Being thankful for our food, our children and more

Published 12:00 am Sunday, November 19, 2017

By Paul Birkhead

Rowan Public Library

In this season of giving thanks, I would like to add some of the things I am personally thankful for. I am thankful for this great nation I was blessed to be born in and the state of North Carolina that has been my home for the past 20 years. I am thankful for Rowan County and the commissioners who support my employer, Rowan Public Library, in its mission to inform, educate and entertain.

I am also thankful for the blessings of food and all the wonderful ways in which to prepare it. Along those lines, please consider checking out these new books at the library.

Christopher Kimball’s Milk Street is a collection of recipes from one of America’s greatest home cooks. You may know Christopher Kimball from his previous endeavors, such as the founder of Cooks Magazine (later renamed Cooks Illustrated) and host of the popular cooking show, “America’s Test Kitchen.”

Another title to investigate is “Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat: Mastering the Elements of Good Cooking,” by Samin Nosrat. This book explains kitchen science in a thoughtful and sometimes humorous way. As you read, you’ll be learning cooking basics that will boost your confidence in the kitchen.

Perhaps there is a dish that was popular in your family years ago and no one remembers how it was made. Check out Betty Crocker’s “Lost Recipes: Beloved Vintage Recipes for Today’s Kitchen.” Betty Crocker, the fictional cook of General Mills, has been around for almost 100 years. Countless cookbooks have been published in her trusted name and your mother or grandmother probably owned one or several of them. Inside this volume, recipes that may have fallen out of fashion over the years are reintroduced (with a little tweaking for the modern palate) to today’s cooks.

I am also thankful for loved ones and for all the ways they touch our lives. If you have young children or grandchildren, consider bringing them to story time at the library. Some of the best storytellers I’ve ever heard are employed by Rowan Public Library.

Over the years, these librarians have instilled a love of reading into thousands of children, some of whom now bring children of their own. If you have a teenager, the library also serves them with a variety of fun and engaging programs.

Perhaps you are caring for an aging parent. The library has many resources on that subject including Eldercare 101 and Caring for a Loved One with Dementia.

And we can’t forget about our pets. Whether you’re raising chickens or goats or have a more traditional animal such as a dog or cat, you can find several books and DVDs on how to care for them and celebrating their relationships with us.

One new title I’m interested in is “Walking with Peety: the Dog Who Saved My Life,” about a man and his rescue dog who change each others lives for the better.

I am also thankful for veterans. I appreciate the sacrifices that members of America’s armed forces have made, and continue to make, to keep our nation free. Rowan Public Library is hosting screenings of each of the 10 episodes in Ken Burns’ documentary about the Vietnam War. Each week a new episode is shown on Wednesdays and Saturdays through December. There is also related programming during this time and local veterans photograph and memorabilia displays throughout the library.

These are just some of the things I’m thankful for. Stop by Rowan Public Library during this season and perhaps discover or celebrate some of your own.

Chapter Chats: Weekly book club for teens 14-17, primarily for participants with developmental or intellectual disabilities, though all are welcome. Mondays, 5 p.m. at East Branch, Rockwell. Contact Tammie Foster at 704-216-7842.

Give Back Saturdays: Give back to the community with crafts and projects the library will donate to local charities. Teens can count participation to meet community service requirements for school or other groups. Headquarters, Dec. 16, 11 a.m.

Teens National Novel Writing Month: headquarters, Nov. 1-30. Teens are invited to celebrate NaNoWriMo with the library. Are you an aspiring writer? Do you enjoy a challenge? Join us as we all try to write 50,000 words in 30 days. Come hang out, talk to other writers and try to meet your word goal for the day. For more information, check out All authors who reach their goal will be invited to a special book release party at a later date. Questions? Call Hope at 704-216-8258.

The Write Stuff: Lessons in and practice with creative writing, led by Jenny Hubbard, young adult novelist. Headquarters, Dec. 5, 4:30 p.m.

Teen Game Night: East, Nov. 20, 6:30 p.m. Challenge your friends to a game on the Wii. Do you have what it takes to be the champion? The winner will receive a gift card.

Let’s Make a Playlist: Headquarters, Dec. 16, 2 p.m. RPL’s makerspace, known as the Cooperative Lab or “The Coop,” will host this teen program. Participants will curate and prepare the playlist of period-specific music that will be featured at the Welcome Home celebration on Dec. 30.

No School Cinema: “Free Birds,” East, Nov. 22, 10 a.m. Two turkeys from opposite sides of the tracks must put aside their differences and get turkey off the holiday menu for good in this PG-rated film. Enjoy this film showing with the popcorn and lemonade provided.

Cards for a Cause: Headquarters, East and South, through Dec. 18. Create holiday cards that will be delivered to active service members in the U.S. Armed Forces and to veterans at the Hefner VAMC in Salisbury. Questions? Call Laurie at 704-216-7732.

‘The Vietnam War” Film Screening: Headquarters, Nov. 22 at 10 a.m. The library hosts free weekly screenings of “The Vietnam War,” a 10-part documentary film by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick that aired on PBS. Episode 6: “Things Fall Apart (January-July 1968)” will be shown. Adults (17 and up) only.

Downtown Beats: Headquarters, Nov. 20, 6-7 p.m. Rowan’s Impromptu Chorus. This community sing is free, open to all ages and experience is not required. Door prizes sponsored by Salisbury Ghost Walk.

Through a Soldier’s Eyes: An oral history project at headquarters, East and South. Through Dec. 30, brochures explaining the oral history project, outlining prompts for questions, and offering the contact information for two librarians who can record stories will be distributed at all branches and throughout the community.  These brochures are intended for teens and adults.Nonveterans, particularly teens with friends or family members who served in Vietnam or remember the time period well, are encouraged to use these brochures as guides to engage in conversations that can then be recorded, either on their own or with a librarian’s assistance.

Veterans are invited to consider what aspects of their story they want to tell and to contact a listed librarian for an appointment.

All recordings of veterans’ stories will be archived by RPL and added to its existing collection of veterans’ oral histories. In the future, RPL hopes to edit the newly added stories and make portions available on the library’s website.

Visual stories may be displayed at the Welcome Home event scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 30.

Displays: Headquarters, Carolina Artist League. Grids, “Through a Soldier’s Eyes: Remembering Vietnam” (photographs) by Edith M. Clark History Room. Gallery, Vietnam Remembered featuring veteran’s artifacts. East, military memorabilia from World War 1 to Vietnam, by Glenn and Terry Hinson; South, doll exhibit by Rowan County Doll Society.

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.

Children’s weekly storytimes and programs go on hiatus Nov. 20.