Archive | December, 2011

Words of Wisdom Wednesday

21 Dec

Be the Change, Sucka!

I Suffer From Farmer’s Market Remorse.

19 Dec

This Saturday, Jamie, Jack and I popped over to the Mount Kisco Farmer’s Market to check out the re-opened digs and see what new vendors had joined the cast. We were pleased to see a near-full gymnasium at the Boys & Girls Club, and started our walk around to see what looked good.

But there was a problem. A problem that persists at every Farmer’s Market outing I make. I call it Farmer’s Market Remorse. Basically, I guilt my way into purchasing things I absolutely don’t need or want, purely because I partook in the vendor’s free sampling, and I don’t want to offend. So there I was, in front of the Jam Guy. He was really laying it on thick. Not only did he lure us over to taste his jams and jellies, but he was smooth. He flirted a little. He teased the hubby that I clearly was the decision maker in the family. And he encouraged us to sample one of every 42 flavors he had on hand. Forget the facts that, a) I rarely eat jam/jelly, b) hubby NEVER eats jam/jelly, c) we have a pantry full of jams and jellies that have been gifted to us over the last few years (do those things have a shelf life?) Facts notwithstanding, there I stood, guilted into the decision of buying one jam for $12 or 2 for $20. I mean really, like the guy said, you can never have too many jams. And you can cook with them!! (Sure, I’ll get right on that.)

Moving on, and we’re wooed by the couple who are selling hot sauces. The wife was handing out samples of hush puppies, which if you don’t know are basically fried balls of crack. So of course, we obliged, and as we stood nodding our heads in agreement at how tasty these were, she started in on her spiel about how easy it is to cook with this stuff and I can use it as breading on fish or chicken and fry it up in a little oil. I was hooked. Forget the fact that I’ve never fried anything in my life. She said it was easy, so why not. I hand over my $8 and she hands me a small box of hush puppy-like breading in a chinese takeout container. Hmm. Buyer’s remorse begins as soon as I place the container in the stroller basket.

Next we passed the rickety old table topped with different kinds of salad greens, and a big bowl of what looked like chopped cabbage salad. At this point Hubby was full and just strolled on by without so much as a glance in their direction. Me, however, I made eye contact with the hipster-turned-farmer boy who was working a total 1930’s post-Depression fashion look. (Love the slightly dirty, I-work-on-a-farm newsboy cap! Chic!) He saw right through my disinterest in his salads and lured me over by asking if my son liked veggies. Oh boy. You can’t ignore a farmer who wants to talk to you about your kid’s nutrition. That would crown me crappy mom of the year. Sigh. Here we go. $9 later and I’m the proud owner of a big plastic container of shredded cabbage, for which I have no idea what I will do with. Fish tacos, anyone?

We walked out of the farmer’s market $55 poorer, and with the most random selection of goods, none of which we really wanted. (Except for the sausage and fresh pasta, that was going to be dinner later). Of course I’ll be back next week, if only to practice building a thicker skin against the lure of the free tastings. Nothing’s free, my friends.

Main Street is Dying.

14 Dec

Sure, that’s a dramatic statement. But one that’s not so untrue. In a recent post I talked about supporting small businesses and doing our part to stimulate the local economy. Since then, news has broken that one of my favorite restaurants in my town of Mount Kisco, The Flying Pig on Lexington, is shuttering due to unreasonable rent increases. I’ve also head the rumors that Annie Sez, Ann Taylor and Gap are on their way out of town. If these big box retailers can’t afford to be here, what hope is there for the little people?

I’m scared for my community. Driving through town I see not the festive holiday windows of thriving businesses, but the empty ones of those that have been forced to close up shop. I didn’t move to Mount Kisco for that kind of community.

I guess what I’m driving at is, I think it’s time for change around here. I’ve never actually been a political person. I’ve attended few rallies in my life. I have signed my name in support of many causes, and donated money too, but none that I felt truly “passionate” about. This, however, I feel passionate about.

Last night, over drinks with my favorite gal pal Maria Colaco, we proposed that it might be time to Occupy Main Street. While the Occupy protesters around the country are catching a lot of flack for not having a strong “message,” or demand, we’d like to suggest we first get the conversation started online and hear what others have to say about the matter. Let’s see if collectively, we can be the change we want to see in our town, in our community, and in our country.

