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house-in-norwood-massachusetts

Norwood: A Home Town

house-in-norwood-massachusettsWhen we moved to Norwood in 2012, I was excited about owning a historic home that was within walking distance to both my work at the library and the town’s center. I wondered how many families had placed their hands on the sturdy wooden banister leading from the second floor. I imagined other women lovingly serving meals for family and guests in the spacious dining room. I was curious about the children and adults who might have peeked out the windows to watch passersby or wait for Halloween trick-or-treaters to knock on the distinctive double doors.

I wished there were photographs hidden in far reaches under the eaves of the deep closets, but there were not.

Working as a librarian certainly has its benefits because I knew just where to look to locate a bit of the house’s history and inhabitants. All of this information can be accessed by anyone who visits Norwood’s history collection in the Cushing Reading Room. Both the Annual Town Reports (now digitally available through the Minuteman Library Network catalog) and Norwood Street Lists are there for anyone to use to research.

Included on those history shelves (while under lock and key, the Adult Information Services librarians will be happy to help unlock them) are two volumes – Norwood: A Home Town. They are rich in architectural detail and structural information that was compiled by both the Norwood Historical Commission and the Massachusetts Historical Commission in the last two decades of the 20th Century. Hundreds of Norwood’s homes are listed by street address; pages that begin with Atwood Avenue and end with Winter Street. Most of the historical descriptions of the hundreds of homes were written by researcher Edward Gordon.

Norwood: A Home Town begins with details of the Town of Norwood’s districts and commercial buildings. Norwood Center, or “the hook,” the F. Holland Day House, the Winslow Brothers tannery complex are all described and illustrated. The town’s amazing presses, among them the Norwood Press and the Plimpton Press, are included. Of particular interest to me are the pages devoted to George H. Morrill & Co. Printing Ink Works. It was George Morrill who built Norwood’s library with his own funds, in memory of his daughter. Like Carnegie of the same era, Morrill shared his wealth and handed over the keys to the library to the town in 1898.

Morrill eventually moved his ink company out of Norwood and consolidated with four other ink companies. In 1945 the Geo. H Morrill Company Division of General Printing Ink Corp was renamed Sun Chemical Corporation.

In 2012, when I decided to research my new home on Prospect Street, I went to the Norwood: A Home Town and the Norwood Street Lists. 305 Prospect Street is listed merely as the Samuel Page House, named for its first owner. It was built in either the 1870s or 1880s on land purchased from the Fairbanks family. On a late 19th century map of Norwood (that can be found in the library’s map drawers), everything north of Prospect Street from Winter to Nahatan streets was illustrated as woods or farmland. This was truly the edge of Norwood’s town center just south of Westwood.

In 1989 the home included a barn in the rear which was removed sometime in the late 20th century. The actual date the house was built is unknown; there was a residence there in 1876, and Samuel Page was listed in the town’s Street Listing as residing there in 1880. However, there is a period when he was listed as living at 276 Prospect Street between 1897 and 1900. Whether mistakes were made, or Samuel moved out to rebuild his home after a fire destroyed the original is unknown.

The architectural character of the house, however, was of the 1880s and today might be thought of as hybrid, encompassing the Stick, Victorian and Queen Anne styles. What we might call Gingerbread is a particular characteristic with overlapping multiple-sided shingles and pretty trim. Perhaps Samuel built it over the years, finally inhabiting it with a family in 1900.

From the Town of Norwood’s Street Listings early in the 20th century, Lillian Page is listed as the resident of the house between 1908 and 1922. She is presumably Samuel’s daughter, or perhaps a younger wife. She left the home in 1922.

The 37-year period between 1922 and 1959 saw three families in the home, two of them staying only ten or eleven years each. Twenty-seven-year-old Joseph Youlden and his wife Dorothy, five years younger, might have raised their family there. Children under twenty were not listed in the Street Listings. In 1939 thirty-five-year-old Harry Fraser (a landscape architect) and his wife, Helen moved to Prospect Street from Highland Street – from perhaps a much smaller home that is not listed in the Norwood: A Home Town. In 1949 Raymond and Grace Rafuse, both in their fifties, moved from a house across from the Highland Cemetery on Winter Street. Their two working daughters lived with them, Gladys was born in 1920, and Jean was born in 1925.

