Cooperstown Central School 1994 graduate Lucy Schaeffer’s first book, “School Lunch-Unpacking Our Shared Stories,” released Tuesday, Aug. 3.
The book pairs Schaeffer’s photographs with 70 different lunch stories “from people age six to 93; hailing from 25 different countries and all across the United States,” Schaeffer said in the book’s introduction.
Schaeffer’s subjects include family members, friends, celebrities and strangers. Schaeffer said all of the stories are written in first-person narrative to highlight the storytellers’ voices over her own.
Although it is the first book as author for Schaeffer, she said her photographs have appeared in more than 50 books and cookbooks.
The project started in August 2016, when Schaeffer said she was brainstorming about what to make her daughters, Annie and Georgia, now 12 and 8, respectively, for lunches for their upcoming school year.
“I was sort of daydreaming and thinking it was so much easier for my parents. They just did peanut butter and jelly,” Schaeffer said. “It wasn’t like now, all these schools are nut-free and you can’t do peanut butter anymore.”
I took a drive out to Springfield Center this weekend and stopped in at a cozy little café there. It’s a homey spot with indoor and outdoor seating and a sunflower theme in the decorations and the food.
They serve locally sourced breakfast and lunch, or brunch, which is what I had. I ordered the Windy Hill Scramble, which was two scrambled eggs with goat cheese on top (locally made) and sunflower sprouts. It was served with my choice of toast (I got the rye bread but they had options for wheat or marbled as well), and a side salad with the house vinaigrette dressing.
The eggs were very light and fluffy and the cheese on top worked well with the savory flavor. The toast and salad combination were balanced with tart flavors.
I quite enjoyed it.
Editor’s note: This column was first published July 27, 1977.
Somewhere in this town, maybe in a drawer or a kitchen file or between the pages of a cookbook, lies eight “receipt,” and it tells exactly how to make Ma Miller’s piccalilli.
Anyone who remembers the Lake Road when it was made of cement remembers the Miller place. And if you happen to ask about it, sit down, you’ll be in for a 20-minute dissertation.
Everyone has his own version of the perfect hamburger or hot dog with Ma’s piccalilli – or the still-hot strawberry-rhubarb pies, or the fresh lettuce and tomatoes – or the inverted bottle of spring water that made the big bubble when some water was drawn off … “balooble-uuump”… into an unmanageable paper cup.
Now, I get Ma mixed up with the Powerful Katinka from Toonerville Folks in the funny papers. Ma Miller was very big. Her husband Vern was small – so was her kitchen. They used to say Vern pushed Ma in behind the griddle in the morning and then pulled her out at the end of the day.
Although COVID is starting to fade in Otsego County with towns such as Cooperstown and Oneonta lifting mask restrictions, the same cannot be said for many countries such as Nepal.
Zak Aldridge, who was born in Cooperstown, went to Milford Central School and considers himself an “honorary Oneontan,” said he didn’t intend to stay in Nepal for more than a year, but COVID-19 changed his plans.
He said he planned on staying there for two weeks. That was 15 months ago.
“I was planning to come to check out a school over here that I was thinking of coming to study languages and Buddhism,” Aldridge said. “And the lockdown happened and I wound up getting stuck. That was a year ago.”
Aldridge, who is a Columbia University graduate, has decided to help feed families in the Nepalese capital of Kathmandu, which is currently under a strict lockdown, causing day laborers to suffer from malnutrition.
Vitamins, minerals, and other supplements – there are numbers of people who say you should take vitamins.
Vitamin C for tissue repair, A for healthy skin, B for stress, E for women over 40, and a very popular one today – Vitamin D for overall health.
But the cost of the vitamins keeps getting higher and higher. A men’s multivitamin today will cost well over $50!
I was looking at the label on the jar and it said that a number of the ingredients are foods, from foods? Why not just eat the right foods? Well, they say foods are
not as nutritional us as they used to be.
I remember reading about one genetically modified grain that was created so it would grow faster. One of the reasons that it grows faster was that the roots are shorter. Well , the shorter roots do not go deep enough to absorb enough minerals, which in turn affects the brain function because of the lack of the minerals.
You can see why a lot of people think that you should eat organic, non-GMO foods. So I wonder why isn’t the food as good as it used to be?
A lot has to do with the soil. It’s been depleted and in many places contaminated.
There’s a graveyard for cars around here. Tons of cars lined up near a river. Every time I drive by I think how stupid to be so close to the river. The acid rain comes down on all the cars and carries all the pollutants into the river and into the farmland.
