Monday, April 1, 2019

They STILL Don't Understand!

    I was watching a show on television last night called America's Hidden Stories on the Smithsonian Channel. I love this show and find it very intriguing and informative.....except for one particular episode called Salem's Secrets. One of their tag lines is:

 "Today, a group of historians uncovers new information about the infamous witch hunt in an effort to answer its most enduring mysteries."

    Boy did my "gander" get up! I just cannot believe that with our supposed, evolving intelligence, these so-called experts, historians and psychologists are still reaching for straws when it comes to explaining the actions of these wretched girls who cast unfounded aspersions of the poor souls of Salem in 1692.

    They were on the program alluding to a NEW psychosis/disorder in order to explain what Occam's Razor has already, and I elaborate in my book Witch Hunts. There is NO psychosis, no medical or psychological reason and absolutely no sickness involved in this hysteria. And the answer is right in front of you, actually in that one word at the end of the previous sentence.

    Everything and everyone has to have a label now, which is absurd. It is as if my father's premonition is coming true. He told me before he died in 2001 that he was glad he was departing this life because slowly our world, especially our country, is becoming a blameless society. Nobody will accept fault for their actions, nor will those who have the intelligence place blame. Rather finding a "rational" label for their behavior, which is irrational on its face.
    These experts are furthering foolish labeling only to have their listeners think they are so intelligent in their assertions and diagnosis that everyone should believe them. THEY are the last word on a subject that needs no intelligence to understand, conclude and answer. Simply common sense, a level head and the attitude of not caring about notoriety or publicity.
    Purely propaganda, notoriety, self grandiose attention were the SOLE reason for the dangerous behavior in 1692. And think about this. We are STILL using the same exact behavior today, and have over the centuries since Salem. Further proof that we have not evolved in intelligence, but still allow our attention seeking soul to override common sense.


    Read my book, Witch Hunts, and you will completely understand and with any luck, you will heed the past and actually evolve intelligently.



Tuesday, February 12, 2019

My Labor of Love

 


    I have just finished my book called An Amazing Journey. It is the complete book on the Bailey family, the ancestry and the lineage that has so eluded genealogists for decades. But it is far more than a "black and white" genealogical work. I have added a TON of information on the early families of New England in the Massachusetts colony, as well as way too much data to even begin listing here. Containing hundreds of names and old New England families, I have added so much information on exactly how our ancestors lived, and not the affluent inhabitants. It just so happens that my family were simply...well, simple in means. We worked for a living and always have. I go into detail about every day lives of every day citizens of Puritan New England, Massachusetts and Maine and continue up until the start of the 20th century.

   Going back to the times before the early 17th century, I take you on a journey through England, the greatest storm ever to hit New England's coast and continue backward to the Norman Conquest, the castles and lands held not only by our family but others of prominence.
Continuing back, I solve many mysteries and place the "missing brick" back into the wall that has so often hindered historians.

   I take you to a time where our family was murdered on one hand, yet crowned King on the other. We break open the secret veil of adultery that is STILL not talked about in English stories of the monarchy.

   I take you through biblical times and beyond in order to continue one family's line, unbroken, to the beginning of time. This is an accomplishment that is rarely completed and I am proud to have finished.

   From the founding of small towns such as Baileyville, Topsfield, Princeston, Maine and surrounding towns, to the Bailey records of Newburyport and Salisbury, MA and continuing on back in time to Chippenham, Scotland and Wales, find information not in print and undiscovered as you read yourself back in time. I give you information that has never been sought out and linked together in order to  complete this family history. A very comprehensive book that reads like a fiction. You will also find some valuable information for the beginning genealogist as well as some data that professional genealogists have overlooked all these years.

   But my proudest literary achievement in this book has to do with Nathaniel Bailey. He was the founder of Baileyville in Maine and there is so much missing about his life....up until this book! I have closed every single missing year and added so much data on him that I am proud to have descended from him.


   This truly is a wondrous Trek Through Time and I urge you to grab your copy. I will add, however, that at times, I am simply black and white. What I mean is I give precise and concise data on food prices, home living, how our ancestors named their children and a lot of information that I did not take the poetic license to glorify or dramatize it. What was it that Sgt. Friday always said on Dragnet? "Just the facts!". If I had taken the drama route in order to hyperbolize some of these stories, the book would have easily been a thousand pages.

