Check out what’s going on at your library; you might be surprised what they have to offer. You might not be in favor of how the library is spending your tax dollars to buy computers that people use to check their Facebook accounts. You may be upset that your money is being spent to buy comic books. You might question these advertisements for classes being held at the library, too. Have you ever stopped to take a closer look and to actually read what that flier has to say?
The first class I remember attending at a public library actually had nothing to do with books. When I was 12 or so, my neighbor asked me to take a class on babysitting so that I could watch her kid. Maybe they did recommend some books on child care, but I was there for the practical instruction.
Now that I’m back in my hometown, more than 20 years later, I’m back at the same library. These past two years I’ve signed up for several different meetings. They all have some connection to books and they all have to do with food. Food is found through all sorts of literature. You can’t really give a satisfying description of life without reference to it, so books are bound to include food in their worlds: real or make-believe.
The Hilliard branch hosted a tea party in connection to Downton Abbey. The librarian hostess supplied us with a stack of books to expand our knowledge of the world and times that correspond to the popular tv drama.
The Worthington branch has offered presentations on local salsa makers and on home coffee roasting. Beer-brewing is on the calendar, and unfortunately, I will be out of the country when the people from Weiland’s Market come in to talk about cheese.
Tonight, my sister and I drove over to Westerville to sit in on an interview with Jeni from Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams. The library had such a huge response after they sent out their e-letter advertising the event, that they had to move the meeting to the community center. Actually, I tried to back out of it, thinking that it would be too big to enjoy, but the librarian emailed back and assured me that they would cap registration off at 200. My sister said we should go and have fun; she was driving so I didn’t refuse.
Jeni’s newest book, Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream Desserts, was already available, so I checked it out of the Columbus / Worthington library system. The book has recipes for many of her unique flavor combinations as well as recipes for desserts that use ice cream or are served with it. What I found more interesting was the introduction that talked about how Jeni got started.
They say hindsight is 20/20, and that applies to her. Twenty years ago you wouldn’t have expected the pink-haired art major to end up a business professional. Even she wouldn’t have imagined how her interest in perfumes would tie into making ice cream. But when she blended those together, she really did end up with something, well, “Splendid”.
I’m not one to spend $12 for a pint of ice cream. I must admit that the only time I’ve actually bought ice cream from Jeni’s was when my brother gave me the money for it. Jeni defended her price with a satisfying (although probably not convincing enough for my wallet) explanation. Part of that explanation was that if you want something to be good, you have to pay for good ingredients. Reportedly, she also pays her employees pretty well.
The interview was interesting. Some of it was a repeat of what is written in the book, but she also reflected on things that she learned about business through her experiences: both good and bad. She reminded the person contemplating starting their own small business that it takes a lot more resources than you expect: resources of time, money, and people. She encouraged them to keep learning, even after you’ve done research and started your business. Writing a business plan is essential. And don’t give up.
She’s known for her bold flavors, so here are some of those mentioned this evening:
Failures: Lapsang (tasted like a campfire), roasted banana (turpentine), strawberry-spearmint
Favorites: lemon yogurt (good over Summer berry pies), salty caramel (served with hot bacon on top, in the Fall), lavender-wild berry (around Easter), Lime Cardamom (serve with “church potluck” pineapple upside-down cake)
Jeni says that they are trying to replace some of the yogurt in their frozen yogurt line with cultured buttermilk. She claims that it gives it a creamier texture (try the key lime).
Before we left, we got in line and got a scoop each of two flavors: Cherries Kickapoo (blackstrap molasses with caraway and roasted cherries) and Pineapple Upside-down Cake Buttermilk Frozen Yogurt (too strong on the pineapple, by my standards). If we had had to have chosen one or the other to sample, I was going to skip the Cherries Kickapoo, but I ended up preferring it; just think of toasted pumpernickel bread with fruit jam, but cold and creamy.