Nailed the Bingo Recipe

I’m not a vegetarian but sometimes I run out of creative ways to cook vegetables. I have learned that vegetarians can provide me with lots of new recipe ideas to avoid getting stuck in a cooking rut.

While pictures help me to get an idea of what a finished product should look like, I often read a recipe through the list of ingredients to decide if (a) I have enough of them already on hand, (b) if I and my family stand a fairly good chance of eating whatever I choose to cook, and (c) if I have the time to prep and make the dish based on the author’s estimates.

I found Taste of Home’s Vegetarian Made Easy cookbook in our stacks and decided to page through to see what sounded yummy.

I settled on Creamy Cauliflower Pakora Soup, a recipe submitted by Melody Johnson of Pulaski, Wisconsin because in reading through the instructions, it appeared to meet my criteria.

First of all, the recipe calls for 20 minutes prep time and 20 minutes to cook. She lied. Sorry Melody. Also, I didn’t have a concept of how much 3 quarts of soup would be, but that’s on me.

In all this recipe took about three hours to make from start to finish. Gathering the ingredients required a quick trip to the grocery store for a box of vegetable stock, but I didn’t count that time because I thought I had some on hand but when I went for it, I discovered that instead I had almond milk. That might have been good, but I didn’t want to chance it.

Peeling, cutting and dicing the veggies took me every bit of an hour.

Bringing all of the ingredients to a boil and simmering took 20 minutes. To be honest, it didn’t look like there was enough liquid but as it turns out, it was just the right amount.

The veggies were soft to the fork when the timer rang. The tricky part is that you have to let it cool enough to spoon it into a blender. You’re supposed to serve it hot, but because this was my first time making the dish, I had decided in advance to serve it re-heated later. “Just get the dish made and see how it turns out,” was my thought.

Cooling enough to avoid steam burns took at least 30 minutes. The transfer process was messy. Once it was in the blender, it only took a few minutes to blend to cream soup consistency, but it was a tad thicker than I expected so it had to be helped out of the blender with a rubber spatula.

It got three out of five stars from my husband, but he offered the caveat that his Pennsylvania Dutch-ness may have influenced his rating downward as it’s not especially appealing to his taste palette. I would have given it four out of five for taste and five out of five for the lingering sweet aroma that permeated my home. Prep and mess-wise I’d give it a two.

Pro Tip: (Which I didn’t think about until after I’d put it into large containers) Pour soup into ice cube trays and freeze. Once frozen, put soup cubes into a freezer bag and take the cubes you need for a quick lunch heat up.

Nailed the Bingo recipe!

~Kimberly – Reference Librarian

What We’re Reading-February 2021

What We’re Reading-February 2021

This month we ask our staff what eBooks and audiobooks they’re reading on Overdrive. Click on titles to view the item on Overdrive.

Fiction

The Midnight Library (audio version)
by Matt Haig

Between life and death there is a library, and within that library, the shelves go on forever. Every book provides a chance to try another life you could have lived. To see how things would be if you had made other choices . . . Would you have done anything different, if you had the chance to undo your regrets?”

Girl in Pieces
by Kathleen Glasgow

 Charlotte Davis is in pieces. At seventeen she’s already lost more than most people do in a lifetime. But she’s learned how to forget. The broken glass washes away the sorrow until there is nothing but calm. You don’t have to think about your father and the river. Your best friend, who is gone forever. Or your mother, who has nothing left to give you.
   Every new scar hardens Charlie’s heart just a little more, yet it still hurts so much. It hurts enough to not care anymore, which is sometimes what has to happen before you can find your way back from the edge.

Leave the World Behind (audio version)
by Rumaan Alam

Amanda and Clay head out to a remote corner of Long Island expecting a vacation: a quiet reprieve from life in New York City, quality time with their teenage son and daughter, and a taste of the good life in the luxurious home they’ve rented for the week. But a late-night knock on the door breaks the spell. Ruth and G. H. are an older couple—it’s their house, and they’ve arrived in a panic. They bring the news that a sudden blackout has swept the city. But in this rural area—with the TV and internet now down, and no cell phone service—it’s hard to know what to believe.

Mexican Gothic (audio version)
by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

After receiving a frantic letter from her newly-wed cousin begging for someone to save her from a mysterious doom, Noemí Taboada heads to High Place, a distant house in the Mexican countryside. She’s not sure what she will find—her cousin’s husband, a handsome Englishman, is a stranger, and Noemí knows little about the region.   
 
