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Archive for August, 2008

Viva La France!

Sorry to all francophiles if the title of this post is incorrect. I made the French Onion Soup yesterday and it was hella good. The original recipe from The Epicurean was easy enough to follow:

 

Chop 2 onions into bits
Fry said onions in a crap ton of butter
Add 2 qts of broth, some parsley, some thyme and a bayleaf
Salt and pepper to taste
Bring everything to a boil then simmer for 20 minutes
Meanwhile, chop up some bread into pieces and toast in the oven
Strain out bouquet of herbs
Line bowl with toast and gruyere cheese
Add soup to bowl
Top with more toast and cheese and bake in oven until cheese is browned.

It came out pretty damn good for a first try. Next time I’m using white onion instead of yellow and a plain baguette instead of sourdough.

 

Presoup goodness

Presoup goodness

 

Ready to start simmering

Ready to start simmering

 

Toasty

Toasty

Almost there...

Almost there...

 

Laying the foundation

Laying the foundation

 

Hells to the yes.

Hells to the yes

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First off, I’ll finally have a chance to make French Onion Soup from The Epicurean this weekend. Looking forward to that. Also, it turns out Monsieur Daudet was quite the loyal monarchist. He had beef with all the revolutionaries and called for the reinstatement of the King of France.

Today’s find is from Dickens. It’s Volume 21 of his complete works (WorldCat), printed right before the start of the 20th Century.

Had to read this in 9th grade and hated it from the start. This time around, Im finding I Like Dickens writing style.

1899, yo. This is my oldest find yet (that isn't in special collections).

I had to read this back in the 9th grade and I have to admit, I thought it was teh suck. Then again, all I was reading back then was Stephen King.

I had to read this back in the 9th grade and I have to admit, I thought it was teh suck. Then again, all I was reading back then was Stephen King so what did I know?

Being over 100 years old, the pages are yellowed and stiff, prone to tearing.

Being over 100 years old, the pages are yellowed and stiff, prone to tearing.

The corners show the most wear and tear.

The corners show the most wear and tear.

The book smelled old and dry and was very brittle. Come visit it before it’s sent into retirement.

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So yesterday, I picked up a copy of the Necronomicon (WorldCat). This is not the one sought by Ash in Army of Darkness. That one is due back on Sept. 22nd and I’m on a wait list for it.

Nonetheless, this version of the Necronomicon is still pretty damn wicked. The foreword is in English but the rest is in Durian (Arabic?).

Wanted to make sure and read it by the light of day.

https://i0.wp.com/farm4.static.flickr.com/3086/2801855091_bec576f2fb.jpg

A picture of text from the inside. Notice the nice lines and even spacing.

The last 8 pages look a little more hectic, as if the writer were running out of time and was worried about finishing.

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Mmmm…books!

Talk about a great find. I don’t really remember what started me down the Technology section of our research library, but at one point, I found myself face to face with a 1975 edition of Joy of Cooking (WorldCat). I took it off the shelf and opened it up to a random page on preparing game – rabbits and squirrels. Looking around to see what else was at hand, I found a 1972 edition of the The Epicurean (WorldCat) which was an “unabridged, unedited” version taken from the plates of the first printing in 1893. Oh man, what fun! I spent about 20 minutes reading on the differences of serving a French party versus an American party versus a German party (all parties had 24 persons). Turns out the Germans don’t get mineral waters during the appetizers.

Duly noted.

Speaking of the Germans, I kept looking around and found Spanish cookbooks, regional cookbooks from America, Kosher cookbooks and even one on the cuisine of South Africa. But most impressive was a 1972 printing of the Nurenburgerische Koch Buch. Now, I don’t know German but I think that’s a book on the food stylings of 17th century Nurenburg. I tried looking for mention of hossenfeffer to no avail.

There are two recipes for French Onion Soup - one from Joy and the other from The Epicurean. I'm going to try them both out and see which taste better.

Beef hasn't changed that much since 1975.

Good to know.

In the time before photographs, people went to town on the ink drawings.

Wow, looks like the printing on US paper currency.

Is that a wand?

Another white beer soup? Why yes, please!

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Today, I tried to locate a book in my library (the one my office is physically located in) but it wasn’t on the shelf. So I looked around to maybe see if it was close by. Not finding it in the immediate vicinity, I looked up to the top shelf to start scanning from the top down. As I scanned from left to right, my eye caught on what seemed a strange word to be found in the title of a book on French history (WorldCat): Stupid.

I pulled the book from the shelf and scanned through the first pages and sure enough, there it was again.

Printed in 1916. Obviously, I checked it out to bring home.

I don’t know what this book is about but I can’t wait to find out.

Oh, and the book I was originally looking for was Holy Blood, Holy Grail (I’m on a Templar’s kick again).

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I’ve worked at a university Library for 8 years now and have just started to explore it. That’s pretty sad for someone who loves to read. So I thought I’d start a blog where I search out the strange, rare, cool, interesting books that can be found in any of the campus libraries.

To start, I gathered up three different printings of The Odyssey, by Homer.

Book the first was published in 1932 by Oxford University Press (WorldCat) and of the three, it is the only book written in prose (the others use verse). It shows some wear in the cover and the binding but was still pretty manageable. Also this book had a nice drawing on the inside.

The second book was published in 1965 by Harper and Row.

And the third copy of The Odyssey was published by Hackett Publishing in the year 2000 (WorldCat).

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