December 18, 2014

Blood Drive in Old Lyme Today

“It’s not the fanciest accessory, nor the most expensive, but to someone in need of life-saving blood, it’s the most valuable.”

A  Blood Drive is being held today, Wednesday, Dec. 17, at Old Lyme’s Memorial Town Hall from to 1 to 5:45 p.m.  All are welcome.

To make an appointment to donate your blood, call 1-800-RED CROSS or visit


Champions! Old Lyme/Valley Football Defy Odds to Win State Class S-Large

CIAC Class S-Large Champs!

CIAC Class S-Large Champs!  Photo by W. Visgilio.

Congratulations to coach Tim King and his Warriors on an incredible win! On Monday, to celebrate the victory, all students at Lyme-Old Lyme High School are being asked to wear red and black.

New Britain – Quarterback Chris Jean-Pierre’s four-yard touchdown run with 22 seconds remaining rallied top-seeded Valley Regional/Old Lyme to a 21-20 victory over No. 2 Ansonia in their Class S-Large state championship football game at Willow Brook Park on Saturday morning. Click here to read the remainder of this full initial report of the game by Ned Griffin, which was published in The Day today

And here’s another link to great article about the game.

And, finally, here’s Old Lyme’s very own Tim Devlin’s video of all Saturday’s state game highlights.



Free Holiday Concert at Lyme-Old Lyme High School Tonight


The 102nd Army Band

Not in the holiday spirit yet?  You soon will be if you attend this Saturday night’s free concert at Lyme-Old Lyme High School (LOLHS)!

The 50-member Lyme-Old Lyme High School Wind Ensemble welcomes the 102nd Army Band for a joint performance of holiday favorites, along with a few patriotic selections.  Among the pieces the bands will perform: “Baby It’s Cold Outside,” Leroy Anderson’s “A Christmas Festival,” “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen,” and highlights from the Disney film Frozen, as well as the “Armed Forces Salute” and “Stars and Stripes Forever.”

The 102nd Army Band is an outfit of the Connecticut National Guard in Rockville, Conn. As goodwill ambassadors for Connecticut and the nation, they perform at concerts, ceremonies, and parades all over the U.S. and around the world.

The concert, taking place in the LOLHS auditorium on Saturday, Dec. 13 at 7:30 p.m., also welcomes back LOLHS alumnus Russell Faircloth, Class of 2014, who plays trumpet with the 102nd Army Band.  Lyme-Old Lyme Middle School librarian Bob Hibson is also a member of the 102nd Army Band.

All are welcome.  The auditorium is handicapped-accessible and there is plenty of parking at the school.


Final Weekend for Tribal Crafts Annual Holiday Sale in Old Lyme

Hide Painting by Travis Harden

Hide Painting by featured artist Travis Harden

Tribal Crafts Inc., will hold its annual holiday sale each weekend through Dec. 14.  Storefront hours are Saturdays 10 am to 6 p.m. and Sundays 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 86 Halls Rd. in the Old Lyme Marketplace (next to Rob Rivers Salon).

Assorted Lakota crafts and jewelry

Assorted Lakota crafts and jewelry

The non-profit organization is based out of the First Congregational Church of Old Lyme (FCCOL) and the sale of items directly benefits Lakota artists and crafters of the Cheyenne River Reservation in South Dakota.

The Lakota people face immense challenges on the reservation. According to 2010 census data, Ziebach County, which makes up the majority of the Cheyenne River Reservation, is America’s poorest county with unemployment estimates of above 75 percent.

Reservation life is about daily survival.  Being able to help by way of Tribal Crafts is a vital part of the organization’s mission.  Not only does Tribal Crafts affirm and celebrate the beautiful traditional crafts for which the Lakota are known, but it is also an important source of financial assistance.

The featured artist this year is Travis Harden:  among his items are paintings on hide, paper and pottery.  Harden also crafts jewelry from buffalo horn and elk bone and inlays it with turquoise, yellow sandstone and pipestone Harden says it is not always easy to sell artwork on the Reservation.  “When you know Tribal Crafts is coming, you know they’ll be buying from you and that could be your rent for the month,” notes Harden, referring to the annual trip made by representatives of Tribal Crafts and FCCOL.  The church and the people of Cheyenne River will celebrate 30 years of partnership in 2015.

