Good Life

E-book celebrates area’s culinary heritage

Photo provided

Summertime in central Pennsylvania and the living — and the eating — doesn’t get any better.

Last year’s “Food, Glorious Food!” exhibit at the Bellefonte Art Museumrecognized that fact, and a small e-book was created to accompany the art exhibit is quite timely now that we are hitting summer’s full stride.

I had some doubts about creating a recipe book in this format, worried that it would exclude too many people who didn’t use iPads or computers Macs. But this weekend I updated my 90-year-old mother’s 5-year-old iPad, used primarily for playing Words with Friends, from iOS version 4.3.3 to 8.3 and — voila! — I was able to load my three recipe books onto her iBooks bookshelf.

Meanwhile, her 17-month-old great-granddaughter, Eliza Jane, sat next to us calmly tracing W’s with her finger on the screen while Bert and Ernie coached her through a Sesame Street alphabet app. Like it or not, technology is here to stay and if you don’t keep up with it you will end up left behind — not necessarily such a bad thing.

“Food, Glorious Food!” is an e-book created with the Apple program iBooks Author, a free program. It is basically a template that you use to create your own cookbook and, though I found the learning curve initially steep, the payoff is huge.

It is a tight little book, with color photos that ran with the original articles that span a period of 15 years or so, of articles published in the Centre Daily Times and in State College magazine.

The articles are all about our culinary heritage here in central Pennsylvania over that time period. They are dated and mark a particular period, focusing on what was on our minds.

For example, the Fourth of July Freedom Menu column was written the summer after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, when freedom was ever so precious to us. The photos are of people in the community who “do food” — Bill Russell in June on mushrooms, John Koritko, of Lion Country Supply, in the spring with his recipe for smoked trout — and an explanation of why he treasures even the stocked local trout.

Also featured is a June Twilight Dinner with Kirsten Jepp that was a brunch in a very dressed-up stable and the Lemont Strawberry Festival, which had record lines this year for the strawberry shortcake.

What we eat is who we are, where we live, what we value and what defines us. When we eat locally, we support more of our local farmers and food producers. New people are moving into the region in droves and will find this little guide a handy reminder to pay attention during the summer months and savor the foods as they emerge one by one — and are then gone for another year.

July chapters feature my favorite buffalo, Bentley and his keeper, Anne Brooks, of ABB Bison farm. Don’t miss them at the Bellefonte producer-only farmers market at the Gamble Mill on Saturdays.

Other July articles include blueberries, with a photo of Jo Ann Sengle at her bushes on the ridge above Julian; a story about National Hot Dog month and Bill Callahan’s all-natural hot dogs available at his Cow-a-Hen farmers market table on Tuesdays in Boalsburg and on Saturdays in Millheim — or at Nature’s Pantry anytime.

The e-book also has a story about the last mill in central Pennsylvania, Snavely’s, in Clintondale, which will soon harvest its crop of soft winter wheat and ship it to Lancaster for pretzel production.

There are secrets in this little book, and recipes with each chapter. A 2009 story about Fasta Pasta tells the origins of this business, now with a large production facility in Pleasant Gap, and an anchor vendor’s table at all local farmers markets.

Tamarack Farm is also featured in July, with a recipe for Lamb Chops with Orange Pesto and a photo of then-14-year-old Tess Arthur helping her dad at the market.

Also featured in the July section is the “Man with a Pan” cookbook author John Donahue, married to State College native Sarah Schenk, sharing his recipe for a quick and easy Summer Quinoa Salad and the Cook Like a Chef cooking camp 2008 with a recipe for Red, White and Blue Watermelon Salad. Other July topics are garlic, honey bees and sustainable seafood.

Corn and tomatoes are highlights of the August section, with a 2010 State College magazine story about Candy Wasson and her fabulous corn and Dairy Princess farm, with a photo of three of her six daughters and her own large-scale recipe for Creamed Corn for the freezer.

Heirloom tomatoes are explained in detail, and no recipe, besides bruschetta, is necessary for those gems that we all so eagerly look forward to. Pickle recipes — both cucumber and pepper — mark the height of summer, and Randy Barger’s Pickled Pepper Recipe alone is worth all the trouble you may have to go through to update your iOS.

Doan’s Bones, Barry Moser and his blue-ribbon-winning melons, the PASA farm tours, the Boalsburg market Golden Basket cooking challenge and Grange Fair are all August stories that celebrate the good life here in Happy Valley.

Here is the link. It is available as a free download from iTunes, but requires a specific (fairly current) Apple operating system.!/id902000267?mt=11

(To view these books, you must have an iPad with iBooks 3 or later and iOS 5.1 or later or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later. They were written using the iBooks Author free app)