Downloading for Dinner – Part II

Yesterday’s post took a look at the library’s growing collection of electronic cookbooks. After browsing the collection, a curious librarian might wonder how using a print copy differs from using an ebook? With the help of a willing participant and a few pieces of technology, an experiment was conducted comparing use of the same title in both formats. The title selected was:

Ethan Stowell’s New Italian KitchenBold Cooking from Seattle’s Anchovies & Olives, How to Cook A Wolf, Staple & Fancy Mercantile, and Tavolàta (2010)

Currently, a patron cannot load an ebook to more than one device at a time so copies of the ebook were checked out to two people and loaded on two different devices. Continue reading “Downloading for Dinner – Part II”

Downloading for Dinner – Part I

When looking for a good cookbook, many people do not realize the library has a growing and diverse ebook collection. Using the term “cookery” as a subject keyword and limiting to ebooks reveals the library’s current holdings of 399 titles about food preparation, as well as food culture and history.

A quick perusal shows the number of titles published between 1976 and 2002 is still small, with most written by lesser known authors and released by smaller publishing firms. One noted exception is Lidia’s Italian-American Kitchen by the much loved and respected Lidia Bastianich. Continue reading “Downloading for Dinner – Part I”

BiblioBagels: My Adventures in Bagel Chemistry (Part 2)

In yesterday’s post, I was on a quest to make Montreal bagels with the help of the library’s resources. A friend had just told me about the process of retarding the dough (placing it in the fridge overnight before boiling and baking the bagels). I was curious about this mysterious-sounding process and decided to investigate further.

I found a delightfully technical article called “A Laboratory-Scale Bagel-Making Procedure” in the journal Cereal Chemistry. Although the library didn’t carry this journal, our wonderful interlibrary loan service obtained a copy for me. Eureka! Complete with scientific analyses of bagel texture and electron micrographs of dough structure, this study showed that retarding was indeed the key.  Continue reading “BiblioBagels: My Adventures in Bagel Chemistry (Part 2)”

BiblioBagels: My Adventures in Bagel Chemistry (Part 1)

Seattle is not a bagel town. It’s nearly impossible to get a genuine bagel here. Sure, lots of places claim to sell the real thing, but they’re only a pale imitation. And don’t even get me started on bagels from a grocery store—those are just lifeless circles of bread masquerading as bagels.

What is a real bagel, you ask? Some swear by New York bagels, but after living many years in Canada, I dissent: Montreal bagels are, hands-down, the best. More dense and chewy than the traditional fare, they’re also slightly sweeter from being boiled in honey water before baking. Beautifully pictured in Home Baking: The Artful Mix of Flour and Tradition, they have a larger hole and seeds on both sides.

Recently a Canadian-style bakery opened in Seattle, but it doesn’t claim to make authentic Montreal bagels. Other than that, nothing even remotely resembling them is available here. What’s a Montreal bagel addict to do? Make them myself, of course. Never mind that I’d never baked anything in my life: I had the library’s formidable culinary resources at my fingertips! Continue reading “BiblioBagels: My Adventures in Bagel Chemistry (Part 1)”