Green streets

NH Irish Festival an indoor/outdoor bash

According to the New England Historical Society, more than one in five of New Hampshire’s residents claim Irish ancestry. The lure of factory jobs led a wave of immigration from Ireland to Manchester in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The Emerald Isle’s cultural presence has grown steadily since, particularly when it comes to music.

Thus, the upcoming New Hampshire Irish Festival won’t be a one-night affair in a single venue. Rather, it will stretch across two days in downtown Manchester, with shows at both the spacious Palace Theatre and the more intimate Rex. An outdoor stage will offer free live music prior to both shows.

Liam Spain is a musician who’s performed traditional Irish and folk music for decades with his brother Mickey. The two are close to completing a new album they’ll release next year. He also works for the Palace, and CEO Peter Ramsey asked him to pull together a list of artists for an event similar in spirit to last year’s Jazz Festival there.

Spain leaned into the task and was elated when all his first-call performers said yes. Ronan Tynan will headline two nights at the Palace, along with Screaming Orphans and Derek Warfield & the Young Wolfe Tones. At the Rex, it’s two shows from Reverie Road, a supergroup with members of Solas and Gaelic Storm, along with Belfast native Seamus Kennedy, and the Spain Brothers.

“It represents the whole gamut of Irish music,” Spain said in a recent phone interview. “There’s Ronan, a traditional tenor. Then you have the folk and ballad stuff with Seamus, the tunes with Reverie Road, and with Screaming Orphans you get the Irish pop and rock. It covers all the bases.”

Spain is also very keen on Derek Warfield’s latest project, which draws its name from the trad group he cofounded in 1965. “This new band of his has amazing musicians,” he said. “It does some of the Wolfe Tones stuff; it’s still very much folk but very melodic — there’s a lot of mixture in the music.”

Screaming Orphans are the four Diver sisters, Joan, Angela, Gràinne and Marie Thérèse, who hail from Bundoran in Ireland’s County Donegal. Along with releasing a dozen albums — their latest, Taproom, made the Billboard World Music Top 10 — they’re also known for backing Sinead O’Connor on a couple of tours. They’ve also recorded with Peter Gabriel, and sang with Joni Mitchell when she contributed to a Chieftains album.

Outdoor activities begin at 5 p.m. on Friday with Speed the Plough, followed by Pat Kelleher (appearing both days), with local favorite Marty Quirk doing the final pre-concert set. Saturday kicks off at noon with Kelleher, followed by Christine Morrison’s Academy of Celtic Dance. Husband-and-wife duo Matt and Shannon Heaton and Erin Og, both Boston-based trad acts, close out the free music.

The Spain Brothers perform infrequently, now that Mickey Spain lives in North Carolina. “We do our playing and touring strategically whenever he comes up,” Liam said. Along with the festival, they’re in New York and have a couple of other regional shows.

Beyond that, in November the two will bring fans along for a nine-day trek through Ireland run by Brack Tours. It stops in Kilkenny, Galway and Dublin; they’ll play at least four shows. The trip includes a tour of the Smithwick’s brewery and stops at historical spots like Rock of Cashel, Bunratty Castle, Glengowla Mines and Athlone & Sean’s Bar, Ireland’s oldest pub.

Spain is excited about the cultural exchange happening in his hometown. “It’s going to be a great weekend of music,” he said, adding that Hanover Street will be closed for outdoor activities. “Our plan is to have the Palace bar, as well as a food truck or two. So it’s going to have a little street fair element as well.”

New Hampshire Irish Festival
When: Friday, Aug. 25, at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday, Aug. 26, at 6 p.m.
Where: Palace Theatre, 80 Hanover St., and Rex Theatre, 23 Amherst St., Manchester
Tickets: $49 at
Free outdoor performances start at 5 p.m. on Friday and noon on Saturday

Featured photo: Screaming Orphans. Courtesy photo.

