Category Archives: Connecticut

“Raise Your Glass” to Hard Cider!

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I have eclectic drinking tastes, which include some of those malt-flavored

drinks that resemble ‘wine coolers,’ from the seventies. I have an occasional

beer, support Fatheads’ micro brews, since they help my brother’s artistry in

their logo-painted walls. I enjoy wine, savoring the layers of flavor, such as

can be found in Lake Erie wineries. I enjoy the reds like Cabernet Sauvignon,

Merlot and Pink Catawba wine made from Catawba grapes. Recently, though,

I have ‘discovered’ the Cincinnati, Ohio company of Boston Beer Co. which

produces the biggest hard cider in the U.S. I think you will recognize, even if

you are not a hard cider drinker, the name of “Angry Orchard.” Business in

the hand-crafted apple cider area of beverages is booming! From 2007 until

last year’s total sales of hand-crafted hard cider, it went from $200 million

dollar business to a tripled amount of $600 million!

The largest areas producing hard cider can be found in New York, Michigan,

Washington and Oregon. Great locations for apple orchards and to create

this hard cider, you need to be close to where they grow. A man named Peter

Moon, used to have a shop in Columbus Easton Town Center called, “Color

Your World.” He has been working on his own personal recipe for hard cider,

seeing great potential in the Central Ohio area.

Historically speaking, we may consider the American apple pie an icon for

our country, but apple cider made into hard cider came over on the Mayflower,

with those Pilgrims. We can find records of barrels of fermented apple juice

packed along with all the other necessities needed to start a community in

America. This makes sense since apples were readily available to farmers and

the Pilgrims needed to ‘brace’ themselves, so to speak, for a whole different

World! This could be considered America’s first ‘drink’ they toasted safe arrival

here…

To go even farther, this article I found discussing apples being fermented into

hard cider, it is totally possible that the signers of the Declaration of Independence

had pewter goblets of this ‘brewed’ cider.

I am happy to soon ‘ditch’ the Angry Orchard brand of hard apple cider for a new

‘brew’ made by Peter Moon who is calling his cidery, “Mad Moon Craft Cider.” You

know my fascination with the moon? This means it is ‘fate’ that I travel southward

and check out this new place he has. I need to try this!

In a recent Columbus Dispatch article, introducing this new company, it mentions there

is a humble organization and simplicity in the Mad Moon company’s headquarters.

There is a sign hanging by the office,

“Cider for the People.”

It is representative of the company’s signature. These 4 words are a ‘take off’ of a Populist

slogan and sentiments from William Henry Harrison’s 1840 Presidential campaign. W. H.

Harrison was known to be a ‘hard-cider-drinking frontiersman.’ (Sept. 12, 2004 Columbus

Dispatch article.)

When Prohibition came along in 1920. hard cider lost its’ place in the people’s popularity

of beverages to imbide in. There was moonshine and illegal brews, but when Prohibition was

repealed, beers were the most popular drink.

Today’s society is always looking for something ‘new’ to discover and try. There are many of

the population trying homemade beer and apple cider brewing, along with winemaking.

They ‘crave’ unique beverages and as hosts and hostesses, offering a variety of choices.

In Columbus, Ohio we have around 13 beer breweries, some hobbyists and home brewers

are now opening ‘cideries.’ It is just a small beginning, the tip of an iceberg of beverages and

there is an ‘open market’ for this here.

Starting at the ground level, Peter Moon, has 750 gallons of apple juice fermenting in three

of Mad Moon Craft Cider’s 10 large tanks. The labels are still in ‘rough draft’ stage of the

business. I liked the bottle’s design in the photograph accompanying the Dispatch’s article.

Apples need to be originally grown from European seeds, what is considered “old seeds.”

They are stronger flavored apples, with savory and distinct ‘tones’ to their taste. Ohio farmers

find them to not be able to resist fungi and diseases. This seems to be a concern and a ‘work

in progress.’ So far, one of the farms that is selling their apples for hard cider has been able

to recommend the strength of ‘gold rush apples.’ I can relate to this search, when I make my

homemade apple crisp I like the softer apples of Rome, Gala and have tried others, too.

In Licking County, (Ohio), there is a hard cider being sold as, “Legend Valley Cider.”

This company has 50 accounts on their ‘books,’ so far. They await the end of the apple growing

year of crops to start their second year of production.