In recent years, Tribal Crafts has also sold the work of Haitian artists affiliated with The Crosby Fund for Haitian Education, a program with strong ties to FCCOL. Other items on sale include hand-made silver and beaded jewelry, vibrant Haitian paintings and sculptures, dream catchers, quilts, purses and more.

Necklaces by featured artist Travis Harden, who will be in the store Nov. 22, 23.

Necklaces by featured artist Travis Harden, who will be in the store Nov. 22, 23.

To learn more, visit

Like Tribal Crafts on Facebook at

Visit Tribal Crafts’ online shop at


Simple, Real Food: A Favorite New Year’s Eve Feast

Coconut shrimp and pineapple dipping sauce

Coconut shrimp with pineapple dipping sauce

The holidays are upon us and winter is now in full swing. Time for entertaining and planning what to make for New Year’s. I for one, do not love New Year’s Eve (does anyone over a certain age?) but my husband and I often make a gourmet meal and have a really good bottle of champagne (Veuve Clicquot, anyone?) and enjoy a quiet, cozy evening at home.

I have many entertaining menus up my sleeve and focus heavily on appetizers as they are so creative and fun to eat.

Here is a sample of one such menu that is sure to make your guests or maybe just your significant other happy.

This recipe can be cut in half as well as frozen, both the shrimp and the sauce freeze well.  If you  decide to make this ahead and freeze the shrimp, do not defrost, simply drop them into the hot oil.

Coconut Shrimp with Pineapple Dipping Sauce

Serves 12


1 cup flour

3/4 tsp. salt

1 tsp. cayenne

3 to 4 egg whites, lightly beaten

2 1/4 cups unsweetened coconut

1 1/2 pounds large shrimp, peeled, de-veined, butter-flied

2 cups vegetable oil, for frying

Dipping sauce:

1/4 cup canned pineapple, drained

1 scallion, white part only, thinly sliced

2 Tb. apricot preserves

1/4 cup cilantro leaves

1 Tb. lime juice

1/2 jalapeno, chopped



1. Combine the flour, salt and cayenne on a flat baking sheet. Place the egg whites and coconut on two separate baking sheets. Dredge the shrimp in the flour mixture, then the whites, then in the coconut. Press the coconut onto the shrimp. Chill for at least an hour.

2. Heat the oven to 200. In a medium saucepan heat the oil until moderately hot but not smoking. Working in batches, fry the shrimp until golden about 2 minutes. Drain on paper towels. Transfer to a baking sheet and keep warm in the oven.

3. In a processor combine the pineapple, scallions, apricot preserves, cilantro, lime juice, jalapeno and salt to taste. Process until blended and taste, adjust seasoning.

4. Serve the shrimp on a platter with the sauce in a small serving dish.


Burrata on Crostini with Caramelized Shallots and Bacon

Serves 6 to 8


¼ cup olive oil

1 cup thinly sliced shallots

¼ cup balsamic vinegar

1 Tb. brown sugar

1 baguette

12 slices applewood- smoked bacon

1½ pounds burrata, sliced into 12 slices

extra virgin olive oil

parsley, chiffonade

Fresh pepper


  1. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the shallots and sauté for about 5 minutes stirring often. Add the balsamic and brown sugar and simmer the shallots until the bottom of the pan is dry about 6 minutes. Set aside.
  2. Heat the oven to 400. Slice the bread into ¼ inch slices and place on a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and rub with the garlic clove. Toast for about 8 to 10 minutes until golden.
  3. Cook the bacon on a rack on a baking sheet in the oven until down but not crisp about 15 minutes. Drain on paper towels. Cut in half.
  4. Place a slice of burrata on each crostini, then a piece of bacon and then a spoonful of the shallots. Drizzle with the extra virgin oil and then grind some pepper over each one before serving, garnish with parsley chiffonade.


