Archive for July, 2013

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Clarion County Community Foundation, at the July 17th meeting of the Board of Directors, elected Hal Wassink to the Board to serve in the 13 March 2016 Class.  Pictured at the meeting, from left to right, are William Kaufman, President of the Board; Trenton Moulin, Executive Director of Bridge Builders Community Foundations; and Hal Wassink.  Hal and his wife Brenda live in Knox PA.  Welcome to the Board, Hal.

We are in our seventh year of service to Clarion County; and are always happy to welcome new community volunteers to our Board and other activities.  Contact any Board member for details and a personal invitation to our meetings.  Charles Marlin

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Chainsaw Jane, by Marie-Jo Fortis, is a thrilling ride carried along by zany characters and well written prose, peppered with beautiful and quirky descriptions.  The main character, Jane Dzhugashvili, is of Russian descent, possibly related to Joseph Stalin, though Jane’s past is surrounded with mystery.  Jane is a chainsaw wheeling, heavy smoking, vodka drinking character whose constant swearing and astute observations keep the story moving.

I was most intrigued with the author’s constant twisting of phrases and stunning descriptions.  I was hooked from the beginning by the musings of the killer in the opening scene when he is perusing the Personal Ads in The New York Times.  A beautiful example of the author’s phrasing happens when the detectives are interviewing a suspect, “The two detectives went bipolar in their expression.  One second it went scowling’ the other, reflective.  They were, however, both insisting on the importance of being earnest.”

The mystery, and there is a mystery for you, is a bit macabre, if you like that; and a bit predictable, if you like outsmarting the detectives.  It all makes for some interesting twists.

Chainsaw Jane is a wonderful character, and I hope to read more of her in the future.  I am sure the author can’t be done with such a lively lady.  I predict there are more Chainsaw Jane mysteries to come.

Locally the book is for sale at Artfunkle; and online at amazon.com.  Carolyn Schiffhouser

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pastry board

The heart of a family beats in the heart of the home, the most important room ever built, the kitchen.  Bedrooms are useful for procreation, occasional rest, and recreational sex when it can be finessed.  The bathroom is for necessary functions and cleaning up, but who cares what anyone does or does not do there?  The living room is a dying concept most people use as a hallway between the front door and the kitchen.  For these reasons, plus her delightful wit and insight, Bee Wilson has written the perfect book for food lovers, chefs, cooks, and the families they feed, Consider the Fork: A History of How We Cook and Eat.

No matter how many cook books you own or how many cooking shows you watch, this little historical romp will delight and inform.  You may have authored books on cooking; but you don’t know all the things she knows and shares.  I recommend you begin reading with a nice note card as your book mark, so you can jot down the things you want to look for the next visit to a kitchen store.  And the book may send you on a mission to find and use again something you inherited from your grandmother.

I know it sounds a bit spooky to say the author makes measuring cups interesting, and ice cream makers fascinating; but there you have it.  Her explanation of the utility of the wire balloon whisk and the rotary eggbeater may make you want to get yours out and give them a name, or at least to write a note on to whom they go when you die.

John Hink, my friend and co-conspirator on  this blog, was so delighted with illustrating the book review he chose two of the most precious items in his kitchen to photograph.  I am here to tell you the soul power of Bapka and Hink’s Mom are still in the pastry board and general store rolling-pin because there is no one the length of Rhodes Street in Akron who can match him when he works from the pastry board.  You doubt my word, call him and ask for proof and a cup of coffee.  Charles Marlin


From 1953 to 1963 we lived with my maternal grandmother, Bapka.  I remember her telling me that years previous she had a carpenter make her pastry board for 50 cents.

On that board she rolled pie crust for her wonderful rhubarb pies, and for her delicious chicken soup, she would make a nest of flour in the middle of the board, break eggs into the middle of the nest, and then her fingers would get to work.  Of course the eggs and chicken for the soup came from her back yard coop.

The board went to my Mom and now I have it along with Mom’s rolling-pin which Bapka also used.  The rolling-pin is not the kind Julia recommended, but mine is very special since Mom and Bapka used it and I think of them both when I roll out pie dough.     John Hink 

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