If you love animals, here’s what you should do this February♥️
By Lindsay Pollard-Post
Rose’s Cece is “fixed,” as well as Jett and Lilac. pics: Rose T.
If you love animals, here’s what you should do this February♥️: Make a date with your veterinarian. No, not for dinner and a movie – a date to have your pets “snipped.”
February may be associated with romance, thanks to Valentine’s Day, but it’s also Spay/Neuter Awareness Month, and if you have an animal friend who still hasn’t been “fixed,” there’s no better time to do it. Many veterinarians, spay/neuter clinics and animal shelters offer special deals on spaying and neutering in February, helping you save a little cash. But more importantly, having your animals fixed can save countless lives.
In many parts of the country, February is the last chance to “beat the heat” and get cats spayed before longer daylight hours shift their breeding cycles into overdrive. “Kitten season” begins in early spring and, for many shelters, brings a big influx of felines and a mad scramble to accommodate them all.
As cute as kittens may be …
A few years back: kitten Cece♥️
… the consequences of their overpopulation are anything but. Many shelters have no choice but to make room by euthanizing older cats who’ve been there a while and are less likely to be adopted. Other facilities turn away newcomers — leaving them in the hands of people who can’t or won’t take care of them. Many end up on the street, forced to fend for themselves.
Sterilizing cats before kitten season strikes can prevent a catastrophe. And that goes for dogs, too. An “oops” litter of puppies can happen just as quickly as unplanned kittens can. And unless those pups are fixed, they can soon go on to have litters of their own, further worsening the problem.
Spaying and neutering aren’t just vital to ending animal overpopulation and homelessness, though—they’re also one of the best decisions you can make to protect your animal companions’ health.
Spaying spares female animals the stress and discomfort of heat periods, greatly reduces their risk of mammary cancer and eliminates their risk of diseases of the ovaries and uterus—including cancer. Early “fixing” is a good thing: Females who are spayed before their first heat cycle not only avoid pregnancy but also have one-seventh the risk of developing mammary cancer.
Giving males the “snip” cuts their risk of prostate cancer and eliminates any chance of testicular cancer. It also helps keep the boys out of trouble: Neutered males have less of an urge to roam or fight. And altered animals are less likely to contract deadly, contagious diseases, such as feline AIDS and feline leukemia, which are spread through bodily fluids.
If your animal companions are already fixed, give yourself a pat on the back—and then get to work finding another animal who needs to be “snipped.” Chances are, each of us knows someone—perhaps a family member, neighbor or colleague—who just hasn’t gotten around to making that appointment yet or who can’t afford it.
We can make a world of difference by encouraging those people to have their animals sterilized, offering to drive their animals to and from their appointments or even paying for the surgery ourselves. It’s money well spent: Spaying one female dog can prevent the births of 67,000 puppies over the course of six years, and fixing one female cat can prevent 370,000 kittens from being born in seven years.
A trip to the vet to have a cat or dog “snipped” may not be the most romantic thing you can do this month, but it’s one of the best ways to show animals that you love them.♥️♥️♥️♥️
Yesterday, delivering new CECELIA … Presidents Day, winter vacation/schools out, a quiet Kelley Square/Green Island. A few pics by Rose:
Chef Joey says, Spring time is veggie time! Go, Joey, go!!
Text, photos and recipes by Chef Joey
These days we have the convenience of running to the market for pre-made items. Heck, you can even buy pre-made mashed potatoes! I was floored when I saw that, and for the price of two portions, you could buy 10 pounds of potatoes and feed 10 to 15 people!
I always have root vegetables stored on my stairs. I tend to buy 20 pound bags of onions and potatoes and 10 pound bags of carrots, just to have them on hand. They come in very handy, and you save money when you buy these staples in bulk.
Here is a simple recipe for vegetable stock, and it costs less than buying it.
You will need the following:
2 potatoes chopped evenly
2 onions coarsely chopped
2 carrots peeled and chopped (so you can eat them!)
1 stalk celery chopped
2 leeks split cleaned and chopped (they can hold dirt)
2 turnips peeled and chopped
5 or 6 cherry tomatoes split
Place all the ingredients in a large pot. Cover with 6 ½ cups water, add a pinch of salt and bring to a boil.
Then turn the heat down to simmer for 20 minutes.