Pan-Roasted Duck Breasts with Port Wine and Balsamic Glaze

Serves 4 to 6


1/2 whole duck breast per person

Salt, pepper

2 shallots, diced

4 garlic cloves, minced

½ cup Tawny port

1 cup chicken stock

¼ cup balsamic vinegar

1 Tb. honey


  1. Heat the oven to 450.
  2. Score the fat on the duck and season the meat side with salt and pepper. Heat a medium cast iron or stainless steel skillet over medium high heat. Sear the duck skin side down until golden brown about 5 minutes. Place the duck on a rack fat side up in a roasting pan and roast in the oven for 5 to 8 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board and cover to keep warm. Reserve the fat from the roasting pan.
  3. Heat a medium skillet and add 2 Tb. of the duck fat to the pan. Sauté the shallots and garlic for about 3 minutes. Add the wine to the pan and de-glaze, reduce the port to half and add the stock, reduce to about 2/3 cup. Add the vinegar and honey and cook until thickened. Season with salt and pepper and taste for seasoning. Remove from the heat.
  4. Slice the duck breast and arrange on a plate pour the sauce over and serve.
  • Chicken breasts can be used in place of the duck.


Arugula, Endive Salad with Simple Vinaigrette

Serves 6 to 8


1 bunch arugula, washed and spun dry

1 head endive, julienne

2 cups mixed greens

1 lemon, juiced or vinegar of your choice

1 Tb. Dijon mustard

3 Tb. chopped mint

1/3 to 1/2 cup virgin olive oil

Salt, pepper


1. Combine the arugula, endive and greens in a large bowl and toss.

2. Combine the lemon, Dijon and mint in a small bowl and whisk add the oil slowly while whisking, season to taste with salt and pepper.

3. Toss some of the dressing with the greens and reserve any leftover for another salad.

Amanda Cushman

Amanda Cushman

Editor’s Note: Amanda Cushman of Simple Real Food Inc., is a culinary educator who has cooked professionally for over 30 years.  She has taught corporate team building classes for over 15 years for a variety of Fortune 500 companies including Yahoo, Nike and Google.  She began her food career in the eighties and worked with Martha Stewart and Glorious Foods before becoming a recipe developer for Food and Wine magazine as well as Ladies Home Journal.  Having lived all over the United States including Boston, NYC, Miami and Los Angeles, she has recently returned to her home state of Connecticut where she continues to teach in private homes as well as write for local publications. 

Amanda teaches weekly classes at White Gate Farm and Homeworks and is also available for private classes.  Her cookbook; Simple Real Food can be ordered at Amazon as well as through her website 

For more information, click here to visit her website.


Tree Lighting Ceremony in Old Lyme Today

christmastreeThe Lyme-Old Lyme Chamber of Commerce and the Town of Old Lyme will host a Christmas tree lighting ceremony this afternoon at 4 p.m. outside Old Lyme’s Memorial Town Hall at 52 Lyme Street.

The Lyme-Old Lyme Middle School band conducted by Carrie Wind will play carols and seasonal music to accompany the ceremony.

Hot chocolate and cookies provided by Essex Savings Bank will be offered after the event.

A collection of non-perishable food donations to support local families will be taken.

All are welcome.


You Have Been Warned! Old Lyme PD Participating in ‘Click It or Ticket’ This Holiday Season

With the 2014 holiday travel period fast approaching, Connecticut’s law enforcement agencies intend to promote safe driving and increase the protection of all motorists.

Law enforcement officials are out on Connecticut’s roads enforcing the State Occupant Protection laws and issuing citations to those who are unbuckled.  The Old Lyme Town Police are participating in this “Click it or Ticket” campaign.


Musical Masterworks Offers Concert This Afternoon Featuring Jacobsen, Cords

Violinist Colin Jacobsen plays in this weekend's Musical masterworks' concerts. Photo by Sarah Small.

Violinist Colin Jacobsen plays in this weekend’s Musical Masterworks’ concerts.
Photo by Sarah Small.

Musical Masterworks will continue its series of chamber music at the First Congregational Church of Old Lyme with concerts on Saturday, December 6 at 5 pm and Sunday, December 7 at 3 pm.  Featured performers will include violinist Colin Jacobsen and violist Nicholas Cords.

Edward Arron will host this weekend's musical masterworks program

Edward Arron will host this weekend’s musical masterworks program

Musical Masterworks Artistic Director Edward Arron will perform on cello and serve as host for the concerts.

The program will include an arrangement for string trio of J.S. Bach’s famousGoldberg Variations, originally written for keyboard; and 17th century composer Heinrich Ignaz Franz Biber’s Passacaglia for solo violin.

