Wish List 2011

By Beacon Staff

I have only succeeded twice with New Year resolutions, so I generally don’t make them. But one thing I do engage in this time of year is making a list of things I hope will happen in the coming year.

1. The recipe eludes me, so I wish someone would come up with a potion that would restore civility and comity to our country. I have grown weary of the sniping and vitriol as well as the sanctimoniousness of politicians.

2. I wish that store owners, restaurateurs, hotel and motel owners, concessionaires, and anyone else who employs people who take our money or credit cards would teach their employees that phrases such as, “Have a nice day,” or, “There ya go,” are not the same as saying, “Thank you.”

3. You probably know that one of my favorite charities is the Food Bank in whatever town you may live in. I wish the Food Bank in my town would coordinate all of the school clubs, youth groups, church organizations and such so that you and I are not overwhelmed by a pile of empty grocery bags at our front doors asking for food week after week after week. It’s admirable that they all want to help, but I fear they have induced a sense of ennui and that has a negative effect on folks who are genuinely hungry.

4. I wish fast food restaurants would get a grip and stop foisting their fat-laden products on us as something other than they really are: fat-laden, carbohydrate-heavy and way too many calories at one sitting.

5. I wish that Food Network would get back to its roots and feature good cooking teachers instead of 16 variations of the same contest that sheds little or no light on real food for real people and only emphasizes speed of preparation. Seriously, who cares?

6. I wish that someone at Fox Network would take Chef Gordon Ramsay by the throat and tell him that his profanity-laced tirades will never produce great results or respect. And in that same manner, the contestant coordinator for Hell’s Kitchen should strive for truth in titling, as few or none of those people are who they say they are. The lone exception happened four years ago when a Waffle House cook gave the other pretenders a real run for their money and Ramsay showed a rare bit of humanity and sent her to culinary school at his expense.

7. I wish that the Corn Refiners Association would stop sending me five-pound packages of their propaganda every time I mention high fructose corn syrup in this column. I’ve read your materials and I still believe too many food products contain the stuff.

8. I wish that restaurants and other food purveyors would gradually reduce the portions on their plates – and that includes supermarkets and warehouse clubs selling prepared foods – to smaller sizes to help do their part in combating the obesity epidemic in this country.

9. I had hoped to have 10 wishes, but since I am nearing my space allotment, let me take this opportunity to wish my readers and the editorial staff at the Beacon, a healthy, happy and prosperous new year. Thank you, also, to those of you who’ve written and e-mailed over the past year. You make this a worthwhile endeavor for me.

(My next few columns will be coming from Sint Maarten/Saint Martin – my annual half Dutch half French island getaway, also known as the gastronomic capital of the Caribbean.)

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