Tuesday, November 25, 2014

War Between the Soups

On November 5, 2014 we had a war between the soups: Houston vs. Saigon. Patsy Brautigam demonstrated a wonderful tortilla soup made from a turkey carcass. With a little bit of fire and spice, we all enjoyed this very Tex Mex delight topped with tortilla chips. Huyen made a famous Chao Ca from white fish. This healthful soup is often fed to those who are feeling under the weather. It is easy to digest and delicious to boot. We all enjoyed a nice helping of this yummy soup. In the end, the soups were so different and nutritious that we proclaimed a tie.

Vietnamese Fish Congee Recipe

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Fish, Mammals, Reptiles, Amphibians, and Birds

On November 19, we had a wonderful joint program with Children's and LIFE. Eric Duran, biologist from the Nature Discovery Center came to a packed house and taught the preschoolers and post schoolers (grown ups) all about vertebrates: fish, amphibians, reptiles, and mammals. Eric's obvious joy in teaching had the kids in awe and adults smiling and actually learning new things. One LIFEr said that she hadn't heard some of the terms since college. Did you know that hair, fur, scales and nails are made of keratin?

Lie to Me

On November 12, we were graced by a handwriting expert, Alice Weiser. She gave away her book, Judge the Jury, as a door prize. Alice is both a jury consultant and a cruise entertainer so we got lots of fun and interesting insights into how to tell if someone is lying. Alice believes so profoundly in one's handwriting that she wouldn't date her current husband until she had his handwriting analyzed. She had three experts do it and one of them said if Alice didn't want Ralph, go ahead and send him to her. Ha!

Did you know?

  • If someone doesn't connect his o's or a's he can't keep a secret.
  • If you cross your t above the stem and it doesn't touch, you are a dreamer and you dream big. If your t's form a loop, you are vain.
  • If you are lying, you will often pull an ear, blink a lot, swallow before answering, carotid twitch, and touch your face.
  • If someone is telling the truth, eyes might shoot to the left to remember.
  • If someone is lying, eyes might shoot to the right. 
Alice asked anyone in the audience who had small handwriting to come up. She spoke to one young woman with small handwriting and said that it is a sign of low self-esteem. She said that she had lots going for her and not to put herself down. We all enjoyed the humor of the program, but also the positive way Alice ended the show: Look yourself in the mirror each day and say "Darn I'm good, (elbow and knee back) YES!"

Black Troops in World War I and the Houston Negro Hospital

Joseph Stephen Cullinan, one of the founders of Texaco, built the Houston Negro Hospital (which opened in 1927) with his own funds and dedicated it to the memory of his son, John Cullinan, who had been a white officer leading black troops during the war. Professor Thomas Kelly winningly winds up our Gulf Coast Reads book Remember Ben Clayton by Stephen Harrigan.  We were all fascinated with this interesting program containing local history and a loving philanthropist father.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Experiments with Truth: Gandhi and Images of Nonviolence

A photo of all of Gandhi's possessions when he died.
On October 22, we had the librarian at The Menil as our guest speaker. Eric Wolf explained that the library at The Menil is a very narrow and deep collection, unlike our own here at Lone Star College - CyFair Branch Library where we collect for a wide audience. Then he gave us a sampling of the exhibition on Gandhi at the museum. Abraham Korah liaised with The Menil to bring this program to us.

From The Menil: "Experiments with Truth: Gandhi and Images of Nonviolence is the first international project to explore the resonance of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi's (1867-1948) ethics of non-violence, or "satyagraha," in the visual arts."

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Turmeric: Good for You

The Oct. 15, 2014 LIFE program had a large crowd excited to learn about the spice, turmeric. Usha Dontharaju, Reference Assistant at LSC-CyFair, in full Indian sari regalia, did not disappoint. We learned that this root spice is in the same family as ginger and it is used as a food ingredient and as a tonic for many ailments such as indigestion, liver detox, skin healing, brain function, antiinflammatory, lower cholesterol, anti cancer, and much more. Indian cooks use turmeric in small quantities while cooking, but they put the ground spice in practically everything. It is a beautiful yellow color and a neutral taste (it is not spicy like hot red pepper). 

Usha prepared a Lemon Rice dish. She had steamed rice prepared. In a frying pan, she put 5 teaspoons of vegetable oil. When hot she added about a 1/2 cup of raw peanuts and 1/2 teaspoon of mustard seeds. When fragrant, she added a teaspoon of chick pea flour, the juice of two limes (yes, they still call it lemon rice), two pinches of turmeric, a handful of curry leaves from her garden,and salt to taste. She combined the mixture with the rice. We all got to taste this delightful dish. Usha also prepared a turmeric facial mask (1 teaspoon turmeric and three tablespoons of homemade plain yogurt). This will color your skin yellow so don't put it on before a big party.

Usha had everyone laughing at her witty remarks,  admiring her cooking skills and learning about this miraculous little root. Some suggested she do a cooking program on You Tube. Bollywood here she comes.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Latino First Responders Panel

Our first responders panel had our LIFE group begging for more gritty and gruesome stories from real life law enforcement. Sarah Cortez read some of her winsome poetry with such power in its simplicity. Christopher Hernandez read a passage about a mob and a homicide from his early experiences in south Texas. His tone and description is graphic and real. Hipolito Acosta of the INS described with passion some of his immigration experiences which were so dangerous and varied that Sarah exclaimed how can he possibly be alive? And the most fun was the Q&A afterwards where we could get more inside scoops.

The library purchased the following books:

Proof of Our Resolve by Chris Hernandez
Our Lost Border; Essays on Life Amid the Narco-Violence edited by Sarah Cortez and Sergio Troncoso
The Shadow Catcher: A U.S. Agent Infiltrates Mexico's Deadly Crime Cartels by Hipolito Acosta with Lisa Pulitzer