Noemí is also an unlikely rescuer: She’s a glamorous debutante, and her chic gowns and perfect red lipstick are more suited for cocktail parties than amateur sleuthing. But she’s also tough and smart, with an indomitable will, and she is not afraid: Not of her cousin’s new husband, who is both menacing and alluring; not of his father, the ancient patriarch who seems to be fascinated by Noemí; and not even of the house itself, which begins to invade Noemi’s dreams with visions of blood and doom.
 
Her only ally in this inhospitable abode is the family’s youngest son. Shy and gentle, he seems to want to help Noemí, but might also be hiding dark knowledge of his family’s past. For there are many secrets behind the walls of High Place. The family’s once colossal wealth and faded mining empire kept them from prying eyes, but as Noemí digs deeper she unearths stories of violence and madness. 

Miss Benson’s Beetle
by Rachel Joyce

It is 1950. London is still reeling from World War II, and Margery Benson, a schoolteacher and spinster, is trying to get through life, surviving on scraps. One day, she reaches her breaking point, abandoning her job and small existence to set out on an expedition to the other side of the world in search of her childhood obsession: an insect that may or may not exist—the golden beetle of New Caledonia. When she advertises for an assistant to accompany her, the woman she ends up with is the last person she had in mind. Fun-loving Enid Pretty in her tight-fitting pink suit and pom-pom sandals seems to attract trouble wherever she goes. But together these two British women find themselves drawn into a cross-ocean adventure that exceeds all expectations and delivers something neither of them expected to find: the transformative power of friendship.

The Outsiders
by S.E. Hinton

No one ever said life was easy. But Ponyboy is pretty sure that he’s got things figured out. He knows that he can count on his brothers, Darry and Sodapop. And he knows that he can count on his friends—true friends who would do anything for him, like Johnny and Two-Bit. But not on much else besides trouble with the Socs, a vicious gang of rich kids whose idea of a good time is beating up on “greasers” like Ponyboy. At least he knows what to expect—until the night someone takes things too far.

Nonfiction

How to be a Bawse
by Lilly Singh

Lilly Singh isn’t just a superstar. She’s Superwoman—which is also the name of her wildly popular YouTube channel. Funny, smart, and insightful, the actress and comedian covers topics ranging from relationships to career choices to everyday annoyances. It’s no wonder she’s garnered more than a billion views. But Lilly didn’t get to the top by being lucky—she had to work for it. Hard.
Now Lilly wants to share the lessons she learned while taking the world by storm, and the tools she used to do it. How to Be a Bawse is the definitive guide to conquering life. Make no mistake, there are no shortcuts to success, personal or professional. World domination requires real effort, dedication, and determination. Just consider Lilly a personal trainer for your life

Maybe you Should Talk to Someone
by Lori Gottlieb

One day, Lori Gottlieb is a therapist who helps patients in her Los Angeles practice. The next, a crisis causes her world to come crashing down. Enter Wendell, the quirky but seasoned therapist in whose of­fice she suddenly lands. With his balding head, cardigan, and khakis, he seems to have come straight from Therapist Central Casting. Yet he will turn out to be anything but.

Think and Grow Rich
by Napoleon Hill

What Do You Want Most? Is It Money, Fame, Power, Contentment, Personality, Peace of Mind, Happiness? The Thirteen Steps to Riches described in this book offer the shortest dependable philosophy of individual achievement ever presented for the benefit of the man or woman who is searching for a definite goal in life.

Between the World and Me (audio version)
by Ta-Nehisi Coates

In a profound work that pivots from the biggest questions about American history and ideals to the most intimate concerns of a father for his son, Ta-Nehisi Coates offers a powerful new framework for understanding our nation’s history and current crisis. Americans have built an empire on the idea of “race,” a falsehood that damages us all but falls most heavily on the bodies of black women and men—bodies exploited through slavery and segregation, and, today, threatened, locked up, and murdered out of all proportion. What is it like to inhabit a black body and find a way to live within it? And how can we all honestly reckon with this fraught history and free ourselves from its burden?

Café Wrap on Character

Once again our Socrates Café meet up did not disappoint!

The Big Q: Is it human nature to base our opinions on a person’s character based solely on our interactions with that person?

Early on in our conversation, general consensus divined that while our interactions with a person (or our understanding of their reputation) colors our first impression, further interaction hones what we perceive about one’s character.

In the case of a complete stranger, we gather our impression of their character based upon how we see them treat others or our direct interactions with them. But what if the person is having a particularly bad day just before our encounter with them? Could we be wrong about who they are and our assessment of their character?