 
   If you want a book that ensnares you in a fictional world and keeps you enraptured an imaginative tale , pay attention to my next book, which will be a novel full of....well, you will soon see.

For those of you who wish to order, please see:

 https://www.amazon.com/dp/179644247X

.....or simply email me directly through the contact form to your right.

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Remember When?

   I thought I would share some memories of days long ago when we weren't glued to our electronic devices so that we can try to bring down our stress levels from all the political nonsense and foolishness that pervade our lives minute in and minute out. Some of the following items were way before my time, but I am sure many of you have heard stories passed down from your parents, grandparents of days when being outside brought about imaginative games, snacks and treats were so few and far between that they are indelibly mounted on our biological memory board. Foods that are no longer made, but thought of in a calming manner and toys that made us smile much more than adolescent and, oftentimes, vulgar memes.

   For example, I remember all too vividly and happily, albeit mundane and a pain in the butt at the time, having to use the dictionary and encyclopedia whenever I needed an answer for school or pleasure. "Dad, what does monumental mean?" I would ask my Dad, even though I knew precisely the answer that was bellowed from his deeply rich retort. "Look it up!"....Always the same answer to every single query I sought an answer to.

   I fondly remember Dad telling me about his grandfather going out into the woods in Topsfield, Maine to gather a(now long forgotten)glob of spruce gum. Dad was wicked happy when he saw his grandfather return, reach into his pocket and pull  out a small wooden box with a sliding lid, He knew instantly that he was in for a treat of some of Mother Nature's finest...thick spruce sap that had been stretched, pulled and kneaded by his grandfather until it had formed a mass of soft plastic-like rubbery chewing gum. Many of the old time loggers in Maine woods would take their off
day(Sunday)and forage throughout the woods to collect this sap and store it in their own spruce gum box so that when they returned home to their children at the end of logging season. Kids adored this treat almost as much as they were happy to see their fathers again.

I won't go on and on about each item, nor do I need to.


Other forgotten gum from years gone by are:

Beachnut chewing gum.

Blackjack chewing gum.

Clove chewing gum.

Teaberry chewing gum.

Other sweet delights that are sadly gone today were:

Sugar Mama's.

Razzles.


Teem soda.

Shasta soda.

Sassafras(Sarsaparilla) soda.

Birch beer or soda.

RC soda.

How about tripe?

Eel.

Liver and onions.

Cod Liver oil.

Mercurochrome.

Iodine.

Father John's.

Castor oil.

Eye patches or lens covering for amblyopia.
Disclosure tablets


How about dressing up simply on Halloween? Hobo's and ghosts.

Red Rover.

Kick the Can.

3-legged races

.


Our clothing in the 1970s with platform shoes and butterfly collars...oh, and bell bottoms
Tag, Freeze tag, TV tag...

Playing marbles

Jacks

Red Light, Green Light.

And how about those little ditties that have stuck with us for decades, like cigarette commercials and MacDonalds.

"Winston takes good, like a cigarette should"

Remember dressing up simply on Halloween?


The old Maypole



Or being able to utter "Two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions, on a sesame seed bun", in 4 seconds for a free Big Mac?
We thought we were the coolest when we got our first record player
















 "Us Tareyton smokers would rather fight that switch";




Or always getting your Dad Hai Karate aftershave on Father's Day?





Sunday, December 23, 2018

That Grimace Look

   


     That is exactly the look most people create on the outside or within when they think of Christmas Fruit Cakes. More of a door stop than a dessert. And actually, I often think the same way! "Supah" heavy and bewildered as to how this cake can actually hold together with the obvious overload of candied fruit and nuts. And to be completely honest, this cake has changed very little over the centuries. Lighter in color and lacking alcohol of any type are the main signs of this cake losing its "kick". And this is solely because of our diets and tastes. Even though today's fruit cakes sold prepackaged in stores are basically a yellow-colored cake, producers think this may draw in the health conscious, although the calories remain basically the same  as if it were prepared during the Puritan era in New England and Victorian age in England, and elsewhere in the world.


