Kiddie Pool 23/09/28

Family fun for the whenever

Farm fun

  • The Joppa Hill Educational Farm (174 Joppa Hill Road in Bedford;, 472-4724) will hold a Fall Fair on Saturday, Sept. 30, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tickets cost $30 for a family admission. The day will feature artisan booths, food trucks, vendors, tractor rides, apples, pumpkin decorating, live music, kids’ activities, farm fun and more, according to the website.
  • Charmingfare Farm (774 High St. in Candia;, 483-5623) holds its Pumpkin Festival Saturday, Sept. 30, and Sunday, Oct. 1, as well as Saturday, Oct. 7, through Monday, Oct. 9. Admission costs $29 per person (23 months and younger get in free). Pick a pumpkin from the pumpkin patch, take a tractor or horse-drawn wagon ride, enjoy live music and more. The festival also features a cow milking contest (not involving a real cow), pumpkin art, costumed characters and a visit with the farm’s animals.


  • It’s the final “Movies in the Park” for the season at Wasserman Park (116 Naticook Road in Merrimack) this Saturday, Sept. 30. At 6:30 p.m., catch 2022’s Puss In Boots: The Last Wish (PG), the third movie in the animated series (a spin-off of the Shrek movies) that always knew how to make excellent use of the vocal talents of Antonio Banderas. See
  • If you’ve got a kid of the right age (roughly pre-preschool through early elementary) you’ve probably been counting down the days to the Sept. 29 release of Paw Patrol: The Mighty Movie (PG), the second big-screen outing of the popular Nickelodeon cartoon series. Tickets for the movie are already on sale at some area theaters — O’neil Cinemas at Brickyard Square (24 Calef Hwy., Epping, 679-3529,, Regal Concord (282 Loudon Road, Concord, and area Chunky’s (707 Huse Road, Manchester; 151 Coliseum Ave., Nashua; 150 Bridge St., Pelham, If your younger movie-goers prefer a sensory-friendly screening (when house lights aren’t turned completely off and the sound is turned down), there are a few on the horizon: Saturday, Oct. 7, at 10 a.m. at the O’neil in Epping and Friday, Oct. 20, at 3 p.m. at the three area Chunky’s.

On stage

  • American Girl Live stops at the Capitol Center for the Arts (44 S. Main St., Concord) on Thursday, Sept. 28, at 7 p.m. The show brings American Girl characters from various decades to life with music and dance, emphasizing friendship and empowerment, according to the website. Tickets range from $43.75 to $75.75. Visit
  • The Portsmouth Symphony Orchestra’s “Family Matinees” Chamber series returns Saturday, Sept. 30, at 3 p.m. at St. John’s Episocopal Church (101 Chapel St. in Portsmouth) with the orchestra’s principal winds performing “Carnival of the Animals.” Admission is a suggested $15 per family donation at the door. See
  • Catch a mid-week show with the Palace Theatre’s (80 Hanover St. in Manchester;, 668-5588) youth company presentation of Big Bad on Tuesday, Oct. 3, and Wednesday, Oct. 4, at 7 p.m. Actors from grades 2 through 12 will present the story of the Big Bad Wolf as he is taken to court by the fairy tale characters he has wronged, according to the company’s Facebook post. Tickets cost $12 to $15.
  • Music, science and general fun will come together for “Mr. C: World of Motion,” part of the Education Series, at the Capitol Center for the Arts (44 S. Main St., Concord on Wednesday, Oct. 4, at 10 a.m Tickets cost $8. Visit

Treasure Hunt 23/09/28

Hi, Donna,

I enjoy your Treasure Hunt and hope you can give me an idea of the market and value of this unique mirror.

I salvaged it from a barbershop in Central Falls, Rhode Island, in either 1979 or 1980.

We had intended to open an ice cream shop and use it for the back wall; that didn’t work out but we hung on to it anyway!

Unfortunately I didn’t get a photo while it was still standing at the barbershop.
There are six sections approximately 3’x4’. The top three are clear mirror. The bottom three are blue mirror.

The top has four additional clear sections accented by eight blue strips/panels (approxdximately. 4’x3.5”). Each of the four accent pieces also has lights.
There are three blue strips that run horizontally across the top (approximately 3’x3.5”).

You can see from the picture that I have one narrow panel that broke in a move.
Thanks for your input.


Dear Dan,

Antique architecture is always collectible! You just need to find it a new home and use.

I think your Art Deco barber shop mirror could easily be repurposed in a business or a home. First you have to start with a value. I have a saying: ‘Find me another one.’ Then you have to say to yourself you have no use for it any longer. It would be better for it to be seen again.

As far as an approximate value I would start in the range of $1,000. Then work from there to find it a good home. I also think to do that you’re going to need to advertise that you have a treasure.

Dan, thank you for reading the Hippo and sharing with us. Good antique salvage save!

Sharpening pruners

With a little practice you’ll get it right

Fall is a good time to prune deciduous trees and shrubs. Once the leaves have dropped you can see the form — and the clutter — and decide what to take out. But before you begin, think about sharpening up your pruning tools, replacing blades, or buying new ones. Dull pruning tools are like dull kitchen knives: They’ll do the job, but not very well.

How tough is it to sharpen your own pruners? It’s really not that difficult. The biggest problem people have is overcoming their initial fear of ruining their tool by doing it wrong. You need to learn the proper angle, have the proper sharpening tool and have the patience to do it right. Experience will tell you if you have done well, and you won’t ruin those Felcos (the most common brand of bypass pruners out there) even if you don’t get it quite right the first time. It’s fun, once you get the hang of it.

What do you need for sharpening tools? The best sharpeners for hardened steel tools are made using synthetic monocrystalline diamonds embedded in nickel. I like the diamond sharpeners because they are very efficient. As a rule, five to 10 minutes on a conventional oilstone is equal to about a minute with a diamond sharpener. Coarse files are fine for most pruners, while fine files are better for scissors and knives that are kept very sharp.

What’s the first thing you need to do when starting off? I clean the pruners, which usually are covered with dried sap and dirt and sometimes rust. You can use soap and water, but I prefer a product called Sap-X. I let it work for 30 seconds and then scrub the blades, first with coarse steel wool and then, after reapplying the solvent, with a green scrubbie or fine steel wool to get the rust. If you don’t clean your pruners prior to sharpening, all of that debris will end up clogging your sharpener.

Then what? Grasp the pruner in your left hand (if you are right-handed), holding on to the handle that extends to the cutting blade. The cutting blade is the one that moves when you open and shut the pruners and is the only one that you need to sharpen. Steady it by placing the pruner on the edge of a table. Working under a bright light helps, because it will help you to see the shiny edge that develops as you sharpen.

Start sharpening as near to the throat of the pruners as you can (where the two handles join). Place the narrow tip of the tapered file at the throat, and push the file away from you, sliding it down the length of the beveled edge. With practice you will be able to use the full length of the file as you run it down the blade.

