It’s no secret that The New York Public Library has a hearty appreciation for food. So with chef Marcus Samuelsson here on Monday, restaurateur Danny Meyer and a delicious panel of writers here on Tuesday, and the Lunch Hour NYC exhibition currently on display, we did what anyone would do: have a Macaroni and Cheese Cook-Off! Head on over to the Huffington Post to find out what happened when NYPL staffers tried out mac and cheese recipes from Marcus Samuelsson, Blue Smoke, and even Horn & Hardart’s Automat recipe, available at Lunch Hour NYC. (The photo above is the winning dish!)
“Mark Twain, one of my all time heroes, once wrote: ‘Those who can read and don’t have no advantage over those who cannot.’”
“Reading is a key feature in the life of every single successful person I have ever met, The New York Public Library does a definitive job in enticing, encouraging, and inciting the brilliant act of reading to people of all ages as well as creating a comfortable and empowering place to do it. Get your library card now and use it today! It’s your right as a New Yorker to enjoy our magnificent library system.”
- Mario Batali
Happy 100th birthday to the late great Julia Child!!! In October of 2007, The New York Public Library’s Cullman Center for Writers and Scholars held the special program JULIA CHILD IN AMERICAN in which a group of Culinary historians came together to discuss the complex legacy of Ms. Child. Above is the audio from that program. Bon Appetit!
Memorial Day weekend is the unofficial start of the summer.
Get a jumpstart on your outdoor cooking — Check out the library’s collection of cookbooks for great barbeque ideas.
If you’re not a fan of carne we also have books for you vegans and vegetarians. Here are a couple of books the library has for healthy eating that will satisfy your taste buds.
Thanksgiving - one of the country’s most popular mid-day meals - is just around the corner and NYPL wants to know what you’re cooking! Send us your photos, videos, even old home movies of the Thanksgiving meal and it may be displayed in an upcoming NYPL exhibition about another mid-day meal known as… lunch. Whether you stuff your turkey with couscous; skip the turkey altogether and make a vegan feast; prepare bok choy over brussel sprouts; or prefer sweet-potato pie over pumpkin - we want what you’re having!
How much was a rib-eye steak in 1901? What desserts were popular in the 1800s? Were bluefish available off the coast of New York City in 1920? All of these answers and more can be found in our still-growing menu collection, which includes over 40,000 menus from the 1840s to the present (including this beautiful Ye Waverly Inn menu from the 1960s). Although anyone can currently request to see these menus at our Stephen A. Schwarzman Building in New York City, we are trying to make the collection even more accessible - but we need your help. We’re calling on the public to check out What’s On The Menu, a new initiative that lets foodies actually transcribe our menus digitally so everything in them - dishes, prices, etc - can be searched. For example, if someone is researching the history of oysters now, they have to go to our 42 Street building and flip through every single menu to see how much oysters cost, how they were prepared or which were available in New York City over time. With this new initiative (mentioned in the NY Times, the NY Post and other outlets) all the researcher would have to do is type “oysters” into our search engine and see every mention of the shellfish in all of our thousands of menus. Cool, right? Well the public has responded so far - as of this second, 170,466 dishes have been transcribed from 2,767 menus. But keep it coming, guys! C’mon - it’s fun!
What does NYPL President Paul LeClerc do on Sunday? He gets up at 7, cooks burgers for his family out of ground chicken, onions and Parmesan cheese, bakes bread and makes pancakes, window-shops, rides his bike across Central Park, visits The Corner Bookstore, drinks espresso and reads the NY Times, which today, offers an amazing Sunday Routine column on this very topic - what President LeClerc (rhymes with eclair) does with his rare time off. The wonderful, personal photos above are from the article and by NY Times photographer Chester Higgins, Jr. So check it out! In the meantime, we’ll try to get the president to share that burger recipe … mmmmm.
Need a last-minute Thanksgiving veggie recipe that involves lots of bacon and butter? Jean Strouse, head of the prestigious NYPL Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers, has got you covered. Her recipe for shredded Brussels Sprouts (adopted from a 1990 NY Times recipe - she added lots more fat) is so darn good, even the most staunch sprout hater will ask for thirds. The recipe appears in the new book Eating For Beginners by Melanie Rehak, a former Cullman fellow who calls the recipe “the most important thing” she learned from Jean. Check out the video - shot and edited by NYPL filmmaker extraordinaire Elena Parker - to see Jean and Melanie fatten up some sprouts.
For now, here’s the short version of the recipe:
1 - Core and remove the hard leaves of about 5 pints of Brussels sprouts. Shred them in a food processor.
2 - Put about one pound of bacon in a skillet and fry it up, rendering the fat. Remove and drain the bacon and put it aside.
3 - Toast about a half a pint of pine nuts in the bacon fat.
4 - Add the shredded sprouts into the pan. Add AT LEAST a stick of butter to keep them moist so they don’t burn. “Shovel everything around.”
5 - After the sprouts soften, break up the bacon pieces and add them.
6 - Eat!