Wined & Dined
National spotlight shines on library’s banned books trading cards, now available for purchase online
The Lawrence Public Library’s banned book trading cards are blowing up — even with no bubble gum in the pack.
With requests to get them coming in from across the country, the library ordered a second printing and started selling packs online last night.
Emails from teachers, book lovers and other libraries started rolling into library marketing director Susan Brown’s inbox Sunday, when we published a story about the innovative art-books collaboration and the colorful cards it created.
At first Brown figured the library could just mail cards, pay the postage and mention that a donation would be great. But things snowballed fast.
“Monday morning, my inbox was just flooded,” Brown said. “By Tuesday we knew that we had to have a plan.”
The library lassoed up a PayPal account and permission from each artist for the second printing. They set up a purchasing mechanism on the library website, www.lawrence.lib.ks.us, where shoppers can get a pack of all seven cards for $7. After-cost proceeds will go to the library and the artists.
The library believed the trading card project was the first of its kind and expected some national attention, at least in the library world, but Brown said this much attention was a good surprise.
The Associated Press picked up my story, and on Friday The Huffington Post wrote a story along with images of the cards. A number of blogs have highlighted the project, too.
Not only does the project’s popularity showcase the library’s efforts to promote reading, Brown said, “It really highlights the arts scene in Lawrence.”
Locals can still get the trading cards for free in-person at the library, 707 Vt., and the Arts Center, 940 N.H. — as long as supplies last.
Here's our photo gallery of all the cards:
One 10-piece, 1,090-calorie Chicken McNuggets meal, please.
For the first time today, I learned how many calories are in my favorite meal at McDonald's. I’m still trying to decide whether I’m worried about it.
As promised, the fast food giant this week added calorie counts to its menus — no more having to go the extra mile to check online (or look at the box), the count is right there next to the price. Lawrence locations are included, with calories on both drive-thru and in-store menu boards (confirmed at Sixth and Wakarusa, no reason to doubt the other spots don’t have them up, too).
The 1,000-plus calories in McNuggets do not shock me. While I’ve never been a big calorie counter, I am generally health-conscious and well aware typical McDonald’s fare is not a healthy choice.
When I head to McDonald’s — always the drive-thru — I’m either starving, in a hurry and don’t want to trouble myself to get out of my car AND/OR have a salty greasy food itch to scratch and wouldn’t give healthier options the time of day, anyway. McDonald’s satisfies those needs like none other.
Obviously, my health would be better off without McDonald’s (at least the kind of stuff I order there). However, if I depended on the drive-thru for frequent meals and sustenance rather than occasional indulgence (or if I had diagnosed medical conditions such as high cholesterol or blood pressure), I think I’d be a lot queasier about the calorie counts — and all the other counts. My nuggets and fries had a combined 28 grams of protein (56 percent of the recommended daily allowance), but they also had 1,270 mg of sodium (53 percent RDA) and 48 grams of fat (73 percent RDA), according to nutrition information on the boxes.
Hmmm. I guess that does make me extra glad I ate homemade salads for lunch the previous two days.
P.S. You’re probably wondering, “What’s the highest-calorie item on the menu?” Got it. Weighing in at a whopping 1,400-plus calories, that would be the Angus Bacon and Cheese Burger meal. The sandwich alone has 2,070 mg of sodium (86 percent RDA) and 39 grams of fat (60 percent RDA).
Until a few weeks ago, I knew sumac as a vigorous weed that grows in the ditches alongside Kansas highways and turns bright red in the fall.
It turns out, Middle Eastern people have known for hundreds, if not thousands, of years that dried and ground berries of the sumac plant make a tasty addition to food (not necessarily Kansas ditch-sumac, there are many varieties of the species). I've since noticed that Aladdin Cafe has a dish called Sumac Chicken on the menu, too.
