Choosing a Butcher

Choosing a Butcher

“When you walk into a butchers take a sniff: It will smell of meat, with no off orders. The butcher should be friendly and accommodating, someone who will bone out a chicken or supply bones for stock. But butchery is more than just a trade – it’s a skill, a craft, and requires real passion.

“For an independent butcher, not governed by the relentless pursuit of the bottom line, the butcher’s counter is the heart and soul of the operation. The counter should be full of great stuff, possibly some unfamiliar items, and should make you want to get cooking. Look for cuts on the bone, especially beef. Whole carcasses should be on-site, so any cut should be available; and if not, should be ordered in on request. Once you’ve got a great butcher, you’re guaranteed great meat.”

excerpted from:
Great Meat
Classic Techniques and Award-Winning Recipes for Selecting, Cutting, and Cooking Beef, Lamb, Pork, Poultry, and Game
by Dave Kelly, et al
Fair Winds Press, 2013

Artwork: Butcher’s Shop by Annibale Carracci
Book List


Good Spirits: More Kentucky Bourbon Cocktails

Ninety-five percent of the world’s bourbon whiskey is produced in Kentucky, and the drink is as distinctive to the state as Thoroughbred horses and Bluegrass music. As America’s native spirit enjoys booming popularity worldwide, award-winning bartender Joy Perrine and celebrated restaurant critic and drinks writer Susan Reigler return to offer new recipes that will delight both the cocktail novice and the seasoned connoisseur.

Following up on their best-selling The Kentucky Bourbon Cocktail Book, the duo returns with more reasons to appreciate bourbon whiskey. This mouthwatering volume features more than fifty delicious new concoctions―including variations on classics such as the Old Fashioned and the Manhattan―and even adds a splash of Kentucky flavor to mojitos, sangria, lemonade, and coffee. It also serves up recipes from leading bartenders, prizewinning drinks from cocktail competitions, and a bourbon-inspired buffet featuring edibles that will be a feast for aficionados.

More Kentucky Bourbon Cocktails
by Joy Perrine and Susan Reigler
University Press of Kentucky, 2016

One-Year Dynasty

Added to The Roster: One-Year Dynasty

Relive the games, moves, and players of the hard-hitting team that won the 1986 World Series.

Vin Scully called the tenth-inning groundball in Game Six of the 1986 World Series—Mets versus Red Sox—that sealed a comeback, fueled a curse, and turned a batting champion into a scapegoat. But getting there was a long, hard slog with plenty of heartache. After being knocked out of contention the previous two seasons, the Mets blasted through the National League that year. They won blowouts, nailbiters, fights, and a 14-inning game that ended with one pitcher on the mound, another in right field, and an All-Star catcher playing third base.

One-Year Dynasty
Inside the Rise and Fall of the 1986 Mets, Baseball’s Impossible One-and-Done Champions
by Matthew Silverman
Lyons Press, 2016

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Try This

Recall the last animal you spotted or the first that comes to mind – bird, insect, four-legged. Describe any characteristics you may have in common. Do not disregard any creatures because you prefer not to align yourself with an alley cat or earwig. Accept what occurs to you and write a stream-of-consciousness paragraph or two about this creature. Surprising connections will arise.

Writing Wild
Forming a Creative Partnership with Nature
by Tina Welling
New World Library, 2014

Continued in The Nature Pages

The Nature Pages
Nature Writing and Natural Histories

The Laws Guide to Nature Drawing and Journaling

This is an instructional volume on keeping an illustrated nature journal. It includes tips and inspiration for the nature journalist, but its emphasis is on the artwork with dozens of step-by-step exercises for capturing images of plants, landscapes, skies, and wildlife.

“Journaling is a skill for anyone who wishes to live life more deeply,” writes author/artist John Muir Laws. “Sketching and writing as you explore is the most effective thing you can do to launch yourself in the process of discovery.”

Laws’ guide offers advice on observing nature and capturing its impressions in both words and images. He encourages readers to ask questions in the field like a newspaper journalist: who made this nest? what is happening here? where is that animal going? when will that wildflower bloom? how do those birds know where to find food? why is that coyote howling?

There is no correct way of keeping a nature journal, of course, but Laws’ how-to book points the way to an attractive and enjoyable path of lifelong journaling.

The Laws Guide to Nature Drawing and Journaling
by John Muir Laws
Heyday, 2016

The Nature Pages
Nature Writing and Natural Histories
Science Writing
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A History of Birdwatching in 100 Objects.

  • This book looks at 100 items that have profoundly shaped how people watched, studied and engaged with the avian world. Each item contains around 500 words on a double-page spread and include an illustration of the object in question.

    The book includes  items that are both international and cross-cultural, such as….

