Cooking and Cuisine highlight library's newest community reading event

(STILLWATER, OKLA. / July 11, 2016) – Food is everywhere. It is on people’s tables three times a day and at every milestone celebration in people’s lives. It is at birthdays, and it is at funerals, and it is now at the heart of the Stillwater Public Library’s newest series. Area readers will be exploring food, cooking, cuisine and life during “Much Depends on Dinner,” taking place Aug. 30-Nov. 15.

The series is part of the statewide "Let's Talk About It, Oklahoma" project of the Oklahoma Humanities with funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Each program includes a presentation on one book by an Oklahoma humanities scholar, followed by small group discussions about the book. This series will add one additional component.

“For book lovers, there is nothing better than coupling a book with a discussion,” said Lynda Reynolds, library director and series coordinator. “But now we’ve made it even better by introducing food.”

Programs take place on Tuesday evenings at 6:30 p.m. Before the program, a food tasting will be held at 6 p.m. for each of the books.

“Each book focuses on a different type of food or a particular cuisine, so we will be doing a tasting particular to each of the books,” said Reynolds. “We’ll be trying everything from Chinese dishes to locally grown vegetables.”

Participants in the series may pick up a copy of each book to read prior to the programs. The first book will be available beginning Aug. 1.

Books, program dates and scholars include:

Aug. 30, “The Last Chinese Chef” by Nicole Mones (2007) with scholar, Dr. Harbour Winn, professor at OCU. Maggie McElroy, an American food writer, is still mourning the death of her husband when she gets the shocking news that a paternity claim has been filed in China against his estate. When she's assigned to go to China to interview a half American, half Chinese chef, she decides to personally investigate the claim against her husband, with an unexpected outcome.

Sept. 20 – “The Tummy Trilogy” by Calvin Trillin (1994) with scholar, Dr. Britton Gildersleeve from the Oklahoma State University Writing Project. The “Walt Whitman of American eats," Calvin Trillin, compiles his three hilarious stories about food and eating into one volume.

Oct. 11 – “In Defense of Food” by Michael Pollan (2008) with scholar, attorney Caroline Larsen. Pollan proposes a new answer to the question of what we should eat that comes down to seven simple but liberating words: "Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants." Pollan’s bracing and eloquent manifesto shows us how we can start making thoughtful food choices that will enrich our lives, enlarge our sense of what it means to be healthy, and bring pleasure back to eating.

Nov. 1 – “A Homemade Life” by Molly Wizenberg (2009) with scholar Dr. Andrew Vassar, English professor at NSU. Author of the internationally famous blog, Orangette, Molly Wizenberg recounts a life with the kitchen at its center. From her mother's pound cake, a staple of summer picnics during her childhood in Oklahoma, to the eggs she cooked for her father during the weeks before his death, food and memories are intimately entwined.

Nov. 15 – “Secrets of the Tsil Café” by Thomas Fox Averill (2001) with scholar, Dr. Trisha Yarbrough, former professor at ECU. Weston Hingler becomes caught in the middle of his parents' culinary diversity, secrets, histories, infidelities and needs as he grows up in a cross-cultural extended family that exists between two kitchens--one new world, the other traditional.

Programs are free and open to the public. For more information, visit the Stillwater Public Library web site at library.stillwater.org, call 405-372-3633, or email askalibrarian@stillwater.org.

The Stillwater Public Library is located at 1107 S. Duck St. Library hours are Monday-Thursday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.; and Sunday 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.