This is a stretch of my imagination, but I think Benjamin Franklin would have been proud of

the return to apple cider fermentation. It is what Early Americans would have respected. Freedom

to consume and continuing in the independent spirit of free enterprise, too.

So,  “Raise Your Glass” to toast the return of hard cider!

(Thanks to Pink, (2010) song, “Raise Your Glass!”)

 

What are you drinking?

If you don’t like alcoholic beverages, do you like apple cider?

I sure do associate apple cider with Fall or Autumn.

Something different from loneliness

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A life cut tragically short, by a car accident, holds meaning

and longevity. Marina Keegan, age 22, had just graduated only

five short days earlier from Yale University. Her promising

career had been jump started being hired by the magazine, “The

New Yorker.” She was soon to be considered a staff writer.

Marina’s family collected, posthumously, stories, essays and her

journal entries that ranged from serious subjects to silly ones.

Marina’s imagination created enough ‘life’s work,’ to publish in

a book called, “The Opposite of Loneliness.” (It has nine short

stories and nine essays.)

If you wish to read about her May 26, 2012 accident where she

and a young man’s car ‘rolled on Route 6,’ you can find an article

on the internet. Marina was from the town of Wayland, Massachusetts.

The article was posted in the “Cape Cod Today” newspaper. The book

has a forward written by one of Marina’s Yale professors, Anne

Fadiman.

One of Marina’s profound thoughts on the subject of her book,

(which I hope that in the after life one knows that you are

a published author!) was that the English language doesn’t

exactly have a word that is the opposite of loneliness.

While Marina was alive she showed her buoyancy and happiness

to others surrounding her. She mentioned that there was

enjoyment in togetherness. There are other facets in this

collection that sound ‘wiser than her age.’ Her question

that resonated with me was:

“What inhabits the place in your ‘soul’ that is the complete

opposite of loneliness?”

This book is worthy of reading and inspiring to see what

Marina’s thoughts were. Also, to imagine all the words still

left to be said, had she lived past her 22nd year. It seemed to

me, if one could picture a bulletin board with a collage of

pictures that represented her thoughts, it would be very exciting

and beautiful. It would have love and heartbreak, whales and

music. She had written a play that Yale actors had performed in

called, “Utility Monster.” She was in the middle of writing a

musical.

The job that was waiting for her at “The New Yorker,” indicates

what a fine student and someone who must have made a quite a

remarkable first impression.

Marina’s family should take comfort that she must have felt some

of her dreams had come to fruition. There must have been excitement

and a sense of anticipation at that ‘first job’ after college.

Another part of the book made me feel that no one should count

on having a tomorrow. Think big! Think outside the box! My

thoughts kept coming back to Marina would have made an excellent

author to read, her stories and essays are vibrant and meaningful.

Her volumes of thoughts, hand written in notebooks and journals

show her commitment to writing. Her mind lived in ‘worlds’ where

others may never have tread.

Makes me appreciate that I still am here.

We all should remember how short and fleeting our lives are.

Time is flying by, our clocks possibly already ‘set’ to the

last minute we will have a chance to say something, in our

words and through our writings.

In a short 3 line poem that in is the Preface of Marina’s

book, these words are given:

“Bygones

Do you wanna’ leave soon?

No, I want enough time to be in love with everything.

And, I cry because everything is so beautiful

And so short.”

Greener Choices

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In only a few days, April holds two important ‘green’

days: Earth Day and Arbor Day. I thought it may be

pertinent to make a list of progressive choices for a

healthier lifestyle. They may make the world a better

place, too!

While the Spring sales are still going on, you may wish

to stock up on cloth towels and cotton sheets. Cloth

towels to wipe up things are much better for the

environment than using lots of paper towels. Cotton

sheets are able to be dry quicker, reducing energy

usage, than ones that have polyester fibers.

Once you have stocked up and chosen which ‘rags’ to

discard, consider the following places who welcome old

towels, along with old blankets. Homeless shelters and

battered women’s shelters appreciate clean towels, as

well as ones to wipe up spills. They are happy to receive

donations of clean sheets and clothing items, especially

warm coats in the winter, as well as cotton t-shirts that

are clean for summer wear. Check on their ‘needs lists’

and you may have some of the necessities around the house

going to waste. Local animal shelters also are happy to

receive towels and cloths that look a little ‘raggedy.’

They also appreciate other donations of pet food, kitty

litter and unused leashes. I mentioned this to a friend

who is insisting that she will ‘never own another pet,’

since her beautiful golden retriever died of cancer.