Man just ignores the cycles of nature, giving little respect to the natural process. They think science can do a better job. There is no balance between nature and science. You really don’t want to wait for nature to build the soil back up.
The way she takes care of things! Think about this: the COVID virus. It is keeping people inside, thereby reducing their impact on nature. Example: air pollution. The virus is killing lots of people, which reduces the population and also the stress on the environment.
Nature has her way of balance if we don’t play fair. Building up the quality of soil in Otsego County should be a pretty high priority on the list. Quality of soil equals quality of food equals quality of people.
I wonder what is being done to protect and enrich our local soil for, as they say, future generations?
While making gifts for family and friends, Sara O’Brien realized that she could not only bring a smile to someone at Christmas, but to her fellow cancer survivors.
“Tracy Abrams hasn’t been able to do fundraisers for her Wigs for Wishes charity because of the pandemic,” she said. “I took a few of the ornaments over to her, and she called me back that night and said they’d all sold.”
Wigs for Wishes ($5)
They were in such high demand that she brought in Abrams, Gail Baden and granddaughter Susan Morell to help cut, glue and finish each handmade wooden ornament. “We’re making 160 of them,” she said.
The ornaments, which sell for a suggested donation of $5 each at Abrams Head to Toe salon, will help raise money to give free, custom wigs to women undergoing cancer treatments.
“Some people have donated more than $5,” said Abrams. “But we wanted to make them available to everyone.”
O’Brien’s handmade Rocky ornaments are just one of many local gifts you can pick up this Christmas, with many stores offering curbside pickup, online shopping or shipping to keep shoppers safe during the pandemic.
• TO DO:
“Half Truths” ($34.99)
Billed as this year’s big after-dinner party game by Nate Roberts, owner of Serenity Hobbies, “Half-Truths,” created by Richard Garfield (“Magic: The Gathering”) and “Jeopardy” champion Ken Jennings, asks players to place bets on which three of the six answers are truths, and which ones are lies.
“It follows the logic that everyone can play,” said Roberts. “Even grandma and the little kids, who might not have that trivia knowledge, because it’s multiple choice, so they can still guess.”
The game, which got started on Kickstarter, includes more than 500 questions, plenty to keep the party going. “It’s a party game that makes you feel smart,” he said. “And it’s a laugh riot.”
• TO WEAR
Poncho and scarves, Holy Myrrhbearers Monastery, The Artisan’s Guild, (Price Varies)
It’s rare that you get to see exactly where your garment came from, but with each hand-spun and hand-woven scarf and poncho, you get a photo of the Icelandic sheep who gave the wool.
“This poncho came from Fosco,” said Roxanne Marcellino. “All of these are made from the wool of sheep raised on the farm.”
In addition to the Holy Myrrhbearers garments, the Artisan’s Guild also offers handmade capes and children’s clothing, hand-knit scarves and hats, dyed silk scarves and other locally made crafts.
• TO READ
Richard Duncan, “Otsego County: Its Towns and Treasures” ($39.99)
Photographer Duncan wants you to see his “Otsego County: Its Towns and Treasures” book as a window to the world.
“I hope it stimulates memories,” he said. “Since there isn’t a whole lot we can do right now, we can look at pictures of places we used to go.”
The coffee-table book, his third, uses his own photos of the county, taken over two years, as well as photos from days past.
“I went to every historical society in the county and asked them to send me photos,” he said. “There’s a romantic bent to it, we have all of this precious land to take care of.”
The Utica-printed book is available at The Farmers’ and Fenimore museums, and through their website, and at the Green Toad Bookstore in Oneonta.
The photos range from a parade of elephants down Oneonta’s Main Street, to an early 1900s Decoration Day in Unadilla Flats.
“If you have the COVID blues,” he said. “Go for a drive with my book and try to find where I stood to take each picture.”
• TO EAT
Custom Gift Baskets, The Fly Creek Cider Mill, (Price Varies)
It’s easier to survive these dismal times if you’ve got the right kind of snacks.
That’s Bill Michaels’ approach at the Fly Creek Cider Mill, where he’s spent the last two weeks in his own version of Santa’s Workshop. “We do 60 percent of our online business during the holidays,” he said. “You can go online, fill your cart and we pack it up for you.”
