Freaky Friday

Halloween themed comedy show in Manchester

Open mic nights are a lifeblood for comedians, a place to hone their craft and work on new material.

For much of the pandemic, Yankee Lanes in Keene was one of the few to remain open, and comics from all across New England flocked to it. Seacoast standup Michael Millett inherited the weekly event when its original host left, and as the nightlife scene began reopening, he moved it to Yankee’s sister location in Manchester.

Millett’s Grey Area Comedy has become a hub for a growing alt comedy scene that includes Gone Rogue Productions’ events at Manchester’s Backyard Brewery, Tragedy Plus Time’s shows in Londonderry, Exeter’s Word Barn and the venerable downtown Shaskeen showcase, now run by Ruby Room Comedy.

The Yankee conclave recalls the now-defunct Monday open mic at Penuche’s Ale House in Concord — in both venues, audiences don’t always arrive expecting comedy, Millett said in a recent phone interview.

“You have to basically fight for the audience’s attention. … The stage is in the same room as the bar,” he said. “We bank off the bowling league that gets out around 8:45; our open mic is at 9. Regular patrons bleed in, sit down, and watch the comedians.”

A dozen or so hopefuls show up every week to face the challenging milieu.

“Every mic has a different energy,” Millett said. “People that work on their comedy come to mine, and I like that.”

Millett also hosts a comedy showcase at Yankee Lanes on the last Friday of every month with a headliner, feature comic and opening act. The next one happens Oct. 29 and stars the comedy team of Jai Demeule and Will Pottorff. The two ran a popular weekly event in Beverly, Mass., until it became a casualty of lockdown. Anthony Massa features, and Troy Burditt opens.

Demeule and Pottorff were known for raucous sets done in costume, as teachers, politicians, camp counselors and other characters. Their upcoming appearance will most likely have a similar approach, but when reached for comment, Demeule demurred on the details — while hinting at a potential exorcism.

“Without giving too much away, Will and I will be doing a Halloween themed set that might have some guests from our time running The Studio of Madness,” she wrote via Facebook Messenger. “Audiences can expect laughs, a healthy dose of insanity, and if all goes well, for the bowling alley to be cleansed of all ghostly presence by the end of the evening.”

Next month, local comic Matt Barry is joined by Tom Spohn and Tristan Hoffler, and in December, Paul Keller headlines.

“He’s a kinetic comedian who does comedy and magic at the same time,” Millett said of Keller. “He’s very good at magic tricks, but he’s also good at being funny about it.”

Millett has hopes for expanding to a more formal setting in the future.

“Yankee Lanes has a rec room that they don’t use for anything [and] I could easily fit 120 people in there,” he said. “I’m working toward getting enough draw with Grey Area Comedy to do that … it’s now been just over a year, between Keene and Manchester.”

His efforts are about more than just promoting shows, Millett stressed.

“I’m trying to build a community with everything I do, trying to get as many comedians involved in it as possible,” he said. “What I want to do is — I don’t want to use the word safe haven — but I want it to be a cornerstone, contributing to the rest of the scene. A place for people to work on their craft.”

Grey Area Comedy Club

When: Friday, Oct. 29, 8 p.m.
Where: Yankee Lanes (formerly Spare Time), 216 Maple St., Manchester
More: Free show starring Jai Demeule and Will Pottorff, Anthony Massa, Troy Burditt, Michael Millett (host)

Featured photo: Will Pottorff and Jai Demeule. Courtesy photo. Courtesy photo.

The Music Roundup 21/10/28

Local music news & events

Half centennial: Many fans hearing “Horse With No Name” for the first time in 1972 thought America was a secret Neil Young, but the trio soon showed prowess beyond that brown-headed cowbird move, releasing hit after hit over the rest of the decade. Fifty years on, original members Dewey Bunnell and Gerry Beckley are still out playing “Tin Man,” “Ventura Highway” and “Sister Golden Hair” for approving crowds. Thursday, Oct. 28, 8 p.m., Tupelo Music Hall, 10 A St., Derry, $95 and $110 at

Soul capella: While covering everyone from Motown greats to Ed Sheeran, Boston vocal group Ball In The House has a topical side. Their new original song “Ordinary Day” was inspired by songwriter Wallace Thomas’s realization that he’d grown inured to mass shootings. They also released a moving video of “Not My Father’s Son” from the Broadway musical Kinky Boots to commemorate Pride Week. Friday, Oct. 29, 7 p.m., Windham High School Auditorium, 64 London Bridge Road, Windham, $18 at

Thriller night: There will be dancing, drinking and costume prizes at the 15th Annual Halloween Bash in downtown Manchester, as DJ Myth spins the music in celebration of the upcoming Samhain, a month-long Gaelic festival marking harvest season’s end and the onset of the darker half of the year. Like the world needed that reminder, given these days the sun’s down before the workday ends, when it’s still daylight saving time. Saturday, Oct. 30, 9 p.m., Shaskeen Pub, 909 Elm St., Manchester,

Halloween king: Few bring joie de vivre to All Hallows’ Eve like Doctor Gasp & the Eeks, the seasonal band led by folk musician and artistic polymath Dan Blakeslee. A treat for young and old, the masked singer-guitarist is a one-man Alfred Hitchcock movie, channeling Bobby Boris Pickett and Disney’s Haunted Mansion narrator Paul Frees as he plays a mix of seasonal favorites and wacky original tunes. Sunday, Oct. 31, 9 p.m., The Press Room, 77 Daniel St., Portsmouth, $13 at

Laughs return: After a lengthy hiatus, comedy is back at a favorite spot as John Perotta headlines a showcase hosted by fellow comics Greg Boggis and Alana Foden. In September, Foden rebooted standup nights at Hudson’s SoHo Asian Restaurant. Perotta, who runs the Rhode Island-based Comedy Factory, is a crowd work master, skilled at pulling together the disparate threads of an audience’s id and spinning them into funny bits. Wednesday, Nov. 3, 8 p.m., Fody’s Tavern, 9 Clinton St., Nashua, $10 at the door.

At the Sofaplex 21/10/28

Muppets Haunted Mansion (TV-PG)

Live-action humans Will Arnett, Taraji P. Henson.