    An Egyptian ‘field guide’ [early tomb decorations of birds, identifiable as species]

  • Ornithologiae libri tres: the first British bird guide [a 1676 publication that attempted to itemize all British birds known at the time]
  • The Dodo specimen held at the Horniman museum
  • Systema Naturae by Carl Linnaeus [the first-ever system of scientific names in 1758, and still the international standard today]
  • The shotgun.

A History of Birdwatching in 100 Objects
by David Callahan
Bloomsbury USA, 2014

The Nature Pages
Nature Writing and Natural Histories
Book Notes Wild

Lily Rose is Still Screaming

Haunted HolidaysIt is said that true love always finds a way.  Not if a jealous dead wife can help it!

Lily Rose fell in love with the new minister in town. She wanted to get married, but the minister was reluctant because his deceased wife swore she would never let him be with anyone else. Lily Rose did not take this warning seriously, and he agreed to marry on Valentine’s Day anyway.

Soon after the wedding, she began losing sleep and dreaming of his dead wife when she could. As the dreams became more  vivid, Lily Rose began to think they were more than dreams. One day she woke up from one of these episodes and tried to scream, but knew that the minister’s dead wife had taken her breath away.

After whispering to husband what she knew had happened, she died in his arms.

Long after, townsfolk heard screams at noon every Valentine’s Day.

adapted from:
Haunted Holidays
Twelve Months of Kentucky Ghosts
by Roberta Brown and Lonnie Brown
University Press of Kentucky, 2015

Out of the Past
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Reading the History: Burley

Once iconic American symbols, tobacco farms are gradually disappearing. It is difficult for many people to lament the loss of a crop that has come to symbolize addiction, disease, and corporate deception; yet, in Kentucky, the plant has played an important role in economic development and prosperity. Burley tobacco―a light, air-cured variety used in cigarette production―has long been the Commonwealth’s largest cash crop and an important aspect of regional identity, along with bourbon, bluegrass music, and Thoroughbred horses.

In Burley: Kentucky Tobacco in a New Century, Ann K. Ferrell investigates the rapidly transforming process of raising and selling tobacco by chronicling her conversations with the farmers who know the crop best. She demonstrates that although the 2004 “buyout” ending the federal tobacco program is commonly perceived to be the most significant change that growers have had to negotiate, it is, in reality, only one new factor among many.


Kentucky Tobacco in a New Century
by Ann Ferrell
University Press of Kentucky, 2016

Out of the Past
History and American West Titles
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Gotham Unbound

Exploring the Nature of… Gotham Unbound.

This book recounts the four-century history of how hundreds of square miles of open marshlands became home to six percent of the nation’s population. Ted Steinberg brings a vanished New York back to vivid, rich life. You will see the metropolitan area anew, not just as a dense urban goliath but as an estuary once home to miles of oyster reefs, wolves, whales, and blueberry bogs.

This book is a powerful account of the relentless development that New Yorkers wrought as they plunged headfirst into the floodplain and transformed untold amounts of salt marsh and shellfish beds into a land jam-packed with people, asphalt, and steel, and the reeds and gulls that thrive among them.

Gotham Unbound
The Ecological History of Greater New York
byTed Steinberg
Simon & Schuster, 2014

The Nature Pages
Nature Writing and Natural Histories
The Book Stall

Review: The Manhattan Cocktail

Cocktail trends are constantly changing and most drinks are popular for a brief period of time. The Manhattan is a classic exception,  with over 150 years of history.

“The Manhattan cocktail honors the oldest and most densely populated borough of New York City and the club that takes its name: the Manhattan Club. The Manhattan is now requested at bars all over the world and it, along with the Martini, is one of the best-selling cocktails,” writes Albert Schmid in his guide to the popular drink.

According to Schmid, there are three prominent legends about the origin of the cocktail. One suggests that bartenders at the Manhattan Club concocted it in 1874 to celebrate the election of New
York Governor Samuel Jones Tilden.  Another version has the president of the Manhattan Club asking a bartender to create a drink to replace the Martini his doctor has told him to give up. The third has a New York bartender named “Black” inventing the cocktail and naming it after the island.

Whatever its origins, the deceptively simple mixture of whiskey, vermouth and bitters stirred with ice has made a lasting impression on at least four generations of Americans and countless visitors.

Schmid’s book toasts the history of the drink and tops it off with practical advice, preparation tips and a collection of recipes to versions ranging from the historic Speakeasy and Monkey Bar, the dry Julep and St. Moritz, the perfect Ben Reed’s and White Manhattans, and the modern jello shot and Big Apple cocktails.

The Manhattan Cocktail
A Modern Guide to the Whiskey Classic
by Albert Schmid
University Press of Kentucky, 2015

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