New Scandinavian Cooking

There has been a renewal of interest in Norwegian cooking largely due to the efforts of Andreas Viestad. He is a Norwegian food columnist and TV chef. He is one of the hosts of New Scandavian Cooking and is a delightful host and guide to the new wonders of Scandanavian cooking. He has a wonderful sense of humor and is insistent on always cooking outdoors. On one of the episodes he was on a cruise ship in one of the magnificent Norwegian fjords and cooked a roast suckling pig in the teeth of a major gale!

Winter with your children

Well, it’s officially the winter season according to the calendar.  Winter runs from December 21st through March 19th (though we can all hope for that cute little groundhog to not see his shadow and indicate an early onset of warmer weather).  Regardless of how long the cold weather will continue for, we must come to terms with the fact that over the next several weeks many things will keep us inside our homes and community centers.  For those households with children, this can be a nightmare.  Trying to entertain children when a snow day occurs or even after school when the wind is blowing too hard for them to play outside can be a very difficult feat.

Of course, there are always those common snowy day ideas on how to use the snow to your advantage; go out and make a snowman or snow angel, have a snowball fight or even take the kids sledding down a steep hill nearby.  These are all great ideas to occupy children during the winter, but they are not always a parent or caregivers favorite choice.  Not everybody wants to trample through the snow in a snowsuit, gloves and a funny hat (that will always give you crazy hair afterwards). So, what are some other ideas for how to occupy your child when the weather doesn’t cooperate?

At this point you’ll expect me to scream out, “BRING YOUR KIDS TO THE LIBRARY,” and while yes, that is a GREAT idea due to all of the fun activities they can take part in, the toys they can play with and of course the books they can explore, I understand caregivers will sometimes want to be in the comfort of their own homes on these chillingly cold days of winter.  Therefore, here is my suggestion.  Come to the library, even for just a few minutes to pick some books out with your child, take those books home and use them as a way to bond with them.  How? You ask.

Here at the Danbury Public Library, we have a large selection of books in the junior department for children to explore their favorite topics.  Take your child up to this department and head over to our Junior Non-Fiction books.  There, use our Dewey Decimal system and locate the 745’s.  This is the area for decorative arts where you will find books on various crafting ideas.  Books on art crafts, jewelry making, paper crafts, and all different activities you can take part in with your child on a snowy day while staying in the comfort of your warm home can be found in this section.  We even have a book on how to make crafts out of Duct Tape!

So, as winter has fallen upon us, come on in to the library and seek out some crafting books for you and your child to explore your imaginations together on the next frigidly cold day.  And while you’re here, maybe even pick out a book for yourself for those nights where all you want to do is curl up next to a warm fire with a cozy blanket and a steaming cup of hot chocolate.  Believe me, a book can be one of the greatest winter companions.


James Tissot

James Tissot (1836-1902) was a skilled French artist who was a friend of Whistler and Degas. He had an enormously important career in France and then decided to move to England in 1871 where he replicated his previous success as a skilled society painter. He met Kathleen Newton who became his model, mistress, muse and the great love of his life. She died tragically in 1882 and he immediately returned to France. He had a profound religious experience in a Parisian Church where he saw a vision of Christ as the Comforter, with His arms around the homeless people of Paris. Thereafter he devoted his life to painting religious subjects and visited the Holy Land twice. The Brooklyn Museum has a large collection of his series on the Life of Christ. One of his greatest Biblical paintings is Saint Joseph Seeks a Lodging in Bethlehem.

Spuyten Dyvil

The recent tragic derailment of a Metro-North train took place in the Spuyten Dyvil section of the Bronx. This is a section of New York City which many people are not familiar with. I am familiar with the name because when I was growing up my Mother used to talk about it because she had relatives who lived there and she used to go from Brooklyn to Spuyten Dyvil frequently. I was very impressed with the name but thought that it was German. However it is Dutch and basically means Spinning Devil in reference to the roughness of the waters nearby. It was also the site of the first recorded shark attack in the New World.

Have we got holiday movies for you!

Years ago Christmas television specials would come on once a season and if you missed it, well, you missed it.  There seemed to be something special about everyone getting together to watch “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer” with homemade cookies and hot chocolate.  But in today’s busy world it isn’t always possible to get everyone together on the one night something is on TV.  Yes you can record it, but then there are all those commercials.

I was just looking in our catalog and found that we have 78 holiday movies.  There is definitely something for everyone in our collection.  As I reviewed the list I found several that I can watch every holiday season.  What would Christmas be without “it’s a Wonderful Life”?  Although I watch it year after year I always see something new.  What do you think people’s lives would be like if you were never born?  Just think of all the people you have touched or who have touched you; it’s an interesting thought.

“Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer” has been around since 1964.  It has been shown every year and is the longest running Christmas television special.  An elf who wants to be a dentist, why not, everyone has the chance to be who they want to be.  Then there’s the Isle of Misfit toys with a bird that swims instead of flying, a caboose with square wheels and a cowboy who rides an ostrich.  Every one of them is OK in Rudolph’s book and it’s a great lesson for kids.

We also have “Miracle on 34th St.”, “A Christmas Carol”, and “Babes in Toyland” which are all popular during the holiday season.  I’m sure most of you won’t get through the year without hearing someone say “you’ll shoot your eye out!” and although I’ve seen it year after year, I still laugh when the dogs take the turkey off the table or when the little brother bundled in his snow suit falls down and can’t move.  You can’t help but be amused when you watch “A Christmas Story” and learn that important lesson that you should never lick a frozen flag pole!

Our collection has lots of movies for the little ones, names like Elmo, Eloise, Caillou, Dora and Mickey all pop up with the Christmas search.  There’s also my personal favorite, “The Year Without a Santa Clause.”  Watch it once and I can’t stop singing about Heat Miser and Snow Miser for the rest of the season!

So don’t be a Grinch, check-out one of your favorites or watch a new Christmas special.  Make a date with your family for a fun holiday movie night.  The hot chocolate may be instant and the cookies may be cut and bake but take some time out and spend it with your family during the holidays.