Remove from heat.
Strain into a bowl using a colander, and press gently down on the veggies to extract the maximum flavor.
Chicken Pot Pie!
You can use the veggies with tofu or sautéed chicken to make a chicken pot pie!
Literally, take a cup of your broth and thicken with a teaspoon of cornstarch that you mixed with a little cold water.
Add the cooked chicken meat and veggies.
Pour onto a pie plate, cover with a crust and you are done!
One last recipe for you …
It is so easy – especially with summer veggies coming up. You can modify it each time by adding additional herbs!
1/3 cup uncooked long grain white rice (brown or wild rice works, too)
2/3 cup water
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 1/2 pounds zucchini or summer squash or both, cubed
1 cup sliced scallions
1 clove garlic, minced
1 1/4 teaspoons garlic salt
5 or 6 basil leaves sliced
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon oregano – fresh is best
1 1/2 cups chopped tomatoes – plum are best or minis cut in half
2 cups shredded sharp Cheddar cheese – divided
Heat oven to 350 degrees.
Grease a 1 ½ quart casserole dish and set aside.
Cook the rice in the water, bring to a boil and simmer covered. If using brown or whole grain, follow the package directions.
In the meantime, in a sautee pan, add everything from the oil to the paprika.
Sautee 5 minutes.
Add the rest and 1 cup of the cheese.
Place into the casserole dish and cover with remaining cheese.
Bake for 20 minutes until hot.
***** Chefs, if you are looking to replace the animal ingredients in your recipes for health or ethical reasons …
From Mauro DePasquale, Mount Carmel Preservation Society:
Despite the fact that the Worcester Historic Commission voted not to do the study to explore a historic district at Our Lady of Mount Carmel church on Mulberry Street (OLMC), we are, in no way, giving up on our mission to save Our Lady of Mount Carmel church.
Despite many people feeling discouraged, as long as the church stands, it is not over.
It is important that we recognize how far we have come, specifically how the church is still standing and, most likely, would not have been if it were not for the efforts of the Mount Carmel Preservation Society (MPS).
We are moving forward with our appeal to the Vatican to oppose the merger of OLMC and Our Lady of Loreto parishes.
We will also appeal to the Vatican the demolition of the church building as soon as the Diocese issues the required decree of suppression.
We are pursuing an alternate (as an option of consideration) plan to save the church by preserving it as a shrine to OLMC, fully supported and sustained by the MPS.
We have just made a formal proposal, regarding our plan to make the church a shrine, to Monsignor Pedone and the Diocese and await their response.
A shrine is a sacred place where, with the permission of the Bishop, people can gather for daily prayer, celebrate Masses, hold special religious events such as baptisms, weddings, etc.
This could benefit the Parish, Diocese and community as a historical sacred tourist attraction as well.
We are also waiting for approval of our application for non-profit status and expect to have that approved very soon. Non-profit status will allow us more flexibility with fundraising, as we definitely need to continue to raise funds for legal costs and for the support of our proposed shrine to OLMC.
Plans are already underway for another MPS fundraiser and we will update all of you when we have the details.
We need the active involvement of each MPS member at this critical time. We must stay united and positive as we persevere in saving the church from demolition.
Our Sunday Prayer Vigil is ongoing at Mt. Carmel Apartments at 10 a.m., Sunday.
To donate visit http://www.preserveourladyofmountcarmel.org
Tickets for tonight’s (3/11) fundraiser are available at the door – $20. This wonderful music event is hosted by First UNITARIAN Church at JOHN HENRY HAMMER Coffee shop at 7 pm Main and State St., Worcester. Near the old court house.
Next meeting will be announced soon.
Thank you for your support. Stand Tall and God Bless you.
Mauro DePasquale, MPS
****** From our friends at Veteran Homestead!💜💛❤
The Second Annual Veteran Homestead Star Spangled Go-Kart Challenge
… at F1 Boston in Braintree
Thursday, April 6
5 pm – 9 pm
Come compete for racing glory where your donation goes to support the veterans in our programs thanks to the support and generosity of F1Boston.
Gather your friends together for a FUN night of go-kart racing, food, drinks, prizes, pool, networking and, of course, mingling with our veterans.
Form your team now and don’t miss this opportunity to support our heroes, the military veterans who are responsible
for our freedom.