As well as Yvette Nicole Brown, Darren Criss, John Stamos and more, plus Muppets like Kermit, Miss Piggy, Statler and Waldorf, Rowlf, Animal and all your favorites. The main action is centered around Gonzo (voiced by Dave Goelz) and Pepe the Prawn (voiced by Bill Barretta) spending a night in the Haunted Mansion (of Disney ride fame) as part of a challenge instead of going to Kermit and Piggy’s Halloween party. This new movie — or special, whatever, I feel like there’s enough blur in the streaming world that this can count for my purposes — has classic Muppet show energy, with lots of cornball showbiz jokes and Fozzie Bear “wocka wocka” humor (which one of my kids just loved; “wocka wocka” is a classic that never goes out of style, apparently). The movie has some mild scares. I feel like 6 might be the bottom edge of who I’d show it to and I might go more like 7 with a particularly sensitive kid. Also, there are jokes about the show’s budget and some of the Muppets’ screen time — not exactly preschool comedy gold but I found it fun in that “family entertainment” way of ye olden holiday specials. B Available on Disney+.

LEGO Star Wars Terrifying Tales (TV-G)

Voices of Christian Slater, Jake Green.

Poe Dameron (voice of Green) ends up at Darth Vader’s one-time palace on Mustafar where Graballa the Hutt (voice of Dana Snyder) is trying to set up a Vader-themed hotel and resort. The spot holds secret Sith relics and allows for some riffs on horror movies — The Lost Boys, The Monkey’s Paw — with Star Wars characters: Luke Skywalker using the Wookiee’s Paw to make his dreams come true, Ben Solo earning his spot as the head of the Knights of Ren. And, of course, it’s all rendered in Lego.

Though not quite as charming as last Christmas’ Lego Star Wars special, this Halloween-y special is low-effort fun, with little Star Wars Easter eggs and plenty of Lego goofines. B- Available on Disney+.

No One Gets Out Alive (R)

Cristina Rodlo, Claudia Coulter.

An undocumented woman finds herself sharing a rooming house with a significantly larger population of dead residents than living ones in this tense horror movie. Ambar’s (Rodlo) lack of legal papers puts her at risk of all kinds of exploitation: by the boss who pays her in cash, by people she thinks can help her. Add to that the landlord who can rent her a real dodgy room in a real shady house because she has nowhere else to go. And, when she hears crying coming through the pipes from the basement or sees a strange man banging his head on the doors or sees glowy eyes coming from shadowy figures in the dark, it’s unlikely that she’s going to go to the police for help. This movie isn’t a searing call for immigration reform and affordable housing but those issues (as well as some thoughts on grief) are nicely integrated into this haunted house-type tale. Rodlo is a solid protagonist to follow through the craziness — she makes Ambar appropriately fearful but also competent. B- Available on Netflix.

Night Teeth (TV-14)

Jorge Lendeborg Jr., Raúl Castillo.

A would-be music producer gets tangled up in a vampire gang war in this extremely slow-moving, low-rent horror movie.

College student Benny (Lendeborg), who dreams of hitting it big making music, convinces his older brother Jay (Castillo) to let him drive Jay’s luxury SUV for a night and earn the money chauffeuring two girls to parties around L.A. What Benny doesn’t know at first is that the girls — Blaire (Debbie Ryan) and Zoe (Lucy Fry) — hired Jay specifically because Benny’s brother is part of some kind of intergenerational protection force that has been guarding a truce between his neighborhood of Boyle Heights and the vampires that call Los Angeles home. Now, that truce is about to be broken and the unknowing Benny will be stuck in the middle of it.

That setup is way more exciting than the movie itself, which delivers most of its information up front but then crawls through the action of Benny watching as Blaire and Zoe take down the vampire power structure, Michael Corleone style, for their boss/Zoe’s boyfriend Victor (Alfie Allen). I feel like sexy-vampire-gang movie should be more energetic and more fun, but this movie never kicks into gear. C Available on Netflix.

Dune (PG-13)

Dune (PG-13)

An interplanetary empire is set on the road to war in Dune, which a title card rather optimistically calls “part one.”

And just to set the scene for my Dune experience: I’ve neither read any of the books nor watched any of the previous Dune movies or TV series. So I am coming in fresh to this universe.

As the movie opens, an unseen emperor of the known universe orders a family/political entity known as House Atreides to take control of a planet called Arrakis, a desert planet that is the only known source of a substance called spice. Spice facilitates interstellar travel, er, somehow and has psychotropic qualities. It is super valuable, which is why House Harkonnen, the previous rulers of Arrakis, are pretty peeved at having Arrakis taken out of their control. But the House Harkonnen head, Baron Vladimir Harkonnen (Stellan Skarsgard in a fat suit that seems to also allow him to float), thinks that this is just the emperor’s way of taking both Atreides and Harkonnen down a few pegs, since he knows this move will lead to war between the two houses.

Duke Leto Atreides (Oscar Isaac) knows all this, but he has plans for Arrakis, plans that involve working with the Fremen, the oppressed local people of Arrakis. When he shows up at the planet with his family — including concubine Lady Jessica (Rebecca Ferguson) and son and heir Paul (Timothée Chalamet) — he is ready for danger but hoping for peace. Jessica, a member of some kind of magic-y lady religious order, has abilities including getting people to do what she says when she sort of Jedi-forces them using a power called the Voice. She has been training Paul to use similar abilities and has plans for him beyond just having him take over for his father one day.

Paul, in the tradition of all raw Luke Skywalker/Hamlet types, isn’t quite sure what he wants, but he has some inkling of what might be in his future due to dreams he has, many featuring Chani (Zendaya), whose glowy blue eyes identify her as one of the Fremen.

To some extent everything I’ve said here is just setup. The movie follows the Atreideses as they move onto Arrakis and what happens next. We meet Atreides warrior-types Duncan Idaho (Jason Momoa) and Gurney Halleck (Josh Brolin). We also meet Fremen-associated people like Stilgar (Javier Bardem) and Dr. Liet-Kynes (Sharon Duncan-Brewster). There are a lot of characters here with a lot of stories and “serves as the this for that group.” There is also a fair amount of explaining this universe and of getting all the pieces in place. This feels like “Season 1” of a Game of Thrones-type show, getting us all set up for a multi-season story arc.

And what a beautiful-looking and -sounding series that would be. Dune looks absolutely gorgeous. Every scene is visually perfect — lighting, set design, costuming, colors, camera angles. The dust-filled wind, the helicopters that look like insects. The movie is generally in muted tones but there are accents of bright color — many from story-significant elements, like the personal shields people wear that turn blue when impacted or the bright eyes of the Fremen. Nearly every shot of this movie is visually arresting (which, because this movie is on HBO Max through Nov. 21 as well as in theaters, you actually can press pause and gaze to your heart’s content).