My friend recently hosted a Turkey-themed dinner party (not random, she was just back from a three-week trip there) where she and her husband made main courses for the feast and assigned side dishes to the rest of us. My assignment was Shepherd’s Salad, with a note saying I didn’t have to use the sumac the recipe called for if I didn’t have any.
Of course, I didn’t have any (I didn’t even know what it was). But of course, I was curious. I Googled, determined I could surely find some in bulk at a Middle Eastern market in Kansas City, and wasn’t disappointed — only $2 for a big scoop, too!
The flavor is bright and citrusy, a little like coriander but more earthy. The color is a beautiful deep purpley-red.
Everyone liked this fresh pretty dish, which works as a salad alongside kebabs, lamb or fish, or an an appetizer or snack with crusty bread (to soak up the juice!).
TURKISH SHEPHERD’S SALAD
2 large tomatoes, diced
1/2 large cucumber, diced
1 Anaheim pepper, diced
1/2 medium onion, sliced
1 tablespoon sumac
Salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup fresh mint, chopped
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Place all vegetables in a medium sized salad bowl. Add sumac, salt, pepper and mint. Toss. Drizzle with lemon juice and extra virgin olive oil. Chill until ready to serve.
(Recipe adapted from giverecipe.com and english.turkishcookbook.com.)
UPDATE: The full video is complete.
And it's really beautiful. I like how they show time-lapse of the mandala under construction, still-shots of the monks, and even shots of members of the public watching them work. (Also, I kind of like how they added a little Jayhawk in the corner.)
Have a look:
Journal-World photographer Richard Gwin and I were at KU's Spencer Museum of Art Tuesday to report and shoot our feature story on the Tibetan monks creating a sand mandala there. (Note: They should be working on it for a few more hours today if you haven't had a chance to check it out. Hurry, though, by 2 p.m. it will disappear!)
As we sat a few feet away, watching the intricate, brightly colored mandala emerge one centimeter of colored sand at a time, I said to Richard: "Someone really should make a time-lapse video of this. Wouldn't that be cool?"
He pointed up. The Spencer's photo staff had already thought of this, and had a camera on a tripod set up on the balcony above, aiming down at the monks and their mandala.
The museum has posted this teaser video already, and promises a full video next week. I'll watch for that and post it when it's ready. In the meantime, check out this teaser. Cool, no?
Lawrence is hitting Hulu today, as the main focus of the third episode in a new travel series called “Up To Speed.”
With cities like San Francisco and New York also covered in the Hulu original show, why would kooky tour guide/historian/philosopher Timothy “Speed” Levitch stop here?
Well, producers say, our “tumultuous” Civil War history is interesting. Kansas “straddled the line between right and wrong” (pretty sure their description of “wrong” side is referring to Missouri there). In his Kansas episode, Speed — with help from a talking Bowie knife and a fiberglass Jayhawk — highlights heroes, criminals and “monumentally ignored monuments” (ie: Founders Rock at Robinson Park, for one) of Bleeding Kansas.
Plus, Speed now lives in Kansas City, Mo. If you know more about film than the average bear, you may recognize him as the subject of a 1998 documentary called “The Cruise,” which trailed him sharing historical facts and his love for New York City from atop Gray Line double-decker buses, according to imdb.com. You may also know that “Up To Speed” director Richard Linklater also directed “Dazed and Confused,” “The School of Rock” and “Bad News Bears.”
Here's the Kansas episode.
To see what Speed has to say about other cities, visit hulu.com/up-to-speed.
Making official photos of art objects takes more TLC than you may realize — especially a 7-foot-tall art object sporting a massive tulle dress.
Kansas University's Spencer Museum of Art shared this time-lapse video of staffers setting up and shooting Sophie-Ntombikayise, a larger-than-life sculpture by 29-year-old Johannesburg, South Africa, artist Mary Sibande. The piece posed unique challenges because of it's size and shape.
See the custom set-building, lighting, shooting, tear-down and resulting shots — in this fast-forward style video, it takes less than 4 minutes.
