Happy Easter? Bah, Humbug!

***Here’s an oldie but a goodie in the holiday spirit.***

Easter is my least-favorite holiday.  At Christmas you get good chocolate and lots of presents.  At Easter you get Peeps. No comparison.

As a kid growing up in Eureka, I was subjected to all kinds of barbaric treatment by well-meaning family members. I HAD to have a new coat, made from scratch by a lady on “A” Street, Audrey Hansen and her mother. Anyone remember them? Every coat involved two or three fittings all of which involved repeatedly being stuck with pins. These days we’d call it child abuse. The ladies were still in business when I was in sixth grade and had to have a Tiger Lily costume for the Christmas Pageant. More pins.

My normal hair wouldn’t do for Easter, either. My grandmother would march me down to Daly’s to have my hair permed. Remember that salon on the mezzanine level?  The sulphurous fumes from the frying hair filled the whole store.  Ah, the good old days.

Like it or not, Easter is a big holiday for retail spending. The National Retail Federation tells us each of us will spend $140 on Easter this year.  I’m not even close. I bought some Reese’s and a Paas egg coloring kit.  Don’t ask.  Our Easter Dinner will be a pork roast rescued from the freezer. I like to slow-cook them so that the house smells good for hours.  

That NRF article includes some fascinating data on how people plan to spend the holiday. almost half of you will be in church.  Which is good.  I don’t go myself, but I definitely  approve of church. Almost a third of you will be surfing the web on Easter, maybe doing some online buying. I asked the friendly staff at Partrick’s the other day about their holiday sales and they reported that while their big days are Christmas and Valentine’s,  Easter comes in a close third,  representing maybe 15% of yearly revenues. That’s pretty much the same as on the national level.  

So Happy Easter, everyone.  Support your local candy store and don’t make your kids get their hair fried. And go to the Zoo. It’ll make you feel good.

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Do You Pick Your Own Crab??

Or are you one of the one-percenters who pay the $40 per pound for picked crab?

I cannot pick crab to save my life.  I fool with it for an hour and end up with my hands mangled, every fingernail broken, pieces of crab leg all over.  I ran into a guy once who had worked at Pacific Choice or Lazio’s  or somewhere and he claimed  that if you had the right wrist action and knew what you were doing you could sort of shake the crab out of the shell.  I’m just passing this on; I have no idea if it’s true.

At these prices, you try to stretch things.  I have a recipe for crab spread that is good for us peasants.  This was not created for dungeness but works just fine.  It’s from the late lamented Trawler Restaurant  on Shem Creek in Charleston. Here it is:

COMBINE:  One cup of that precious crabmeat with  one 8-oz package  of cream cheese, softened, 1/2 cup mayo, 4 T (start with 2) worcestershire sauce, 2 T horseradish (start with one), 2 T melted butter, 1/2 tsp garlic salt. Seriously good.

Okay, you twisted my arm so here’s another.  This is from Joe’s Stone Crabs and is a dipping sauce that- I think-  goes better with shrimp than with crab.  I keep it around all the time now. You can thank me later.

COMBINE;  One cup mayo, 4 T half&half, 4 tsp dry mustard, 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce, 1 tsp A-1, salt and pepper.

I have a recipe for  mac’n’cheese with crab  that also stretches a cup of crabmeat to feed four.  When it comes to crab, there is no shame. Eat the whole thing yourself!  Support our local crabbers! And if you hear of anyone giving crab-picking lessons, let me know.

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MURPHY’S Anniversary Sale Features Bargains

The Murphy’s flyer this morning features sale prices at all their stores honoring their 45th Anniversary. Boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs @$1.45/lb.  Also those chicken spinach feta burgers @$3.45/lb,  pork shoulder roast @ $2.45/lb and cantaloupe @ $.45/lb.

They are having in-store drawings every day too although at the Cutten store yesterday it was hard to figure out what the prize was.  45 years is a long time to prosper on †he Redwood Coast so stop by and  say “hi”.

