Top Ten magazines to go: tablet, phone and more…

It’s now been a year since we launched our Zinio eMagazine service, and what a year it’s been! Winnipeggers sure do love their magazines. So far in 2014, you’ve checked out 99,529 eMagazines!

For those of you unfamiliar with Zinio, it’s an electronic magazine platform that offers full color and interactive digital magazines for your enjoyment. You can browse hundreds of magazines from our collection of popular titles with no holds, no checkout periods, and no limit to the number of magazines you can download.

If you’re curious about the most popular titles, as I was, here’s our annual* top-ten countdown:

10 – Cosmopolitan (1949 checkouts)
9 – The Economist (2026 checkouts)
8 – Martha Stewart Living (2063 checkouts)
7 – Food Network Magazine (2073 checkouts)
6 – Canadian Living (2107 checkouts)
5 – National Geographic Interactive (2447 checkouts)
4 – O, The Oprah Magazine (2482 checkouts)
3 – Us Weekly (4807 checkouts)
2 – OK! Magazine (6012 checkouts)
1 – Star Magazine (6555 checkouts)

In 2015, we’re adding even more titles to our eMagazine collection. Starting January 1, 2015, you’ll have 213 titles to choose from! It would take too long to list all the new titles, so I thought I would give you a smattering selection of the coolest** titles.

BBC Good Food MagazineBBC Good Food Magazine is the UK’s biggest selling food magazine, packed with triple-tested recipes and practical ideas for every meal occasion. From weekday suppers to relaxed weekend lunches, recipes are seasonal and work first time. In every issue you’ll find 100+ triple-tested recipes, everyday cooking, weekend ideas, seasonal ingredients, TV chefs, inspirational photographs, and practical advice.

Candy PhilippinesCandy is the no. 1 teen magazine in the Philippines. Every Filipina teen trusts that Candy, her BFF, will inspire her to make the most out of her teen years! The magazine features everything a Candy girl is passionate about-fashion, beauty, school, celebs, friends and boys.
CosmopolitanCosmopolitan is one of the largest-selling young women’s magazines in the world, famous for its upbeat style, focus on the young career woman and candid discussion of contemporary male/female relationships. In 2015, we’ll also be offering international editions from France, Hong Kong, India, Italia, Middle East, Philippines, and the United Kingdom.

FamilyFunWhat does family fun mean to you? Crafts? Recipes? Party ideas? Travel tips? FamilyFun magazine dishes up these and more boredom-defying activities in over 180 splashy, colorful pages. Geared toward parents with young children, this energetic magazine promises to enrich the lives of families. Offering a “we’ve been there, we know” sort of comfort to parents, folksy first-person articles let parents know they’re not alone.

GQGQ is the authority on men and is the premier men’s magazine. With its unique and powerful design, the best photographers, and a well of award-winning writers, GQ reaches millions each month. Get the best in men’s fashion and style, beautiful women and culture, news and politics. Check out the US edition, or one of our various international editions from Germany, India, Italy, Latin America, and Hong Kong.

Inside Soap UKSoap Opera DigestCalling all Coronation Street, East Enders, and Emmerdale fans! Inside Soap UK is your essential weekly guide to all the big soap dramas. This magazine gives you every story, every secret, every week! More of a fan of the American soaps? Not to worry, we’ve got you covered with Soap Opera Digest, which provides exclusive sneak peeks of upcoming episodes and details of previous shows that you can’t find anywhere else.

SciFi nowWritten by fans for fans, SciFi Now is the first new science fiction, horror, cult TV and fantasy magazine in the last 12 years – a high quality title that celebrates the explosion of new scifi TV shows, films and culture, past present and future. From Doctor Who to Buck Rogers, Star Wars to American Horror Story, D81 Buffy to Battlestar Galactica, SciFi Now loves them all, and there’s no better magazine if you want in-depth interviews, lavish features, trustworthy reviews and detailed sci-fi TV listings. The future is Now.

