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It’s Autumn, or as the leaves call it, Fall.

Slyly, it begins at different times for different folk. Everyday seasons.

For some, the American Holiday Labor Day signals the end of summer, ergo Autumn begins the day after Labor Day.

Purists cling to the Autumnal Equinox as the beginning of Autumn. This year it happened on September 22, 2017.

Others say October marks the beginning of Autumn. As a matter of fact, there’s a whole festival named in honor of the month. Octoberfest celebrates the coming of the autumnal season and is officially held each year in Munich, Bavaria, Germany.

Oddly enough however, Octoberfest begins in September there. AND, the Germans even spell it Oktoberfest. It’s like they’ve got a whole different language or something.

A few things I notice more about October now than I did in years past.

Pumpkins. They’re everywhere, they’re everywhere. Not just the big spheroid orange squash family things you carve, but myriad derivatives of pumpkin products presently proliferate.

There’s Pumpkin Spiced Coffee, Pumpkin Ale, Pumpkin Cream Cheese, Pumpkin Bread, Pumpkin Bars, Pumpkin Ice Cream, Pumpkin Oatmeal, Pumpkin Spice, Pumpkin Pie and even Pumpkin in a can.

AND, the pumpkin is indeed seasonally autumnal. Try pawning off a pumpkin brew or a pumpkin pie on the 4th of July. Somehow, our tastes are seasonally conditioned.

Haunted houses. So many many more of them. Not the REAL haunted houses, but the “for profit” ones that proliferate the area now and charge $30 to $50 bucks for the privilege to be scared. Every day, I get Groupon offers. People, I live in Chicago. There are streets I can visit every single day and get scared for free. Taking a pass on the “for profit” haunted houses.

Apples. Who hasn’t gone apple picking if you live in the American Midwest? It’s a tradition. It’s fun reaching and plucking the fruit, filling the bag full with apples. Then, when you arrive home your very first thought is, “What the heck and I going to do with all these apples?”

When you buy pumpkins, your choices are small, medium, or large. Ah, but with apples, there’s: Blondie, Braeburn, Gala, Jonathan, Jonagold, Winesap, Macintosh, Corlands, Fuji, Red Delicious, Golden Delicious, Granny Smith, and Honey Crisp, just to name a few. (Watch out. The honey crisp cost more in Michigan.) Oddly, I have found no apple variety named Bob, but yet we bob for apples.

A fun fact from sixwise dot com. You could eat a different apple every day for more than 19 years,

Many proclaim Autumn to be their favorite season; the colors, the refreshing weather, the apples, the pumpkins, the beer are all reasons why. I happen to be among the many and will celebrate the season accordingly.

FOOTNOTE:
Original inspiration for this post was in 2013. Here’s the post:
https://wedwand.wordpress.com/2013/10/09/autumn-or-do-you-say-fall/

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img_3046It started off simply enough. I was on my way to a Super Bowl party and called the host to see if they needed anything.

“Glad you called. Turns out we got a bunch of cheese, but no crackers.”

“I’m on it,” I replied. “I’ll bring some crackers.”

Simple enough it seemed. There were two minor hitches it turned out.

First, the entire town was at the local grocery store picking up last minute items, wings, pizza, chips and beer, lots and lots of beer.

Second, there was nearly an entire aisle of the store devoted to crackers. See cover photo. Who knew?
There were more than just Triscuits, Wheat Thins, Ritz and good old fashioned Saltines.

There were toasted crackers, water crackers, baked crackers, wheat crackers, wheat free crackers, rice crackers, matzo crackers, ground pepper crackers, whole grain crackers, no grain crackers, pretzel crackers and pita crackers.

Then the aberration crackers, Chikin in a basket, Cheeze its, Cheese Nips, Goldfish Crackers, Animal Crackers, Oyster Crackers and Graham Crackers.

I quickly ruled out the Graham family of crackers but my mind was boggled at the selection.

I called the host. “Hey, uh, I’m having trouble finding the crackers,” I lied.

“Not to worry,” he replied. “Just pick up some brew. Billy Bob bopped by with a big box of crackers. That’s what he does. He was just late. Cracker Billy is always good for the crackers on Super Bowl Sunday. “

Now, “Cracker Billy” was a term of endearment for our southern friend. He took the nickname as a source of pride for his long time roots in the Georgia south.

Indeed, before the Braves moved to Atlanta in 1965, the minor league baseball team of the Southern Association was actually called the Atlanta Crackers. The Negro League team was likewise known as the Atlanta Black Crackers. (This is not to be confused with the Chiropractic Society of Atlanta known as the Atlanta Back Crackers. OK, I made that one up. The other names are entirely true.)

In any event, the term “Cracker” as applied to a group of people is tricky. Some, like Billy Bob find it OK. Others find the term offensive. Polly may wanna cracker, but Polly don’t want you to call her a cracker if you get my drift. So, it’s wise to stay away from the term.

So, I was looking in the craft beer aisle which was JUST as mind boggling as the cracker aisle. And there I saw it. Florida Cracker Belgian-style White Ale.

img_3048

Crackers and beer all in a can. Doesn’t get any better. Billy Bob loved it.

img_3027Wedwand comes alive again tonight.

OK I’m totally freaked at four things.

ONE: It’s 2017. I have things in my refrigerator with an expiration date marked “0417Beelzebubgobad” and I’m thinking “well that mustard is good for a few more years” when BANG it hits me. It IS 2017! I gotta be eating more hot dogs and brats cause damn, its 2017! That mustard’s going bad.

TWO: Groundhog Day is this week. Thursday as a matter of fact. I haven’t done ANY shopping at all yet.

THREE: Going into this year’s baseball season, the Chicago Cubs are the defending World Champions! Hell yeah they are. Never gets old.

FOUR: The President of America is a former Game Show host. Now I don’t exactly recollect how Alex Trebek got to this office, but it’s a fair assumption that the electorate prefers responses in the form of a question than actual answers.

That said. There’s required homework to continue further. Back to a simpler time. 1968.

You must watch this video. Tommy Boyce. Bobby Hart. “I wonder what she’s doing tonight.”

Great song, obvious lip synch. Odd ruffled sleeves. Orange and Green velvet suits. The tambourine gets dropped unceremoniously at 20 seconds. Not a trumpet to be seen in the brass interlude.

Simpler times. Yet struggles existed. Maybe they weren’t so simple. 1968 was a rough year. Maybe ruffled sleeves weren’t the answer.

The past seems simpler since we lived through it and survived. But it wasn’t all that simple when it was “going down”. Stop children what’s that sound.

These days we perceive as harder times, yet struggles still exist, not unlike struggles survived in the past. I wonder what we’re doing tonight. Whatever it is …

We will survive.

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