A Moveable Feast by Katy Holder, published by Hardie Grant Books
A Moveable Feast by Katy Holder, published by Hardie Grant Books

Update Your Picnic Menu With This Recipe Book

A Moveable Feast by Katy Holder, published by Hardie Grant Books
A Moveable Feast by Katy Holder, published by Hardie Grant Books

Why settle for potato salad and sandwiches at your next picnic when you can up the ante with elaborate entrees like pistachio meringues and prawn cakes? In A Moveable Feast, food stylist Katy Holder cooks up unconventional dishes that will make it to your picnic site in one piece and that are perfect for outside feasts.

You can get the whole book of recipes on Amazon now, and check out a few of Holder's creations with her descriptions below.


"This is a rich savory pie, the kind we used to take on picnics in England. It’s made up of layers of poached chicken, sausage meat and a bacon-and-sweet-corn stuffing, all encased in a delicious shortcrust pastry. For added flavor, I use sausage meat from sausages, rather than plain sausage meat."


"Instead of making six separate sandwiches, make one large filled loaf and then slice it to serve — every slice is packed full of flavorsome ingredients. To save time you could buy the chargrilled vegetables from a deli or supermarket, although I usually prefer to make my own. You could also use an oblong loaf if you can’t find a round one."


"I love meringues; they’re a favorite from Sunday afternoon tea when I was a child. Instead of the traditional cream filling, I’ve filled these ones with caramel. Look for caramel in a tin in the baking section of supermarkets, or you can easily make your own caramel using condensed milk."


"These prawn cakes are delicious eaten hot or cold. If going on a picnic, chill them before leaving and keep them chilled until it’s time to eat. For a barbecue, take them raw and cook them on-site, serving them hot. You could also try wrapping them in lettuce leaves to serve."


"Sometimes the simplest ideas are the best. This one came to me when I had to quickly pull something together for a group of friends who came round at late notice. Round tortilla chips make a better platform for the topping, but this recipe will work with triangular ones as well, although you’d probably use less filling on each."

Excerpted with permission from A Moveable Feast by Katy Holder, published by Hardie Grant Books April 2017, RRP $24.99 hardcover.

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The Truth Is In Here: Unlocking Mysteries of the Unknown
chartaediania, eBay
chartaediania, eBay

In the pre-internet Stone Age of the 20th century, knowledge-seekers had only a few options when they had a burning question that needed to be answered. They could head to their local library, ask a smarter relative, or embrace the sales pitch of Time-Life Books, the book publishing arm of Time Inc. that marketed massive, multi-volume subscription series on a variety of topics. There were books on home repair, World War II, the Old West, and others—an analog Wikipedia that charged a monthly fee to keep the information flowing.

Most of these were successful, though none seemed to capture the public’s attention quite like the 1987 debut of Mysteries of the Unknown, a series of slim volumes that promised to explore and expose sensational topics like alien encounters, crop circles, psychics, and near-death experiences.

While the books themselves were well-researched and often stopped short of confirming the existence of probing extraterrestrials, what really cemented their moment in popular culture was a series of television commercials that looked and felt like Mulder and Scully could drop in at any moment.

Airing in the late 1980s, the spots drew on cryptic teases and moody visuals to sell consumers on the idea that they, too, could come to understand some of life's great mysteries, thanks to rigorous investigation into paranormal phenomena by Time-Life’s crack team of researchers. Often, one actor would express skepticism (“Aliens? Come on!”) while another would implore them to “Read the book!” Inside the volumes were scrupulously-detailed entries about everything from the Bermuda Triangle to Egyptian gods.

Inside a volume of 'Mysteries of the Unknown'
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Mysteries of the Unknown grew out of an earlier Time-Life series titled The Enchanted World that detailed some of the fanciful creatures of folklore: elves, fairies, and witches. Memorably pitched on TV by Vincent Price, The Enchanted World was a departure from the publisher’s more conventional volumes on faucet repair, and successful enough that the product team decided to pursue a follow-up.

At first, Mysteries of the Unknown seemed to be a non-starter. Then, according to a 2015 Atlas Obscura interview with former Time-Life product manager Tom Corry, a global meditation event dubbed the "Harmonic Convergence" took place in August 1987 in conjunction with an alleged Mayan prophecy of planetary alignment. The Convergence ignited huge interest in New Age concepts that couldn’t be easily explained by science. Calls flooded Time-Life’s phone operators, and Mysteries of the Unknown became one of the company’s biggest hits.

"The orders are at least double and the profits are twice that of the next most successful series,'' Corry told The New York Times in 1988.

Time-Life shipped 700,000 copies of the first volume in a planned 20-book series that eventually grew to 33 volumes. The ads segued from onscreen skeptics to directly challenging the viewer ("How would you explain this?") to confront alien abductions and premonitions.

Mysteries of the Unknown held on through 1991, at which point both sales and topics had been exhausted. Time-Life remained in the book business through 2003, when it was sold to Ripplewood Holdings and ZelnickMedia and began to focus exclusively on DVD and CD sales.

Thanks to cable and streaming programming, anyone interested in cryptic phenomena can now fire up Ancient Aliens. But for a generation of people who were intrigued by the late-night ads and methodically added the volumes to their bookshelves, Mysteries of the Unknown was the best way to try and explain the unexplainable.

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Trash Collectors in Turkey Use Abandoned Books to Build a Free Library
Adem Altan, AFP/Getty Images
Adem Altan, AFP/Getty Images

A stack of books abandoned on the sidewalk can be a painful sight for bibliophiles. But in Ankara, Turkey, garbage collectors are using books left to be discarded to build a free library. As CNN reports, their library of salvaged literature is currently 6000 titles strong.

The collection grew gradually as sanitation workers began saving books they found on their routes, rather then hauling them away with the rest of the city’s trash. The books were set aside for employees and their families to borrow, but eventually news of their collection expanded beyond the sanitation department. Instead of leaving books on the curb, residents started donating their unwanted books directly to the cause. Soon the idea arose of opening a full library for the public to enjoy.

Man reading book at shelf.
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With support from the local government, the library opened in the Çankaya district of Ankara in September 2017. Located in an abandoned brick factory on the sanitation department’s property, it features literature for children, resources for scientists, and books for English and French speakers. The space also includes a lounge where visitors can read their books or play chess. The loan period for books lasts two weeks, but just like at a regular library, readers are given the option to renew their tomes.

People reading books in a library.
Adem Altan, AFP/Getty Images

The experiment has proven more successful than anyone anticipated: The library is so well-stocked that local schools, prisons, and educational programs can now borrow from its inventory. The Turkish sanitation workers deserve high praise, but discarded book-loving pioneers in other parts of the world should also get some recognition: For decades, José Alberto Gutiérrez has been using his job collecting garbage to build a similar library in Colombia.

[h/t CNN]


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