Library is full of cookbooks from all cuisines
By Amanda Bosch
Rowan Public Library
Do you ever watch Food Network or cooking shows on PBS and drool at the beautifully appetizing dishes that are prepared? When you go to your favorite Chinese restaurant, are you inspired to try to break down the recipe so you can recreate it at home for friends and family?
Perhaps you would enjoy perusing some of the wonderfully enticing new cookbooks available at the Rowan Public Library for your next Asian-themed dinner night or supper club.
The smell of exotic spices, the sizzle of meats and veggies being tossed in a hot wok as you enter your favorite Asian restaurant may assail your senses and make your mouth water, but have you ever considered making your own Asian dinner? Manyee Elaine Mar, who grew up in her family’s Chinese restaurant in Denver in the 1970s and 1980s, has delivered recipes that reflect the menu which “was a true reflection of the Chinese-American experience, a blending of our ethnic heritage with the tastes of the region to which we had immigrated” in the second edition of the “Everything Chinese Cookbook.”
While there are favorites like fried rice, Kung Pao chicken, or crab rangoons, there are also recipes that are unique to her family’s restaurant such as Chicken Cantonese or Pork Riblets in Black Bean Sauce. Forget takeout or even delivery, you can peruse the flavors of China without leaving home or worrying over what to pack. Just choose any one of the mouthwatering recipes, stop by the market, pick up a few groceries, and you are ready to start cooking your own Chinese dinner.
Ah, the broth, the meat, the noodles — perfection in a bowl. If you prefer pho, a Vietnamese soup and noodle dish that is elemental to Vietnamese culture, then you may want to try Andrea Quynhgiao Nguyen’s “The Pho Cookbook.” Recipes range from easy to adventurous and include a brief history of pho and how to pronounce it like a native, as well as its value to the Vietnamese culture.
There is a breakdown of the different types of noodles, spices, seasonings and herbs. There are tricks, techniques, tips and then recipes for the classic soups, fried rice, noodle salads, even a beef pho banh mi which may be viewed as a Vietnamese American twist to the French dip sandwich that is so popular in many American restaurants. Don’t forget to try one of the pho sidekicks like the Pho Pot Stickers or the Coconut Coffee. Your guests will be impressed.
A fun party idea for the more adventurous among us might be to set up an Asian street food- themed dinner. In “Street Food Asia” by Luke Nguyen, one can discover delectable recipes and gorgeous photos of a wide variety of street food samplings from across Asia.
If you decide to host an Asian street food dinner, your guests can sample dishes from Vietnam such as Crab & Tapioca Noodle Soup, sizzling savory central style pancakes or a spicy pork sandwich on a baguette before “traveling” to Indonesia, where samples of more traditional dishes like chicken satay skewers with spicy peanut sauce can be served alongside more exotic offerings like spicy fishcakes grilled in banana leaves.
Moving onto Malaysia, one can prepare dishes such as Malay Curry Puffs or handmade pan mee noodles with pork and shitake mushrooms. Your guests could try a final stop in Bangkok where you can find recipes for unique and delectable dishes such as Chili & Basil Chicken with steamed rice or chargrilled scallops with butter and spring onion oil.
These are a sampling of the many cookbooks available at Rowan Public Library. Whether you prefer Italian cuisine, baking on weekends or cooking 30-minute meals, there is sure to be a cookbook that’s right for you, so check one out and challenge yourself to try something new by creating a new dish for your friends and family.
Chapter Chats Book Club: A weekly club for teens 14-17, primarily for participants with developmental or intellectual disabilities, but all are welcome. Meets Tuesdays at East branch meeting room, through May 23, 5 p.m. For more information, contact Tammie Foster at 704-216-7842.
Teen Advisory Board: Teens who join this board provide input on RPL’s teen programming and book selection and discuss current events and issues of interest. Members can count their hours of participation toward school community service requirements. Headquarters, April 25, 4:30 p.m.
“Dr. Strange” at South Rowan Regional: Monday, April 17, 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. Benedict Cumberbatch and Chiwetel Ejiofor star in “Dr. Strange.” This 2016, PG-13 rated film has a runtime of 115 minutes. Light refreshments; free, open to the public. All ages are welcome; an adult must accompany children ages 13 and under.
Teen Poetry Slam: April 18, 5:30-7 p.m., headquarters. Teens younger than 19 are invited to perform up to three original poems in front of a panel of judges and an audience. Winners will be determined in middle and high school categories and will receive prizes. Poems are judged according to content, length, word usage, organization and audience response; performances are judged per poet’s eye contact, voice projection and clarity, relation to the audience, delivery and overall execution. Registration is required. Contact Hope at 704-216-8258 or Hope.Loman@rowancountync.gov. This event is free. Audience participation is open to the public and all ages.
