Going to UCLA for undergrad meant I developed a profound respect for book festivals. Until 2010, the LA Times Festival of Books, the largest book festival in the country, was held on the UCLA campus. And it was everything you could want - authors, readings, a celebration of the written word. It was the very definition of an "event."
So when I saw that San Diego was going to start its very own festival of books, I was all in. And last weekend we checked it out. In its first year, it definitely doesn't have the size or gravitas of the LA Times, but hey - everyone has to start somewhere.
The first part of the festival was "Author's Row" where local authors were there to meet, greet, sell, and sign. The boys were instantly drawn to Laura Knight, who was there with her book "Spot: The Sea Pup's Survival Guide." She walked them through the book, showing them both the illustrations, as well as the actual pictures the illustrations were based on.
Although most of the festival was really geared to older readers, the Children's Pavilion had children's authors reading and interacting with the little guys. Like Salina Yoon, who read several of her stories, and even had some of the audience come up and create their own illustrations. (And yes, that couple stood right up in the front, so that all the kids had to crowd to side and peer around them. Which is why there's like 20 kids piled on top of each other on the bottom right of the picture. And they stayed there for several authors. So sweet and considerate of them, no?)
Thatkid quickly got sick of not being able to see and having to be pressed up against so many hot sticky bodies, so we went for a walk to check out the vendors. Which is how we came across the San Diego Public library's booth where they were helping the kids make monster bookmarks. He made one for himself and one for his little brother.
I made a quick stop back at Author's alley to pick up a book of my own. "101 Movies to See Before You Grow Up" has been in my Amazon cart forever, waiting for Thatkid to be old enough to be part of its target audience. But finding out the author was local, AND there, I decided today was the day. Suzette Valle couldn't have been nicer as she filled me bag with stickers for my boys, and signed the book for us. We're really looking forward to introducing the boys to some of these "classics."
We bounced home for some homemade butter pasta and some homemade ice cream. Both were actually great for a summer night, since the pasta doesn't require heating up the whole house with the oven. And ice cream? I mean, I don't need to explain that one, right? Chocolate ice cream is not really my thing. I much prefer a good vanilla ice cream. But chocolate is the flavor of choice for the rest of my family. In fact, Thatbaby calls all other flavors by their color ("orange ice cream" "blue ice cream") except chocolate. That one he knows by name. And requests. So chocolate it is.
My concession to me is to stay away from milk chocolate - or even semi sweet, which can be too sweet for me. Cocoa and bittersweet chocolate make this a dark chocolate ice cream that will please chocolate lovers and chocolate tolerators alike.
Double Chocolate Ice Cream (From Cooking Light)
1 1/3 cups sugar
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
2 1/2 cups 2% reduced fat milk, divided
3 egg yolks
1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
2 1/2 oz bittersweet chocolate
- Combine sugar and cocoa in a medium saucepan over medium low heat.
- Add 1/2 cup milk and egg yolks, stirring well.
- Stir in 2 cups milk.
- Cook 12 minutes or until a thermometer registers 160, stirring constantly. Remove from heat.
- Place cream in a medium sized, micowaveable bowl and microwave at High for 1 1/2 minutes or until cream boils.
- Add chocolate to cream, stirring until smooth.
- Add cream mixture to pan, stirring until smooth. Place pan in a large bowl of ice and cool completely.
- Pour mixture into the freezer can of an ice cream maker and process according to instructions.
- Spoon ice cream into a freezer safe contained and freeze for 1 hour or until firm.