Tart or sweet, cherries are a favorite flavor, and there's more to cherries than meets the eye. Cherries actually belong to the rose family. Cherry's rosy relatives include other stone fruits such as almonds, apricots, plums, peaches, and nectarines.
February is a terrific month to dig into cherries. For years, people have made cherry pies to celebrate George Washington's birthday on February 22. Why do we think of cherries when we think of our first president?
Making bread from flour, yeast, water/milk and whatever else goes into your recipe is one of the most satisfying things a person of any age can learn, and there are so many good lessons for homeschooling, too. There’s measuring, of course, but there are a lot of little things that baking reinforces. Patience: it takes time for a loaf of bread to rise. An eye for detail: how do you know when the bread is mixed enough? When it's done? Sharing: whether you’re sharing an Amish or sourdough starter or a complete loaf of bread, sharing can be the best part of baking.
Even with all those good lessons, author Elizabeth Harbison and illustrator John Harbison go it one better by including a cheerful history of bread making in their book, Loaves of Fun: A History of Bread with Activities and Recipes from Around the World. You’ll learn how people across the world and across time have made their bread. They might use different kinds of flour. They might not even use yeast. But it’s all bread, made to be enjoyed—and shared.
Summer is a time of fresh produce and easy, cooling foods. If you don’t grow your own produce, there are farmers' markets in the City of Fredericksburg and Colonial Beach, as well as Spotsylvania and Stafford counties. In June and July, come to the library for free cooking classes, and find out how to use those wonderful summer foods.
Cooking with Local Flair, Monday, June 25, 10:00-11:00
Fermenting Foods, Monday, July 23, 10:00-11:30
Whether you're confined to comforting abyss of your home or out in the chill when winter weather strikes, you're always thinking: stay warm. With Soup Nights: Satisfying Soups and Sides for Delicious Meals All Year, you'll discover an array of soup recipes: from warming vegetable soups, to light soups—warm or chilled, author and cook Betty Rosbottom has your dinner menu covered.
A soup cleanse is a modern alternative for expelling antioxidants from your body. In Nicole Centeno’s Soup Cleanse Cookbook: Embrace a Better Body and a Healthier You With the Weekly Soup Plan, you can establish a meal plan yourself with delicious and nutritious soup recipes that are all plant-based.
The farmer's market beckons us with spring's arugula, peas, and asparagus and continues its siren call until the fall's first frost. We return with bags overflowing with berries, new potatoes, sugar snap peas, and herbs to plant in the garden. Of course there are tried-and-true recipes that we fall back on each year to use up the produce, but new inspiration is always welcome. Southern Living's Farmer's Market Cookbook is a great resource for "celebrat[ing] the seasons with fresh-from-the-farm recipes."
“The sharper your knife, the less you cry.”
Chefs dominate the cooking industry; the big ones have TV shows, cookbooks, their own magazines. Because of them, there are cooking shows for every taste and better produce in your local market. Here is a selection of notable memoirs; two of the authors uplifted home cooking in America.
I'm not a great cook, and I don't have a lot of time to cook. But I love, love, love browsing cookbooks! Here are some of our recently acquired cookbooks that have the one thing I require: great photos. I may never make any of the recipes, but, thanks to these cookbook authors and their photographers, I've spent quality time salivating over the photos.
Southern Living’s Farmers Market Cookbook has interesting, beautiful recipes that are not difficult for an ordinary cook to produce. This is to be expected as it is typical of anything from Southern Living’s magazines and cookbook lines. But what is different here is the book’s focus on vegetables, fruits, cheeses, and other foods that are available seasonally at local farmers markets.
"Cultivating Community" is a community-wide program designed to share information in the Fredericksburg region about farm-to-table and sustainable food communities. These web sites support those goals by exploring how you can assess the sustainability of your community and your home, finding locally grown foods or growing your own, cooking, and sustainable gardening.
Community Sustainability Assessment: gen.ecovillage.org/activities/csa/English
A comprehensive checklist that anyone can complete to get a basic idea of how sustainable their community is. While it requires good knowledge of the life-styles, practices and features of the community, it does not require research, calculation and detailed quantification. This assessment takes about three hours for an individual to complete, or a series of sessions if done as a group experience by community members.