Cooking for comfort, must-see TV, National Library Week and Beethoven at home in this week’s ‘Things To Do’

Baking Bread

(Oleg Samoylov/BigStock)

Has it only been a month that we’ve been under home confinement? Even introverts are having a hard time these days and it’s no wonder. The coronavirus has changed everything. But arts and cultural institutions have gamely continued to provide innovative ways to keep their audiences entertained. Here are some things to do at home this week.

Hot ten

We’ve been curating lists from some of our favorite Philadelphians and this week is no exception. South Philly native Marlo Dilks, who owns four SliCE locations and P’unk Burger along with husband Jason, is a longtime food lover. Her dad Louis Fioravanti owned the eateries Marlo’s and Cousins, and The Meat Barn, a popular grocery and butcher shop. The mother of 7 daughters, Dilks shares her ten favorite food movies.

  1. “Ratatouille” “I chose this one because it’s a great family movie that I can enjoy with my kids, but also because it shows adults and kids alike that anyone can chase their dream, to not judge a book by its cover, and to get to know someone before you make a decision about them.”
  2. “Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs”
  3. “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory”
  4. “Lady and the Tramp”
  5. “Eat Pray Love”
  6. “What’s Cooking”
  7. “Big Night” “I love this movie because it is a glimpse at my approach on food and business. The guys in the movie are determined to succeed. They are passionate about their concept and what they do and will not change to conform. For me, I take my business personal. I want everyone to find one thing on the menu they love and want everyone to have a great experience.”
  8. “Julie and Julia”
  9. “No Reservations”
  10. “Soul Food” “I chose this movie because it’s about hardship, heartbreak, happiness and family. Family is the most important thing in my life. This movie shows how simple things like Sunday family dinner can get you through hard times. It’s about family coming together to tackle problems together and knowing if you have that, you are never alone.”

Bake talk

If you remember the ‘90s TV talk-show host Jenny Jones, you remember her amiable personality. Turns out, aside from hosting a popular show, she’s also a talented cook. Six years ago, she recorded a pretty simple YouTube video on how to bake a no-knead loaf of bread. Since the coronavirus quarantine, the video has gone, well, viral. It racked up so many views that Jones, now 73, had to update the page to let viewers know she couldn’t keep up with the hundreds of emailed questions she’d received about the recipe. The video speaks for itself anyway – and the recipe, among many others, is on her website.

Pasta by the pound

As the pandemic hit, low-carb diets became almost immediately passé and comfort carbs moved right in. No one has talked about or cooked pasta and bread this much in years (unless they owned or frequented the Delaware Valley’s fabulous Italian restaurants). This much carb-loading may be offset by the amount of people getting out to the parks these days, but if you want to know more about the resurgence of all things pasta, check out the latest edition of the Philly podcast “Local Mouthful”. Food writer Joy Manning and food blogger and author Marisa McClellan combine for a quirky take on local food, shopping and cooking.

Beethoven at home

The Philadelphia Orchestra, under the direction of Yannick Nézet-Séguin, has boosted its online offerings to incorporate both live and previously unreleased performances. Virtual BeethovenNOW on Thursdays at 8 p.m. features members of the orchestra playing Beethoven live from their homes. (So if you’ve ever wondered how classical musicians live, now’s your chance to find out.) On Friday and Saturday nights, never before released concerts will debut on the Orchestra’s free Listen On Demand page, which also includes a selection of past performances. WRTI is adding to its broadcast of orchestra performances, Sirius XM’s Symphony Hall channel will feature the orchestra and on Spotify, you can find curated playlists from the orchestra’s musicians. A schedule of new panels and master classes is forthcoming.

Getting read

It’s National Library Week from April 19 – 25. The week was founded in 1958 by the American Library Association to encourage reading and the use of libraries. Unfortunately, libraries around the world are shut down, but many, like the Philadelphia Free Library, have vast resources online. Did you know that you can access books, audio books, TV shows, movies and magazines wirelessly as long as you have a library card and that the free library hosts also offers online cooking classes? (They are even offering an online ServSafe course to share best practices for restaurant workers during the pandemic.) The Free Library has also moved storytelling and author events to their virtual platform and students can take advantage of live tutors to help with their studies. If you’re not familiar with e-readers and checking books out wirelessly, yes, they have a tutorial for that, too. Check all of these options out here.