Please join the conversation here in the comments section, and on Twitter using the hashtag #westchat. If you’re unfamiliar with hashtags, they are a way to organize a conversation on Twitter in a separate stream, making it easy to join or follow at any time. All you have to do is include the hashtag #westchat at the end of your tweets about this topic and they will be shared within our local Twitter community.

Thanks, and we look forward to hearing your concerns and ideas!

Avoid HHD This Party Season

8 Dec

HHD: Holiday Hosting Disaster

This is a follow-up to my Hostess With the Mostess post, and one I hope will help you dodge disaster this holiday season. When all else fails, revert to the Charlie Sheen Appetizer and pray for the best.

Scenario: Your cheap-ass guests didn’t bring wine or booze — and you assumed they’d contribute, so you didn’t fully restock the Wild Turkey or White Zin.

Solution: It’s “party punch” time! Mix what you have in a big bowl. Add juice and cut up fruit. Serve. And make sure to have the local taxi service number on hand for when cheap-arse guests become cheap-arse drunkards.

Lesson learned? ALWAYS have enough alcohol on hand for a party. Whatever your guests bring should be gifts, not contributions. Ya’ hear?

Scenario: You were too busy making last-minute party punch and forgot about the hors d’ouvres in the oven. Now they are charred beyond recognition.

Solution: Delivery. Crack open the menus and order up some dosas and dumplings. Sure, they may take 30 minutes or so to arrive, but this is the perfect opportunity to distract everyone by allowing your inappropriate friend tell all of those inappropriate jokes you’re always cringing at.

Lesson learned? Don’t let the majority of your party food be hot hors d’ouvres. Think about things you can prepare ahead,  so you’re not caught in a lurch when your guests start arriving!

Scenario: Someone spills red wine on your new white sofa.

Solution: Don’t serve red wine. At large parties, it’s best to ply people with clear fluids.* Think champagne, white wine, gin and tonics and vodka martinis. Sure, you’ll have a few guests who will be momentarily ticked off they can’t enjoy a glass of Cab. Just point them to the Charlie Sheen appetizers and all will be forgiven.

*Note: this solution doesn’t work so well if you’ve been forced to make the “party punch” mentioned above. In which case, if someone spills red wine (or punch) on your new white sofa, just cry . 

Lesson learned? White sofas are never a good idea, unless you’re a recluse hermit with an OCD cleaning habit. If there is the slightest chance your home will be infiltrated with kids, dogs, cats, gerbils, weird uncles or guests of any kind, and you like the clean, minimalist look, go for linen colored slipcovers.

Scenario: Someone brought their kids to your holiday hangover-inducing extravaganza. Seriously.

Solution: This is a good reason to have some of the neighborhood kids’ on your radar. Call around and see if you can get a last minute mother’s helper or babysitter for a few hours. Offer to pay $20/hr. I think the going rate around these parts seems to be between $10-15, but hey – you’re calling last-minute, and money talks. Ask the sitter to keep the kids occupied away from the party, maybe watching a movie, or playing board games. Remember to check in on them every 25 minutes or so. Twenty five minutes in kid time is major.

Lesson learned? Strike up casual convos the week leading up to your party with all of your “parent” guests inquiring if they found a babysitter for party night. Or only invite single, non-parent friends. They’re more fun anyway.

Scenario: Two of your guests get into a “spirited” debate about politics, religion, or the religion of politics.

Solution: Drop something, spill something, or knock something off a shelf. (Go for the unbreakables, obviously.) The objective here is to cut the tension and turn people’s attention to something else. Chances are, once they scurry to help you out, they will realize the whole “wrong time, wrong place” thing and change the subject.

Lesson learned? There isn’t one, really. This is an inevitable fact of parties and gatherings. Just go with it and hope it ends with as few casualties as possible.

May the season be merry and bright. May your fireplace always be crackling. May your cup always be full. May your parties be great successes, and may you avoid HHD. Happy Holidays!

Have your own HHD tip or story to share? By all means!

Words of Wisdom Wednesday

7 Dec

Cheerios make great elf donuts.