Shambhala SunShambhala Sun celebrates the spirit of wakefulness wherever it appears – in the arts, relationships, politics, livelihood, popular culture, and all the challenges of modern life. It offers a Buddhist view for people of all spiritual traditions who are open, inquisitive, passionate and committed.

The New YorkerThe New Yorker is a national weekly magazine that offers a signature mix of reporting and commentary on politics, foreign affairs, business, technology, popular culture, and the arts, along with humor, fiction, poetry, and cartoons.

Vanity Fair

 

From entertainment to world affairs, business to style, design to society, Vanity Fair is a cultural catalyst, inspiring and driving the national conversation. Now the magazine has redefined storytelling for the digital age, bringing its high-profile interviews, stunning photography, and thought-provoking features to your device in a whole new way.

WIREDThe WIRED mission is to tell the world something they’ve never heard before in a way they’ve never seen before. It’s about turning new ideas into everyday reality. It’s about seeding our community of influencers with the ideas that will shape and transform our collective future. WIRED readers want to know how technology is changing the world, and they’re interested in big, relevant ideas, even if those ideas challenge their assumptions—or blow their minds.

YummyYummy is the modern food magazine from the Philippines that inspires readers to be creative with their home menus, given time and budget constraints. Every issue features more than 50 recipes that are quick-to-do and easy-to-prepare, using ingredients readily available in supermarkets. Yummy also delivers product and supermarket news, expert advice, and other interesting features on dining and travel, food shopping, and chefs and food lovers.

– Barbara

* If it’s the first time I do this, does it still count as an ‘annual’ countdown? I think it does, especially if I promise to do it again next year.

** I think they’re cool. Contrary to what my 15 year-old says, I KNOW what’s cool. Really.

Top 10 Picture Books of 2014

December is a time of reflection.  An opportunity to look back at the year that was.  For some, it’s a wake-up call.  (Next year, I am definitely going to spend less time on Facebook, and more time drinking coffee with my friends.)  For others, it’s a time to be proud.  (I can’t believe I finally organized my closet!) And for book lovers, it’s a chance to replenish that stack of books on your bedside table, and read the best of the best from the year past.  Of course, if you’re a book lover parent, like me, that means picture books.  Here’s a look at the best picture books of 2014, as chosen by your resident Children’s Librarian, and bedtime book connoisseur.  Be sure to check out these sure-fire hits!

samSam & Dave Dig a Hole by Mac Barnett
Sam and Dave are on a mission. A mission to find something spectacular. So they dig a hole. And they keep digging. And they find . . . nothing. Yet the day turns out to be pretty spectacular after all. Attentive readers will be rewarded with a rare treasure in this witty story of looking for the extraordinary — and finding it in a manner you’d never expect.

The Book With No Pictures by B.J. Novak
You might think a book with no pictures seems boring and serious. Except . . . here’s how books work. Everything written on the page has to be said by the person reading it aloud. Even if the words say . . .BLORK. Or BLUURF.  Cleverly irreverent and irresistibly silly, The Book with No Pictures is one that kids will beg to hear again and again (and parents will be happy to oblige).

mixMix It Up by Hervé Tullet
Accept Hervé Tullet’s irresistible invitation to mix it up in a dazzling adventure of whimsy and wonder. Follow the artist’s simple instructions, and suddenly colors appear, mix, splatter, and vanish in a world powered only by the reader’s imagination. Tullet—who joins such greats as Eric Carle and Leo Lionni as a master of his craft—sets readers on an extraordinary interactive journey all within the printed page.

dinosaurIf You Happen to Have a Dinosaur by Linda Bailey
If you happen to have a dinosaur, lying around your living room, and you don’t know what to do with it … why don’t you use it as a can opener? It will make a terrific nutcracker too! There are oodles of uses for a dinosaur — from a fine umbrella to an excellent kite and a dandy pillow, not to mention a reliable burglar alarm and the perfect excuse to forget your homework. This delightfully absurd exploration of the domestic uses of dinosaurs — and the things dinos just aren’t good for at all — is guaranteed to tickle funny bones and spark imaginations.