Pick out some of the mill’s famous cheese, sauces and jellies, apple goodies and maybe some fudge, and Michaels will box it, tie it with a bow and mail it to the recipient of your choice. “This year, our corn salsa has been really popular,” he said.
But if you’re in a hurry, there are pre-made gift baskets ready to order, including a “Stay At Home Survival Kit” – with pancake mix, fudge, maple candy, apple crisp mix and more – or a “Celebrate Your Heroes” snack basket, with cheese, sausage and, most curiously, gummy frogs.
And he even throws in a few extras, including a catalog, a map of the Cooperstown Beverage Trail and an Otsego County Guide – for when the pandemic is over and they can come visit the mill for themselves.
• TO DRINK
Tay’s Tea (from $4) and Roman Roaster Coffee (from $10) Green Earth Market
“Nini Ordoubadi is very particular about her tea,” said Mike Shaughnessy, manager, The Green Earth. “And she does it very well.”
Also from Delhi – and new to the Green Earth – is Roman Roaster Coffee, an artisanal, small-batch roaster owned by Andrea Ghersi, a former chef who moved to Delhi to open his business.
Both use sustainably sourced and fair trade ingredients in their blends.
“Buying local helps all of us stay in business,” said Shaughnessy.
SOCKHOP – 5 p.m. Fun evening features, silent auction featuring great deals from local businesses, dancing, food from the 50s. Benefit for 1st UMC Missions & Art Ministry, Oneonta Community Health Center. Cost, $5. First United Methodist Church, 66 Chestnut St., Oneonta. 607-432-4102 or visit www.firstumc-oneonta.org
By the end of the first hour, over 120 people had attended the Community Dinner at Oneonta’s First United Methodist Church this afternoon, with more continuing to come in. Visitors like Andrew Winters-Bell, left, could enjoy plates of ham, turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, coleslaw, sweet potatoes, Chobani yogurt and a wide selection of pies served by Carol Heller, Scott Lewis, Terri Fisher, Ambrose Santiago and other volunteers from St. Mary’s Catholic Church, Saturday’s Bread and First UM. The event, usually held on Christmas Day, was early the last couple years so it would not conflict with the church’s Sunday and Christmas services. “Next year, Christmas will be on a Wednesday,” said event coordinator Ann Steen. “So we are excited that next year it will be back on the usual day.” (Ian Austin/AllOTSEGO.com)
MUD HIKE – 10 – 11:30 a.m. Take a walk around the farm, learn about mud, find animal tracks, make some of your own. Wear boots or bring a change of sock & shoes. Mohican Farm 7207 St. Hwy. 80, Cooperstown. Call 607-547-4488 or visit occainfo.org/calendar/get-the-kids-out-mud/
JUSTICE FILM SERIES – 5:30 p.m. Screening of “My County, My Country,” (2006) about the impact of the US invasion on Iraqis trying to pick up the pieces of their country. Includes vegetarian dinner at 6, screening begins at 7. Unitarian Universalist Society of Oneonta, 12 Ford Ave, Oneonta. Call 607-432-3491 or visit www.uuso.org
BE POSITIVE FESTIVAL – 10 a.m.-10 p.m. The first annual festival for all ages. Activities include speakers, volunteer opportunities, workshops, art, music, food, and dancing in locations in Downtown Cooperstown. Call (607)638-5538 or visit www.facebook.com/BePositiveFestival/
DANCE – 7-10 p.m. Everyone is invited to the multi-cultural and multi-generational dance capping off the BePositive Festival with music by local bands. The Farmers Market, Cooperstown. Call (607)638-5538 or visit www.facebook.com/BePositiveFestival/
PADDLE & PULL – 1-3 p.m., Bring your Canoe or Kayak and enjoy a leisurely paddle on Goodyear Lake. OCCA has been working to remove invasive Water Chestnuts and now you can enjoy the benefits. If you find any stumps, OCCA will pull them up. Bring water, sunscreen, and a hat. Meeting at the Portlandville Fishing Access site on Rt. 28. occainfo.org/calendar/paddle-pull-goodyear-lake-2/
SW BIRTHDAY – 1-3 p.m. Celebrate the 30th birthday of the Swart-Wilcox House Museum. Features “Remembrances” by the Friends of Swart-Wilcox, music by Kathy Shimberg and Local Seisiun Trio, and a birthday cake. Free and open to the public with informal tours. Bring your own lawn chair. Swart-Wilcox House, Junction of Wilcox Ave. & Henry St., Oneonta. swartwilcoxhouse.wordpress.com