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Kasey à la mode: A little Valentine’s Day Sweetness

Kasey's New York Style Cheesecake; photo by Kasey Rogers.
Kasey's New York Style Cheesecake; photo by Kasey Rogers.

My husband Paul was born on Valentine’s Day. He once told me his mother wanted to name him Valentino. I’m so glad she changed her mind!

The first time I made dinner for him was to celebrate this double occasion. I wanted it to be extra special so weeks before his birthday, I started planning.  First, I consulted my Aunt Lil. She was an excellent cook with an extensive collection of cookbooks. She suggested I come over and she would help me comb through some of her recipes. 

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Year of the Pig: If only politicians were more like them

Your average pig tries to live a pretty clean life, and would likely avoid the Beltway if at all possible; photo by Jason Velázquez.
Your average pig tries to live a pretty clean life, and would likely avoid the Beltway if at all possible; photo by Jason Velázquez.

My image of our leaders in Washington is of a herd of pigs wallowing in the muck. But that’s a disservice to pigs. I love pigs, and I really wish politicians were more like them.

I raised pigs for several years, beginning with Milda, a Yorkshire I had every intention of raising to 150 pounds and putting in the freezer. Like a pink puppy, Milda was soon following me around and visiting the other animals. She was a “Babe.” I decided, “Hey, I like pigs. I want more!” When Milda reached maturity, I trucked her off to a friend with a boar. The union resulted in a litter of fourteen. Of these, I kept five females, rounding out the herd to a half dozen. An extension that included a maternity wing was added to the barn, three roomy straw-filled pens for my girls. And Milda became the matriarch of hogdom.

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The (Very) Bearable Lightness of Being Over the Hill

Dating app, Bumper, pixelmanced by Jason Velázquez.
Theoretical dating app, Bumper, pixelmanced by Jason Velázquez.

In early January, French author and filmmaker Yann Moix took a bath into a cauldron of hot water by declaring in an interview with the French edition of Marie Claire that women over age 50 are “too, too old” to love, and thus are “invisible” to him. He based his argument on the highly scientific theory that a 25-year-old woman’s body is “extraordinary,” whereas a 50-year-old woman’s body is “not extraordinary at all.”

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Two Distinct Exhibits In A Historic Building

Terry Winters, Untitled (2), 1999; gouache on paper, 44 1/4 X 30 1/2 inches; private collection [Source: Matthew Marks Gallery]
Terry Winters, Untitled (2), 1999; gouache on paper, 44 1/4 X 30 1/2 inches; private collection [Source: Matthew Marks Gallery]

Xylor Jane: Counterclockwise & Terry Winters: Facts & Fiction

“I saw it in New York,” or “I saw it in the city” is an often-heard response when an exhibit of well established artists come to the mountains and valleys of western Massachusetts. It happens all the time at MASS MoCA. My response generally is, “Well, did you see it in a gallery the size of a football field? Could you look down on it from above?” One such show, slightly to the east of us, is now on view at the University of Massachusetts Amherst Fine Arts Center, which houses the University Museum of Contemporary Art.

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Our daily bread

The rewards of homemade bread really do outweigh the work; photo by Kasey Rogers.
The rewards of homemade bread really do outweigh the work; photo by Kasey Rogers.

I’ve been thinking a lot about bread lately. As a child, I use to pester my neighbor Mrs. Swanson for bread and butter. Somehow, hers always tasted better than my mom’s. She coated each piece with a thick layer of butter. It was heaven to me.

My love affair with bread never ended. No matter how many loaves I bake, there’s still an excitement when I take a loaf out of the oven. I can almost hear the steam that escapes when it’s sliced. The long, cold nights in the Berkshires where I live might be one reason I have bread on my mind. Is there anything better than dunking a piece of chunky buttered bread into the bowl of soup? It’s so much better than using a spoon to get the last of the liquid.

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The Green New Deal

Caring about our future and doing something about it are two different things. While both are noble enough pursuits, only one of them will yield fruit.  There has been a lot of talk in the news these days about something called the Green New Deal, and it encompasses both caring about our future and taking action to do something about it. The benefits, both economically and socially, could be countless, the undertaking enormous, and it will require that we inform ourselves, as citizens, the best we can in order for it to succeed.

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New Shows! New Performances! Not to be missed!

Paul Feeley, 1910-196; A Girl With A Doll, in Works on Paper: A Decade of Collecting [source: Bennington Museum]
Paul Feeley, A Girl With a Doll, on view in Works on Paper: A Decade of Collecting [source: Bennington Museum]

Supposedly, February is the off-season for cultural happenings in the Berkshires and neighboring communities. Don’t believe it! From Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute’s incredible Curtis R. Priem Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center (EMPAC) in Troy, New York, to Bennington Museum in Bennington, Vermont, to Smith College Museum of Art’s opening exhibit, Plastic Entanglements, Ecology, Aesthetics, Materials, the breath, depth and diversity of our region knows no bounds. The above are, but a few of the incredible opportunities within an hour of north county to witness new, innovative art or fresh new discoveries of Vermont Folk sculpture. Fortunately most of these exhibits are on view for at least a month and some through the spring season. Plan ahead and enjoy!

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Turning Cabin Fever into Cabin Solace

Ice garden on a very old (1847) north-facing window of Lawrence Hall, home of the Williams College Museum of Art.
Ice garden on a very old (1847) north-facing window of Lawrence Hall, home of the Williams College Museum of Art; photo by Sheila Velazquez

A friend made the comment that “February is good for nothing.” I’ve never felt that way. I enjoy the peace and calm of the month to which “cabin fever” is so often attributed. Instead, I think of it as the month for cabin solace, the calm between frantic end-of-the-year activity and the longer days leading to spring. 

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To lead in word and deed

 Before we hear the president address our great nation tonight with his State of the Union speech, let’s review what it is that makes someone a good leader.

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Colour and Form: Beauty in Abstraction

Sarah Sutro, Landscape Composite #6, 2015. Acrylic on Canvas [source: Gallery 51]
Sarah Sutro, Landscape Composite #6, 2015. Acrylic on canvas [source: Gallery 51]

Overwhelmed by large museums? Would you like to take a moment to look at artwork, but you don’t want to pay admission or dedicate an entire afternoon? There is an answer. MCLA Gallery 51, 51 Main Street, North Adams, Mass.  Now on view is Colour and Form: Beauty in Abstraction.

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A clear and present (actual) national emergency

I have no problem with the president declaring a national emergency, under The National Emergencies Act of 1976, when it is absolutely necessary to do so. We have ignored one particular dire threat to our country’s safety, security, and the well-being of our future for far too long.

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“Kasey à la mode,” a column of flavorful phrases, debuts

2Beans Café & Tearoom, the former bistro owned and run by Kasey Rogers, author of "Kasey à la mode."

Ah, food! Is there anything more delightful than eating a home-cooked meal? Yes! Preparing one! As a child, I picked wild blueberries in the woods behind our house. Then I’d help my mother roll out a pie crust. I remember eating cucumbers straight from the vegetable garden in our backyard. Cooking was a creative outlet and an expression of love. Was it Cesar Chavez who said, “the people who give you their food give you their heart?”

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