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Uncovering the edible NYPL in books, menus, and ephemera.

My Favorite North African Vegetarian Recipes

The cuisine of North Africa Viktor Vasnetsov. The Flying Carpet (1880)(Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, and Tunisia) was influenced by the many peoples who settled there: African, Islamic, Arab, Berber, Ottoman, French, Italian and Spanish. It has its roots in the beginning of civilization itself.

In addition to use in bread and pastry dough, wheat, an important staple in North African cooking, is made into bulgur and couscous. Bulgur, or cracked wheat, is made by partially cooking the wheat grains 

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Read it, Make It, Write It! Asian Beef and Noodles with a Twist

I stumbled upon this amazing recipe combo of beef and ramen noodles from the book:

Taste of Home: Busy Family Favorites

Serves Four

Ingredients

1 pound lean ground beef 2 packages (3 ounces each) Oriental ramen noodles, crumbled 2 1/2 cups water 2 cups frozen broccoli; stir-fry blend 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger 2 tablespoons thinly 

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Read It, Make It, Write It! Curry Shrimp with Peas

Welcome to Read it, Make it, Write it, a Mid-Manhattan Library cooking blog showing some of the most amazing cookbooks available at The New York Public Library and the endless variety of healthy and delicious recipes right at your fingertips, for free!

The goal is simple: I pick a cookbook of my interest from the Library's collections, research the recipe and its ingredients, make the dish, eat it (which is my absolute favorite part), and finally — write about it.

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The Jefferson Market Library Free Classroom: Spring 2012

Jefferson Market Library, in an effort to offer substantive courses that teach the subjects you want to learn, is thrilled to offer its Spring Semester! Each course offers multiple sessions so students can build their knowledge as the course advances, class by class, guided by an experienced professor! And it's all free! Take a look:

Remember (just like in college) — for all courses requiring pre-registration — students are expected to attend all sessions to achieve the maximum 

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Books for the Slow Cook

An orange Crock Pot™ was a familiar presence in my kitchen in the 70s and 80s, a parental wedding present displaced by the microwave as the decade progressed. I had no idea the slow cooker was back until my youngest sister handed me a lightweight modern version on my last visit home. "You'll use it all the time, trust me," she said, already on her way out the door to her next engagement.

The slow cooker is back, buoyed by the real food 

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Fancy a Cuppa? Tea in the Rare Book Division

"Thank God for tea! What would the world do without tea? How did it exist? I am glad I was not born before tea."— A Memoir of the Reverend Sydney Smith*

On the coldest winter days, I must say I agree with Smith. And while reading through a little 1863 recipe book called The Book of One Hundred Beverages in the Rare Book 

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Thanksgiving Recipe Decisions

Cooking is a very stressful situation that I do my best to avoid. I always get really excited and anxious when I decide to cook, but halfway through the process every burner on the stove is on, bowls, plates, and utensils have piled up on the counter, and all I’ve ended up making is a bowl of spaghetti for one. But as Thanksgiving rolls around my mother always asks the dreaded question, "What are you making?" I’m beginning to think that she regrets asking this question because the extent of my culinary assistance on Thanksgiving Day is opening up a can of cranberry 

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Indian Cooking: My Favorite Resources

Radha at night. Mughal painting ca. 1650., from Wikimedia commons

Are you looking for a healthy, flavorful, whole foods approach to cooking? Wherever you are on the vegan to meat-eating spectrum, Indian food offers a wide variety of tastes, colors, and textures guaranteed to appeal to every palate.

The most popular Indian cuisines 

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Recipes from the Reluctant Camper

Summer is in full swing. Maybe you've taken a cruise, a roadtrip, a European jaunt or a trip to the beach, but summer would not be complete without a night spent with only a thin layer of nylon separating you from the starry sky and the cool night air... am I right?

No?! Well 

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History on the Half-Shell: The Story of New York City and Its Oysters

Blue Points, Saddle Rocks, Rockaways, Lynnhavens, Cape Cods, Buzzard Bays, Cotuits, Shrewsburys—raw on the half shell. Fried oysters, oyster pie, oyster patties, oyster box stew, Oysters Pompadour, Oysters Algonquin, Oysters a la Netherland, a la Newberg, a la Poulette, oysters roasted on toast, broiled in shell, served with cocktail sauce, stewed in milk or cream, fried with bacon, escalloped, fricasseed, and pickled. If you have spent any time transcribing for NYPL's What’s on the Menu? project, you’ve seen a lot of ways to 

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What Flavor is Your Book?

