Monthly Archives: February 2013

Coffee vs Tea

Is tea better for you than coffee? What is the best way to brew tea? Does a more expensive coffee maker produce a better cup of coffee?
Both coffee and black tea contain our beloved daily companion – caffeine. Caffeine in coffee was first identified by a German chemist in the 1800s and several years later it was identified in tea. There are many plants around the world that are brewed for their caffeine pick-me-up but here in North America we are obsessed with our tea and coffee. If tea is your favorite drink, the True History of tea is a fascinating book or if coffee is your teapassion you might want to check out Coffee : a darcoffeek history.  Did you know that coffee is the most valuable legally traded commodity next to oil? If you’re on the quest for the best coffee maker you can go to the Guelph Public Library website and read the latest Consumer Reports.  If you need tips on coffee and how to brew it Joe : the coffee book is full of info, including great coffee facts.  Did you know that a typical coffee tree produces about one pound of coffee annually?  If your are looking for pointers on how to brew the perfect cup of tea then check out Teatime.  This book covers everything from tea customs to tea brewing.
Coffee or tea – what is your favorite?

Culinary Collection at the University of Guelph


Did you know the University of Guelph has one of the largest collections of cookbooks in North America? Did you also know you can visit it even if you are not a student at the University?
suet bearGlenna and I were fortunate enough to take a tour of this collection in the fall of 2012. While we were there we looked at all the collections and were allowed to look through some of the books. There was one piece in the collection that really caught my eye though, a two-foot-high bear sculpted from sheep fat. This bear was created and donated to the collection by Canadian chef Nick Schweizer. The University of Guelph’s Culinary Collection has a total of 3 suet statues created by Schweizer.
booksThe collection as a whole numbers over 13,000 books dating as far back as the 17th century. The six major collections that make up the archives are: the Una Abrahamson Collection, the Canadian Cookbook Collection, the Helen Gagen Collection, the Edna Steabler Collection, the Jean Pare Collection,and the Marie Nightingale Collection.
If you are interested in taking a tour or for more information you can contact:
Kathryn Harvey Head, Archival and Special Collections or
or you can visit their website at

Cooking out of my comfort zone

Here is another installment of Cooking out of your comfort zone. This time it’s roast chicken. Now this isn’t really out of my comfort zone anymore but when I made my first one in my teens I remember being terrified I was going to undercook the chicken and make my family really sick.
4 1/2 lb chicken
sea salt and black pepper
1 large lemon
fresh thyme
fresh rosemary
Take your chicken out of the fridge about half an hour before you are going to cook it. Preheat your oven to 475 degrees Fahrenheit. Boil you lemon for about 3 minutes and remove it from the water. Carefully take the lemon in your hand, I find putting a folded tea towel or an oven mitt in my hand first and then picking up the lemon keeps me from getting burnt. Prick the lemon about 10 times with a knife before you place it in the chicken.
Put the rosemary and thyme inside the cavity of the chicken before you put the lemon in. Lift up the skin from the flesh of the chicken with your fingers so that you can get some of the thyme and rosemary under the skin. Rub the butter all over the chicken, this will make it go nice and crispy golden colour.
Put the chicken in the oven and turn down the temperature to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and cook for 1 hour and 20 minutes, remove from the oven and let sit for 15 minutes.
Leave a comment or email us at to let us know what you’ve been making to get out of your comfort zone.
Here’s a cool chicken book
50 Shades of Chicken: a parody in a cookbook by F. L. Fowler

GPL Staff cookbook picks

You might not know it but we here at the Guelph Public Library love to cook. Below is a list of some of our favourite cookbooks.
Food That Really Schmecks by Edna Staebler
foodthatreallyThis Mennonite cookbook is full of recipes that win with my teenage kids.   Cooking from scratch should always be this successful! Stacy @ Westminster & Brandon @ Bullfrog Branch
Jamie at home: cook your way to the good life by Jamie Oliver
Jamie-at-Home475I love it so much that I bought it!  Great Pictures, awesome delicious recipes and it is just as much fun flipping through the book as it is to watch him on the telly!! He is soo entertaining! Carmela @ East Side Branch & Deb @ Westminster Branch
Slow-cooker recipes : easy to make homestyle meals with slow-simmered flavor!  
slowThese recipes are simple to make, tasty, and sure to please. I am thoroughly enjoying all the benefits of this easy-to-use cookbook! Henry @ Main Library
Kraft Kitchens new classics
kraftBecause all of the ingredients are easy to find common items, and the book features mix-and-match menus so you can make the recipe a bit different each time if you want. April @ Main Library
Nigella Kitchen by Nigella Lawson
nigellaIf you like to sit down and browse through a cookery book – this is the one for you. The recipes are simple, easy and family minded. Brigid @ Westminster Branch
Joy of cooking by Irma Rombauer
joy-of-cookingClassic. It is the only cookbook you really need. Do you know the correct  technique for omelet, or how to properly carve a roast chicken, or how about the best consistency for your pancake better ? I didn’t, but now I am joyously a member of  the “those that know” club of cooking.   Marco @ Main Library
Jamies food revolution by Jamie Oliver
20100428-food-revolution-jamie-oliver-600x411I like all the different recipes it has, the extra little tips like side suggestions, the photographs of the meals and sometimes steps as well as his beautiful face. Jen @ Main Library & Dorothy @ Westminster Branch
PLENTY by Ottolenghi Yotam
plentyA collection of vegetarian recipes based on freshness and seasonality. Janet @ Main Library

Cooking out of my comfort zone

Here is another installment of Cooking out of your comfort zone. This time I’ve made Momofuku Milk Bar‘s Candy Bar Pie. What can I say I love this cookbook and am dying to go to their bakery in New York City.


Again I made this gluten-free so I could eat it and it was so good. Like the birthday cake this pie took up an afternoon because you have to make 5 different recipes to make one pie. First you have to make chocolate crumb to make the chocolate crust. Then you make the salty caramel and put that in the cooled crust and let it set up. To make the peanut butter nougat you have to first make peanut brittle.
I know this all sounds like a lot but none of it is overly complicated it’s just time-consuming. But trust me it’s well worth the time you put into the pie to see looks on people’s faces when they take that first bite of pie. The sweetness of the caramel and chocolate goes so well with salty pretzels and peanut butter nougat.
Leave a comment or email us at to let us know what you’ve been making to get out of your comfort zone.