hugHug Machine by Scott Campbell
Watch out world, here he comes The Hug Machine! Whether you are big, or small, or square, or long, or spikey, or soft, no one can resist his unbelievable hugs! HUG ACCOMPLISHED!  This endearing story encourages a warm, caring, and buoyantly affectionate approach to life. Everyone deserves a hug – and this book!

humansLittle Humans by Brandon Stanton
Little humans are helpful and playful, friendly and loving, flexible and resourceful.  They love their brothers and sisters, their moms and dads, and their friends.  Little humans are growing each day. They won’t be little for long. Soon they will be… BIG!  Street photographer and storyteller extraordinaire Brandon Stanton is the creator of the #1 New York Times bestselling book Humans of New York as well as the wildly popular Humans of New York blog. To create Little Humans he combined some of his favorite children’s photos with a heartwarming ode to little humans everywhere.

mooseThis is a Moose by Richard Morris
When a movie director tries to capture the life of a moose on film, he’s in for a big surprise. It turns out the moose has a dream bigger then just being a moose–he wants to be an astronaut and go to the moon.  His forest friends step in to help him, and action ensues. Lots of action. Like a lacrosse-playing grandma, a gigantic slingshot into space, and a flying, superhero chipmunk.

libraryA Library Book for Bear by Bonny Becker
Bear does not want to go to the library. He is quite sure he already has all the books he will ever need. Yet the relentlessly cheery Mouse, small and gray and bright-eyed, thinks different. When Bear reluctantly agrees to go with his friend to the big library, neither rocket ships nor wooden canoes are enough for Bear’s picky tastes. How will Mouse ever find the perfect book for Bear? Children will giggle themselves silly as Bear’s arguments give way to his inevitable curiosity, leading up to a satisfying story hour and a humorously just-right library book.

pigeonThe Pigeon Needs a Bath by Mo Willems
The Pigeon really needs a bath! Except, the Pigeon’s not so sure about that. Besides, he took a bath last month! Maybe. It’s going to take some serious convincing to try and get the Pigeon to take the plunge.

onceOnce Upon an Alphabet by Oliver Jeffers
From an Astronaut who’s afraid of heights, to a Bridge that ends up burned between friends, to a Cup stuck in a cupboard and longing for freedom, Once Upon an Alphabet is a creative tour de force from A through Z. Slyly funny in a way kids can’t resist, and gorgeously illustrated in a way readers of all ages will pour over, this series of interconnected stories and characters explores the alphabet in a way that will forever raise the bar.

-Lindsay

Terry Brooks and his Legends of Shannara

indexNWFQNK7EFor decades the Fantasy genre has gained popularity. Writers such as J.R.R. Tolkien, RA Salvatore, CS Lewis, Robert Jordan, and Ed Greenwood have created bold heroes and heroines who battle against terrible foes. Many of these books are based in a world created by the writer. Despite the fact these stories share similar fantasy tropes, such as chivalry, demons, and magic, they are all distinct and different from one another.

Terry Brooks had been writing since high school. While studying law, he was given a copy of Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings. Tolkien, arguably the creator of modern fantasy, borrowed legendary creatures from European mythology and incorporated them into his novels. Dragons, elves, trolls—these creatures can be found in Norse legends. What Tolkien did was take these myths and give them new life, and in doing so, inspired new generations of fantasy authors. Brooks was one of that generation. Over the next several years he wrote his first novel, The Sword of Shannara, which was published in 1977.

9780345453754The Sword of Shannara introduces us to a fantasy world that rebuilt itself after two great wars, known as the First and Second War of the Races. In The Sword of Shannara, a great and terrible evil has returned to conquer the Four Lands. Fortunately, the druid Alannon has found the last heir of Shannara. Now the hope of the entire world rests in the hands of a bastard half-elf, for only the heir of the House of Shannara can wield the legendary sword and defeat the Warlock Lord.