How will you know if you are sharpening at the correct angle? What you’re trying to do is restore the edge of your pruners to the original angle set when it was manufactured. Before you start take a marker and “color” the steel on the beveled edge of the moveable blade. This will help you to see what you’re doing — you want to remove the marks evenly across the beveled edge with your sharpener. If only a small portion of the blade turns shiny, you need to change the angle of your file slightly.

How much pressure should you apply on your sharpening tool? Not much — let the diamonds do the work. Sharpening will feel awkward at first, but gets easier as you do it. Use nice slow even strokes.

If you don’t have pruners, buy the best ones you can afford. If you take care of them, they will outlast you. Yes, you can buy some that look good for $10, but the quality of the steel will not be the same as buying good ones. Plan on spending $50 or more. If you can try them out before buying some — or use a friend’s pruners — that would help you make a good choice. They all come in various hand sizes, and some are right- or left-handed.

I have tried many kinds of pruners, but my favorites are made by Bahco, a French company. I’ve had some for 20 years that have a good ergonomic design and will cut branches up to 1.25 inches in diameter. I got mine from a company in Massachusetts, OESCO (1-800-634-5557 or

And what if you can’t seem to get sharpening right, then what? I’m sure with a little practice you’ll get it right! But good pruners have replaceable blades, so if you’ve been cutting steel fencing with your pruners and ruined them, you can buy a new blade.

A replacement blade for a pair of Felco pruners (which cost $60 or more new) only costs about $20. Changing a blade requires a few basic tools, some common sense, and less than 5 minutes of work. And you need to look carefully at your pruners to see which model you have. Felcos have a number on the stationary blade, depending on the model you have, anywhere from 2 to 12.

As a last resort, look in the Yellow Pages under “Sharpening Services” and you should be able to find someone to do it for you — and maybe even show you how to do it yourself next time.

Henry lives in Cornish, N.H. You can reach him at He is the author of four gardening books and offers PowerPoint presentations to gardening clubs and libraries.

Featured photo by Henry Homeyer.

Foodie finds

Shopping for your new favorite flavors at local international food markets

OK, this looked easy enough on TV…

“Heat a saucepan over medium heat” — That seems pretty straightforward; a saucepan actually means a pot — I won’t make THAT mistake again — and medium heat means, um, turn the knob halfway between 2 and 9?

“Heat oil until it shimmers.” I think I’ve got that; I’ll remember to pour it out of the bottle this time. Aaaaand — Hey! It IS shimmering! I might be able to do this.

“Add mustard seeds to the hot oil, and wait for them to pop like popcorn.” There are seeds that do that other than popcorn? And what ARE mustard seeds, anyway?





Ugh, that shimmering oil is starting to smoke; I’d better take it off the heat. I don’t want a repeat of Arlene’s baby shower.

Mustard seeds? I really should have read through these ingredients before I started.

Salt — we’ve got that. White pepper — wow! We’ve actually got that. Fenugreek leaves — I thought fenugreek was a seed! And what the heck are cardamom pods?

“What are cardamom pods, please?”

“HERE’S WHAT I FOUND ON WHATTHEHECKISTHISSPICE.COM: Cardamom is a spice made from the seed pods of the cardamom plant, a close relative to ginger and turmeric, that is native to South India—”

“OK, stop. Thank you.”



OK, what am I supposed to do now? I could probably order this stuff online, but I need this for the Piñata Festival tomorrow, and I’m not paying for overnight shipping. Where would somebody even go to find this stuff?

I’m glad you asked.

According to the 2020 Federal Census on, 3,600 of the people living in Concord were born outside of the United States. Nashua is home to another 13,000, and in Manchester, 16,000 people — about 14 percent of the population — are immigrants.

What does that have to do with cardamom pods?

It’s foolish to say “all” of any group of people, but the vast majority of those 32,800, while happy to call this area home, want to eat the food they grew up with. (I lived overseas for a couple of years in my youth, and I cannot describe the sheer sense of elation I felt when I stumbled across a six-pack of root beer one time.)

There are a surprising number of small international grocery stores in the area, catering to people from all over the world. You’ve seen them, but not noticed them. Thirty-seven percent of urban shopping centers in the state — a figure I just made up — have small, inconspicuous markets in them that specialize in West African or Mexican or Pakistani foods. If you need cardamom pods, you’ll be able to find them in most of these stores. Or fermented tofu. Or dried West African river fish.

Obviously, some of this can be a bit overwhelming. Even if you are from another country — India, for example — it doesn’t naturally follow that you will necessarily know anything about Mexican food.

So here’s what we’ll do: Let’s take a look at a few international markets, and pick an ingredient — something with a low barrier to appreciation by a beginner. Let’s figure out what you can do with that ingredient, and then look at a cookbook to help you learn more about cooking the sorts of groceries you might find at that store.

Spice Center

245 Maple St. in Manchester (across from Yankee Lanes on Valley Street), 626-7290. Open Tuesday through Sunday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

So where would you go to find cardamom pods?

The Spice Center on Maple Street would be a good bet.

This is a small, family-owned, Middle Eastern market. If you are cooking something Mediterranean, this is a good place to find ingredients — olives, flatbreads, Lebanese pickles and of course spices. If you want to grind whole spices yourself — which you should try; it will change how you feel about them — this is the place to find them. The staff is extremely nice and likes to help you find what you’re looking for. They also like to talk about cooking.

This is the one place I can reliably find Turkish delight — a shockingly good hybrid of gummi bears, fudge and a bouquet of roses.

“I’m trusting you on this. I’m nervous about trying new foods. What should I buy here?” you say.

Let’s ease into this. Aside from Turkish delight, I’d recommend picking up the ingredients for a hummus plate: fresh flatbread, pickled turnips and a couple types of olives.

Homemade Hummus
2 15.5-ounce cans of chickpeas, sometimes labeled as garbanzo beans
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 clove fresh garlic
½ cup (117 grams) tahini, sort of like a peanut butter made from sesame seeds
1 lemon, squeezed
olive oil and paprika to garnish (optional)
Using a colander, drain and rinse the chickpeas to wash away any metallic taste from the cans.
In a blender or food processor, combine the chickpeas, salt, garlic and a generous cup of water. Blend or process on low speed for two minutes or so. The mixture will be a tan color and look a little grainy.
Add the tahini and lemon juice, then blend or process again for three to four minutes.
Pour into a serving dish. Garnish with a splash of olive oil and a sprinkling of paprika, then surround the bowl with olives, pickled turnips and torn or sliced pieces of flatbread.

hummus in bowl with oil and spices on top, surrounded by olives, pickled veggies and bread for dipping
Homemade hummus. Photo by John Fladd.

We’ve all had hummus before. It generally ranges from “meh” to “pretty good.” Making it yourself is a bit of a revelation; it is nutty and rich and slightly warm from the blender. It goes surprisingly well with salty, oily things like olives or pickled turnips. Pickled turnips come in a jar. They are about the size and shape of thick-cut french fries, and they are an electric pink color. They are crunchy and salty and can be your adventure of the week, your doorway into a new type of eating.

“Is there a cookbook that would teach me more about Middle Eastern food?” you ask.