It was in 1959 that John Payne moved into the home from Dedham and lived there for 41 years with his wife, Jeannette. For a time, a young nurse named Mary Orphan lived with them. There were several anecdotal stories about the Paynes – there were teenage daughters who had parties there. Jeannette died in 1988, and the home then lost its attentive care. It was in particularly neglected shape when a young hockey-minded couple from the area, Timothy and Anne Lovell, purchased it in 2001. They restored much of its charm and character, added a long brick walkway to the front porch, and renovated the kitchen and baths. They lived there with their four young children until 2012.

We loved living in such a sweet and gentle home in one of Norwood’s lovely neighborhoods and will miss much about the house, particularly its front and side porches. We watched lightning storms travel south as we rocked on our glider on the left front porch, hidden by the azaleas and Boxwood bushes. We admired joggers and dog walkers who took in their exercise every morning and night. From the private side porch off the kitchen, we sipped morning coffee, our feet propped on the white railing.

Approaching cars shown lights in our dining room windows as they turned the corner from Cottage Street heading east towards Dedham. Through open windows, we heard the sirens of Norwood’s most exceptional fire and police departments and listened to the faint sounds of concerts on the Town Common. In the wee morning hours near 4 am, we were sometimes sleepily awakened by the sound of the commuter rail’s train whistle.

Lucky for us, we will commute from our home on the South Coast to our jobs in Norwood, a Town in which we truly feel “at home.” If you want to know more about the houses in Norwood, visit the library’s historical collection in the Cushing Reading Room.

Charlotte Canelli is the Director of the Morrill Memorial Library in Norwood, Massachusetts. Read Charlotte’s column in the November 8, 2018 edition of the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin.

raspberry-macaron-cookies

On Your Marks, Get Set… Bake!

raspberry-macaron-cookiesOr as the Brits say, “bike.” And we’re not talking cycling. I just finished drooling over the first four seasons of the Great British Baking Show, for the second time, and can’t wait for Season 5. My latest TV addiction, GBBS, is thoroughly entertaining without being treacly. Judges Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood preside over brigades of British bakers who go “dough to dough” over the course of ten weeks to try to bring home the blue ribbon. Once I tuned in, it was love at first bite. In an enormous white tent set in the English countryside, 12 amateur bakers chosen from thousands compete in three weekly challenges- the signature bake, the technical, and the showstopper. With one unlucky soul voted off each week, it’s like Survivor but with spatulas.

Delightfully quirky hosts Mel and Sue provide comic relief in the form of corny culinary and occasionally off-color quips. They take turns having “the happy privilege of announcing this week’s star baker” to the apron-clad contestants nervously awaiting their fate. When Mary and Paul determine the person “to whom we must sadly say goodbye,” there’s an outpouring of hugs, tears, and promises to stay in touch. It’s all very British and genteel- until it’s not. (More on “Bingate” later.)

Not only do the bakers come to feel like family after we see clips of them with their loved ones and colleagues at home and at work, but watching them create sweet and savory delicacies from scratch is the icing on the cake. If you’re counting carbs this may not be the show for you, but if you have a pinch of self-control it’s a great way to indulge your cravings vicariously. It can also be pure torture. While the competitors labor to produce the perfect Black Forest gateau or quintessentially British Bakewell tart, I press pause and scour my kitchen for something- anything- sweet.

Handsome blue-eyed Paul Hollywood, dubbed the Queen of Mean by Mel, can reduce a baker to tears with the words, “that’s a mess,” or simply, “it’s a shame,” while grandmotherly Mary Berry almost always finds something positive to say. After tasting one of lovely Ugne’s Lithuanian cottage cheese cookies, Paul looked her in the eye and declared, “I don’t like it.” As she struggled to hide her disappointment, he admitted, “I love it.” Mary’s harshest critique, meanwhile, may have been, “it’s a bit under baked, and the raspberry is bleeding into the sponge.” She disdains a “soggy bottom,” but her pronouncement of “scrummy” is highest praise.

I can now toss around culinary gems like genoise or crème patissiere (crème pat, to those in the know). Thanks to GBBS, I’ve added a wealth of colorful British expressions to my vocabulary. Aerospace engineer and Cambridge-educated Andy, who skipped graduation to practice for the Season 4 quarter-final, was “really really chuffed” when Paul liked his marjolaine. And to console Chetna- dismayed at having received a less than stellar review- Paul said, “don’t lose your rag” over this. “Fiddly” ingredients, I found out, are particularly difficult to work with, and the bakers are forever “whacking” things into the oven, which is not nearly as violent as it sounds.

