What’s happening at the Library: Spice up your life

Published 10:35 am Tuesday, January 16, 2024

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By James Gardner

Clark County Public Library

I have reached an age where, at times, there doesn’t seem to be a lot of new things. I survived the Cold War shenanigans of the ‘80s, the cynical doldrums of the ‘90s, and the information inundations that made up the last two decades. I happen to have existed when the Challenger blew up and the Berlin Wall came down, when the “Star Wars Holiday Special “became a thing and everyone was going from Myspace to Facebook (as well as jumping on and then jumping off Twitter/X). I have accumulated experiences, sure, but I also know that there are aspects of life where I have been late to experience them. One of those is Crocs, shoes which are just utilitarian enough to be worn on the beach and off. The same also applies to spicy food, a taste that I have earned later in life. Sometimes, when I’m enjoying adding some hot sauce to my meals, I often wonder why I didn’t do this sooner.

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It’s not like an incident made me hate spicy food. I’ve had some stomach issues in my youth and I naturally avoided foods that might aggravate the condition (thankfully, those issues have lessened as I’ve gotten older). I don’t even have one singular moment where I decided to try some spice and never look back. Like my love of coffee and flannel, my love of spicy foods was influenced by my wife.

Her influence was gradual (which may or may not have to do with a mentality of “I can change him,” either as to her thinking she could polish the diamond that was me or she was conducting a social experiment; to this day, I can’t be sure). I do know that I started adding hot sauce to my eggs. Or to my burritos. Soon, I tried red pepper flakes on pizza, and it was good. My current favorite spicy decadence is hot wings, but I have yet to try flavors with words like “nuclear” or Satan’s Spit.” Perhaps there will be a time when I embrace that level of crazy, or perhaps not, but the option is there, and it has been there all along.

My overall point has to do with the very parental argument you may have heard as kids or may even have told your own children: “How do you know you don’t like it if you don’t try it?” My own children might not like everything, but they will at least entertain trying them, and my wife and I make sure to let them know that we are proud of them for trying. However, if they don’t want to share a plate of spicy buffalo wings with Dad, I don’t shame them. I give them choices. Just like all of us have choices. We all have opportunities to do something adventurous.

Jan. 16th, for example, is International Hot and Spicy Food Day, which would be a perfect day to try some spicy dishes, or even make them, and the library is a perfect place to learn about spices.

Saturday, Jan. 20th, at 2 p.m., is the first meeting of the Clark County Public Library’s Spice Club. Come join Jennifer Mattern and Rachel Piercefield to discuss spices. Each month focuses on a new spice. This month will feature turmeric, which is not really hot or spicy but might be adventurous for some folks. You can also try how this spice tastes in certain dishes, especially if you’re an adventurous chef who wants to bring their own turmeric-spiced dish. Sign up at the reference desk and get your spice information. For more details, contact Rachel at rpiercefield@clarkbooks.org or Jennifer at jmattern@clarkbooks.org.

While the Spice Club and International Hot and Spicy Food Day are both great ways to try something new, there are opportunities all year to try new things, and the library can help you discover them.

On Wednesday, Jan. 17th, at 2 p.m., the Kentucky Picture Show will feature a 1952 Western starring Gary Cooper as a town marshal who, despite the disagreements of his newlywed bride and the townspeople around him, must face a gang of deadly killers alone when the gang leader, an outlaw he “sent up” years ago, arrives on the noon train. Popcorn and snacks provided. Rated PG.

On Thursday, Jan. 18th, at 6 p.m., join host Brad Allard for Fibbage, the lying, bluffing, fib-till-you-win party game. Players will answer wild and weird trivia questions while trying to fool the other players by coming up with plausible, yet fake, prompts to get the other players to guess incorrectly. The best liars of each game will get a fabulous prize. You will need to bring a smart device such as a smartphone or tablet to play.

And don’t forget the Spice Club, which meets on Jan. 20th at 2 p.m. For more details or to sign up, contact the library at 859-744-5661, or by email at rpiercefield@clarkbooks.org or jmattern@clarkbooks.org.