The Cooking of the Eastern Mediterranean: 215 Healthy, Vibrant, and Inspired Recipes by Paula Wolfert (Ecco, 1994) is an excellent overview of some of the key ingredients that are used in the area we loosely call the “Middle East,” from Georgia and Armenia through to Lebanon and Israel. Paula Wolfert is a veteran food writer, and her recipes are extremely reliable.

Two Guys Food Market

414 Union St. in Manchester, 627-7099. Open Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., Sunday 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

So you’re a big fan of Mexican food. Your delivery guy knows to expect your taco order every Friday. Your dream job in high school was working the counter at Taco Bell.

But for years you’ve heard whispers that most “Mexican” food doesn’t actually have a lot to do with food that actual Mexicans eat. A Spanish-speaking friend took you to a little out-of-the-way place that her family likes, and the food blew your mind. You decide to look up some more authentic Central American recipes, but you’re confused by some of the ingredients.

What’s the difference between Mexican oregano and regular oregano? Isn’t hibiscus a flower? What the heck is Achiote?

One of the best places to start to figure all this out is Two Guys Market on Union Street in Manchester. It is a classic bodega; it specializes in fast, spur-of-the-moment purchases — suitcases of beer, cold soda, lottery tickets, that sort of thing. Think of it as a superette with better music. But what Two Guys has that a random convenience store doesn’t is a wall display of dozens of Central American specialty spices, the ones that will give you confidence in your cooking and open your mind to trying new foods that aren’t covered with neon-orange queso.

bowl on platter with tortilla chips, flowers on the side
Salsa de Chipotle. Photo by John Fladd.

“What should I buy?” you ask.

Spices and canned chipotle peppers.

You: “I like the idea of learning more about this, but my eyes glaze over when I try to read a cookbook.”

Try Food from My Heart: Cuisines of Mexico Remembered and Reimagined by Zarela Martinez (CreateSpace Independent Publishing, 368 pages). Zarela Martinez is a well-known chef and restaurateur — and mother of celebrity chef Aarón Sánchez — who was born and lived in several different regions of Mexico and the Southwest U.S. Food from My Heart is half memoir and half cookbook. She describes what it was like to live in each of these areas, what the food culture is like in each, and how each place changed her life. By the time she gets to recipes from an area, a reader can wrap their head around a dish and not be intimidated by it.

“OK, can you recommend a super-easy recipe from this book that won’t scare me?” you ask.

Yes, I can.

Salsa de Chipotle
2 Tablespoons melted lard or vegetable oil. If you are the type of person that saves it, bacon grease would work very well, too.
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1 medium-sized onion, chopped, about 1 cup
3 pounds very ripe tomatoes, chopped
2-3 canned chipotle chiles in adobo sauce — These are spicy smoked jalapeños. Use these to adjust the heat level to your taste.
1½ teaspoons Mexican oregano
½ teaspoon kosher salt
Sauté the garlic and onion in oil until they are soft and translucent.
Add the other ingredients, stir to combine and simmer uncovered over low heat for 15-20 minutes, stirring often.
Use your blender or an immersion blender to puree the sauce. Strain through a fine-meshed strainer.

Although a lot of Americans use the word “salsa” to refer to a particular scoopable condiment, it actually means “sauce” in Spanish. You can definitely use this sauce for chips, but it is an outstanding cooking sauce. It is smoky, spicy and slightly sweet. As you become more confident in your cooking, this will become your standby base for a large number of dishes.

Saigon Asian Market

476 Union St. in Manchester, 935-9597. Open daily from 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Union Street in Manchester is a really good food street; in addition to multiple bodegas and small restaurants, it also has one of the best Asian markets in the state.

As its name suggests, Saigon is a Vietnamese market, but it also carries a large stock of Chinese ingredients as well. It is an excellent place to find fresh Asian produce and cuts of meat that you won’t find in a regular supermarket, and rumor has it that a lot of local chefs buy their seafood here to cook on their days off. It has a really impressive amount of dried and canned East Asian ingredients.

“What should I buy here?” you ask.

3 Asian vegetables rolls stacked on square plate, dipping sauce in bowl to the side
Vegetarian Crystal Summer Rolls (Cuðn Chay Viét Nam). Photo by John Fladd.

So very many things, but the number of bottled Asian sauces, especially hot sauces, is a little mind-numbing.

“I was starting to feel more confident, but now I’m a little intimidated. Is there a book that will help me sort all these ingredients out?”

Two of them, actually. The Asian Grocery Store Demystified by Linda Bladholm (Renaissance Books, 240 pages) is a pocket-sized reference book to carry around with you when you are trying to get a handle on the thousands of bewildering and intriguing foods around you. Vietnamese Cooking by Paulette Do Van (Quantum Books) is a well-indexed cookbook with a good description of ingredients and techniques in the first few chapters. The recipes are clear and to the point.

“I’m not saying I will, but if I decided to cook something a little bit fancier — something that doesn’t involve my blender — what would you recommend?” you ask.

Vegetarian Crystal Summer Rolls (Cuðn Chay Viét Nam)
From Vietnamese Cooking, by Paulette Do Van

Do not be intimidated by the number of ingredients. The secret to most Asian cooking — and cooking in general — is to measure and prepare all the ingredients ahead of time.

1 8-ounce (225-gram) box of rice vermicelli, often labeled as “rice sticks.” These are very thin rice noodles, about the thickness of angel hair pasta.
4-5 dried Chinese mushrooms. I use sliced dried shiitakes.
2 large dried black wood ear fungus. Don’t panic; these are just another type of dried mushroom.
1 packet dried Vietnamese rice paper. These look like plastic tortillas. They will soften up in warm water.
½ jar pickled red onions
2-3 crispy dill pickles, cut into matchsticks
½ can sliced bamboo shoots
1 medium carrot, grated
½ can pineapple rings, drained and sliced
1 small bunch cilantro, rinsed and chopped

Dipping Sauce
4 ounces (100 ml) Maggi Liquid Seasoning
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
1 clove garlic, crushed
½ serrano pepper, seeded and finely minced

Whisk the dipping sauce ingredients together, then set aside.
Soak the dried mushrooms in very hot water for half an hour or so, or until they have softened. Drain them, then slice them thinly.
Soak the rice noodles until soft, then drain them.
Prepare all the other ingredients and lay them out in separate bowls. Don’t let yourself get intimidated by all the ingredients; you’ve already done the hard work.
In a large bowl, or the bottom of a frying pan, soak one of the rice paper rounds until it is soft, but not falling apart, about 45 seconds.
Lay the rice paper out on a piece of parchment paper or a silicon mat, then place some of each of the ingredients in the center of the rice paper. You will have to experiment, but you will use less of each ingredient than you anticipate — 1 to 2 tablespoons of each.
Fold the sides of the rice paper in ¼ of the way toward the center, then roll up your ingredients, starting from the bottom.
Repeat this until you have run out of one or more of the ingredients. Your first couple of summer rolls will be a little wonky, but you will quickly get very good at this.

These summer rolls are delicious and refreshing, simultaneously soft and crunchy, sweet and savory. The rice noodles have a different crunchy texture than the vegetables. The rice paper wrapper is tender but chewy.

