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Spring Gardening, Racing, And Cooking

As soon as the new year begins, I begin my spring cleaning. I start looking for spots for all the new goodies received as gifts, try to clean out the old for the next garage sale, and begin to get the house back in our normal state of organized clutter. I always tell myself I’m going to turn over a new leaf and not be such a pack-rat. Hopefully, you are more successful at turning over that new leaf than I am. How about trying some new recipes, a new hobby, or getting that garden ready for summer’s beauty?

Consider A Slice of Kentucky: Sharing Our Recipes (McClanahan Publishing House, $21.95), a tried-and-true cookbook. Compiled by the “Cookbook Ladies” of Kuttawa, this is a collection of recipes shared with them by family and friends that is perfect for the cook who likes simple, delicious Southern food. Suggested menus are provided as well, to ease meal planning. My family raved over the recipes I chose. I highly recommend the Kentucky Butter Cake with Butter Sauce as well as the Chocolate Chip Cheesecake for very simple, but very rich, desserts. Selections also include drinks, breakfast, soups, salads, sandwiches, dinners, and one-dish recipes.

Did you know that the soap-box derby is still around? Kathy Johnson’s first children’s book, The All-American Soap Box Derby Race (Creative Image Publishers, $9.99), follows a young boy through the process of getting involved in this sport. She includes much of the history of the sport, which began in the 1930s, as well as contact information for those who want to learn more or become involved themselves. In the story, the entire family becomes involved in the derby, each with growing excitement as they catch racing fever. Read this book with your children or grandchildren and perhaps you will discover a new hobby together.

It’s time to start planning your garden! Perhaps you’ve never tried landscaping or gardening for fear of choosing the wrong plants. Ezra Haggard’s gardening books should make such a project much easier. Perennials for the Lower Midwest (Indiana University Press, $29.95) and Trees, Shrubs, and Roses for Midwest Gardens (Indiana University Press, $29.95) are comprehensive handbooks of plants and trees that will flourish in our Kentucky weather and soil. Beautiful color photography of each specimen is a great asset to beginning gardeners as an aid in identification and in providing design ideas. Haggard’s conversational tone in both books makes for interesting and educational reading for everyone from the novice to the greenest of thumbs.

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