A question from the snack aisle


Dear Walmart,

With all of your pioneering efforts in the retail food business, please tell me: What do you raise on your glacier in order for you to have a glacier ranch?
Polar bears?


Coping with the cold

We have 3 inches of snow on the ground for the first time since January. I had my windows open par week, but it’s about 45 degrees in the kitchen today. 

It’s an office day for me, which usually means I fire up my little space heater, close the office door and get to work. But the heater won’t turn on. 

I found an alternative. So far, so good. 


Saying goodbye, along Memory Lane

Four generations, half removed. My dad, me, my great-grandfather and my namesake, William Pitcher I.

Four generations, in 1977: William S., William E., Stephen H, and William B. Pitcher, my grandfather, who died last month at age 96. Photo from Richard Lindmark.

Rolling in the procession to my grandfather’s final resting place yesterday, I was overwhelmed with nostalgia. Because as my 7-year-old self would tell you, once you pass the Dairy Queen and the old Italian Delight building, round the bend and bear down on the bridge over the Kline Kill, you’re home. The big house on the other side — that’s Grammy and Grampy’s house.

I am now 40, but it will always be Grammy and Grampy’s house. But it is not the same world.

The processional slowed past the home, now restored by his son and family to its Victorian glory. I showed some of his other grandchildren and his great-grandchildren where his garden used to be.

Past the site of his organized chaos of a farm machinery shop where he worked so hard for 30 years — destroyed in a fire 20 years ago and now the home of his son’s and grandson’s auto business.

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Farewell to a favorite

Alex & Ika in Cooperstown, which reopened as a new restaurant today.

Alex & Ika in Cooperstown, which reopened as a new restaurant today.

Put a gun to my head and ask me to name my favorite upstate New York restaurant and I’ll eventually blurt out Alex & Ika.

I love how I always feel at home at Union Hall Inn. I love the crispiness of the chicken thighs at Hattie’s and the nostalgic feeling I get when I walk into Jack’s Oyster House. And I would be perfectly happy eating every meal for the rest of my life at the Northampton Diner.

But with Alex & Ika in downtown Cooperstown, it was love at first sight. And now it’s gone.

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Where the buffalo [used to] roam

Gem Farms bison crossing the New York State Thruway. Photo from the Times Union, http://www.timesunion.com.

Bison can swim?

That was my first thought when I read the amusing but sad accounts about a herd of buffalo that escaped from Gem Farms in Schodack and traveled as many as 20 miles, most of them swimming across the Hudson River, crossing the Thruway and wandering into Bethlehem, where they eventually were dispatched.

My second thought was more somber. Man, bison farming is tough.

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