Don’t feel the need for speed?
You can attend, cheer on your favorite team, enjoy food and drink while supporting our veterans. The donation is $150 per person.
Call or email Cindy to participate and for costs and more information 978-632-1271.
REC WORCESTER 🌺EARTH DAY🌸🌻 NEIGHBORHOOD CLEANUPS AND BEAUTIFICATION!🌻🌸🌹🌺💐
Saturday, April 8
8 am – 12 pm
We are excited to invite you to join us for this year’s REC Earth Day Neighborhood & Garden Cleanups!
This is truly a community-wide event in which residents come together every year to give Worcester the Spring-cleaning it deserves.
Last year, more than 1,000 volunteers came together to pick up more than 50 tons of trash at over 60 sites in Worcester!!!🌸❤
Please feel free to contact Pat Barnosky with any questions or concerns
– firstname.lastname@example.org – 508-799-9139
Thank you for joining with your neighbors and friends to support the 28th Annual REC Earth Day Neighborhood & Garden Cleanups!
15 GREAT CRUELTY-FREE COMPANIES! Buy their cosmetics and personal care products – NEVER tested on bunnies💜 – at CVS, Walgreens, Target or your local supermarket:
And this, from a gal pal. Highly recommended by Allen Fletcher!😉
Here’s a photo, taken years ago, of my late mom – “Ma”💛💛💛💛 – and Polish immigrant granny – “Bapy”🎵💐🌻🌺🌹🎺 – in their tenement in “The Block,” on Bigelow Street in Green Island.
Here are my late mom’s polyester work vests – bought at the old White’s Five and Ten (and more!) on Millbury Street – decades ago – and worn by my mom, to work at the dry cleaners.
My grandmother never held a job outside the home – her husband, my grandfather, was the breadwinner toiling in a textile mill in Douglas. But my mother and her two sisters, my aunties, were, like all poor girls from poor families, work horses! From 14 1/2 years old to 65 years old they worked as maids, cashier girls at the late great Eden Restaurant on Franklin Street, cooks, counter girls at Oscar’s dry cleaners on Millbury Street. Typical jobs for daughters of typically poor immigrants – young women whose paychecks often helped support a big, struggling Irish-, Italian-, Eastern European- family.
As a kid watching Ma put on one or the other of her polyester work vests I knew she meant business. She was getting ready for a full day at the dry cleaners, where she worked for minimum wage, 60 hours a week. She walked to work (we didn’t own a car). She walked to work pulling a shopping wagon (also bought at White’s) behind her for light grocery shopping at the end of her work day. She carried a brown paper sack that contained her lunch: thermos of black coffee, a sandwich in a baggie and an apple or banana for dessert. Ma was the most disciplined person I have ever known – she never ate more than a sandwich at lunch or a bowl of cereal at breakfast. Never second helpings for her. She was anti-gluttony. She used to say to us kids: “Eat to live! Don’t live to eat!” And she meant it. She was a pillar to no-nonsense, fad-free good health.
She had to be! As a single mom, not on ANY government assistance (which she was eligible for but too proud to accept), it all rested on her small shoulders, the ones on which her little polyester work vests hung. She had our Lafayette Street tenement to pay rent on, utility bills to pay, her three little girls to feed and clothe, a tired old Mama (Bapy) to feed and care for and (usually) a gaggle of my pets to feed and love!: Belle the English Setter mix, Raj the tabby cat, Gigi the mouse, Tommy and Speedy the turtles, Joy the hamster, Horatio the Old English Sheep dog mix, Sally the salamander. Sometimes I had two dogs at once! It was crazy!!! And then there was Ma’s peripatetic husband, my father, “Daddy,” a wild, gorgeous hunk of a man with a red pompadour who swept Ma off her Keds and breezed in and out of her life for years. Looking to get laid by Ma, looking for mothering from Ma, the mother of all mothers!, looking for her pity, her understanding, her quiet, dependable love … We never really could figure him out. He yelled so much. He called Ma such horrible names! Fuck nut! Donkey! He made me cry. But he never made Ma cry – or she never showed us her tears.
Here’s Daddy holding my two kid sisters on his lap:
In short, Ma’s life was BIG, RICH, ROILING, SAD, STRUGGLING and old school CATHOLIC. Mostly, I now see, it was deeply meaningful and loving.