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SHOPPING MYSTERIES: Loleta Cheese Version

You’ve heard of Mystery Shoppers? This is our new feature, Shopping Mysteries, wherein we will point out various incongruities and contradictions in our local retail scene.  To wit:

The Loleta Cheese Factory is always a great place to take visitors.  Surely they can pick up an edible souvenir at the very cheapest price because they’re right there at the source, right?  Wrong.  The cheese at the store is confusingly packaged in 11-oz chunks, but the bottom line is you pay 53¢ per ounce or $8.48 a pound. 

Loleta Cheese at Murphy’s Market (we shop in Cutten) is $7.99 a pound. 

Loleta Cheese at Winco is, apparently, $6.99 a pound but there were several more cheaply marked packages that were close to their expiration date. 

So there you have it.  The “close-to-the source” mythology doesn’t work with cheese factories any better than it does at our outrageously expensive farmers’ markets. The laws of supply and demand  are not subject to strict enforcement.

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The Cost Of Living IS Too Damn High

You’ve certainly heard by now that Social Security recipients, including SSI recipients, aren’t getting a cost-of-living increase this year, a fairly rare occurrence.  Apparently the way they calculate the cost of living gives great weight to the cost of gasoline,  which hasn’t risen much in the last couple of years while everything else has skyrocketed.

All I know is that at Winco, a lot of the stuff I buy has increased by at least 50% from a couple of years ago.  Broccoli used to be $.99 a pound, now it’s often $1.99. Tuna used to be $.59, now it’s $.89. It all adds up.

My cousin,  also a retiree, shared with me the following statistics from EPI. Bloomberg and the USDL.:

Since 1978, the cost of college tuition has increased by 1,120%.

Medical care has increased by 601%

Food has increased by 244%

Shelter has gone up by 380%.

MEANWHILE the pay of typical workers rose by just 10%

The pay of minimum wage workers fell by 5.5%

And the pay of average CEO’s increased by 937%.

No wonder everyone’s feeling squeezed, whether on a “fixed income”  or not. I really feel for the many folks who have no other income and hope that Sen Elizabeth Warren’s bill or some other fix will be appllied, and soon.  For those who, like me, have other sources of income, it’s just an annoyance  but it cannot be denied that increased discrepancies between income and expenses force more people into homelessness. The rent IS too damn high.

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The Turkeys Are Lurking In Eureka

 

I don’t like cornbread stuffing. I don’t like cranberry sauce. I don’t like wheat bread. I don’t even like turkey much. But around this time last year I concluded that the Turkey Lurkey sandwich made with the foregoing ingredients by the then-Vellutini’s Bakery in Henderson Center, is one of the best I have ever had.

Vellutini’s has become a commercial bakery operating on Broadway near Marie Callender’s. Scott and Stephanie Phelps are now operating The Corner Bakery and Cafe at the Henderson and “F” location. (They also have Babe’s Pizza and Pasta, so they’re a busy pair.)  Stephanie shared that their intent, especially with regard to the Turkey Lurkeys, is to carry on exactly as before.  I agree. Why mess with perfection?

The origin of the Turkey Lurkey is shrouded in the mists of the past.  I think the reason they’re so darn good is the FRESHNESS of the ingredients, not just the bread, which you’d expect, but all of it. This season a Turkey Lurkey goes for $7.65 for a whole sandwich (they’re pretty big- I eat them in halves) and a half -sandwich is $5.25, both before tax. You have a choice of chips or potato salad. Get the potato salad.

I had a Turkey Lurkey  the other day and it was amazing.  Definitely puts you in a holiday mood, plus if you come in October you can check out the Hallowe’en goodies.

So welcome the Corner Bakery and Cafe to Henderson Center. Sometimes it’s nice when things don’t change.

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Here’s the Humboldt Anglers’ Summer Newsletter

The Humboldt Area Saltwater Anglers have provided their beautiful and informative newsletter again. It can take a few minutes to download but it is definitely worth the wait. In the near future our salmon and Black Rockfish populations are in trouble.

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