Sophie is the first sculpture of Sibande's to enter the permanent collection of any museum in the United States, according to the Spencer. Read more about the object — now on display in the museum's central court — in my last blog post.
Hat-tip to photographers Matthew Gonzales and Ryan Waggoner for sharing their work!
Now that the Spencer Museum of Art at Kansas University has finally reopened after its water-main induced closure, visitors will be greeted by someone new.
She goes by “Sophie.”
Sophie-Ntombikayise is a larger-than-life sculpture by 29-year-old Johannesburg, South Africa, artist Mary Sibande. Sophie was scheduled to go on display last weekend in the museum’s center court, but the Aug. 1 water main break kept the museum closed until Tuesday of this week. (Note: Although the museum’s art objects and galleries escaped unharmed, unfortunately 15,000 to 20,000 books from the Murphy Art and Architecture Library in the basement were damaged.)
I got a peek at Sophie earlier this summer, when she was waiting in the wings for her debut. Even in a dimly lit temporary gallery, where she was stored with other art objects on their way into or out of display, she was impressive.
Sophie culiminates Sibande’s series of sculptural installations featuring four generations of women in her family, all of whom worked as domestic servants, according to the Spencer. It’s the first work in a U.S. museum collection.
The figure’s skin (formed in cast resin) is onyx-black, with down-turned face and slightly contorted, outstretched arms. Her size and skirt, however, stuck with me most. Sophie is pushing 7 feet tall, and her vivid purple and blue dress has piles and piles of billowing tulle that roll onto the floor in a circumference wider than her height.
The “wonderfully overblown” gown is meant to be an artificial hybrid costume of a maid’s uniform and regal Victorian dress, the Spencer’s exhibit announcement explains. Through Sophie, the announcement says, the artist addresses the traditional role of black women in South Africa and other countries where there’s a history of black servitude.
Did I mention Sophie is larger-than-life? Here’s a link to photos, but this piece is among those that are, without question, better — to scale — in person.
If you follow my colleague Chad Lawhorn's Town Talk blog, you know something has been going on with the restaurants at the southeast corner of 10th and Mass. After a month of being closed for remodeling, The Orient, Oh Boy! Chicken and (sort of) Angler's Seafood House reopened last week — as the same restaurant.
I stopped in Friday to check it out, and Nancy Nguyen, who owns all three restaurants, said the style of the new place is more "like a bistro." Nguyen she was looking to reduce her overhead and pare down the time she spent running between all three establishments.
"One person, you can't do it," she said.
The 3-in-1 conglomeration at 1006 Mass. has signs outside for The Orient and Oh Boy! Chicken. Inside, the decor is mostly Asian with some chickens and a fish here and there. There are two separate menus, one for The Orient (with its "pho-nomenal" pho and other Vietnamese dishes) and one for Oh Boy! Chicken (which offers gluten-free fried chicken, catfish and down-home sides).
Nguyen said the cost of flying in fresh fish three times a week has gotten too high to support. Rather than have it on a daily menu, she said, she expects to serve some of Angler's specialties, such as lobster tail, as weekend specials.
If any of you have been to that little Mexican-Chinese restaurant in downtown Eudora, Jasmine, it's kind of like that. If your party can't decide what its in the mood for, everyone can sit at the same table but dine in different worlds. (Incidentally, that place has both Mexican blankets and Asian things on its walls. It's really something.)
P.S. Alleged Vermont Street BBQ-to-be, next door at 1004 Mass., still has paper over the windows and "Coming soon!" signs on the door.
I’ll be heading over to the fairgrounds tomorrow in search of the biggest vegetable in Douglas County.
Those hulking, twisted monster pumpkins we’ve seen pictures of filling up entire pickup beds come to mind. More realistically, extension agent Jennifer Smith tells me, the Douglas County fair will have a few big zucchinis and a couple other veggies in the contest (The categories are largest pumpkin, fall squash, watermelon, muskmelon, summer squash and zucchini).
