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Sweet Fairytales from Hoopla: A Wizard’s Guide to Defensive Baking and Fairytale Baking

7 Sep

A Wizard’s Guide to Defensive Baking
by T. Kingfisher

My mother’s favorite children’s story was a Golden Book edition of The Gingerbread Man by Nancy Nolte; she’d often read it to my sister and I and now our children as well.  You probably have heard a version of it about a gingerbread man who runs away and no one can catch.  What isn’t really ever explained is how the gingerbread man came to life in the first place.  Kingfisher’s A Wizard Guide to Defensive Baking might give a hint at how it could take place. 

The hero of A Wizard’s Guide to Defensive Baking, Mona is a fourteen-year-old who despite having some wizarding powers, works in her aunt’s bakery.  That’s because unlike other wizards, her powers work solely on baked goods; her familiar is a sourdough starter and she can create gingerbread man golems.  However, when a body turns up at the bakery, Mona’s life begins to change and she learns that her powers might be just what is needed to save the city from dark forces.  You can borrow it as a digital audiobook from Hoopla; Patricia Santomasso gives a stellar performance which brings the spunky young heroine to life.

If you like spins on classic tales, you might also want to check out Kingfisher’s recent adaptation of Poe’s The Fall of the House of Usher, What Moves the Dead, which I previously reviewed.  Several of the over 150 audiobooks that Santomasso has recorded are available from Hoopla including the most recent books in the Lucky O’Toole Vegas Adventure Mystery Series.

Fairytale Baking
by Christin Geweke

Warning, listening to Kingfisher’s work might leave you desiring sugary delights, but Christin Geweke’s Fairytale Baking has plenty of sweet treats if you love to bake to cure your cravings. 

Fairytale Baking recipes are broken into five sections, before each section is a story that provides loose inspiration towards the recipes that follow.  The fairytales included are Snow-White and Rose-red (Classic Beauties); Hansel and Gretel (Sweet and Scrumptious); Mother Holle (Icing Sugar and Chocolate); The Star-Money (Divine Baking) and The Princess and the Pea (Airy Delights).  She also includes some helpful hints at the beginning of the book such as the proper use of gelatin and how to substitute ground nuts for some of the flour in a recipe.

You’re sure to find something you want to try in recipes Geweke describes as the type which, “marries exquisite classics with contemporary ingredients,” Like many classic fairytales from the Brothers Grimm, there are spins on German favorites like Baumkuchen Triangles and an Orange and Pistachio Kugelhopf or like the influential work of Charles Perrault‎, French delicacies such as Spiced Macarons and Crème Brulee Tartlets.  But every country and region have their own classic stories and hence there are also treats like the Austrian Light Sachertorte, Italian Tiramisu Cake and Asian inspired Matcha and Vanilla Cookies.  I’d like to try the Chocolate Hazelnut Swiss Roll and Macadamia Cupcakes now that the summer’s heat is receding and it is perfect time to have the oven on to take away the morning chill.

Do you have a favorite fairytale inspired book or baked treat?  Share it with us in the comments!

Written by:
Aimee Harris
Information and Digital Services Manager

Celebrate Italian-American Heritage Month this October with titles from Overdrive/Libby, Hoopla, and Kanopy!

20 Oct

My husband’s maternal great grandparents emigrated from Italy so my household is proud to celebrate in October all the many accomplishments and rich cultural heritage Italians have brought to this country, so I couldn’t resist this month sharing some books and more you can check out about Italian-Americans.

Voices of Italian America: A History of Early Italian American Literature with a Critical Anthology
by Martino Marazzi
Voices of Italian America includes an authoritative study and collection of the Italian-language literature written and published in the United States from the Great Migration (1880–1920) to shortly after World War II.  This time reflects the rise of Little Italy’s in cities where Italian-Americans were in largely insular communities in which Italian continued to be the main language.

Italian Immigrants: In their Shoes
by Tyler Omoth
The Juvenile Nonfiction title, Italian Immigrants part of the Immigrants Experience series, provides children with information about the lives and challenges Italian-Americans including a timeline, quotes, and “fast facts.”

Cake Boss: The Stories and Recipes from Mia Famiglia
by Buddy Valastro
With his show Cake Boss, Buddy Valastro put Hoboken and Carlos’s Bakery on the map as the destination for Italian-American pastries and baked goods like Lobster Tails and cannoli.  Besides Cake Boss, also available by Valastro in print from BCCLS Libraries: Cooking Italian with the Cake Boss: Family Favorites as only Buddy can Serve Them Up and Baking with the Cake Boss: 100 of Buddy’s Best Recipes and Decorating Secrets.

Madam Speaker: Nancy Pelosi and the Lessons of Power
by Susan Page
Featuring interviews with Pelosi and those who know her best Madam Speaker takes a look at the life of the First Female Speaker of the House.  Want to learn more also available are Molly Ball’s Pelosi and Queens of the Resistance: Nancy Pelosi by Brenda Jones and Krishan Trotman.

Sinatra: The Chairman and Frank: The Voice
by James Kaplan
Check out James Kaplan’s biographies on Hoboken born classic Italian-American crooner Frank Sinatra!  Also available are Lady Blue Eyes: My Life with Frank by Barbara Sinatra and His Way: The Unauthorized Biography of Frank Sinatra by Kitty Kelley.

The Italian Americans
The 2015 PBS Documentary Series, The Italian Americans, explores the immigrant experience of Italian Americans and their impact on American history and Culture.  Also available from Kanopy: Da Feast! about the Italian American celebration of San Paulino di Nola in Brooklyn.

During the early parts of Hoboken’s history Italians specifically those from Southern Italy such as Molfetta have been one of the largest group that settled here in Hoboken.  Although some returned to Italy or their descendants moved elsewhere in America, there are still plenty of reminders of Hoboken’s proud Italian Heritage with businesses like Fiore’s (providing their delicious Mozzarella since 1913), Leo’s Grandevous (open since 1939 and just steps away from the Municipal Building where our Grand Street Branch is located), and Dom’s Bakery nearby our Main Branch since 1979.  Plus every summer residents of all backgrounds enjoy St. Ann’s Feast and the Hoboken Italian Festival celebrating the Feast of Madonna Dei Martiri.  Want to learn more about Hoboken History or get help with genealogical research; reach out to our history librarian (and proud Italian American) by emailing Stephanie.Diorio@hobken.bccls.org!

Written by:
Aimee Harris
Head of Information and Digital Services

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