by Violet L.
Does the "O" in October ever remind you of a hot, bubbling, scrumptious pizza? If it does, maybe that’s because October is National Pizza Month! We just observed International Pizza and Beer day last week—a perfect pairing if ever there was one—but there are plenty of other great cookbooks about how to bake that saucy, cheesy, universally beloved delight, but you might be surprised how many other slices of the Dewey Decimal pie contain a pizza book (and movie) or two!
How did pizza grow from a poor person’s snack in Naples into the only food so fun it gets a type of party named after it? You can read the whole story in Pizza: A Global History – and if you’re hungry for a second helping of pizza culture, check out Pizzapedia, a copiously illustrated reference book that gives the deep dish on all things pizza.
Pizza toppings sliding into your lap is a hot mess – and so was punk rock bad boy Colin Atrophy until he decided to start a blog posting his reviews for every pizza place in Manhattan. His memoir Slice Harvester tells the story of how that enviable task got his life together.
Do you like your pizza with peppers, onions, and pigskin? In John Grisham’s whimsical novel Playing For Pizza, a washed-up quarterback for the Cleveland Browns finds a second chance playing American-style football for a team in, of all places, Parma, Italy.
And if you can’t stop at just one slice of pizza page-turners, mystery writer Chris Cavender has written many pizza-themed whodunits like Killer Crust, The Missing Dough, Rest in Pizza, and A Pizza to Die For.
If the splatter of a Jackson Pollock painting reminds you of a large pizza with extra cheese, art historian Nancy Heller totally understands. Her art appreciation book Why A Painting Is Like A Pizza explains how visual art can be mouthwatering, too, and how you don’t have to like the same toppings as “the experts” to still enjoy a hot slice.
Did you know Domino’s Pizza founder Tom Monaghan is obsessed with Frank Lloyd Wright? He’s spent over $14 million collecting furniture, stained glass, and many other objects designed by the legendary architect, and you can see some of his unprecedented collection in this catalog Frank Lloyd Wright: Decorative Designs from the Domino's Pizza Collection.
There are so many fun picture books about pizza that it’s hard to pick a favorite, but one contender is definitely William Steig's Pete’s a Pizza, a giggly book about a rainy day make-believe game between dad and son.
Euterpe was the muse of lyric poetry, but is there a muse of pizza? Whoever she is, she's inspired children’s poet Jack Prelutsky to title this poetry anthology A Pizza The Size of the Sun. (He's also written a how-to book for budding poets called Pizza, Pigs, and Poetry: How to Write A Poem.)
But save room for dessert pizza! The Free Library has DVDs of some great pizza movies, including Do The Right Thing (Spike Lee's masterpiece set in and around a Brooklyn pizza parlor)
warning: NSFW language
Mystic Pizza (A coming-of-age romantic comedy containing Julia Roberts’ breakout role),
The Bicycle Thief (an Italian Neo-Realist classic where father and son on the run stop for an authentic Neapolitan pie),
And Spaceballs (a Star Wars parody where the villain is Pizza the Hutt!)
Do you know another pizza book? Another pizza movie? Or just a great lead on where to get the best slice in Philly? Drop us a note in the comments below!
by Paul M.
What do food and books have in common? I can certainly name three things: They are organic, can grow mold, and can be preserved. Those three things were key elements to a lesson taught to third grade students on a recent class trip to the Parkway Central Library.
The Culinary Literacy Center (CLC) and the Rare Book Department collaborated on a lesson for students about preservation. One of the CLC flagship programs, Nourishing Literacy, is a children’s cooking program where school groups visit the state-of-the-art kitchen classroom for interactive learning opportunities through cooking. Nourishing Literacy teacher Shayna Marmar introduced the idea of "good" bacteria and how it interacts with food to help preserve it. Students were first introduced to sour foods and how food can change form when it is preserved. They learned about acid, pickling, and salt before making their own preserved food. At the end of class, everyone got to enjoy the fruits of their labor—quickles (quick pickles) and sweet and sour cabbage, as toppings for hot dogs.