Realistically, I’ll probably never make any of the petit fours, mini pear tarts, biscotti, or Victoria sandwich cakes myself. I can whip up a “cracking” carrot cake and my apple crisp is legendary, at least among my family. But when an early attempt at baking a German Chocolate cake with my teenage daughter went horribly wrong, I hung up my measuring spoons for good. I suspect Belfast-born Iain, following the infamous Baked Alaska meltdown of Season 2, could relate.

After a rival contestant inexplicably removed his ice cream extravaganza from the freezer on a hot summer day, poor Iain, in a fit of frustration, dumped the entire mess in the bin and stormed off. He was, unfortunately, eliminated as he had nothing to show the judges. The culprit, claiming illness, never returned to the tent.

Not all episodes are so fraught with drama, and one disastrous outcome does not automatically spell dismissal. (Spoiler alert: Despite her walnut cake placing last in a technical challenge, Nadiya went on to become the Season 3 winner and a minor celebrity herself. The following year she was asked to bake the Queen’s 90th birthday cake.)

I was rooting for 17-year-old Martha from Season 1, who smiled through her tears and was so supportive of her fellow bakers that I was crushed when she was sent home. And how could you not love Richard, the rosy-cheeked builder with two adorable little girls, whose self-effacing humor made everyone laugh. I emailed my relative in South London that I was hooked on the show. She wrote back to admit, “it’s been a bit of a viewing highlight for us over the years,” adding “it sounds a bit sad.”

It seems we’re in excellent company. The Great British Bake Off, as it’s called overseas, is one of the most popular programs in the U.K.

In the comfort of your own kitchen you can recreate some classics from the first season by borrowing The Great British Bake Off: Big Book of Baking by Linda Collister. For the truly inspired, there’s The Great British Bake Off: How to Turn Everyday Bakes into Showstoppers. It’s full of mouthwatering photos and recipes for afternoon teas, bake sales, lunches with friends as well as scrummy desserts for dinner parties, birthdays, and other festive occasions. It also contains ideas for creating gorgeous garnishes using chocolate curls, spun sugar, and elegant piping to achieve that wow-factor every time.

Whether you’re Michelangelo with a mixer or more of an armchair baker like myself, I challenge you to check out any of GBBS’s five seasons on DVD and not end up binge-watching the entire series- or just plain bingeing.

April Cushing is the Adult and Information Services Supervisor at the Morrill Memorial Library in Norwood, Mass. Read April’s column in the November 1st edition of the Norwood Transcript & Bulletin.

ferris-wheel-in-chernobyl

My Nuclear Vacation

ferris-wheel-in-chernobylI recently returned from the trip of a lifetime and checked one of the top items off of my “bucket list.” London? Paris? Venice? No. At long last, I traveled to the Ukraine, to Chernobyl, the site of the worst nuclear disaster in history.

In 1986, during the Cold War when the Ukraine was part of the Soviet Union, reactor number 4 at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant exploded, launching radioactive material far and wide, contaminating most of the Ukraine and neighboring Belarus, and extending throughout Europe and the USSR, and beyond. In the immediate aftermath, finger-pointing, political agendas, and secrecy delayed evacuation, exposing local residents to severe radiation. Finally, buses carried thousands of residents off, assuring them they’d come home in a few days. They never returned, and the town of Chernobyl and neighboring city of Pripyat, constructed specifically for the power plant builders and employees, became ghost towns.

The Ukraine designated an exclusion zone surrounding the entire region with barbed wire fences, checkpoints and armed guards. This forbidden territory became my dream destination. As an avid adventure traveler and “urban explorer,” ghost towns, abandoned buildings, and post-disaster locales fascinate me. For years I knew of Pripyat, a city frozen in time, full of empty schools and homes, and even an amusement park set up for a May Day celebration that never happened. I had seen photos and descriptions online and in Atlas Obscura: An Explorer’s Guide to the World’s Hidden Wonders, as well in the horror movie Chernobyl Diaries (which turns out to have surprising accuracy, until the part when zombies appear).

I had to see this place with my own eyes. We arrived in Kiev, a delightful city, and spent several days sightseeing and eating well, with the help of Lonely Planet: Ukraine. Then met our small group of adventurers and headed two hours north to Chernobyl. Tourists may visit only with authorized guides, many signatures on liability waivers, and instructions on how to dress, behave, and use a Geiger counter. Most visitors spend a day in the exclusion zone, but we opted for the two day tour, including a sleepover in a no-frills Chernobyl hotel.

