This is always a favorite time of the year for me because of the dried figs you can find in the grocery stores.
My favorites are the Calimyrna figs from Greece. When I was little, they always came on a rope in an oblong-shaped package wrapped in cellophane. They still come in the oblong shape, but are no longer strung on a rope. Unfortunately, quantities are limited, and if you don’t see them in mid to late November and grab a couple of packages, you are out of luck. Packaged dried figs are now available year round and are mostly from California. Yes, I eat them too, but they just don’t have the same flavor as the Greek ones. The black mission figs are OK, and my husband love fresh figs during the summer, although to me they are pretty insipid.
There are many varieties of figs, each with their own characteristics. Parts of the plants cause irritation to the human skin, but the fruit so tasty. Figs are native to the Middle East and western Asia, and now are grown all over the world. Known records date them as far back as 9400 B.C. Cooking with figs offers a multitude of choices. Jam, filling for cookies and cakes, in salads, fruit salad dressings, and marinades. To learn more about the history of this fascinating fruit, just type “dried figs” into your favorite search engine and read away.
Got a new phone? “iPhone 5 for Dummies” by Edward Baig and Bob LeVitus shows you how to set up your phone, email and download apps. You’ll also learn how to browse the Web, capture photos, listen to music, get organized with reminders and more.
“The Introvert’s Way” by Sophia Dembling shows sensitive people how to be proud of their personalities. Introverts have heard all their lives that they need to be more outgoing, social and an extrovert if they want to live longer. The author gives tips on how to get the alone time you need and embrace it.
When the economy collapsed, Amy had to abandon her dreams of college in “Flash Point,” a novel by Nancy Kress. She will be the sole bread winner for her family, and when she is offered a chance at a reality show, she has misgivings, but signs up. Amy’s feelings were correct, and it isn’t long before she is fighting for her life. Popular author Kress will have readers on edge.
Teens will like “Lemonade Mouth Puckers Up” by Mark Hughes. A group of five outcast teens has organized a band. Who would have thought they would become a household name during one summer? It was a roller coaster road involving a music promoter, an unwanted visitor, and a reappearance from one member’s past that help create this fame.
There is an old bear who lives alone in the forest. In another part of the forest is a little cub who also lives alone. Neither one of them likes living alone. When they run across each other, something magical happens. Could they live together and be friends? Find out in “Little Cub” by Olivier Dunrea.
“The Iciest, Diciest, Scariest Sled Ride Ever!” by Rebecca Rule takes place on a cold winter’s day. Lizzie and her friends are using an old-fashioned sled that was built for speed. When they finally get to the top of a very icy hill, the adventure they have sliding down is one of the most exciting events they’ve ever experienced. Don’t miss this ride.
One day it snowed and it snowed and it snowed. “A Perfect Day” by Carin Berger finds everyone outside after the big snow eager to play. They can make tracks, angels, snowmen, and so much more.
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Marie Bruni is director of Huntington Memorial Library in Oneonta. Her column appears in the community section of The Daily Star every Thursday. Her columns can be found online at www.thedailystar.com/librarycorner.