Chidlren's Literature Collection Curator, Christopher Brown, taught the students about book preservation and how it relates to food. Food and books both come from organic matter and can experience similar processes. The students learned that books can also grow mold, like food, if damaged by water. Students learned about early book materials including cow skin, squirrel skin, and cotton. They were invited to soak books in water and learn how librarians preserve or conserve them from molding. Don't worry—by using tried and true book preservation techniques, no books were harmed in the day's fun!
The entire day was filled with laughter and excitement as the students got messy pickling vegetables and conserving damaged books. One of the best ways to teach subjects is to apply them to real life situations. What better way to do that by making food and conserving books. The students left with their own, slightly damp, book souvenirs and full bellies.
This is not the first time the Culinary Literacy Center and Rare Book Department have collaborated on programming and certainly won't be the last. The Rare Book Department’s recent In Our Nature: Flora and Fauna of the Americas exhibit played an integral role in many of the CLC’s public programs this past summer.
Check out these links for more information about Nourishing Literacy and the Rare Book Department’s permanent and upcoming exhibits and collections.
by Kate C.
To celebrate the crisp weather, colorful leaves, and delicious food that this time of year brings, we wanted to share with you a fun recipe that screams fall! There's more to the season than pumpkin spice lattes, you know?
Thanks to a recent event with cookbook author Rose Levy Beranbaum at the Culinary Literacy Center, we’re now obsessed with this apple galette (and amazing cream cheese crust), which can be found on page 215 in Rose’s cookbook Rose's Baking Basics.*
Check it out:
A galette is a free form tart that can be made with many fruits or berries. It is easy to make, but by arranging the apple slices in concentric circles, the finished tart looks extraordinarily beautiful. This apple version is crisp, buttery, tart, and elegant. For the crispest bottom crust, be sure to use a preheated baking stone.
PREHEAT THE OVEN
Forty-five minutes or longer before baking, set an oven rack at the lowest level and place the baking stone or cookie sheet on it. Set the oven at 400ºF/200ºC.
MISE EN PLACE
Twenty minutes to 1 hour, ahead, slice the apples. Set them in a medium bowl and toss them with the lemon juice and sugar until evenly coated. (This will
soften the apple slices, making them easier to arrange.)
Cut the butter into small pieces and refrigerate.
Have ready a fine-mesh strainer set over a small bowl.
MAKE THE GALETTE
1. Follow the instructions on page 204 for rolling the crust. Roll the dough as thin as possible, under 1/8” – 1/16” is ideal – and at least large enough to cut a 16-inch diameter disc. If at any point the dough softens, slip it, still on the dough mat, onto a cookie sheet. Cover and refrigerate for about 30 minutes, until firmer.
2. Brush any flour from the dough. Gently fold the dough in quarters and transfer it to the pizza pan or half sheet pan. Carefully unfold it, leaving the overhang draped on the counter.
3. Empty the apple slices onto a cookie sheet so that you can separate the smaller from the larger ones. Arrange the apple slices, overlapping, in concentric circles within a 12 to 14 inch diameter (to the edge of the pizza pan, if using), starting toward the outer edge of the circle with the larger pieces, cored sides facing toward the center. If necessary, push a few slices of the fruit closer together and insert more slices evenly in between. Save the smaller pieces for the center. (A few seconds in the microwave will help to make the slices for the center more flexible.) Brush the apples with any liquid that remains in the bowl.
4. Dot the apples with the pieces of butter.
5. Fold the overhanging border of dough over the outer edge of the apples, allowing it to pleat softly at even intervals.
6. For a crunchy border, spritz or brush the dough rim lightly with water and sprinkle with a little sugar. If necessary, brush away any sugar on the surface of the pan.
BAKE THE GALETTE
7. Set the galette, on the pan, on the baking stone. Bake for 20 minutes. For even baking, rotate it halfway around. Continue baking for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the apples feel tender when pierced with a wire cake tester. If the edges of the apples start to brown, tent loosely with aluminum foil. Toward the end of baking, with a metal spatula, carefully lift up the crust to make sure it is not overbrowning. If necessary, lower the heat to 375ºF/190ºC, or lift the pan from the stone and move it to a higher shelf.
