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Unsung Eats: Berkshire Palate
Williamstown—Little Bun, Chicken & Waffle

Ordering up both the "Little Bun" cheeseburger and the "Chicken and Waffle" sandwich with a side of salt and vinegar fries turned out to be a good way to size up Berkshire Palate, this week's Unsung Eats; photo by James Kennedy.
Ordering up both the "Little Bun" cheeseburger and the "Chicken and Waffle" sandwich with a side of salt and vinegar fries turned out to be a good way to size up Berkshire Palate, this week's Unsung Eats; photo by James Kennedy.

Unsung Eats is all about finding great food for a great value all over North county, and today we find ourselves in picturesque Williamstown at a cool little eatery called Berkshire Palate. 

Berkshire Palate is located in the Colonial Plaza on Route 2 where there is plenty of parking.

Once inside, I sat down in the front window at the high counter and looked around. The place is cozy and clean with an upscale feel, and there were other diners there happily chatting away. A man named Paul came to greet me and take my drink order. We talked a bit and I discovered that Paul was part owner, going into business with his sons, opening Berkshire Palate less than a year ago.

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The Amazing African Violet

First new plant to bloom in 2019; photo by Sheila Velazquez.
First new plant to bloom in 2019; photo by Sheila Velazquez.

The houseplant that blooms year-round to add beautiful color inside when the landscape outside is gray is the African Violet. Growing and propagating them is much easier than you might imagine. And while spring is the time when we look forward to our outdoor gardens, an African Violet begun now from scratch will begin flowering at about the time your garden begins to fade and die. It takes two to three months for the plants to appear, and about as long until first bloom. It is time well worth it.

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Colcannon, soda bread, and an Irish ditty

A super-nutritious (and satisfying!) staple of rustic Irish Cooking, colcannon can be prepared in a multitude of ways; photo by Sheila Velazquez.
A super-nutritious (and satisfying!) staple of rustic Irish Cooking, colcannon can be prepared in a multitude of ways; photo by Sheila Velazquez.

The traditional St. Patrick’s Day feast is corned beef and cabbage. Potatoes round out the meal and can be boiled or mashed. I make them as colcannon, mashed potatoes into which butter, milk, salt and pepper, and cooked and chopped kale is mixed. So simple, so good. I used the remaining container of frozen kale from last year’s garden to make the batch shown. Make extra, because it goes well with everything. I especially like a scoop on a plate of eggs. 

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That elusive third party everyone might like to see get crankin’.

Rally in Bozeman, Montana; photo by Sheila Velazquez
Rally in Bozeman, Montana; photo by Sheila Velazquez

What if we had a party, and everybody came. Well, it wouldn’t have to be everybody, just the majority of Americans who haven’t been invited to the parties of either the Democrats or the Republicans, the folks whose interests aren’t served when the toasts are made and the swag handed out. Now that would be some party.

I haven’t voted for either a Democrat or Republican presidential candidate in a long while. I would have if the DNC hadn’t sabotaged Bernie’s campaign. That’s one I supported with all my heart and one to which I contributed. Not a huge amount, but considering what a cheapskate I am (ask my kids), it was a lot for me. 

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Seeing our way clear to sustainability

Prominent pollution in 2006 photo Los Angeles, as viewed from the Hollywood Hills, by Diliff (cropped); CC BY-SA 3.0; via Wikimedia Commons.
Prominent pollution in a 2006 photo of Los Angeles, as viewed from the Hollywood Hills, by Diliff (cropped), CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

It could be said that we will not have peace on Earth until peace becomes more profitable than war, but applying this same principle to the choice between fossil fuels and clean, renewable energy is a no-brainer. The benefits of the transition to clean energy are not only numerous but quite profitable.

Fossil fuels, like coal, oil and natural gas, have been the lifeblood of America since well before the Industrial Revolution, and it could easily be argued that fossil fuels made a very large contribution towards making America the economic force in the world that it is today.

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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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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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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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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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Girls are officially in Boy Scouts. Now what?

By Creighton Holub, guest columnist
cypressnewsreview.com

If you’ve lived under a rock for the past year or so, this might be breaking news to you, but starting today — Feb. 1, 2019 — the Boy Scouts of America have opened the final door to girls participating in the organization’s keystone program: The Boy Scouts.

With one minor change: The program for 11-to-17 year olds that is most famously known for the Eagle Scout Award also changed it’s name to “Scouts BSA” today.

Screeeeeeech!

Did you hear the sound of tires screeching on pavement? Just a few sentences in and I feel the need to explain this further.

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