Although entering buildings is “technically” forbidden, we explored the shells of schools with kids’ books covering the floors in rooms of overturned desks, with occasional stuffed animals or children’s shoes peeking out of the rubble. We walked through abandoned gymnasiums with parquet floors caving in, dark office buildings interrupted mid-workday, and people’s homes with heartbreaking glimpses of how they lived before fleeing in a hurry. The iconic amusement park rose out of the forest, the Ferris wheel rusted but still standing, and bumper cars poised to smash although they haven’t moved for decades.

Our tour took us inside the shell of a defunct cooling tower, to the “red forest,” where Geiger counters beeped non-stop, along the top secret Soviet Duga radar, and finally up close to reactor 4 itself. For years this proximity would have caused radiation sickness, but in September 2017 construction and placement of a new “sarcophagus” was completed, covering the destroyed reactor and its inferior original enclosure, assuring confinement of the radiation for at least 100 years. A fascinating new documentary, Building Chernobyl’s Megatomb goes into detail on this project.

The explosion occurred when I was young, so I only knew the basics about Chernobyl until reading Serhii Plokhii’s timely book, Chernobyl: The History of a Nuclear Catastrophe. This 2018 definitive history delves into the origins and construction of the power plant, a nearly minute to minute account of the night of the explosion itself, and the local and global impact of what occurred. Plokhii introduces major players in the event, from laborers to politicians, humanizing them as he describes personalities and motivations, often incorporating their own words. Plokhii’s history extends through the collapse of the USSR up to the current day. I visited Chernobyl well-informed.

Do not avoid coming to the library because of the radioactive librarian! In fact, entering the exclusion zone for a limited time exposes people to little more harm than x-rays and air travel. Geiger counters alerted us of “hot spots” – certain areas or items with dangerous radiation levels: the cloth part of a discarded gas mask, the “claw” of a piece of heavy machinery that reached into the reactor in attempts to pull out its graphite rods, an industrial refrigerator beside a crate of empty milk bottles.

Believe it or not, some returned to Chernobyl after the evacuation, and a handful still live in the exclusion zone. Like residents unwilling to heed evacuation warnings due to hurricanes and fires, these individuals knew no other “home,” and would rather die in Chernobyl than live as refugees in Kiev or elsewhere. A film available to watch for free on Kanopy, The Babushkas of Chernobyl, profiles several of these residents, all elderly women, and we had the opportunity to meet one in person. Victoria lives with her dog Dana, who entertained us by singing when someone played the accordion. She served snacks and vodka and surmised that her husband died because he did not drink vodka.

Deaths from nuclear fallout prove difficult to measure. Radiation sickness does not kill instantaneously, but after days, weeks or years depending on exposure. Cancer rates and birth defects skyrocket and researchers cannot always parse out which would have occurred anyway versus which were brought on or accelerated by radiation. The babushkas somehow survive and live off the land in Chernobyl. For me, it was an incredible place to visit… but I wouldn’t want to live there.

Lydia Sampson is the Technical Services Dept. Head at the Morrill Memorial Library in Norwood, MA. Look for her column in the October 25, 2018 edition of the Norwood Transcript.

black-and-white-hypnotic-spiral

You Are NOT Getting Sleepy…

black-and-white-hypnotic-spiralI am a librarian, and like many in my profession I am innately curious. If you are in the business of ferreting out information, being naturally curious comes in handy. When I’m not at the library putting my curiosity to work for others, I like to learn about learning and behavior – or why we do what we do, and how we can do things better. As such, I am an avid watcher of TED talks, those treasure troves of “ideas worth spreading,” and the related TEDx events organized in communities around the globe.

This summer I viewed one such talk delivered by Kristin Rivas called “The life-changing power of words.” Several years after her sister died in a car accident, she suddenly developed pseudo-seizures and other disturbing symptoms. She was eventually diagnosed by the Mayo Clinic with post-traumatic stress disorder, major depressive disorder and conversion disorder. Her doctors believed she was suffering from traumatic grief, which her body was converting into psychosomatic symptoms. They recommended drugs and intensive psychiatric care, but weren’t optimistic about the prognosis. The Mayo Clinic also recommended one last alternative: hypnotherapy. Desperate, she made an appointment with a specialist in trauma resolution therapy. During one two-hour session she learned that her mind was confusing memory with reality, and sending signals to address a perceived situation. She was then offered a different way of perceiving her sister’s death. The impact of the session was immediate and lasting; she was well. Inspired by her story, I viewed several other TEDx talks on hypnosis. I also recommend Danna Pycher’s talk, “Healing illness with the subconscious mind.”

