Month: October 2021

Let's Get Crafty, Wining & Dining

The Art of the Football Tailgate Party

By Timothy Long The Art of the Football Tailgate Party “You can’t drink all day unless you start in the morning!” My fraternity brother, Smitty, speaks these words to me while he’s ladling Bloody Mary’s out of a full 12-gallon stock pot into two plastic cups for us. The year is 1982. It is eight o’clock in the morning on my first football Saturday living in the fraternity house. There are two 12-gallon stock pots on the bar, the Bloody Mary one, and one full of vodka and orange juice, Screwdrivers, next to it. These are our morning vitamins. The smell of stale beer that had been spilled at the party the night before is our potpourri. I remember the drinks being great. But I’m sure they were terrible. My palate today is much more developed than my 20-year-old palate. Soon we will be in a pickup truck with 3 kegs of beer, a grill, hotdogs, hamburgers, and the accompanying accoutrements. The kegs are full of cheap, mass-produced beer. That’s how it is when you are in college. It was also years before the craft beer trend hit the US. High end beer at this time was imported beer, and it was expensive.  We are on our way to the stadium parking lot, about to have a tailgate party. Tailgates are an American tradition that did not have its beginnings at a football game. It has its roots in traditional Fall bounty festivals and a Civil War battle. The tailgate party is not just about drinking before a football game. These parties occur in fall, when end of summer festivities have been celebrated for centuries. The football tailgate is merely an extension of those celebrations. University of Notre Dame cultural anthropologist John Sherry states that: “The idea of getting out…

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Let's Eat, Wining & Dining

Country Apple Tart

Let’s Eat by Charles Oppman Country Apple Tart What says autumn better than a homemade apple dessert? When the apple harvest is in it’s the perfect time to whip up everyone’s favorite dessert, an apple tart. Apple pies are fine, but here’s a treat with a twist, a one-crust tart. This dessert is not only attractive it tastes great. You can’t just use any apple for this tart. You need an apple that has the right sugar content and texture. The Granny Smith apple is the perfect choice. Almond cream (Frangipane) Ingredients ½ cup unsalted butter 1 cup confectioner’s sugar 3 egg yolks 1 cup blanched almond slivers, ground 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract ¼ teaspoon salt Directions In a food processor, grind the almonds to a consistency of corn meal. Set almond meal aside. Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. This mixture will turn pale yellow. Mix in almond meal, salt and vanilla. Blend in egg yolks one at time until all is incorporated and smooth, creamy mixture is achieved. Refrigerate for later use. The Pastry Ingredients 1/2 stick unsalted butter, cold 1/2 cup vegetable shortening, cold 2 tablespoons sugar 1/4 teaspoon salt 1/2 cup very cold milk, or as needed 2 cups cake flour, all purpose will suffice 1/2 cups chocolate chips, optional Directions Mix together sifted flour, sugar and salt. Using a pastry cutter or fork, cut butter and shortening into the flour until pieces are pea-size. To form dough, add milk incrementally and mix until a dough ball is formed. Mix until just combined. Do not over mix. Dough should be slightly crumbly, but wet enough to form a ball when compressed. Form dough into a flat disc, wrap with plastic wrap and refridgerage for at least 2 hours before rolling out. On…

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Arts & Entertainment, Last Word

Spooky Stories

Spooky Stories by Miriam R. Kramer While not generally a horror aficionado, I love suspense and will buy certain author’s sight unseen and reviews unread if they promise an exciting ride, particularly around Halloween. Recently I perused two new examples: The Maidens, by Alex Michaelides; When No One Is Watching, by Alyssa Cole. Michaelides’s first book, The Silent Patient, bolted out of the gate to a place on multiple bestseller lists. It had some unique plot twists that gave it a leg up with the public. Unfortunately, I did not find that to be the case with his sophomore effort, The Maidens. The plot felt forced, and the author pointed at one character as the prospective murderer so often that anyone who has ever read a whodunnit would suspect that he is not the guilty party. The main character, Mariana Andros, is a group therapist mourning her husband, who died in an accident in Greece. Her niece, Zoe, who is at Cambridge University, is stunned by the death of a friend, Tara, a member of a group of powerful, brilliant undergraduate women called the Maidens, acolytes of a charismatic, menacing professor of Greek mythology and drama and called Edward Fosca. Mariana decides to go to Cambridge and bring her therapeutic skills to bear on the group dynamics surrounding the Maidens as one after another succumbs to a killer. I would not recommend this mythology-tinged book to anyone looking to be held in thrall. The writing is clunky, the characters are two-dimensional, and the unexpected denouement is entirely unconvincing. Give this one a miss. When No One Is Watching, by Alyssa Cole, is more than a mystery—it’s a fictional horror story and thriller about urban development, communities displaced by gentrification, social justice, African-American history, and racial politics. The main character, Sydney…

