Archived Posts from this Category
Archived Posts from this Category
The Great Gatsby is on the big screen, once again reminding us of the fabulous and tragic Jazz Age–and the author who was its best-known chronicler.
Minnesotans have a special connection to this famous American author: F. Scott Fitzgerald’s St. Paul is around us. The elegant neighborhoods where he grew up as “a poor boy in a rich town” are still the city’s finest, beautiful to discover and enjoy. And the best way to do that is with A Guide to F. Scott Fitzgerald’s St. Paul, by John J. Koblas. You can explore the neighborhoods that shaped him and provided the scenery and plots for many of his most successful short stories. Handy maps, 35 featured buildings, and notes on 71 others make for fascinating self-guided walking tours.
And then, with The St. Paul Stories of F. Scott Fitzgerald, edited by Patricia Hampl and Dave Page, you can read many of those stories as well. Introduced with a graceful essay by Patricia Hampl, the book includes several of the Basil Duke Lee stories as well as some of Fitzgerald’s lesser-known classics. Brief introductions provide names and locations that you can find during your tour.
See the movie, read these books, and get to know the home-town author!
by Debbie Miller, MHS Reference Specialist
The MHS’s Gale Family Library welcomes researchers with new and expanded hours, which became effective December 1, 2012.
–Tuesday, 12 noon to 8 p.m.
–Wednesday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
–Closed Sunday and Monday
Scholars and other authors now have a chance to work all day on a project, and those visiting from out of town can plan a trip that uses their limited time more efficiently.
Remember that the library houses all levels of government records for Minnesota, as well as vast collections of manuscripts, newspapers, periodicals, and books. Maps, photos, films and videos, oral histories, and music are all available. Reference staff are happy to help with any questions you have about your research and to suggest related sources, if you like. More and more manuscript and archives collections have finding aids online. Try this site, or when you find a collection that interests you in the library catalog, check to see if there’s a link to a finding aid.
The United States officially recognized the government of Somalia on January 17. In a meeting between U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and new Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, the secretary called for a new chapter to begin. The people of Somalia, a country ravaged by civil war and once considered the most failed state on the globe, have “fought, and sacrificed to bring greater stability, security, and peace to their nation.”
The African Development Center of Minnesota is hosting public and community forums with Dr. Abdiweli Mohamed Ali, former prime minster of Somalia, who will share stories about developing a road map to Somalia’s future. On Friday, February 8, from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Cowles Auditorium, Dr. Ali will offer remarks and facilitate an open discussion in English. On Saturday, February 9, from 6 to 10 p.m. at the Minneapolis Convention Center, Dr. Ali’s remarks and the ensuing discussion will be in Somali. Join in this celebration of nation building in our time.
A little learning can go a long way. Dazzle your colleagues at the water cooler with insights gleaned from these quick reads from MHS Express, our new digital imprint of short-form e-books. Available through major e-book sellers.
Be they essays or excerpts from published works or forthcoming titles or original pieces, MHS Express e-books present relevant and compelling topics such as the U.S.-Dakota War of 1862 and what it means to be “a good Hmong girl” in America–both covered in our inaugural list.
Please click on the MHS Express link, above, for a full list of titles.
Last minute bar tending inspiration from North Star Cocktails by Johnny Michaels.
Check out these links for recipes:
Happy New Year and Be Safe!
1. What is a typical weekend for you?
Weekend? What? For most writers I know, when things are going well with a new book, the weekend is a great annoyance. Just one more distraction perpetrated by the real world (Thomas Mann also said this of the telegraph). But there’s a fine line between being in a writing groove and being a crabby stick-in-the mud husband or friend. Therefore, even if my writing is going never-better I try to take at least Sunday off and be cheerful and available even though my fabulous wife and fine friends know I’m faking it. And, if I have been suitably present and a good companion throughout a weekend, I often get back to my computer Sunday evening and position myself to start writing first thing Monday.
2. What are some of your favorite local Friday-night activities?
In the long days of summer, Friday night is a time to socialize and eat a piece of walleye somewhere. Come winter, I tend to stay home with my wife and kick back around the fireplace. My biorhythms are driven so much by the weather specifically and by seasons generally. In the summer, northern Minnesotans get “light drunk” and manically social from the long days; in winter, the converse happens—it feels like a great chore to leave home and be forced to talk to people. (Not a good sign–and time for more vitamin D and aerobic exercise.)
3. What/where do you eat on weekends? What’s a typical Sunday breakfast for you?
My small city of Bemidji has a limited number of good restaurants, so I get to know their menus well. I eat less meat these days not from ideological but more for digestive reasons (six ounces is a great plenty). I eat a fair amount of local fish, some of which I catch in the Mississippi River, which passes by my house (the Upper Mississippi, only twenty miles from the headwaters, and where the water is clear and clean). Sunday breakfast? Usually later and bigger, often with my wife’s made-from-scratch pancakes, bacon (rationed to once a week by my cheerful young physician), and maple syrup or jelly I’ve come by from friends or family.
