An observation of a recent cookbook

Let’s face it. I read a lot of cookbooks.
A lot.
And I read a lot of cookbook reviews.
A lot.


The Pollan Family Table: The Best Recipes and Kitchen Wisdom for Delicious, Healthy Family Meals by Corky Pollan, Lori Pollan, Dana Pollan , Tracy Pollan, Michael Pollan

This one stood out for me.  I loved the colour photographs. I loved the personalize approach to cooking as a family activity.  However, I will admit a personal connection to this book. Not only is Micheal Pollan, author of the The Omnivore’s Dilemma   a brother of the Pollan sisters,  though one of the sisters is a neighbor of mine. Can you guess which one?
Yes, while living in Vermont,  our neighbors were  the Fox/Pollan household.  Much of the cooking listed in this family cook book is indiciative of the simplicity of cooking  we enjoyed while living in Vermont. Corky, Lori, Dana, and Tracy Pollan bring the reader into their  inspiring kitchens, sharing their family’s best recipes.
For generations, the Pollans have used fresh, local ingredients to cook healthy, irresistible meals. Michael Pollan, whose bestselling books have changed our culture and the way we think about food, writes in his foreword about how the family meals he ate growing up shaped his worldview.
This practical cookbook gives readers the tools  and inspiration  needed to bring the Pollan food philosophy in their everyday lives. This isi a cookbook about  making great,nourishing,  meals which bring families back to the table.

 The Pollan Family Table includes the Pollan’s top cooking techniques, time-tested shortcuts, pantry lists that make shopping for and preparing dinner stress-free. Destined to become a kitchen classic,  this cookbook helps the reader cultivate traditions that improve health, well-being, and family happiness.  And in my opinion,  remind me of  the simplicity  and goodness of life in Vermont.

Pies and Tarts. Meeting Kristina Migoya.


A pastry crust can be viewed as a blank canvas.  The holder of something special  to come.  Flaky paper-thin goodness.  A skill in which to be mastered.

Meeting Kristina Migoya today was a deeply honored pleasure. Meeting a Culinary institute  of America graduate, owner of local Hudson Chocolates shoppe, a baking and pastry instructor at the Institute,author of the recently published Pies and Tarts,  local business woman and talented chef was an exciting privilege for me.

Ms. Migoya   and her staff were  kind and welcoming the moment I walked into her shop.  She graciously signed our  LaGrange Library copy of Pies and Tarts  ( one of 6 in our Mid Hudson Library System).

Months ago,  while scouring my Library Journal periodical,  deciding which new books to purchase for our LaGrange Library collection,  I found  an entry for Pies and Tarts.  After reading the review, I was inspired to don my apron and reaching for my pastry blender. Personally, there is something very nurturing, yet noble about pie making. It is my personal quest to improve my pastry making ability.

Migoya’s volume begins with a primer on tools, equipment (from bakew10345777_10203953626188153_7188620322873431760_nare to digital scales) and ingredients (including a chart on the seasonal availability of fruits and vegetables). She follows with more than a dozen recipes for crusts, with step-by-step instructions for the aspiring pie-maker.  Classic  apple/ cherry/pumpkin pies are represented;  though a savory section  of quiche  to beef pot pies can be found. Guidance on icings  and meringues and use of creative garnishes  is addressed.

Ms. Migoya’s  shoppe, which she co-owns with her husband, fellow CIA  alum Francisco Migoya,  opened in  March 2013. Pies and Tarts is her first published cookbook for the home baker an emphasising use of volume as a unit of measurement.  It was a project initiated by the Culinary Institute’s publishing department, geared to the home baker.   An impressive pre-order of 4 000 is worth highlighting.  Of course, I simply had to  pick her brain  with the most basic of questions.  

What  type of pie plate do you prefer?  

Metal.  it is the best conductor of heat to create a crispy bottom.  Aluminum  is another  good transfer of heat.    Ceramic  take time to heat up   but does not create the crispness of the pastry.

Do you have a flour preference?

King Arthur.   Easy to obtain for both the professional and the home baker.   Out west,  near St. Louis,  Red Rose  is  sought after as that it is a constant protein make up.  ( I, too , favor King Arthur flour!)

What is your favorite pie flavor?

A difficult question….like which child is your favorite.   Balsamic strawberry, custard pies with a crisp bottom.

Pies and Tarts is a helpful cooking guide is laid out in an attractive fashion, dotted with colour photos.  It is both an informative cookbook,  yet a practical cookbook for  the novice  home dessert baker (like me.)


Sense and Sensibility: Jane Austen to Appear on £10 Note

Jane Austen banknoteA campaign to have Jane Austen be featured on a British banknote has succeeded: likely beginning in 2017, a portrait of the author will appear on the £10 note, replacing Charles Darwin, the BBC reported. Austen is the first female author to be featured on British currency. (Shakespeare and Dickens have made cameo appearances.) Her inclusion also means that British notes will have a woman other than Queen Elizabeth on currency once social reformer Elizabeth Fry is replaced on the £5 note by Winston Churchill.

