Thursday, December 12, 2013

The Smithsonian's History of America in 101 Objects by Richard Kurin

Benjamin Franklin’s walking stick.  Lewis and Clark’s compass.  Abraham Lincoln’s top hat.  The flag that inspired the Star Spangled banner.   Such objects are venerated among Americans because they give a voice to the myths and legends about our country that have been handed down over generations.  And thanks to the Smithsonian, these objects still exist and are being handled with the most delicate care, while still being made available and accessible to the American public whose story they helped write.  The Smithsonian’s History of American in 101 Objects takes 101 selected artifacts from the Smithsonian and explains the origins, history, and details of each.  If you’ve never really thought about what the Smithsonian has in its collections, you owe it to yourself to explore this book.  Even if you only read one chapter, you will come away better educated and with a better appreciation for these real-life national treasures.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Great Balls of Cheese by Michelle Buffardi

In preparation for Christmas I decided to try a new recipe for "snoop time". This new book came in with all different kinds of cheese balls you can make. Half of them are savory, the other half are sweet recipes. The pictures are great and the instructions are clear. I picked the "S.O.S." on page 63 to try. I stuck to a recipe that had familiar ingredients for my family. It called for dried beef, which we have access to from our wonderful meat markets in Pella! It turned out great and is delicious. There are also several quite fancy projects that the more adventurous cook might like to try.