plate.
While itís true that little improvement can be made to luscious, juicy summer tomatoes lightly salted and drizzled with olive oil, experimenting with garden fare can be just as satisfying.
Perla Meyersí ěFresh from the Gardenî explores garden produce for each season from spring asparagus to winter squash. Each season and vegetable receives a bit of attention, including how to garden, serve and store.
Recipes follow, short and clear, covering soups, main dishes, relishes and pickles. Simple ingredients and serving suggestions for mouth-watering recipes like Baby Red-Skinned Potatoes in Maple Nutmeg Butter make this an easy and enjoyable cookbook.
ěFarmer Johnís Cookbook,î created by Farmer John Peterson, extols the benefits of organic and community farming with stories, articles and recipes. It is a philosophical cookbook explaining the need for slow food versus fast food, organic over chemical.
Recipes include Oven Sweet Potato Chips, Ginger Melon Sorbet and cornmeal crusted Fried Green Tomatoes ó a delicious foray into fixing fresh food. Check out the local farmerís market for more inspiration.
Want to take all that fresh food out into the fresh air? Take a look at Robin Vitetta-Millerís ěPicnics.î Packed with scrumptious dishes ready to travel, she intersperses recipes with picnic factoids and fun bits of trivia.
Did you know pique-niques first appeared in the late 17th century more as a potluck with everyone bringing something to the meal? It was not until later that they became excursions into the countryside.
From chicken salad with raspberries and walnuts, parmesan cheese twists and hazelnut half-moon cookies, you can prepare goodies are ready for a picnic basket. Suggestions for theme meals and perfect beverages accompany packing and wrapping tips.
Topping off this collection of cookbooks for the summer growing season is ěSimple Fresh Southern Knockout Dishes with Down-home Flavorî by Matt and Ted Lee. Intriguing combinations abound ó Watermelon Margaritas, Radish butter and Rice Pudding pops ó and give just a glimpse of the tasty provisions waiting. Beautifully illustrated with mouth-watering pictures, this cookbook takes a new look at Southern flavor. Pimento-cheese, a staple of Southern cooking, is re-invented in Pimento-Cheese Potato Gratin, traditional lobster rolls inspire shrimp and deviled-egg salad rolls, and the customary banana pudding becomes Banana Pudding Parfaits. Fresh fare and good eating await ó checkout a cookbook today and tantalize your taste buds.
Computer classes: Classes are free. Sessions are approximately 90 minutes. Class size is limited and on a first-come, first-serve basis. Dates and times at all locations are subject to change without notice.
Headquarters ó Monday, 7 p.m., Website Design, Part 2; June 21, 2 p.m., Email Tips and Tricks. Basic computer skills and an email account are required for all three classes above.
June 27, 7 p.m., Absolute Beginners.
Summer Family Movie Night at Headquarters ó June 21, 6:30 p.m., ěDiary of a Wimpy Kid.î Part of the centennial celebration. All movies are rated G, PG or PG 13 ó some movies are inappropriate for younger audiences. Children should be accompanied by an adult. Free popcorn and lemonade.
Guitarist at South Rowan Regional Library ó June 14, 7 p.m., guitarist Comer ěMoonî Mullins, a singer and songwriter. He has performed on radio, screen, television and stage. Mullins performs frequently throughout the South and Midwest.
RPL and N.C. Humanities present ěStill Cookiní î ó Headquarters, June 28, 7 p.m. Dr. Mary Ellis Gibson will trace the history of Southern foodtalk in cookbooks and in fiction. A reception and a chance to chat with Gibson will follow. This project is made possible by a grant from the North Carolina Humanities Council.
Childrenís Program ó This summer the Rowan Public Library invites kids to join the library for a summer of exciting programs and great reads with One World, Many Stories.
Weekly programs begin Monday and run until July 28. New for this year, limited family programs at Cleveland Town Hall. Prizes are awarded for every five, 10, 15 and 20 hours read, and door prizes are given at the school-aged programs.
Program groups and times:
12-24-month-olds: Mondays, 10:30 a.m., East Branch; Tuesdays, 11 am, Headquarters; Thursdays, 10:30 am, South Library (four-week program).
2-year-olds: 10:30 a.m. Tuesdays, East Branch; Wednesdays, South Library; Thursdays, Headquarters (four-week program).
3- to 5-year-olds: 10:30 a.m. Mondays, South Library; Wednesdays, Headquarters; Thursdays, East Branch (seven-week program).
Rising first through fifth graders: Tuesdays, 10:30 a.m., South Library; Wednesdays, 2 p.m., Headquarters; Wednesdays, 10:30 a.m., East Branch; Thursdays, 10:30 a.m., Cleveland Town Hall, select programs only; (seven-week program).
June 13-16 (Cleveland): Mark Daniel, Incredible World, Fantastic Stories & Magical Books;
June 20-22: Didgeridoo Down Under, Australian Adventure;
June 27-30 (Cleveland): Marian the Librarian.
Calling all teens: Travel the globe with ěYou Are Hereî ó There are many ways for teens to see the world this summer at the library. Starting June 13 and running through July 28, all rising sixth-graders to 12th-graders are invited to participate in events at the library. Teens can earn library dollars to be used at the end of the summer to bid on prizes provided by the Friends of Rowan Public Library.
Programs are:
World Tour Australia: Identify world coins and learn about Australia ó Headquarters, Salisbury, this Tuesday, 3:30-5 p.m.; East Branch, Rockwell, Wednesday, 3:30-5 p.m.; South Rowan Regional, China Grove, Friday, 3:30-5 p.m.
South America: Learn about South America and make a pinata or necklace óheadquarters, June 21, 3:30-5 p.m.; East Branch, June 22, 3:30-5 p.m., South Rowan Regional, June 23, 3:30-5 p.m.
Asia: Learn about countries in Asia and play a Japanese game show ó Headquarters, June 28, 3:30-5 p.m.; East Branch, June 29, 3:30-5 p.m.; South Rowan Regional, June 30, 3:30-5 p.m.
Also this summer, the library is offering a Parent and Family Reading Workshop from 5:30-6:30 p.m. on Monday, June 27, at Headquarters in Salisbury.
For more information please check the library website at www.rowanpubliclibrary.org or call your closest RPL location ó Headquarters, 704-216-8234; South Rowan Regional, 704-216-7728; East Branch, 704-216-7842.
Displays:Headquarters ó photography and pottery by Emily Walls; Lee Street Theatre by Robert Jones; South ń collectible toy soldiers from different wars by Steven Wise; East ó art by Colleen Walton.
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.

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