Here is a quick rundown of this famous, or infamous, cake that is either enjoyed or ridiculed during Christmas as it has been classically made in the most popular cuisines.

Although there are literally dozens and dozens of recipes for fruit cakes, each supposedly unique and original,they all fall into 3 main categories--white, light and dark. Fruits, spices and liquors vary from one to another. Fruit cakes are English in origin and have been the centerpiece of dining tables during the Holidays, using local products. 


All of these cakes were stored for many months, wrapped in rum or a brandy soaked cloth and placed in an airtight container. They really did, and still do, improve with age.  

Swedish Apricot Nut Bread, also called Aprikosnotbrod. It has apricots, brandy, sweet butter, orange juice, walnuts and the grated zest of lemons.


Dublin Fruit Cake had cherries, almonds, raisins, currants, candied fruit peel, apples, almond extract and Irish whiskey. It was generally covered in almond paste icing.

Danish Beer Fruit Cake. This intensely flavored cake is called Olfrugtbrod and had raisins, currants, candied fruit peel, sweet butter, almonds and dried fruit that was soaked in dark beer.

Cherry Whiskey Cake is from Scotland and had both granulated and brown sugars, sweet butter, cherries that had been soaked in Scotch whiskey, currants, angelica, citron and orange peel. 

(Angelica, or wild celery leaves, roots or more commonly stems,  used to be sold candied or crystallized and were once a very popular cake decoration or eaten alone.)
 

Victorian Plum Cake was an English fruit cake that contained raisins, currants, almonds, candied cherries and fruit peel, sweet butter, brown sugar, molasses, brandy, rum, sherry or Madeira and the grated zest of oranges and lemons. It was covered with almond paste icing.


English Twelfth Cake, Three Kings Cake, hid both a dried pea and bean for the lucky one who came across one in the slice. The bean determined the King for the evening and the pea relegated the Queen. It contained white rum, raisins, currants, citron, angelica, candied orange peel, sweet butter, almond extract, mace, almonds and almond icing as well. 

Golden Coconut Fruit Cake was a southern United States treat many decades ago. It has sweet butter, cloves, mace, sherry or rose water, raisins, figs, citron, almonds and unsweetened coconut.

Charleston Crystal White Fruit Cake. Citron, raisins, almonds, pineapple, coconut, sweet butter, rose water and almond extract were the main ingredients of this lighter fruit cake that was ended with a covering of almond paste icing. 


Black Fruit Cake was an Italian, Canadian and southern American favorite for many generations. It was baked full of raisins, currants, rum, hard apple cider, candied orange, lemon and citron peel, cherries, pineapple, almonds, walnuts, mace, sweet butter, brown sugar, molasses and covered with melted chocolate, apricot preserves and almond paste icing.

Jamaican Black Fruit Cake. The secret of this cake lies in the soaking of the raisins, currants, citron, figs, dates and prunes in rum for at least 4 weeks, but popularly 4 months. It was common for the fruit to be soaking by August every year in Jamaica, then added to a cake which had cherries, candied orange peel, almonds, more Jamaican rum, orange juice, brandy, sweet butter, brown sugar, cloves and covered in almond paste icing. 
Ladies World magazine, 1915


Martha Washington's "Great Cake", which was traditionally served at Mount Vernon on Christmas day, New Years Day and Twelfth Night. The original recipe, now in the Mount Vernon archives, starts by calling for 40 eggs, with the whites being beaten to a froth with a bundle of twigs. Raisins, currants, candied orange and lemon peel, citron, candied angelica, red and green cherries, brandy, mace and sherry rounded off the flavor profile of this popular and festive presidential cake.


Estonian Honey Cake, aka Mee Kook. It was a simple preparation of dark honey, cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, sweet butter, grated lemon rind and ground almonds.


Irish Fruited Gingerbread. This was a version of our popular gingerbread, though it had mace and allspice that took the place of cloves and ginger. Raisins, chopped, mixed, candied fruit peels and blanched, chopped almonds were added.


Pain d'Epice, of France, was a dark honey flavored cake that also included rye flour, anise seeds, grated orange and lemon peel, baking soda, hot water, brown sugar and hot milk. That is, or was, the entire ingredient list. But at times, according the family finances, dry mustard and candied orange peel were added. It was more often than not cooked, cooled, sliced thin and was made into a "sandwich" with orange marmalade as a spread between the slices.

