Round Rock New Neighbors is a social organization of women welcoming women in the Round Rock area since 1978. Both "new" and "old" neighbors are welcome. For more information: rrnewneighbors.org [Barnes & Noble requires that RRNN's book club be open to the public, so you do not need to be an RRNN member to attend book club, and both men and women are welcome and do attend. ]

Literary Events

Literary Events

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The Friends of the Georgetown Public Library’s Hill Country Authors Series events will be listed here.
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Round Rock Public Library Book Group meets monthly at 7:00-8:30 PM. Check the library website for more information, or ask Carla.
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Sunday, August 24, 2008

Julie Cooks Julia Child Recipes and We Focus on Sweetbreads

Real people - that's one of the descriptions that would fit Julie Powell, who wrote Julie and Julia, which we discussed last Monday. Several people mentioned that Julie seemed to be a very down-to-earth, ingenuous kind of person. Most everyone found the book to be light and kind of fun. Our group all noticed the incredibly dirty kitchen this woman had, though. I don't think that my mention of the book about organizing and Frank's message about the TV shows where they show the filthy homes and clean them up had any influence on that; I know that certain members of our group would have zoomed in on that kitchen no matter what!

Julie really did let her shortcomings show in this book! I thought her comments about her negative feelings regarding her work were very courageous. In my mind, I could hear people saying, "How could she say that when these people were suffering so much after 911?" Not to mention her courage in publishing so many negative comments about her job and having her boss read them and tell her to tone it down. And then letting everyone know that her kitchen was lined with grease and covered in cat hair, with dirty dishes left in the sink more often than not, to the point where maggots were proliferating! Well. I'd guess that if the Meryl Streep movie is succesful (with or without a scene of maggots), Julie Powell will never have to clean her own messes again! But, she might have to clean up her language a bit if she goes to Hollywood!

Three or 4 cookbooks circulated at our meeting, one being an original copy of Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking. Was it 1957?

One person was kind enough to let us know that she did not enjoy the book at all. It's always interesting to hear a dissenting opinion.
There was discussion about some of the weird and unappetizing foods mentioned in the book. The term "sweetbreads" came up. I looked in all of the cookbooks we had circulating to see whether any of them explained what exactly sweetbreads are, and none of them did! They all had recipes for them but didn't explain them. So just now I checked the Internet to get the skinny on sweetbreads. I am going to copy the whole question and answer I found - I think you'll enjoy it:

Dear Cecil:

We were all sitting around lunch the other day and the question of what sweetbreads are came up. I voted for the thymus gland, but I was tremendously outnumbered by votes for the pancreas. Other suggestions included the brain, salivary gland, and even some sort of reproductive organ. I won't comment on the mental status of the person giving the latter suggestion, but you may feel free to do so. --M.K., Baltimore


Dear M.:

Boy, nothing like a little light conversation to improve the digestion. As it happens, you and the pancreas bloc are both right. There are two kinds of sweetbreads: stomach sweetbreads (also known as heart or belly sweetbreads), which are an animal's pancreas, and neck (AKA throat or gullet) sweetbreads, an animal's thymus gland. (The animal in question can be a hog or calf or just about any other large mammal, I gather.) They're called sweetbreads for the obvious reason that if you called them thymus glands or whatever you couldn't give the damn things away. The art of euphemism goes back a long way.

After the meeting, Carla and I went to the Barnes & Noble music and video section in the deep end of the store, and we found DVDs of Julia Child shows! They have The French Chef and 3 (or 2) more sets of DVDs, 18 episodes from the 1960s! For those of you who really loved the book, the show, or both!

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