Another ‘switch’ from good choices to better choices,

is to replace your toothbrushes with more eco-friendly

ones. There are ones now on the market made of castor

oil plants instead of petroleum (plastic ones). Look

for BPA-free and recyclable on the label.

I could not believe this figure that I found in the

Central Ohio “Natural Awakenings” magazine! Our library

has them in a stack, labeled ‘free.’ The statistic that

had my jaw drop open, thank goodness too early for a fly

to be caught, was that Americans use 500 million disposable

straws in ONE DAY! The founder of the Be Straw Free Campaign,

Milo Cress, accumulated this horrifying data. As you may

know, at parks, zoos and other natural wildlife preserves,

you are requested to not even drink out of plastic straws.

This is because they have accidentally flown out of trash

barrels, been dropped or otherwise gotten into the beaks

of animals. They can be caught and not able to be dislodged

by the animal, sometimes causing death or horrible pain.

The Ocean Conservancy has straws on their Top 10 list of

debris littering beaches. Paper straws are an alternative

since they do compost within 45-60 days. Otherwise, using

a sippy cup for kids and a twist up or down lid for adults

can keep animals and sea life ‘safe’ from harm of plastic

straws.

Of course, we have covered this in other posts of mine,

where I mention that I walk to the local Delaware Community

Market and also, during three seasons of the year, go to

the Farmer’s Market that is on the sidewalks downtown during

business hours on Wednesday afternoons and Saturday mornings.

By purchasing locally grown foods, whether they are fruits,

vegetables or baked goods, you are supporting the farmers

and you are saving the environment. You carry a cloth bag,

which eliminates plastic or even, paper bags. You also are

getting healthier food choices, which is good for the body.

The planet appreciates your efforts to buy local, since

there is no need for shipping, warehousing, and boxing up

these products. Local purchases save gas!

A great and easy way to go ecological is to buy several

power-saver energy strips. They can be turned off when

machines are not being used. Also, unplugging things like

the toaster, coffee maker or blender can do a lot of good

by such simple actions. Completely shutting down computers

saves more energy than using sleep mode.

The Appliance Recycling Centers of America, in conjunction

with your local electric company, will come and pick up your

discarded appliances. You may find yourself purchasing a

more energy-efficient refrigerator or freezer in the

future, or your old one may just ‘conk out.’

In the states of California, Connecticut, Maryland,

Massachusetts, New York, Rhode Island and Vermont have

pledged to increase production or construction of the

charging stations needed to use for battery powered

cars, plug in hybrids and other ‘clean’ burning vehicles

by 2025. Consider buying one of these, when you have your

old car ‘bite the dust.’

There are companies that can help install solar panels

in your home, making renewable home energy cost-effective,

along with increasing your home’s property value.

There is a company that you may find on the internet,

that incorporates a “1% for the Planet” logo. You also

will find participating ‘green’ companies at Tinyurl.com/

OnePercentPlanet.

Some green tips for cooking are always helpful, sometimes

you may have already read them somewhere else. This can

help remind you of better eco-friendly kitchen processes.

Slow cooked soups and stews, a meal within a pot or pan,

covered to use the heat within the structure, is both

ecological and saves energy when it comes time to wash up.

This can be helpful to the budget, too, since you can use

a less expensive cut of meat, while it tenderizes in the

slow-cooking process. If you are a vegetarian, it is also

a delicious way to bring out the flavors of the foods and

softens root vegetables that need time to simmer.

Lastly, it is also a really nice way to come home, the

aroma wafting through the entryway to your house. In my

case, the hallway leading to my door. I adore smelling

the food that has been cooking on low heat while I have

been away at work!

I sometimes use a covered dish in the oven, which has a

similar economical and ecological purpose.

A company called Microban Europe, UK, has been testing

produce and finding it challenging to keep them fresh.

Unfortunately, I found this fact quite gross! our average

refrigerator harbors millions of bacteria! Yikes! There is

a eco-friendly product, called “The Berry Breeze” in-fridge

automated device. This circulates activated oxygen to

prevent mold, keeping produce fresh longer and reducing

spoiling to save your grocery money.

Another interesting ‘take’ on buying food that is healthy

and ecological, is to eliminate canned goods. I was not

sure I could get ‘on board’ with this plan! I have a limited

budget, so canned goods are more economical for one person.

