Fun at Foster's blog

David's Dish: Indian-Spiced Tomato Soup

I never knew that oatmeal was such a versatile food, but a new book in our collection certainly illustrates this. OATrageous Oatmeals: Delicious and Surprising Plant-based Dishes by Kathy Hester is an eye-opening book. I was shocked by the variety of both sweet and savory dishes!

Once again I had to make a choice—so many recipes, so little time. I went with the Indian-Spiced Tomato Soup, which is made with oatmeal (I know, it sounds weird). We have scads of homegrown tomatoes, so it would be a very inexpensive meal to prepare.

The book cover for "OATrageous Oatmeals" featuring wooden spoons and bowls with a variety of oats.
A bowl of Indian-Spiced Tomato Soup with a parsley garnish and tortilla strips on the side.

The recipe is quite simple: all the ingredients are thrown into the pot, brought to a boil, then simmered for twenty minutes, blended, and served. I ended up serving it over basmati rice which made it a very satisfying meal. Indian food goes fast in my household. By the time I returned home the soup and rice had been devoured, so the photo of the meal is from the cookbook.


*****David's Dish

Check out the book at E.P. Foster Library, or put it on hold—we will send it to you. If there are any cookbooks in Foster Library’s collection that you would like me to try out, please leave the title on our Facebook page and I’ll get cooking!

Maritime History of Ventura County @ Foster

A three-masted wooden sailing ship on the open ocean under a blue sky.

On Sunday, July 26, E.P. Foster Library will host Jim Kosinski and Jerry Leckie of the Channel Islands Maritime Museum for a special historical presentation.

In their talk, "The Rich Maritime History of Ventura County and the Pacific Coast," Kosinski and Leckie will discuss the rich and varied history of ships along the Ventura County coast. This event is free and open to the public.

The talk begins at 2 p.m. in the Topping Room. Stop by to learn more about this fascinating topic!

Hemingway and Cuba @ Foster

On Tuesday, July 21, E.P. Foster Library will host visiting Cuban scholar Victor Pina Tabío as he gives a talk on Hemingway and Cuba.

Dr. Tabío has attended numerous international colloquiums on Ernest Hemingway and will share his passion for this unforgettable American author who called Cuba home for over 20 years.

The talk begins at 6:30 p.m. in the Topping Room. We hope to see you there!

Hemingway writing while seated at a wooden desk.

ArtWalk Ventura @ Foster

The ArtWalk Ventura logo, featuring a stylized A, W, and V design in blue, green, and orange.

ArtWalk Ventura will be taking place on Saturday and Sunday, July 18 & 19, and E.P. Foster Library will be serving as a venue for the weekend!

The library is already hosting some great pieces of local art, and in addition will be holding a special Late Night @ Your Library event starting at 5 p.m. on Saturday featuring music, a book sale by the Friends of the Library, a 3D printing demonstration, and more!

E.P. Foster's ArtWalk events will be going on from noon to 8 p.m. on Saturday and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday. For more information, call or drop by the library!

Exquisite Corpse

Book cover for "Exquisite Corpse," wherein a young woman in a red top reads a book while others look on.

Exquisite Corpse by Pénélope Bagieu tells the story of Zoe, a young woman living in France. In many ways she is a lost soul, stuck in a lousy job where she is little more than a piece of eye candy and in an even worse relationship with a deadbeat boyfriend. She has no plans, no aspirations; she’s going nowhere. Then one day while having lunch in the park she notices a man peering behind the curtains of a nearby apartment. Out of curiosity, perhaps, or on a whim, she decides to meet this reclusive stranger. What she discovers will change her life and take her in an unexpected direction.

This stranger is no stranger. He is a famous writer named Thomas Rocher, but this means nothing to Zoe, who is admittedly not a book person. As they continue to spend more time together, she will not only be faced with Thomas’ idiosyncrasies, but also the secrets behind them. Oh, and there’s also his editor (and former wife) to contend with.

Zoe could have easily been written off as a victim—of the ogling and groping she endures in her job, the shiftlessness and neglect from her boyfriend, even the wayward moods from that mysterious man behind the curtain. But rather than let these people define her, she turns the tables on them, and in the process finds her own identity.

Exquisite Corpse was not the graphic novel I was expecting. It was much, much more, and definitely worth reading. It’s a good read, but definitely not for children.


Heather, the Graphic Novel Goddess

"Beary" Big Book Sale @ Dudley House

A light tan bear holding a stack of multicolored books.

