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Letter from the Editor

With the year comes new hope. Grab it now before it ages.

“You Catholics think you can do anything and then go confess,” said my Lutheran-reared husband as we watched the connivances in The Crime of Padre Amaro, a Mexican-made Academy Award finalist of a couple years back.  If you think I have anything more to say about religion or movies, guess again.

Vol. xviii, No 52 brings you The Best of the Bay

For a few moments this time of year, it’s possible to escape into weightless time. The Christmas Express has arrived and gone, so you no longer need to keep up to speed. 2010, that admirably round year, has nearly run its course. But not quite. Now’s the time to wrap up old projects. Now’s the time to call the roll of the past year, look at what we’ve achieved — and conceive our hopes for the new year. In that reflective spirit, Bay Weekly’s last issue of the year brings you the Best of the Bay.

Warm your heart over the stories of neighbors whose giving satisfies the ache of real need

All Elsa’s grandparents are stumped. What can Santa bring to a nine-year-old who already has two of everything and sometimes 22? She loves Webkinz, but her mother and father say their Webkinz population has already exploded. There are plenty of things I want to give this granddaughter, but few of them fit in a box that can be wrapped up with a bow. Ten-year-old grandson Jack, on the other hand, knows just what he wants. Jack wants an iPad.  Those real-world dilemmas played at the back of my mind as I planed this year’s gift guide.

Success is a heavy burden

bayweekly.com is not the Emerson College Lady Gaga lipdub. (Find that link below, in Correspondence.) Considerably fewer than a million people read Bay Weekly online. Nor are we the viral video How to Wrap a Cat for Christmas, which brought the Hartford Current 3,800,442 viewers on You Tube. (See for yourself at http://www.courant.com/news/breaking/sns-viral-video-wrap-a-cat,0,135253....) But we’ve got enough viewers to crash the server that hosted Bay Weekly’s own web site.

That timely phrase keeps us happy as Chesapeake oysters

Chesapeake Bay oysters, at the peak of their season, contribute to our seasonal well-being by starring in many of our favorite traditional recipes: oyster dressing; its succulent who-needs-the-bird cousin, oysters au gratin; oysters on the half shell; oysters Rockefeller.  To enjoy favorite dishes new and old, we need oysters. Of course we now know that oysters have even more important work to do than feeding us contentment. So important, that Maryland and Virginia have made restoring the native oyster one of the mainstays of their current efforts to restore the Bay.

December is for good times, good will and good news

Thanks had been given and the feast cooked, appreciated and eaten. On the mid-day interlude between dinner and dessert, Christmas trees had been chosen and cut at Bay Gardener Frank Gouin’s Upakrik Farm and hauled home in promise of a new season. Pie, persimmon pudding and chocolate-pecan-pumpkin cheesecake — from Rod ’n’ Reel’s recipe in Bay Weekly’s November 11 Thanksgiving feast issue — were being digested. Despite coffee, turkey drowsiness was setting in.

Tips on giving thanks by giving to charity

If all the layered meanings of America’s national feast day could be packed into a verb, to have seems to me the right one. We give thanks because we have, rather than have not. So it’s no wonder that the great feast got its impetus in times when having not was such a real alternative that it might be only a step away.

Season’s Bounty, this week’s special supplement, will keep you busy into 2011

Your key to unlock the season of good will, good times and good eating is in your hand. Or upon your lap. Or waiting for you, like a present to be opened, in that special place you keep Bay Weekly. The key is Season’s Bounty, stuffed inside this week’s paper. This annual special is our gift to you, delivered early to guide you through the long winter holiday season. 

How I plan to rise to the occasion of another Thanksgiving

In the harried countdown to one Thanksgiving feast, my younger son dubbed me The Frenzied Cook. Sad to say, I deserve the name. Planning ahead is not my strength. I’m captive of the moment, slave to impulse. That brisk Thanksgiving morning, after a walk in the woods, I’d indulged in a nap by the fireplace. Once I moved into the kitchen, the frantic rattling of pots and pans that ensued could have made me songwriter Charles Calhoun’s inspiration for Shake, Rattle and Roll. Instead, I inspired my sobriquet.

For a Veterans’ Day conversation with Bill Burton

Other seasons, change sneaks into our lives so stealthily that we can forget it is the law of time. This time of year, change shakes its scepter — and the leaves fall from the trees. Overnight, fall turns its back on summer and runs for winter. Frost wilts the petunias, and we scramble to shut windows and find winter coats, while just days ago, we wore short sleeves.  This very week, the Texas Rangers could have been on top of the world. Now that’s where the San Francisco Giants stand, the world champions of Major League baseball.