The movie also sounds great. The score (by Hans Zimmer) is majestic — underlining bigness, vastness and importance when needed. It is haunting and when mixed with the human voices that are often whispery or at a throat-singing deepness or sometimes both the whole effect is kind of awe-inspiring.

So A+ work on all that.

My question about this movie is does all this loveliness weigh it down? Is that why this movie feels so slow and inert? Every one of these beautiful scenes has a kind of “walking through hip-deep water” pacing, as though the speed isn’t quite on slow-mo but is, like, halfway there. (I mean, there is slow-mo, lots of slow-mo, but even the regular- mo feels pretty languorous.) Even though the movie has battle scenes and plenty of action, it never feels like it’s truly energized. There is a half-asleep, still-need-my-coffee feel to everything.

Which puts the performances somewhere in between the down-to-the-smallest-detail impressiveness of the look and sound of this movie and the baffling, frequently boring pacing (another good thing about seeing this movie on streaming: you can go back and see what you missed if you fall asleep halfway through; I didn’t but awakeness did not come without struggle). Isaac, Ferguson and Chalamet are fine, even compelling and engrossing in moments. But they don’t quite escape the sleepiness around them, nor does Brolin, who feels more regular-speed but doesn’t get enough screen time to make a difference. Momoa also brings a kind of liveliness to things but again isn’t around nearly enough.

The strange result of all of this is a movie where everything about Dune — even the prospect of a sequel and the continuing story and the internet rabbithole I disappeared to reading the Wikipedia for the Dune books — is more interesting than the act of sitting through the movie itself. It is definitely worth a watch and it is definitely boring. I ended the movie not really caring about any particular character or storyline but absolutely fascinated by the movie as an art object. What kind of recommendation is that, you ask? Beats me — a shaky B?

Rated PG-13 for sequences of strong violence, some disturbing images and suggestive material, according to the MPA on Directed by Denis Villeneuve with a screenplay by Jon Spaihts and Denis Villeneuve and Eric Roth (based on, according to Wikipedia, the first half of the book by Frank Herbert), Dune is two hours and 35 minutes long and distributed by Warner Bros. In theaters and on HBO Max until Nov. 21.

Ron’s Gone Wrong (PG)

A benignly evil tech company heightens children’s sense of loneliness and their ability to bully each other via sleek new devices in Ron’s Gone Wrong, a pretty depressing read on the real world that is sort of cuted up with animation and a funny robot.

Barney (voice of Jack Dylan Grazer) feels very much like the odd kid out at his middle school: his family home is tended Old Worldily by his Bulgarian grandma Donka (voice of Olivia Coleman), his widowed dad Graham (voice of Ed Helms) is desperately busy trying to sell novelty items via Zoom, Barney’s various science-y interests (including rocks) have him branded as a bit of a nerd and, most deadly of all, he does not own a B*Bot, the hot new tech that all the other kids at school have. The B*Bot is part robot, part iPhone, part parental nightmare — all in kind of an EVE from Wall-E package. The B*Bots upload all available digital information about the child user and then “know” everything about them and can help them meet other kids who have the same interests. In addition the B*Bot follows the child everywhere, can dance with the kid, take the kid on immersive virtual reality adventures and take constant photos and videos to post to the kid’s various social media pages and instantly ask for likes and follows from surrounding kids.

Because I am an Old, this all seems like a dystopic hellscape that we are probably six months away from here in the real world. But to Barney, the B*Bot, promising to be your “best friend out of the box,” is the sole object of his birthday desires. With B*Bot, he hopes, he will have a robot friend and maybe finally be able to make some connections with human friends too.

Unfortunately for Barney, Graham is both clueless and light on cash, so at first he doesn’t get Barney the desired bot. But after seeing him pranked by some bullies, Graham runs down to the B*Bot store, offering money and Donka’s goat in trade for a new B*Bot. The store turns him away, but in the loading area he meets a delivery driver who has a damaged B*Bot he’s willing to sell off the books.

When Barney meets the B*Bot he eventually calls Ron (voice of Zach Galifianakis), he’s initially delighted. But then he realizes Ron is off — he doesn’t have all of the B*Bot operating system, can’t seem to access the network and has only uploaded the “A” section of his system’s encyclopedia, which is why he starts off calling Barney Absalom. On the way to the B*Bot store to return Ron, Barney discovers that no operating system also means no safety controls and that Ron is quite effective at fending off bullies. Once corporate — in the form of a hoodie-wearing CEO guy named Marc (voice of Justice Smith) and a Tim-Cook-ish-looking older guy named Andrew (voice of Rob Delaney) — finds out about the rogue bot, they seek to capture him, but Barney, who teaches Ron how to do his friend duties, feels like he’s finally found someone to connect with.

My biggest problem with this movie (and this may be a mild spoiler) is that in the end, the omnipresent tech company spreading unhappiness throughout the land of tweens and teens isn’t the problem, it’s that their device isn’t, like, authentic enough or some techy meta-verse garbage. And if that sounds all “get your Instagram off my lawn” that’s a completely fair criticism of my social media mindset but also the suggestion that just some algorithm tweaks would make social media full of joy feels pretty cynical (which is particularly odd as Andrew’s cynicism about the purpose of B*Bots ultimately being selling kids stuff is one of the movie’s examples of his villainy). I understand the realities of the world, but that doesn’t mean I have to pay money to have my kids watch a movie with the message that what they really need is better social media and a more unpredictable robot.

I suppose if you put all of that aside, sure this movie is cute. Ron is a fun character, who, because his mission is friendship-based, the movie uses to explain the essence of friendship. Being friends isn’t just about people listening to you (or heart-click liking your posts) but is a relationship two people are in together, choosing to be friends and be there for each other. When compared to the more transactional nature of how the movie presents social media friendships (you make content and the other person follows you and they’re your “friend” and then you both move on to making new “friend” connections), the examination of friendship as an organic thing that needs continuous tending is interesting. And it’s presented in a tween/young teen-understandable way. And there are robot-y hijinxs and funny goat bits and kid social politics, played for gentle laughs. I don’t know that this movie would hold the attention of a younger audience but maybe for kids around 8 and up, who are starting to think about the nature of friendships and have some knowledge of the social media world and can deal with some scenes of conversation, Ron’s Gone Wrong is fun enough to keep them engaged. Me, I’ll be over here on my lawn, telling the B*Bots to shoo. C+

Rated PG for some rude material, thematic elements and language, according to the MPA on Directed by Sarah Smith and Jean-Philippe Vine and co-directed by Octavio E. Rodriguez with a screenplay by Peter Baynham and Sarah Smith, Ron’s Gone Wrong is an hour and 46 minutes long and distributed by Twentieth Century Studios in theaters (with at least a 45-day theatrical exclusivity window, according to BoxOfficePro).