Violinist Colin Jacobsen has won numerous awards including a recent Avery Fisher Career Grant.  He tours often with Yo-Yo Ma’s Silk Road Ensemble, and is equally acclaimed as a composer.  He and violist Nicholas Cords founded the ground breaking string quartet, Brooklyn Rider, an ensemble that is credited with recreating the 300 year-old form of string quartet as a vital and creative 21st century ensemble.   They will be joined by Edward Arron, an artist known as one of the finest cellists performing today.

Tickets are $35 with $5 student tickets available.  Visit or call 860-434-2252

The First Congregational Church is located at 2 Ferry Rd. in Old Lyme, CT 06371.


‘Elephants in Winter’ Open Today at OL Church

xmas_sale_compressedThe annual ‘Elephants in Winter’ Sale at the First Congregational Church of Old Lyme at 2 Ferry Road will be held on Saturday, Dec. 6, from 9 a.m. to 12 noon.  Christmas decorations and gifts along with handmade items from the Sewing Group will be on sale.

International and Tribal Craft items will also be for sale plus coffee and doughnuts will be offered.

Enjoy some holiday shopping for a great cause at this event.


Event Listing for ‘Light Up Old Lyme’ This Weekend

Delicious cookies will be on sale to benefit Child and Family on Saturday at the famed Cookie Walk.

Delicious cookies will be on sale to benefit Child and Family on Saturday morning at the famed Cookie Walk.

It’s time to ‘Light up Old Lyme!’

This weekend, there are numerous events to celebrate the season.  Here’s a selection from which you can take your choice …

Saturday, Dec. 6

Elephants in Winter
9 a.m. – 12 p.m. (also after services on Sunday, Dec. 8)
First Congregational Church of Old Lyme

Assorted Christmas decorations and gifts. Handmade items by the Sewing Group. Tribal Crafts. International items, coffee and donuts.

OLPGN Library Friends’ Annual Holiday Book Sale & Artist/Artisan Boutique
10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Community Room of the Old Lyme Phoebe Griffin Noyes Library

The Friends of the Old Lyme Phoebe Griffin Noyes Library (PGN Library) will hold its annual Holiday Book Sale at the Library on Saturday, December 6, 2014 from 10- 2 pm in the Community Room. Start your holiday shopping early at The Friends of Library Annual Holiday Book Sale!    Prices are below retail on excellent copies of the latest best sellers, classics, a wide array of children’s’ books, music CDs and a broad selection of nonfiction titles. A limited number of signed copies of Bill Berloni’s Broadway Tails will be for sale. This is a wonderful chance to purchase like-new books at reasonable prices for everyone on your holiday list. All proceeds go to benefit the library.

Child and Family Cookie Walk
10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Amity Construction in the Old Lyme Marketplace

Purchase your holiday cookies at the Child & Family Agency’s Cookie Walk, taking place this year  at  during the holiday festival.

Photos with Santa
10 a.m. to 12 noon
Amity Construction in the Old Lyme Marketplace

Hosted by Lymes’ Youth Services Bureau.  Santa’s Elves will be on hand as well to help you write a note to the North Pole.

Donations to benefit LYSB appreciated.

Tax Free Day at A Woman’s Exchange
10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Old Lyme Marketplace

Home for the Holidays House Tour

Holiday Boutique
11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Old Lyme Town Hall.

Self-guided House Tour
12 to 4 p.m.

Hosted by the Old Lyme Children’s Learning Center (OLCLC) presents “Homes for the Holidays” House Tour of Old Lyme.

The self-guided House Tour will spotlight six beautifully decorated Old Lyme village homes, including historic Boxwood, featuring a holiday performance by the Lyme-Old Lyme High School Select Singers.

Advance tickets are available for $25 by mail by visiting or in person at OLCLC (57 Lyme Street, Old Lyme); Nightingale’s Café (68 Lyme Street); The Chocolate Shell (18 Lyme Street); Salon Pure (11 Halls Road, Old Lyme); and Homeworks (711 Boston Post Road, Old Saybrook). Tickets the day of the event are $30.

The tour will be held rain, snow or shine.

Proceeds will benefit OLCLC enrichment programs.

Old Lyme Children’s Learning Center is a non-profit accredited early childhood school and child care center.

For more information, visit or call (860) 434-1728 ext. 1.