The Music Roundup 23/08/24

Local music news & events

Bringing it back: Among a multitude of tribute acts, The Frank White Experience is one of a few delving into hip-hop. Using the music of Notorious B.I.G. as a starting point, the seven-piece band, led by Skribe Da Godruns, moves through a deep catalog of ’90s favorites. Launched in 2017, their blend of showmanship and homage has led one critic to call them the Dark Star Orchestra of hip-hop and R&B. Thursday, Aug. 24, 8 p.m., Shaskeen Pub, 909 Elm St., Manchester. See

Shimmer and pop: In the early 2000s, the members of The New Norde were part of Seacoast band The Minus Scale, with a love for lustrous pop songs. Now a trio, they formed in 2019 and spent lockdown woodshedding for their 2022 debut Whatever’s Clever. Friday, Aug. 25, 5 p.m., Vernon Family Farm, 301 Piscassic Road, Newfields, tickets at

Red hot blues: An outdoor afternoon concert has Boston’s Delta Generators, a rootsy band led by ex-Radio Kings singer and harmonica player Brian Templeton. For this show, guitarist Kid Ramos joins them; he’s performed with a bevy of big acts, including Roomful of Blues and The Fabulous Thunderbirds. Ramos and Templeton are both in the all-star blues band The Proven Ones. Saturday, Aug. 26, 1 p.m., Kennedy Farm, 176 Kennedy Hill Road, Goffstown. More at

Sturm und drang: Marking 50 years since Metallica debuted with Kill ’Em All, The Four Horsemen deliver a note-perfect arena-level sonic assault. The band’s vocalist and guitar player Sean Perry called seeing the group during its 1991 Black Album tour an experience that changed him forever and is now focused on being “the only album-quality Metallica tribute band on the planet.” Saturday, Aug. 6, 8 pm., Tupelo Music Hall, 10 A St., Derry, $35 and up at

Decade double shot: A brief foray into the Great American Songbook now a memory, Rod Stewart is sticking to his bread and butter on his current tour, which includes fellow ’70s hitmakers Cheap Trick. He usually opens with Robert Palmer’s “Addicted to Love” but then settles into the songs that made his reputation, like “Maggie May,” “Do Ya Think I’m Sexy” and “Stay With Me.” Monday, Aug. 28, 7:30 p.m., Bank of New Hampshire Pavilion, Meadowbrook Lane, Gilford, $49.50 and up at

Blue Beetle (PG-13)

A recent college grad accidentally forms a symbiotic relationship with superpower-bestowing alien tech in Blue Beetle, a DC Comics movie that isn’t, story-wise at least, necessarily a piece of any particular DC franchise but probably will get absorbed in the new DCU if it does OK, box-office-ally speaking.

I mention this because if you didn’t watch The Flash or can’t remember the whole deal with Black Adam, that’s fine, none of that business is part of this movie.

Jaime Reyes (Xolo Maridueña, bringing his floppy-haired goofballness from Cobra Kai) is a recent college graduate who gets several bites into his celebratory taco homecoming dinner before his sister Milagro (Belissa Escobedo) lays out an assortment of the family’s difficulties: they’ve lost the family business (an auto body shop), dad Alberto (Damian Alcazar) has had a heart attack and the family house — where mom Rocio (Elpidia Carrillo), Nana (Adriana Barraza) and Uncle Rudy (George Lopez) also live — is being sold out from under them. Some of this misfortune seems to be due to the gentrification spearheaded by the Kords, a wealthy family in Palmera City (kind of a Miami-ish/ Los Angeles-y city of gleaming futuristic buildings and neighborhoods of Mexican Americans who are being shoved around by banks and developers).

As it turns out, pricing people out of their communities is only one of many crummy things Victoria Kord (Susan Sarandon) is up to. She’s building a militarized force of augmented humans with a bit of tech that can snap in to soldiers’ spines and gear them up with weaponry and armor. She’s also digging up alien tech, the Scarab, a blue-beetle-y-looking device that can bond with humans, to make those devices even more powerful. Her niece, Jenny Kord (Bruna Marquezine), disagrees with this direction of the company and wants the family business to focus less on weaponry, like her father wanted before he disappeared. When she spots the Scarab in Kord labs, she hides it in a takeout box and tries to rush it out of the building. On the way, she runs in to Jaime, who came looking for her after she offered to get him a job (to replace the house-cleaning job he lost by standing up for Jenny to her aunt Victoria). She gives him the box and tells him to rush out. At the urging of his curious family, he opens the box. Several members of the family handle the blue beetle but it’s Jaime that the Scarab chooses to bond with.

That bonding leads to Jaime being covered in armor, shot into space, accidentally slicing a bus in half and slamming back down to Earth, creating a second hole in the roof of the family house.

Before Jaime gets to the “great power, great responsibility” portion of superhero-power-acquirement, Victoria and a bunch of henchmen — led by Scarab-bonding-hopeful Carapax (Raoul Max Trujillo) — show up at the family home to attempt to get the Scarab back.

