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In the Stacks: New nonfiction for adults

Posted: August 14, 2013 - 11:04pm

New nonfiction for adult readers – look for the new biography of Papa Pilgrim and his family, “Pilgrim’s Wilderness,” and for the breezy “Create your own religion,” by Daniel Bolelli.

“The Yogurt Cookbook,” by Arto Der Haroutunian, photos by Hiltrud Schulz.

This book does for yogurt what “A world of dumplings” did for small, filled edibles: mainly, introduce readers (cooks and eaters alike) to the many ways that cultured milk is made and used. Step away from Yoplait and discover how easy it can be to make your own delicious homemade yogurt. If you aren’t interested in making your own, though, store-bought plain yogurt from the store is a great short-cut in these soups, curries, salads, and desserts. Der Haroutunian gives instructions for making other cultured milk products such as Indian panir, Ethiopian urgo, and more solid products like yogurt cheese and dried yogurt balls. Cool off with a tasty salata bi laban (Arab mixed salad) featuring tomatoes, garlic, green pepper, mint, coriander, and yogurt, or warm up with jagnjeca kapama s jajima (Serbian lamb and egg casserole). Have some delicious yogurt cake or almond gingerbread for dessert. Beautifully illustrated with color photos, this cookbook will do much to broaden your kitchen repertoire.

“Billion-dollar Fish,” by Kevin Bailey.

Pity the pollock – it’s a fish that’s so generically tasty that it’s rarely seen under its own name – instead, we eat them as Filet-O-Fish sandwiches, fish sticks, California sushi, and more. And that ubiquity means that, in the process of making some people very wealthy, the fish themselves are nearly gone from many of their habitats. Bailey, a former senior scientist at the Alaska Fisheries Science center, predicts the coming collapse of the fishery if something isn’t done soon. Or perhaps it’s already too late: the complicated interplay of state and federal regulations, the biology of the pollock, and the changing ocean environment makes it difficult to know for sure. Bailey weaves an involved tale of the culture and history of commercial fishing, the political game that’s played on shore, and the life of the fish that will give readers the broad view of one Alaska’s most important and lucrative fisheries.

“How the Light Gets in,” by Pat Schneider. Part spiritual record, part memoir, part writing manual, this is an engrossing and moving examination of the art and practice of writing the deeply personal. Schneider, product of a mentally ill mother, a disappeared father, and an orphanage, grew up carefully choosing which thoughts to think, hoarding the memories of good times, and hiding the painful, shameful ones of poverty and dirt. As an adult, she studied at the Pacific School of Religion and the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and is now a poet, playwright, and adjunct professor of theology in Berkeley. It took Schneider years to integrate her deepest truths with her writing, and years more before she could share that writing with others. Here she nudges interested but tentative readers and writers towards their own shell-cracking experience in which they will learn to let in their own light.

“Dandelion Hunter,” by Rebecca Lerner.

Lerner’s dream of living the wild life led her to researching the edible plants in her area of Oregon, but dream became reality when she accepted a challenge to eat for a week off what she could forage in the Portland area. By the 5th day, though, she knew that she was in trouble and quit the challenge before doing herself damage. But she was hooked and started searching out teachers, like experienced forager Emily, who taught her about burdock root, roadkill collector Jason, who showed her how to butcher a deer, and herbalist Erico, who deepened her understanding of plants as medicine. Lerner writes about her mistakes as well as her triumphs, and points out her errors in thinking (it’s dangerous folly to start foraging in spring and think you’ll find enough to live on) so others don’t have to figure it out on their own. She includes a list of reliable foraging guides, a few recipes that include commonly foraged foods (stinging nettles, blackberries), and, interestingly, several combinations of herbs that make good tobacco substitutes. Fascinating read for foragers and armchair roamers alike.

•••

This is the last weekend to turn in summer reading game cards for adults and kids. Adults — the big prize drawing will be Aug. 20.

For information about upcoming programs, or to place a hold, visit www.juneau.org/library or call 586-5249.

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