Must-see TV

Purple Reign

Next Tuesday marks four years since the iconic musician Prince died. As hard as that is to fathom, his musical legacy remains strong. That’s why the Grammys are paying him due respect with their latest special “Let’s Go Crazy: The Grammy Tribute to Prince.” Other artists to receive the Grammy tribute treatment include Stevie Wonder, Aretha Franklin and The Beatles. The special airs on CBS (and streams on CBS All-Access) on Tuesday, April 21 at 9 p.m. Hosted by celebrity Prince fan Maya Rudolph, who formed her own Prince tribute band, the special features performances by The Foo Fighters; John Legend; Earth, Wind & Fire; and blues guitarist Gary Clark, Jr.

Hoop dreams
It’s been 22 years since Michael Jordan led the Chicago Bulls to their sixth, and last, NBA championship. The 10-part ESPN doc “The Last Dance” about that final season, was originally scheduled for June. As ESPN has little else to air these days, it was moved up. The linchpins of those championship wins — Scottie Pippen, Dennis Rodman and Phil Jackson are featured in the doc along with Barack Obama, the late Kobe Bryant, Magic Johnson and other athletes and cultural observers of the time. Unsurprisingly, Jordan, a private, ultra-competitive man who truly deserves the term G.O.A.T. (Greatest of All Time) comes through as the compelling figure the series turns upon. “The Last Dance” airs on ESPN, starting on April 19 and Netflix, starting on April 20.

School daze
West Philadelphia native Tayarisha Poe wrote and directed this Sundance-approved look at cliques in boarding school from an unusual perspective – that of a Black teenage girl. In “Selah and the Spades” actress Lovie Simone of “Greenleaf” fame plays Selah Summers, head of the school’s most powerful entity – the Spades. Poe, herself an alumnus of a boarding school, wanted to explore the outsize influence teenage cliques have on their members and the student body around them. In her fictional Haldwell School, its factions operate much as criminal organizations do. As her senior year moves forward, Summers has to contend with competition, jealousy and the limits of power. Temple alumni and “Grey’s Anatomy” star Jesse Williams appears in the film as the school’s headmaster.

TV noir
For fans of Michael Connelly, the Amazon Prime series “Bosch” has either matched their imaginary version of the life of hard-boiled Los Angeles detective Hieronymus Bosch or obliterated the fictional version. No matter. You don’t have to have ever read a Connelly book to enjoy the show, now in its penultimate sixth season. You just have to appreciate the slow-boiling noir genre that’s rarely done this well on television. The show stars Titus Welliver as Bosch. Welliver spent a portion of his childhood in Philadelphia while his father, the late painter Neil Welliver, ran the University of Pennsylvania’s graduate school of fine arts. “Bosch” covers several books in the Connelly oeuvre, including “Concrete Blonde,” “Angels Flight” and “City of Bones.” Season 6 airs on Amazon Prime starting on April 17.

Poetry party
Delaware is celebrating National Poetry Month inaugurated by the Academy of American Poets in 1996. This year, the celebration of all things poetry has necessarily moved online. The Delaware Division of the Arts is introducing the work of a different poet every Monday continuing through the end of the month. You can hear the poetry of Caroline N. Simpson and see the Scholastic Art and Writing Award winners as well as the poets who will be announced for the next two weeks.

Garden state

During this challenging time, you may take solace in making things grow more than you ever have before. Whether you’re an urban gardener with a container garden, or a suburbanite with a huge backyard, your gardening skills might need assistance. Can you grow vegetables in a container? Yes. What keeps pests, pets and rodents out of your garden? Depends. Fortunately, nurseries and home improvement stores have been deemed essential, so you can indulge your passion for bulbs, seeds and planting throughout the pandemic. For some expert advice, consult the Penn State extension’s master gardener program. Once quarantine is lifted, you might want to train to become a master gardener (classes were scheduled to start in the fall, but that could change). However, you don’t have to wait to find expert advice on their comprehensive home gardening resource page now.

Artist support

Philadelphia’s artists and cultural workers have been hard-hit by the coronavirus pandemic as many of the institutions that employ them have closed. Many musicians, artists and writers are independent contractors or freelancers and have not yet even been able to apply for unemployment benefits in Pennsylvania. (Under new rules, some of them may be eligible, but an online system to allow them to apply has to be built and is not yet ready.) If you enjoy the work of these artists and the institutions they work with, the city of Philadelphia has a list of various funds you can contribute to that directly support the artists and art institutions. You can find that list here.

Keep checking in with “Things To Do” as we’ll continue to provide our picks for entertainment during the industry’s COVID-19 hiatus. Please consult our COVID-19 updates to keep up with the latest information regionally.

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