Musical Masterworks
5 p.m.
First Congregational Church of Old Lyme

Violinist Colin Jacobsen, violist Nicholas Cords, and cellist Edward Arron will perform an arrangement of Bach’sGoldberg Variations and other works.

Sunday, Dec. 8

Elephants in Winter
10 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
First Congregational Church of Old Lyme

Assorted Christmas decorations and gifts. Handmade items by the Sewing Group. Tribal Crafts. International items, coffee and donuts.

Musical Masterworks
3 p.m.
First Congregational Church of Old Lyme

Violinist Colin Jacobsen, violist Nicholas Cords, and cellist Edward Arron will perform an arrangement of Bach’sGoldberg Variations and other works.


Saturday’s ‘Cookie Walk’ Benefits Child & Family Agency

Cookie_walkCookies, cookies, cookies!  Gingerbread men … sugar cutouts … biscotti … pfefferneuse … snowballs: You want to have beautiful homemade cookies to serve your guests this holiday season, but when will you have time to bake?

Purchase your holiday cookies at the Child & Family Agency’s Cookie Walk, taking place this year on Saturday, Dec. 6, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. during the holiday festival at the Old Lyme Marketplace.

The Cookie Walk offers a delectable array of beautiful, homemade holiday cookies for purchase.  Visitors browse the display and choose which cookies they want to buy; volunteers then weigh the cookies and package them for purchase.
Also available for sale will be sets of note cards depicting local scenes of Lyme and Old Lyme, and the Agency’s popular holiday ornaments.
Proceeds from the Cookie Walk benefit the many programs and capital projects of the Child & Family Agency of Southeastern Connecticut.
Child & Family Agency is a private, nonprofit organization dedicated to the well-being and development of all children and their families, with emphasis on the unmet needs of children lacking physical, emotional, and intellectual care and nurturing.  With offices in New London, Essex, and Groton, and programs dealing with children’s health care, child abuse, family violence, teen pregnancy, parent education, and child guidance, Child & Family Agency is the largest nonprofit children’s service provider in Southeastern Connecticut.
For more information, see

Old Lyme Library Hosts Annual Holiday Book Sale & Artist/Artisan Boutique

stack_o_books_563x862Start your holiday shopping early at the Friends of the Old Lyme Phoebe Griffin Noyes Library (PGN Library) annual Holiday Book Sale in the Community Room at the Library on Saturday, Dec. 6, from 10 to 2 p.m.

Prices are below retail on excellent copies of the latest best sellers, classics, a wide array of children’s books, music CDs and a broad selection of nonfiction titles.  A limited number of signed copies of Bill Berloni’s Broadway Tails will be for sale.  This is an excellent opportunity to purchase like-new books at reasonable prices for everyone on your holiday list.  All proceeds benefit the library.

Upstairs in the Ludington Gallery, local artists and artisans will showcase their works for gift giving: paintings, prints, cards and collages, sterling silver jewelry, small quilts, wine bags and delicious holiday treats by Cupcakes & Flying Hearts for your enjoyment. Free mulled cider and hot chocolate will be available in the lobby to keep you refreshed for a strenuous day of gift-buying.

Shopping at the Friends Holiday Book Sale or Boutique?  Need a little something for the kids to do while you shop? The Children’s Room will host Drop-In Crafts for your little ones. Stop by for music, fun, and some special winter crafts.  Create a beautiful paper snowflake or make an edible snowperson.  This activity is perfect for kids of all ages and all materials will be provided.  No need to register, just drop in.

All programs are free and open to the public.  Support the Library by patronizing the Friends.


Tonight’s Old Lyme Selectmen’s Regular Meeting Cancelled

The Regular Meeting of the Old Lyme Board of Selectmen scheduled for this evening, Monday, Dec. 1, at 7:30 p.m. has been cancelled.

A Special Old Lyme Board of Selectmen’s meeting will be held Thursday, Dec. 4, at 5:30 p.m.  Their next regular meeting is scheduled for Monday, Dec. 15, at 7:30 p.m.


Letter from Paris: New European Union Commission Leadership Faces Rocky Road

Nicole Prévost Logan

Nicole Prévost Logan

On Nov. 1, following the mandate of Manual Barroso (2009-2014) from Portugal, the 12th Commission of the European Union (EU) moved into its headquarters at the Berlaymont  in Brussels.