Suppose you encounter a complete stranger. This stranger has stopped for gas and you meet her inside a convenience store while she’s waiting in line behind you to pay cash. Rudely, she cuts around you without apology. She’s agitated. In that moment, another customer yells at her saying, “Hey, what’s your problem?” and curses her out and shoves her. After choice words are exchanged, she leaves, jumps into her car and tears off narrowly missing someone who is walking from the gas pumps to the store.

“What sort of a person is this?” you ask yourself. What words spring to mind to describe her character?

  • Entitled
  • Rude
  • Uncaring
  • Self-centered

Later that day, you learn that the so-called stranger is actually a friend of a friend of yours! And, you learn what preceded the gas station encounter.

A single mom, she’s been having difficulty at work. Her boss had given the entire staff an ultimatum about arriving to work on time. Anyone not at his or her post by their scheduled start time will be fired. Although she’s never been late to work, today she overslept with good reason. She’d been up several times during the night with a child who has been experiencing night terrors. Exhausted, she didn’t hear her alarm.

To make matters worse, her car was low on gas which she’d originally planned to remedy by leaving home early enough to stop and fill up. Having overslept, if she drove straight to work, she was certain she could still make it there on time, but she couldn’t be one hundred percent sure that she wouldn’t run out of gas on the way. If she stopped for gas, she might or might not make it to work on time. That would depend on several things beyond her control. She decided her sure bet was to stop for gas on the way.

Again you ask, “What sort of person is this?” But knowing the background, new words spring to mind about her character.

  • Determined
  • Smart
  • Responsible
  • Caring

Do you think you could have a different take if you haven’t heard of a person or their reputation? Sometimes, your meeting with a person still doesn’t tell you much about his or her character.

One person cited the example of British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain meeting Adolf Hitler in the late 1930s. Chamberlain believed Hitler was a man of his word and found him personable. He’d even hoped he might be remembered as “an apostle of peace,” though history finds Chamberlain’s assessment a serious error.

How you meet a person matters. You might see a TV interview and draw an entirely different conclusion about a person than if you had met them in person. First impressions, we decided, can be skewed. 

Some of us believe that we are pretty good at judging a person’s character based on a first impression, while others are more methodical and take time to gather more information. One said, “My first impression almost always is wrong. It takes me a long time to make up my mind about things.”

Another case we considered is serial killer Ted Bundy who was known as a “charming person.” The way someone interacts with us might not say anything at all about their character. An irritating person, for example, may turn out to be a good person but the things that you find irritating about them may influence your opinion of their character.

One participant asked us all to consider what we mean by the term “character.” He suggested that character may simply be a proxy to how we interact with others. While we may admit to having our own flaws, as humans we generally do a good job of covering them up (even if only to ourselves.)

He also cited examples of both President John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King, Jr., who were known to have the ability to deal with people, organize them and get things done. Still, both were also known as womanizing philanderers. So do we look at individual instances of behavior or do we judge character on the whole, based on something deeper?

Depth of character may not be just a matter of surface personality traits. The environment can change a person’s character. Does one defer to authority such as those who behaved in monstrous ways during the Stanford Prison Experiment to investigate the psychological effects of perceived power, or those whose egregious behavior was revealed in the Nuremberg trials of Nazi perpetrators?

This brought us to pose the question, are you born with character or is it created and changed by your experience?

While we do not claim to have answered the original question, we have gained valuable insight into what we think individually and how our belief about a person’s character squares with what the people around us believe. We’d love to have you join us at the next meet up of the Socrates Café.

Each meetup of the Socrates Café gives participants an opportunity to hear other points of view, and to offer their ideas about the question of the day.

Your Story: Allentown in Quarantine

What is this?

The Allentown Public Library is collecting stories from individuals on how the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting quarantine and mandates have affected their lives.

Why?

The COVID-19 pandemic and resulting quarantine continues to affect our society in monumental ways and will be remembered for a long time. However, sometimes it may be difficult for posterity to see how the lives of individuals and their daily experiences were changed. This is why the library is collecting those individual stories and storing them in our archives to be accessed by future generations.

How Can You Share Your Story?

Fill out the form on this page. A librarian will then contact you about how to record your own story or schedule an interview.

Easy COVID-19 Resource Guide for Patrons

February 2021

Check out CDs, DVDs and Audiobooks like

If on a Winter’s Night you need something to read from

Allentown Public Library, you’ll be happy to learn that

The library is serving patrons via drive thru window pickup as well as inside. We ask all patrons to limit each visit to one hour for book browsing or computer use so that everyone can stay as safe as possible.