COOL THE GALETTE
8. Set the galette on a wire rack and cool until warm before glazing.
GLAZE THE GALETTE
9. In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, heat the apricot preserves until boiling. Press them through the strainer. If necessary, stir in the brandy to thin slightly. Brush the glaze onto the apples.
10. Serve warm or room temperature.
STORE APPLE PORTION COVERED WITH LIGHTLY COATED PLASTIC WRAP: room temperature, 2 days; refrigerated, 4 days.
*Beranbaum, Rose Levy, and Matthew Septimus. Rose's Baking Basics. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2018
by Kate C.
Medical information changes rapidly with new research, and when new information is delivered to you during a stressful medical appointment, it can be tough to remember everything you were told. Differing levels of education; access to resources; and factors such as age, language, and cultural differences can all affect a person’s health literacy skills.
October is Health Literacy Month, a month dedicated to helping people find, understand, evaluate, communicate, and use health information to make informed decisions. Take some time this month to use the Free Library to improve your own health literacy, so you can help yourself and others!
Here are just a few ways you can do that:
Reaching HEALthy program is an initiative that seeks to establish the Free Library as an essential healthcare resource for the community, bringing health literacy programs, health counseling and referrals, and preventive health services to the Parkway Central Library. Nurses are stationed in the lobby most weekdays to offer blood pressure and blood sugar screenings, as well as to offer health counseling and referrals when appropriate.
Reaching HEALthy also partners with the Free Library’s staff of social workers to host Coffee Chats on Monday afternoons. Held in Room 108 in the Parkway Central Library, these chats provide a space for patrons who are in transition to share and receive resources on housing, employment, and healthcare. These chats often include partnerships with community organizations such as Broad Street Ministry, Project HOME, Office of Homeless Services, and BenePhilly.
A Free Library partnership with Lankenau Medical Center includes monthly presentations on health & wellness at Overbrook Park Library (1st Tuesday), Haddington Library (2nd Tuesday), and Wynnefield Library (3rd Wednesday), with topics ranging from managing stress to hygiene to sun safety.
Visit the South Philadelphia Library and speak with our Community Health Librarian to help you get your questions answered.
To improve your cooking skills and knowledge of healthy eating, check out a class at our Culinary Literacy Center. They’ve even shared a health recipe, which you can find below.
If you’re in West Philadelphia, check out the Free Library’s health corners, which give patrons a private space to look up health information, with a variety of print resources, a computer, printer, and online access.
Interested in jump-starting your path to good health with a tasty and nutritious recipe? Try this, straight from our Culinary Literacy Center! Let us know in the comments how it turned out!
Citrus Salad with Toasted Almonds*
Oranges are abundant and are often on sale at the grocery store at this time of year. Create this salad with a mix of orange types for a colorful presentation.
Zest one orange. Cut off the ends of both oranges and squeeze ends, reserving one tablespoon of the juice. Peel and remove pith from both oranges and slice. Lightly toast the almond slivers in a dry pan.
To make the salad dressing, whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, honey, orange juice and zest.
When ready to serve, toss greens with the dressing. Arrange orange slices on serving plates. Top with the salad greens, and scatter toasted nuts on top.
*This recipe was created by Registered Dietician Kathleen Mathis of Reimagining Nutrition for the Culinary Literacy Center’s Heart Healthy Cooking Classes, which were offered in the neighborhood libraries as part of the Good Food for All program series. Additional programming with Kathleen is forthcoming this spring, so stay tuned!
by Liz A.
Throughout history there are duos that are stronger together than they are separate:
Peanut Butter and Jelly
Hall and Oates
Movies and Popcorn
Thelma and Louise
Mario and Luigi
Today, we celebrate one of the greatest duos of all time...
Dear reader, October 9 is International Pizza and Beer Day!
If you’d like to celebrate with us, read more—we’ve got you covered like cheese on pizza!
While our oven is heating up, let’s get started with a beer. And where better to have a beer than on the Parkway Central’s roof? That’s right—the Free Library Beer Garden is back on October 23, 24, and 25 from 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., and October 26 from 5:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. Enjoy a beer while taking in the best view the Benjamin Franklin Parkway has to offer.