Jaime’s battles are, sure, against racism — he’s told that delivery people use the back when he shows up at Kord headquarters for a job interview, Victoria rather snootily tells him to “ándale” when she fires him and refers to her head scientist as “Dr. Sanchez” (Harvey Guillen) despite his regular reminders that that’s not his name. But the battle Jaime fights is largely one to protect his family — who in turn aid him when he has to face off against Victoria, who has no problem killing him to get the Scarab back. The movie maybe has some wider “the community” ideas but those never really get fleshed out. Nor exactly do the personalities of his family — beyond Rudy’s role as comic relief and Nana’s surprise experience with anti-imperialist revolution. Jaime’s sister Milagro feels like she should be a bigger character than she is; she’s sort of positioned as his closest confidant within the family but the movie’s use of her just sort of peters out.

There are other elements of Blue Beetle that just feel messy — half finished or thrown in without a lot of thought. Jenny’s whole back story — her missing father who was himself a sort of secret-identity superhero — and her relationship with Jaime feels like a bunch of tasks (love interest, sequel setup, narrative shortcut to getting superhero tech to regular people) just shoved into a character who doesn’t really have a lot going on separate from Jaime’s storyline. Something about Sarandon’s portrayal of the villain feels not quite there — like the movie couldn’t decide if she was a cackling fairy tale witch or a more banal hyper-capitalist. The actress herself seems confused and I found a lot of her performance to just feel flat.

Also, it feels like an already overused dig to say that a movie’s dialogue sounds like it was written by A.I. — but wow did this movie’s dialogue feel like what would happen if you smooshed every superhero cliché and dialogue tic into a Blue Beetle mold. The trailer seemed to suggest that this movie came with some sharper humor and less plasticine human interaction, but I think this was largely just because it was giving us George Lopez’s best lines.

Blue Beetle ultimately felt like it had some good ideas and some nice framework for character relationships set up by Jaime’s family but it just wasn’t sure what to focus on. C+

Rated PG-13 for sequences of action and violence, language and some suggestive references, according to the MPA on Directed by Angel Manuel Soto with a screenplay by Gareth Dunnet-Alcocer, Blue Beetle is two hours and seven minutes long and is distributed in theaters by Warner Bros.

Featured photo: Blue Beetle.

Tom Lake, by Ann Patchett

Tom Lake, by Ann Patchett (Harper, 309 pages)

The celebrated novelist Ann Patchett says that Thornton Wilder’s Our Town has been a “comfort, guide and inspiration” throughout her life, and that in her new novel, Tom Lake, she’s trying to draw attention to the play and to all of Wilder’s work.

In doing so she’s drawing attention to New Hampshire, since the Pulitzer Prize-winning play is set in a fictional town in the Granite State. And for someone who grew up in the South, Patchett has a surprisingly good grasp of New England, where parts of this novel take place.

At one point the narrator is asked to swim as part of a movie audition. “Right away I wondered how cold the water was because that’s the first thing a person from New Hampshire thinks about when someone starts talking about swimming,” she says. New Hampshire is omnipresent in Tom Lake, which toggles between the decades-old memories of the narrator, Lara Kenison, and her life in the early days of Covid-19, as she shelters with her husband and adult daughters on the family’s farm in northern Michigan.

As a teenager, Lara — then Laura — was cast as Emily in a community theater production of Our Town; she aced her audition because every other aspiring Emily was trying too hard, because being in a production of Our Town is apparently like the Holy Grail for thespians in this state.

“Citizens of New Hampshire could not get enough of Our Town,” Lara says. “We felt about the play the way other Americans felt about the Constitution or the ‘Star-Spangled Banner.’ It spoke to us, made us feel special and seen.”

The audition was eye-opening for Lara, who watched as adults desperate for a role bumbled their way through auditions. (“Many of the Georges … read their lines as if they were trying out for Peter Pan. The older they were, the more they leapt in a scene that did not call for leaping.”)

By the time her name was called, Laura, who had never been a “theater girl,” had decided to drop the “u” in her name for a spelling she thought more worldly.

Lara’s acting career was brief but dazzling and included another stint as Emily at a summer stock production of Our Town at the titular Tom Lake in Michigan, where she was paired with a soon-to-be-famous actor named Peter Duke. The two had a brief love affair, after which they went down markedly different paths — just how different their paths were is not revealed until the story’s end.

