Wednesday, November 25, 2015


Saturday, November 26, 2011

By jim zbick

In 1911, a writer for the Tamaqua Courier joked in his column that had one of the "old Puritans" stopped by for Thanksgiving dinner the size of the feast would have been enough to honor "the Lord of Gluttony."

In offering a brief history lesson, he explained how the "purely New England institution" of Thanksgiving had first spread through the Northern states by about 1830, and then down through the South by the mid-1850s.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Thanksgiving dinner is now just a gastric memory with the wishbone drying on the kitchen windowsill waiting for two people to make a wish. (I'm still waiting for my horse.)

It's fun to hear about people's holiday traditions and stories.

This year, Thanksgiving at my house was a little out of the norm. Harry was in Maine on a hunting trip. But Harry was also sitting at my table. Now how could that be, you ask?

Saturday, November 26, 2011


The six Times News subscribers, who regularly read my late, great "Attorney at Large" column a few years ago, may recall my advocacy of cheap red wine. I come by my prejudice for inexpensive vintages honestly. My Old Man used to keep a gallon of Gallo under the sink. After retiring, he nipped at that jug from around noon until bedtime.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

I am in the kitchen happy as a songbird at sunrise as I experiment with a new recipe.

I love cooking and I love creating new dishes. Maybe it's my Italian heritage that makes every meal a celebration of life. Whatever the case, I love everything that has to do with food both making it and eating it.

While I am in the midst of cutting the fresh rosemary from my garden, my husband comes into the kitchen.

"Are you ready to help me with tiling the bathroom?" he asks.

I laugh, thinking he is joking. "I'm serious," he says. "I think we should work together."

Saturday, November 26, 2011

The freak snowstorm we had a few weeks ago got me to thinking. Actually it got me to shoveling, and while I was grunting and groaning and trying to get my driveway cleaned off, I began reflecting on my younger days.

I hate snow. I despise it more and more every year. Moving to sunny Florida or Arizona seems more appealing every year. But then I think of my family nestled up here in the Northeast, and how much I'd miss them if I moved south, and then I get the nonsense about relocating out of my head.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

America continues to battle serious energy supply issues despite having considerable reserves. Our discoveries of oil and gas in Colorado, the Bakken fields, and the Marcellus shale have been substantial.

That said, they have not reduced our need for importing foreign crude oil. We are currently importing over one million barrels a day from Saudi Arabia, a terrorist haven. We also import over 800,000 barrels a day from Venezuela.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

The 8-by-10-inch, black and white framed photograph hangs on the wall of my office. It has occupied that space ever since I moved into this office almost a decade ago.

The picture's about 30 years old, taken at a newspaper convention in Hershey. In it is my wife, Mary (looking pretty), myself (boy, I was a lot thinner in those days) and a youthful looking Joe Paterno, the head football coach at Penn State University.

Paterno was the guest speaker at that convention. I was able to corner him long enough to say hello, shake hands with him, and ask him to pose for the picture.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Let's talk turkey. You know, that ugly bird that tastes delicious and is the centerpiece on our Thanksgiving tables?

While perusing the Internet for some facts about the turkey, I learned:

Ÿ A young turkey is called a poult. (Is that short for poultry?)

Ÿ A male turkey is a stag and a female is a hen (Harry, my Hunter Man, disagrees. He says a male turkey is a "Tom" or a gobbler. I'm going with Hunter Man.)

Ÿ The domestic turkey originates in Mexico and was brought over by explorers in the 1500s. (I wonder if it had a Green card?)

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Today, while I shopped in the supermarket where I usually buy my meat, I was overcome with disgust. I could go so far as to call it revulsion.

Boneless chicken had doubled in price from a short while ago. Even ground beef went up $1 a pound.

The cereal aisle produced more sticker shock when I saw the brand I normally buy was close to $5 a box.

I consider myself a smart shopper. I'm a coupon clipper and I don't do all my grocery shopping at just one store. Instead, I read the ads each week and buy the specials at three different stores.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Mushroom picking has long been a popular autumn activity in this part of the country. Whole families would often venture into the woodlands, picking bucketfuls which could then be dried or marinated for later consumption.

"A certain romance lends its fascination to this mysterious creature of the field and woodlands," a Tamaqua Courier writer said in his column a century ago. "In childhood we used to read how the fairies danced on the toadstool, and on the green rings of grass that often grow around them."