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No FLB Day

January 15, 2018

It’s MLK Day.
Some of you will have it off.
Some of you will have to work.

Last year I heard a reading of the I Have a Dream Speech on the radio and was particularly struck by the closing passage. And then I realized that the FLB did not have a great track record of commemorating this day.

So I pledged to do better. Yes, this is a food blog. But we don’t always talk about food. For example, on Thanksgiving I post a video of the same Thanksgiving song year after year.

Today I want to share something about MLK that has a more local connection. Did you know the New York State Museum has the only known recording of a 1962 speech Dr. King gave in Manhattan to commemorate the centennial anniversary of the Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation?

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Bring Me My Bottle

January 12, 2018

Have you ever been in the eye of a hurricane? The strongest winds of the storm form the eye wall. And once you pass through that, there is an oasis of calm. The sky above is blue. There is no storm. That is, of course, until the backside of the eye wall smacks you with full force.

Today feels a bit like that, but with winter.

Welcome to the eye of the storm. It feels like spring. The temperature is going to be in the fifties. There will be rain. Maybe even enough to melt down all the snow. And then blammo. Starting at 10pm tonight, the mercury dips below 50 degrees and within 36 hours plummets down to 3 degrees. Three.

That’s what those who wake up at 8am on Sunday will get to experience. As far as I can tell, this is God’s way of telling us all to sleep in. And then it’s a week of below freezing temperatures and maybe a little more snow. Yay, winter!

Thankfully, I haven’t been listening to the weather forecasters. Knowing something about the TV news, they have probably named the coming weather system ice-nine or something like that. Ice-pocalypse or ice-mageddon just feel a bit overused. And maybe everything will be fine. Having spent most of my life in Florida and California, I know nothing about weather, or how winter actually works.

But let’s pretend it’s spring for the day. Because there is something at the top of my list for when it arrives, and maybe somebody out there can take advantage of the opportunity today presents.

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Instant Pot Goals

January 11, 2018

Okay. Let’s get this out of the way. Yesterday when I mentioned that I bought the three quart Instant Pot instead of the six quart Instant Pot, I got a little bit of pushback. And that’s fine. I love passionate, opinionated people who are eager to share their thoughts.

Now that I’ve finally taken the thing out of the box, I’m more convinced than ever that this smaller sized model was the right call for me.

But how will I know for sure? Well, it helps to have a clear set of goals.

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Après Cider

January 10, 2018

Speaking of falling prey to trends, like yesterday’s story on turmeric tonic, I am now the proud owner of an Instant Pot. Although swimming against the current of popular opinion, I went for the three quart model instead of the larger six quart one.

Right now it is still in the box. But once it comes out and I am able to put it through a few paces, I’ll let you know if I made a terrible mistake.

The reason why I didn’t have a chance to play with my new toy was that last night was also the launch of the Nine Pin Cider 26er challenge. If you missed the first night, don’t panic. You still have the better part of two weeks to show up at the cidery and start your year-long run for the coveted title.

Without any irony or sarcasm my bronze 26er card is one of my most prized possessions. Largely because getting it was such a long and painful process. One that I had not intended to repeat. But apparently, I’m going to give it another try.

Last night I drank a blueberry pancake flavored apple cider of my own free will.

So, what does one do on a cold winter night at 8pm on the east side of Albany? I had already eaten. The coffee shops had closed. What I really wanted was a mellow place to hang out with my laptop and do a little writing.

Then it hit me.

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Quacks Like a Duck

January 9, 2018

So this is all kinds of stupid.

Is it stupider than scheduling the Tour de NY Style Pizza on St. Patrick’s Day?


That was an oversight, but I like the idea of counterprogramming the madness. Although I may also be able to move it to Saturday, March 10. I’ll let you know.

The Tour de Pizza date selection was an accident. What I’m doing now is on purpose. And I kind of love it. But I also know better. What can I tell you? I’m a sucker for the power of suggestion.

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Winning Winter

January 8, 2018

Today starts the second week of winter.

Yeah, yeah, yeah. I know that the Capital Region had crazy sub zero weather in December. I know because I had to set up a heater for my heater. But technically, December isn’t winter. December is part of “the locking”.

I’ve spoken of this in the past. It’s not my idea. It comes from Kurt Vonnegut in Cat’s Cradle. And he writes about how the seasons in this part of the world need to be redefined. Fall is easy. It’s September and October. It’s gorgeous. But in November and December, the earth gets ready for freezing up into a solid and icy mass. This is the locking. January and February mark the months of winter. It’s bitter, biting, and hostile to all forms of life. It’s so cold that before spring can arrive, the ground must go through two months of unlocking in March and April. Then we get two months of spring and two months of summer.

The good news is that there are only seven more weeks of winter.

Everyone has different strategies for dealing with the extreme cold, piercing winds, and snowy landscapes. Mine involve eating. Obviously. So what do you do when the weather outside seems to want to make you die a slow, terrible death?

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How to Eat More Vegetables

January 5, 2018

Have I mentioned winter? Yep. Because, winter.

Yesterday on All Over Albany, in their story about surviving winter, I saw a picture I recognized. I took it years ago for a post I wrote called Cooking out the cold. It features a ham hock from Rolf’s in Albany, cumin seeds, a can of Coleman’s dry mustard, and a bowl full of black eyed peas. Love that image. Love black eyed peas too.

Black eyed peas are one of those traditional New Year’s dishes. In this house we don’t give any credence to superstition. We didn’t eat grapes. I did not make any resolutions. At the stroke of midnight we even eschewed the traditional Champagne toast.

Still, people make resolutions. And a common one is to eat better. This of course means different things to different people. But yesterday, I stumbled upon a tweet of someone who was specifically trying to eat more vegetables.

My answer may not have been the most helpful, but today I’m hoping to turn that around.

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