Restricted Walk-in Service Expectations

All patrons are expected to wear masks and to be considerate of others, maintaining social distancing guidelines. Our staff will do our part to provide you with services while maintaining increased cleaning protocols and the same guidelines that we ask of our patrons. Browsing for materials or computer use are limited to one hour per day. The mezzanine, local history room, periodical rooms remain closed at this time.

In order to accommodate those who are uncomfortable visiting indoors, we will maintain drive-thru service. You may call 1-2 hours ahead to place books on hold, or place them on hold yourself using the MyAccount feature. You will be contacted via email, text or phone call (your choice) when your reserved materials are ready for pickup.

Please check here and on our social media pages for frequent updates.

Lehigh County

Center for Disease Control and Prevention

Please take advantage of Allentown Public Library’s online resources!

Kids Yoga Story Time

Wednesdays from 4-4:30 PM, February 10-March 17, 2021.

For ages 4-11.

Online, Zoom session with an instructor from Pratyush Sinha Foundation. For more than 8 years, PSF has been teaching after school yoga to elementary and middle schools in Allentown. These free classes offer movement and breathing with a story followed by a simple at-home craft. Children develop flexibility- physically and mentally, learn balance on and off the mat, and grow the soft skills necessary for positive life outcomes.

Sign up today to receive your Zoom Link by e-mailing Larissa from PSF at thelovelylittlelotus@gmail.com for the Google Link to sign the waiver to attend and receive Zoom link.

APL Adult Winter Reading Bingo

Register to Get Your Free Space!

Print Your Bingo Board Now!

What is This? 
This year, for the Adult Winter Reading Club, we will be doing Library Bingo.

Sounds Fun, How Do I Get Started? 
Simply print out a bingo sheet from this webpage, Facebook or pick one up at the drive thru window 

How do I Play? 

  1. Read, use library resources, and participate in activities to fill in relevant squares. 
  2. The goal is to get five squares in a row (vertical, horizontal, or diagonal) 
  3. If want to play more, don’t worry. Each card can win up to five times. Just keep filling in squares 
  4. Return the sheet to the library or take a picture of your completed sheet and email it to the library or share it to the Facebook group by March 31st

Facebook Group? 
Yes, a Facebook group. Join the AWRB Facebook group to see book recommendations, learn about library programs, and interact with other readers. 

Don’t have Facebook?  
That’s ok, sign up at our website to receive emails with AWRC news.

Can my Children Participate?  
Sorry, this program is just for adults. 

Do They Need to be Library Books? 
Obviously, we’d love for you to check out books from the library, but this is about celebrating reading, so all books count.

Do I have to Read Print Books? 
Nope, we support all forms of reading: eBooks, books on CD, and downloadable audiobooks. 

What If I Read a Book That Applies to Multiple Squares? 
You can use a book for one square only.  

Can I Complete More Than One Bingo? 
Yes, if you finish one Bingo, go for another! The more you complete the more entries you get. 

What Can You Win? 
Completing a Bingo will give you an entry for a chance to win a gift card to local businesses. 

When Will Winners Be Announced 
Winners will be announced on the first day of spring (Saturday, March 20th).

Fine Print 
You are on your honor to read the books before adding them to your Winter Reading Challenge bingo card. Cheating, skimming, or just reading reviews online will invoke bad winter karma which may include sniffles, lack of marshmallows in your hot chocolate, or one mitten. 

First Mondays Mindfulness

mindfulness

Do you keep hearing about mindfulness?

Perhaps you have been wondering. “What is mindfulness practice anyway?”

Mindfulness has always been an integral part of yoga practice.

If you just thought, “Oh no, I am not flexible enough to do all of those poses!”

Mindfulness is best described as mind-body awareness. So you do not need any special equipment. To participate, you can sit on a chair, on the floor, on a mat or on the ground in your yard if the weather is comfortable. In fact, you can stand, or even take a walk once you understand how to practice mindfulness.

The library is offering free mindfulness sessions on Zoom so you can participate from the comfort of your own home. Check out a session!

REGISTER HERE for 5PM, Monday, February 1, 2021. You will automatically be registered for March 1st, April 5th and May 3rd so you’ll only need to register once for all four sessions. See you there.

Café Wrap: Will Racism Ever End?

Participants at the latest meetup of the Socrates Café chose to tease out the answer to the timely question, “Will racism ever end?”

We acknowledged that at this particular meetup, there were no obvious people of color in attendance, so we recognized the bias in our inclinations and lack of full representation of a more varied point of view. Still, we pressed on to first determine our own definitions of racism.

