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February 5th marked the start of Lunar New Year celebrations, which will continue through Tuesday, February 19th. 2019 is the Year of the Pig, the twelfth animal of the Chinese Zodiac. ChineseNewYear.net offers some background on the pig’s symbolism and the characteristics of those born in the Year of the Pig.

Our campus is well positioned to take part in celebrations! Boston’s Chinatown hosts the largest parade in New England, which will kick off at 11am on Sunday 2/17 from Phillips Square (the corner of Harrison and Essex) and wend its way through the streets of Chinatown. Boston Discovery Guide gives a good run down of what you’ll expect to see during the parade.  After the parade, stick around to explore the Cultural Village which will feature arts, crafts, and cultural demonstrations. The Pao Arts Center is holding a number of workshops on Sunday as well, from dumpling-making and tea-tasting, to Lion Dance workshops for kids.

If you are celebrating Lunar New Year, we wish safe travels and much joy and prosperity this year! 恭贺新禧  Happy New Year!

 

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We’re in the thick of the semester, so why not take a moment to de-stress and send some love? This Thursday and Friday we’ll have a variety of supplies out at the Library Service Desk so you can make valentines for yourself, your friends, or that special someone (your favorite librarian, perhaps?). We’ll have all the glitter and doilies you need to let someone know how much you appreciate them!

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January is National Soup Month, at least, it is according to the good people at Campbell’s, and we feel like they know a thing or two about soup. And here at the Hirsh Health Sciences Library, we know a bit about soup, too.

For example, according to this article published in The Nurse Practitioner, there may just be something to the idea that chicken soup is a valid treatment for the common cold. According to this paper, it provides relief from symptoms and decreases the inflammatory response related to viral illness- in other words, chicken soup might actually make you feel better when you’re sick. SCIENCE!

Cure for the Common Cold? (courtesy University of Washington Libraries. Digital Collections: http://content.lib.washington.edu/u?/kiehl,360)

Cure for the Common Cold?
(courtesy University of Washington Libraries. Digital Collections: http://content.lib.washington.edu/u?/kiehl,360)

Regardless of its efficacy, who doesn’t like a hot bowl of soup in the winter, regardless of whether you’re under the weather? Research and Instruction Librarian Jane recommended this pot of Fire Roasted Tomato Soup for a yummy meal. If you’re looking for a weekend project (it is supposed to be quite chilly), make someone’s day with a labor-intensive batch of delicious Chicken Matzo Ball Soup (aka Jewish Penicillin). For vegetarians/vegans/spicy food lovers, this Lentil and Coconut Soup with Cilantro-Habanero Gremolata is delicious and cheap to make. It also makes enough soup to freeze for the next time you feel the sniffles coming on.

There’s a proverb (of Spanish or Portuguese origin, apparently) that states: “Of soup and love, the first is best.” We offer no opinion on the matter, but wish you a wonderful National Soup Month.

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TheGobbleGang

It’s our favorite time of year! Yes, that’s right. It’s turkey time!

Starting at 12pm this Thursday 11/15 and Friday 11/16, you can stop by the Library Service Desk and create your own feathered friend to bring home to Mom (or back to your study carrel). We’ll have a variety of materials out so you can create anything your heart desires, from the simple and majestic hand turkey (our personal favorite) to some 3D  pinecone poultry.

 

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We know you’re stressed, so we’re having a second Fun Lab this month! That’s right! You have another chance to take a creative break and feel a bit festive with pumpkin painting. Hirsh Pumpkin Patch will open at the Library Service Desk at 12pm on Thursday and Friday with all the supplies you need to make a gorgeous gourd. See you there!

Greetings friends! It is I, Tater Potato Tot, Official Potato Ambassador to HHSL.*

I am here today to tell you all about the wonders of my namesake tuber in honor of National Potato Day, which is this Sunday, August 19th.

According to the USDA, one lovely Russet potato contains 16% of your daily recommended amount of fiber and 35% of your daily recommended amount of vitamin C. Clocking in a 170 calories for a medium potato, this American staple is a good source of carbohydrates and nutrients, excellent for endurance athletes.

Since I am more of a couch potato than an elite athlete, I will just nom on my delicious foot, leaving plenty of yummy carbs for all you gym-goers.

Everyone knows about Boston’s close association with 19th century Irish immigration, a mass movement sparked by the devastating Potato Famine, a blight that wiped out the potato crop of 1846 and devastated it in the years following as well. These lost potatoes would have been a whopping 60% of the Irish food crop in those years. Here in Boston, the influx of immigrants from Ireland in 1847 was said to increase the population of the city by 30%. Boston’s connection to the famine has been memorialized by the Boston Irish Famine Memorial, a short walk from HHSL. A lesser-known memorial marks a spot just a quick jaunt from my stomping grounds in Charlestown- the Potato Shed Memorial, a quirky sculpture marking the site of the potato storage sheds along Millers River. This is where millions and millions of potatoes shipped down from Maine were stored until a massive fire in 1962 destroyed the structures.

Since I am a dog and will eat anything, including literal garbage, I would call myself a fan of potatoes. If you are looking for some things to do with potatoes, how about making these amazing roast potatoes, or this classic potato-cheese soup, or some delicious potato gnocchi?

However you choose to celebrate National Potato Day, rest assured knowing that I, Tater P. Tot, HHSL Official Potato Ambassador, approve.