The selection process of the Commission – the key institution of the EU and a formidable machine employing 25,000 persons – has greatly changed since its beginnings in 1951.  The mandate was shortened from nine years to five ;  whereas the president of the Commission used to be designated by the Council of Ministers (equivalent to the present European Council), he (or she) )  is now elected by the Parliament.  A major turn in the composition of the Commission took place in 2004 with the addition of 10 new members from Central and Eastern Europe.  The present rule assigning one commissioner per country creates an odd situation: Malta, with a population of 400,000, has the same representation as Germany with a population of 82 millions.

Jean-Claude Juncker from Luxemburg, a member of the European People’s Party, was elected by the Parliament with 422 votes out of 751 as the new president of the Commission.  Angela Merkel strongly supported him.  Linguistically and culturally he stands half way between France and Germany – a real asset for the most important official of the EU.

Upon his return from the G20 summit meeting in Brisbane, Australia, in mid November, Juncker had to face the “Luxleaks” crisis exposed by the press.  Forty international newspapers, including Le Monde, the Guardian and the Suddentsche Zeitung, investigated the tax breaks granted by Luxemburg to 340 multinationals, like Google, Apple or Amazon.  Yuncker’s critics said that, while he was serving as prime minister and minister of finances, Luxemburg became the leading tax haven of Europe.  To put an end to these practices, the “rulings” – holding companies and other devices used for tax “optimization” – were suspended.  As the new president of the Commission, Yuncker reaffirmed his commitment to fight tax evasion.

The post of commissioner of economy and budget was given to Pierre Moscovici, the former French minister of economy. The choice seems ironic since France almost flunked the rule imposed by the Pact of Stability and Growth requiring a deficit of 3 percent of the GDP (France’s deficit has reached 4.4 percent)

The new High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs is Federica Mogherini , 41,  a diplomat with an impressive record.  Her intention to improve relations with Russia was not appreciated by some of the Eastern European countries.

Tibor Navracsics, a former minister with the ultra conservative Hungarian government was to become commissioner of culture, but his nomination was voted down by the Parliament.

It is a tumultuous time for the new team of the EU.  In the guidelines he presented to the plenary session of the Parliament in July 2014, Jean-Claude Yuncker set his priorities as follows: a plan of public and private investment of 300 billion over three years to stimulate the economy, harmonizing budgetary policies of the member states and coping with the explosive surge of refugees.

Nicole Prévost Logan

Nicole Prévost Logan

About the author: Nicole Prévost Logan divides her time between Essex and Paris, spending summers in the former and winters in the latter.  She writes a regular column for us from her Paris home where her topics will include politics, economy, social unrest — mostly in France — but also in other European countries.  She also covers a variety of art exhibits and the performing arts in Europe.  Logan is the author of ‘Forever on the Road: A Franco-American Family’s Thirty Years in the Foreign Service,’ an autobiography of her life as the wife of an overseas diplomat, who lived in 10 foreign countries on three continents.  Her experiences during her foreign service life included being in Lebanon when civil war erupted, excavating a medieval city in Moscow and spending a week under house arrest in Guinea.


A Historical Perspective on ‘Giving Thanks’

We are pleased to celebrate this Thanksgiving season by republishing an article written for by Linda Ahnert to honor Thanksgiving 2007.

Who doesn’t love Thanksgiving?

Giving thanks_bookA few years ago, a book entitled “Giving Thanks: Thanksgiving Recipes and History, from Pilgrims to Pumpkin Pie” was published.  The co-authors are Kathleen Curtin, food historian at the Plimoth Plantation, Mass., and Sandra L. Oliver, food historian and publisher of the newsletter “Food History News.”

The book is a fascinating look at how an autumnal feast evolved into a “quintessential American holiday.”

Most Americans, introduced to the story of the Pilgrims and Indians during childhood, assume there is a direct link between the traditional holiday menu and the first Thanksgiving.  But we learn from the book that many of those food items—such as mashed potatoes and apple pie—were simply impossible in Plymouth, Massachusetts, in 1621.  Potatoes were not introduced to New England until much later and those first settlers did not yet have ovens to bake pies.