AMC Londonderry
16 Orchard View Dr., Londonderry,

Chunky’s Cinema Pub
707 Huse Road, Manchester; 151 Coliseum Ave., Nashua; 150 Bridge St., Pelham,

The Flying Monkey
39 Main St., Plymouth

O’neil Cinemas
24 Calef Hwy., Epping

Park Theatre
19 Main St., Jaffrey

Red River Theatres
11 S. Main St., Concord

Regal Fox Run Stadium 15
45 Gosling Road, Newington

Rex Theatre
23 Amherst St., Manchester

Wilton Town Hall Theatre
40 Main St., Wilton, 654-3456


Howl’s Moving Castle (PG, 2004) at Cinemark Rockingham Park, AMC Methuen and Regal Fox Run on Thursday, Oct. 28, at 7 p.m.

Beetlejuice (PG, 1988) part of the Film Frenzy $5 Classics series at O’neil Cinemas in Epping with daily screenings through Thursday, Oct. 28.

The Phantom of the Opera (1925), a silent film starring Lon Chaney, with live musical accompaniment by Jeff Rapsis, on Wednesday, Oct. 27, at 7 p.m at Park Theatre. Admission $12.

The Thing (1982) screening on Thursday, Oct. 28, at 7 p.m. at Red River Theatres.

Nosferatu (1922), a silent film, Thursday, Oct. 28, at 7:30 p.m. at the Rex, featuring live musical accompaniment by Jeff Rapsis. Admission costs $10.

The Shining (R, 1980) on Friday, Oct. 29, at 2 & 6:30 p.m. at Red River Theatres in Concord.

A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors (R, 1987) on Friday, Oct. 29, at 2:30, 5 and 7:30 p.m. at Red River Theatres.

The Blackbird (1921), a silent film with live musical accompaniment by Jeff Rapsis, at Wilton Town Hall Theatre on Friday, Oct. 29, at 7:30 p.m. Admission is free; $10 donation suggested.

The Innocents (1961) at Wilton Town Hall Theatre on Friday, Oct 29, and Saturday, Oct. 30, at 7:30 p.m.

The Invisible Man (1933) and The Wolf Man(1941) on Saturday, Oct. 30, at 1 p.m. at AMC Londonderry, Cinemark Rockingham Park and Regal Fox Run.

The Witches (PG, 1990) on Saturday, Oct. 30, at 1, 4 & 7 p.m at Red River Theatres.

Outside the Law (1920) and The Unholy Three (1925), silent films directed by Tod Browning and starring Lon Chaney, with live musical accompaniment by Jeff Rapsis, at Wilton Town Hall Theatre on Saturday, Oct. 30, 2 p.m. Admission is free; $10 donation suggested.

Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948) at Wilton Town Hall Theatre on Saturday, Oct. 30, at 2 p.m.

Psycho (R, 1960) on Saturday, Oct. 30, 2, 5 & 8 p.m. at Red River Theatres in Concord.

The Exorcist (R, 1973) on Sunday, Oct. 31, at 2 & 5:15 p.m. at Red River Theatres.

Where East Is East (1929) a silent film with live musical accompaniment by Jeff Rapsis, at Wilton Town Hall Theatre Sunday, Oct. 31, at 2 p.m. Admission is free; $10 donation suggested.

Night of the Living Dead(1968) on Sunday, Oct. 31, at 1:30 & 4:30 p.m. at Red River Theatres in Concord.

Lon Chaney Weekend

Wilton Town Hall Theatre (40 Main St. in Wilton;, 654-3456) will present a series of silent films starring Lon Chaney and featuring live musical accompaniment by Jeff Rapsis this weekend. On Friday, Oct. 29, at 7:30 p.m. catch The Blackbird (1921). On Saturday, Oct. 30, the lineup features Outside the Law (1920) and The Unholy Three (1925), starting at 2 p.m. On Sunday, Oct. 31, see Where East Is East (1929) at 2 p.m. Admission to all films is free; a $10 donation is suggested.

Featured photo: Dune. Courtesy photo.

The Book of Hope, A Survival Guide for Trying Times, by Jane Goodall and Douglas Abrams with Gail Hudson

The Book of Hope, A Survival Guide for Trying Times, by Jane Goodall and Douglas Abrams with Gail Hudson (Celadon, 249 pages)

Jane Goodall was just 23 years old when a renowned paleoanthropologist hired her to study the behavior of chimpanzees in the wild in Tanzania. Goodall had no background in science, not even a college degree.

But she had something that proved even more important: persistence. She was willing to sit for hours patiently and crawl through brush looking for the animals that her boss believed could better explain human evolution. Goodall also had her mother, who accompanied her on the trip and would share a “wee dram” of whiskey with her every night, Goodall writes in her latest venture, The Book of Hope.

Months passed before Goodall had anything to report, but one day she observed a male chimpanzee using a stem of grass to scoop termites out of a mound. This was an exciting development in animal science, since at that time it was believed that only humans used tools. It was also an exciting development for Goodall personally, because she got new funding and began the career that would see her become the world’s most famous naturalist.

Now 87, Goodall is still mostly known for her work with chimpanzees, although these days her primary job is giving talks about environmental issues via Zoom. She is deeply concerned about climate change, extinction, the loss of animal habitat and a host of other connected issues, as is Douglas Abrams, her co-author and the likely reason this promising title disappoints.

Abrams is an entrepreneur and another “New York Times bestselling author” you’ve never heard of. His company, Idea Architects, came up with the idea to do a series of books collaborating with famous people on a cheery topic like hope or joy. Abrams’ first book, called The Book of Joy, Lasting Happiness in a Changing World, was built around the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu. Goodall, meanwhile, gets the subject of hope all to herself.

It was a good idea, poorly executed. Throughout her career Goodall has been something of an ambassador of hope for the natural world, and she’s written multiple books about her work. She understands what’s known as “eco-grief” — a sense of despair about what’s happening to the planet and its inhabitants. But because of Goodall’s observations of how flora and fauna can recover from devastation, she says there are four reasons that people should be hopeful about the future.

Sure, they are platitudes (cue “the indomitable human spirit” and “the resilience of nature”), but in the right hands this book might have worked. Unfortunately these are the wrong hands, and they’re too many of them. (Who is this “with Gail Hudson” mentioned on the cover and nowhere else?) Generally speaking, the chances a movie will be bad rise in proportion to the number of screenwriters. This is true of books, too.

