Tag Archives: Culinary

Pi à la Mode

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Every year on March Fourteenth people around the world celebrate the most famous mathematical constant: the ratio of the length of the circumference of a circle to its diameter. This is an irrational number, approximated to 3.14 (or 3.1415926) and represented by the Greek letter π. As a number, π is transcendental and real as well as irrational. Mathematician James Glaisher remarked of π that “a complete account of its calculation would almost amount to a history of mathematics.” (Quoted in: William Dunham, The Genius of Euler: Reflections on His Life and Work: On the History of Euler’s Constant (The Mathematical Association of America, 2007), p. 147.)

π has been calculated out to over a trillion decimal places, but we still do not know where it ends! Competitions to recite the known sequence of digits are held regularly around the world. (See pi-world-ranking-list.com for record-setting recitations.)

Mathematician Mark Kac noted that “pi, so intimately connected with circles, keeps cropping up in probability theory and statistics, the two disciplines which deal with randomness and luck.” (Mark Kac, Enigmas of Chance: An Autobiography: The Search for the Meaning of Independence (Harper & Row, 1985), p. 55.) We have an activity set up for you to experience this, based on Buffon’s Needle, the proof named after Georges-Louis LeClerc, Comte de Buffon, a scientist who enjoyed gambling.

The Greek letter π is pronounced like our English word “pie” – hence the puns, since pie is usually made in a circular pan, and, being a delicious pastry, may be difficult to divide fairly, as memorialized in the old English nursery rhyme:

A was once an Apple pie; B bit it; C cut it; D dealt it; E eat it; F fought for it; G got it; H had it; I inspected it; J joined it; K kept it; L longed for it; M mourned for it; N nodded at it; O opened it; P peeped in it; Q quartered it; R ran for it; S stole it; T took it; U upset it; V viewed it; W wanted it; X, Y, Z, and ampersand, all wished for a piece in hand.

March Fourteenth is also the birthday of Albert Einstein (b. 1879), who theorized what is perhaps the most famous equation using a constant in our universe: the relationship of mass to energy, represented by E=mc2 (E=energy; m=mass; c=the speed of light).

March Fourteenth is the death anniversary of another famous physicist: Stephen Hawking (d. 2018) who developed theories about the origins of our universe, and black holes, based on Einstein’s work.

The Library is displaying books by and about Einstein and Hawking, plus books on number theory and pastries, this month.

Come on in for some Pi!

 

New Culinary Books

Enjoy biscuits and cakes, puddings and pies, from romance and comedy through to horror and science fiction, and discover fun, edible versions of your favorite novels.

Scone with the Wind: Cakes & Bakes with a Literary Twist by Miss Victoria Sponge: TX771 .S366 2015

“Jenny’s creative cookie designs are achievable, yet impressive. Jenny always delivers when it comes to creating eye-catching and delicious treats that everyone can enjoy.” (Desiree Smith, Wilton Brands)

Cookie Class: 120 Irresistible Decorating Ideas for Any Occasion by Jenny Keller: TX772 .K39 2019

“A fascinating read full of delicious detail. Claire Stewart explores the diversity of American wedding food and wedding feast traditions.” (Vicki Howard, visiting fellow, University of Essex)

As Long As We Both Shall Eat: A History of Wedding Food and Feasts by Claire Stewart: GT2690 .S74 2017

“What a joy this is for hungry readers everywhere: stylish, fun and clever. If there is comfort food, there is also comfort reading, and The Little Library Cookbook is it.” (Bee Wilson)

The Little Library Cookbook: 100 Recipes from Your Favorite Books by Kate Young: TX714 .Y687 2017

The Big Book of Amazing Cakes brings the magic of The Great British Baking Show to your kitchen with easy-to-follow recipes for every shape, size and delicious flavor of cake you can imagine.

The Great British Baking Show: The Big Book of Amazing Cakes by The Baking Show Team: TX771 .B535 2019

Welcome to the amazing world of pigfiteroles in mud, koala macarons, and the enchanting cat paradise cake… It’s time to infuse your baking with a sprinkle of glitter and a menagerie of cute creatures with the help of Kim-Joy–finalist on Great British Bake Off and America’s Great British Baking Show!

