Monday, March 17, 2008

"I Love the Library" patron contest for our "regulars"

Ethel and I decided we needed a way to reward those students who come to the library and hang out before school every morning. Our overdue contests reward a whole class--some of whom may or may not come to the library much. Our Twelve Days of Christmas return book contest can possibly reward a student who never comes to us. We have about 60-75 students who come to the library and hang out with us each morning. To reward someone from that group, and to reward those folks who sign in and out like we ask them to, we came up with this activity, that we just completed at 12:00 today. We thought we'd share this with the group-- you can change and adapt it at will. We called it the "I love the Library Lunch Sweepstakes". For 3 weeks, we ran the check in-check out list after our morning crowd left. We put those names in a drawing for our contest. The more times a student visited us during that time, the more times their name went in the drawing. They had to sign out as well (something our crowd often forgets to do). We drew a name 2 weeks ago--the prize was a lunch for the winner and 3 of her friends who had to have the same lunch (we have 4 lunches at our school). Ethel and I decided on the menu when we prepared the PR for the event. We prepared and served them: Spaghetti Carbonara, a caesar salad, french bread, chocolate mousse, and iced tea. We donned chefs jackets, and closed the library to other students during that lunch. We played Celtic music (yes, we have a mixed theme--it is St. Pat's, but, it is also Pasta Month). We set a beautiful table, with peach blossoms from my yard. Ethel and I shopped on Saturday (we are friends and neighbors as well as colleagues), she cooked the bacon yesterday, and mixed the mousse yesterday. We used a bagged Caesar mix--I tossed it before they came. We heated the bread in the microwave in my back office--and I cooked the vermicelli in my Wolfgang Puck Electric pressure cooker in the back office. Beth threw together the pasta dish in an electric frying pan in front of the student winners in the main part of the library. We served them at a beautifully decorated library table! Ethel ran off a history of spaghetti carbonara and chocolate mousse and had it at the tables. A fine time was had by all! Cost--around $20.00. We paid for it with money we make selling hacky-saks, gel pens, etc.


  1. What a great activity you girls did with that meal reward. Reading the preparation made my mouth water.

    And your web site is really neat. I've never been a Lucille Ball fan but for Lucy & Ethel, the graphic works perfectly. Wonderful library work.

  2. What a great activity! And thank you for the slide show on SlideShare. That looks like a great tool.

    Your students are so lucky to have you!

    Janet Pedersen
    Cold Spring Library
    Santa Barbara, CA.

  3. If you are wondering about the history of Chocolate Mousse & Spaghetti Carbonara. Here it is:
    Chocolate Mousse
    Food historians generally agree the French first began consuming and cooking with chocolate in the early 1600s. Chocolate: An Illustrated History, Marcia & Frederic Morton (page 15) states that "chocolate was introduced to the French by the Spanish princess Anne of Austria, upon her marriage to Louis XIII in 1615."
    According to The Oxford Companion to Food, "Mousse, a French term meaning foam, is applied to dishes with foamy texture, usually cold and often sweet but also savoury and sometimes hot. The terms was in common use in France by the 18th century.

    Spaghetti Carbonara
    Like most recipes, the origins of the dish are obscure, and there are many legends about it. As the name is derived from the Italian word for charcoal, some believe that the dish was first made as a hearty meal for Italian charcoal workers. Others say that it was originally made over charcoal grills. Still others suggest that it is so named because the specks of bacon and pepper in the pasta look like bits of charcoal. It has even been suggested that it was created by the Carbonari ("charcoalmen"), an Italian secret society.
    The dish was obscure before the Second World War, and it is not present in Ada Boni's classic book La Cucina Romana, which was published in 1927. It is thought to have originated in the hills outside Rome, not in the city itself. Its popularity began after the Second World War, when many Italians were eating eggs and bacon supplied by troops from the United States. It also became popular among American troops stationed in Italy; upon their return home, they popularized spaghetti alla carbonara in North America.

    I think there is a teachable moment in most things.