But I blame Abrams, who employs the laziest form of narration: unspooling conversations in banal “I said, she said” construction while padding paragraphs with unnecessary, fawning detail.

An example: “The morning sun was making Jane’s cheeks glow as we began another day of interviews. Looking at her in her salmon-colored turtleneck and gray, puffy jacket, I realized I never thought of her as being old.”

Get a room, people.

The book is based on a series of conversations that Goodall and Abrams had about hope. They begin by discussing her career and what Abrams calls the science of hope — research on what hope is, and how its presence or absence can inspire or kill us. They also quickly destroy any hope that the book will be compelling by strangely talking about the book within the book.

Actual line: “Okay, we can add a section of Further Reading for those who want to learn more about the research we discuss in the dialogue.”

Goodall is the victim here. When she’s allowed to talk, with no descriptions of what she is wearing or what warm throw she is wrapping around her shoulders by the fireside, she is generally fascinating, as are her stories.

I’d heard before about 2,000-year-old seeds that archaeologists sprouted, but I didn’t know that these were the seeds of date plants collected from the courtyard of the biblical King Herod, nor did I know they grew to mature trees that bore fruit. Goodall herself has eaten one of those dates.

Nor did I know about the Survivor Tree from 9/11, a pear tree that was nearly destroyed when the towers collapsed but was painstakingly nursed back to health, was replanted near Ground Zero, and has since cradled birds’ nests.

These are the sort of stories that Goodall says gives her hope, along with similar stories of animals on the brink of extinction that are coming back with intensive human intervention.

For example, there’s an endangered bird in Europe, the black robin, that naturalists coaxed into laying two eggs, which they took from the nest (with much angst) and placed in another nest to hatch. The hope was that the parents would try again and they did, building another nest and laying two more eggs, which again were removed. Eventually there were six eggs that hatched, and all the fledglings were returned to the mother (with extra food so she wouldn’t exhaust herself trying to feed them.)

She is also inspired by “rewilding” efforts going on in Europe, the intentional return of wolves to national parks in the U.S., and hundreds of other projects that attempt to undo damage to ecosystems by overhunting and overharvesting. And Goodall and Abrams spend a whole chapter drawing hope from the actions of young people.

The book ends with a discussion of Goodall’s hope in life after death. It’s a surprising turn in the conversation born of a question someone asked her once: What’s your next big adventure? Dying, she said, and she wasn’t being morbid. “If there’s something (after death), which I believe, what greater adventure can it be than finding out what it is?”

Abrams may well be a terrific interviewer, and he does extract interesting stories from Goodall, but his prose is uninspired at best, and too often tedious. He did Goodall no favors by injecting himself into what should have been solely her book. C

Book Notes

A debut author who lives in Vermont is getting a lot of buzz on must-read lists for fall.

The novel is The Memoirs of Stockholm Sven (Little, Brown and Co., 336 pages), and the author is Nathaniel Ian Miller, who once wrote for newspapers but now raises beef cattle. Animal-rights activists best stay from the Ned’s Best Beef website, which features pictures of cows with cutlines that say things like “tasted fantastic.”

Let’s hope, at least, he brings that sense of humor to the novel, which is about a Stockholm man who goes to the Arctic seeking adventure and gets more than he bargained for when he is disfigured in an avalanche. “There, with the company of a loyal dog, he builds a hut and lives alone, testing himself against the elements,” according to the publisher. They had me at “the company of a loyal dog,” although I still have not emotionally recovered from the loyal dog in Peter Heller’s The Dog Stars(Vintage, 336 pages).

Another promising new book that will wreck your emotions is One Friday in April, a memoir about suicide by Donald Antrim, who came close to jumping off the roof of his four-story apartment building in 2006. Antrim is a novelist with impressive credentials, including a MacArthur Fellowship and being named one of 20 best novelists under 40 by The New Yorker in 1999. Those accolades could not erase the pain that Antrim battled, which he considers a disease of the body and brain called suicide. The excerpt on Amazon is riveting, whether or not you have intimate knowledge of this disease.

Finally, Mary Roach, queen of the one-word titles (Stiff, Bonk, Gulp, Grunt and Spook, among others) is back with Fuzz (W.W. Norton, 320 pages), subtitled “When nature breaks the law.” Roach is a science writer with a gift for digging up seemingly implausible things, such as the fact that just a few centuries ago animals were actually put on trial for human crimes like trespassing or breaking and entering. (And you thought our legal system had problems now.) It looks like another fun read that will give you plenty to talk about at holiday parties. If there are holiday parties, you know.

Book Events

Author events

CATHERYNNE M. VALENTE Author presents Comfort Me With Apples. Virtual event hosted by Gibson’s Bookstore. Fri., Oct. 29, 7 p.m. Via Zoom. Registration required. Visit

MITCH ALBOM Author presents The Stranger in the Lifeboat. Virtual event hosted by Gibson’s Bookstore. Fri., Nov. 5, 7:30 p.m. Via Zoom. Registration required. Visit

KEN FOLLETT Author presents Never. Virtual event with author discussion and audience Q&A, hosted by The Music Hall in Portsmouth. Sun., Nov. 14, 1 p.m. Tickets cost $36 and include a book for in-person pickup at The Music Hall. Visit or call 436-2400.


• “IN MY SHOES” Poetry reading and open mic event. Eight poets who recently completed a four-week poetry class will read their poetry. Community members are invited to bring and read an original or favorite poem that fits with the theme for the open mic portion. Sat., Oct. 30, 1 to 3 p.m. Twiggs Gallery (254 King St., Boscawen). Free. Light refreshments will be served. Visit or call 975-0015.

COVID SPRING II BOOK LAUNCHVirtual book launch celebrating COVID Spring II: More Granite State Pandemic Poems, an anthology of poetry by 51 New Hampshire residents about the pandemic experience in New Hampshire, now available through independent Concord-based publisher Hobblebush Books. Includes an introduction by Mary Russell, Director of the New Hampshire Center for the Book at the New Hampshire State Library. Sun., Nov. 7, 7 p.m. Virtual, via Zoom. Registration required. Visit or call 715-9615.

Book Clubs

BOOKERY Online. Monthly. Third Thursday, 6 p.m. Bookstore based in Manchester. Visit or call 836-6600.

GIBSON’S BOOKSTORE Online, via Zoom. Monthly. First Monday, 5:30 p.m. Bookstore based in Concord. Visit or call 224-0562.