I didn’t always think so. In my early college years I was ashamed of Ma and my life with her – She was, we were, so poor in Green Island! We had no car, no clothes dryer even (as a college freshman a friend had to teach me how to use a dryer in the laundry room!), no vacations, no nice restaurants, no trips to museums outside of Worcester Public Schools field trips. Ma was “ignorant” – stuck in her dead-end job, never even finished 8th grade! A loser! She prayed too much – kow towed to silly Catholic saints on her small dime store prayer cards, like this one, which I have today and keep on my night-table at all times:
All writhing souls in purgatory, inextinguishable flames of a painless hell licking our faces, Jesus’s pierced heart and crown of thorns – King of pain! – blood drip drip dripping on us penitents, now dead, awaiting ever lasting life in a pit of fire … Ugh. Depressing. Guilt-inducing. The brutality of old school Catholicism, the way it KILLED your spirit, killed MY spirit, my need for God – FOREVER. Today I am a Godless Green Island girl! … a card-carrying atheist, if ever there was one!
For a few years (in my early 20s) I didn’t even speak to my mother! So angry was I at Ma for our poverty, her abusive husband – my abusive “Daddy.” I’d lie in the top bunk bed in my college dorm room and think to myself: This room is so much warmer than my bedroom on Lafayette Street ever was – ever could be!
Ma’s beauty slipped away from me …
Then, years after college, when I was helping Ma move into her last apartment, I came upon her work vests. She had retired from the dry cleaners a year ago. I asked her: Ma, can I have them? Maybe wear them around the house when I do chores… She said: Sure.
It’s funny: Next day, when I put on one of Ma’s drab little polyester vests, I felt POWERFUL – like I knightress in shining armor!!!! I could not believe the energy, the happiness … the LOVE I was feeling. I was wearing Ma’s coat of mail, the holy vest that she wore into battle against poverty each and every day. It had chinks in it and was blood-splattered and tear-stained! And here it was – all mine! So beautiful! Years ago I thought it was the ugliest piece of cloth I had ever seen! Its Whites Five and Ten polyester roughness! Its boring color! Its utilitarian un-fashion. No style statement was this vest! BUT IT WAS! All along! I remembered the contents of its pockets, years ago, as Ma readied herself for her work day: a few pens, pencils, a little scratch pad, roll of Life Savers, a scapula or two…
Here is one of Ma’s scapulas she’d take to work each day – in her vest pocket!
Also, she’d have a little dime store Novena prayer book held together with staples – Novena prayers for St. Francis, St. Jude … She would read it, pray her holy Novena prayers during her half hour lunch break at the dry cleaners, sitting in a metal folding chair by the counter, still on the look out and responsible for her customers. No break at all!!
To all the saints – Jude, Martin, Theresa, Anne, Joseph and Mary! – saints who Ma prayed to, average people who helped Ma get through her hard life – I now say THANK YOU to you! Ma’s faith in you was real, life-sustaining! She saw you transcend your pain and suffering – so she transcended hers!
Sometimes in her vest pocket Ma would have a five dollar bill too! – a little fun, a gift for her girls after school. As little kids my sisters and I visited Ma everyday at the dry cleaners, after Lamartine Street or St. Mary’s schools, to say hello! She’d dig into her vest pocket and give us her “pocket” money so we could run down to Pete’s Dairy Bar on Millbury Street to have some fun: buy a small order of french fries, a hamburger, hang with the other kids there after school before going home to do our homework. One of my kid sisters took a few quarters and played the Pete Dairy Bar pinball machines, while my other sister and I sat in our booth eating our french fries and burger – me reading my Tiger Beat magazine, in between greasy bites!
Maybe we heard a Beatles song play on Pete’s juke box. We’d laugh as owner Pete and his waitresses joked with all the kids – the place was always packed with kids after school! We were in kid heaven, thanks to our Ma!