Shortly after my TEDx marathon, I learned the library would be hosting a four-part series on “Hypnosis and Healing” to explore using the power of the mind to promote motivation, success and well-being. Curious (as ever), I signed up. In our first session, we were given an overview of hypnosis, which is simply a heightened state of concentration in which people are more receptive to suggestion. The person being treated is guided, using imagery and repetition, into a relaxed state, but is still aware. In fact, people go into hypnotic states on their own throughout the day, such as when we are driving somewhere and somehow end up at our destination without recollecting how we got there. This makes the term hypnosis – from “hypnos,” the Greek word for sleep – one of the bigger misnomers out there. Unfortunately for me, a combination of the dark room, soothing voice and sleep deprivation caused me to sleep through two of the four sessions. I listened wistfully to the stories of my fellow workshop attendees as they reported feeling more motivated and energetic. I was so disappointed to have squandered my chance to experience the benefits of hypnosis that I ratted myself out during the question-and-answer period one night to ask our presenter if she had any tips for not falling asleep. She noted that if we had been in an individual session, she would have done something like alter the volume of her voice if she’d noticed me slipping off, but that working in a group didn’t allow for that.

After one of the sessions in which I was snoozing while others made positive transformations, I decided to see what the library had to offer on the subject of hypnosis. I picked up an informative read called The Inner Source: Exploring Hypnosis with Dr. Herbert Spiegel by Donald Connery, which examines the practice of hypnosis and the career of one of its chief proponents. Dr. Spiegel was a newly minted psychiatrist who had learned hypnosis during his residency when he was sent overseas to serve as a battalion surgeon. The power of hypnosis was revealed to him through his work with soldiers grappling with combat stress. After leaving the service, Dr. Spiegel continued to explore hypnosis in private practice, and went on to teach a course in clinical hypnosis at Columbia University for over twenty years. In Dr. Spiegel’s opinion, all hypnosis is self-hypnosis; a hypnotist merely guides people to tap a natural ability to alter their perception and influence their reactions. He recognized that some people are more suggestible than others, and used different strategies to compensate for this.

Hypnosis has been used for everything from behavior modification (quitting smoking, losing weight, and releasing phobias) to coping with post-traumatic stress disorder and pain management on par with anesthesia. So my main wonderment is this: if hypnosis is so useful, why is it viewed as a last resort? If a quick, easy and side-effect-free method to improve our heath is available, why not add it to the mix? I suspect that the checkered past of the practice, from stage hypnotists to unscrupulous charlatans, prevents people from taking it seriously, but the cynical side of me also wonders if our healthcare system isn’t to blame. There is, after all, no money to be made from people who can make themselves well.

My own research into hypnosis continues. There are numerous resources out there for those who’d like to learn more. Our network owns The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Hypnosis, which offers an overview of the subject as well several appendices of additional resources. Self-Hypnosis for Dummies is similar, and available as an eBook. Other audio and digital resources abound for help with specific concerns such as insomnia, weight-loss, etc. For those who wish to consult a professional, a searchable database of licensed healthcare workers providing hypnotherapy is available through the American Society of Clinical Hypnosis at https://www.asch.net/.

Kirstie David is a Literacy and Outreach Librarian at the Morrill Memorial Library in Norwood, MA. Look for her article in the October 18, 2018 edition of the Norwood Transcript.

sue-vide-at-home-book-cover

Make it Sous Vide!

sue-vide-at-home-book-coverBelieve it or not, I’m sometimes afraid of new technology. My ex-husband worked for one of Microsoft’s competitors in the late 1970s and 1980s and his company created one of the first word processing programs for the PC. Yet, in the early 1990s I still insisted on writing my graduate school papers on a word-processing typewriter. Because we had several computers in the house, my inability to embrace the PC drove him crazy – among a zillion other things, of course!

It’s not that I am distrustful of technology – I’ve actually been an early-adopter of many gadgets and devices –  but I must fully understand them first. I hate reading boring instruction manuals and that often trips me up. I’m a hands-on learner and my confidence level often has wild rides of highs and lows when learning how to use a new appliance or gadget.

That said, once I am a firm-believer, I drive everyone a bit looney when I insist on singing, and re-singing, the praises of each of my new gadgets and appliances. Gerry and I bore our friends with wondrous tales of inventions like the steam cleaner, vacuum sealer, spiralizer, espresso maker and milk frother.