I have a friend who swears by making extra summer rolls, then crisping up leftovers in his air fryer.

Indian cuisine

If you are interested in learning about Indian cooking, there several South Asian markets in the area, but two stand out:

Himalayas General Store

359 Elm St. in Manchester (next to Van Otis Chocolates, across the street from the downtown Market Basket), 222-2366. Open daily, 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.

This is a small family-owned store specializing in Indian and Nepalese staples — lentils, grains, flours, cooking oils, and spices. The staff is extremely friendly and will cheerfully answer any questions you have, or make suggestions about what to cook.

Patel Brothers

Willow Springs Plaza, 292 Daniel Webster Hwy. in Nashua (next to the Home Depot, near the mall), 888-8009. Open daily 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

This is an Indian supermarket, easily as big as any supermarket you care to name. Patel Brothers carries an almost unimaginable variety of staples, fresh produce and Indian baked goods made in-house. Because India has dozens of languages and hundreds of cultures, even Indian shoppers are frequently surprised by unfamiliar foods. This is where most South Asian families in the area do their weekly or monthly shopping.

“This sounds intimidating. Can you suggest something to help me figure out Indian cooking?” you ask.

There really isn’t one type of Indian cooking. The food in most American Indian restaurants is dishes from one area of the country, but there are many other cooking traditions. Here are two cookbooks that are good starting places: 660 Curries (Kindle Edition) by Raghavan Iyer (Workman Publishing Company, 832 pages) and Dakshin: Vegetarian Cuisine from South India by Chandra Padmanabhan (Periplus Editions, 176 pages).

I judge a cookbook by how beaten up it is. If it has stains, notes in the margins, dog-eared pages and a broken binding, I find that a very good sign — it means that a cook has really used it. That’s what my copy of 660 Curries looks like. 660 Curries is currently out of print in hardcover or paperback, so your best bet is to buy it used, or as an eBook.

The phrase “curry” can be deceiving. For someone who doesn’t eat much Indian food, it means the smell and taste of dry curry powder from the spice section of a supermarket. When it’s used to describe actual South Asian food, it means a huge variety of dishes, usually with the consistency of a stew, but almost never tasting like commercial curry powder. The recipes are solid, and varied enough that almost any cook will be able to find a dish they love.

flatbread with vegetables and spices cooked into it, on plate beside bowl of coconut chutney
Uthappams with Coconut Chutney. Photo by John Fladd.

There are dozens of different Indian cuisines, but they break down into two main categories — Northern and Southern dishes. The vast majority of Indian restaurants in the U.S. serve Northern Indian foods. Dakshin is a collection of Southern recipes. The dishes are solid, and this book is worth buying for the photographs alone.

You ask: “What should I buy?”

Fresh curry leaves. These are not what curry powder is made of; they are leaves that are often used to make a curry. Smell them — take a deep whiff — and your eyes will open very wide.

“What should I cook?”

Uthappams with Coconut Chutney (Southern Indian Rice Pancakes with Coconut Relish)

Coconut Chutney
1 cup (115 grams) grated unsweetened coconut
½ cup (85 grams) finely chopped onion
1 teaspoon minced ginger
½ serrano pepper, seeded and minced
¼ cup (60 ml) plain yogurt
½ teaspoon fresh squeezed lemon juice
¾ teaspoon kosher salt
½ cup (120 ml) water – more if necessary to thin out the mixture
½ teaspoon black or yellow mustard seeds
2 small dried chiles – arbol chiles are good for this.
8-10 curry leaves
2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
Blitz the first eight ingredients in a food processor or blender to make a thick paste.
Heat the oil in a large frying pan or skillet, and have a lid ready.
Add the dried chilies, curry leaves and mustard seeds to the hot oil, stir once, then cover the pan. In a few seconds the mustard seeds will pop against the lid like popcorn.
After a few seconds, add the coconut paste to the pan, and stir to combine. Cook for 20-30 seconds, then remove from heat, and transfer to a serving bowl.

Uthappams — delicious, savory rice pancakes — are an easy and painless introduction to South Indian cooking. Unfortunately, every uthappam recipe I have looked at involves very complicated instructions for making the batter. I was almost ready to give up and find another dish to make, when I was struck by a thought: “I wonder….”
And yes, Patel Brothers does carry premade uthappam batter.
1 quart container pre-made uthappam batter
1 onion, finely chopped (about 200 grams)
1 tomato, finely chopped (about 150 grams)
1-2 serrano chiles, seeded and finely chopped
1 small bunch cilantro (about 45 grams), finely chopped
vegetable oil for shallow frying
Heat oil in a deep frying pan. Use a little more than you would for regular pancakes.
Pour a ladleful of batter into the hot oil to make an 8-inch pancake. Sprinkle the other ingredients on top of the batter. Cook until it is crispy around the edges and some bubbles have made little holes in the top. Because this batter is so thick, you can carefully lift up an edge with a spatula and look underneath to see if it is ready to flip yet or not.
Flip, and cook for another minute or two. Remove to a warm plate, then make more, until you run out of batter. Eat with coconut chutney.

This is delicious and savory. The outside of each uthappam is crispy, with a toasted rice flavor, but it’s moist and chewy inside. One of the great things about Indian cooking is that it will constantly surprise you. In this case, the flavor is very nice, but it is the texture that will make you want to make this frequently.

Siberia Food Market

50 S. Willow St. in Manchester, 621-0017. Open Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Saturday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Выпей чайку – забудешь тоску. Have a cup of tea and you will forget longing. —Russian proverb

teacup on large plate with cookies and wrapped candies
Afternoon tea. Photo by John Fladd.

Siberia, on South Willow Street in Manchester, carries Russian, Polish and Eastern European groceries, from Russian candies to frozen pierogis to many, many types of sausage. There is a deli case with a generous variety of meats and cheeses. The most interesting aisle displays several types of Russian teas, and the honey to sweeten them. Americans often think of Tea with a capital “T” as a Chinese or British staple, but there is a long, deep tea tradition in Eastern Europe. This is an excellent place to get everything you need for a proper Russian High Tea.

“What should I buy here?” you ask.

Tea, jam and cookies for a Russian High Tea.

“That sounds really good. What should I serve?”

Several sources describe the Russian spirit of hospitality, and mention sandwiches, cakes, blinis with caviar, and several types of flavored vodka as part of a traditional Russian Tea. On its website, the Russian Tea Room in New York City says: “Afternoon Tea is traditionally composed of sandwiches (usually cut delicately into ‘fingers’), scones with clotted cream and jam, sweet pastries and cakes.” — which sounds really good but also costs $95 a person, plus $30 for a glass of champagne.

I think most of us would be fine with tea, cookies, sweets and maybe toast with jam, so long as it was offered with an open heart. While optional, very cold vodka would make a very good impression.

“What if I’d like to cook something?” you ask.