Happy International Women’s Day to all the blue and pink collar moms out there who are making lives for themselves and their families each and every day! You rule!❤❤❤🎺👠💐🎵
Unholy Alliance: The Agenda Iran, Russia and Jihadists Share for Conquering the World
By Jay Sekulow, (2016, First Howard Books, 310 Pages)
Reviewed by Steven R. Maher
If you dislike Muslims, you’ll love this book. If you were looking for an even-handed description of the Middle East turmoil, reading Unholy Alliance: The Agenda Iran, Russia and Jihadists Share for Conquering the World, will be a severe disappointment. That was this writer’s opinion after reading Jay Sekulow’s Unholy Alliance. In this book, Sekulow postulates the unlikely theory that “Muslim jihadists” such as Al-Qaeda and ISIS are conspiring with Iran and Vladimir Putin’s Russia to take over the world.
Sekulow wants the reader to believe that Sunni terrorist groups like Al-Qaeda and ISIS are, or could be, allied with Iranian Shiites to seize the planet. That the Sunnis and Shiites have been fighting each other for 1,400 years argues against this.As support for his belief in a pan-Muslim terrorist conspiracy, Sekulow says Shiite Iran is the major backer of the Sunni Hamas movement in the West Bank. That is an exceptional case, as Hamas is in the belly of Israel, and Israel is a major target of Islamic extremists today.
Sekulow ardmits that Iran is fighting Al-Qaeda in Syria, and asserts later that Al-Qaeda directs its overseas operations from Iranian sanctuaries. The idea that Iran is knowingly allowing Al-Qaeda to direct its Syrian followers from Iranian territory to kill Iranian Revolutionary Guards supporting Bashar Al-Assad in Syria, is absurd.
Chief Counsel of ACLJ
Sekulow is the Chief Counsel of the American Center for Law and Justice, the conservative version of the American Civil Liberties Union.
“The ACLJ was founded in 1990 by law school graduate and evangelical minister Pat Robertson to protect constitutional and human rights worldwide,” says Wikipedia. “ACLJ generally pursues constitutional issues and conservative Christian ideals in courts of law.”
This book reads like a law review article. Sekulow sources his book with Teutonic thoroughness, citing 1,460 endnotes in the186 pages in the body of the book. There are 119 pages – or 38% of the total – devoted to acknowledgments, notes, appendixes, and the index.
“Unholy Alliance” is like another tome reviewed here, “Trouble in the Tribe”. (See https://incitytimesworcester.org/steve-parked-%F0%9F%9A%99-in-roses-space-incity-times-book-review/.) In “Trouble in the Tribe”, we noted how the author dumped a great deal of specific information into endnotes, “which should have been better served in the main text, or attached as footnotes on the pages where they are cited.” In Unholy Alliance, there is a whole page for one endnote, and a large mass in commentary in the others that would better serve the reader being attached as footnotes. Unlike “Trouble in the Tribe”, “Unholy Alliance” makes little pretense at being an evenhanded analysis.
Sekulow analyzes the Muslim faith. He provides examples of how British Islamic groups prefer Islamic tribunals using Sharia law to British courts, and the terrible injustices which take place in those tribunals, particularly against women. He implies that America’s Muslim population has the same plan for the U.S. This book was published in September 2016, before Donald Trump’s surprising upset. Trump’s election makes the possibility of American courts adopting Sharia law remote.
He quotes sections of the Koran which, taken out of context and the times in which they were written, make the Muslim faith look absurd and blood thirsty. Sekulow acknowledges that critics of Judaism have done the same type of misrepresentation of the Jewish bible. He excuses this by saying essentially that the Koran was intended as a “universal and timeless” document, while the Jewish bible is a history book.
Some of the sources cited by Sekulow are at best dubious. This is another reason the author may have avoided footnotes. To find who the references are for some of these, you must turn several hundred pages forward to look up the endnote. On the other hand, if there were footnotes naming these sources, the questionable nature of some of Sekulow’s sources would become immediately known to the reader.
To illustrate this, we did a computer analysis of Chapter Nine “Iran and Al Qaeda”. The last time America launched a preemptive invasion in the Middle East, George W. Bush and the neocons linked Al-Qaeda to Iraq.
We plugged into an Excel spreadsheet the 141 sources cited by the author in 132 endnotes in Chapter 9. We then sorted the data by two sequences: by the source cited in the endnote; and by the year in which the source originated. We found:
• 51% of the sources were dated 2009 or prior. For some reason, Sekulow relied on older historical information. There were only four sources from 2012, two cites from one source dated 2014, and three from 2016.
