A Cheesy Holiday

There are only 365 days in a year, but it seems as if there are a million “holidays” assigned to them, some of them bordering on ludicrous (National Ask Your Cat a Question day?). 

January 20 is National Cheese Lovers Day. January 2 was also National Swiss Cheese Day, which, all things considered, must make it a truly Holey Day.  (Yes, that was cheesy).

Swiss Cheese is actually a misnomer. Any cheese made in Switzerland is considered a Swiss Cheese. What Americans refer to as a “Swiss Cheese” is actually an Emmental cheese that contains “eyes” – trademark holes caused by gasses created during manufacture. The more holes, the more taste, with a curing time of 6-18 months to achieve its creamy flavor. An Emmental cheese without holes is sometimes called a “blind” cheese. Over the years, the holes in Swiss Cheese (as we know it) have gotten smaller, making manufacturers wonder if the holes aren’t caused by particulate matter getting in the cheese – tiny bits of hay or detritus that get in the milk, aiding in the production of gas. Modern sterile manufacturing eliminates those contaminants, not giving the gasses something to bond with. Emmental, Emmenthal, and Emmenthaler are all correct names for the cheese.

Many foreign foods are trademarked – Champagne is only Champagne if it comes from the Champagne region of France, otherwise it’s a sparkling wine. Roquefort Cheese can only come from Roquefort (or it’s a Blue Cheese). Bourbon can only come from Bourbon County, Tennessee, otherwise it’s just whiskey. Gruyere lost its trademark name in the US, with the courts deciding that Americans don’t know the location of the cheese, only the taste of that style, no matter the manufacturer. Thus, Swiss Cheese – er, Emmental – can be made anywhere, including Wisconsin. A good Swiss doesn’t have to come from Europe, which makes the price more palatable.

Have you ever thought of making your own cheese? Many of them are rather simple to make  (cottage cheese takes just three ingredients – milk, salt, and vinegar, which replaces the old-fashioned rennet from the cow’s stomach), and all of them will be fresh without chemical preservatives. It’s easier than you think! Unlike canning, mistakes aren’t likely to kill you. Try it as a winter project – you might just discover a new (and tasty!) hobby!

And just to prove that cheese makers aren’t as uptight as you might think, check out this study, where Swiss researchers exposed ageing cheeses to different forms of music (Hip Hop, Stairway to Heaven, and Mozart’s Magic Flute opera). They used mini transmitters to conduct the energy of the music directly into the cheese, so that no energy was lost. (No, I’m not making this up) The cheese was eventually blind-taste tested twice, with similar results each time. The hip-hop exposed cheese was decided to be markedly fruitier and with a stronger taste. The question arises, then, what happens to cheese if you use Swedish Death Metal, or perhaps Raffi?

Check out these instruction books for doing your own experiments with cheese. Your choice of music is up to you!

Grilled Cheese Please!

American Cheese

Artisan Cheese Making at Home

Home Cheese Making

The Whole Fromage

One Hour Cheese

Tasting Wine And Cheese

The Telling Room

Join our Winter Reading Challenge!

Kick off the new year with a Winter Reading Challenge! Kids and adults of all ages are invited to join this online reading program with chances to win prizes! 

From now until February 28, you’ll earn points for reading and completing special missions. Once you reach a certain number of points, you’ll get a completion prize and be entered into your age group’s grand prize raffle. 

Want to sign up? Visit our ReadSquared reading challenge website athttps://cheshirelibrary.readsquared.com, download the ReadSquared app, or visit the Library in-person. Grab your signup prize next time you’re in the Library, then log in to track your progress any time until the program ends on Tuesday, February 28. 

The Winter Reading Challenge is sponsored by the Friends of the Cheshire Public Library.

Teen Book Reviews: This is Our Story & The Inheritance Games

Teens: did you know that you can earn community service credit for writing a book review and submitting it to us? Today, we’ll hear from two teens who did just that. Find out more about how to earn community service hours from home at cheshirelibrary.org/teens/.

This is Our Story by Ashley Elston. Reviewed by Kathleen H.

If you like murder mysteries with some romance, this one’s for you. The book opens with five best friends who are on a hunting trip, yet only four of them are still alive. When the four alive boys look at their group’s leader, Grant Perkins, sprawled out dead with a rifle’s bullet hole in his chest, they are all in complete shock and panic, not sure which of their friends shot him, or if it was even an accident. With each boy about to turn on each other, all in fear of going to jail, our mystery narrator assures his three friends that they’ll all be fine if they stick together. He then tells them “their story”–what they’ll say to the police, lawyers, judges, the media, and even their families–in order to not accidentally rat out the killer or make themselves look guilty with inconsistent accounts of what happened.

The book then flashes to the main character’s perspective, Kate, who has a senior internship at the District Attorney’s office, and who’s boss has been handed the murder case. The more and more she digs into the evidence in the case file, the more is revealed about each boy’s personal stakes in Grant’s murder. Throughout her investigation, we also learn more about her personal ties to Grant’s murder, and the resulting guilt she holds. This novel is fast paced and easy to read in big chunks, with readers wanting to learn more about the case, and even the romance that arises. Plus, it deals with relevant issues such as how much the wealthy can get away with, and the sway that privileged people have on the justice system. Most importantly, the novel is one that genuinely keeps readers wondering “who did it?” until the bitter end, while still maintaining a sense of realism in its plot twists.

