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Samish News

Summer 2021

by Cheryl Chatt, Samish Library Assistant | Nov 04, 2021

Hello, everyone, and welcome to the summer edition of Reader’s Window!

With summer approaching, and hopefully summer fun just around the corner, I gave a lot of thought to this quarter’s book recommendations. When I think of summer, one thing I think of is cooking and good times with friends and family. So my first recommendation is a cookbook that has definitely stood the test of time. 

The Alice Bay Cookbook by Julie Rousseau. A local author, Julie is a Skagit Valley native and she and her husband opened their Alice Bay Bed and Breakfast on Samish Island in 1984. It now operates as a vacation rental. Julie’s recipes are wonderful! They are easy to follow, inspiring, and draw heavily on local (and fresh!) ingredients. Published in 1985, Julie also includes recipes with references to restaurants that were local to the Skagit Valley at that time, and some of them are still in existence today. 

She offers tantalizing recipes for breakfast favorites, local seafood delights, salads, and main and side dishes that incorporate ingredients that can be found seasonally. She also notes where to find them in Skagit Country. 

The introduction to her cookbook includes a note about Blanket Bill Jarmin and his S’Klallam wife, Alice, who paddled into the bay near where her bed and breakfast now stands: “…[T]his sheltered bay on the east end of Samish Island was home to the peaceful Samish Indians. In 1852 ‘Blanket Bill’ Jarmin became the first white man to settle on Samish Island, when he and his Clallam (Klallam?) wife paddled their canoe from Port Townsend and were welcomed by the Samish chief, S’-yah-whom.  …[H]e named the shallow bay at the mouth of the Samish River after his wife, Alice.”

Personally, I can attest that this cookbook is our family favorite and has been since 1985. You haven’t lived until you have tried the Sour Cream Blueberry Muffins, Potatoes Romanoff, or the Skagit Salad. These and other recipes and the notes on the Skagit Valley and its contribution to local cuisine make this cookbook a genuine treasure.

The library also has a nice selection of additional cookbooks, including another title by local author, LaVone Newell: Skagit Valley Fare: A Cookbook Celebrating Bounty and Beauty in the Pacific Northwest. Other very inspiring cookbooks are San Juan Classics I and Volume II by Janice Veal and Dawn Ashbach. These two titles in particular feature fresh local ingredients and local seafood specialties. Perfect for summer!

Another fun summer pastime: Road trips! Hopefully, as our country opens with lessening Covid restrictions, people will be able to be out and about again once more. 

Keeping that positive thought, our second recommendation is a book entitled Exploring Washington’s Past: A Road Guide to History, Revised Edition by Ruth Kirk and Carmela Alexander.  Divided into regions, this book covers the Northeast Region to the Olympic Peninsula. 

From the back cover: “Between them, the authors have driven more than 50,000 miles to field-research this volume, talk with knowledgeable local people, and compile material from various sources.”

This illustrated guide offers interesting tidbits of local history as well as photographs, maps, and other illustrations of places of interest as a road trip guide for all regions of Washington. Each notation of a specific place within that region contains historical information sure to encourage visits by those of us who cherish our rich historical legacy here in Washington.

Another travel guide on our shelves is Traveler’s History of Washington: A Roadside Historical Guide by Bill Gulick.  From the back cover: “The book’s six divisions (representing the states regions) have easy-to-use travelers’ maps and mileage charts, and are packed full of historic photos and illustrations from Washington’s fascinating past.”

My hours in the Samish Indian Nation Library are from 9:00 -1:00 on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. As always, I look forward to serving you and sharing these and many other titles with you.

Welcome, summer, and all the good things that come with you!

Take care, be well, and thank you for reading!

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