Sunday, November 25, 2012

Giving Thanks

Now that the cooking extravaganza has passed and the relatives have gone home, I have some time to reflect on what makes Thanksgiving one of my favorite holidays. There’s the food, of course—traditional dishes that I only make or eat at this time of year.

But much more important than the food are the people you share it with. When I was growing up and continuing well into my twenties, my mom usually made the meal for our extended family. Some of my best memories are from around that table. In more recent years, my own family’s Thanksgivings have been less predictable, but no less memorable.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Vermont's Other Berry

Cranberries from Vermont? Really? The Green Mountain State isn’t usually the first to come to mind when cranberries are mentioned. That honor usually goes to my former home state of Massachusetts. But cranberries do grow in Vermont, and in fact the Vermont Cranberry Company in Fletcher produces more than 15,000 pounds of these little beauties each year. 

Thursday, November 8, 2012

In Praise of Brussels Sprouts

I’ve never met a vegetable that I didn’t like. Even the lowliest of peasant fare. In fact, one of my favorites is the much maligned Brussels sprout. With the first hint of fall, I crave this humble vegetable. Maybe it has something to do with my own peasant roots on my father’s Irish side of the family, often in conflict with the Polish nobility on my mother’s side. According to family lore, we're descendents of Napoleon and his Polish mistress the Countess Marie Walewska, and the son they had together (hence my affinity for France and my taste for haute cuisine perhaps?). 

Marie Walewska

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Trick or Treat

Young Frankenstein projected onto the faded clapboards of an historic home. Intricate mazes in front and backyards. People in costume shoulder to shoulder on village sidewalks. These happenings can only mean one thing: Halloween in Bristol, of course. Halloween is the biggest night of the year in our small Vermont village. And residents go all out to create an extravagant celebration of the ghostly and ghoulish, with a characteristic creative flair that draws hundreds of visitors each year.