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Arts & Entertainment, High Notes

Good Ones by Charli XCX

By Ron Powers Good Ones by Charli XCX Fall is upon us. That means crisp cool air, leaves changing color, and my personal favorite… pumpkin-spice lattes. As I was searching for music to bring you this fall season, I came across a tune called “Good Ones” by Charlie XCX. This is a song that is sure to add plenty of upbeat fun to your autumn excursions. It’s also extremely easy to listen to. I think I went through it five times after finding it. As someone who enjoys his fair share of music, I have to say “Good Ones” stands out among the bulk of today’s pop music. With smart and minimal production, Charli XCX delivers a song that sounds modern, and at the same time, like a 1980s classic. The song begins with a punchy synth bass followed by an ultra-catchy verse melody. In addition to a great melody, the honest nature of the lyrics further deepens the connection between artist and audience by giving the listener a glimpse of the singer’s struggles with relationships. With relaxed yet lively energy, Charlie XCX delivers the lines, “I wish you gave me a reason / That you were better at leavin’ / That you got your kicks from seein’ me low / I always let the good ones go”. For the second half of the first verse, a saturated four-on-the-floor drum beat is added. Additionally, the central hook–“I always let the good ones go”–is further established with its repetition at the end of the first verse. As the chorus is introduced, the bass and drums drop out, and a simple four-chord pattern is delivered with a smooth synth pad. The vocal is prominently nested in the mix with multiple layers and extensive processing which includes heavy saturation, compression, stereo width, and…

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History, History Column

Ratification ERA – 2021

by ©2021 Sarah Becker Ratification ERA – 2021 Sometimes fate has a way of writing a new chapter. In truth, the ongoing fight for passage of the Equal Rights Amendment [ERA] has left me fatigued. But now—with New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s resignation—for reason of sexual misconduct—the arrival of New York State’s first female Governor, the AFL-CIO’s first female President—the political worm has turned. On March 17, 2021, the U.S. House of Representatives again passed the Equal Rights Amendment. My only question: By what date will Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Dick Durbin [D-IL], Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer [D-NY] deliver an affirmative vote? The American Heritage dictionary defines chauvinism as the “prejudiced belief in the superiority of one’s own group.” The Oxford American Dictionary defines chauvinism as “excessive or prejudiced support or loyalty;” a male chauvinist as a “man showing excessive loyalty to men and prejudice against women.” The New Jersey constitution “granted the right to vote to ‘all free inhabitants’ thus enfranchising women until 1807: when a new state constitution restricted suffrage to males.” The U.S. Census Bureau defined the term free inhabitant in 1790. “Assistant marshals listed the name of each head of household, and asked the following questions: The number of free White males aged under 16 years, of 16 years and upward; Number of free White females; Number of other free persons, and Number of slaves. Free inhabitants were not listed individually until 1850. In one of the colonial era’s few examples of women’s suffrage, Lady Deborah Moody was permitted to vote in a Long Island town meeting in 1655. Of greater interest—to me at least—was the women’s literacy measure. “The determination was made on the basis of women’s ability to sign their names to documents with either an ‘X’ or a written signature. Massachusetts’ illiteracy…

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Arts & Entertainment, Special Feature

Stingy Jack – The Legend of the Jack O’Lantern

Stingy Jack – The Legend of the Jack O’Lantern Halloween is a mix of ancient Celtic practices, Catholic and Roman religious rituals and European folk traditions that blended together over time to create the holiday we know today. Straddling the line between fall and winter, plenty and paucity and life and death, Halloween is a time of celebration and superstition. Halloween has long been thought of as a day when the dead can return to the earth, and ancient Celts would light bonfires and wear costumes to ward off these roaming ghosts. The Celtic holiday of Samhain, the Catholic Hallowmas period of All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day and the Roman festival of Feralia all influenced the modern holiday of Halloween. In the 19th century, Halloween began to lose its religious connotation, becoming a more secular community-based children’s holiday. Although the superstitions and beliefs surrounding Halloween may have evolved over the years, as the days grow shorter and the nights get colder, people can still look forward to parades, costumes and sweet treats to usher in the winter season. One of the most popular activities surrounding the celebration is carving jack o’lanterns. People have been making jack o’lanterns at Halloween for centuries. The practice originated from an Irish myth about a man nicknamed “Stingy Jack.” According to the story, Stingy Jack invited the Devil to have a drink with him. True to his name, Stingy Jack didn’t want to pay for his drink, so he convinced the Devil to turn himself into a coin that Jack could use to buy their drinks. Once the Devil did so, Jack decided to keep the money and put it into his pocket next to a silver cross, which prevented the Devil from changing back into his original form. Jack eventually freed the Devil, under the condition that he would…