Even after he was no longer physically present in Lara’s life, Duke played a starring role in Lara’s family life. Her husband knew just enough about the story to tell their daughters that their mother once dated the famous man they’d just seen in a movie, which set off an emotional explosion in the house. From there Duke grew larger in the girls’ imaginations, to the point where one of them became convinced, at age 14, that Duke was her father. “Thanks to his ubiquitous presence in the world, the man I’d spent a summer with took up residence in our home, and still I thought of him remarkably little,” Lara reflects.

All that changes in the spring of 2020, when the adult daughters — Emily, Maisie and Nell — come home for Covid and their mother finally relents and starts telling the story of her acting career, tantalizing details revealed in short installments.

The daughters learn how that first unplanned audition came about and how, a couple of years later, Lara played Emily again at a University of New Hampshire production. (“In any given year more girls who had once played Emily attended the University of New Hampshire than any other university in the country…,” Patchett writes.)

Through the stories, the girls follow their mother to L.A. for a screen test at the behest of a director who’d been at the UNH performance. They hear about her two seasons of “unremarkable” television and her Red Lobster commercial. And ultimately they arrive at Tom Lake, where young Lara fell for a man who would one day have Tom Cruise-level fame while she slipped into domestic obscurity.

“You should have been famous. I think that’s what kills me,” Nell says to her mother at one point, to which Lara, reclining in grass and sunlight with her smart, accomplished daughters, says, “Look at this! Look at the three of you. You think my life would have been better spent making commercials for lobster rolls?”

But the stories that Lara reluctantly tells her family, while true, are incomplete.

“Secrets are at times a necessary tool for peace,” she says at one point. While her girls may not hear the whole story, the readers will.

Patchett dwells in that rarefied world of publishing in which everything she writes sells, and sells well, whether fiction or essay. (It’s also the level at which Meryl Streep voices the audio book.) Though Patchett has been married twice, she famously made the decision not to have children in order to concentrate on writing, believing that she wouldn’t have enough energy to put into both. A lot of energy went into Tom Lake; it is a warm and deeply thoughtful novel that exhibits Patchett’s copious talents in the highbrow genre called literary fiction. B+

Album Reviews 23/08/24

Mariion Christiian, “Still Water” / “The Weight of Things” (EMG Records)

You’d file this new EP somewhere between Above & Beyond and Tiesto, and yes, it’s that good. Christian is known as a veteran producer who has a way with melodies that “articulate emotions in a way that words simply cannot,” which was evident on his 2022 “Bleu EP,” but it does come into sharper focus on this new release, where you’re never quite sure where the beat’s going to shift to next, but it’s singularly pleasant. The Los Angeles-based producer is big on brevity at this point, obviously; he’s more into afterparty vibe as opposed to club bangers and such. “Still Water” has a 1980s feel to it, but it’s steeped in the sort of bright, sparkly stuff you may have raved to back in the day; “The Weight of Things” is more on the Aphex Twin/Orbital side, soaring with soprano samples and a shuffling rhythm that’s pretty irresistible really. He’s been known to doof around with sub-tribal stuff reminiscent of Tangerine Dream; it’ll be interesting to see what he does next. A+

Will Butler + Sister Squares, Will Butler + Sister Squares (Merge Records)

This Butler isn’t the one who basically ruined Arcade Fire by getting in very hot water by racking up some sexual harassment charges. That’s Win, not Will; Will is Win’s younger brother, who’s teamed up here with Sister Squares, a group of four peeps with backgrounds in classical music, Broadway (Sara Dobbs had a run as Anybodys in West Side Story), choreography and such, and one of them is Will’s wife. This album opens with a mopey intro, then launches into “Stop Talking,” which could pass for an unreleased, too electro-sounding single by the Tubes (please tell me someone out there remembers those guys). “Willows” is jangly cowboy-hat indie, tuneful in its way; “Me And My Friends” has some goth-stompiness to it; “Arrow Of Time” is a campy nod to Flaming Lips, and so on and so forth. This really isn’t bad at all, and seeing that Arcade Fire is sinking fast, with bands dropping out of their tours, it’s a smart move on Butler’s part, not for nothin’. A-