Printen originated in Aix-la-Chapelle in France, but Sachen, Germany also claims origination distinction. It was always made in either of two ways, both based on one recipe. The first, molded Printen, used extra flour to make a dough smooth enough to roll out. IT was then stamped with springerle, or printen, molds, which ranged from a few inches up to 3 feet large. They were baked on a cookie sheet. The second, and simpler, version is Printen slices. The batter was spread about 1 1/2-inches thin and baked. It was then cut into finger-sized strips and eaten plain or iced with melted chocolate. The ingredients in each were primarily cloves, allspice, crushed rock candy, cinnamon and pepper.


Pepparkakor, or Scandinavian Gingerbread, used crushed cardamon, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, sweet butter, sour cream, currants, raisins and bread crumbs.

Here is a great recipe for a revamped Pepparkakor at my friends website. I think you will enjoy it tremendously.





             https://www.fiveeurofood.com/swedish-soft-gingerbread-cake/


Oatmeal Gingerbread. Now you wouldn't think of gingerbread as being in the same family as fruit cake, but they are so closely related, they share the same birth. Scotland's Oatmeal Gingerbread recipe ingredients are listed below as it was for generations. 2 cups flour, 2 cups powdered oatmeal, 2 tablespoons powdered sugar, 1 teaspoon baking soda, 1/4 cup grated lemon zest, 2/3 cup molasses, 1/2 cup sweet butter, 1 cup brown sugar, 2 eggs and 1/2 cup buttermilk. This was poured into a 10-inch square pan and baked at 325-degrees F.

Ukranian Honey Cake, called Medivnyk, was a sweet cake with honey, mace, cloves, sweet butter, brown sugar, raisins, currants, dates, candied orange peel, walnuts and almonds.

Polish Gingerbread Layer Cake. This 'mile-high' cake was doused in brandy when first pulled from the oven. When cooled, it was cut into 3 layers with the first layer of cake spread with melted strawberry or cherry jam. The second layer had a mixture of pitted, chopped dates, candied orange peel, strawberry, raspberry or apricot preserves, chopped walnuts or hazelnuts. The third layer was place on and covered with a towel. A light weight was placed on top overnight. When ready, the top and sides of the cake was drizzled heavily with melted chocolate icing. 


                                      https://venierospastry.com/



Sicilian Marsala Gift Cake, or Cucidata, was a specialty of the Veniero Pastry Shop in New York. It originally had grated lemon rind, brandy, raisins, figs, orange peel, almonds, walnuts, cinnamon, fennel seeds and Marsala wine.


Panforte Di Siena, an Italian favorite, was a strong bread which was practically a confection. Similar to nougat candy, it has been a Christmas specialty of Siena since the Renaissance. It contained minced, candied orange, lemon and citron rind, brandy, hazelnuts unsweetened cocoa, honey and rice wafers.

In the Emilia section of Italy, they have Panpepato. This was basically the same as of Siena, but with chocolate icing.

Certosina was yet another version of the same Panforte, but from the Bologna region of Italy. This cake had red wine in place of brandy, almonds in place of hazelnuts,cloves for allspice and was decorated on top with strips of candied fruit peel, candied cherry halves and slivered almonds. 

Finnish Sour Cream Cake, called Kermakakku, was rather a dry, bland cake. It had only a small amount of grated lemon rind, sweet butter and vanilla to flavor it. 

The Finnish Christmas Torte, called Joulukakku, was a little more flavorful with the addition of chocolate icing in between layers.

Galette des Ropis was a January 6 specialty cake in France. It was also called a Kings Cake because it had a single almond or dried bean hiding somewhere in it. Whoever found it would have the good fortune of a King. 

     Now what is this almond paste icing that was so often used in these age-old cakes? 2 cups powdered sugar, 2 cups blanched whole almonds that are ground, 3 egg yolks and 1 teaspoon lemon juice or rose water. You tossed the sugar with the ground almonds until very thoroughly mixed together. Then you beat the yolks with remaining ingredients in a separate bowl and combined the two together. Knead together on a work surface that is liberally doused with more powdered sugar until the dough is smooth. Roll thinly between parchment or waxed paper and use as a covered for these cakes, but first you needed something to keep it sticking on the cakes.  
  That is where royal icing came in. This was a mixture of 2 egg whites, 3 1/2 cups powdered sugar, 1 teaspoon lemon juice, 1 teaspoon glycerin and food coloring of  your choice. Beat together with an electric mixer until stiff peaks formed. 

