Pandemic Garden Reset!

Did you pick up a new hobby last year? At the start of the pandemic, many of us dived into bread-baking, knitting, music-making, or any number of social-distance friendly hobbies. Mine was panic-gardening. I say panic-gardening because I started by haphazardly pulling out a small patch of lawn and throwing down whatever random seeds and plant starts my local nursery had leftover to see what would take. Needless to say, you won’t find my method of gardening in any recommended books or blogs on this subject…

In the end, the small harvest of lettuce, carrots, and tomatoes that I got was still enough to hook me on gardening. This year, I’m hoping to return to my garden patch with a lot more forethought and planning. I’m currently writing this blog as our city is blanketed by snow, so though it might seem early to be thinking about Spring, it’s actually the perfect time to get started on plants with a longer “days to maturity” period—like onions.

As I started reading up on this subject, I realized quickly that to start gardening as a novice is to be met with a million decisions: Should you start seeds indoors or sow directly? When should you plant seeds? What plants are best suited to our cloudy and wet springs? How important is your soil’s pH level? The world of gardening books is vast and initially overwhelming but here are a few books that have helped me make more sense of the basics:

The New Gardener’s Handbook: Everything You Need to Know to Grow A Beautiful and Bountiful Garden by Daryl Beyers is an all-purpose guide to growing that serves as a refresher for basic plant science, like the parts of the plants,  types of roots, etc… It also walks you through steps of plant care that beginners might overlook, like how to prune your crop or collect seeds for next year.  But gardening isn’t just about maximizing your yields or growing the biggest pumpkin you can.

Continue reading “Pandemic Garden Reset!”

Comic Cuisine

Before social-distancing, I thought I was a pretty decent home cook. Now, after eating nothing but my own cooking for two weeks, I’ve discovered that I only know about five recipes. For anyone in a similar boat, the library has nearly 2,000 digital cookbooks to inspire your cooking adventures.

Personally though, most of those cookbooks don’t work well for me—I need step by step help and looking at a huge block of text on a recipe usually makes my attention wander. The solution? Comic cookbooks! These cookbooks often encompass multiple genres combining travelogue, memoir, food history, and – most importantly – recipes in graphic novel format that are engaging and easy to follow.

A sampling of the comic cookbooks in our collection:

Cook Korean! A Comic Book with Recipes by Robin HaCook Korean! A Comic Book with Recipes by Robin Ha
Ha’s personal and educational approach to Korean food makes it feel like I’m learning to cook from a friend. In addition to 65 recipes, she also helps the reader connect more deeply to Korean cuisine by sharing food histories, regional variations, and anecdotes. Continue reading “Comic Cuisine”