4. What’s your weekend reading like?
Usually the newspapers and the New Yorker which I’ve gotten behind on during the week. I seldom read books when I’m writing one, and since I’m usually writing one . . . . Well, you see the irony here.
5. What is your top Minnesota getaway?
Duluth is always great, especially for the Bayfront Blues Festival in August, though I also greatly enjoy the bluff country around Red Wing.
Will Weaver is the author of four MHS Press books–Barns of Minnesota; Sweet Land; Red Earth, White Earth; The Last Hunter–and a contributor to the anthology Libraries of Minnesota. Will’s newest novel for young adults is The Survivors, a sequel to Memory Boy. To learn more about all his work for adults and young adults, visit willweaverbooks.com.
Around 1936, F. Scott Fitzgerald, the St. Paul-born author who wrote the American classic The Great Gatsby, penned a short piece called “Thank You for the Light,” which was rejected by editors at the time. The story is about a woman who steps into a Catholic church for a smoke break and, after she lights up, goes through a miraculous experience. Deemed a little strange by some readers, it may have been intended as part of a larger project. The story was finally accepted by the New Yorker when Fitzgerald’s grandchildren resubmitted it recently and is included in the August 6 issue.
Fitzgerald’s Minnesota connection is well documented here: see A Guide to F. Scott Fitzgerald’s St. Paul and The St. Paul Stories of F. Scott Fitzgerald, for example. As for his more famous work, keep an eye out for The Great Gatsby film, set for release next summer.
July is National Blueberry Month. This delicious fruit is at its tastiest during the month of July, and the berries are inextricably linked to Minnesota summers. Author Curtiss Anderson writes about the season in Blueberry Summers.
Now is the time to enjoy blueberries as much as you can. Why not try this perfect summer treat, courtesy Potluck Paradise?
Red, White, and Blueberry Buckle
1 pint fresh blueberries — washed and picked over to remove under ripe or over ripe berries and stems
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup cold butter
1 cup flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt, optional
1/2 cup soft butter
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup milk
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Make topping by combining dry ingredients and then cut in the cold butter with a pastry cutter until crumbly. Set aside. Lightly grease a 9-inch square pan. Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt (if using) and set aside. In a medium mixing bowl, stir the butter and sugar together. Add the egg and mix well. Stir in half the flour mixture, then the milk, followed by the remaining flour. Spoon base into greased pan. Kerplunk berries on top; spread out evenly so they are only one berry deep. Sprinkle with topping. Bake until topping is just turning golden, berries are bubbly, and the base has pulled slightly away from the sides. Serve warm or at room temperature. Refrigerate any leftover.
Try this recipe and many more as you celebrate blueberry month and Minnesota summer.
Because of Americans’ love for ice cream, in 1984 Ronald Reagan declared July to be National Ice Cream Month, with the third Sunday of the month designated National Ice Cream Day. Spend these hot summer days enjoying delicious ice cream and trying fun new flavors with friends and family.
Author Tricia Cornell shares a great recipe for ice cream in her cookbook, Eat More Vegetables.
Sweet Corn Ice Cream with Chili-Lime Salt
Corn has been bringing sweetness to side dishes for generations: I’m thinking of my grandmother’s custardy creamed corn, which always made me feel like I was getting away with something when I put a scoop next to my roast beef at Sunday dinner. So why not a corn dessert? This sweet corn ice cream is very rich, slightly tangy, and delicately corn flavored.
Cream cheese is a handy cheat when you want to make a creamy ice cream but don’t want the bother of boiling a custard. One blitz in the blender, and you’re ready to go. Don’t, however, be tempted to skip the overnight chilling step. You want the mixture to be very cold when it hits your ice cream maker.
If you can’t get very fresh, young corn, boil it for about five minutes before using. The Chili-Lime Salt is a bold, tangy touch, inspired by elote, a favorite Mexican preparation of corn with chili powder, lime, and crema. A light sprinkling of fresh lime zest is very tasty as well.
2 ears very fresh sweet corn
8 ounces cream cheese
1½ cups half-and-half
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
¾ cup sugar
⅛ teaspoon salt
Chili-Lime Salt (recipe follows)
Cut kernels from cobs (you should have about 2 cups) and “milk” the ears, using a bowl to catch all the corn and liquid released. Place first 6 ingredients (corn through salt) in blender and puree. Chill mixture overnight (it will separate in the refrigerator; just stir it up). Place in your ice cream maker and freeze as directed. If you don’t have an ice cream maker, chill overnight and then freeze mixture in ice cube trays. Pulse cubes in bowl of food processor. The texture will be more like a flaky granita, but it will still be tasty. Sprinkle judiciously with Chili-Lime Salt before serving.
2 tablespoons lime zest
½ teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon chili powder
Mix ingredients well. Keep this combination on hand to spruce up store-bought vanilla ice cream as well.
Enjoy this recipe and other ice cream treats all month long. It’s your patriotic duty!