5 stars.

The Inheritance Games by Jennifer Lynn Barnes. Reviewed by Ella K.

The Inheritance Games is a mystery book written by Jennifer Lynn Barnes. The book begins by introducing the reader to Avery Grambs, a witty and compassionate student who lives with her sister, Libby, and her sister’s abusive boyfriend. While Avery works to get out of that situation and go to college, she unexpectedly finds herself thrown into a familial battle after the passing of famous billionaire Tobias Hawthorne. Despite not knowing him or having anything to do with him, Avery has been left as almost the sole inheritor of his fortune. The catch? She has to live at the Hawthorne mansion for a year.

Tobias’s relatives, including his four grandsons, upset that a stranger robbed them of their inheritance, treat Avery with contempt throughout the duration of her stay, until one of them, Jameson Hawthorne approaches Avery with a proposition. He thinks that Tobias had something up his sleeve and enlists Avery to help him solve the puzzle. The book follows Avery as she deals with her newfound fame and wealth, while also avoiding the not so pure intentions of the other Hawthornes.

This book brought me back to the puzzle books of my childhood, reminding me specifically of The Mysterious Benedict Society. The book was much more complex than that series, but the riddles and puzzles that the author writes were just as enticing. The newfound fame aspect was also an interesting concept to read about. My problem with this book is its ending. All of the major twists of the plot felt like they were shoved into the end of the book. It was a little bit confusing at times and that confusion almost undermined the twist that the author was going for. Despite this, the book is well written and well worth the read for anyone who enjoys puzzles and mystery books.

4 stars.

What’s Happening at Cheshire Library in January

Welcome to 2023 at Cheshire Library! We’re bringing our popular Virtual Reality programs back this month, along with a new Tabletop Gaming group. We’ve got plenty of indoor activities for the cold weather months – check our Event Calendar for all the lastest happenings at CPL!

Movie Matinees

Join us in the Library Loft for a movie on the big screen! No registration is required and movies begin at 1pm.

Explore New Worlds: Virtual Reality

Experience virtual reality with the library’s Oculus headsets. Choose from a wide selection of tours adventures and games all in an interactive virtual world. 30 minute spots available from 6:00 to 7:30. Register for the date you want, you will be contacted prior to the program to select your spot.

Color Yourself Calm (With a Movie)

Monday, January 9, 2023, 6:00 – 8:00pm

De-Stress from this busy time of year and color. In addition to coloring we will be watching  The Lost City. All supplies will be provided, but feel free to bring your own. Registration required for this adult program.

Wellness Talk – Osteoporosis

Wednesday, January 11, 2023, 4:30 – 5:30pm

This talk will include different information about osteoporosis. Talked about will be prescribed exercises, reducing your risk, what does a physical therapy session look like, vitamins and minerals associated with bone health and methods to increase protein intake. Register to attend in-person or online.

Adult Loft Knitters

Wednesday, January 11, 2023, 6:30 – 8:00pm

Come socialize, learn, and share your techniques with other knitters.  Experience the relaxing and calming effect of knitting. All levels of adult knitters are welcome. Please bring your own yarn and knitting needles (crocheters are also welcome!). This group meets monthly, please register in advance.

Backyard Wildlife: All About Opossums

Thursday, January 12, 2023, 6:30 – 8:00pm

Join Ferncroft Wildlife Rescue for an overview of wildlife rehabilitation and their rescue efforts with opossums. Adults and kids can learn what makes opossums awesome, and how you can give support to wildlife in your neighborhood. There will be time for questions and a meet-and-greet with the opossum ambassadors! Registration required. This program is made possible by the Al Sanders Memorial Fund.

Family Storytime

Saturday, January 14, 2022, 11:00 – 11:30am

Family Storytime is a drop-in, interactive storytime for children and family members! Learn through talking, singing, reading, writing, and playing! This storytime is for children of all ages. No registration is required.

Tabletop Gaming Group

1:00pm – 4:00pm

Saturday, January 14, 2023
Saturday, January 21, 2023
Saturday, January 28, 2023

Join us for an afternoon of gaming featuring the popular role-playing game Dungeons and Dragons! Try out D&D with a four-week campaign, or just enjoy a quick round of board games and card games that you can borrow from the library. No gaming experience necessary. Snacks will be provided. No snacking experience necessary. Registration required. This program is best for adults and teens. The Dungeons and Dragons campaign will run for four sessions: January 14, 21, 28, and February 4.

Houseplants are For Everyone!

Wednesday, January 18, 2023, 6:30 – 8:00pm

Do you want to fill your home with easy-care housplants ? Or learn to care for the ones you already have? Join us for a program with garden expert Karla Dalley who will discuss houseplants that work for all areas of the home. Karla will bring handouts and a selection of plants for “show and tell”. Bring your questions! Registration is required.