The Four Lands

Known as the Skull Kingdom, the Northern region is a desolate place where life is scarce. It is within this unforgiving land that the trolls, who are fearsome warriors, make their home.

In the West, the elves have isolated themselves from the rest of the world. The elves are an ancient civilization which has survived legendary confrontations against the demon hordes. They consider themselves superior and are content living apart from the other races.

The Eastern part of the Four Lands is home to another great power, the dwarves. Hard working and fierce warriors, the dwarves have been engaged in constant border wars against their hated foes, the shamanistic gnomes.

Finally, there is the civilization of man.

Mankind has become a divided people. Some reside in cities such as Kern, Varfleet, or Tyrsis — home to the famed Border Legion. Further south lies the small community of Shady Vale, a sleepy hamlet that seems to exists outside of politics. Even as the Warlock Lord seeks to establish his control over the Four Lands the people of Shady Vale continue their day to day life, oblivious of the impending doom.

Only Alannon knows of the Warlock Lord’s plans to conquer the Four Lands. With time running out, the druid travels to Shady Vale where he convinces Shea Ohmsford, the adopted son of an inn keeper, to embark upon a perilous quest to retrieve the Sword of Shannara and save the world from the Warlock Lord.

Legends and myths that did not exist in yesterdays world will exist in tomorrows. Things of evil, ruthless and cunning, after lying dormant for centuries, will now awaken. The shadow of the Warlock Lord begins to fall across the Four Lands.
- Alannon

Brooks and Tolkien

Having been captivated by Lord of the Rings, Brooks uses many of the same fantastic races and places them in the Four Lands, a world of his own creation. Like Middle Earth, this world has its own history and legends.

It is interesting to note that Brooks has been criticized for borrowing from Tolkien, when he in fact acknowledges that he was heavily influenced by Lord of the Rings. As you read The Sword of Shannara, it is impossible to ignore the similarities between Sauron and the Warlock Lord. However, when you consider that, at the time, Brooks was a young writer, still developing his own style, it’s understandable that he would draw ideas from Tolkien’s work. After all, art inspires art.

If one writer influences another, it’s acceptable for them to incorporate ideas – even styles – into their own work. What’s important is to acknowledge your influences and, critically, eventually develop your own style. Once you have accomplished that, you’ve found your own voice.

This is exactly what Brooks accomplished.

elfqueenSince publishing The Sword of Shannara, Brooks has written over twenty best selling novels, many of them based in The Four Lands. The original trilogy (which consists of The Sword of Shannara, The Elfstones of Shannara and The Wishsong of Shannara) as well as the subsequent trilogies (e.g. The Heritage of Shannara) expand the Four Lands. These novels continue to build upon the world and its rich history.

The books of the Shannara series are available at your neighbourhood library, local bookstore, and online (including as downloadable library eBooks).

For more visit http://terrybrooks.net/

 – D.P. Bohémier

Knit Happens at Fort Garry Library Book Club

knittingneedles

Properly practiced knitting soothes the troubled spirit and it doesn’t hurt the untroubled spirit either. -Elizabeth Zimmerman

One of the pleasures of knitting is that it can be picked up anywhere no matter the weather. Requirements are simple – 2 sticks and a ball of wool, readily available at your second hand store or local wool specialty shop. The act of knitting is meditative and therapeutic – the rhythmic motion has been proven to change the brain chemistry and relieve stress. Thousands have taken up this ancient skill from fishermen waiting for the tides to change to surgeons knitting to keep their fingers limber.

Want to know where to begin if you are a novice or where to share the solitary practice if you have been knitting for some time? Join Winnipeg Public Library’s newest Knit Lit Book Club at Fort Garry branch.

