Posts from November 2008

Got Food Allergies: Make it Easy on your Host with Thanksgiving to Go

Holidays can become stressful for many reasons including poor chemistry between guests.

Bringing your allergies to the table and expecting your host to deal with each and everyone of their guests food issues could turn the meal into a nightmare.

Diane Eblin offers a simple solution, Thanksgiving to Go or instead of BYOB (bring your own wine), BYOF (bring your own food).

She gives us in detail what she cooked for her Whole Gang.

Obviously this works only if your hosts are nearby or close enough to do so.

Good thinking Diane!

Related: How to Green your Thanksgiving? No Green Eggs or Green Meat, Please!


Serve Big Helpings of Gratitude on Thanksgiving Day

With all the doom and gloom on the economic front of late, it might sound sometimes like the end of the world is near.
Well, when I walk into my local food store, there is an abundance of choices which shows there is a way to go before we reach the state of Zimbabwe, no cholera outbreak on our horizon either.
The waves of the financial storm hitting our shores will be nowhere near as devastating as the cyclone in Burma.
When I start feeling sorry for myself, I think of what some people are going through in other countries and it puts things back in perspective.

What we are experiencing right now is a strong pinch not a stranglehold.

This Thanksgiving Day 2008, I might not spend as freely as I did in past years as I go from Consumed to Thrifty.

The holiday meal will be healthy and plentiful and I will have a chance to rest.

So on Thanksgiving Day, for those of you who celebrate, serve big helpings of gratitude.

Thanks to Gratitude can help your health, marriage and more by Barbara Bartlein (Wallet Pop, November 26) for the inspiration.

Related: Goodbye Truffle Oil, Hello Simplicity? End of the 'Restaurant' as we know it?

The Return of Haggling, How To? When? Where?

As foot traffic declines in many stores and your wallet feels lighter, could it be time for a return to haggling?

Determined to give it a shot, when and where might it work?

How to learn the craft, the art of haggling?

Tanya Gold asks Still paying full price for high-street goods? she says "then you're a mug! With the recession biting hard, shoppers can name their price - if they don't die of embarrassment first" in The Guardian (November 24) and reports on her experience.

A broader view, useful for travelers can be found in The Fine Art of Haggling (Reids Guides) which first states that after soccer, bargaining is truly the most popular non-contact sport around the world.

Besides the money aspect, one thing we forget is that it is a way to interact with local people when abroad and part of the culture.

Jane Hanson in The art of haggling is about forming connections (China Daily, July 2008) shares her experience in China.

In any country, street fairs and street vendors are a good place to practice your skills.

Reids Guides also reminds us that "anywhere in Latin America, Africa, or Asia, haggling is expected everywhere but in the most Western-style shops."

There is consensus that in most cases food is a no go area as far as haggling is concerned.

Don't try to haggle while shopping for your Thanksgiving feast.

File under Consumed to Thrifty

More savings tips:, 11 Month Forecast, No Bull Except for the Pop Ups

Syrah for Thanksgiving? Rayun from Chile, Great Price to Boot

In the under $10 category or should I say under $9, the best way to know if a wine is just cheap or worth something is to try it.

That's just what I did when I noticed the Rayun, Syrah (2006) from Chile on offer (for $7.99) at one of my local wine stores.


Rayun is the brainchild of winemaker Alvaro Espinoza famed for his Antiyal and Kuyen wines and his dedication to organic wine methods. He carefully selects grapes from local growers.

For this Syrah they are sourced from the Colchagua Valley in the lower Andes, more precisely the foothills surrounding the small town of Totihue in the eastern part of the valley.

As for tasting notes, it's simple, good fruit forward, notes of spice, earthiness or as North Berkeley Imports puts it "a full-bodied, fruity Syrah with a touch of Côte Rôtie elegance and spice."

If Goose or Heritage Turkey are on your Thanksgiving Menu this might be the right wine at the right price in our Consumed to Thrifty times.

Related: How to Green your Thanksgiving? No Green Eggs or Green Meat, Please!

Shifting Careers gets canned by New York Times

Since stumbling upon One Person/ Multiple Careers, a little book that can by Marci Alboher, I have found inspiration in much of her writing.
I was sad to hear that her Shifting Careers blog got canned by the New York Times.
Wishing Marci my best in her new adventures.
Life goes on!

Steven Greenberg recently went through the same thing at another paper and Editorial cartoonist talks about getting canned (God Blog) tells us how he felt about it.

Related: Stop Obsessing on Perfect Job, Slash: 'One Person/ Multiple Careers'

How to Green your Thanksgiving? No Green Eggs or Green Meat, Please!

With only 2 days to go before Thanksgiving 2008, what could be a better subject for Green Day than How to Green your Thanksgiving and I don't mean green eggs or green meat by that.

You can start with your bird, if you are a meat eater by buying one from a free-range farm.

It is a little more pricey but way tastier.

I bought on a number of occasions Goose and Turkey from Eberly (Pennsylvania).

Rachel Sarnoff offers a detailed guide on How to Go Green: Thanksgiving Day (Planet Green).