Smith did not seem hopeful that any of our Douglas County veggies would be smashing world records. But I looked them up out of curiosity anyway. Indeed, this year’s fair would have to produce some seriously ginormous veggies to top any of these.
According to guinnessworldrecords.com:
- The world’s heaviest squash weighed 1,236 pounds and was grown by John Vincent and Brian McGill (both Canada) and presented at the Cornerstone Landscaping Giant Vegetable weigh off in Stroud, Ontario, Canada, on Oct. 24, 2009.
- The heaviest pumpkin weighed 1,810 pounds 8 ounces and was presented by Chris Stevens (USA) at the Stillwater Harvest Fest in Stillwater, Minn., on Oct. 9, 2010. The pumpkin measured 15-feet-6-inches in circumference.
- The heaviest watermelon weighed 268.8 pounds and was grown by Lloyd Bright (USA) of Arkadelphia, Ark, in 2005. Lloyd grew and weighed in for the Annual Hope, Arkansas Big Watermelon Contest on September 3, 2005.
- The longest zucchini courgette measured 7-feet-10.3-inches on Oct. 17, 2005, and was grown by Gurdial Singh Kanwal (India) in his garden in Brampton, Ontario, Canada.
- The heaviest zucchini courgette was grown by Bernard Lavery of Llanharry, Rhondda Cynon Taff, UK in 1990 and weighed in at 29.25 kg (64 lb 8 oz).
Incidentally, if you’ve ever considered taking up giant-pumpkin growing as a hobby, you’ll find everything you need to know at pumpkinnook.com — “The Internet Shrine and Library for Pumpkins.” There’s even an entry about naming your pumpkin. Personally, I'd have a hard time picking between Fertile Myrtle, Sasquatch or Jabba the Glut.
After interviewing pie-baking champion Aliene Bieber for this week’s food cover story, (and, along with the rest of the newsroom, quite enjoying the pie in this picture), I typed up the recipe she shared with me to keep for myself (and inevitably not execute as well as she does someday when I try it). But, I figured, why keep it only for myself when sharing on the blog is so easy?
We also have recipes for Harold Agnew’s Basil Chive Bagels and Katherine Berkowitz’s Whole Wheat Bread. You can find those here, along with winning recipes from last year’s 4-H food contests.
Here is Aliene’s cherry pie recipe, with two approaches to choose from for the pastry.
3 cups tart red cherries
1/2 cup cherry juice
1 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 Tablespoons flour
1/4 teaspoon red food coloring (optional)
1/8 teaspoon almond extract
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 Tablespoon butter
Mix sugar, flour and salt thoroughly in a sauce pan. Add cherry juice, extract, cinnamon and coloring. Stir until well blended. Cook until thickened then add cherries. Let stand while making pastry.
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon sugar
2/3 cup shortening
About 1/3 cup of cold milk
Sift flour, salt and sugar into large bowl. Add shortening. Cut into the flour with pastry blender or hands until mixture is crumbly. Sprinkle with milk. Toss mixture lightly until mixture forms a soft ball. Roll out half of dough. Fit into pie plate. Trim off edge. Roll out the other half of dough for top of pie. Put cherry filling into pastry lined pan and dot with butter. Place top pastry on pie. Trim and tuck edges.
Bake at 400F for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 375 degrees and bake for 30-35 minutes longer.
Aliene’s Pie Crust (for two-crust pie)
2 1/2 cups unbleached flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
1 cup butter-flavored shortening
4 Tablespoons cold nonfat milk
1 Tablespoon light corn syrup
Mix flour, salt, sugar and shortening until you have a crumbly mixture. Using fingers, mix lightly. Add milk and syrup. Mix just until dough forms a soft ball. Roll out half at a time. If baking for a one-crust pie, bake at 400F for 15-20 minutes or until nicely browned. If making a two-crust pie, bake according to recipe.