• On to the new CD releases for Aug. 25, folks, up and at ’em, let’s do this, don’t give me that face, and now for a special message. If you’re a Facebook Friend of mine, you know that I’m trying to get on Fritz Wetherbee’s show on WMUR TV’s New Hampshire Chronicle, a show in which Fritz, between costume changes to adjust the color and raw awesomeness of his bow tie du jour, talks to you, the audience who’s sitting there eating leftover KFC, about how this or that super-small town in our beloved Granite State was once visited by Gen. George Washington, whoever that is, and someone who was probably French once invented a device to milk goats or whatnot and got rich, which led to his being tried and hung as a warlock. Anyway, I expect I’ll get a message from Fritz any day now, begging me to come on, and I want to be musically prepared with the right tunes for my visit, so that he won’t freak out that I don’t only listen to scratchy 1920s Ray Noble records and kick me off his show! No, I seriously do want to be the next Fritz; if Fritz ever decides he has had it, I would be glad to take over his show.

In the meantime I’m trying to find some music to talk about in this week’s column, some dulcet tunes that’ll prove to Fritz that I should be the new Fritz, on TV, talking about goat witches and etc., so hey, everyone, remember to help spread the hashtag #MakeSaegerTheNewFritz whenever you post to your favorite social media hellscape.

OK, I did take a gander at the new releases coming out on the 25th, and there was nothing about driving around with Petunia in a Model T, but wouldn’t you know it, there’s a new album coming out that day from old-time American bluegrass/string-band throwbacks Old Crow Medicine Show! Titled Jubilee, it features the song “Miles Away,” a folksy bluegrass-gasm that perfectly fits all the song’s video’s scenery of random wooden bridges in places that remind me of Spofford Lake, N.H., which would be a great place for Fritz and me to visit when we shoot our first episode of the show, driving around in an original vintage Stanley Steamer, just waving at the locals who’ve never seen an automobile before. Remember to use that hashtag, folks, let’s make this happen, I’m 100 percent serious about this.

• Let’s see, what else have we here — blah blah blah, whatever — OK, wait, Fritz will dig this, I’m sure he used to get crazy to Alice Cooper albums on eight-track back in the days, when he was in college with all the wacky weed and such, and look, gang, Alice has a new album coming out right now, called Road! The first single is titled “I’m Alice,” and it sounds a little like “Elected,” but then again, what Alice Cooper song doesn’t? There’s some fiddle in there too, and if I’m chosen to become the new Fritz, it will be the theme song for my New Hampshire Chronicle segments, the first of which will cover my investigation of the town of Stewartstown, N.H., which is so close to Canada that you can practically taste the maple-flavored poutine!

• Fritz would probably like North Carolina band Hiss Golden Messenger, because it too is indie-folk and country. The quintet’s new LP, Jump For Joy, wields the single “Shinbone,” a mellow, woozy track that sounds like a drunk Tom Petty.

• Lastly, it’s B-52s singer Cindy Wilson, with an album called Realms. The single, “Midnight,” is Berlin-ish ’80s-krautrock-dance. It’s OK, and don’t forget the hashtag #MakeSaegerTheNewFritz, folks!

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).

Flourless Chocolate Cake

A lot of people seem to be deeply suspicious of my cooking.

I like to cook interesting — and yes, sometimes experimental — dishes. When I try to share them with others, my friends and coworkers suddenly surprise me with previously unknown lactose or gluten intolerances. Worst of all is when I try to give food as a gift:

“Here. Please accept this token of our friendship that I baked especially for you. It was hard work, but I wanted you to have it, because I like you so much.”

“No thanks, I’m good.”

If this has happened to you, try this.

Flourless Chocolate Cake

  • 2 sticks (200 grams) salted butter
  • 8 ounces (230 grams) extremely good dark chocolate. Chocolate chips would work for this, but it will be better with your favorite eating chocolate. Because this is a dense, decadent cake, if you have a hidden stash of Very Dark Chocolate hidden somewhere, that would be a good choice for this.
  • 1¼ cups (250 grams) brown sugar
  • 1½ cups (125 grams) unsweetened cocoa. If you have Dutch process cocoa, that would be even better; it is less acidic.
  • 2 teaspoons (10 grams) vanilla paste – a tablespoon of good vanilla extract will work for this, too.
  • ¼ teaspoon (0.5 grams) kosher salt
  • 6 whole eggs

Heat your oven to 350º (175º C)

Butter a 9-inch spring-form pan, and cover the bottom with parchment paper. (Easy “cheat” method for cutting a round of parchment paper to size: Fold a square of parchment paper into quarters, then in half, diagonally, to make a triangle. Fold the triangle in half, to make a sharper angle. Keep doing this until you can’t fold the paper anymore. Measure out half the diameter of your pan from the tip — in this case, four and a half inches — then cut across the triangle. Unfold the sharp end, and it will be an almost perfect circle the exact size of your pan. Actually, it will be a pentacontagon — a 50-sided polygon — or something, but close enough to a circle for our purposes.)