GOFFSTOWN PUBLIC LIBRARY 2 High St., Goffstown. Monthly. Third Wednesday, 1:30 p.m. Call 497-2102, email or visit

NASHUA PUBLIC LIBRARY Online. Monthly. Second Friday, 3 p.m. Call 589-4611, email or visit

Album Reviews 21/10/28

Lionlimb, Spiral Groove (Savant Records)

You know, much as I like albums like this, I’ve really about had it with bands/artists making their locations unknown. I know that’s a really curmudgeonly inside-baseball thing, but it really does hinder my critiquing process: How am I supposed to start writing a review without already hating your band for something or other? I think this dude’s from Brooklyn, because reasons, but I swear, for five cents I’d just take up this whole space ranting about unprofessionalism in indie music. Shame, too, because it’s really smooth, post-Pitchfork indie-pop-rock, a lot of times bordering on ’80s yacht rock a la Christopher Cross (especially on the title track). It’s not all stuff that wouldn’t disturb the canasta game at the retirement home, but it’s pretty close, like “Gone” has a mild chop-and-screw aesthetic to its organic, vinyl-begging loop. The musicianship is top drawer — you know who’d love this is fans who just discovered Steely Dan, something of that sort. A-

Marissa Nadler, The Path of the Clouds (Sacred Bones Records)

You’d probably like this record if you’re into Portishead but wouldn’t mind a little less electronic experimentation, not counting the black-metal Easter eggs that tend to show up in this Boston-born lady’s tuneage. Somewhat renowned as a guitarist, Nadler has been around for 20 years now and has the buddy list to prove it: experimental harpist Mary Lattimore and (somewhat appropriately) Cocteau Twins bassist Simon Raymonde are here, for two, and Seth Manchester (Lingua Ignota, Battles) mixed the LP, which launches with the languid “Bessie Did You Make It,” a pretty captivating “murder ballad” (that is to say, a slow song about, you know, a murder). We remain aloft for “The Path Of The Clouds,” something of an ode to famous robber/hijacker D.B. Cooper, at which point you might start feeling a little sleepy. But that’s when some spaghetti guitars come in to help fill out “Couldn’t Have Done The Killing,” and one can’t help but think of Mazzy Star. Thus it’s a bit overfocused but quite a good listen regardless. A-


• Oct. 29 means Halloween parties, baby, so remember to pick up some plague doctor beaks at Walgreens so we can do it up in style and win some “original costume” prizes! Man, I love me some Halloween, and the best part is that the 29th will bring with it some new music CDs, hopefully with monster themes or at least someone screaming like Herman Munster is trying to shake their hand. Oh forget it, Halloween rock music has only one song, “The Monster Mash,” and nothing will ever top it. If you’re new to American pop culture, 100 years ago Jacko tried to beat “Monster Mash” by turning into a werewolf or whatever on the MTV video for “Thriller,” but everyone was just like, “Ha ha, nice werewolf, Michael Jackson, you’ll never be as edgy as Prince, LOL.” Actually, Ozzy Osbourne wore pretty cool Michael Jackson-wolf makeup on the cover of Bark At The Moon, but even that wasn’t Halloween enough to unseat “Monster Mash” as the world’s only Halloween song, and so it goes on as the undisputed champion. Regardless, who knows, every day’s a new day, and maybe there’s a song on one of the stupid albums coming out this week, so let’s first take a listen to “Teardrinker,” the push single from Hushed And Grim, the new album from once not-all-bad pirate-metal band Mastodon! Maybe this will make a good Halloween song, I’ll check it out. Oops, no, this isn’t worthy of any recognition or special Halloween-song status, it just sounds like Coldplay with distorted guitars. Jeepers, they’ve gotten as bad as anyone could have ever imagined, like why didn’t someone warn me about this?

• Hmm, maybe Jerry Cantrell’s new album, Brighten, has something Halloweenish on it, you never know. After all, Cantrell was the guitarist for Alice in Chains back in the days when your GenX-er mom was going out on dates with your dad, when they’d sit at Howard Johnson’s and talk about how their lives were awful, and they were right, because everything was indeed awful. Not nearly as awful as nowadays, but definitely awful, because bands like Alice in Chains were on the radio all the time and all the girls were Courtney Love-style party crashers who went around with smeared lipstick, yelling at people for no reason whatsoever. It was pretty crazy, man, but you know what would be cool is my getting to the point here and giving a listen to the title track from this album. Jeez, it’s really dumb, like remember the other week I was talking about the David Duchovny album and how it sounded like bar-band rock from 1981 and it was really lame? Same for this, but what’s cool is Jerry looks like Garth from Wayne’s World now, like he’s trying to make Garth eyeglasses a thing. No, I’m serious, go look.

• If you’re a typical millennial, you’ll be glad to know that They Might Be Giants are back, with a new album called Book, not that that solves any of your problems, like unpaid internships or the planet turning into a spinning ball of molten fire more and more every day. But at least you will have new suburban skater-emo to listen to while you eat your mom’s chicken tendies, like the new-ish single “I Can’t Remember The Dream.” The riff is, in short, “Louie Louie” turned inside out, with the band’s trademark nerd-boy vocals. It’s an awkward incel opus; you’ll probably like it, although I don’t.

• Lastly we have edgy ’90s lady Tori Amos’s new album, Ocean To Ocean. The new single, “Speaking With Trees,” is pretty cool if you like Loreena McKennitt; it’s a delicately bouncy ren-fair tune whose Celtic-ish authenticity would be improved by some bagpipes or something, not that it’s my job to point out the obvious to rock stars.


Exactly 12 years ago, like every week, there were two focus albums examined in this space, including Slayer’s World Painted Blood. I reported it as being “heavy on the politico-socio-psycho outrage — I hate to posit that this is their Animal Boy, but age does bring with it a more unguarded, hence easily articulated, intolerance for stupidity, and they are definitely, you know, old. All fastballs save for the Samhain-inspired boil-and-bubble of ‘Human Strain.’”