The cookbook I always fall back on for Eastern European cooking in spite of its intimidatingly long title is Russian, German & Polish Food & Cooking: With Over 185 Traditional Recipes From The Baltic To The Black Sea, Shown Step By Step In Over 750 Clear And Tempting Photographs, by Lesley Chamberlain (Hermes House, 256 pages). While not exhaustive in any way, this is a good introduction to three styles of European cooking. The recipes go step by step and are easy to follow. Most include photos of one of the steps and of the final dish. Very few of them call for exotic ingredients, and — very gratifying to me, personally — they are listed in cups, ounces and grams.

Maddy’s African Market

121 Loudon Road, Unit 1, in Concord, 545-9478. Open Monday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 7:30 p.m., and Sunday, 11:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

While most of us have thought about learning more about French or Chinese cooking, unless we have a personal connection with Africa it rarely occurs to us what a rich cooking tradition sub-Saharan Africa — particularly Western Africa — has. Maddy’s is small, but stuffed with ingredients for African cooking. The staff is very friendly and happy to answer questions, even ones like, “What is this and what do you do with it?” I’m glad I asked that particular question, because it turns out that the strips of tree bark that I was about to buy to use in a stew would have tasted terrible, but would have helped if I was running a fever.

You ask, “What should I buy?”

It might be easy to be intimidated by some of the less familiar foods at Maddy’s, but my recommendation is to buy a strip of jollof rice spice packets.

Jollof rice is a spicy rice dish that everyone in West Africa grows up eating. Somewhat as with Southern biscuits, each country, village or even household has its own take on it that they argue endlessly over. It can range from very spicy but not too hot to incandescent. This particular spice mix doesn’t pack any heat but helps provide a spice base to build from.

Plantain-Coconut Stew
1 medium Spanish onion, roughly chopped
2 Fresno peppers, seeded and finely chopped
1 cup coconut milk
juice of 2 limes, about 3 ounces or 1/3 cup
½ cup vegetable oil
2 yellow plantains (about 1 lb.), peeled, quartered, and cut into 1-inch pieces. Plantains, which look like very large bananas, are next to the bananas in the produce section at most supermarkets. They are in the same family of bananas, but while bananas are sweet, plantains are starchy. They are very much like tropical potatoes. Do not fear them.
Small handful of cilantro, rinsed and chopped
½ teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon kosher salt
black pepper to taste
1 teaspoon Jollof Rice Spice (see above)
Simmer the onion, peppers, coconut milk, and lime juice in a medium saucepan for ten minutes, then remove from heat and set aside.
Heat the oil in a deep frying pan, and shallow-fry the plantain pieces until they are golden brown on all sides, like home fries.
Add the cooked plantains to the stew base, and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and serve.

bowl of stew with large chunks of plantains, beside ingredients coconut, plantain and lime
Plantain-Coconut Stew. Photo by John Fladd.

This is a classic sweet-sour dish. The sweetness of the coconut milk is set off by the acidity of the lime juice. The Fresno peppers carry a little heat, but more flavor. The Jollof Rice Spice deepens the flavor and gives a gentle red color to the stew. In West Africa, you would probably eat this with fufu (steamed cassava paste) or ugali (cornmeal porridge). I would serve it with couscous and a cold beer.

“I think I could cook that! Where did you get the recipe?”

The Soul of a New Cuisine: A Discovery of the Foods and Flavors of Africa by Marcus Samuelsson (Harvest Publishers, 368 pages). Many cookbooks written by celebrity chefs don’t work well for home cooks. Used to working behind the line in restaurants, the chefs don’t always think about what ingredients and equipment are available to the rest of us. Samuelsson has written a very thoughtful book that describes the food traditions of different regions of Africa and gives the dishes some context. He is aware of which ingredients most Americans can easily get their hands on, and has adapted the recipes to make them more accessible to people who haven’t grown up eating these dishes. It is beautifully illustrated; it’s as much a coffee table book as a cookbook.

Taste and Art of Greece

Manchester shop brings Grecian goods to the Granite State

During a summer vacation in Greece, an American adolescent meets a Greek teen, creating a bond that will last a lifetime. It sounds like a movie, but it is in fact the true origin story of Taste and Art of Greece, an online shop that brings products made by small-scale Greek artisans to the Granite State with a new brick and mortar location on Hanover Street in Manchester, which was slated to open Sept. 27.

“Growing up Greek, we often went [to Greece] as children and I made some wonderful connections over the years, one particular person, Strati Vougiouka, who lives in the village where my father was born,” said Elaine Setas, who owns the shop along with Vougiouka.

After losing touch, the two reconnected as adults when Setas started regularly visiting Lesbos again with her husband.

“Strati started talking about a dream and a vision to open a traditional Greek store,” she said. “We did research for about a year and half, two years and what we saw were a lot of Greek shops … but they weren’t talking about what products meant, who is making the product or the meanings and traditions,” Setas said “So I said, ‘I don’t want to make a store that’s just selling products — let’s make something that tells a story.’”

At the time, Setas was working as an office assistant and thought this would be a great hobby to take on. The pair opened their online store, Setas handling the marketing and attending local Greek festivals, and Vougiouka working behind the scenes in Greece, dealing with the artists and organizing shipments. After a while, the business proved to be so much more than a side hustle, so when Setas was laid off from her office job, she jumped fully in and never looked back.

“We hear a lot at these festivals and things that we go to that we definitely stand out,” she said. “We’re not your typical Greek shop.”

The duo’s initial plan was to sell more food than they currently do, but they had to be selective with what they brought in due to the complicated nature of importing food into the States. As a result, they expanded the art side of things with blankets, clothing, jewelry, handbags and ceramics while also carrying pantry items like spices, infused honey and olive oil as well as chocolate.

“One of the biggest items with a story that resonates with many people [are the ceramic] pomegranates,” Setas said. “Pomegranates mean luck and prosperity in the home and at midnight on New Year’s Eve in Greece they step over the threshold of their door and smash a real pomegranate and the amount of seeds that scatter means the abundance of luck you’ll have.”

In addition, the shop also sells ceramic boats that symbolize charting a new path and honor the fishermen of the Greek islands, as well as hand painted, traditional sheep bells that Setas says carry a sense of nostalgia for summers spent in Greece. Each item comes with a card that explains its meaning.

“We have something for every person, every culture, every nationality,” Setas said. “Greeks are known in the world for their hospitality and our art and our culture and … our whole mission [is] to share that with the world.”

Taste and Art of Greece
Where: 32 Hanover St., Manchester
When: Wednesday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. (Additional special hours will be posted on their website and social media pages.)