No-school Cinema: Captain America marathon, April 19, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. features “The First Avenger,” 10 a.m.; “Winter Soldier,” 12:30 p.m.; and “Civil War,” 3 p.m. All three films are rated PG-13 and have runtimes of, respectively, 124 minutes, 135 minutes and 147 minutes. Light refreshments, free and open to the public. All ages welcome; an adult must accompany children ages 13 and under.
No-school Cinema: “The Secret Life of Pets,” April 19, 2-3:30 p.m. South Rowan Regional. What do pets get up to while their owners are away? Starring the voice talents of Jenny Slate, Louis C.K., Eric Stonestreet and Kevin Hart, this 2016, PG-rated film has a runtime of 87 minutes. Light refreshments, free and open to the public. All ages are welcome; an adult must accompany children under 9. After the film, children (preK through fifth grade) may stay for Canvas Kids, a 30-45 minute art class that begins at 4:30 p.m.
No-school Cinema: Disney marathon, April 21, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., East branch, Rockwell. Features “Pocahontas,” 10 a.m.; “Little Mermaid,” noon; “Beauty and the Beast,” 2 p.m. All three films are rated G and have runtimes of, respectively, 81 minutes, 83 minutes, and 84 minutes. Light refreshments, free and open to the public. All ages are welcome; an adult must accompany children under 9.
Lego free play: April 22, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., South Rowan Regional, China Grove. The library’s Lego collection will be available for free play for children.
Explorer Club: April 22, 11 a.m.-noon, headquarters. “Money, money, money!” Sometimes, money drives us; sometimes, it taxes us. Join the Explorer Club’s investigation of currency through fun activities and related books. Programs are most suitable for children in second through fifth grade.
Friends of RPL Annual Meeting: April 25, 7 p.m., headquarters. This year’s presenter is Tim Peeler, author and poet. A past winner of the Jim Harrison Award for contributions to Baseball Literature, Peeler has also been a finalist for both the Casey and the SIBA Awards. Peeler will share poems from his 2016 “Wild in the Strike Zone,” along with stories and slides focusing on the Outlaw Independent Carolina Baseball League that played in the Piedmont in the 1930s. The annual meeting will be held in Stanback Auditorium; a reception will follow in the Hurley Room. This free event is open to the public; all ages are welcome.
Learn.Act.Grow.: Photo workshop, April 24, 5:30-7 p.m., South Regional. Learn the secrets of capturing great moments with photographers Aaron Cress and April Everett. Participants may bring their cameras.
Downtown Beats, Rowan’s Impromptu Chorus: April 24, 6-7 p.m., Headquarters. Everyone is welcome. This community sing requires no experience and no commitment. No charge or prior registration is required. Arrive at 6 p.m. for a short practice of two songs. March’s sing culminates with a final performance of the night’s songs. Questions? Contact Abigail at Abigail.Hardison@rowancountync.gov or at 704-216-8248.
Displays: Headquarters, Sexual Assault Awareness exhibit by the Family Crisis Council and national robotics display by John Deal; East, artisan jewelry by Myrtis Trexler; South, clothesline project.
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.
Weekly events for children run through the week of April 28.
Baby Time: Infants to 23 months. A loosely interactive program introducing simple stories and songs to infants up to 23 months old with a parent or caregiver; 30 minutes. Headquarters, Char’s Little Stars, Wednesday, 10 a.m.; East branch, Tammie’s Tiny Sprouts, Mondays, 10 a.m.; South Regional, Miss Pat’s Tiny Tots, Wednesdays, 10 a.m.
Toddler Time: 18 to 35 months. Focused on sharing books, singing songs and encouraging listening skills with a parent or caregiver. 30 min. Headquarters, Reading Rumpus, Tuesdays, 10:30 .m.; East, Tammie’s Tot Time, Mondays, 11 a.m.; South, Miss Pat’s Wee Readers, Tuesdays, 10:30 a.m.
Preschool Time: To encourage the exploration of books and build reading readiness skills for children 3 to 5 years old with a parent or caregiver. 30 minutes. Headquarters, East and South, Thursdays, 10:30 a.m.
Noodlehead Story Time: Books and songs for all ages; primary focus is pre-kindergarten through fifth grade. 30-45 minutes. Headquarters, Thursdays, 4 p.m.; East, Tuesdays, 3:30 p.m.; South, Wednesdays, 4 p.m.
Art programs: Activities and instruction based on various themes and media vary by branch. Appropriate for pre-kindergarten through fifth grade. Headquarters, Art in the Afternoon, Thursdays, 4:30 p.m.; East, Bethany’s Brushes, Tuesdays, 4 p.m.; South, Canvas Kids, Wednesdays, 4:30 p.m.
Tail Waggin’ Tutors: Children 7 to 9 can practice their reading skills in a relaxed, dog-friendly atmosphere. Dogs registered through Therapy Dogs International are available for beginning and struggling readers to read aloud to them. Reservations are recommended but not required. Headquarters, Tuesdays, 4:30 p.m.; East, selected Mondays, 3:30 p.m.; South, selected Tuesdays at 6 p.m. and Saturdays at 10 a.m.