In real life, I live with one of the HHSL librarians. I am not an Official Potato Ambassador. But my name is actually Tater Potato Tot.

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So the 4th didn’t fall so that we got a 3-day weekend, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have fun this Wednesday! There are still tons of fun events happening throughout the area and the forecast is clear for tomorrow night’s fireworks! Here are our suggestions for how to enjoy a happy and healthy holiday:

The quintessential Boston 4th of July celebration is the Boston Pops performance and fireworks show on the Esplanade. Visit the official event website for a rundown of the schedule and more event details. CBS Boston has also put together a handy guide with viewing location suggestions and other useful tips. Our favorite tip? Go to the rehearsal concert tonight (Tuesday) to enjoy the music and find a less hectic spot to watch the fireworks on Wednesday.

For activities with an educational bent, head down to Boston Harborfest. Dedicated to celebrating Boston’s harbor and history, it’s the largest 4th of July festival in the country and features tons of activities and tours, some free and some paid.  Here’s the full schedule.

Don’t want to fight the crowds for Boston fireworks on the 4th? Newton and Waltham will also have fireworks displays on Wednesday 7/4 and Somerville with have them on Thursday 7/5. If you’re interested in going farther afield, here’s a list of all the fireworks displays planned for Independence Day celebrations in MA.

 

Wherever and however you decide to celebrate, we hope you have a happy, healthy, and safe Independence Day. And don’t forget to wear sunscreen!

Beginning at sundown this Thursday, (June 14) is one of the most joyous holidays in the Islamic calendar, Eid al-Fitr! Eid al-Fitr marks the end of Islamic holy month of fasting, Ramadan. Eid al-Fitr is celebrated around the world with family and friends, sumptuous feasts and fireworks. The Hirsh Health Sciences Library sends out best wishes for a wonderful Eid al-Fitr!  Eid Mubarak!

https://www.techicy.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/Eid-Mubarak-HD-Images-Wallpapers-free-Download-2.jpg

Want to learn more about Eid Al-Fitr? Looking for some dishes to contribute to your feast? Check out the fabulous links  below:

Here’s How Muslims Worldwide Are Celebrating Ramadan’s End (NPR.org)
https://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2017/06/25/534302603/photos-heres-how-muslims-worldwide-are-celebrating-ramadans-end

Eid 2018: the Best Food Inspiration from Instagram (Independent UK)
https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/food-and-drink/eid-al-fitr-2018-ramadan-food-inspiration-instagram-muslims-islam-celebration-a8389186.html

“Celebrating Eid al-Fitr, the End of Ramadan, with Sweet, Traditional Treats” – The New York Times
http://www.nytimes.com/2015/07/15/dining/eid-al-fitr-recipes.html

 

 

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Here at Hirsh, we’re fans of unusual national holidays–particularly when there’s a sweet treat involved! May 31ist is National Macaroon Day, apparently, and since our Associate Director Debbie makes a mean macaroon, we wanted to share the recipe she uses. She got it from a friend, who uses this recipe from Food & Wine Magazine. With only 5 ingredients, it’s easy to put together and even easier to eat!

Coconut Macaroons
One 14-ounce bag sweetened shredded coconut
One 14 ounce can of sweetened condensed milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 large egg whites
1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted (baker’s note: I use Callebaut)

  1. Preheat the oven to 350° and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. In a medium bowl, combine the coconut with the sweetened condensed milk and vanilla. In another bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the egg whites with the salt until firm peaks form. Fold the beaten whites into the coconut mixture.
  2. Scoop tablespoon-size mounds of the mixture onto the baking sheets, about 1 inch apart. Bake in the upper and middle thirds of the oven for about 25 minutes, until golden; shift the sheets from top to bottom and front to back halfway through baking. Transfer the baking sheets to racks and let the cookies cool completely
  3. Dip the bottoms of the macaroons into the melted chocolate, letting any excess drip back into the bowl. Return the cookies to the lined baking sheets. Drizzle any remaining chocolate on top and refrigerate for about 5 minutes, until set or leave some plain.

Before you bake, read up on the history of macaroons over on the UC Davis Integrative Medicine website.

Bon appetit!

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John Stephen Dwyer [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], from Wikimedia Commons

Friday, February 16th marks  the first day of the Chinese Calendar and the beginning of the Year of the Dog.  For the next two weeks, there will fireworks, feasts, family reunions and parades to celebrate the Lunar New Year. There are also a great many traditions associated with the Lunar New Year that are centuries old, such as the hanging of traditional ‘new years’ poems, cleaning the home, the receiving new clothes and getting one’s haircut.

And because our campus is located very conveniently in Chinatown, be sure to check out the Chinese New Year Parade! It’s the largest annual celebration in Boston’s Chinatown with lion dancers, music, and firecrackers—and if you haven’t tried the plethora of food options in our neighborhood, what a better time to venture out and celebrate? This year’s parade will be held on Sunday, February 25, 11:00 am starting at the John F. Fitzgerald Surface Road . Here’s some more information about the festivities in Boston. 

If you are celebrating Lunar New Year, we wish safe travels and  much joy and prosperity this year! 恭贺新禧  Happy New Year!

Further reading:

“Celebrating the Chinese New Year now — and Chinatown always” (Boston Globe – February 13, 2017)

About the Lunar New Year

Chinese New Year Traditions

Stories about Chinese New Year (National Public Radio)

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