While you’re up on the roof, sipping a cold brew, you can gaze out on Brewerytown, the Philadelphia neighborhood just north of Parkway Central Library, named for numerous breweries that operated there in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Curious to learn more? The Map Collection has numerous digitized records including industrial site surveys from the late 19th century. They indicate building materials, as well as the purpose of each building and the machinery used, number of employees, and what is manufactured on the site. Our Map Curator, Megan MacCall, found a brewery that was owned by a woman, Mrs. Elizabeth Vollmer, at the time of the survey in 1893. Cheers to 19th century female small business owners!
Hungry? We are too. Let’s move on to the pizza! In the Culinary Literacy Center, it’s no secret that we love Leanne Brown’s Good and Cheap: Eat Well on $4 a Day. Available in print from the library or accessible for free in English and Spanish through the author’s website, Good and Cheap has a plethora of amazing recipes that live up to the titular adjectives. The pizza dough is no exception. If you have the time, we recommend the "Slow Method":
Pizza Dough 2 Ways
4 individual pizzas
As for next steps, we leave that to the experts—Philadelphia’s own Marc Vetri and his book Mastering Pizza or Tony Gemignani’s The Pizza Bible. And what are you putting on your pizza? Come to the Knife Skills Class on October 16 and learn how to julienne, brunoise, chiffonade, and battonet veggies into submission to top your pizza. Keep your eyes peeled to the Culinary Literacy Center’s Events page—we’ll be offering another Mozzarella Cheese making class soon! Until then, check out a book on cheesemaking.
And when that pie is out of the oven and you’re noshing on pizza and sipping on beer—a combo made in heaven—we couldn’t think of anything better to read than Pizzapedia and Philadelphia Beer: A Heady History of Brewing in the Cradle of Liberty.
Cheers! Cin Cin! Prost!
by Suzanna U.
For many, the month of October can conjure up a glorification of gore. Here at the Free Library’s Culinary Literacy Center, we are taking a bit of a different approach and beginning a three-part series focusing on offal.
Offal, also called variety meat, refers to the trimmings of animals that might go unused once a butcher does their deed. The uses of these cuts of meat, which range from kidney to heart and everything in between, vary from culture to culture. With the re-emergence of whole animal butchering by local outfits such as Primal Supply Meats, Philadelphia-based chefs and home cooks alike can try their hand at using offal to create dishes that nourish meat eaters and challenge them to learn more about the intersections of anatomy and nutrition.
As Jonathan Reisman, an emergency room physician co-presenting the class, writes:
The body parts that make life possible—the muscles that help us move, the heart that pumps blood, and the brain that conjures our most personal thoughts and emotions—all correspond to similar, if not the same, organs in animals. A good doctor understands the function of these parts as they relate to our pursuit of health; a good butcher or chef understands them as ingredients to become delectable food. Learning anatomy and physiology in medical school helped broaden my culinary horizons, and I found that knowledge of the bodily origin of my food deepened my connection when eating it. Knowing where your food comes from is not just the geographical origin of fruits and vegetables, but also understanding the anatomy and physiology of how body parts functioned during life before being served on our dinner plates. Becoming a doctor disrupted my ingrained habits of edibility and cleansed the doors of my culinary perception. And, as William Blake might have said, "when the doors of perception are cleansed, one may see things as they truly are"—delicious. Come join us at Anatomy Eats to learn where our food truly comes from and how the perspectives of anatomy and cuisine overlap within our own bodies.
The first Anatomy Eats class, which kicks off on Tuesday, October 9, explores physiological systems of the body by way of cuisine and anatomy and features the circulatory system. We will get the chance to taste blood, bone marrow, and heart, as prepared by chef Ari Miller, while Dr. Reisman describes how these components work together to keep our bodies healthy. As an on-again-off-again vegetarian, I am looking forward to seeing how my own perceptions of meat-eating are challenged by this class.
Ari Miller is a chef who started his career in Tel Aviv and has worked in Philadelphia for some of the city's best chefs. In his own kitchen he expresses serious love of street food and the fifth quarter. (Photo by Jason Bartlett).