Over low heat, brown the butter in a small saucepan until it is the color of a tweed coat and smells nutty. Set it aside.

Break your chocolate up into small pieces, and place it in a plastic or glass mixing bowl. Melt it in your microwave, stirring it every 20 seconds.

Whisk the brown butter into the melted chocolate. Normally, adding a liquid to melted chocolate will make it seize up, but browning the butter has not only added flavor to it but also cooked off its water content.

Whisk in the brown sugar and vanilla, then the eggs, one at a time.

Sift the cocoa powder into the mixture, and whisk to combine. Cocoa powder, like cinnamon and some other dry ingredients, is hydrophobic, which means that it doesn’t like to mix with wet ingredients. Even though there isn’t any water in your mixture anymore, there was a small amount in the eggs. You will have to force the issue with your whisk.

Bake for 40 minutes, remove from the oven, and let it cool for at least half an hour before unmolding it. Your house will smell amazing.

Serve with a truly injudicious amount of whipped cream.

This is a very, very dense and decadent chocolate cake. It is earthy with cocoa flavor, but the brown butter and brown sugar give it a subtle butterscotch background. A small slice at a time will be perfect. For what it’s worth, anyone who normally gets out of trying your cooking by suddenly claiming to have a gluten intolerance will have to find another excuse. For anyone who actually has a gluten sensitivity, this will be a special treat.

Another up-side of this cake is that because it is not very sweet, you might be able to avoid having to share this with young children. Your husband or girlfriend is another matter.

Featured photo: Photo by John Fladd.

In the kitchen with Amanda Baril

Amanda Baril is the owner of NH Doughnut Co., a small family-run doughnut shop with locations in Concord and Bedford. The company, which Baril started in 2018, serves yeast and cake doughnuts made fresh each morning. While the menu rotates monthly, the doughnuts come in a wide variety of flavors like guava cheesecake, blueberry lemonade and honey dipped glazed. They also offer other baked goods like French crullers, with flavors like key lime pie and toasted coconut, apple fritters, as well as vegan, dairy-free and gluten-free options. You can find them at the Concord farmers market on Saturday mornings.

What is your must-have kitchen item?

Scissors. I like to keep at least six hanging around since they seem to disappear.

What would you have for your last meal?

Mashed potatoes. Last meal, every meal, give me all the potatoes.

What is your favorite local eatery?

This is a toss-up between Cotton and Mangia Italian Restaurant.

What is your favorite thing on your menu?

Definitely the French crullers.

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

I know I am biased, but doughnuts are hot right now. They are popping up everywhere, including restaurant dessert menus and pairing events.

What is your favorite thing to cook at home?

Shepherd’s pie.

Focus on fermentation

Chef Sarasin’s new cookbook features fun flavors

According to local chef Keith Sarasin, humanity wouldn’t be where it is today if it weren’t for fermentation.

In his latest cookbook, Mastering Fermentation, which will be released on Tuesday, Sept. 26, Sarasin aims to show readers the beauty of fermentation while walking them through the process.

“This was a topic the publisher approached me with … and I asked them to focus on certain techniques,” Sarasin said. “I think if we said to anyone off the street [to] name a fermented dish, people might say kimchi or sauerkraut, but I wanted to move beyond just those things and really talk about why fermentation is such a backbone of culture and food.”

Sarasin says his passion for cooking comes from his mom. Growing up in Nashua with just his mother, he wanted to find ways that he could help. He started washing dishes at various restaurants and establishments, working his way up to an executive chef position. He also started working with local farms and in 2012 established the Farmers Dinner, which hosts dinners on various farms all throughout the region. Over time, Sarasin developed a passion for Indian food and culture, an area he now specializes in.