On Saturday, July 25, the San Buenaventura Friends of the Library will hold a special book sale!

From 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., the Friends will be at the Dudley House on Loma Vista and Ashwood in Ventura. All genres will be featured, and the deals will be fantastic!

For more information, you can contact You can also visit the Friends of the Library book store on the first floor of E.P. Foster Library.

A light tan bear holding a stack of multicolored books.

Wabi-sabi and Zen

Wabi-sabi is the quintessential Japanese aesthetic. It represents a comprehensive Japanese world view or aesthetic centered on the acceptance of transience and imperfection. It is a beauty of things imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete. It is a beauty of things modest and humble.

A weathered metal handle on a wooden door.

Writer Patricia Ward explains that “Wabi denotes simplicity and quietude and incorporates rustic beauty, such as patterns found in straw, bamboo, clay, or stone. It refers to both that which is made by nature and that which is made by man. Sabi refers to the patina of age, the concept that changes due to use may make an object more beautiful and valuable. This incorporates an appreciation of the cycles of life and careful, artful mending of damage.”

An autumn tree branch with several red berries.

Characteristics of the wabi-sabi aesthetic include asymmetry, asperity (roughness or irregularity), simplicity, economy, austerity, modesty, intimacy, and appreciation of the ingenuous integrity of natural objects and processes. 

Rabbit tracks in the snow.

Photographers can capture this aesthetic when we take images of worn items, used pottery, weathered wood, or utensils that have been broken and lovingly repaired. A photograph itself can also be considered wabi-sabi when the subject is impermanent or transient, such as cloud formations, sunsets, rainbows, etc.

An old, cracked stone bowl filled with plant material.

The Ventura County Library has books on wabi-sabi and zen, as well as electronic resources on zen and an eBook on wabi-sabi for artists.


Resident Photographer Aleta A. Rodriguez

FOL Book Sale at the Fourth of July Street Fair

While E.P. Foster Library will be closed on July 4 along with all other Ventura County Library branches in observance of Independence Day, the City of Ventura will be putting on its annual 4th of July Street Fair—and the San Buenaventura Friends of the Library will be there!

Along with E.P. Foster TAG, the Friends will be holding a special book sale during the street fair. Stop by downtown for some great deals on great books and other materials, and then see what the rest of the fair has to offer!

Red, white, and blue 3D-printed figurines stand in front of books for sale by the Friends of the Library.

Early Learning Center Grand Opening @ Foster

The library's new Early Learning Center incorporates education and play to promote early literacy skills.

E.P. Foster Library has been developing a new Early Learning Center on the second floor, and on Wednesday, July 1, we will be holding a special ceremony to mark its grand opening!

The new center was established thanks to donations from the San Buenaventura Friends of the Library. It will serve as a place for children and parents to work on early literacy skills.

The ceremony will take place at 3 p.m., just before the Nifty Balloon Show. Come and see what the Early Learning Center is all about!

David's Dish: Bee Sting Honey

The cover of the book "Back in the Day Bakery: Made with Love."

I was in the mood for a spicy, sweet treat. I didn’t want something too complicated to make and wanted to keep the cooking to a minimum—it’s summer, after all. Perusing the stacks at E.P. Foster Library proved futile; nothing struck my fancy. As I checked in returning library books I came across an interesting cookbook: Back in the Day Bakery: Made with Love, by Cheryl and Griffith Day.

I flipped open the book to page 284 and found my long-lost love: Bee Sting Honey! Ah, the cheeky-looking honey bear stuffed with honey—a sight to behold! The book is worth checking out for that picture alone! Bee Sting Honey would meet all the requirements of my mood: sweet, spicy, and easy to make. Bee Sting Honey is the most smashing condiment known to man, and so I made some.

Most of the ingredients I had on hand, however one ingredient caused me a world of trouble to find. It was red pepper flakes, and eventually in the cupboard I found some red pepper flake packets from a long since devoured pizza purchase.

In my medium nonreactive saucepan I brought all five ingredients to a boil: the honey, cider vinegar, cayenne pepper, red pepper, and fine sea salt. The ingredients then cooled and I poured them into my honey bear. I served the Bee Sting Honey with sourdough bread and baked brie—fantastic!

Photo features the iconic bear-shaped honey container and other ingredients.

*****David’s Dish


Check out the book at Saticoy Library, or put it on hold—we will send it to you. If there are any cookbooks in Foster Library’s collection that you would like me to try out, please leave the title on our Facebook page and I’ll get cooking!

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