Baking with Kim-Joy: Cute and Creative Bakes to Make You Smile by Kim-Joy: TX771 .B355 2019

Pot in Pans: A History of Eating Cannabis

9781538106976

By Robyn Griggs Lawrence, best-selling author of The Cannabis Cookbook

Call number: TX 819 .M25 L38 2019

View record in IvyCat

Intended for culinary research; also useful for written and oral presentations on the topic of marijuana legalization and medicinal use. “A comprehensive history of cannabis as a unique culinary ingredient, from ancient India and Persia to today’s explosive new market. Cannabis, the hottest new global food trend, has been providing humans with nutrition, medicine, and solace […] since the earliest cavepeople discovered its powers. In colorful detail, the book explores the debate over the cannabis plant’s taxonomy and nomenclature, then follows as it co-evolves with humans throughout history, beloved by the masses, reviled by the elite, and shrouded in conflict and secrecy. […] Along the way, Robyn Griggs Lawrence explores the medicinal qualities of cannabis and its resurgence as a both a recreational drug and a respite from various illnesses and ailments. With recipes and stories throughout, this work is sure to entertain and inform readers about the history of cannabis as an edible ingredient in a variety of foods.” — Publisher

Never Home Alone

97815416457451From Microbes to Millipedes, Camel Crickets, and Honeybees, the Natural History of Where We Live

By Rob Dunn

Call Number: QH309 .D866 2018

View in IvyCat

Just in time for mud season, we have acquired this best-selling science book. It is a fun read, and contains relevant information for our agriculture, biology, building construction, culinary, health sciences, and HVAC-R programs. Rob Dunn is a rigorous scientist who writes in an engaging style about his research, revealing how simple curiosity can advance knowledge. There are so many astonishing facts in this “natural history of where we live,” that readers will be transported back to a childlike appreciation for creepy-crawlies. Dunn also walks  through the history of microbiology as he investigates water pipes, air systems, construction materials, kitchens, and the bodies of humans and their pets. There is a good dose of social history, too, as he considers how science has changed the way we live – not always for the better. His frank admission of what biologists don’t know yet will inspire budding scientists.

March is Frozen Food Month

An email from the Census Bureau alerted us that March is “Frozen Food Month.” Frozen food is easy to cook, but a complex topic. The frozen food industry was born in the USA and continues to develop globally, involving agriculture, food science, logistics, and refrigeration engineering – all subjects taught here at Ivy Tech Fort Wayne.

Frozen foods have both responded to, and influenced, our culture; from the way we cook to our transportation infrastructure. The contribution of this industry to our economy is massive. We have assembled some statistics in our library displays marking this month.

Tucked in among the charts, books, and journals are some themed treats, while supplies last … and yes, you can chew gum at the computers!

 

How to Roast Everything

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A Game-Changing Guide to Building Flavor in Meat, Vegetables, and More. 

Call number: TX 690 .H69 2018  View record in IvyCat

“The first cookbook devoted to the art and science of roasting from America’s Test Kitchen, pulling together decades of test kitchen experience and knowledge in one place” (publisher). Designed as a master class in roasting, each of the 175+ recipes includes a “Why this recipe works” feature explaining the cooking process. Wholesale cuts of meat and their attributes are explained, along with safe handling and storage practices. An extensive section on roasting vegetables and fruits is included, and many dressings as well. A chapter on using charcoal or gas grills extends the versatility of this book. Includes metric conversions and index.

Light up December

Welcome to December, the darkest month of the year in the northern hemisphere. It’s not surprising that all cultures and traditions in this area have celebrations involving lights or fires and feasting. We have displays of cookbooks from our extensive collection that you can check out for your holiday cooking.

Our December graduates will surely shine brightly on all around them. We wish them all the best as they leave us. Special thanks to our wonderful library student assistant Cassondra.

New Products in the Library include the Testing and Education Reference Center database. It has practice entrance exam questions for public safety jobs, for Accounting certification, Teacher Praxis exams, the GED, SAT, CLEP, LSAT, and many more. Also included are tools for assessing career choices, writing your resume, and interviewing.

GFCLearnFree is a resource that we’d like to reintroduce. This portal contains hundreds of free training tools for students and really any adult trying to function in the USA. Improve your computer keyboarding and mousing, understand how Excel spreadsheets work, get an overview of using social media tools, reading a transit map, and so much more.