At the start, time spent trying to determine the differences between the definitions of: race, species, racism, bias, prejudice, discrimination, bigotry, oppression, etcetera carried our consideration. One person detailed the origin of the word “race” from the 1600s (corroborated by The New Fowler’s Modern English Usage which the library keeps in its Reference section) while this NPR article by Gene Demby suggests a much later use of the word “racism” and the ugliness it suggests. An excerpt from Merriam-Webster dictionary states the following.

The History and Dictionary Meaning of Racism

Racism appears to be a word of recent origin, with no citations currently known that would suggest the word was in use prior to the early 20th century. But the fact that the word is fairly new does not prove that the concept of racism did not exist in the distant past. Things may have words to describe them before they exist (spaceship, for instance, has been in use since the 19th century, well before the rocket-fired vessels were invented), and things may exist for a considerable time before they are given names (t-shirt does not appear in print until the 20th century, although the article of clothing existed prior to 1900).”

Merriam-Webster
Photo by fauxels

This passage brings up a good point as we determined among ourselves that the history of racism seems to date to the beginning of human communities. One participant suggested that racism is the “us” and them” differentiation in which one group seeks to control or see itself as superior to the other.

Some of us reported feeling hopeful that people are working toward being better, even working on ourselves to recognize when racism creeps in at first unnoticed. Another also noted how keeping groups apart breeds racism as it sows fear or distrust. This may be a deliberate action for one who seeks to control.

But, if I know you, I am less likely to think of you as being different from me in a negative way, or to consider you as less than me.

As to the simple answer to the question, “Will racism ever end?”

No. But in philosophical questions, there are rarely simple answers. Often, there are more questions that arise.

Some felt that despite efforts to avoid it, racism is a human fault. We noted that it can be argued that we are not born harboring racism, but rather it is taught. This offers hope. Hope that where racism exists, hearts and minds can be changed.

One of the great things that happens at the Socrates Café is that in the course of conversation, participants often recommend books, movies and videos, and other compelling resources. So when you join in, its a good idea to keep a notepad handy to write them down. And its often helpful to make notes for yourself for when its your turn to speak about what’s on your mind.

Here are a few of the titles that were suggested by you on the subject of racism.

Caste : The Origins of our Discontents, a new book by Isabel Wilkerson

“In this brilliant book, Isabel Wilkerson gives us a masterful portrait of an unseen phenomenon in America as she explores, through an immersive, deeply researched narrative and stories about real people, how America today and throughout its history has been shaped by a hidden caste system, a rigid hierarchy of human rankings.” ~ Goodreads

Tales of a Female Nomad: Living at Large in the World a book by Rita Golden Gelman

Earning 3.5 stars on Google Reviews, this true story follows the 48-year-old on the verge of a divorce, as she leaves an elegant life in Los Angeles to follow her dream to travel the world. She connects with people in cultures all over the globe. (This 2001 book can be obtained by filling out an Interlibrary Loan Request form at the Reference Desk.)

“In 1986, Rita sold her possessions and became a nomad, living in a Zapotec village in Mexico, sleeping with sea lions on the Galapagos Islands, and residing everywhere from thatched huts to regal palaces. She has observed orangutans in the rain forest of Borneo, visited trance healers and dens of black magic, and cooked with women on fires all over the world. Rita’s example encourages us all to dust off our dreams and rediscover the joy, the exuberance, and the hidden spirit that so many of us bury when we become adults.” ~Amazon synopsis

The virally popular YouTube series with Emmanuel Acho entitled Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man

The series spawned his Acho’s book by the same name. Be sure to get your name on the library’s hold list to reserve your copy.

Harvard Implicit Bias Tests

Online tool created by Harvard psychologists to help you determine your implicit associations about race, gender, sexual orientation, and other topics. More than one person at the Socrates Café recommended this.

Crash a movie

From 2004 directed and written by Paul Haggis and starring Don Cheadle, Sandra Bullock and Thandie Newton, is the story of “Los Angeles citizens with vastly separate lives collide in interweaving stories of race, loss and redemption.” ~IMDB

Umbrella Academy a Netflix series, specifically Season 2, Episode 1

Current day characters transported through time in rapid succession, arrive in Dallas, Texas in 1960. One, a black woman, walks into Stadler’s Restaurant where she is met with the shock of the diners and where a stunned employee looks at her and points to the “Whites Only” sign above him.

Each meetup of the Socrates Café gives participants an opportunity to hear other points of view, and to offer their ideas about the question of the day.