The glycerin prevent the sugar from crystallizing if it sits out too long or while it is on the cake itself.

Here is one last recipe, MINE!!! Not to toot my own horn, but I LOVE this version of a classic. It is truly lighter and tastier than any store bough version of our beloved classic. Click on the name for the recipe on https://theyankeechef.com

                                    Yanked Fruit Cake






Tuesday, November 13, 2018

It's Just That Simple

   I am not going to ramble on and on about how you should stuff your turkey, season your turkey, cook your turkey, prepare your turkey or handle it in any manner. I am simply going to give you a few basic facts and observations about our national bird....well, almost our national bird at least. 


   For generations, your family has had their own special way of preparing the best of all year round meals served in your household. Far be it for me to tell you that your grandmothers, grandfathers or any ancestor of yours was wrong in any aspect of roasting this Holiday fowl. Nor will I tell you the best way to season a bird. Again, we all have our tastes and all hold dear our methods as passed down from one generation to another. Heck, I do as well. But there are certain points and tips that will help your tried and true recipe shine through without a hitch. Case in point...that point that pops out when the turkey is cooked. 

   As you are aware, many turkey companies add this little "pop out" button to let you know when it is sufficiently cooked. This is great, especially for the beginners or for those who may not have a temperature gauge on hand on this busiest of all Holidays.

   But did you know that these little buttons are set to pop out at between 185-195-degrees F? Yup, too overdone for me!

That's almost 30 degrees TOO cooked!

   I always remove the turkey from the oven when it reaches 160-degrees F(when taken in the proper place of the breast). When I remove it from the oven to rest for at least 15 minutes, it ALWAYS continues cooking to AT LEAST another 5 degrees, bringing the internal temperature to the appropriate 165-degrees F.

   We all know how to safely thaw a turkey, so I will excuse myself from saying anymore on that subject. But I will add a couple of tips for an extremely crisp skin.

   Once you have thawed your turkey(hopefully the day before), leave it uncovered in your refrigerator overnight. This will dry the skin off from any moisture. If you don't have the time to do this, at the very least, heavily dab the skin with paper towels before baking. You want the skin to be as dry as possible because moisture only slows down the browning process as well as giving you a blotchy browning.



   Now we have crispy dry skin, how about moist meat? The rule of thumb for this ultimate result is fat. Fat directly on the meat, underneath the skin. Sure, the skin provides a little fat, but not nearly enough to keep the turkey meat moist as it is cooking. The meat itself has even less fat then the skin. So loosen the skin from as much of the turkey as you can(don't forget the important legs and thighs) and rub some soft butter on the meat. As much or as little as desired. 
   If you want some extra flavor, simply mix in some herbs and spices into the butter before rubbing. 

   Now for the cooking part. Another tip for crispy skin is the temperature. The skin NEEDS to be at LEAST 300-degrees F for the maillard reaction to happen. This is the process in which the skin will turn color, dry out and crisp up. Any temperature below that and this action will not be accomplished.

   Now say you are having a horde of people over for Thanksgiving dinner. How much turkey do you need? I ALWAYS supply 1 1/2 pounds total bird weight per person. This seems like a lot, but by taking the bone weight into consideration, along with any moisture loss(turkeys have at least 50% water by weight), I think you will find this weight distribution will be perfect for everyone. 
DO NOT..I repeat..DO NOT...buy one large, 30 pound bird to feed the masses! Buy two 15 pounders instead. The larger the bird, the longer cooking time needed. This only significantly increases cooking time, thereby drying your turkey out substantially!

   Truss or not to truss? Yes, indeed! But loosely tying the legs together with pure cotton string, this helps to evenly cook the turkey, rather than bunching one part of the turkey with another, creating a space or two where heat is fighting to get in there and cook evenly.
   How about the wings? Well, if you are considering nibbling on the wing tip, or even the thin segment of the wing where there is no meat to begin with, then cover it with foil. I find no reason to do this, but of course have at it if you want.