Chocolate

 

As we make our way toward the tail-end of this rather mild winter, you may find yourself celebrating Valentine’s Day. For different couples, this day has various associations. Perhaps it’s an excuse for a romantic getaway. Maybe it’s a vibrant bouquet of flowers to dispel the winter’s dreariness. Or, if you’re anything like me, it’s all about the chocolate. Is it any wonder that we give this delicious, unique, and versatile treat away as a sign of our affection? Let’s dig a bit deeper into the world of chocolate, using the resources available in the Ivy Tech Northeast Library, to help understand what makes this confection so special.

A world without chocolate sounds like a dark place, but depending on where your ancestors hail from, that may have been the case. Made from the seeds of the cacao tree, chocolate was known for centuries as a treat, usually in the form of a drink, to Central American civilizations such as the Maya and the Aztecs. While we have come to associate the food with chocolatiers from Switzerland or Belgium, chocolate didn’t hit European shores until the Spanish conquistador Cortés encountered it during his New World exploration in the 16th century. As this Modern Marvels segment, available from the Films on Demand database, points out, chocolate as we know really came to be in 1828 when Dutch chocolate maker C.J. Van Houten created a press that allowed for the processing of cacao seeds into a dry powder, which in turn allowed in to be pressed into bars or baked into all the delectable treats we know it for today.

Since this development, the uses for chocolate have become many and varied, from the simplest bite-sized chocolate bar to the most elaborate cakes and pastries. The book Chocolate Passion from Tish Boyle and Timothy Moriarty is chock-full of “choc”-full recipes that feature the ingredient in delightful ways. For something relatively simple, the “Pain au Chocolat” is the perfect treat. The light, flaky croissant crust is the perfect way to deliver a rich, melted chocolate filling. If you’re feeling a bit more daring, try the unique fusion of flavors in “Ganache-filled Fried Wontons with Ginger Ice Cream and Chocolate Sorbet.” This recipe teaches you how to make everything, from the ice cream itself made with fresh ginger, to the ganache filling with bittersweet chocolate and cognac. The “Asian-spiced Dipping Sauce,” with its cinnamon, cloves, and anise is a perfect example of the many flavors that can complement and enhance your chocolate eating experience.

If you’re looking for something solely chocolate-focused, try Lisa Yockelson’s “Chocolate Savannahs, Remodeled” from her appropriately Chocolate Chocolate. As Yockelson describes, “The intense flavor reaches a chocolatey plateau in the dough through use of cocoa powder, bittersweet chocolate, unsweetened chocolate, and chocolate chips in the dough.” I’ll take a dozen.

Are you a diagnosed chocaholic? Ok, that may be a made-up condition, but our curiosity about chocolate from a health standpoint is definitely real. From the MedlinePlus database, an article from the National Institutes of Health entitled “Claims about Cocoa: Can Chocolate Really Be Good for You?” explores the various health claims about chocolate and its place in our diet. It details an interesting study about the Kuna people off the coast of Panama whose low risk of cardiovascular disease and blood pressure was found to be inconsistent with their salt intake and weight. Could this be good genetics? Not likely. The article also states that “those who moved away from the Kuna islands developed high blood pressure and heart disease at typical rate.” One unique aspect of their diet that piqued the interest of researchers was the fact that, as Dr. Brent M. Egan said, the amount of cocoa they consume “was easily 10 times more than most of us would get in a typical day.” Of course, this doesn’t mean you should stock up on Hershey’s bars for daily consumption. The Kuna’s chocolate is much closer to the original way that humans consumed it, a drink made from crushed and dried cacao pods that we would probably find much too bitter. Some researchers have tried to find links between chocolate and preventing disease such as diabetes or cancer, but it’s difficult to determine correlation with something as complex as diet, and almost impossible to declare causation. Even if chocolate helps stave off diabetes, most of the chocolate we eat as Americans is delivered in a way that is high in sugar and fat, which almost certainly does more harm than good. Going with darker, less processed chocolates—ideally paired with healthy foods such as fruits and nuts—seems to be the way to go. This is because a compound called flavonols are thought to be responsible for the health benefits of chocolate. Often flavonols, along with the more bitter taste that accompanies them, are removed the more cocoa is processed. By the time that cocoa makes its way into your slice of triple chocolate cheesecake, you probably shouldn’t consider it a health food. We haven’t yet reached a consensus on exactly what the health benefits of chocolate are, but as long as you’re watching the sugar and fat that accompany it, you may very well be doing your body a favor.

