October Kitchen - October 2021

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Meet the Team Behind Your Meals OCTOBER 2021

OctoberKitchen.com | 860-533-0588 | 309 Green Rd., Manchester, CT 06042


How I Fell in Love With Cookbooks Even Though I Was Broke!

However, over the years, I’ve managed to passively — but diligently — collect cookbooks. Today, we have over 2,000 cookbooks that fill up several bookcases in my office. The measure of a worthwhile cookbook, for me, is easy to determine with a simple question: “Can I get at least one good recipe out of this book?” Especially as a personal chef, it was easy for me to make my money back if I got at least one recipe out of a cookbook. And when I found a great recipe, I’d never forget where I found it. In fact, I have a bit of an uncanny ability to remember exactly where I can find recipes I’ve loved over the years. In a matter of seconds, I’ll pick out the exact cookbook I need, recognizing the binding out of hundreds. Some of my favorite cookbooks include old copies of the Pillsbury’s “Best of the Bake-Off” cookbooks, which included recipes for award- winning baked goods in the annual Pillsbury Bake-Off. My favorite part wasn’t just the recipes, however — it was the backstories you’d read behind the recipes. As a young guy, I’d often use a favorite recipe to bake a birthday cake for a girl I liked. It was my way of breaking the ice between us.

As you probably know, October is a big month for us. Not just because it’s our namesake month, but also because it’s the month I celebrate both my birthday and wedding anniversary! Now, I’ve found out that October has another important holiday and it even lasts all month long: National Cookbook Month. At October Kitchen, we get a lot of compliments about the variety in our menu. I can attribute that mainly to my huge passion for cookbooks, which has followed me through every stage of my career. My mother used to have cookbooks that I enjoyed as well, including the classic “The Joy of Cooking” by Irma S. Rombauer. However, collecting cookbooks wasn’t a passion I had early on. It only started while I bussed tables as a young 20-something in Boston. I worked with a cook named Brian, who graduated from The Culinary Institute of America. We became friends and while over at his house one day, I noticed he had a large bookcase full of cookbooks. I was immediately in awe. His library of cooking knowledge filled me with inspiration — I knew I wanted a cookbook collection of my own. The only problem at the time was that I couldn’t really afford it.

“I knew I wanted a cookbook

collection of my own. The only problem at the time was that I couldn’t really afford it.”

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GHOSTS ACROSS AMERICA 3 Haunted Spots Every Ghost Believer Will Love

Stay a while at Hotel Monte Vista in Flagstaff, Arizona.

October is one of the best months for travel in the U.S. With mild temperatures and gorgeous, colorful leaves everywhere, there’s no better time for a cross-country road trip. Add some Halloween flair to your October vacation with these three ghostly attractions.

If you’re ever wanting to get into cookbook collecting (or want to encourage a kitchen-savvy family member!), I couldn’t tell you too much about modern gastronomy cookbooks. Although I have appreciation for their craft, my interests pique toward American cooking in the 20th century. One of my favorite cookbooks of all time is “How America Eats,” written by Clementine Paddleford, one of the great American food critics and writers. She was much more like a culinary historian and helped preserve the evolution of American cuisine in our nation. As a chef with a fundamentalist, “back to basics” attitude, I can’t think of a better way to start anyone’s collection than the classics like Clementine Paddleford’s work. Is there a monster in Pine Barrens, New Jersey? This one’s for those who love mysterious creatures. Pine Barrens is a mass of forested land that spreads across seven counties in New Jersey — and its most famous resident isn’t human. The Jersey Devil has a long, storied history and is said to be a combination of many animals: Its body is shaped like a kangaroo with wings. It has the head of a dog but the face of a horse. The creature is believed to have had a sickly start to life in 1735 and has stayed to haunt the forest’s inhabitants and even those who visit the area today. Thanks so much for reading, friends. Whether you love using the internet or have books of recipes you haven’t looked at in a while, I hope you’ll have a beautiful October and maybe even crack open a great cookbook. Or, maybe even write your own cookbook; it’s a wonderful way to leave your legacy to loved ones so they can always get a taste of your best dishes. Guests at Hotel Monte Vista have often enjoyed long stays at the downtown Flagstaff, Arizona, hotel, but not everyone leaves. Constructed in 1927, the hotel is host to a number of reported ghosts. The most well-known is an elderly woman who would spend hours rocking in the chair in her room. Today, her chair can be found moving on its own. Another popular visitor is the ghost of a bellboy who knocks on doors and announces that room service has arrived — only, no one’s there.

Visit the most haunted town in the U.S. — Waynesville, Ohio. Sure, New Orleans may have a spooky past, but it doesn’t compare to Waynesville. Many residents and visitors think this Ohio town is rife with ghosts. You may hear cries to “hurry up” at The Hammel House Inn, where many tunnels for the underground railroad came through, or you could see the apparition of a businessman from the 1800s who “never checked out.” Other sources report hauntings at the town’s historical

society, Museum at the Friends Home, including a little girl who moves toys and sits on the porch. The society leans into the local fascination and hosts regular walking ghost tours and ghost hunting classes.

