February 19th, 2014

Rosie the Riveter

Rosie the Riveter ELK Mar 2014 small

I love family history and one of my favorite tidbits involves how my father’s side ended up in Cecil County.  Like so many other struggling Appalachian families, they came to Elkton after hearing about well-paying work available at munitions factories like Triumph.  My grandmother came first, renting a small room with other young women at the Kitty Knight House.  As she sent money home, the rest of the family was able to follow, get jobs, and start a new life. In all, my grandmother, great-grandmother, and great aunt were employed as real-life “Rosie the Riveters.”  Though the work was grueling and exceptionally dangerous, it also provided them with opportunities previously unavailable to women and paved the way to a better life.

I’ve loved learning more about women’s varied wartime roles through amazing books like Code Name Verity and Restless and shows like Bomb Girls and The Bletchley Circle.  Wednesday, March 5th, you’ll find me at the Elkton Central Library learning more about women wartime factory workers with the wonderful “A History Alive Production: Rosie the Riveter” program.  Award-winning actress Mary Ann Jung will portray the real-life Rosie, based on Rose Leigh Monroe, who worked for the largest factory in the world.  Ms. Jung will give entertaining insight into the lives of women and men involved in the war effort.  I can’t wait to learn more about what life might have been like for the women in my family.

Click here to sign up or call 410-996-5600 ext. 481.  And share with us – was your family involved in the war effort?

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November 12th, 2013

Perfect Holiday Recipes

thanksgiving cookbookMy foodie obsession started years ago when my husband bought me the Williams Sonoma “Thanksgiving” cookbook—he joked that it was really a gift for him so he could enjoy all the delicious food. At first, I was intimidated by the fancy recipes, but working my way through that book taught me a lot of basics—how to cook a great turkey, make a flaky pie crust, and how to whip up the “Spicy Three Cheese Spread” that we can’t seem to do Thanksgiving without.

Though I’m now a more seasoned cook, I honestly keep very few cookbooks on my shelf.  Instead, I prefer to browse lots of recipes from lots of sources, plucking ideas from here and there to craft the perfect menu or dish.  Checking out a huge stack of cookbooks is my idea of a relaxing Friday night—hot beverage in hand, of course, to help inspire the browsing.

My new foodie fascination is Zinio — the free digital magazines available through the library.  I squealed with delight when I discovered I can freely download the holiday cookie magazines (if you’re a baker, you know that those magazines often retail at $10 or more).   Taste of Home, Food Network, Martha Stewart Living, Saveur… I could go on and on.  All freely downloadable (even back issues) with your library card!

Stop by the library (and the library’s website)  when you’re ready to start working on your holiday menu planning. Or, come happily browse our stacks if you just love looking at gorgeous food pics like I do.

In the meantime, here’s how we like to make that “Spicy Three Cheese Spread” at our house.  Bon appétit and happy holidays!


Spicy Three Cheese Spread

Adapted from Williams Sonoma “Thanksgiving.”

cheese spread

Make this at least a day ahead to give the flavors time to meld.  It’s amazing used as a dip for crackers or vegetables and adds a delightful kick to leftover turkey sandwiches.

6 oz Swiss cheese, finely diced or shredded
6 oz sharp orange Cheddar, finely diced or shredded
4 oz creamy blue cheese or gorgonzola
5 TBSP salted butter
1/3 cup tawny Port
4 tsp Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp hot pepper sauce (add more if you want it spicier)
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper
1/4 tsp salt
1 green onion, minced (include the tender green parts)
finely diced pimento, if desired

Let the cheeses and butter come to room temperature, then mix with the remaining ingredients. If desired, mix in some pimento for a festive, red accent.  Makes 8-10 servings.

What’s your favorite holiday dish?

Photo credit: Lauren H. Craig

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