Are you going to enjoy any chocolate this month? There’s no wrong way to do so, and with so many interesting flavor combinations, you’ll never run out of interesting and flavorful ways to try this delicious ingredient. If you need more ideas about how to get more chocolate in your life, make sure to stop by the Ivy Tech Northeast Library and get inspired. (By Library Clerk, David Winn)

The Wonders of Chocolate DVD

Experience the amazing and delectable delights of chocolate… Plunge your senses into the world of master chocolatier Patrick Roger–from the lab where this audacious artist creates his luxurious chocolate gems, to Ecuador and the source of the finest quality beans. Meet pastry chef Thierry, whose cocoa-coated gourmet universe produces textures and flavors to seduce and surprise the palate-cocoa spring rolls, chocolate bonbons with foie gras… Discover the health benefits of chocolate, from anti-aging serums to treatments for cavities and even cancer! A truly wondrous decadence.

Holiday Food


For many, the holidays come with a familiar set of sensory memories that put us back into the mindset of past merrymaking. We hear the jingling of bells and the crackling of a warm fire. We smell pine and juniper, or cocoa warming on the stove. We feel the kiss of snowflakes on our cheeks as we arrive at the homes of loved ones, ready to share in the celebrations that accompany the season. Of course, no holiday would be complete without the sense of taste. The end-of-the-year culinary traditions bring a whole host of experiences that we’ve come to associate with celebration. Here are a few sources for spicing up your holiday fare.

Gatherings & Celebrations : History, Folklore, Rituals and Recipes for the Occasions that Bring People Together
Gatherings and Celebrations by Burt Wolf is a unique international exploration of holidays and food. Wolf pairs each holiday with a geographical region and then gives a bit of history about the holiday, the customs observed, and which kinds of dishes are frequently served. In the “Christmas in Germany” chapter, he describes the German Pfefferkuchen, spice cakes made with pepper dating back to medieval times and Spekulatius, hard gingerbread prepared in the likeness of St. Nicholas. Each section also has its respective set of recipes, and those wanting to try a German-style Christmas celebration can try the Roast Christmas Goose, Riesling Soup, or Red Wine Spiced Cabbage

To Every Season : A Family Holiday Cookbook
If you find yourself with kids who want to help out in the kitchen, Jane Zalben’s To Every Season: A Family Holiday Cookbook is a good collection of holiday favorites with simple, but delicious ingredients. If you’re celebrating Hanukkah, Pearl’s Potato Latkes are fun to fry together. For celebrants of Kwanzaa, Sweet Potato Pudding is a simple, sweet treat that will give your whole kitchen a festive aroma. For a fun project that will show off everyone’s artistic side, you can try Spiced and Iced Gingerbread Animals that the little ones will enjoy making just as much as eating.

Mr. Food Test Kitchen Christmas Made Easy : Recipes, Tips and Edible Gifts for a Stress-free Holiday
Holidays are times of joy, but they can also be stressful. We don’t all have hours to spend in the kitchen. Luckily, the Mr. Food Test Kitchen has your back with Christmas Made Easy : Recipes, Tips and Edible Gifts for a Stress-Free Holiday. This book offers many recipes that you can prepare in advance and heat when you’re about to serve. The Strawberry Breakfast Rollups are the perfect warm treat for a cold winter morning. There are also many recipes that are as easy to prepare as casseroles, but will still spice up the menu for a special holiday treat, such as the Ravioli Pesto Pie and Garden Sloppy Joes. Sometimes all it takes is a little inspiration to make an easy recipe into a holiday family favorite.

A Country Music Christmas : Christmas Songs, Memories, Family Photographs and Recipes from America’s Favorite Country and Gospel Stars
For something a little different, why not add the strum of a guitar into your Christmas celebration? A Country Music Christmas is a collection of family photos, memories, and recipes from a whole host of country legends. Make sure you grab the accompanying CD to put on while you prepare Alan Jackson’s Chattahoochee Cornbread and Cornbread Dressing, Willie Nelson’s Always on My Mind Biscuits and Chocolate Gravy with Cocoa, or Dolly Parton’s Jolly Cheesecake Pudding. If you and your family love country music, this is the perfect combination to celebrate the holidays.

No matter how you and yours celebrate the holiday season, we here at the Ivy Tech Northeast Library wish everyone a happy, safe, and sane season. Season’s greetings!