   Place your turkey on the most shallow pan you can, but one deep enough so that no juice will spill out onto any inside oven surface. This will help brown and crisp as much of the bird as possible as well as evenly cook. Now if you are adding vegetables to the mix, then this tip is irrelevant. Which bring us to another subject...gravy.

   If you are going to use pan dripping as part of your gravy, then add some carrots,  halved onions and celery to the pan first, then the turkey plopped right on top. Not only will these vegetables add to the flavor of your gravy, but it acts as a lift, of sorts, to keep your turkey from "stewing in its own juices", making it a mushy mess on bottom. If desired, use a large, all metal serving spoon or two underneath the bird if you don't have a rack to fit your pan.

   Cook at 350-degrees F...PURE AND SIMPLE! Not any higher or lower. Some swear by roasting at 425-degrees F for a certain length of time, then reducing temperature to somewhere in the 300's. Nope! 

   Always rest your turkey before carving. I really don't need to say this anyway because every single person I know has NEVER removed the turkey and started carving the moment it is removed from the oven. There is so much that needs to be done that most of the time, the turkey rests more than the 15 minutes, needed anyway.

   Brining. I am not even going to get into brining because like handed down traditions, everyone and their mother has their own little secrets. The only thing I will add is that you should dry the skin as much as possible after brining for crispiness. When I brine, I follow my own advice above and remove the turkey from the brine the night before and let the bird sit in the fridge overnight before plopping that bad boy in the oven.

   And for a last little bit of a sweet tip. We all love pumpkin pie. But have you EVER replaced that American favorite with a Southern flair? Try Sweet Potato pie instead. Why you ask? Because sweet potatoes are much sweeter than pumpkin and deliver, what some believe, to be a far superior flavored pie. To help prove a point, try just a simple mashed pumpkin straight from the can sometime. No spices or anything. Kind of bland, don't you think? Now try a bite of mashed sweet potato. See what I mean? You don't need much in the way of spices or sugar to transform a good pie into a great one. Use about 1 1/4 pounds sweet potatoes that have been peeled, cooked and mashed per pie, with only a half cup of brown sugar, 1/2 cup milk, 2 eggs and 1 teaspoon cinnamon and see what I mean. Superb!

There, that's it! Post done. 

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Now More Than Ever.....

.....everyone should take time out and enjoy National Fall Foliage Week.



Why is this special week so important to me and my children? Why should it be an important part of all family's lives? Why should we honor the glory and the simple vibrancy of autumn? Why create such a "mundane" week anyway?

It has taken 4 years of constantly sharing and talking about National Fall Foliage Week until it has finally started to gain momentum, and in a way, that is pretty sad! We have so many stress-inducing obstacles in our way every minute of the day that we truly need to relax and enjoy the scenery surrounding us during this season of change and teach our children to do the same. At the same time, we need to reflect on how WE grew up and remember our parents and fore-parents before them. Genuine reflection will automatically reduce stress and, therefore, beckon you maintain that calmness and civility once enjoyed by everyone.

Yes, that is me carrying my youngest through a cemetery that our family is interred


Get outside, leaving your cell phones on the kitchen table, and just simply take a walk among the crimson and scarlet flora. Either by yourself or with your children(regardless if they have grown up or not)talk, talk, talk and talk even more! Leave politics behind and talk on a personal level. It is during this week that I extensively allude to my childrens grandparents that have passed away and then talk about the lives of their parents as well. I go as far back as I can(which is a substantial amount of time because I have been handed all the old photos and stories of the Bailey family as well as having finished our genealogy).

This would even be a great time to visit the old cemeteries of loved ones in order to bring them into your conversation. There is no better way to honor deceased relatives then to remember them, especially since their headstones are usually surrounded by fall hues anyway. Take your children to the nearest apple orchard, pumpkin field or church supper. Take a drive outside the city to where you grew up or a place you are familiar with that has a place to get out and walk. Take a trip to a completely unknown "neck of your woods", get out and walk down main street or follow a river-side trail. Hop on your bikes and enjoy the crispness of the air. ANYTHING AT ALL!