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From the Bay to the Blue Ridge, National Harbor

Replay at the Resort

By Lani Gering Replay at the Resort Many of you regular OTC readers may remember that I touched on the 80’s themed “pop up” that was gracing the Pose Rooftop Lounge space in the Gaylord in the August issue. It was only supposed to have a summertime life span but its tenure has been extended through the fall and maybe into the holiday season! Replay is a take on everything 80’s including the music that streams through the many speakers throughout the space. On my visit there in mid-August, I was so happy to know all of the words to pretty much all of the songs that aired while I was there. You know, like Culture Club’s “Karma Chameleon”….it’s the little things! This place is very interactive with retro games like Pong and the infamous Rubik’s Cube. There are replicas of the televisions of the 80’s and lots of neon and the specialty milkshakes are served on Replay frisbees. The décor is way fun. My favorite seating is on one of the big red lip sofas and there are several different groupings with other very art deco looking designs. The color schemes are soothing in one sense and exhilarating in another. The purpose of my trek to Replay, however, was to “test drive” the new fall “boozy” concoctions. While full bar service (both alcoholic and non) is available at Replay, their specialty drinks and “boozy” milkshakes are the highlights of the house. I love being invited to things like this. I drank every one of the three specialty cocktails and as much of the featured milkshake as I could without getting brain freeze. I have to admit that I was sort of skeptical of the “Scarface” concoction but it was fantastic and I’m not a huge fan of pumpkin spice…

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Grapevine & Vintner Profile, Wining & Dining

Understanding Virginia’s Diversity in Wine

By Matthew Fitzsimmons Understanding Virginia’s Diversity in Wine Most American wine regions have a signature grape. For Napa, it’s Cabernet Sauvignon. In Oregon’s Willamette Valley, Pinot Noir dominates. New York’s Finger Lakes are famous for Riesling. Yet Virginia doesn’t have its own defining grape or style – and this is a good thing. VA is a relatively young wine region so growers are still learning what performs best. Viognier was temporarily the ‘official’ state grape but was quietly dropped when wine growers pushed back. Cabernet Franc is sometimes considered as a replacement, but so far hasn’t received any special endorsement. Some argue the lack of a signature Virginia ‘brand’ that consumers can easily identify hurts the state’s visibility in the larger wine market. But Virginia’s landscape is too varied to be defined by a single terroir, and too young to have a signature style of winemaking. This means branding Virginia with any overarching label likely does the industry a disservice. So if Virginia lacks a defining grape, then what is it known for? The short answer is this – Virginia is known for its diversity. When planted in the right location, we can grow nearly everything. There are over 100 grape varieties planted in the state, ranging from internationally famous varieties to obscure vines the world has nearly forgotten. No matter where the grape is from, there’s probably a Virginia vineyard growing it. As a newer, less defined wine region, Virginia also has the luxury to experiment with varieties that wouldn’t get a second look elsewhere in the United States, and may be forbidden under Europe’s much tighter winemaking rules. This allows VA to pioneer lesser-known wines such as Petit Manseng and Petit Verdot, high-acid grapes that do well in Virginia’s terroir. So for Virginia Wine Month, let’s celebrate the…

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Personality Profile

Which Witch is Which?

Which Witch is Which? Witches were perceived as evil beings by early Christians in Europe, inspiring the iconic Halloween figure. Images of witches have appeared in various forms throughout history—from evil, wart-nosed women huddling over a cauldron of boiling liquid to hag-faced, cackling beings riding through the sky on brooms wearing pointy hats. In pop culture, the witch has been portrayed as a benevolent, nose-twitching suburban housewife; an awkward teenager learning to control her powers and a trio of charmed sisters battling the forces of evil. The real history of witches, however, is dark and, often for the witches, deadly. Early witches were people who practiced witchcraft, using magic spells and calling upon spirits for help or to bring about change. Most witches were thought to be pagans doing the “Devil’s” work. Many, however, were simply natural healers or so-called “wise women” whose choice of profession was misunderstood. It’s unclear exactly when witches came on the historical scene, but one of the earliest records of a witch is in the Bible in the book of 1 Samuel, thought be written between 931 B.C. and 721 B.C. It tells the story of when King Saul sought the Witch of Endor to summon the dead prophet Samuel’s spirit to help him defeat the Philistine army. The witch roused Samuel, who then prophesied the death of Saul and his sons. The next day, according to the Bible, Saul’s sons died in battle, and Saul committed suicide. Other Old Testament verses condemn witches, such as the oft-cited Exodus 22:18, which says, “thou shalt not suffer a witch to live.” Additional Biblical passages caution against divination, chanting or using witches to contact the dead. ‘Malleus Maleficarum’ Witch hysteria really took hold in Europe during the mid-1400s, when many accused witches confessed, often under torture, to…

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