The Austen portrait on the note is adapted from a sketch drawn by her sister Cassandra. Below the portrait is a quotation from Pride and Prejudice: “I declare after all there is no enjoyment like reading!” The note will also feature an illustration of Elizabeth Bennet from Pride and Prejudice; an image of Godmersham Park in Kent, home of Austen’s brother, inspiration for several of her novels; and the writing table the author used at home at Chawton Cottage in Hampshire.

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Two Thirds of Parents Don’t Read to Their Kids Every Night, Reveals Poll

paqrentchildreaingsofa Only one in three parents of children ages eight and under reads stories to their kids each night, according to a new survey by the literacy organization Reading is Fundamental (RIF) and Macy’s. Overall, 87 percent of the parents who participated in the online poll read to their kids at bedtime—but not every night. Half the parents said that their children spend more time watching TV and playing video games than reading.

The national online survey of 1,003 parents, conducted in April, also found that in households with salaries under $35,000, 40 percent of kids under nine watched TV, while 35 percent read books.

dadgirlreaingParents still favor reading print over ebooks with their kids, as 76 percent choose print while reading with their children, the poll showed. Kids also like paper better: nearly twice as many (20 percent) of those whose parents read from both formats would choose print over ebooks (nine percent).

In its release, RIF noted that kids who are poor readers by the end of third grade  are four times more likely to drop out of high school than their more proficient peers, according to statistics. Two-thirds of all American fourth graders don’t read proficiently, and among lower-income families, that number rises to four fifths.

Mrs Potwin note:  I, along with your child’s teacher encourage you to make time to read with your child, visit the local library with your child, have a public library card, discuss books you read as a child,  favorite literary characters etc. as part of being a good reader role model for your child.

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By on June 21, 2013

Upcoming books to movies….summer 2013 and beyond

movie_nightAs the school year gives way to the lazy vacation days of summer.  Consider adding a few of these book titles to your reading list prior to  viewing the movie. Also included  are updates on already touted future movies projects.

Coming Soon

Following the success of the Academy Award-winning animated short The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore, William Joyce’s picture book, The Leaf Men and the Brave Good Bugs (HarperCollins, 1996), will make its way to the big screen as a longer animated film entitled Epic (PG) coming to theaters on May 24.

Queen of teen lit Judy Blume’s 1981 young adult classic Tiger Eyes is finally getting a  theatrical debut; the big screen  June 7. Directed by Blume’s son Lawrence, the film was given the green light for a film adaptation after more than 30 years in print. It chronicles the story of Davey (played by Willa Holland) a young girl attempting to cope with the sudden death of her father.

Based on Tim Tharp’s 2008 National Book Award YA finalist (Knopf, 2007), The Spectacular Now is making the rounds a several independent film circuits, including the 2013 Sundance Film Festival. It will have a limited release this summer starting August 2.

Logan Lerman returns to his demigod roots on August 7 in Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters, the sequel to Percy Jackson: Lightning Thief, both based on Rick Riordan’s bestselling series. Much of the cast has returned, including Brandon T. Jackson (Grover Underwood) and Alexandra Daddario  (Annabeth Chase). Some new characters to watch for are Douglas Smith as Tyson, Percy’s half-brother, and Leven Rambin as Clarisse La Rue, the daughter of Ares.

mortalinstruments Page to Screen: Summer Reading Blockbusters, Dystopian Teen Lit, and Childhood ClassicsForget about vampires and werewolves—on August 23, the Nephilim (or super-powered half-angels) will take over in The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, the adaptation of Cassandra Clare’s bestselling series (S & S). Lily Collins portrays Clary Fray, a New York City teen who is thrown in the middle of a secret world of demons when her mother (Lena Headey) is attacked by one. Then she meets Jace (Jamie Campbell Bower), who is the key to understanding who (or what) she really is.

catchingfire Page to Screen: Summer Reading Blockbusters, Dystopian Teen Lit, and Childhood ClassicsNo list would be complete without including the next chapter of the “Hunger Games” phenomenon. Jennifer Lawrence (Katniss), Josh Hutcherson (Peeta), and (Liam Hemsworth) Gale reprise their roles in the action-packed Catching Fire on November 22. Joining the love triangle is a new cast of characters and the talented actors that will portray them, including Jena Malone (Johanna Mason), Philip Seymour Hoffman (Plutarch Heavensbee), and Amanda Plummer (Wiress).

In the Pipeline

Below are several book-to-movie adaptations scheduled to hit theaters next year, for which fans are already anxiously waiting.

The Maze Runner (Delacorte, 2009) by James Dashner is set for a February 14, 2014, release date

Divergent (HarperCollins, 2011) by Veronica Roth will be released on March 21, 2014. The star-studded cast began filming April 8 in Chicago, where the futuristic story is set.

Classics, At Last

Below are a few book-to-movie adaptations that fans have been awaiting for a long, long time.

Alexander and the Terrible Page to Screen: Summer Reading Blockbusters, Dystopian Teen Lit, and Childhood ClassicsDisney’s live-action movie based on Judith Viorst’s 1972 well-known picture book Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day (S & S) is making tiny steps closer to the screen. Miguel Arteta is set to direct, and Lisa Cholodenko and Rob Lieber are writing the screenplay. Steve Carrell and Jennifer Garner are set to take on the roles of Alexander’s parents.

