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Beating the lunch and dinner food rut blues

By Jennifer Nicholson

Rowan Public Library

The kids have been in school for about five weeks now; and yes, moms and dads, I counted. This is about the time in the school year when many kids start screaming, “No more pb and j!” The food rut usually hits everyone, from parents packing school and work lunches, to those cooking dinner every night. Yet, have no fear, the Rowan Public Library offers many great cookbooks to help with your foodie blues.

For lunch box ideas and helpful hints, try J.M. Hirsch’s “Beating the Lunch Box Blues.” Hirsch’s book offers helpful and colorful tips and recipes in an easy-to-browse style. Have leftover steak from dinner last night? Thinly cut the steak and make fajitas to pack in the lunch box. This is a great book to use when you are really running out of ideas and need fresh, healthy ideas for lunch menus. Even simply flipping through the pages will spark your lunch creativity or make your stomach growl.

For children with food allergies, “Allergy-free Cooking for Kids” by Sterling Epicure Press, features recipes for all meals of the day, for egg-free, dairy-free or gluten-free diets. Enticing colorful photos will tempt any cook to try a new recipe. The pineapple and white chocolate jelly cake sounds amazing, by the way!

Have a picky eater? Have them help you in the kitchen. Cookbooks are not only for adults, Rowan Public Library offers many great cookbooks for kids and teens. “The Cookbook for Teens,” by Mendocino Press, “Teens Cook,” by Megan and Jill Carle with Judi Carle, and many more, teaches teens how to cook, from tips and techniques on cooking that perfect burger to Paprika Bliss Soup.

For younger children, try “Mommy’s Little Helper Cookbook” for children ages 3-7 by Karen Brown, or “The Toddler Cookbook” by Annabel Karmel. Both cookbooks offer age appropriate and fun recipes or helpful hints for parents on getting children to help in the kitchen. Still worry about a picky eater? Don’t worry, Rowan Public Library also has “The Unofficial Hunger Games Cookbook” by Emily Ansara Baines. have a “Hunger Games” party.

Still worried about a fussy eater? You can always try the sneaky approach. “The Sneaky Chef” cookbook, by Missy Chase Lapine, provides “simple strategies for hiding healthy foods in kids’ favorite meals.” Try sneaking in some carrots to spaghetti sauce or cauliflower to homemade mac ‘n’ cheese. This cookbook offers a covert strategy to getting kids to eat more vegetables and healthier meals.

Cooking can be creative and fun, but it can also be educational, as well. Take a moment to provide a little math lesson, Math 24/7 Culinary Math,” by Helen Thompson, allows students to learn fractions for dividing recipes, and how to read nutrition labels. Cooking is also a great way to learn about other countries and cultures — try a new recipe from Japan or India. You might be surprised and find a new family night favorite.

Food ruts happen to us all; but Rowan Public Library has many great cookbooks to help rediscover the love of cooking. To browse or find additional titles, please visit us or our website at rowanpubliclibrary.org.

Book Bites Book Club: South (China Grove), Tuesday, Oct. 27, 6:30-8 p.m. Free, open to the public. If you enjoy good books, fellowship and tasty food, join us for this club where we discuss a different book each month and serve refreshments loosely related to the theme. This month’s book choice is “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evilby John Berendt. Need a copy? Call 704-216-7841.

Blazin’ Blues Bob: In concert Tuesday, Oct. 27, 7-9 p.m. Bob Paolino is an accomplished blues musician specializing in roots blues with his major influences being Robert Johnson, Blind Willie Johnson, Muddy Waters and Blind Willie McTell. A dynamic slide player, he loves to perform in all styles of blues — Delta, Piedmont and Texas. As an amateur blues historian, educating about the players and the history behind the blues is always part of his performances. Admission is free, and all are welcome. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Show sponsored by Friends of Rowan Public Library.

Computer classes: If you’re new to computers or never felt comfortable, Computer Basics will cover the everything from components to programs. Tuesday, Oct. 13, 7-8:30 p.m., headquarters; and Thursday, Oct. 29, 9:30-11 a.m.

Getting to know your iPad, headquarters, Tuesday, Oct. 27, 7-8 p.m. Discussion of components, navigation, apps. Must preregister, bring you own iPad, charged, and with an updated operating system, and have a current, valid Apple ID. Free signup at https://appleid.apple.com/  Space is limited. Call Paul Birkhead at 704-216-8242 to reserve a spot.

Drawing class: Drawing for beginners at East branch, Monday, Oct. 5, 5:30-7 p.m. Teens and adults interested in learning the basics of sketching are invited to join resident artist Emma Rose as she teaches the principles of drawing, such as perspective, shading and choice of medium.

Family event: Histories and Mysteries at the Roller Mill, Sunday, Oct. 11, 2-4 p.m., China Grove Roller Mill, 308 N. Main St., China Grove. Learn about a local landmark. For the whole family, a free and entertaining afternoon of storytelling by Marian Lytle and refreshments from 2-4 p.m.  Tours of the four-story building and the original mill equipment will be offered throughout the afternoon. This event is sponsored by the China Grove Historical Society and Rowan Public Library. Call 704-216-7728 for more details.

Fall Photowalk: Open to all ages and skill levels; registration is requested. Bring your own camera (even if it’s on your phone) and wear comfortable walking shoes. Downtown Salisbury. In the event of rain, the Photowalk will be canceled. Please call 704-216-8242 for more information or to register. Register online at www.rowanpubliclibrary.org. Headquarters, Saturday, Oct. 24, 10: a.m.-noon; South, Thursday, Oct. 29, 5:30-7 p.m., explore the China Grove Roller Mill.

Genealogy research class: Saturday, Oct. 17, 10 a.m.-noon.  An introductory course on beginning genealogy research sponsored by the library and the Genealogical Society of Rowan. Local and web resources will be explored and explained by members of the Genealogical Society and History Room. Reserve your spot by calling Gretchen Witt at 704-216-8232 or by going online at www.rowanpubliclibrary.org

Displays: Headquarters, NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) and Family Crisis; South, Carson High School Student Art; East, handmade jewelry by Myrtis Trexler.

Gallery at headquarters: Photographic prints and tintypes by David Lamanno.

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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