Thursday, 10 November 2011
The value of a library . . .
I have always loved going to the Library. I suppose it is a mixture of love and knowledge which fills my heart as soon as I walk through a library door which is so very compelling . . . but no mind . . . I do so love to go.
As a young girl in Southern Manitoba I used to practically live in the base library on my summer holidays. I didn’t often get there during the school year, except on Saturdays, but come summertime I was there every day. You were only allowed to take one book out at a time as a child and I was a voracious reader so I would be there every day. I’m quite sure they got sick of me.
There is something really special about a library. They all seem to smell the same . . . a mixture of leather and paper and glue. There’s also an aura of respect and reverence in the air, quite like entering a cathedral in a way . . . everyone speaking in hushed tones and tiptoeing about.
To get to the library of my childhood you had to travel down a long pathway that ran alongside of some railway tracks that were carefully set apart by a tall wire fence, topped with barb wire. I can remember seeing bats hanging by their toes all along this fence and riding my bicycle past them as quickly as I could, my mind full of fear and my hands trembling as one arm desperately covered my long hair so as to protect it from their impending invasion and the other hand hung tenaciously on to my bicycle handle bar. It’s a wonder I ever made it past them without falling down or worse!!! I had read somewhere that bats will get themselves into your hair and get all tangled up and I was taking no chances!
As a girl I loved the tales of Enid Blyton. Her fairy stories were marvellous. I devoured them like a hungry man at a banquet. I also loved her tales of the Famous Five and the Secret Seven. All her books carried my child’s mind on adventures to locales I could only dream of ever seeing. As a child growing up in Canada these places seemed so very exotic, and how wonderful to have your very own parrot named Kiki!
I also loved Nancy Drew and I believe I read just about every book in the series, some of them several times. She was my hero. She was pretty and smart and there was no mystery she could not solve. I fancied being just like her when I grew up.
Then there were the Bobbsey Twins, Nan and Bert, Freddie and Flossie. They lived in a big house and had a cook/housekeeper and a handyman/man of work, something very far removed from any of my own life’s experience. They got into adventures and scrapes too, which helped to fuel my child-like dreams and aspirations.
Trixie Belden was another one of my favourites as were the great classics such as Little Women, Alice In Wonderland, and one of my all time favourites, The Five Little Peppers and How They Grew. When I ran out of books to pick from at the library, I would read our own encyclopaedia at home, the Book of Knowledge. It sat in a corner in the living room in it’s very own wooden bookcase and I believe I must have read it from cover to cover. It was full of lots of wonderful and interesting facts and pictures. As well we had a series of books about other countries which I also devoured, going places in my mind and seeing things that I one day hoped to visit on my own. As an older teen I can remember falling in love with the exploits of the British temptress Amber St Clare in the novel Forever Amber and I used to eat up Harlequin Romances as fast as they could print them.
The love of books and reading is something I have carried with me my whole life. I am always reading one, or two or sometimes even three books at a time. Todd can’t understand how I can keep track of so many. I guess I’m just a genius! Hahaha I think it’s more likely that I get bored really easily and so my mind likes to skip around a bit. Perhaps its my love of the written word that inspires me in a way to want to write my own words. I don’t know. I only know for sure that my life would be a life half lived without the written word to inspire and enthral me, and the library has always been the best and cheapest way to fuel my voracious appetite for reading.
I think I remember reading somewhere at one time that it was Benjamin Franklin who invented the lending library. Is this true? I guess it doesn’t really matter who invented the library, I only know for sure that I am grateful to whomever it was who did it, for they have brought great joy into my life and into the lives of many others. My kudos to them, whomever they may be!
I've been a bit nauseated since yesterday. I don't know what that's all about . . . but I hope it passes before tomorrow as I don't want to miss my visit to the Temple! It's always been my experience that when you desire to go to the Temple the Devil always tries to do something to keep you away. That only makes me want to go more!
I am a great lover of Mexican inspired food. Tacos, nachos, burritos, enchiladas . . . when Mexican is on the menu, I am first in line! It was a sad, sad day when they closed the local Taco Bell in my home town . . . Sigh . . . One might argue that Taco Bell is not truly Mexican food . . . but to this small town Canadian girl it was as Mexican as we got!! The Missionaries always love it when I serve this!
*Chicken Enchilada Lasagne*
I love this Tex Mex favourite. Don’t let the long list of ingredients put you off from making it. It’s quite easy to make and so very delicious. Well worth the effort and time!
2 TBS vegetable oil
1 cup of chopped onion
1 clove of garlic, peeled and minced
2 cups chopped peeled tomatoes (can used canned)
½ cup canned chopped green chiles (can roast and chop your own)
1 tsp ground cumin
½ tsp ground coriander
1 to 1 ½ pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts, cubed
Salt and pepper to taste
For the Béchamel:
3 TBS butter
½ cup chopped onion
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and minced
¼ cup flour
1 cup chicken broth
1 ½ cups milk
¼ cup canned chopped green chiles (can roast and chop your own)
1 cup sour cream
½ cup shredded Monterey Jack Cheese (can use Emmenthal where Jack cheese is not available)
½ cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
12 (6 inch) corn or flour tortillas
2 cups Shredded Monterey Jack Cheese (Emmenthal)
2 cups shredded Sharp Cheddar cheese
Sour cream and tomato salsa to garnish if desired
Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add 1 cup of onion and the garlic, and sauté until soft. Add the tomatoes, ½ cup green chiles, cumin and coriander and cook for 10 minutes. Stir occasionally. Add the chicken pieces and simmer for 20 minutes, until the chicken is tender. Add salt and pepper to taste. Set aside and keep warm.
Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. When it is foaming add the ½ cup onion and the garlic, and cook for about five minutes until the onion is translucent and soft, stirring frequently. Do not brown. Stir in the flour and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add the chicken broth and the milk and cook for five minutes or so, until thick, stirring constantly. Add the ¼ cup of green chiles, sour cream and the cheeses. Season to taste with salt and pepper and set aside.
Pre-heat the oven to 180*C/350*F. Lightly grease a 9 X 13 inch baking pan. Cut the tortillas into quarters. Place a layer of them in the bottom of the baking dish. Spoon on ½ of the chicken mixture, spreading it in evenly. Pour 1/3 of the béchamel sauce over top. Sprinkle with 1/3 of the cheeses. Add another layer of tortillas, the last half of the chicken, 1/3 of the béchamel and another 1/3 of the cheeses. Top with a final layer of tortillas, the last of the béchamel and the last of the cheese, sprinkling it evenly over top. Bake in the heated oven for 30 to 45 minutes until it is heated through and bubbly and lightly browned on top.
Remove from the oven and let sit for 5 to 10 minutes before cutting into squared to serve. Garnish each serving with some salsa and sour cream if desired.
Cooking in The English Kitchen today, a Scrummy Tart of Chard and Cheese.
“Patience is not simply enduring; it is enduring well!”
~Dieter F. Uchtdorf