This is especially true in the kitchen where I spend much of my time on the weekends. In my early marriage years, I heartily adopted the Cuisinart food processor, the KitchenAid stand mixer, and the automatic bread and pasta machines. Sometimes these machines hum in the kitchen for weeks, and other times they lie silent for months or years. Still some are part of my everyday repertoire.

My eldest daughter is an amazing, adventurous cook. Mostly due to her driven spirit, but also because she is severely allergic to nuts and seeds, she makes everything from scratch, including roasting her own coffee beans. Due to her infectious enthusiasm (the acorn doesn’t fall far from the tree), I love to watch her use her newest equipment, sometimes adopting it into my own life.

That’s where the sous vide comes in.

Several years ago, she pronounced her love of her new sous vide on her Facebook page. I was, apparently, living in the dark ages because I had no idea what a sous vide was. I don’t usually watch any cooking shows (binge-watching the Great British Baking Show was an exception), so I researched this exotic tool myself. I asked her to bring her sous vide equipment to our home several years ago and we had the most amazing lamb rib chops that I’ve ever tasted at dinner that night.

Soon after I received my own sous vide stick from Gerry for my 65th birthday. (One of the things I love about my husband is his constant and hearty support of my whimsies and interests.)

Yet, that is where my fears sometimes bring my enthusiasm to a halt. It seemed to me that there were so many complications to cooking with the sous vide. I read several books and agonized over additional tools and equipment. It’s important to eliminate heat loss, and vacuum-sealed packets must not touch each other. I ordered numerous exotic accessories, and then promptly packed all of it in my appliance closet until my courage overcame my anxiety.

It was there that the sous vide sat – until this past weekend when my determination took hold and I decided to experiment in the way I learn best – hands-on and under pressure. I planned a dinner for neighbors and committed to an uncomplicated menu of center-cut beef shanks and butter-poached baby potatoes.

Sous-vide is a French term for “under vacuum.” Simply put, you cook food that is vacuum-sealed in a plastic pouch in a water bath for a long time at a perfect low temperature. With the sous vide technique, the food cooks evenly throughout. It doesn’t overcook or undercook, as long as you know what you are doing. The moisture in the food is retained.

Little did I know, but high-end restaurants use the sous vide method for meats and shellfish all the time. That is how they serve you a perfectly-cooked chop or scallop that is quickly seared and placed on your plate.

You can use fancy tools, or not so fancy. My Anova sous vide stick is a version that actually has a Bluetooth setting, which seems a bit extravagant and foolish. This sous vide immersion circulator is firmly attached to a plastic bin filled with water, the tool is turned on and brought up to a specific temperature, the vacuum-sealed food is placed into the bin, and the food is cooked for a specific time.

This weekend’s beef shanks were vacuum-sealed with a sprig of fresh thyme, slices of onion and garlic, and a sprinkle of freshly ground salt and pepper. They were then cooked in a constant 155 degree water bath for 20 hours. Yes, 20 hours. Some sous vide techniques call for 48 hours of cooking! The beef will be removed from the water bath several hours before dinner and quickly seared in a very hot grilling pan before serving. In the interim, the vacuum-sealed baby potatoes will poach with butter and parsley at 194 degrees for two hours.

If you’d like to learn about sous vide cooking, complete with amazing recipes, there are plenty in our Minuteman Library catalog and at our library here in Norwood. If you start with some of the best cookbooks, sous vide techniques and equipment are fully explained in the first chapters. The Essential Sous Vide Cookbook by Sarah James is a great book to start with because she has lots of practical guidance and advice, including techniques on preparing food for sous vide recipes. Sous Vide at Home by Lisa Fetterman even has techniques for cooking Thanksgiving dinner! Fetterman has another book, Sous Vide Made Simple (in 60 everyday recipes.) There are several eBooks instantly available on Hoopla: The Sous Vide Kitchen by Christina Wylie and Make it Sous Vide! by Meredith Lawrence.

Of course, this week’s column was due before dinner was fully cooked, but I have complete confidence in my sous vide technique. My daughter texted me a big high-five because she is delighted that I’ve finally overcome my anxiety. My husband is finally looking forward to another delicious dinner – this time, sous vide style.

Charlotte Canelli is the Director of the Morrill Memorial Library in Norwood, Massachusetts. Read Charlotte’s column in the October 11, 2018 edition of the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin.

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