Here’s how it works. Members choose a project from the wide variety of knitting books the library has to offer. Once a month we share our experiences and critique knitting books, patterns, magazines, and blogs. Here are some of the projects our members are exploring:

socksbuddMargaret’s projects include socks from Favorite Socks by Ann Budd.

 

 

scarves MaryLou wants to get back into knitting and has decided to begin a scarf. Paula is knitting a scarf with a lovely chunky yarn. For more inspiration see Scarves and Shawls for Yarn Lovers by Carri Hammett

 

wrapKari is knitting a two piece wrap which will be combined in a Rowan yarn of light caramel tweed, as seen in Wrap Style by Pam Allen

 

 

knittersyearOnce, women knit socks and scarves to send to soldiers in the cold trenches during World War 1. Did you know there are similar opportunities to knit for a cause? Knit a hat to accompany Koats for Kids or a dog blanket for the Winnipeg Humane Society. Jen is working on baby hats for charity from a pattern in Debbie Bliss’ The Knitter’s Year.

 

learntoknitNovice knitters are welcome to join and tell us all about it. Experienced knitters can learn an intricate stitch and explain how they mastered it. Learn to Knit, Love to Knit by Anna Wilkinson

WPL has over 800 knitting books, DVDs and  magazines devoted to the soothing, calming, repetitive craft of knitting.

So pour a cuppa , pull up a chair, and bring out your knitting. For more information or to register call Fort Garry Library at 204-986-4918.

Jane

Fiction Set in Ancient Rome

First edition cover 

The past is said to be another country, and thus historical fiction fascinates because it has the power to transport us into different worlds.  If one goes all the way back to Antiquity, the transition can be quite jarring for the reader, and yet fascinating because while people will always be people in so many ways, the culture and belief structures was very different than our own.  For five hundred years, Roman society was a cradle democratic government (alongside Greece of course).  But Rome quickly grew from a city-state to cover an area so vast and its government corrupt and inefficient that the republic ended up being replaced by an Imperial state with a series of autocratic rulers.

I have been a fan of Robert Harris since I read Fatherland, and he has written a trilogy centered on the life of the great Roman orator Cicero entitled Imperium.  The first volume of this fictional biography is told form the viewpoint of his secretary (and slave), writing of his master’s first steps as a provincial outsider and his rise as an orator and philosopher before going into politics and fulfilling his goal of becoming one of the most influential Consul in Roman history.  Though it is not light reading, it provides the reader with an insider view of the Roman government, its key players, and their struggles for absolute power.   A believer in republican ideals despite his own personal ambitions, Cicero would witness the civil war that would bring Julius Caesar to become dictator, as well as his downfall.

Masters of Rome is a series of novels by author Colleen McCullough, set during the last days of the old Roman Republic.  It is one of the best series of fiction for those interested in learning in depth about what it was like to live in ancient Roman society.  The books come complete with maps, timelines, and glossaries of Latin terms used, which allows even newcomers to stay with story.  The cast of The First Man in Rome is large, a who’s who of the figures that helped shape what was the “known world” of last century B.C., but it centers on the rise of general and statesman Gaius Marius and the power struggle that pitted him against the conservative aristocracy, most of whom regarded him as an upstart plebe.  Though Marius and his wife Sulla’s alliance was instrumental in bringing about the end of the Roman Republic and the rise of the empire, the series is told by people of all classes and walks of life.  The author takes great care in respecting historical accuracy but also makes it fun and exciting to read, both for the personal dramas as well as the larger history lesson.

Cover image for Mistress of Rome Cover image for Under the eagle : a tale of military adventure and reckless heroism with the Roman legions

If you are more interested in the Roman world of its ordinary citizens (and non-citizens), there are series like Mistress of Rome by Kate Quinn.  Thea is a slave girl from Judea, who survived the sacking of Jerusalem only to be sold to a Roman heiress.  Thanks to her wits and musical skills, she becomes her mistress’ rival for the love of a gladiator, and eventually confidante to Emperor Domitian himself.  If you enjoyed the HBO miniseries Rome, you will be in your element in this story, with action, drama, and romance included in the mix.