More than a panache for gore, these classes will put into question our own culture’s singular focus on particular cuts, such as the quintessential chicken breast, and broaden our understanding of what it means to be a culinarily literate meat eater committed to taking part in a more sustainable, more nourishing food system.
by Suzanna U.
by Suzanna U. and Alina J.
Building off of the successes of Food from the Archives in 2016, the Free Library of Philadelphia’s Special Collections, Research Departments, and Culinary Literacy Center are joining forces with the Delaware Valley Archivists Group to present Drinks in the Archives on Wednesday, October 10 beginning at 6:00 p.m. in the lobby of Parkway Central Library.
A waiting list is also available for our sold-out class on Drinking Chocolate and Cacao Tea with Shane Confectionary in the Culinary Literacy Center beginning at 7 p.m.. This free, all-ages event welcomes everyone from high school students looking for primary source materials to use in their National History Day research projects to library users interested in connecting to resources at the Free library and beyond. Along the way, you’ll be able to learn more about topics such as medicinal tonics, beer brewing, the abolition movement, and more with hands-on activities and views of rarely seen material. Plus, live music from Ken Kweder and Company, featuring drinking songs and a drink-inspired treasure hunt throughout the library with prizes! We also welcome you to complete this bingo card at the event for a chance to win a prize courtesy of the Culinary Literacy Center!
Participating Institutions include:
What makes a collection archival, anyway? Archival materials can be institutional records, personal papers, and other unpublished documents or items that were intended to be ephemeral when they were first created. An archival collection may include photographs, manuscripts, drawings, newspaper clippings, and brochures. By nature, they cannot be cataloged as easily as most library materials such as books and magazines. Archivists use the term "finding aid" to refer to the archives-world equivalent of a catalog. Finding aids help users determine if what they need is located in those archival collections but not all collections have finding aids that are accessible online. For now, most of our completed finding aids can be found in the Special Collections section of our website. Researchers should contact the appropriate special collections curators first in order to best explore and use these materials.
Most of the research departments here at Parkway Central Library also have archival collections, in the form of files or pamphlets, and we’ve been working on creating and improving our searchable finding aids for them. Two of these departments have already completed finding aids for their archival collections and for now have published them as keyword-searchable PDFs on their department pages. Click on the links for each series within the Historic Philadelphia Pamphlet Collection on the Education, Philosophy and Religion Department page and those of the Research File Collections on the Social Science and History Department page. Browse or try a keyword search for a subject that interests you!
Research files containing ephemeral materials that document individual artists and art subjects with a major focus on Philadelphia can be easily found in the Art Department as well. Until the finding aid is complete, any library visitor can simply ask the librarian at the Art reference desk to check for files on a given artist, or local art and architecture subject, and be able to use primary reference material. The Art Department regularly displays selections from these files.
Stop by the Research Departments’ tables on October 10 to see examples from these collections on all things related to drinking.
Drinks in the Archives is a free program presented as part of Archives Month Philly. October is American Archives Month, an opportunity to celebrate archives, the work of archivists, and raise public awareness about the value and accessibility of historical records. In conjunction with participating institutions throughout the Delaware Valley, the Delaware Valley Archivists Group has assembled an exciting calendar of events at Philadelphia’s most notable archives, special collections libraries, repositories, and other cultural institutions.
by Paul M.
If you ever indulged yourself in a marinated lamb taco from South Philly Barbacoa, then you are aware of Chef Cristina Martinez. She will be featured in the upcoming season of the Netflix documentary series, Chef’s Table. Martinez will be the first Philadelphia chef to be featured on the award-winning series, whose newest season premeires on September 28.
Not only is Martinez and her husband, Ben Miller, known for their succulent and mouth-watering tacos, she has also made her mark as a vocal immigration activist. Martinez, an undocumented immigrant herself, has been fighting for undocumented workers’ rights in the culinary industry for years.
Philadelphia has also been vocal in its involvement with immigration rights. Most recently, it was announced that the city would end its data-sharing contract with Immigration and Customs Enforcement or ICE.