One of the most important facets of National Fall Foliage Week is to prepare at least 1 meal from scratch, along with a dessert, that either you grew up enjoying or something simple that is linked to your community. In other words, in Maine, there are a wide assortment of foods that your ancestors enjoyed even though you may not know definitively that your grandparents ate. But they certainly had blueberry pie, whoopie pies, chowder, homemade biscuits, boiled dinner, baked beans with brown bread,  apple pie, apple pandowdy, berry buckles, apple crisp, roast beef, pot roast, finnan haddie, salmon loaf....the list goes on and on. And if you are a New Englander, you can find original recipes for Yankee fare on my website, theyankeechef.com.

But this isn't about promotion, this is about comfort. Comfort food, comfort time, comforting memories and above all, comforting your children!

Sound boring? If you can't make this week memorable in your own way, then that is the main reason why you should distance yourself from your cell phone! The internet has completely taken away your sense of imagination and thinking.



Wednesday, August 29, 2018

#youarewelcome

   



   Why this hashtag? I never would have thought that the day would come when I would go a full week of retail shopping and not ONCE hear a thank you from a clerk....NOT ONCE!

   It has happened so frequently that I NOW stand there after buying something(and not hearing a thank you), wait a moment or two and exclaim rather loudly "YOU'RE WELCOME!" And guess what?!

   Over 75% of the time, I either get a black stare as if they are completely lost in some parallel universe or they simply say "Okay."

   I just am floored by this lack of appreciation in today's world, and it is predominantly the younger generation that have the manners of a crowbar.

   There is a store in the next town over from where I live, and only a 6 minute drive, that is particularly clueless and dumbfounded when it comes to this basic of all retorts.

   About 3 weeks ago, I even messaged that store owner on Facebook and asked him why 'thank you's' are never offered to his customers. He apologized and agreed with me that it costs absolutely nothing to be thankful and to show appreciation. He subsequently assured me that he would talk to his staff and offer them a course in being appreciative.

   I would not have said anything to him had it not be for my 7 year old Thomas. Thomas now is, and on his own, doing the same thing because I will give him a dollar to spend and when he is done paying for it(which gives him a thrill to do it on his own)clerks STILL do not say thank you to him! I have consistently told Thomas to ALWAYS say thank you and you're welcome. And at the beginning, he would ask me "Why didn't they say thank you to me Dad?". The only answer I can give him is not sugar-coated. "They are rude Thomas". Which is absolutely the truth. How can you not say thank you to a child? It truly boggles me. Anyway, back to the post.

   So from 3 weeks ago to now, I have repeatedly gone back to this store, mostly without my son, and have patiently waited for a thank you ever since. I have waited in line and been in an opposite line and intently listen while others are making their purchases. NOT ONCE at this store have I heard a thank you from anyone. 

   Why on earth is is so hard to say thank you? Either this owner truly did not think it was necessary for his employees to be thankful for having a job(admit it, it is the paying customers that allow for them to feed their own families)so he did not say a word or these same employees decided on their own that there is no reason to be thankful. Surely it can't be that they think the customer should be thankful, therefore alienating themselves from politeness.....

   And it is not just this one store, it is in almost every single store you patronize now. Boy, if I didn't say please and thank you when I was a child, after a minute with Dad, I was sure never to forget it the next time.

   Have we come to a point today that it is okay and normal to be so ill-prepared in the way of manners? Have we adopted the universal attitude of hatred, or at the very least complacency and "mememe" personalities now? Again, I have repeated over and over again since 2001, my Dad's last, thought provoking, phrase was "It is fast becoming a blameless society." And it truly is!

    This younger generation of clerk who deal with the public truly don't think a simple thank you is needed, therefore "don't blame me" goes hand in had with "mememe" now. 

   I want some of you to try the same thing I and my so do. Whenever you don't hear a thank you, say "you're welcome" and see what happens. See that blank stare in their faces or listen to the awkward response they give. It is amazing, regretful and certainly a worrisome trend for the future.

 I know Henry Wheeler Shaw, the famous humorist, once said "One of the greatest victories you can gain over any man is to beat him at politeness." But it is getting harder and harder to believe those words now. 

   Yup, this is the world you are growing up in now son, and I truly hope you are not part of the #mememe group.