Food for Thought

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We consume food daily to live, but how often do we think about what we eat and how our favorite recipes were concocted? Delve into the history of food and examine the role food plays within American culture by checking out the following books:

The Potlikker Papers: A Food History of the Modern South by John T. Edge – An exploration of Southern cuisine reveals how culinary traditions of the rural, poor South became a keystone of contemporary American cuisine.

100 Million Years of Food: What Our Ancestors Ate and Why it Matters Today by Stephen Le – Traces the development of regional cuisines, created through millennia of ingenious experiments using available plants and animals, to argue that returning to ancestral ways of eating is the first line of defense in protecting health.

The World on a Plate: 40 Cuisines, 100 Recipes, and the Stories Behind Them by Mina Holland – Perfect for armchair travelers, an exotic tour of the most irresistible cuisines of the world combines such ingredients as recipes, history and culinary wisdom to reveal what people eat and why in 40 cultures.

The Cooking Gene: A Journey Through African American Culinary History in the Old South by Michael W. Twitty – A culinary historian uses the story of his own ancestors, both black and white, to trace the origin of barbecue, soul food, and Southern cuisine, revealing the power of food to bring people together.

Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation by Michael Pollan – Recounts the story of the author’s culinary education and the roles of the four classical elements of fire, water, air, and earth in transforming natural ingredients into delicious meals and drinks.

Milk!: A 10,000-Year Food Fracas by Mark Kurlansky – Shares the history of milk and how it has played a crucial role in cultural evolution, religion, nutrition, politics, and economics around the world.

Fortune Cookie Chronicles: Adventures in the World of Chinese Food by Jennifer 8. Lee – Chronicling the Chinese-American food experience, a reporter describes her quest for excellent Chinese cuisine while offering insight into such topics as the contributions of illegal immigrants and the relationship between Jewish people and Chinese food.

Consider the Fork: A History of How We Cook & Eat by Bee Wilson – Traces the history of cooking through a series of engaging cultural anecdotes while demonstrating how technological innovations ranging from the mortar and pestle to the microwave have shaped how and what humans eat.

Fairy Tales for Adults

Who says fairy tales are just for kids? Fairy tales originated from oral storytelling as far back as 6th century BC and were intended for adults. Fairy tales have been found in almost every culture; the first known literary version of Cinderella was written in China around 850 AD.

Listed below are fairy tales for adults- some are re-imagined tales and others incorporate fairy-tale elements. So, read some fairy tales and check off a box on your July Summer Challenge Sheet!

The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden – A young girl, Vasya, is born in a small village in the wilderness of Russia and with the birth, a stranger gives the new father, Pytor, a beautiful necklace, meant for the child. Pytor hides the gift away, unsure of the gift. Vasya grows up to be a rambunctious child and when dark forces threaten their village Vasya discovers that she, armed with the necklace, may be the only one who can help.

The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey – Alaska in 1920 was an unforgiving place to homestead. Jack and Mabel want to have a child, but haven’t been able to and instead have been drifting apart. But during the season’s first snowfall the couple build a child out of snow. The next day the snow child is gone, but they do see a young girl running through the trees. The young girl lives alone in the woods so Jack and Mabel take her in as their own daughter, but not everything about the girl is wonderful as it seems.

Hiddensee by Gregory Maguire – from the author of Wicked, comes the mysterious backstory of the Nutcracker. Discover the story of how the Nutcracker is carved and guides a girl through a dreamland on Christmas Eve.

The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker – Two mythical creatures, Chava and Ahmad, journey through turn-of-the-century New York and form an unlikely friendship. They take human forms and live in the growing immigrant community. But danger is near and threatens them both.

6 Video Games Inspired by Books

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While you’re probably aware of many movies and television shows that were first written as novels, you may be surprised to learn which video games derived their plots from novels as well.

Here’s a short list of popular video games and the books that inspired them:

Metro 2033: Inspired by Metro 2033 by Dmitry Glukhovsky – This game takes on the same plot and protagonist as the book. 20 years after a nuclear apocalyptic event annihilates most of mankind, Artyom journeys out to the wastelands above the subway system on a mission to alert other survivors of a new threat.

BioShock: Inspired by Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand – BioShock is loosely based on the many of the principles laid out in this book, where the decisions of a few industrial leaders shake the roots of capitalism and reawaken man’s awareness of himself as a heroic being.

The Witcher: Inspired by The Witcher (series) by Andrzej Sapkowski – Both follow Geralt of Rivera, a cunning assassin known as “the witcher,” who waits for the birth of a prophesied child who has the power to change the world – for good or for evil – as a war between the humans, dwarves, gnomes, and elves threatens to erupt.

Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: Inspired by the Scott Pilgrim comics by Bryan Lee O’Malley – The side-scrolling game adaptation follows the adventures of Scott Pilgrim as he battles his way through Ramona Flower’s seven evil exes.

Dante’s Inferno: Inspired by Inferno by Dante Alighieri – The video game is a loose adaptation of the first canticle of Dante’s Divine Comedy, which tells the story of Dante being guided through the nine circles of hell by the spirit of the poet Virgil.

Spec Ops: The Line: Inspired by The Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad – The game presents a modernized version of the novel, about a man named Charles Marlowe who sails down the Congo in search of Kurtz, a company agent who has, according to rumors, become insane from the jungle isolation.