• One out of five endnotes (28 in total) cited Ronen Bergman’s book “The Secret War with Iran.” One PBS broadcast was cited seven times. The 2004 9/11 Commission Report was cited 17 times. The 13 sources dated 2013 included four marked “opinion” in its web locations, and seven endnotes were from three sources.
• Most disturbing of all was Sekulow’s frequent cites to the Weekly Standard, the neoconservative magazine that clamored for the disastrous 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq. One such article, cited in five endnotes, was co-authored by William Kristol, America’s foremost neoconservative. There were 23 sources dated 2015; sixteen of these, or 70%, derived from the Weekly Standard. The same people who bought us the war in Iraq are now ginning up for a war in Iran.
As we said at the beginning of this book review, if you dislike Muslims, you’ll like this book. If you were looking for an even-handed description of the Middle East turmoil, reading “Unholy Alliance” will be a severe disappointment.
George Washington’s birthday?🎁February 22, 1732.🇺🇸🇺🇸 pic: R.T.
By Steven R. Maher
This coming Monday (February 20, 2017) Americans will celebrate Presidents’ Day. This writer thinks that the holiday should revert to the celebration of the United States’ two greatest Presidents, George Washington (born February 22, 1732) and Abraham Lincoln (born February 12, 1809).
My reasons for advocating this is that there are some Presidencies I don’t want to celebrate. Most Americans probably feel the same way. For example, if you’re a Republican, do you want to celebrate the Presidencies of Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama? Chances are, probably not. If you’re a Democrat, do you want to celebrate the Presidencies of Herbert Hoover, Richard Nixon, George W. Bush and Donald Trump? Chances are, probably not.
I think you see the point.
1971 Change in Law
In 1879 Congress passed a statute declaring Washington’s birthday a federal holiday for government offices in Washington DC. This was expanded in 1885 to include all federal offices. “As the first federal holiday to honor an American president, the holiday was celebrated on Washington’s actual birthday, February 22,” according to the online encyclopedia, Wikipedia.
In 1971 Congress enacted the “Uniform Monday Holiday Act,” the name of which explains why the holiday schedules were changed. Washington’s Birthday is now celebrated the third Monday in February. But “Washington’s Birthday” remains the official name of the federal holiday. Wikipedia noted: “Various theories exist for this, when reviewing the Uniform Monday Holiday Bill debate of 1968 in the Congressional Record, one notes that supporters of the bill were intent on moving federal holidays to Mondays to promote business.” Alexander Hamilton would have undoubtedly approved.
Historians’ Rankings of our Presidents
Presidential rankings have been a small American cottage industry since Arthur M. Schlesinger Sr. conducted a poll of historians ranking U.S. Presidents in 1948. Wikipedia has summarized many of these studies, and it seems that three Presidents are perennial favorites for greatest President: George Washington, Abraham Lincoln and Franklin D. Roosevelt, listed in this paragraph in chronological order. Usually, historians pick Lincoln as the greatest President, Washington as the second greatest and Roosevelt as third. My expectation is that Reagan will likely enter this top tier as our fourth greatest President. Reagan shifted the “correlation of forces” and momentum in the Cold War to favor the U.S., and the Soviet Union collapsed not long after Reagan left office.
The worst President, by consensus, was James Buchanan, who left office as southern states were abandoning the union because of Lincoln’s election. As Wikipedia puts it: “The C-SPAN Survey of Presidential Leadership consists of rankings from a group of presidential historians and ‘professional observers of the presidency’ who ranked presidents in a number of categories initially in 2000 and more recently in 2009. With some minor variation, both surveys found that historians consider Abraham Lincoln, George Washington and Franklin D. Roosevelt the three best presidents by a wide margin and William Henry Harrison (to a lesser extent), Warren G. Harding, Andrew Johnson, Franklin Pierce, George W. Bush and James Buchanan the worst.”
Bill Clinton once famously said a statement of his could be interpreted differently depending on how one defined the word “is.” To a large extent, the same can be said of Presidential “greatness.” One conservative Presidential historian ranked Presidents based on “whether their policies promoted prosperity, liberty and non-intervention, as well as modest executive roles for themselves.” As Wikipedia put it, “his final rankings varied significantly from those of most scholars.” If one ranked post World War II Presidents based on prosperity, balanced budgets and keeping the country out of war, Dwight Eisenhower and Bill Clinton would be ranked at the top.