The Eagle series by Simon Scarrow focuses upon two main protagonists:  grizzled veteran Quintus Licinius Cato and the more bookish newbie Lucius Cornelius Macro, who are both Roman soldiers taking part in the invasion and occupation of Britain by Julius Ceasar.  This series is for fans of adventure/military tales with lots of action.

Even though Roman society did not have “detectives”, they did have delators – private informers who reported crimes to the courts.  I was unaware until recently of how vast a selection of detective fiction is set in Antiquity, and they offer a refreshing variation on the Victorian/contemporary stories.

Cover image for The silver pigs : [a Marcus Didius Falco novel]   Cover image for SPQR X : a point of law

Marcus Didius Falco is known as “The Informer” and is the narrator in a series of historical mystery novels by Lindsey Davis set in Imperial Rome during the reign of Vespasia.  The tales read much like our more modern detective novels and Falco’s description of his world is tinged with cynicism and, more surprisingly, a good dose of humor.  Of humble Plebeian origins, Falco has to endure grim trials and misfortunes, and he often has to rely on his fists as much as his wits to get out of situations alive.  In his first adventure, entitled The Silver Pigs, he is plunged into a political conspiracy involving stolen silver ingots (also known as “pigs”) and the murder of a senator’s niece.  If you do get hooked on the series, it is interesting to note that Falco’s daughter, Flavia Albia, eventually takes up the mantle of her father in later volumes.

In his acclaimed SPQR mystery series, John Maddox Roberts takes Readers back to the late days of the Republic.  Decius the Younger is a more cultivated “finder” than Falco, and comes from a powerful family and is involved with such figures as Pompey and Caesar.  Despite being another veteran, he relies more on his brain and wit rather than his brawn to resolve problems.  He also has the help of several interesting companions during his investigations, including slaves, a gladiator/physician, and a crooked political agitator.   His adventures are told in flashback form as he is writing his memoirs at the time of Octavian’s reign.  In A Point of Law, Decius, now raised to the rank of senator, must defend himself against accusations of corruption and even murder, while exploring some of the roots that led to the collapse of the republic’s political system.

If you are looking for something “new” and different in your leisure reading, I encourage you to have a look.

Louis-Philippe

 

Celebrate Good Times

I think the important thing now is to have a celebration…

-Michael D. Higgins

We’re in the midst of one of the busiest times of the year for holidays and celebrations. It can sometimes seem as though the rest of the year is just marking time until December comes around again. But did you know that every month in the year has sometime significant to celebrate?

Product DetailsJanuary is the traditional time to pay more attention to our physical health, when we head back to the gym to give our bodies a workout. In the midst of flexing our muscles, we can also boost our brain power. January is also Brain Teasers Month, an opportunity to sharpen our wits and overcome the brain freeze that may occur in winter.

Product DetailsFebruary is the shortest month of the year, but it’s filled with things to commemorate. It’s the time to show our feathered friends some love during bird feeding month, eat a hot breakfast or do some baking with the family. You can also to check out all the great stuff libraries have to offer since it’s Library Lovers Month.

According to the calendar, spring begins in March, and it’s also Craft Month, Women’s History Month and Umbrella Month. An entire month dedicated to umbrellas? Who knew?!

Product DetailsApril is the time to delight in poetry, jazz and gardens, while May is the month to barbecue, get caught reading, and take a photo.

Reasons to rejoice in June include candy, camping and the great outdoors, all good things that deserve more attention. Especially candy.

Product DetailsIn this part of the country, the warm weather that occurs in July and August is a huge reason for celebration in and of itself. However, if you want to take things to the next level, you can combine two of the things that also make July special; ice cream and picnics – two of my personal favourites any month of the year. August is Golf Month, so get out on the green and make merry.