What we do know about the bill of fare at the first celebration in 1621 comes from a letter written by colonist Edward Winslow to a friend in England:  “Our harvest being gotten in, our governor sent four men on fowling, that so we might after a special manner rejoice together after we had gathered the fruit of our labors.”

Later 90 Indians joined the party with “their great king Massasoit whom for three days we entertained and feasted.”  Then the Indians “went out and killed five deer which they brought to the plantation.”

So venison was a principal food on the menu.  It also seems safe to assume that mussels, clams, and lobsters (all in plentiful supply) were served as well.   According to other journals of the colonists, the “fowl” that Winslow described were probably ducks and geese.  But wild turkeys were also bountiful in 1621, and so it is very likely that they were on the Pilgrims’ table.  Thank goodness for that.

Throughout the New England colonies, it became common to proclaim a day of thanksgiving sometime in the autumn.  In period diaries, there are many descriptions of food preparation—such as butchering and pie baking—followed by the notation that “today was the general thanksgiving.”

By the 19th century, Americans were taking the idea of a “thanksgiving” to a whole new level.  The religious connotations were dropping away in favor of a holiday celebrating family and food.  Roast turkey had become the centerpiece of these fall celebrations.

Turkeys, of course, were native to North America.  (Benjamin Franklin, in a letter, had even proposed the turkey as the official U.S. bird!)  And turkey was considered to be a fashionable food back in the mother country.  Just think of the significance of turkey in Charles’ Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol.”  When Scrooge wakes up in a joyful mood on Christmas morning, he calls to a boy in the street to deliver the prize turkey in the poulterer’s shop to the Cratchit family.  (Earlier in the story, the poor Cratchits were dining on goose.)

It is thanks to a New England woman that Thanksgiving became an American holiday.  Sarah Hale was a native of New Hampshire and the editor of “Godey’s Lady’s  Book,”  a popular women’s magazine.  She lobbied for years for a national observance of Thanksgiving.  She wrote editorials and sent letters to the president, all state governors, and members of Congress.

Finally, in 1863, she convinced Abraham Lincoln that a national Thanksgiving Day might help to unite the Civil War-stricken country.   The fourth Thursday in November was now officially on the American calendar.

Connecticut’s own Harriet Beecher Stowe wrote this description of a New England Thanksgiving in one of her novels—“But who shall . . .describe the turkey, and chickens, and chicken pies, with all that endless variety of vegetables which the American soil and climate have contributed to the table . . . After the meat came the plum-puddings, and then the endless array of pies. . .”

The autumnal feast became a national holiday, but each region of the country put its own spin on the menu.   Not to mention that immigrants have also added diversity.  The result is a true “melting pot” of America.  The second half of “Giving Thanks” contains recipes that reflect what Americans eat for Thanksgiving in the 21st century.

In the South, for instance, the turkey might be stuffed with cornbread and there would be pecan and sweet potato pies on the table.  In New Mexico, chiles and Southwestern flavors may be added to the stuffing.

There’s the “time-honored traditional bread stuffing” recipe.  There’s also one for a Chinese American rice dressing and directions for a Cuban turkey stuffed with black beans and rice.  Desserts run the gamut from an (authentic) Indian pudding to an (exotic) coconut rice pudding.  Old-fashioned pumpkin pie is included as well as the newfangled pumpkin cheesecake.

But no matter what food items grace our Thanksgiving tables, it seems that we all end up stuffing ourselves silly.  Perhaps overeating started at that very first harvest celebration in 1621.  In Edward Winslow’s letter describing the feast with the Indians, he noted that food was not always this plentiful. But he wrote his friend in England “ … yet by the goodness of God, we are so far from want that we often wish you partakers of our plenty.”


Artisan Fair This Saturday at Florence Griswold Museum Celebrates ‘Small Business Saturday’

Absinthine jewelry by Michaelle Pearson will be on sale in the Museum Shop on Saturday.

Absinthine jewelry by Michaelle Pearson will be on sale in the Museum Shop on Saturday.

It’s ‘Small Business Saturday’ this coming Saturday, Nov. 29, and the Florence Griswold Museum is celebrating by hosting an Artisan Fair from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. i the Museum Shop.  All the items for sale are “Crafted in Connecticut.”  

Click here to see information on some of the vendors.