Madeleine L’Engle’s beloved A Wrinkle in Time (Farrar, 1962) is to finally be made into a feature film with a script written by Jeff Stockwell, who penned the screen adaptation of A Bridge to Terabithia for Disney in 2007. Disney currently has the rights to the book and is working on the new version with Bedrock, which had negotiated rights to the property from the L’Engle estate.

fault in our stars Page to Screen: Summer Reading Blockbusters, Dystopian Teen Lit, and Childhood Classics

John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars (Dutton, 2012) It will star Shailene Woodley (Hazel), yet the role of Augustus “Gus” Waters has not yet been cast. Currently it’s one of the most sought after roles in Hollywood, with many young male actors vying and testing for the part.

Lionsgate has hired Jack Thorne to adapt R.J. Palacio’s bestselling and award-winning Wonder (Knopf, 2012).

Stephanie Sanditz is writing the screenplay for a film adaptation of Cassandra Clare’s “The Infernal Devices” (S & S)  for Constantin Film.

Piers Ashworth is writing the screenplay based on Kristin Cashore’s Graceling (Harcourt, 2008) for Reliance Entertainment & Kintop Pictures.

Director Mikael Håfström has signed on to direct an adaptation of Roderick Gordon and Brian Williams’s Tunnels (Scholastic/Chicken House, 2007) for Relativity Media. The screenplay is being written by Andrew Lobel, Joel Bergvall, and Simon Sandquist.

Producer David Heyman is eyeing an adaptation of Leigh Bardugo’s Shadow and Bone (Holt, 2012).

CBS Films is pursuing film versions of Marie Lu’s Legend and Prodigy (Putnam), with Jonathan Levine attached as director.

Stuart Beattie is writing a screenplay of Laini Taylor’s Daughter of Smoke & Bone (Little, Brown, 2011) for producers Joe Roth and Palek Patel at Universal Pictures.

Michael Scott is writing the screenplay to adapt his own book The Alchemyst (Random, 2008) for producers Mario Andreacchio, Konstantin Thoeren, Stefan Brunner, and Scott and Barry Krost at AMPCO Films. Eric Bress was previously attached as director, but has reportedly dropped out of the project.

Annie Sage’s Septimus Heap: Magyk (HarperCollins, 2004) is getting a screenplay written by Peter Craig for producers Karen Rosenfelt and Angie Sage at Warner Bros. David Frankel is set to direct.

knifeneverlettinggo Page to Screen: Summer Reading Blockbusters, Dystopian Teen Lit, and Childhood Classics

Screenwriter Charlie Kaufman will take on Patrick Ness’s Chaos Walking: The Knife of Never Letting Go (Candlewick, 2008) for Doug Davison at Lionsgate.

Producers Tobey Maguire and Graham King are looking to bring Rick Yancey’s The 5th Wave (Putnam, 2013) to the screen through GK Films.

Producers David Katzenberg and Seth Grahame-Smith are bringing Maggie Stiefvater’s The Scorpio Races (Scholastic, 2011) to the big screen with Warner Bros.

Director Tim Burton will be adapting Ransom Riggs’s Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children (Quirk, 2011) from a screenplay by Jane Goldman.

Warner Brothers, Heyday Films, and Benderspink will be collaborating on Dan Krokos’s The Planet Thieves (Tor, 2013). Producers Pouya Shahbazian and David Heyman are reportedly attached.

Meanwhile, on the Small Screen

Film producers aren’t the only ones mining the bookshelf for great ideas. Production is already underway for such popular series as Lauren Oliver’s Delirium (HarperCollins) and The Selection (HarperCollins, 2012) by Kiera Cass.

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Don’t forget your towel….May 25th.

Fans of Douglas Adams’ towelbigHitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy  ( Mrs. Potwin  included!)  understand the significance of the number 42 (and why is it is extremely important to always have a towel!)

In honor of tomorrow’s annual Towel Day, a celebration of the life and work of Douglas Adam’s, the attached graphic sheds some light and explain the special meaning of the number 42 from all walks of life.

Don’t Panic.

Literary Irish postage stamps…


A recently released  60c stamp was commissioned by Ireland’s Postage Service to celebrate Dublin’s permanent designation as a UNESCO City of Literature in 2010. It was unveiled at Roddy Doyle’s Fighting Words Centre  on Thursday, May 16th, 2013.

Designed by the Stone Twins, two Amsterdam-based Irish designers, the bright yellow rectangle includes all 224 words of 17 year old Eoin Moore’s short story which strives to capture the “essence” of the capital.

Chez Potwin,  we are excited to see another ‘E-O-I-N’  receiving notoriety.

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End of year round up


20130520-073223.jpgIt is that time of year again.  Bravo to the many who have returned their library items so far… still many items out.  A new batch of courtesy notices have been sent on 5/17.  Mrs. Potwin will be digging around in your classrooms and in cubbies to help you.  Please look high and low.  Missing items will be billed to  student accounts this week.