September means back to school, plus the chance to reflect on pianos and chickens. I like to spend September contemplating the possible connections between the two…

Product DetailsPizza is the focus in October, while November is Vegan Month. As I said before, December is loaded with holidays and celebrations, including the fact that it’s Tie Month.

This list is far from complete, and I encourage you to create your own calendar of events. Check out the website Days of the Year for more weird and wonderful days to celebrate, or create your own. It’s a great way to make every month the most wonderful time of the year!

-Lori

Cook by the Book: Soup’s On!

Vegetables and cheese“To feel safe and warm on a cold, wet night, all you really need is soup.”
Laurie Colwin

Soup: the ultimate comfort food. It warms you up on a cold winter night and even has the power to fight the common cold. You can make it as simple or as complex as you like and it’s very adaptable. You can also throw it in the slow cooker or let it simmer on the stove all afternoon, while you attend to more important things – like that book you just picked up from the library.

Some very creative people have come up with great ways to share their love of soup – from Soup Sisters and Broth Brothers, providing care and comfort with hot bowls of soup to women and children in shelters, to “Soup Nights” popping up in neighborhoods across the country. Soup Night is all about building community, through soup. Once a month, one house on the street hosts a soup night, making large quantities of soup. The neighbors provide the salad, bread and dessert and also their own bowls and spoons. It’s a wonderful way to get to know your neighbours and helps people feel less isolated: “Soup night has become a way for people to come together when it’s cold outside, and it’s created a community on this block in ways that no one could have anticipated.” (Jessie Mindlin, Portland).

There’s also the Soup Peddler, David Ansel, from Austin, Texas, who started delivering soup on his bicycle and became so popular that he had to hire a whole fleet of bicycle peddlers to keep up with demand.

One of our own Cookbook Club members has been working on soup recipes for two years, with her sister. They want to create a compilation of 52 soups – a different soup to try each week for a year. Here is Tanise’s favourite French Onion soup recipe:

FRENCH ONION SOUP – makes 6 servings

1/4 cup butter
1 tbsp. olive oil
4 ½ lbs. onions, peeled and sliced
1 tsp. chopped fresh thyme
1 tsp. sugar
6 ¼ cups beef stock
1 ½ tbsp. all purpose flour
2/3 cup sherry
Salt & Pepper
Gruyere cheese, shredded
Day old bread slices or sliced baguette (optional)

Directions:

  1. Melt butter with oil in a large pot. Add onions and stir to coat them.  Cook over medium heat until onions begin to soften (20 or more minutes depending on the size of the pot).
  2. Stir in thyme. Reduce heat to low, cover the pan and cook the onions for about 30 minutes, stirring frequently, until the onions are very soft and golden yellow.
  3. Uncover pot, increase the heat slightly and stir in the sugar. Cook until the onions start to brown (15 to 20 minutes).
  4. Increase heat slightly, stirring frequently, until onions turn a deep, golden brown (30 minutes).
  5. Bring stock to boil in another pot. Stir the flour into the onions and cook for 2 minutes. Add the hot stock and sherry. Season soup. Simmer for 10 to 15 minutes.
  6. For those who like the bread slice in their soup, put a piece of day old bread or baguette slice into the individual onion soup bowl. Cover with the soup and top with shredded gruyere cheese. Put under broil and broil until cheese is bubbling and melted.

Additional Comments:

  • This soup yields a thick soup. Those preferring more broth in their onion soup are advised to use 7 cups of broth.
  • A large soup or stockpot is needed for this recipe.  Vegetarians can replace the beef stock with a hearty vegetable stock that has a deep flavour (attained through somewhat caramelizing the vegetables before adding the water).

If you’re interested in the history of soup, check out An Exaltation of Soups by Patricia Solley. It has soup recipes for just about every occasion you can think of – from celebrating marriage to honoring the dead, and is also full of interesting stories, poetry and quotes.

Here’s the rest of the cookbooks that Cook by the Book tried for Soup’s On night, with our photos of the finished product. Mmmmm!

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And the links:

-Carole