Do you have a "voracious appetite" for reading? Have you ever “devoured” a book? Have you ever had the depraved desire to slather your first-edition F. Scott Fitzgerald classic with whipped cream and chocolate sauce? Do you look forward to resuming that book you put down on the subway with the same hunger that you anticipate that chocolate cake at your favorite restaurant? Does a good dessert make you feel equally comfortable as a good book, like you would want to curl up in bed with either (aside from the crumbs that a dessert might shed, of course)?   If you ... Read More ›

Hold the Applause! Testimonial Menus

Perhaps you’ve noticed a few more people joining the menu party lately. The Buncombe County Medical Association is here. As are our friends from the National Life Insurance Company. We’ve even extended an invite to our canine crew (and their owners) from the Philadelphia Dog Show Association.

Clubs, organizations, companies, and associations often hosted an 

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The Queen B: Miss Buttolph and Her Menus

If you've transcribed even one menu, you've likely seen her stamp. A blue oval bearing her name, "Buttolph Collection", as graceful as a branding iron over asparagus, Russian caviar, or Boston baked beans.

Miss Frank E. Buttolph stamped nearly every menu she collected for the New York Public Library, twenty-three years worth, amounting to roughly 25,000 menus under her tenure 

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New Feature! Unlock Menus to Continue Editing

We've gotten a number of questions over the past week of What's on the Menu? about menus marked as "done." Do we really mean done? As in finished, vetted, archived for posterity? Fear not, we've cleared up this confusion with some new language. What we really meant to say was "under review."

On several occasions, a volunteer e-mailed us saying they'd spotted errors, or missing dishes, on menus marked as complete. I happily re-opened the menus in question (a facility only open to site administrators) and 

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Tricky Menu Tips: Ditto Marks, Prices, and More

Wow. We're sitting here with our mouths agape, simply overwhelmed --and thrilled! -- by the response to What's on the Menu? We knew you guys liked food, but holy (broiled) mackerel!

We launched WOTM very quietly, just three days ago, and, as of this typing, we have over 22K dishes transcribed! And it's evident, from the emails and tweets we've been receiving, that we have some very enthusiastic participants out there. Thank you!

But as you may have noticed, each menu is very different. Each has its quirks and 

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Doin' the Dishes!

Saratoga ChipsCorned Beef Hash.  Large Pot of Oolong Tea

Okay, so they’re not included in the works of Shakespeare (as far as I know), but that doesn’t mean these dishes aren't of value to researchers and scholars and the generally curious who read menus in order to learn more about the food served and consumed in restaurants throughout history.

But until now this kind of information (the food!) was 

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The Amazing, Wonderful, Incredible World of Beer: A Memoir

When health is bad and your heart feels strange, And your face is pale and wan, When doctors say you need a change, A pint of plain is your only man.

                                  —Flann O'Brien

I have a total irreverence for anything connected with society except that which makes 

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An interview with Sri Walpola, creator of "A Taste of Home: Cooking Sri Lankan in New York"

Currently on display at the St. George Library Center is a photo exhibit by photojournalist Sri Walpola, "A Taste of Home: Cooking Sri Lankan in New York." We sat down with him for a brief interview.

What inspired "A Taste of Home: Cooking Sri Lankan in New York"?

Since my arrival in New York, I started cooking. I started looking for Sri Lankan ingredients first, and then I started cooking with the help of my mother and both my sisters via the telephone because all of them are in Sri 

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How to Cook Sri Lankan with Cabbage

Spices to prepare Sri Lankan chicken stewTraditional Sri Lankan cuisine is a wondrous mix of tropical produce, freshly pounded spices, and curries cooked slowly in clay pots over an open fire. Flavor comes with spare time and energy — two factors in short supply in the big city. As a result, photojournalist Sri Walpola became interested in how his fellow countrywomen manage to recreate the tastes of home on Staten Island.

Last year, Walpola photographed several women in the Sri Lankan enclave of Tompkinsville, Staten Island, documenting the way they adapt 

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A Helping Hand from Food Stamps

The United States Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, known more commonly as the Food Stamp Program, provides support to low-income New Yorkers including working families, qualified immigrants, the elderly and the disabled to increase their ability to purchase food. A household must qualify under eligibility rules set by the federal government to enroll in this program.  To determine your eligiblity for this or other goverment assistance programs, click

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