Monday, March 13, 2017

Tucson Festival of Books 2017 Part One

Where words and imagination come to life for the whole family. 
The Tucson Festival of Books Foundation is a non-profit organization. It made its debut March 14-15, 2009, on the campus of The University of Arizona. It's more than a book festival as Tucson celebrates books and literacy at one of the largest book festivals in the United States.
This two-day event featured over 400 authors participating in some 320 presentations at 36 venues as well as countless opportunities to meet authors, poets, screenwriters, and journalists. There were book signings, panel discussions, staged entertainment, food vendors, culinary demonstrations, children's and Science City programming, and dozens of free activities for all ages on the University of Arizona Mall. All genre in both fiction and nonfiction, adult and children were represented. 

There was a crowd estimated at over 130, 000 for two days . It was like being at the Minnesota State Fair. 
This is my third year going so I decided to be strategic in planning so I could successfully navigate the crowds and lines to get into each preferred presentation. The night before I spread out the map of the campus and plotted out where to find my first and second choices for author presentations. I tried to choose events/presentations that covered a wide variety of genre and subject material. But what I didn't factor in was the weather which sapped a lot of my energy The days started out at 8 AM at 82 degrees and by late in the afternoon soared to a blistering 92 degrees with not a cloud in the sky. Second day the same. Yikes!! being from the Midwest we don't see weather like this until late July if even then.  
There were so many memorable experiences. Here are some  highlights.
Now this was a surreal experience and a privilege to be there. Nikki Grimes, an award winning children's author and poet was the keynote speaker at this poetry presentation. She is a recent recipient of the 2017 Laura Ingalls Wilder Medal, the 2016 Virginia Hamilton Literary Award, and the 2006 NCTE Award for Excellence in Poetry for Children. Gosh, I have admired her work and used her books when I had my own classroom. She has written over 45 books. Now who would have ever guessed I'd have my picture taken with her.
What impressed me was the drive Grimes has always challenging herself to explore a variety of poetic forms. She even wrote a children's novella using a Japanese form of poetry called Tanka, certainly not an easy feat.  
I was happy to get into this ticketed event that packed the auditorium. 
Christina Baker Kline, author of "Orphan Train." She talked about her newest novel, "a piece of the world"  

a fascinating imagined fictional memoir of the woman in the famed Wyeth paining called Christina's World. 
Follow link for a book review
Of course I can't pass up any conversations from the food world so I went to the culinary stage for  a presentation by Julia Turshen on her book "Small Victories." 
Note-Ina Garten wrote an introduction in Julia's cookbook.  
The recipes were beautifully photographed with a twist to the writing . It's a very readable cookbook written in a conversational tone Each recipe comes with a gorgeous headnote (the source of the "little victories" - those tips from an experienced chef to make the food really taste good or preparation easier) and ends with Spin Offs for ways to use leftovers or substitute ingredients in variations. The book ends with a chapter for drinks and lists of meals, etc.
Well with all this talk about food how about a recipe for your St. Patrick's day entertaining and a perfect Southwest hors d' oeuvre.
Homemade Guacamole
Cook's Notes: On a personal note I've learned quickly people here in SW each have their own guacamole recipe they think is the best.  I did get some extra help from Cathy on this recipe. Her secret ingredient-chunky salsa. 

All you need to enjoy this snack is your favorite margarita! 
Cooking tip: Mashing avocados can be a bit of a pain depending on their ripeness. But I found a little trick in my utensil drawer that does the job just right. I use my pastry blender. It keeps the avocados chunky and mashes super quick. Give it a try.
  • 4 ripe avocados (they should be a little soft and outer shell darkish in color)
  • 1 cup Roma tomatoes,.diced and drained on a paper towel 
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 TB. lime juice
  • 1/4 cup red onions, diced
  •  2 TB. prepared chunky salsa mix
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • dash of Tabasco sauce or Worcestershire sauce 
  • Use a medium sized bowl.
  • Scoop out avocado mixture and add rest of all ingredients.
  • Use a fork to mash and blend ingredients.
  • Refrigerate several hours before serving. 

1 comment:

  1. I think it's amazing that this many people attend a book event. Looks like you had a terrific time. Who wouldn't with all those books and writers?

    I've been looking for a guacamole recipe. So thank you. Can you believe I only discovered avocados about a year ago. Now I can't get enough of them.