Cookbooks By The Banks

The first "3-Ways" arrive in Cincinnati (photographer unknown)

We Cincinnatians take our food seriously: we’re proud of our culinary oddities, most notably goetta and Cincinnati-style chili. While there are no doubt many who would take up arms in defense of their favorite local chili place (a good way to pick a fight: walk up to a stranger and declare some neighborhood chili place is objectively better than all the others), chili is ultimately something we can (and do) bond over; it is part of our cultural identity. And while the more famous recipes are closely guarded secrets, there are at least as many delicious variations as there are bowls to fill. This years Books by the Banks features a variety of cookbooks, a few of which detail the ins-and-outs of local cuisine.  

First there’s Cheri Brinkman, author of Cincinnati & Soup: Recipes from the Queen City and Great Soup, a collaboration with graphic artist Erin Beckloff. Brinkman also keeps a blog, Cincinnati & Soup, where she writes about… you guessed it… Cincinnati and soup. Here’s a video of the author speaking about her writing:  

The Junior League of Cincinnati has collected more than 180 recipes and placed them alongside iconic photographs of the Queen City “celebrating the Tri-State’s flavors, seasons and favorable landmarks” in their latest cookbook Cincinnati Seasoned.  

Other cookbooks that will be represented by their authors at Books by the Banks, include Joanne “Giovanna” Delli Carpini Trimpe, the chef at St. Peters in Chains Cathedral in downtown Cincinnati, who recently published Holy Chow. Holy Chow features a pastiche of Italian, Latin-American, and American recipes.  

Local author and chef Tamasin Noyes will also be present to talk about her latest book on vegan fare called American Vegan Kitchen. Visit her well done blog Vegan Appetite. Also present will be national author Lauren Chattman, author of Cookie Swap!.  

And last but not least, this year’s Books by the Banks will feature two books about Kentucky Bourbon: The Kentucky Bourbon Cocktail Book by Joy Perrine and Susan Reigler, and The Kentucky Bourbon Cookbook by Albert W. A. Schmid. Chef Schmid, a professor of Culinary Arts at Sulivan University, has a “commanding knowledge of gastronomic tourism, food, wine, spirits, and beers” and frequently gives public lectures on the above topics.  

In other words, if you love Cincinnati food (or food in general!) come down to Books by the Banks on October 2 from 10 to 4 at the Duke Energy Center to meet the authors and fellow food lovers. Just be careful not to get chili on your signed cookbooks!

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Bats & Books!

Bats are crazy weird. Just ask Mary Kay Carson, author of the new children’s non-fiction book The Bat Scientists.   She is one of the 100+ authors that will be at Books by the Banks: Cincinnati USA Book Festival in October. 

Scientists, who tend to be pretty unusual themselves, study bats for all sorts of interesting reasons. Here is a video, showing a bat flying in ultra slow motion, made by biologists at Brown University:

Through studying this and other videos of bats flying, it was found that hovering bats use 60% less energy than a hummingbird performing the same action. You can see more videos made by the researchers and read about the crazy weird stuff they learned in Discover Magazine’s article How To Be A Bat.

These scientists not only want to know how a bat lives they ask … what is it like to be a bat? Batman might know, if you can get a hold of him, or you can read Thomas Nagel’s famous head-spinning essay “What Is It Like To Be A Bat?“.

It will not help to try to imagine that one has webbing on one’s arms, which enables one to fly around at dusk and dawn catching insects in one’s mouth; that one has very poor vision, and perceives the surrounding world by a system of reflected high-frequency sound signals; and that one spends the day hanging upside down by one’s feet in an attic. In so far as I can imagine this (which is not very far), it tells me only what it would be like for me to behave as a bat behaves. But that is not the question. I want to know what it is like for a bat to be a bat.

If you’re intrigued, come down to Books by the Banks 2010 on Saturday, October 2 from 10-4 at Duke Energy Convention Center and ask Mary Kay Carson about the curious people who study these peculiar creatures.  While you’re there stop in the Kids’ Corner for crafts, costumed characters, storytelling and much more!  Admission is free.

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An Interview with John Thorndike (video)

John Thorndike, one of the authors participating in this year’s Books by the Banks: Cincinnati USA Book Festival, is most recently the author of The Last of His Mind: A Year in the Shadow of Alzheimer’s. Publisher’s Weekly wrote:

In this engrossing memoir, author Thorndike (Anna DeLaney’s Child, Another Way Home: A Single Father’s Story) tells a touching story of family, death, discovery and devotion, in which Thorndike probes his journalist father’s accomplishments and losses, his relationships and his wife’s tragic suicide. When his father Joe Thorndike, suffering at age 92 from congestive heart failure and the onset of Alzheimer’s disease, can no longer take care of himself, Thorndike offers to live with him. Over the following year, Thorndike chronicles his father’s growing incapacity, and seeks to learn more about him despite the dying man’s lifelong all-but-impenetrable reserve. While much of the book details Thorndike’s difficulties caretaking for his father, he heightens the proceedings with family tales, including some from his father’s editorial work at the heyday of Life, working with bold named figures like the Luces, Whittaker Chambers, James Thurber and Winston Churchill. A beautiful book, this memoir reveals the painful chaos of Alzheimer’s, as well as the strength, faith and unexpected joys that come with caring for a loved one in his last days.

(worth reading: local critic Jane Durrell’s review on Cincinnati City Beat)

While his account of this mysterious and debilitating disease is ultimately rooted in deeply personal experiences (something we can all relate to), a great deal of research also went into its writing. Thorndike chronicles his research on Alzheimer’s in a fascinating (and ongoing) blog ( He writes:

It’s the diagnosis we fear, and—if we grow old enough—our almost-inevitable future. Even now, half of everyone over 85 suffers from some level of the disease. We are looking at a public health disaster.

At the same time, it’s not the disease I hear most about, it’s family stories, with all the warmth and love and chaos that families generate. Because we’re paying more attention to the elderly these days, of course we’re going to hear more about Alzheimer’s and other dementias. We can’t ignore it or turn our backs on our parents, siblings and spouses. Though not what we planned for our parent’s old age, or our own, Alzheimer’s has crept into almost every family.

In this blog we’ll pay attention, and make the best of it. If nothing else, I’ve found, it’s a disease that’s completely fascinating.

Be sure to drop by Books By the Banks to say hello to John Thorndike on October 2, 2010 from 10am-4pm at the Duke Energy Center in Cincinnati! If you have personal experience caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s, it is comforting to know that there are others who can relate to your experience.

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Poster Debut

BBTB 2009 Poster by Ryan Ostrander

More than ever readers need a place to come together and celebrate the joy of books, meet authors, and join in panel discussions. Cincinnati’s 4th annual Books by the Banks (BBTB) book festival is a great place to do just that.  Free and open to the public it will be held Oct. 2, 2010 (10-4) at the Duke Energy Convention Center.            

Every year a different artist designs a poster to commemorate the event.  The past 3 posters have depicted an artist’s view of the joy and excitement books add to our lives in a very different and unique way. They have been nostalgic, colorful or whimsical (like 2009’s poster shown here – check out Cincinnati’s skyline), but they always illustrate our region’s love of reading.    

What will this year’s artist create?  The poster’s debut will be Sept. 1 at Joseph-Beth Booksellers at 7pm!  Acclaimed illustrators, and Books by the Banks poster artists, John Maggard (2010), Ryan Ostrander (2009), C.F. Payne (2008) and Will Hillenbrand (2007) will be there to discuss their work.  For more information about the festival and the poster debut (and to see the rest of BBTB posters)  go to

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