The Art Roundup 23/09/28

The latest from NH’s theater, arts and literary communities

  • 93rd season: The Concord Community Concert Association commences its 93rd season with a performance at the Concord City Auditorium (2 Prince St. in Concord; by Next Generation Leahy, a groups of siblings who play not only Celtic music but music influenced by French-Canadian step-dancing and more, according to, where you can see concert videos and hear their music. Next Generation Leahy will perform Saturday, Sept. 30, at 7:30 p.m. Tickets cost $20 at Gibson’s Bookstore in Concord, at the door or at
  • Icons: And speaking of the Audi, the Walker Lecture Series continues with “Secret Stories Behind Iconic Paintings” with Jane Oneail on Wednesday, Oct. 4, at 7:30 p.m. which will look at works such as “American Gothic,” “Whistler’s Mother,” “Starry Night” and “The Nighthawks,” according to a press release. Doors open at 7 p.m. See
  • Henniker Homegrown: The fall festival known as the Henniker Handmade & Homegrown event will run Saturday, Sept. 30, and Sunday, Oct. 1, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in downtown Henniker and feature more than 70 artists, crafters, farmers and food makers, according to a press release. The vendors will set up at the community center and park at 57 Main St., the release said. The event will also feature music including Joey Clark & The Big Hearts, the Danny Savage Band, Peabody’s Coal Train and Beechwood — all at the Angela Robinson Bandstand. The food truck offerings will include Taco Beyondo, TOLA Rose Italian Eatery, and Drink Positive NH, the release said. Parking will be available at the Henniker Community School. See

Music, eats and art
Head to the Andres Institute of Art (106 Route 13 in Brookline;, 673-7441) on Saturday, Sept. 30, from 4 to 7 p.m., where you’ll find the New England rock band kNowhere Kids (pictured) — bring an instrument and join the jam session, according to the website — and the food truck Cedi’s Tasty Treats. The Institute is currently hosting three artists as part of its International Sculpture Symposium. See the website for more on the artists.

  • Autumn and crafts: Shop more than 75 juried craftsmen and artisans at the Autumn Festival on the Lake at Mills Falls Marketplace (Route 3 in Meredith) on Saturday, Sept. 30, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday, Oct. 1, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. See
  • Family story: Amherst-based author Thomas Fisher will discuss his book Gifts from Prometheus at Gibson’s Bookstore (45 S. Main St. in Concord;, 224-0562) on Thursday, Oct. 12, at 6:30 p.m. The book is “a true journey into his family’s past. A moving and compelling personal story of discovery concerning his family’s roots and his recounting of his grandfather’s life as a Black man ‘passing’ in mid-century Boston,” according to a press release.
  • Arts and foliage: Find both at the Deerfield Arts Tour on Saturday, Oct. 14, and Sunday, Oct. 15, from 10 4 p.m. each day. Meet the artists at more than a dozen studios featuring painting, pottery, glasswork, fiber art, mosaics, jewelry, woodwork and more, according to, where you can find the map of all the locations and a look at the works by participating artists.
  • News from the Count: See Matt Kirkland of Dracula Daily, a book that compiles the installments of an email newsletter that sent pieces of the novel Dracula, arranged chronologically, at Gibson’s Bookstore (45 S. Main St. in Concord;, 224-0562) on Sunday, Oct. 15, at 2 p.m. No registration is required. The book includes artwork and memes from the newsletter’s subscribers, according to a press release.

Hand to God
“After the death of his father, meek Jason finds an outlet for his anxiety at the Christian Puppet Ministry” — so begins the description of the play Hand to God by Robert Askins, which will be presented by the Actors Cooperative Theatre at the Hatbox Theatre (Steeplegate Mall, 270 Loudon Road in Concord;, 715-2315) starting Friday, Sept. 29, and running through Sunday, Oct. 15. Showtimes are Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. “Hand to God explores the startlingly fragile nature of faith, morality and the ties that bind us,” according to the website, which notes that the production contains adult themes and language. Tickets cost $25 for adults, $22 for seniors and students.

  • October at Balin: Balin Books (Somerset Plaza, 375 Amherst St. in Nashua;, 417-7981) has events on its October hosting schedule. On Monday, Oct. 16, at 5:30 p.m. author Kathleen Watt will discuss her book Rearranged: An Opera Singer’s Facial Cancer and Life Transposed with fellow memoirist Melanie Brooks. See On Saturday, Oct. 21, at 11 a.m., illustrator Beth Krommes (she did the images for Susan Marie Swanson’s The House in the Night) of Peterborough will discuss and sign the children’s book We Are Branches, by Joyce Sidman, which Krommes illustrated. See
  • A tribute to Hollywood: Temple B’Nai Israel of Laconia (210 Court St. in Laconia;, 524-7044) will present The Jersey Tenors with “A Tribute to Hollywood” on Saturday, Oct. 28. The concert will benefit the Interlakes Community Caregivers, according to a press release. Doors open at 7 p.m.; tickets cost $40 at
  • Visiting dancers: The Boston Dance Theater will present two performances of the Carol Kaye Project at the 3S Artspace (319 Vaughan St. in Portsmouth; 766-3330, on Saturday, Oct. 28, and Sunday, Oct. 29, at 7:30 p.m. This contemporary dance program celebrates one of the most prolific bassist-guitarists of all time, according to a press release. Tickets cost $25.

Art After Work
Get music and arts discussion at the “Art After Work” this Thursday, Sept. 28, from 5 to 8 p.m. (when museum admission is free) at the Currier Museum of Art (150 Ash St. in Manchester;, 669-6144). Folk singer-songwriter Halley Neal and bluegrass band Pretty Saro will perform, and a program at 6 p.m. will look at the exhibit “Distant Conversations: Ella Walker & Betty Woodman” (on display through Oct. 22). “Italian Connections” will feature Katarina Jerinic, collections curator at the Woodman Family Foundation, “offering insight into how Betty Woodman’s time in Italy influenced her singular approach to ceramic sculpture” as well as a presentation of Lorenzo Fusi, chief curator at the Currier, “highlighting the influence of Italian fresco on Ella Walker’s work” according to the website. Register for this program, which will be held in the Winter Garden Cafe, online.

Quality of Life 23/09/28

Summer of Manchester!

The City of Manchester celebrated an exceptionally active summer this year, reporting unprecedented levels of participation in city programs and utilization of city facilities. According to a press release, Summer 2023 saw record reservations for athletic fields and courts, an all-time high in Tennis in the Parks participation and increased attendance in various recreational programs, totaling 2,693 reservations and 52,475 visits to aquatic facilities alone. In addition to the record-breaking numbers, more than 30,981 rounds of golf were played at the Derryfield Golf Course since its season opening on April 7.

QOL score: +1
Comment: “The diversity of recreation offerings in Manchester is truly special,” Chief of Parks & Rec Mark Gomez said in the release. “It’s gratifying to see so many folks at our pools, splash pads, hard courts, baseball diamonds, golf course, disc golf complex and playgrounds. Clearly, the summer rains did not dampen people’s enthusiasm to get outside and have fun.”

No new wheels for us

A recent study by JW Surety Bonds, a leading provider of bonding and insurance solutions, has highlighted some unfavorable standings for New Hampshire in the national car buying landscape. The methodology involved analyzing search volumes for car-related terms over the past 12 months in all 50 states and the 50 most populous U.S. cities, and examining 254 cities for various business types related to the automotive industry, focusing on the number of institutions per capita and their average Yelp ratings. According to the results, Nashua was identified as the second-worst city in the U.S. for car buying, and New Hampshire ranked as the least favorable state, at No. 50, for purchasing a car in the nation.