Christ the King Hosts Annual, Ecumenical, Community Thanksgiving Service

The annual Community Service of Thanksgiving, sponsored by the churches of Lyme and Old Lyme, will take place at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 25, at Christ the King Church.
All are welcome to attend this ecumenical service of prayer and song, which will feature music by the choirs of First Congregational Church of Old Lyme, St. Ann Episcopal Church, and Christ the King Church. Clergy from the various faith communities will participate, as will lay members and community leaders.
Fr. Joseph Ashe, pastor of Christ the King Church, said that there are two reasons to hold this service: “At this time of year, as we gather with family and friends to share meals and joyous times together, we should take a moment to reflect and give thanks for all the gifts that have been bestowed on us.” But at the same time, he added, “We also need to keep in mind the many people in our world, and right here in southeastern Connecticut, who have no family, no job, no food on the table, or even a roof over their heads. It’s our reality check.”
An offering will be taken up during the service to benefit the New London Homeless Hospitality Center, and donations of nonperishable foods will be collected for the Shoreline Food Pantry, to help our neighbors in need.
The 2014 Ecumenical Thanksgiving Service takes place at Christ the King Church, 1 McCurdy Road, Old Lyme, at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 25.  Everyone, regardless of religious affiliation, is welcome to attend.
For more information, visit

Last Day to Donate to Old Lyme PD Holiday Food Drive

food_drive_clipartThe Old Lyme Town Police Officers will still receive non-perishable donations to their annual Holiday Food Drive through Nov. 25 at the Old Lyme Police Department, 294 Shore Rd.  All food donated will be forwarded to the Lymes’ Youth Service Bureau, Lymes’ Senior Center and the Town of Old Lyme Social Services.



Two Exhibitions ~ Deck the Walls, Celebrating Lyme’s Beauty ~ on View at Lyme Art Association

The signature painting (above) for 'Deck the Walls' this year is ' Symphony of Light in Mountain and Trees' in oil by Faripour Forouhar.

The signature painting (above) for ‘Deck the Walls’ this year is ‘ Symphony of Light in Mountain and Trees’ in oil by Faripour Forouhar.

An opening reception for the Lyme Art Association’s annual Deck the Walls holiday show was held Friday evening.  Over 100 original works of art by member artists are on display and priced to sell as holiday gifts.  Also on view is Celebrating Lyme’s Beauty, a special exhibition of paintings showcasing the natural splendor of the Lyme-Old Lyme landscape.  Both exhibitions are on view through Jan. 3, 2015.

Joseph Newman, Executive Director of the Lyme Art Association, notes, “The Deck the Walls exhibition offers patrons and art lovers from throughout Connecticut and New England an opportunity to view and buy exceptional representational art at prices which make meaningful gift-giving easy.” He continues, “And this year, we’re thrilled to add Celebrating Lyme’s Beauty, an exceptional showcase of the local landscape created during a two-day ‘paint-out’ hosted by the Lyme Land Conservation Trust earlier this autumn.”

Lyme Art Association Member Artists of all levels (Individual, Associate and Elected) are invited to enter the Deck the Walls juried exhibition.

The Lyme Art Association is open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday from 1 to 5 p.m. and is located at 90 Lyme Street in Old Lyme, at the corner of Halls Road.

The Lyme Art Association was founded in 1914 by the American Impressionists and continues the tradition of exhibiting and selling representational artwork by its members and invited artists, as well as offering art instruction and lectures to the community. The Lyme Art Association is located in a building designed by Charles Adams Platt and located within Old Lyme’s Historic District.

Admission is free with contributions appreciated. For more information on exhibitions, purchase of art, art classes, or becoming a member, call 860-434-7802 or visit


Courtney Comments on Obama Speech

Tonight, Congressman Joe Courtney (CT-2) released the following statement after President Obama’s speech outlining the planned implementation of the Immigration Accountability Executive Actions.

“It has been 511 days since the Senate passed a bipartisan immigration reform bill which would stabilize the broken immigration system, reduce the federal budget deficit, and—according to the Congressional Budget Office—grow the U.S. economy.”

“Despite calls by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the American Farm Bureau, and faith-based groups of all stripes, Speaker Boehner has refused for more than a year to allow even a debate on this measure, of which I am a cosponsor. The President’s temporary executive order adheres to past precedent regarding immigration, and should act as a spur to Congressional action – not further obstruction.”