Speaking of Slayer, to be honest, I’ve never been big into the thrash metal stuff that sprang from the cultural muck in the late 1980s. There were a few songs I liked here and there, but for the most part it always struck me as a lot of hamster-wheel spazzing signifying nothing. It was intended to appeal to punk rockers, but the punk crowd just sort of laughed at it, especially within the pages of the seminal punk fanzine Maximum Rock & Roll, which was on a mission to dissuade its readers from it. They wrote entire articles making fun of bands like Anthrax and Venom. What was, and largely still is, missing from thrash metal is “heaviness,” that is to say, melodic runs that instill dread or a sense of intense power in the listener. Black Sabbath used to be the gold standard for that, a mantle that’s been taken up by power metal superstars Metallica since the early ’90s. But there is a new king of heaviness these days, namely Swedish band Meshuggah. They use a bizarre sort of rhythmic speed to produce glissandos that aren’t simply riffage but wave-forms that make one think of Godzilla bending a thousand cable wires at once. I don’t even have to sell the band these days; we’ve seen plenty of bands just blatantly ripping off their sound, including an album from Boston wingnut-goddess Poppy, so if you’re liking that sound, you definitely want to check out Meshuggah’s ObZen LP. Comedian Bill Burr tried to describe it and said he literally couldn’t understand what the drummer was doing, if that’s enticing to you.

If you’re in a local band, now’s a great time to let me know about your EP, your single, whatever’s on your mind. Let me know how you’re holding yourself together without being able to play shows or jam with your homies. Send a recipe for keema matar. Message me on Twitter (@esaeger) or Facebook (eric.saeger.9).

The Trick or Treat Margarita

There’s a guy who lives about a block over who goes all out for Halloween — the one who puts cobwebs all over his front porch and hides speakers, so he can play moans, or the sound of clanking chains, or Alice in Chains, or something similarly unnerving. There will be fake gravestones all over his front yard, and maybe a mottled, fiberglass hand forcing itself out from the ground. This was the guy who rigged a 15-foot tube from his second-floor window last year to slide candy to trick-or-treaters.

That seems like it would be exhausting.

And there’s the family down the street who dress up in themed costumes every year. Dad might be Chef Boyardee, Mom is a sexy can opener or something, the toddler is covered in tangled yarn and is spaghetti, and the baby is a meatball.

Seriously, there’s not enough therapy in the world to make that worthwhile.

There are the kids in their 20s at work who have been spending the last few weeks putting together extremely niche costumes to wear to excessively hip parties:

“No, you wouldn’t have heard of her — she’s a really obscure secondary character from Hello Kitty, but the joke is, I’m telling everyone that I’m wearing Korean underwear, but I’m not actually wearing ANY underwear!”

Presumably there will be a lot of drinking and associated lifelong regrets involved. That sort of thing is behind you; you promised yourself, “never again” after the Battlestar Galactica debacle of 2010.

So, what’s your role in Halloween this year?

Judging a reality competition show.

What you will need:

• 2 lawn chairs

• a best friend

• candy

• raspberry margaritas (See below.)

The object of the game is to pretend each trick-or-treater is a contestant on a costume competition show. You are the judges and neither of you entirely understands the rules. You can greet each kid with a slightly bewildering compliment:

“Batman! The little-black-dress of the costume world! You pull it off effortlessly, darling!”

“Charizard! Pokémon is so last season, but you make it work. I choose you, Little Man!”

To a parent: “Are you her manager? Make sure she gets this outfit trademarked.”

To the teenager with a pillowcase and no costume: “I’m sorry, we’re going to have to send you home this week. The others just wanted it more.”

Will the children be amused?

Not even remotely.

Will you and your friend?

More with each successive margarita.

Raspberry Margarita

2 ounces blanco tequila – I like Hornito’s for this.

1 ounce fresh squeezed lime juice

1 ounce raspberry syrup (See below.)

Combine all ingredients over ice in a cocktail shaker.

Shake enthusiastically.

Serve in whatever glass you feel like, from a standard martini glass, to a rocks glass, to a vintage Flinstones jelly jar.

The beauty of this drink is that while it is blood-red and seasonally spooky-looking, it is a straightforward margarita. There are only three ingredients, and it takes about 30 seconds to make. The bracing, smoky, slightly musky taste of tequila is balanced by the sweetness of the raspberry syrup. The raspberry flavor gives this drink a fruity roundness, without ever making it candy-like. If you want candy, you’ve got a giant, plastic bowl of it next to you.

Raspberry Syrup

Frozen raspberries

White sugar

Combine a bag of grocery store frozen raspberries with an equal amount (by weight) of sugar in a small saucepan.

Cook over medium heat. As the berries thaw, the sugar will pull out a surprising amount of juice.

Bring to a boil. Boil for 15 to 20 seconds to make sure all the sugar has dissolved.

Let the mixture cool, then strain it through a fine-meshed strainer. It will keep in the refrigerator for a month or so.

Featured photo: The Trick or Treat Margarita. Photo by John Fladd.

Ribs and wine

Add a fire pit and you have a party

The color of fall is all about us. The sun is bright and the sky is blue. This weather welcomes fall sports and backyard gatherings and tailgating. Yes, it is cool, and sometimes a bit blustery, but we still welcome the opportunity to relax for an afternoon or evening with friends and great barbecue fare paired to robust wines.

This last week we hosted a very small group of friends in our backyard to relax and exchange stories of happenings since our last get-together a month ago. We told them all to dress warmly as we will gather around the table, lit by an old Coleman propane camping light, adjacent to the fire pit. It was great.

So what is an appropriate menu for a fall backyard party? Something hearty like barbecued ribs with cornbread, along with sides of vegetable salads and pasta. Our recipe for ribs is a variation on the classic. In addition to the ketchup, brown sugar and Worcestershire sauce, we add ginger and lemon for a clean, tart flavor that is softened with the addition of orange juice. Our cornbread comes from a recipe of Blanchard’s Caribbean Cornbread a close friend found online. It is incredibly rich with butter, corn and cheese. This fare goes well beyond a summer barbecue menu. It is hearty and needs wines that will stand up to it: zinfandels and syrahs.

Our first wine is the 7 Deadly Zins, a 2017 old-vine vintage from Lodi, available at the New Hampshire Wine & Liquor Stores (originally priced at $18.99, reduced to $13.99). This wine is blended from seven Old Vine zinfandels. According to their website, the wine “was born from a Catholic school upbringing and the winemaker’s lust for a hedonistically seductive wine.” Seven specific vineyards were chosen for this wine, all located in the Lodi AVA (American Viticultural Area). The zinfandel grapes are blended with a touch of petite syrah, then aged in American oak for 11 months. The color is dark red to purple, with lots of rich, red berry fruit to the nose. The oak imparts a touch of leather or tannins to the tongue with layers of plum, currants and toffee, all ending in a long slightly spicy finish.

Lodi is in the northern reaches of the San Joaquin Valley, east of San Francisco. The AVA, of more than 500,000 acres, of which more than 100,000 acres are planted, is best known for its old vine zinfandel. However, with its warm “Mediterranean-like” climate of hot days and cool nights, Lodi also produces large quantities of merlot, chardonnay, cabernet sauvignon and sauvignon blanc.

