Category Archives: Lexington

See You at the Fair!

On March 31, 1713, Lexington was incorporated as a town. Up until that time, it was known as Cambridge Farms and was part of the city of Cambridge, 8 miles away. Now it’s 2012. In celebration of the 300th anniversary f the town, opening ceremonies and other festivities were held this weekend to kickoff a 9 month celebration that will end Memorial Day 2013.

The opening ceremonies were held in two locations with a high-tech simulcast between the two locales. There were speeches and music and dancing and singing. It was a morning filled with civic pride. It was a little bit corny, but fun to part of the enthusiasm and spirit of the day.

Next on the day’s agenda was an all-town photo. I’m not sure how many people participated, but there were a lot of people on the town track. Again, high technology made this possible. I’m not quite sure how it worked, but click here to see the photo.

Finally, there was an old-fashioned country fair. Many local businesses and organizations were there to promote their merchandise, services, or mission. And, there was a blue ribbon contest. There were both food and gardening categories. Food categories were Jams and Jellies, Family Favorite Corn Dish, or Quick Breads. Gardening categories were Widest Sunflower Head, Tastiest Tomato, or Oddest Vegetable.

My friend Laury and I both entered in the Quick Bread category. She baked a Sweet Potato Bread, and I made an Apple Bread. As much as I loved my own bread, with its pieces of apples, crystallized ginger, and chopped almonds, I came up empty-handed. However, I pleased to report that Laury took the blue ribbon! It was quite exciting!

Laury proudly showing off her ribbon

In honor of her award, here’s her recipe:

Laury’s Sweet Potato Bread

1 cup mashed cooked sweet potato
¾ cup granulated sugar
½ cup brown sugar
2 eggs
½ cup vegetable oil
¼ cup orange juice
1¼ cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
2 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground allspice
¼ tsp ground cloves
1 cup pecans

Preheat the oven to 350F. Grease a 9×5-inch loaf pan and dust it with flour, tapping out the excess.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the sweet potato just enough to lighten it. Add both sugars, eggs, oil, and orange juice. Beat for 1 minute.

Stir in the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, allspices, and cloves. Remove the beaters and use a rubber spatula to stir in the pecans.

Transfer the batter to the prepared pan. Bake the bread in the preheated oven for 60 to 70 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean.

Let the loaf rest in the pan for 30 minutes. Remove from the pan, and let it cool completely on a rack. Slice thickly to serve.

Summer in April

Things went back to normal today, but for nearly a week, it was in the 80s, hardly normal for a New England spring.

Monday was one of my favorite holidays. Patriot’s Day, while significant to the entire United States, is celebrated only in Massachusetts and Maine, which was part of Massachusetts back when there were thirteen colonies. Patriot’s Day marks the beginning of the American Revolution. The actual date was April 19th 1775. The night before was when Paul Revere’s famous ride took place. Now it’s celebrated on the third Monday of April.

Here in Lexington, where I live, we celebrate in full force. I usually take the day off, and this year was no exception. The day starts with a early morning reenactment of the original skirmish. On the Lexington Green, Minuteman wait for the Redcoats (officially known as British Regulars) as they march up the main street on their way from Boston to Concord, where they planned to confiscate the militia’s store of weapons and ammunition. Later in the morning is a 5K road race, which I watch from in front of my house, vowing to be a runner “next year”. (At the same time, the better known Boston Marathon is being run in the city.)

To me, the best part of the day is in the afternoon: there’s a good old-fashioned parade. The day was a scorcher, temperatures up near 90 degrees. I walked the mile or so into the center of town because there isn’t any close parking because of all the road closures for the festivities. I made the right judgment call and went alone, leaving Bella, with her heavy fur coat, at home. It would have been too hot for her.

There are lots of Minutemen, the high school marching band, local officials, and civic groups marching. There are a few floats and civic award winners riding in top-down convertibles. To celebrate last year’s Stanley Cup win, even the head coach of the Boston Bruins, Claude Julien, and his family, who live here in town, were part of the parade. The crowd is enthusiastic and it’s fun to watch. The two highlights of this year’s parade were the L.L. Bean Bootmobile and a group of impressive military equipment from the Massachusetts Military History Museum.

The Bootmobile was especially amusing! It’s large pickup truck shaped like the famous L.L. Bean hunting boot. Apparently, L.L. Bean named Lexington the Beanest Town in America. That means we spend the most per household at L.L. Bean than anywhere else in the country. I don’t know whether we should feel proud or embarrassed. In any case, we were honored with the boot in our parade. What fun!

A refreshing cocktail was the perfect ending to the day. Inspired by Christy at Confessions of a Culinary Diva, I tried her recipe for Meyer Lemon Aide. Fresh-squeezed Meyer lemon juice mixed with gin and a rosemary-bay infused simple syrup was a great pick-me-up. I highly recommend it. And cheers to you, Christy!

The recent summer preview has passed, and spring is back for a while. I’ll take it.