The states do not have to blindly follow the federal government in naming holidays. Massachusetts joins eight other states in celebrating “Presidents’ Day.” Five states celebrate Washington and Lincoln’s birthdays: Montana, Colorado, Ohio, Utah and Minnesota. Ohio and Colorado celebrate “Washington-Lincoln Day.”
Massachusetts should join in with the latter two in celebrating Washington and Lincoln – and not non-entities like Chester Arthur and Millard Fillmore on a generic “Presidents Day.”
Chef Joey keeps it cozy in February with tasty treats!
Text, photos and recipes by Chef Joey
February is that funny month: it is shorter than the others and has a “Leap Year” attached to it. Here in New England there can be a roller-coaster ride of seasonal activity – from mild almost spring- like weather to frost-bite severe. We seem to be mirroring storms that graced us in 2015, not as severe yet, but just as menacing.
Chef Joey’s Vinny and Mikey lounge on the couch. Spoiled babies💙!
Some useless trivia: Because February is only 28 days long, it can actually have no full moons. The last full moon in February was in 1999, and the next gap is predicted on the 2018 astrological calendar.
It also is the host month of Mardi Gras (“Fat Tuesday,” literally translated), the kick off to Lent by Ash Wednesday followed, for some people, by 40 days of giving up something (albeit excused one day for St Patrick’s Day, March 17). Ironically, Fat Tuesday is the last day of February this year on the 28th, making March 1 Ash Wednesday.
Having grown up in France, this day was a build-up event. Basically eating everything that is fattening for 7 days before the fast!
We in the south of France made crêpes. In the middle country, they made Beignets or small doughnuts, and in Northern France, folks made waffles. All three meals are synonymous with the much celebrated day. Carnivals take place all over France. Carnival is a Latin word deriving from carnelevare, literally meaning “Lift out the meat”!! The following 40 days of fasting were virtually meat-free; butter and eggs were sparse in meals, as well.
In France, February 2 is always National Crêpe day, called “La Chandeleur.” It is a family event that involves Crepes, a gold coin and a flipping contest. My grandmother would make the crepe batter, and we all got a shot at flipping our delicate pancake. Tradition has it that if you flip the crêpe successfully, you won’t have any money problems. Oh, but there is a catch! You hold the coin with the hand you write with and flip your crepe with your other hand. It keeps things fun.
So, for French Crèpes, you make a simple batter:
1 cup flour, sifted
½ cup milk
½ cup water
¼ tsp salt
2 tbsp soft butter
Mix the eggs and flour together …
… adding the milk and water slowly. Add the salt and butter and whisk until smooth. In a hot skillet, add a tsp of butter, or cooking oil for savory crêpes coat well. Add ¼ cup batter for each crepe and tilt the pan so the batter swirls out – the back of a ladle also helps to spread it out.
Cook for about 1 minute or until the sides are brown. Lift with a spatula to loosen it and cook the other side. Stack them on top of each other and cover with a cake pan (for height) or a piece of foil.
Crepes can be savory (salty) filled with ham and melted cheese, or sweet, say filled with Nutella or something as simple as strawberry jam.
This is the easiest cookie recipe you will ever need for your entire life! The base is magic! And the fillings are what you want. When you make them from scratch, it takes 20 minutes and costs less than 20 cents a cookie. So bake a batch for your loved ones – they are nutritious and healthy.
You can add cinnamon, raisins, chocolate chips, dried fruit, glazes, frostings. Or you can roll this cookie dough out and get creative with cookie cutters. Or just roll into small balls for the perfect cookie.
You will need:
1 pound of soft BUTTER
1½ cups sugar
2 ¾ cup flour
2 tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
Mix the sugar and butter until light and fluffy …
… add the eggs and mix well.
Combine the flour, salt, baking soda and cream of tartar. Add flour mix in small batches – mix well.
Use a small ice-cream scoop to form round balls and place dough balls on an ungreased cookie sheet.
Bake for 15 mins in a 350-degree oven.
I make these cookies all the time for my foster daughter, and when she says, “Papa, I want a cookie!” I know she is getting good stuff. Tomorrow, when we’re snowed in …