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Columns - Page 4

Dem Bones

Since we stopped hunting and gathering and turned to markets for our food and ingredients, cost-conscious cooks have depended on affordable basics to provide hearty, healthy meals for their families. Many of these items are now being appropriated and glorified by “foodies” who have “discovered” them. The gentrification of traditional foods has enhanced the plates of the few at the cost of the many.

Nearly all ethnicities have roasted, then simmered, soup bones for a stock. Used to be that you could ask a butcher for some, and he would give you a big bag, cut into perfect lengths, for free.…

JOBS

Having moved to North Adams in the summer of 2018, I asked one of the locals in the know what he thought was one of the most important issues facing our small city. He replied, “Jobs.”

James KennedyJames Kennedy is a local artist and former businessman. He enjoys fine art, cooking and music. His own artworks are on view and available for purchase at his website.

Happy Hallmark Holiday

If you buy your holiday tree at a cut-your-own place, what tool do you bring or do they supply you with? Likely it’s a bow saw–a lightweight, efficient tool that nearly anyone, even me, can handle. It’s the tool that the workers at the lot use to even the cut of a precut tree so that it will stand nicely in your container and drink enough water to keep it green through the week or two it will gasp in an overheated room.…

Friends

I don’t know if I’m a cat person or a dog person. Love them both. I’m also a chicken, cow, goat, rabbit, and children person. Just know that I am not, with few exceptions, an adult people person. My adult friends tend to include struggling farmers, struggling artists and writers, and others struggling to make it at something they love while maintaining their dignity. To nearly everyone else, I am friendly, but there is a difference.

Sheila VelazquezSheila Velazquez is a writer and editor whose work has appeared in more than 100 print newspapers and magazines, including Grit, New Woman, the Hartford Courant, the New Haven Register, the San Antonio Express-News and Bay Area Parent.…

Easy Fruit or Vegetable Fritters 

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It’s time to get up on the stool and pull the cookie press and other seasonal baking gadgets from the top shelf. I normally don’t eat a lot of sweets, but there’s something about this time of year that calls me to gain a few extra pounds, on top of the other extra pounds.

Sheila VelazquezSheila Velazquez is a writer and editor whose work has appeared in more than 100 print newspapers and magazines, including Grit, New Woman, the Hartford Courant, the New Haven Register, the San Antonio Express-News and Bay Area Parent.…

Garbage, the Financial Markets and Preparedness: What’s the Connection?

“The Gleaners,” by Jean-Francoise Millet; oil

Goldman Sachs has upgraded Waste Management stock from a sell to a buy as a safe place to invest in a downsizing economy. At first read, this made little sense to me, as I think of a recession as a time when you hunker down and buy less, thereby creating less garbage. But maybe it’s a well-run company in an era of companies that produce goods and services that we can actually do without, making it at least a necessity of sorts.…

Working for Legumes

Workers at a counter in a cafe; photo by Afta Putta Gunawan

The short-term interests of the financial elite override the long-term interests of society as a whole (the rest of us). Their goal is to keep stock prices and profits soaring by whatever means possible. Currently they are shaking in their boots because they can hear the bear growling off in the woods

Sheila VelazquezSheila Velazquez is a writer and editor whose work has appeared in more than 100 print newspapers and magazines, including Grit, New Woman, the Hartford Courant, the New Haven Register, the San Antonio Express-News and Bay Area Parent.…

Prepping for the Possible — Part II

It doesn’t take a lot of land to grow enough vegetables for one family and maybe even fit in a chicken coop. Many towns have farm-friendly policies that allow a small number of hens only (for the uninformed, you don’t need a rooster unless you want the eggs to be fertile). There is no piece of ground so small that it can’t be brought into production.

Some pretty amazing wisdom can be found in the pages of the classic self-reliance series, Foxfire; photo by Sheila Velazquez.…

Prepping for the Possible — Part I

I couldn’t sleep as news and statistics about our future danced in my head. I tried counting sheep, but as someone who once raised sheep, it didn’t work. It just led me to thinking about shearing and spinning and all the nice organic lamb we used to put in the freezer. I won’t go into particulars about what is coming down the pike re the trade crisis, foreign entanglements, climate change, shortages, terrorism, possible shutdown of the power grid, financial collapse, and our corrupt (on both sides) political system.…

Cooking and Cookbooks

I love to cook as much as I love to eat. During my farming days, meat was kept in a large dedicated chest freezer until a particular craving struck. My favorite meal was roast pork, and before the meat was done, I had usually picked off about half of the crusty fat squares and devoured them.

Betty Crocker’s Picture Cook Book, 2nd Edition; 1956; photo by Sheila Velazquez 

Sheila VelazquezSheila Velazquez is a writer and editor whose work has appeared in more than 100 print newspapers and magazines, including Grit, New Woman, the Hartford Courant, the New Haven Register, the San Antonio Express-News and Bay Area Parent.…

Life and Death in a Backyard

The greens have been washed, carrots pulled and leeks chopped and frozen. Nothing sets me in motion faster than a hard freeze warning. My small garden is now devoid of living things aboveground, and the earthworms who have multiplied and prospered belowground are heading south and into the composting ditches I have dug in circles around the crabapple tree. I grew an amazing amount of food in a tiny space this year, and I am expanding for next.

Sheila VelazquezSheila Velazquez is a writer and editor whose work has appeared in more than 100 print newspapers and magazines, including Grit, New Woman, the Hartford Courant, the New Haven Register, the San Antonio Express-News and Bay Area Parent.…

Play Ball!

About a year ago I bought myself a new flat screen tv to replace the old one. It was a treat for my birthday, which comes at the end of baseball season, beginning of football season. I hadn’t been watching or listening to much television for quite awhile. Mostly PBS and NPR and Spotify apps, and fast, young, athletic men in tight uniforms.

A cozy New England Patriots fleece throw—essential gear for Pats games in this weather; photo by Sheila Velazquez

Sheila VelazquezSheila Velazquez is a writer and editor whose work has appeared in more than 100 print newspapers and magazines, including Grit, New Woman, the Hartford Courant, the New Haven Register, the San Antonio Express-News and Bay Area Parent.…

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