QOL score: -1
Comment: The study further revealed that New Hampshire was among the 10 states exhibiting the least interest in car buying, at No. 41.

Top marks

Three schools in New Hampshire — Riddle Brook School in Bedford, Mary C. Dondero Elementary School in Portsmouth, and Rye Elementary School in Rye — have been recognized with the prestigious 2023 National Blue Ribbon Schools award by the New Hampshire Department of Education for their outstanding teaching and learning. These schools are among 353 schools nationwide to earn this esteemed recognition for their exceptional achievements and their dedication to education. State Education Commissioner Frank Edelblut and U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona praised the schools for their commitment to fostering academic excellence and nurturing positive learning environments. They attributed the success to the collective efforts of the community, diligent staff, effective leadership and the collaborative spirit amongst staff, students and the community.

QOL score: +1
Comment: The awards coincide with the 40th anniversary of the National Blue Ribbon Schools program, a longstanding tradition of recognizing educational excellence across the United States.

QOL score: 86
Net change: +1
QOL this week: 87

What’s affecting your Quality of Life here in New Hampshire?
Let us know at

This Week 23/09/28

Big Events September 21, 2023 and beyond

Thursday, Sept. 28
The Deerfield Fair runs today through Sunday, Oct. 1, at the Deerfield Fair grounds (34 Stage Road in Deerfield). The fair is open 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Sunday. Tickets cost $12 for adults (13 and older). Kids 12 and younger get in free. Discounted entry for seniors is available at the gate on Thursday and Friday; military is free with identification. Ride special wristband days are Friday (9 a.m. to 6 p.m.; $30) and Sunday (9 a.m. to 6 p.m.; $35). Tickets for rides cost $1.50 each, $30 for a sheet of 25 and $40 for a sheet of 40.

In addition to the rides, the fair features live music in multiple locations throughout each day; agricultural and animal shows, demonstrations and competitions; strolling entertainers; the Miss Deerfield Fair scholarship pageant, and concessions. See

Friday, Sept. 29
The Milford Area Players’ The House on Haunted Hill at the Amato Center for the Performing Arts (56 Mont Vernon St., Milford) continues with shows tonight through Oct. 1, with showtimes on Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m., and Sunday at 2 p.m. Tickets cost $15 for adults and $10 for students and seniors. Visit Find more theatrical productions in the Arts section, which starts on page 18.

Friday, Sept. 29
Catch the family-friendly magic show “Magic Rocks” with illusionist Leon Etienne tonight at 7:30 p.m. at the Palace Theatre (80 Amherst St. in Manchester;, 668-5588). Tickets cost $35.

Saturday, Sept. 30
To Share Brewing Co. (720 Union St. in Manchester; will hold Oktoberfest 2023 today from 1 to 9 p.m. The day will feature live music, brats topped with kraut, sales of a To Share Drinking Boot, stein-holding competition and more. Find more food happenings in the Food section, which starts on page 26.

Sunday, Oct. 1
The 18th Annual Kelly Mann Memorial 5K Run & 3K Walk will step off today at 9 a.m. at Mine Falls/Nashua High School South (36 Riverside St., Nashua). Day-of registration and sign-in opens at 7:30 a.m. The cost to register for adults is $25 and for youth (12 and under) is $12.50. Proceeds will directly supports Bridges. See Looking for more road races to get you lacing up your sneakers this fall? Check out last week’s (Sept. 21) issue of the Hippo at (scroll down for the e-edition) to find the listing of fall and early winter races; the cover story starts on page 10.

Tuesday, Oct. 3
Andrew North & The Rangers host an open mic
tonight at Bank of NH Stage (16 S. Main St. in Concord; at 7 p.m. Come early and bring your instrument to sign up to take the stage yourself (sign-ups start at 6:30 p.m.); bring chord sheets and Andrew North & The Rangers can even be your backing band, according to the website. Find more places to hear local bands and performers in the Music This Week listing, which starts on page 34.

Save the Date! Wednesday, Oct. 18
See Moonstruck (PG, 1987) on Wednesday, Oct. 18, at 7 p.m. at the Bank of NH Stage (16 S. Main St. in Concord; to celebrate 90 years of what was once the Concord Theatre and is now the Bank of NH Stage. The event is free and will be hosted by Laura Knoy; reserve a spot by getting tickets online.

Featured photo: Courtesy photo.

Pats bring down Jets

The Big Story – Patriots Stave Off Disaster: The Pats took Sunday’s must-win game vs. the Jets in New York. It was their 15th straight win over the New Yawkas and first of the season. But it was another struggle by an offense that is averaging just 17 points per game and was aided by the Jets’ having to use the inept Zach Wilson at QB. Still, as they say, a win is a win.

Sports 101: Atlanta’s Ronald Acuna just became the fifth player to hit 40 homers and steal 40 bases in the same season. Name the other four. Hint: All were done after 1980.

News Item – Dolphins Offense Explodes: Not sure which was more impressive by the Miami Dolphins offense on Sunday: (1) running for an astonishing 350 yards on the ground. (2) racking up a stratospheric 726 yards in total offense, or (3) scoring the second most points ever in an NFL regular-season game during their 70-20 beatdown of Denver. In any event, it put De’Von Achane 203 rushing yards and Tua Tagovailoa 306 passing yards and four TDs into the day’s ho-hum category.

News Item – Mookie Betts: He set an MLB record for most RBIs by a lead-off hitter when his two-run eighth-inning double in L.A.’s 7-0 win vs. San Francisco Saturday gave him 105 for the year.

Other Alumni News: When the Dodgers and Tigers hooked up last week JD Martinez homered both times he faced 2018 championship teammate Eduardo Rodriguez.

JC Jackson: Looks like the Chargers are having major second thoughts after giving the former Patriot DB an $85 million deal two years ago, as he was a healthy scratch vs. Minnesota Sunday after an awful first season with L.A. ended early with a ruptured patellar tendon in his right knee.

The Numbers:
3 – Patriots cornerbacks named Jones (Jonathan, Marcus and Jack) who sat out that Jets game with a variety of injuries.
4 – NFL record field goals of over 50 yards in one game by Colts kicker Matt Gay as they slid by the Ravens 22-19 in OT.
25 – catches for Rams all-name team rookie receiver Puka Nacua in his first two NFL games after the fifth-round pick out of BYU had 15 in Week 2 vs. the 49ers. Both are all-time rookie records.

… Of the Week Awards
Player of the Week: When you play for the 49ers and tie any record held by Jerry Rice it’s a big deal. Especially when it’s touchdown-related. That’s what Christian McCaffrey did when he scored one in his 12th straight game as San Francisco beat the G-Men 30-12 on Thursday to tie JR’s record. I don’t think it’s a coincidence SF has won 13 straight regular-season games as he’s done that, do you?

Random Thoughts:
The worst thing that could have happened to the Patriots was seeing Dallas sleepwalk through Sunday’s trap game loss to the moribund Arizona Cardinals, because it likely means they’ll be extra focused when the Pats come to town this Sunday.