“I was a really picky eater when I was coming up working in kitchens and I think I had a lot of misconceptions about Indian cuisine like many people might,” he said. “One day I walked into a spice shop in Nashua called Food & Fashion of India and there was this lovely little lady in the back … and she kind of took me under her wing. After a lot of coaxing she helped me understand that there was so much more to Indian food than naan and chicken tikka masala. She really gave me my passion for the cuisine and helped me understand it, and subsequently she ended up becoming like a mother to me.”

For the past 16 years Sarasin has dedicated his studies to the cuisine and culture of the Indian subcontinent. He runs a pop-up series called Aatma — the name translates to “soul” — working with farms to bring this food to a new audience.

In Mastering Fermentation Sarasin, whose previous books include Meat: The Ultimate Cookbook and Wild Game Cooking, continues to expose people to new things. He feels there is a lot of confusion surrounding fermentation, a process he says has been used since 6000 BC to make alcohol and preserve food.

“I think a lot of time people think if you leave food out it spoils. I think we’re all taught that. But leaving food out can also lead to fermentation, which is so beautiful,” he said. “Fermentation involves really allowing naturally present or added microorganisms like bacteria, yeast, fungi and those enzymes to work their magic in the absence of oxygen. This leads to the killing of any pathogenic bacteria and creates an environment where beneficial bacteria can thrive.”

There are three types of fermentation to produce fermented foods at home, according to Sarasin: lactic acid fermentation to make things like pickles, yogurt and sourdough; alcohol fermentation to make beer and other alcoholic beverages; and acetic fermentation to produce vinegar and kombucha, among other things. In his book he gives a recipe for yogurt and whey fermented berries.

“I think people will realize this is a book to help you safely understand how to leave food out and turn it into a beautiful, fermented food,” Sarasin said. “Another thing I think people are going to realize very quickly and be surprised with is the amount of food that you can ferment to create wonderful healthy flavors really quickly.”

New book
Mastering Fermentation by Keith Sarasin (208 pages, Cider Hill Press) will be released Tuesday, Sept. 26.

Lacto-Fermented Carrots

From Keith Sarasin.
Serving size: Makes about 1 quart of lacto-fermented carrots (4-6 servings) Active time: 20 minutes Total time: 3-4 weeks

Traditional methods of preserving food and improving its nutritional content include lacto-fermentation. It entails using helpful bacteria called lactobacilli to transform the food’s carbohydrates into lactic acid. The food is preserved during this process, and the environment is made hostile to dangerous microorganisms. In addition to improving the food’s vitamin and enzyme content, lacto-fermentation also makes it more nutrient-dense and digestible.
Vegetables, dairy products and grains are among the foods that are frequently lacto-fermented. Foods that have undergone lacto-fermentation include sourdough bread, pickles, kimchi and sauerkraut.
Carrots that have been lacto-fermented are … a delicious complement to salads, sandwiches and other foods and have a somewhat sour, crunchy texture. The following is a straightforward recipe for lacto-fermented carrots.

4 cups grated carrots
2 Tablespoons fine sea salt
1 quart-sized jar with a tight-fitting lid

In a large bowl, mix the grated carrots with the salt. Using your hands, massage the salt into the carrots for about 5 minutes, until the carrots start to release their liquid.
Transfer the carrots to the jar and press them down firmly. The liquid should cover the carrots. If necessary, you can add a little water to cover the carrots.
Close the lid tightly and place the jar in a cool, dark place for 3-4 weeks. Check the jar every few days to make sure the carrots are fermenting properly and to release any excess gas.
After 3-4 weeks, the lacto-fermented carrots should be ready. They will have a slightly sour, crunchy texture and a slightly cloudy appearance. If the carrots are not sour enough, you can leave them to ferment for a few more weeks.

Featured photo: Photo by Matthew Lomanno.

The Weekly Dish 23/08/24

News from the local food scene

Gate City Brewfest: Gate City Brewfest is this Saturday, Aug. 26, from 1 to 5 p.m. (entry for VIP is at noon) at Holman Stadium (67 Amherst St., Nashua). Over 100 brews and vendors will be in attendance, such as 603 brewery, Citizen Cider, Canteen Spirits, Seacoast Pretzel Company and the Rotary Club of Nashua. There will be live music by Bradley Copper Kettle & Friends, Phall Roots and Frank Viele in addition to bounce houses, games and other activities. Tickets range from $15 to $70 and can be purchased at or via eventbrite. See for details including information about parking and shuttle buses.

