What’s happening at the Library?

Published 12:30 pm Monday, March 13, 2023

By James Gardner

Clark County Public Library

People who know me, as well as readers of this newsletter, know that I like food. On Tuesday, it is indeed Taco Tuesday, along with food references for the other days of the week, while my write-ups might have enticed readers of my column on soup and chili. However, there is one food I am drawn to when I get snack hungry, or even hangry (a portmanteau of hungry and angry. If people already knew what hangry was, hopefully, they learned about a portmanteau. Or vice versa). That food to which I’m referring is potato chips. I can eat them by the handfuls, pair them with a delicious sandwich, and even dip them into various dips. I must honor them because of National Potato Chip Day on Tuesday, March 14. I need more of these newsletters to fill out what will eventually be my coffee table book of food-related newsletters.

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The potato chip has become an essential part of American snack food culture, but its origins are shrouded in mystery – or conjecture. The Smithsonian website states the legend of how the potato chip was created by chef George Crum back in Sarasota, Florida, circa 1853. According to legend, a customer complained to Crum that his sliced potatoes were too thick; in a moment of spite, Crum sliced the customer’s potatoes super-thin and fried them in oil. The customer loved them and so did most of America. They were even known for a while as Sarasota chips. It’s a good legend, but many people, including his sister, took credit for Crum’s creation. But even if he didn’t create the potato chip, he still made it popular.

Like many recipes, the potato chip has evolved over the years, from varying degrees of thickness (and ridges) to different kinds of spices. Some people prefer the traditional barbecue, sour cream and onion, while others might be bold and try flavored gravy and biscuits. Sometimes, I prefer the satisfying crunch of a kettle chip with a salt and vinegar tang. Yet there are other times I want to explore what a, say, Greek gyro chip tastes like. The flavors are endless, as are the permutations, which is great for cooks who like to experiment. Books like “175 Best Air Fryer Recipes” (641.77 Saul) have a recipe to make your own no-kettle potato chips, while “Smashed, Mashed, Boiled, and Baked (and Fried, Too!): (641.6521 Iyer) has a recipe for “thick-cut potato crisps with dark chocolate.” As I typed that last sentence, I felt a curious hunger, even if thinly sliced fried potatoes and chocolate sound like a big culinary leap.

Another article for the coffee table book, but writing it has also made me hungry. I could go for a sandwich. And I know just what to pair that sandwich with.

If you’re hungry for entertainment and education, visit the library and fill up.

Upcoming events

On Tuesday, March 14, at 6 p.m., Ron Kibbey’s Comedy Classics presents The Marx Brothers, who stowaway on an ocean liner, run afoul of gangsters, and end up creating their usual brand of chaos.

On Wednesday, March 15, at 2 p.m., the Kentucky Picture Show’s latest features a saloonkeeper (Anne Baxter) who loves a mine owner (Jeff Chandler) and who dukes it out with a claim jumper (Rory Calhoun) in circa-1900 Alaska. Snacks (freshly popped popcorn, but not chips) will be provided.

On Saturday, March 18, from 3-4 p.m., librarian Jennifer Mattern will be hosting an Heirloom Tomato Workshop where you will learn how to start heirloom tomatoes from seed, transplant your little beauties and save your own seeds at the end of the season. To register, contact the library at 859-744-5661