Our second wine comes from “across the pond” in the Rhône River Valley of France. Jean-Luc Colombo 2016 Terres Brulées Cornas Syrah (available at the New Hampshire Wine & Liquor Stores, originally priced at $57.99, reduced to $29.99) has been given a rating of 95 points by Wine Enthusiast and 92 points by Wine Spectator. This is a wine that all but asks to be picked up now and cellared, because it will continue to improve for another five or more years. The color is a thick ruby black with purple hints. To the nose there is plenty of fruit that continues to the tongue with ripe cassis, or black currant, and black cherry notes. Just as with the nose, to the tongue the fruit is intense, a bit of vanilla, along with moderate tannins. This wine will age well into the future.

The winemaker team of Jean-Luc and Anne Colombo have a background in pharmaceutical science and a passion for the syrah grape. The wine is made from vines that are over 30 years old from 20 different vineyards. Aged for 21 months in oak barrels, the wine is fined with egg whites and bottled unfiltered.

So don’t put the yard furniture away just yet. We still have sunny days and plenty of opportunity to get together with family and friends to enjoy the cooler weather with hearty fare paired to rich, hearty wines. Grab a blanket and light that fire pit to enjoy the moment into the evening.

Featured photo: Photo by Fred Matuszewski.

Creamy carrot soup

Not only does this time of year mark the start of baking season; it also marks the start of soup season. While there are times that I want a soup that is quick to make, there are other days where I want a soup that simmers all afternoon. Nothing helps a day feel less chilly than something simmering on the stove, right?

This soup was created for the simmer-all-afternoon category. However, if you want to serve it on a weeknight, you can break the recipe into two parts. Do the slow simmering phase on a weekend day when you have some free time. Then, on the night it is to be served, simply take that broth you created and finish the recipe in under an hour. The most important thing is not to skip the slow simmering phase and replace it with store-bought stock. The stock that you are creating for this recipe is so flavorful that it is worth the effort.

Once you have your cooking plan ready, you can consider how you will serve the soup. I created this recipe with the thought that it makes a fine side-dish soup. Pair it with a sandwich (grilled cheese, chicken salad, or whatever you prefer) for something more filling, or a salad if you are eating lighter. However, it could become a main dish soup with the addition of some protein. Add some diced, cooked chicken breast or crumbled chorizo, and you have a fairly hearty soup.

No matter how you make or serve this soup, it is bound to be a new fall favorite.

Michele Pesula Kuegler has been thinking about food her entire life. Since 2007, the New Hampshire native has been sharing these food thoughts and recipes at her blog, Think Tasty. Visit to find more of her recipes.

New & improved creamy carrot soup
Serves 4

6 cups water
1 sweet onion, quartered
4 celery stalks, quartered
6 garlic cloves
4 large carrots, ends trimmed & quartered
2 teaspoons dried rosemary
2 teaspoons kosher salt
Ground black pepper
7 large carrots, peeled & cubed
½ cup whole milk

Combine water, onion, celery, garlic, 4 carrots, rosemary, salt and pepper in a large pot.
Bring to a boil; reduce heat to low.
Cover and simmer for 2 hours.
Strain broth with a fine mesh sieve, and return broth to pot.
Add 7 peeled and cubed carrots to broth, bring to a boil.
Reduce heat and cook for 10-12 minutes or until carrots are tender.
Allow broth to cool for 30 minutes.
Puree broth and carrots in small batches, or use immersion blender to puree.
Return puree to pot.
Simmer on low for 10 minutes.
Stir in milk.
Season to taste with additional salt and pepper, if desired.

Photo: New, improved creamy carrot soup. Photo by Michele Pesula Kuegler.

In the kitchen with Steve Burke

Steve Burke of Salem is the owner of B’s Grumman Grub (, and on Facebook @bsgrummangrub), a food truck offering comfort items like chili, burgers, wraps, subs, breakfast sandwiches, chicken finger dinners and more. An auto mechanic and garage manager by trade, Burke first got into the local food scene when he owned Steve’s Dirty Dawgs, a hot dog cart known for its loaded chili dogs. He found the truck that would become B’s Grumman Grub through a family friend, naming it after the Grumman vehicle manufacturer, and built it out over the course of a few years. The truck regularly appears at the Derry-Salem Elks Club (39 Shadow Lake Road, Salem) on Thursday evenings, and is available to book for private events of all sizes. Burke will also be attending the final date of the Pelham Farmers Market, on Saturday, Oct. 30, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. outside the First Congregational Church of Pelham (3 Main St.).

What is your must-have kitchen item?

It’s got to be a spatula, because we’re always on the grill flipping burgers, steak and cheeses and things like that.

What would you have for your last meal?

A hot Italian sausage sub with onions, peppers and Tabasco sauce.

What is your favorite local restaurant?

The only restaurant we ever really eat at is [New] Chief Wok, right here in Salem. … I’ve got to have the egg rolls, and I really like the lo mein as well.

What is your favorite thing on your menu?

I love my chili, since that’s kind of what started it all. … I also really like the chicken fajita wrap, which was something that my wife came up with.

What celebrity would you like to see ordering from your food truck?

I’m going to say Adam Sandler. I just feel like he would be a food truck type of guy.

What is the biggest food trend in New Hampshire right now?

It’s obvious to me that food trucks are the thing right now. They are everywhere. … Even before Covid, they were just blowing up and you see them more and more. Now people want them at their weddings, their graduation parties, their birthday parties, you name it.

What is your favorite thing to cook at home?

I really like a good tomato grilled cheese sandwich with extra sharp cheddar, beefsteak tomato, mayonnaise, salt and pepper.

Homemade chili
From the kitchen of Steve Burke of B’s Grumman Grub in Salem

1 24-ounce can Hunt’s four-cheese sauce
1 24-ounce can red kidney beans (do not rinse)
1 12-ounce can baked beans
1 pound ground beef (cook and add with the fat; do not drain)
2 hot Italian sausages, cooked and sliced into half moons
2 medium white onions, cut into thin strips
1 red pepper, diced
1 yellow pepper, diced
1 green pepper, diced
1 chili pepper, sliced thin and diced
2 Tablespoons chili powder

Cook in a slow cooker on high to get it to temperature, then reduce to low and cook for six hours. Stir often and season to your liking. Add a pinch of garlic powder or Frank’s Red Hot to taste (optional). Add water if you like a thinner chili.

Featured photo: Steve Burke. Courtesy photo.

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