Concert–World Café!

Concert--World Café!

Saturday, January 21, 2023, 2:00 – 3:30pm

Experience an exuberant celebration of cultures with this exceptional program of music from around the world performed by Judy Handler and Mark Levesque on guitar and mandolin! No registration required.

Life Planning Series

Mondays at 6:30pm.

January 23: Downsizing Doesn’t Need to be Painful

January 30: Your Children Don’t Want It (online)

February 6: Leave your loved ones with answers…not questions (online)

Cat Tales Writers Group

Thursday, January 26, 2023, 6:30 – 8:00pm

Join us for a monthly open writing group that can help answer your questions on writing, editing, grammar, and publishing. Read a selection of your work to the group for general constructive feedback, or discuss a book you’ve read that might help someone else. Registration is required.

Know Your News: Become a Media Expert

Thursday, January 26, 2023, 6:30 – 8:00pm

Not sure if a new source is fact or fake? Learn how to tell the difference in this hands-on workshop. You’ll learn tips and tricks for finding reliable and credible information in any format and get a chance to practice your new skills. Registration is required.

The Happy Place

The Happy Place

Tuesday, January 31, 2023, 10:30am – 12:00pm

Find your happy place with soothing music, hot drinks, socializing, crafting, and other self-care activities. We’ll provide a low-stress craft,66-=[`but feel free to bring your own crochet, scrapbook, cross stitch, or other projects from home that help you reach your happy place. Registration is required.

January Book Clubs:

Murder by the Book Mystery Book Club: Light on Bone

Books Over Cocoa: Wintering (January 24, 7pm)

Books Over Coffee: Wintering (January 25, 2:30pm)

Murder by the Book Mystery Book Club: Light on Bone (January 26, 1pm)

Teen Book Reviews: All the Bright Places and Thoughts & Prayers

Teens: did you know that you can earn community service credit for writing a book review and submitting it to us? Today, we’ll hear from two teens who did just that. Find out more about how to earn community service hours from home at cheshirelibrary.org/teens/.

All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven. Reviewed by Anja J.

This book had me in tears. If you ever have one of those feelings where you just want to read a book and cry, this is the book to pick off the shelf. I was able to finish this book within a week. The story starts off with Violet Markey standing on the ledge of the bell tower of her high school. It wasn’t until a boy, who goes by Finch showed up, did she stop thinking about what it would be like if she jumped. After this encounter, Finch takes an interest in why he found Violet on that ledge that day, and Violet wonders how it ended up being the school outcast and “freak” that basically saved her life. The two are then assigned together on a project that gives them a chance to answer their questions about one another and learn even more.

This story, however sad it may be, was beautifully written and explores the experiences of teenagers and mental health. The quick paced story had me smiling at many parts and borderline sobbing at others. As I teenager myself, reading this book significantly impacted me. It showcased the struggles of teenagers that know one really knows and how it can impact daily life. There are not many books written this spectacularly that focus on sensitive issues like these. Jennifer Niven worked wonders when she wrote this book as she intimately described these two characters and how they fit each other perfectly.

Reading this book gives an insight into how people can fall victim to their own minds. The feeling of being lonely in a crowded room or out of touch and control is perfectly demonstrated. The intrusive thoughts of death play a big role in this novel, and it is seen how Violet and Finch are each others tethers that keep each other going every day. Despite tragedy in the book, the writing is magnificent and the feelings that ignite in you while reading it will have you full of joy or borderline sobbing.

4 stars.

Thoughts and Prayers by Bryan Bliss. Reviewed by Ima T.

Thoughts and Prayers by Bryan Bliss, is an impactful novel of today’s world. It follows the perspectives of three teenagers — Claire, Eleanor and Brezzen, completely different people who seem to have nothing in common. Eleanor is a popular basketball player, Brezzen is a gamer, and Claire only has a few close friends. The one thing that unites them is that they all hid under the same set of stairs during a school shooting.

Every character deals with this issue in different ways, and this is what Bliss explores in the novel. Claire becomes a shell of her old self. While she was introverted before the incident, she turned into herself even more. Eleanor did her best to move on after the shooting, but she’s angry that none of the adults are doing anything to stop the jokes about the shootings. She experiences a lot of prejudice as well, since she is a feminist that none of the conservatives in town can relate to. Brezzen chooses to stay home, getting home schooled. He has to fight the battle of going back to school and feeling safe. The entire situation is very relevant nowadays, because of the constant barrage of news about school shootings.

I would highly recommend this book to kids in high school. It’s very impactful to read about kids who are the age of high schoolers, but struggling to understand the impact of the negative events that can destroy people’s lives. Claire, Eleanor, and Brezzen each provide different lessons that any reader can relate to, even if they are not a star athlete or avid gamer. This story gets even more relatable still because of the first hand perspective of each person. It’s interesting to see how differently they all view each other and the scenario since they all experienced the same thing at the same time. I would highly recommend Thoughts and Prayers to whichever reader wants to truly understand not only the horrors of school shootings, but the hope and resilience that can follow.

5 stars