After the 42-6 butt-kicking Oregon gave Colorado on Saturday, guess the coaching Hall of Fame induction for Coach Prime is on hold.

Got to tell you, while I know it’s the color of the Irish, I hate when Notre Dame goes with the green jerseys, as they did in their 17-14 loss to Ohio State on Saturday. The traditional dark blue with gold pants are classic college football uniforms.

Also, liked seeing them lose to local lad Ryan Day’s sixth-ranked Buckeyes.

Sports 101 Answer: The other 40-40 guys are Jose Canseco (1998), Barry Bonds (1996), Alex Rodriquez (1998) and Alfonso Soriano (2006).

Final Thought: No, No On Snell’s No-No Bid: I know I sound like Peter Finch throwing open the window and shouting “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore” in the movie Network. Especially since I know it won’t change how baseball now treats no-hitters as no big deal. It happened again in San Diego last week, where for the second time in the last three years Padres hurler Blake Snell was yanked after seven innings with a no-hitter in progress. What made it even worse was hearing Snell being fine with it in saying, “I understand my body really well. I understand the risk/reward of injury, with pushing it,” and “I’m just not going to push for that.” Especially since it likely was his last start for the already eliminated Padres, so he has all winter to rest up from “pushing it.” What an awesome competitor.

I reject being called a dinosaur for saying this because the practice defies common sense. If the objective is to win, why would you take out a guy who hasn’t been touched for seven innings over the uncertainty of a new pitcher, like say Padres closer Josh Hader, who gave up two hits upon entering the game in the ninth? Worst of all, it robs the game (and its fans) of the drama of seeing if someone can finish off the thrill of pitching a no-no. BOOOO!

Email Dave Long at

News & Notes 23/09/28

New commish

DJ Bettencourt has been confirmed as the Commissioner of the New Hampshire Insurance Department, following his nomination by Gov. Chris Sununu and subsequent approval by the Executive Council, according to a press release. Prior to this role, Bettencourt had been serving as the Deputy Commissioner since January 2021. In his new capacity, Bettencourt has outlined several key priorities, including achieving mental health parity, ensuring affordable coverage for small businesses, and supporting nonprofits in obtaining essential insurance coverage. He has emphasized his commitment to reinforcing operational efficiency within the department and maintaining a consumer-centric and competitive insurance marketplace in alignment with the department’s mission to uphold public interest through diligent enforcement of state insurance laws.

Grant for UNH

The University of New Hampshire (UNH) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) are expanding their long-standing partnership with the creation of a new Center of Excellence for Operational Ocean and Great Lakes Mapping, according to a press release. U.S. Sens. Jeanne Shaheen and Maggie Hassan, along with Reps. Annie Kuster and Chris Pappas, announced the initiative, which builds on a 24-year collaboration in ocean and Great Lakes mapping. Funded by an $8 million NOAA grant, the new center, on UNH’s campus, aims to fortify advancements in ocean mapping, facilitating safe marine transportation and enhanced understanding of coastal hazards. It will act as a nexus for academia, industry and government and will feature state-of-the-art facilities, including specialized spaces for storing and managing equipment and vessels. The center will focus on practical hydrographic training, providing technical expertise and fostering partnerships to transition ocean mapping research to operations, aiding in a range of applications from environmental management to emergency response.

Trees for Manchester

U.S. Sens. Jeanne Shaheen and Maggie Hassan, along with Reps. Annie Kuster and Chris Pappas, have unveiled a $2.5 million federal grant through the U.S. Forest Service’s Urban and Community Forestry Program for Manchester and Lebanon, stemming from the Inflation Reduction Act. The grant prioritizes environmental conservation with a spotlight on tree planting and maintenance to address climate change and intense heat. Manchester, partnering with Conservation Law Foundation (CLF) and The Nature Conservancy in New Hampshire (TNC), will benefit from $2.2 million toward its Urban Forest Equity Planning and Implementation project. This project emphasizes equitable tree planting, particularly in underserved neighborhoods, urban forest resilience, workforce expansion in urban forestry, community participation in forestry decisions, and methods to alleviate severe urban heat. Concurrently, Lebanon’s Green Streets Initiative will be granted $244,275.

STEM in schools

The New Hampshire Department of Education is investing in the future of STEM, allocating a total of $713,601 in grants to 77 schools for the development of robotics programs, according to a press release. Commissioner Frank Edelblut is optimistic that these programs will not only spark interest in STEM careers among students in public and charter schools but also foster essential life- and work-related skills. Schools will use these funds to expand current programs or create new ones, covering costs associated with robotics kits, competition fees, transportation and other related expenses. Grants for each school vary, ranging from $2,000 to $14,850, tailored to meet individual school needs. Beyond robotics, some schools, like the Cooperative Middle School in Stratham, are diversifying into drone programs, enriching students’ learning experiences in robotics, coding and technology.

Historical marker

A lawsuit has been launched against New Hampshire state officials over the removal of a historical marker dedicated to Elizabeth Gurley Flynn, a feminist, labor activist and former leader of the U.S. Communist Party, the AP reported. The marker was removed due to its depiction of Flynn’s Communist involvement following criticisms from Republican members of the Executive Council and Gov. Chris Sununu. The plaintiffs, an American history teacher and an activist, argue that the removal was illegal, violated administrative procedures and was ideologically driven, contrary to the historical marker program’s purpose. They allege interference with their rights to petition for the erection of a historical marker, and the case is currently under review by the Attorney General’s office, according to the article.

More Medicaid

The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services has reinstated Medicaid for more than 3,100 individuals, including around 1,350 children, aligning with new federal eligibility guidance, NHPR reported. This reinstatement was prompted by a directive from the Center for Medicaid and CHIP Services to review and rectify any inadvertent terminations and align state processes with federal guidelines. This initiative will cover any eligible medical bills incurred during the period of disenrollment and will also help individuals understand if they can retain their coverage without going through a complex eligibility redetermination process. The state is launching further efforts to ensure access to Medicaid services and is exploring more opportunities to expand access to Medicaid-funded health services in schools, according to the article.

New Hampshire Audubon has announced the establishment of the Ines and Frederick Yeatts Wildlife Sanctuary in Warren, its 40th sanctuary, according to a press release. The 545-acre property, a gift from the Yeattses, abuts the White Mountain National Forest and is home to diverse wildlife, including some in decline. Plans include the development of access trails and a parking area. Visit to learn more.

The New Boston Fire Department is set to receive more than $9 million in federal funding from the Department of Defense’s Defense Community Infrastructure Program (DCIP) to construct a new, modern fire station. According to a press release, the facility will offer advanced fire, emergency and hazmat services and will support the New Boston Space Force Station. The grant is part of an initiative to bolster infrastructure and safety in communities harboring crucial defense installations.

A new Cathedral Gift Shop has opened at Saint Joseph Cathedral at 145 Lowell St. in Manchester, according to a press release. The shop was established following the closure of the privately owned Cathedral Church Goods and will feature a range of religious items, including books, gifts, devotionals and home décor. It will be open Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., with extended hours on Wednesdays until 5:30 p.m. and Saturdays until 3:30 p.m.

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