Stretch and Sip: Stop by Averill House Vineyard (21 Averill Road, Brookline) from 10 a.m. to noon on Saturday, Aug. 26 for yoga and wine tasting. A tasting of four samples of wine will follow an hour-long yoga class led by Happy Body Yoga instructor Leah. Tickets are $30 per person and an additional charcuterie board is available for $20. Tickets can be purchased online at

Bottle Your Own Experience Sundays: Tour the vineyard, winery and wine cellar, learn about the history of Brookline’s Ice District and enjoy four wine flights and a charcuterie board at Averill House Vineyard (21 Averill Road) in Brookline on Sunday, Aug. 27. The vintner will choose a wine for you to bottle (one bottle is included and additional bottles can be purchased) and you’ll take home an Averill House Vineyard Wine glass. The first session will be held at noon and the second session will be at 2 p.m. Attendees are advised to arrive 15 minutes before the scheduled time. Tickets are $59 and can be purchased at

Bottle signing with celebrity chef Robert Irvine: Sign up now to reserve your spot for a meet and greet and bottle signing and tasting with celebrity chef Robert Irvine at the NH Liquor & Wine Outlet in Bedford (9 Leavy Drive) on Monday, Aug. 28, from noon to 3 p.m. held by the NH Liquor & Wine Outlet and Stone Fence Beverage. Customers who purchase a bottle of Irvine’s Vodka ($15.99 to $21.99) or Gin ($19.99 to $25.99) during this time frame will be able to participate. Reserve your spot online via eventbrite.

Save the date: Glendi, the 44th annual celebration of Greek food and culture at St. George Greek Orthodox Cathedral (650 Hanover St. in Manchester;, 622-9113), will take place Friday, Sept. 15, through Sunday, Sept. 17. Admission is free but bring money for the dinner or gyros and coffee, pastries and other Greek eats. The festival is open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday.

Get a taste: The 18th annual Taste of New Hampshire will take place Tuesday, Oct. 3, from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center (2 Institute Dr. in Concord). Tickets cost $40. The event features sweet and savory eats from area restaurants as well as live music and a silent auction — all to benefit the Boys and Girls Club of Central New Hampshire. See

On The Job – Ivelis Rodriguez, Jeimy Rojas and Rose Viger

Video booth rental providers

Ivelis Rodriguez, Jeimy Rojas and Rose Viger are the family behind Take Two Visions, a 360 video booth rental company based in Derry.

Explain your job and what it entails.

Take Two Visions LLC is a 360 video booth company that offers booth rentals to anyone hosting weddings, birthdays, large parties, corporate events and more. With our booth rentals, you receive a large platform that fits up to six people, fun props, customized extras and two lovely attendants for a hands-free experience. We take care of the setting up and taking down of the equipment as well as making sure the videos are looking great and sending them out to guests right away.

How long have you had this job?

Just opened in July 2023.

What led you to this career field and your current job?

We wanted a job that would be fun for our family. We love to work with people and decided to open a business that revolves around fun.

What kind of education or training did you need?

No education or training needed, just lots of research and positive mindset training.

What is your typical at-work uniform or attire?

At Take Two Visions we have our black polo shirts with the company logo in front and back, plus comfortable pants and shoes.

What is the most challenging thing about your work, and how do you deal with it?

The most challenging thing right now is getting the word of our business out there. To help with this issue, we’ve been prospecting, reaching out to new people and other businesses as well as using social media platforms for promotion.

What do you wish you’d known at the beginning of your career?

I wish we had known more about the software we use. Before our first event, we thought we had it all figured out until we were there. Every mistake was a learning curve.

What do you wish other people knew about your job?

That we truly love what we do. We love making people happy and adding uniqueness to any event.

What was the first job you ever had?

The first job Ivelis had was at Texas Roadhouse. Jeimy’s first job was at Kohl’s and this is actually Rose’s first job, technically; she’s still too young to work but this is definitely a start.

What’s the best piece of work-related advice you’ve ever received?

The best advice we’ve received is someone telling us that our minds will determine our success. A positive mind is what enables you to have anything you want in life.

Five favorites

Favorite book:
A Piece of Cake by Cupcake Brown
Favorite movie: Charlotte’s Web
Favorite music: All kinds of music
Favorite food: Spanish food
Favorite thing about NH: We love all of the beauty this state has. We love going to visit the Kancamagus Highway and going to the White Mountains for vacations.

Featured photo: Rose Viger, Ivelis Rodriguez and Jeimy Rojas. Courtesy photo.

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