Instead of a whole bag of potatoes or the singular, more

expensive one potato, I buy canned potatoes and rinse them

twice for the salt and metal taste to be rinsed off. I

then proceed to recycle my cans. There is a woman in the

Natural Awakenings magazine, Hannah Helsabeck, who is

president of WildMintShop.com, who shares “can-free”

meal tips online. Her quote is a positive and thought-

provoking one:

“It takes a little planning, but we can now avoid all the

toxic chemicals used in processing foods and making cans.

Let’s kick the can!”

I say, “Go Green!”

and

“Let’s get become a little more aware of how our actions

affect the environment and consequently, the world.”

Ice Cream for Mom’s Birthday

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The line on Friendly’s menu says “We make everything for our hot fudge

sundae except the cherry!” The restaurant and franchise started with a

$500 loan to two young brothers, Pres and Curt Blake, when they opened

their first Friendly’s in 1935.

Mom was in first grade in Springfield, Massachusetts, where Friendly’s

started. Her father, Walter W. Mattson, a teen immigrant who studied

engineering in Brooklyn’s technical college, was an inspector of steam

boilers for Hartford Steam Boiler. “He trained and inspected,” Mom tells me,

“up and down the Eastern Seaboard.”

Times were hard for some families during the depression, hers was “okay

but we survived on a lot of soup!” (Mom says.)

Her father’s job took him all along the  New England coastline, going

north into New Hampshire, “even Maine,” and south to Connecticut.

“Dad would be gone for a week sometimes at a time.”

“There were times,” she exclaimed, “that he would come home and a

nice surprise would be for all of us to go out for an ice cream cone.”

By third grade, Mom says they were living in East Hartford, and probably

had visited the Friendly’s that had spread from Springfield to there for ice

cream cones.

The two brothers found by using only fresh ingredients, milk from local

farmers, making their sauces from homemade ingredients, and also,

their cones that the popularity and market required more space to make

the ice cream and accompaniments. So, Prestley and Curt opened a small

facility, later expanding it, in Wilbraham, Massachusetts. The reputation

and flavors of the delicious ice cream created more and more of the

restaurants, known as “Friendly’s Ice Cream Shoppes” around.

The hot fudge recipe is made with the ingredients their mother used: cocoa,

sugar and fresh milk.

While growing up in Sandusky, then moving to Cleveland, we frequented

the Friendly’s restaurants. I always enjoyed the “clam boats” or “clam rolls.”

We also found that Howard Johnson’s served them. Mom and Dad felt the

children’s menus were reasonably priced and this was a fun treat at both

restaurants.

While searching for a central Ohio home, halfway between my ex-husband

and my parents, both Westerville and Delaware, interestingly enough, had a

still ‘up and running’ Friendly’s restaurant. I was looking at these two university

towns, Otterbein and Ohio Wesleyan. While studying the elementary schools,

I chose Delaware.  My three children loved the Reese’s peanut butter cup and

later, the Reese’s pieces children’s sundaes that accompanied the kids’ meals.

I loved that the local Delaware owner/manager had specials like “kids meals

the price of the temperature” or “one children’s meal free with adult’s meal.”

Mom loved her birthday meal, choosing to have an  all American hamburger

with a grilled brioche bun and applesauce. I had the Senior clam dinner with

fries and cole slaw.

Both our dinners came with complimentary dessert sundaes. Mom chose

straight chocolate ice cream with whipped cream, no sauce. I had a butter

pecan with caramel topping along with whipped cream and a cherry on top.

The ingredients all seem very similar and tasted wonderful to me!

Since Mom had cake for the October birthdays’ celebration, along with

apple cider and a pumpkin donut on Thursday, I felt that “covered” the

cake part of her birthday “party.” At the end of the month, she will have

the November birthdays’ celebration, right after Thanksgiving. We, my

youngest daughter, brothers, sister in law and niece with her boyfriend,

will have another time to share family memories and traditions.

She opened some gifts of sweaters and decorations to put on the shelf

outside her door. I asked if she wanted to go to Randy’s art gallery show,

on Friday evening. Mom said she and her dog, Nicki would stay in and spend

a relaxing evening at home.

I felt lucky to have her for this birthday. Always am grateful that she is still

around. I hope that the different things we did this week and  on her 84th

birthday made her feel happy because the memories seemed to draw her

inward and she was quiet.

I imagine, but did not want to bring it up, she thinks not only of her parents

being gone,  but my Dad on special occasions and every day, too.