By David Byrd

It was a lovely weekend for cooking and doing things outside. However, I decided earlier in the week to make coq au vin. Provincial French cooking is always a pleasure and the results are just plain good. So, with a plan of cooking coq au vin on Saturday and pasta carbonara on Sunday, I knew one or the other would be the recipe of the week. Yet, a challenge appeared on the horizon. Saturday morning I made matzo brei (rhymes with fry). This is a very simple Jewish pancake normally made for Passover. I had never heard of the dish, but when I saw the recipe I knew I had to try it and although hundreds of years old, I knew I had to make it my own as well. I followed the instructions as given but added a bit of sugar, vanilla and a pinch of cinnamon to the batter. Those little matzo pancakes were delicious. That afternoon I made the coq au vin, or chicken in wine. The chicken, usually thigh meat or legs, is braised in red wine until very tender. Sometimes the chicken is marinated in red wine over night to make certain the wine penetrates every fiber of the chicken. My version is done the same day with a shorter marinade time. As for the pasta carbonara, the weather was so nice, I decided to go to a local Mexican restaurant and have dinner on the patio. I’ll do the carbonara next weekend. The classics, Coq au Vin and Matzo Brei are the recipes of the week. Enjoy!

Goodbye Encyclopaedia Britannica

Last week Encyclopaedia Britannica announced it would cease publishing encyclopedias. Clearly, Encyclopaedia Britannica had fallen victim to Wikipedia, Google and the Internet. Encyclopaedia Britannica had published its volumes of knowledge for over 250 years, and a change in its business strategy was long overdue. I remember as a child my family’s first set of encyclopedias. Those came from a company called World Book. I loved those volumes and would sit for hours reading them. I didn’t need an assignment or homework, I would scan every page. I believe I read most of those twenty plus volumes and every annual update. However, today we have faster access to much more information and while some of the postings may have errors, more often than not it is accurate and useful. But more importantly, it is regularly updated.

IP Communications allows for the information to be dynamic and developed by more than one source or opinion. Encyclopaedia Britannica followed a tried and true model of using an expert to develop an entry, but that ignored the greater diversity of thought that might exist on a given subject. I was also reminded that on Wikipedia, in addition to multiple sources, there could also be a list of related materials with all of it timely. Furthermore, the increased accessibility permits more people to read and gain from the postings. Everyone with access to the Internet has more than a set of encyclopedias and ultimately the opportunity to have an even broader knowledge of the world in which we live.

There is something nostalgic about seeing reference books on shelves and, perhaps, I will even collect a set of encyclopedias as antiques. They do look better on the shelf than a tablet.

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