From decorating your house and setting the table to what type of turkey to buy (the heritage kind she says), she broke it all in small chunks.
Each part is given a timeline, menu (2 weeks prior), cleaning house (day before).

Don't forget the composting and recycling (number 10 on her list):

"Scrape the plates and suds up-but wait! Is that a leek you're tossing in the trash? Even if you don't compost, you can separate the green scraps from the rest and toss them in your leaf bin. And you're recycling your plastic bottles and aluminum cans, right? Timeline: On the big day (and maybe one day after)."

Maura Judkis takes a more modest approach with How to Start Green Thanksgiving Traditions (Fresh Greens)

Getting back to Heritage Turkeys, Local Harvest notices that they are experiencing a revival. The breeds they mention are Standard Bronze, Bourbon Red, Jersey Buff, Slate, Black Spanish, Narragansett and White Holland.

If you are still scratching your head as to what you are going to cook/serve or just looking for that last recipe to complete the menu, visit Chow's Holiday Central Thanksgiving Page. I might try my hand at their Apple-Chestnut Soup with Parsley Croutons (which happens to be vegetarian, no cream (butter though) and quick to put together).
On the sweet side, the Brown Butterscotch Pie has my vote.

I hope this Green Day # 54 helps with your Thanksgiving preparations.

Related: More Thanksgiving Wine Tips: "With These Strategies, Pick Your Pour' (Washington Post) and 3 Wines that Might Stick with your Thanksgiving Turkey or Not plus Let's Talk About 'A Gluten Free Thanksgiving'

Save the Best for Last, Worst Thanksgiving Stories on The Root

Kitchen fires, uninvited guests and seating at the kiddie table are some of the Worst Thanksgiving Stories shared by Natalie P. McNeal of The Frugalista Files and a few fellow contributors on The Root.

Not to be all gloom, The Root also offers positive vibrations with An Eco-Soul Thanksgiving courtesy of Bryant Terry author of the upcoming Vegan Soul Kitchen (pictured below, to be published in March 2009).

Vsk cover (medium)

Besides giving advice on how to come up with a great meal, he also put together a very eclectic soundtrack to go with it from Q-Tip to Nina Simone via Kanye West and Miles Davis, Cesaria Evora and more.

Related: Thanksgiving 2008 Will not be a Turkey thanks to Mister Kita

What do I get? 'Anarchy in the UK', $400 at Christie's Punk Rock Auction

Everything gets recycled.

Punk nostalgia gets its day in the limelight at Christie's on November 24 with a Punk Rock Auction at Rockefeller Center in New York.

I was left wondering what the Bob Dylan-Joan Baez (1965) Concert Poster was doing there until I understood the name of the auction is Punk/Rock (I guess they mean punk slash rock). I even realized they threw in some Louis Armstrong and James Brown stuff in the mix, a little unfocused may I say.

Also included is  the Vox Continental Portable Organ used by John Lennon at the historic August 15, 1965, Shea Stadium concert, as well as the Beatles' August 13, 1965 appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show and on the studio recording of I'm Down estimated at $150,000-$200,000.

Let's get back to Punk with an item I never saw, a Sandinista Promotional Poster by The Clash, more down to earth with a $2,000 - $3,000.

Richard Hell's Blank Generation UK Tour Poster already sold for $625.

There are also a bunch of Ramones, Blondie, Buzzcocks items and lesser known bands like Black Flag and the Weirdoes.

Anarchy in the uk

On a budget, for the Rebel Collectors amongst us, the Anarchy in the UK Zine (1976, pictured above, from Christie's site) with Sue Catwoman on the cover goes for as little as $400.

Oh! Bondage Poly Styrene (X Ray Specs) once sung.

Related: Everybody's Happy Nowadays...Buzzcocks and AARP get together

Is 'Topless Meeting' part of your Vernacular?

As I was browsing the Oxford Word of the Year 2008 List after hearing of Frugalista being one of the selections, I was surprised to see Topless Meeting share the spotlight.

Nothing kinky here as Meetings going ‘topless’ by Jessica Guynn (LA Times, March 2008) tells us that it only relates to meetings 'in which the participants are barred from using their laptops, Blackberries, cellphones..."

Also work related is Moofer or "a mobile out of office worker – ie. someone who works away from a fixed workplace, via Blackberry/laptop/wi-fi etc. (also verbal noun, moofing)".

No sticks turned up yet I see CarrotMob getting a mention and described as "a flashmob type of gathering, in which people are invited via the Net to all support and reward a local small ethical business such as a shop or café by all patronizing it at the same time. Also as noun, carrotmobbing."

Language gets geeky for Monday Work Etiquette # 65

Previously: Credit Crunch Lunch...Brown Bag or Not?

The Death of Black Friday? 'Don't Buy it' makes the case

Here in the US, retailers pin most of their hopes for a fruitful year on Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving.

Since Thanksgiving might already be a more subdued affair this year (2008) than in the past decade, there might be little hope that shoppers will save the day for malls across the country.

Judith Levine warns us with Don't Buy It :We'll have to curb the urge to splurge, but we can afford a break (Washington Post, November 23).

Fits right there with the Frugalista thread overtaking the online world