Mid-Columbia Libraries hold food events

It's all about food this month at the 11 branches of Mid-Columbia Libraries.

They're celebrating Foodie Fever with programs and activities, displays of holiday cookbooks and information about how food gets to your table.

There also is a Food For Fines promotion to gather nonperishable food to benefit Mid-Columbia food banks.

"We recognize our friends and neighbors are in need. We're happy to be a part of the efforts to combat hunger in our communities as the holidays approach and food banks experience some of the highest demand in the year," said Michael Huff, Collections & Merchandising Director for Mid-Columbia Libraries.

As part of Foodie Fever, Bookwalter Winery in Richland is teaming with Mid-Columbia Libraries for a special event from 6 to 8 p.m. today featuring author Paul Gregutt.

Gregutt, an authority on Washington wine and Wine Advisor columnist for the Seattle Times, will discuss and sign his new book, Washington Wines & Wineries: The Essential Guide, 2nd Edition. Tickets are $35.95 and include a copy of Gregutt's book and appetizers. They are available at www.bookwalterwines.com.

Take along three nonperishable food items to donate and those over 21 will receive a free glass of Bookwalter wine.

During the libraries' Foodie Fever month, you also will have a chance to win food-themed prizes, including gift baskets and certificates from Mid-Columbia businesses and restaurants.

"Each of the 11 branches has a different prize and will be running various contests ranging from holding a drawing to having people guess the number of pieces of candy in a jar," said Kate Holloway, communications coordinator for the library district.

During November, library patrons also can reduce any overdue fines they may have through the Food for Fines program. For each item of nonperishable food you bring in through Nov. 30 -- plus your overdue library materials -- your library fines will be reduced by $1, up to a maximum $10.

"Of course, if you want to bring in additional nonperishable foods we'll gladly take them as donations to the food banks. But we won't take any more dollars off your fines," Holloway said.

The food will go to Second Harvest Tri-Cities, Basin City Help Services, Benton City Food Bank, Othello Food Bank, Connell Food Bank, Kahlotus Food Bank and Jubilee Ministries Prosser Food Bank.

Last year's Food for Fines drive brought in more than 4,000 pounds of food, Huff said.

For more information about Foodie Fever and Food for Fines, go to www.midcolumbialibraries.org.

Some of the highlights of the free Foodie Fever events planned at the libraries are:

* Nov. 20 -- Dutch oven demonstration, from noon to 2 p.m., at the Keewaydin Park Branch, 405 S. Dayton St., Kennewick.

The Three Rivers Cast Iron Cookers will present a seminar on Dutch oven cooking with guest speaker Paul Mantz-Powers, a Northwest chef and one of the original founders of seven Dutch Oven Societies in the Northwest.

He also co-wrote the Boy Scout Seminar of Dutch Oven Cooking used throughout the Northwest.

* Nov. 23 -- Something's Growing!, from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m., at the West Richland Branch, 3803 W. Van Giesen St., West Richland.

Learn about our region's rich culture of local foods, eating seasonally and how food gets to your table with Stephanie Greene of Slow Foods Southeast Washington and Alan Schreiber of Scheiber & Sons Farm.

* Nov. 29 -- Pumpkin Pie Play Dough Day, from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m., at the Kennewick Branch, 1620 S. Union St..

Your little ones might not be old enough to bake holiday desserts, but they still can celebrate the season with this pumpkin-inspired play dough.

* Loretto J. Hulse: 509-582-1513; lhulse@tricityherald.com; more news at www.tricityherald.com