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Would I ever create my own cookbook? Yes! And, thanks to the prettiest girl in the whole world, I have records of every single recipe and menu I’ve ever written, spanning from my first year as a personal chef to today. Let me explain. Over my 10 years as a personal chef, cookbooks were a key source material for inspiration when I’d assemble customized menus for my clients. Recipes are not protected by traditional copyright laws; however, it is the rule of thumb for chefs to change at least two things in a recipe before you can call it your own version. These two things could be an ingredient or preparation technique, which is completely fair, in my opinion! Seemingly small changes in a recipe can make a huge difference in flavor or texture, creating an entirely different dish. Despite cookbooks having much of my inspiration material, I couldn’t take entire cookbooks with me to a client’s home when I’d cook all their meals for them. And how was I supposed to keep track of my recipe tweaks? So, I’d write down all the recipes on notecards. My then-girlfriend (now- wife), Allison, has kept and organized every single one of my recipes and menus since those days. That’s why we currently have decades of menus and recipes from my entire career.

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A New Yale Study Says ‘Yes’! Have you ever wondered how newborns make sense of the world around them? How are our brains able to detect objects and identify motion (like a finger moving across their field of vision) without having experienced sight previously? Although we love featuring local good news stories in this section of our newsletter, this month, we thought we’d feature a fascinating local study by Yale which suggests that mammals dream — in a sense — before birth! Of course, it’s not exactly “dreaming” as we typically think of it. However, a team led by Michael Crair (a professor of neuroscience, ophthalmology and visual science at Yale) says that mice have waves of activity that emanate from the neonatal retina before their eyes ever open. Basically, the nervous system activity flowed in the same patterns that would appear when they are moving forward in an actual environment. “At eye opening, mammals are capable of pretty sophisticated behavior,” said Crair. “But how do the circuits form that allow us to perceive motion and navigate the world? It turns out we are born capable of many of these behaviors, at least in rudimentary form.” Once the brain “mimics” the experience of the outside world, the activity disappears — then, after birth it is replaced by a more developed network of neural transmissions, thanks to the visual stimuli into the brain. Crair notes, “This early dream-like activity makes evolutionary sense because it allows a mouse to anticipate what it will experience after opening its eyes and be prepared to respond immediately to environmental threats.” Since human babies are able to track moving objects in their environment soon after birth, this study suggests that human sight is also primed before birth. This deepened understanding of our brain development is intriguing scientists worldwide. Although it’s hard to imagine what we might’ve dreamed before we were born, it certainly does strike up a sense of wonder and appreciation for our intelligent, ever-prepared brains. DO MAMMALS DREAM BEFORE BIRTH?

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How I Fell in Love With Cookbooks


3 Haunted Destinations to Visit This October


Word Search


Research Says Mammals Dream Before Birth


The Tastiest Way to Save the Planet



friendly. It’s also more likely to be grown in your area, meaning it traveled fewer

The hashtag #SeasonalEating has been shared more than 140,000 times on Instagram and it’s a movement that goes beyond social media. Chefs, farmers and environmental activists are all jumping on the bandwagon! Here are just a few reasons why they might tell you to consider choosing fall produce at the grocery store this month. 1. It’s good for your taste buds. Imported produce is often picked green and gassed with ethylene to produce the signature color. So, it’s no surprise it doesn’t taste quite right! Eating seasonally will ensure that your produce is fresh and flavorful. 2. It’s good for your health. According to the Fairfax Times, studies have shown that foods grown and eaten in-season have better nutrient composition. “One study that examined vitamin C content in broccoli found that broccoli grown in-season during the fall had twice as much vitamin C as broccoli that was grown out of season in the spring,” the paper reported. 3. It’s good for the planet AND your wallet. Foods grown in-season require fewer energy- and pollution-intensive inputs like heating and fertilizer, making them more eco-

CO2-producing “food miles” to get to you. For the same reasons, seasonal food is often more affordable for you to buy and for your local farmers to grow!

The first step to eating seasonally is to look up seasonal foods in your area on a website like SeasonalFoodGuide.org or to visit your local farmers market. In many parts of the U.S., squash is one of the tastiest, most affordable fall vegetables out there — and cooking with it is a great place to start. If you can get your hands on butternut squash, try making the “Butternut Squash Soup with Crisp Pancetta” from FoodAndWine.com. If delicata squash is more your speed, check out LoveAndLemons.com for a great recipe for “Roasted Delicata Squash With Apples and Sage.” Last but not least, pick up a copy of “Squash: 50 Tried and True Recipes” by Julia Rutland for a full guide to cooking with squash. The crisp autumn sky is the limit!

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