Starting this Friday, September 14, the Parkway Central Library will be launching Welcoming Week, an initiative to encourage relationships between immigrants, refugees, and US citizens. Parkway Central will present an interactive book launch of America Border Culture Dreamer: The Young Immigrant Experience from A to Z. This book touches on marginalized voices that ought to be amplified; something Martinez has been fighting for her whole life. Mayor Kenny and author Wendy Ewald will be in attendance, in addition to a create-your-own art activity about inclusivity. Why not come and support an initiative that propels Philadelphia’s stance on immigration and inclusivity.
No wonder Martinez made Philadelphia her home and has continued to fight for her fellow undocumented workers who make up five percent of the civilian workforce according to the Pew Research Center. Colleagues in the community are also showing their love and support for Martinez and Miller as well, with a watch party being hosted by Old City’s Han Dynasty on October 2 at 8:30 p.m. It doesn’t matter what her citizenship status is, Martinez is a true Philadelphian hero and the city owes her their deepest gratitude.
Want a taste of Martinez’s cooking in your own kitchen? Check out her family’s recipe for ribs with purslane available in The Immigrant Cookbook: Recipes That Make America Great. This cookbook focuses on recipes from first and second generation immigrant chefs from six different continents!
by Kate C.
Tonight at 8:20 p.m., the world champion Philadelphia Eagles officially open their 2018 season against the Atlanta Falcons at Lincoln Financial Field. We don’t know about you, but we’re still amped up about last February’s big win! But if we must turn the page on a new season, we’re going to do so library-style!
Want to make something tasty for game night? The Free Library Culinary Literacy Center recommends these buffalo chicken and cheese balls, perfect for fall and football!
Buffalo Chicken and Cheese Balls
Serves about 15 balls
Prefer sweet over savory? Borrow a football-shaped cake pan from the collection at the McPherson Square Library, and bake something yummy! (Pssssst: Cake pans are just one of the unique items the Free Library lends!)
While you count down the minutes until kickoff, brush up on your Eagles trivia in our Knowledge Base, and browse some sports history in our digital collections! We also recommend borrowing a book or movie about the Birds – find the perfect one with the help of this catalog list and your library card!
We also hope you’ll mark your calendar for Sat., October 13th at 2:30 p.m., when five-time Pennsylvania Sportswriter of the Year Ray Didinger visits the Parkway Central Library for a free event in conjunction with his book The Eagles Encyclopedia: Champions Edition, updated to reflect the quintessential underdog season that led to the Eagles’ Super Bowl LII victory. He'll be joined that afternoon by Mark Leibovich, author of Big Game: The NFL in Dangerous Times.
Fly, Eagles, Fly! E-A-G-L-E-S EAGLES!
by Lindsay S.
Do you want to improve your English skills? Are you interested in cooking new recipes and eating delicious food? If so, the Culinary Literacy Center has the class for you!
Edible Alphabet is a free ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) program offered by the Free Library's Culinary Literacy Center. The mission is to teach the English language and literacy skills through hands-on cooking projects. Students will learn vocabulary and grammar, as well as practice listening, speaking, reading, and writing in English while cooking a new delicious recipe every week in our kitchen classroom.
Spots are still available for our Summer 2018 course. Class begins June 26 and runs for six weeks on Tuesdays from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Classes will take place at the Culinary Literacy Center, located on the 4th floor of the Parkway Central Library at 1901 Vine Street, Philadelphia, PA, 19103.
This program is best suited to students who are high beginner to intermediate English speakers and attendance is preferred at all of the six classes. The dates of the classes are June 26, July 3, July 10, July 17, July 24, and July 31.
Students can register by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling the Culinary Literacy Center at 215-686-5323.
Not eligible for Edible Alphabet ESOL classes but still interested in celebrating Immigrant Heritage Month learning in the kitchen? Check out one of these cookbooks from the stacks of the Free Library featuring amazing recipes from around the world.
The Immigrant Cookbook: Recipes that Make America Great by Leyla Moushabeck
The Hot Bread Kitchen Cookbook: Artisanal Baking From Around the World by Jessamyn Waldman Rodriguez
Soup for Syria: Recipes to Celebrate Our Shared Humanity by Barbara Abdeni Massaad
In Her Kitchen: Favorite Recipes From Grandmas Around the World by Gabriele Galimberti