Monthly Archives: February 2013

Vegetable Literacy

So, vegetable literacy is a thing. Apparently.

Admittedly, I threw a big eye roll when I read the title of this book. Add vegetable literacy to the list including financial literacy, visual literacy, digital literacy, and information literacy. But then, I read the description, and I read a review on a cooking blog that I like, and I changed my tune a fraction. I still hate the title, but it makes sense when you know what it’s about. Here’s a bit from the review at 101 Cookbooks:

Deborah’s new book explores the relationships between vegetables, herbs, and edible flowers within the same botanical families. So, for example, if you understand that buckwheat, rhubarb, and sorrel are all part of the Knotweed family, it might impact how you consider use them…. Understanding these relationships directly impacts how you think about using these ingredients.

Deborah Madison is an extremely well respected chef specializing in vegetables. This premise, that understanding botanical families can help you “read” your vegetables and use them in better, more effective ways fits the definition of fill-in-the-blank literacy very well. It makes perfect sense. It doesn’t mean I have to like the title of the book.

I’ve said it before: I don’t think that librarians have a corner on the word “literacy.” At the same time, I have a very visceral reaction whenever I hear the word used that nearly causes my eyes to roll out of my head. I believe totally in fill-in-the-blank literacy. Asking great questions, being curious, and leveraging what we know to catapult us into the unknown are things I could happily wave a banner for. And yet. And yet. I can’t quite pin down the source of my dislike of the word “literacy” and they way it gets tossed around. What do you think? Anybody else have a similar reaction?

With a significant portion of our student body focused on culinary arts (and a library with over 1000 cookbooks!), we will be purchasing this book for our library. I still don’t like the title.

Link Friday

I love a good link dump. Seriously. I really enjoy following the random internet trails that pop into my feed reader on Fridays. So here’s your link dump for the weekend:

  • If Information Equals Power – Google released a map of North Korea this week, opening all kinds of dialog in the implications of information.
  • Have an “I Voted Sticker?” Then You Got a Badge –  I attended a webinar hosted by Kristin and the Michigan Makers last week. It was great and really helped to spur my thinking about how higher education might participate in and innovate badging.
  • When Not to Google: Searches You’re Better Off Making Elsewhere – I don’t know about you, but I try to teach students about lots of different search strategies and starting points. Google is one tool in the box, and a powerful one at that, but it’s not always the best or most appropriate search engine.
  • Media Diet: What I Read – An interesting series of interviews from writers, politicians, etc. Ostensibly about what they read, it’s more about the media they consume on a daily basis. I might do one of these on my own habits in the future.
  • The Hymn of the Acxiom by Vienna Teng – A piece of modern-day sacred music written about big data.
  • Should I Work for Free? – Though directed towards the freelancing internet-y type person, this flowchart could very easily apply to artists and musicians. Someday I might jump on my soapbox about the nature of art, it value to society, and the way that the general public both highly values and devalues the work of artists. Today is not that day. I did, however, get inspired to use this flowchart as a jumping off point for our class on evaluating websites.
  • 12 Letters that Didn’t Make the Alphabet – I am a secret linguistics nerd. I found out about the thorn last year and I was SO EXCITED! The world makes more sense now!
  • DSO Staff Librarians’ Work Notable – What an awful title, but, hey! I used to work there!

From the Department of Random:

  • Andrews Sisters Had Their First Big Hit with a Yiddish Song – I play and sing in a local band that does music of this era (20s and 30s swing jazz), and we do this song, “Bei Mir Bist du Schon.” This very short piece is interesting from a musicology perspective as well as illuminating an ongoing debate about how exactly to pronounce that final word. We’ve recently switched from a very German “schoen” to “shane” and this article seems to support our decision.
  • Funny Talking Animals – From the BBC. I find this hilarious. You are free to find it only amusing.