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Briefs: New Smithsonian food exhibit; good books to give as gifts

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. The Associated Press
Monday, November 26, 2012 - 12:01 am

Smithsonian serves up food exhibit

WASHINGTON — Julia Child's kitchen is returning to public view as the National Museum of American History opens its first major exhibit about food.

Child donated her kitchen to the museum in 2001. Now it serves as the opening story for the gallery, which opened Tuesday. It shows her influence on culinary arts, food television and the way Americans view cooking.

Curator Paula Johnson says the second half of the 20th century brought rapid changes in America's relationship with food.

One section of the exhibit explores the influence of immigrants from Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Latin America. who introduced flavors that are now part of everyday life.

The museum also looks at the science of food production and the rise of winemaking. By 2000, wine was being produced in all 50 states.

New app tracks skiing jumps, spins

DENVER — Skiers and snowboarders accustomed to tracking how many runs they've done will soon have access to a smartphone app to track their jumps and spins, too.

Vail Resorts' EpicMix application changed the industry in 2010 by using radio-frequency ID tags in lift tickets and passes to communicate with scanners on lifts to tally riders' vertical feet and runs.

Now the company Active Network has developed a smartphone app to count a skier or snowboarder's jumps, spins and other hill stats, like average hang time. It works with the help of a motion sensor made by Golden, Colo.-based Mosoro that is based on Bluetooth LE technology. The app will likely come out early next year. The app will probably be free, while the sensor is around $100.

Book gift ideas

Louise Erdrich is more than this year's winner of the National Book Award for fiction “The Round House.” She also owns Birchbark Books in Minneapolis and has some ideas for what customers might pick up as holiday gifts.

The finalists: “This Is How You Lose Her,” by Junot Diaz; “A Hologram for the King,” by Dave Eggers; “The Yellow Birds,” by Kevin Powers; “Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk,” by Ben Fountain; and the illustrated edition of Edmund de Waal's “The Hare With Amber Eyes.”

Ann Patchett, the writer who founded Parnassus Books in Nashville, recommends Erdrich's story of a boy seeking his mother's rapist. “It's dark, funny, complex and very, very moving.”

Patchett's other suggestions: Jon Meacham's biography “Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power” for men; Maile Maloy's “The Apothecary” for middle schoolers; and J.K. Rowling's first grownup novel, “The Casual Vacancy.”

Gayle Shanks, owner of the Changing Hands bookstore in Tempe, Ariz., likes the novel “Beautiful Ruins” by Jess Walter; Deb Perlman's “Smitten Kitchen” cookbook; and Marcus Samuelsson's memoir “Yes, Chef.”

Barnes & Noble suggests “The Onion Book of Known Knowledge”, an illustrated Rolling Stones biography to mark the band's 50th anniversary and “Reporting the Revolutionary War.”