This is an open letter to Sandy Lincoln [“Baking the Blues Away,” September 21]. As I read the Seven Days article about you, your café, your town and your “signature” African peanut soup, I said to myself, Gosh, I’ll have to make a trip up to Rochester and get me some of that. Then I noticed that you had graciously allowed Seven Days to publish the recipe. I made some tonight for my friend’s blessing way potluck tomorrow. It is a wonderful concoction! Thank you so much for sharing it.
I agree that Sandy Lincoln has done a remarkable job at Sandy’s Books & Bakery, but I would like to correct your history of the café/bookstore [“Baking the Blues Away,” September 21]. My sister, the Rochester artist Judy Jensen, had a vision when she bought the building that houses Sandy’s. It was her plan to bring together the four businesses that were the original shops of Merriam House: Kristina’s Kitchen, Seasoned Books (Sandy’s original bookstore, an offshoot of her original store in Brandon), Irene Collins’ Raiments and Adornments (an upscale resale shop with a huge following), and Don Crickard’s Sweet William Floral. We opened in 2002.
At Kristina’s Kitchen, where I was chef-owner, we began the tradition in Rochester of using whole foods, real foods, organic and local foods, everything from scratch. We were the first Rochester-area restaurant to become a member of the Vermont Fresh Network. Local residents and tourists became appreciative customers of all the shops at Merriam House.
When I could no longer run Kristina’s Kitchen, I was grateful that Sandy stepped in to continue the philosophy that Judy and I had started, which happily was Sandy’s way of life already. The bringing together of the café and bookstore is a natural progression, because both eating and reading are “comfort foods” — one for the mind, one for the body. Kudos to Sandy for her wonderful ways with food, people and books.
In his letter on “CO2 Logic” [Feedback, September 21], David French makes a common but mistaken assumption that “the planes will fly with or without the VPR tourists.” If that were true, everyone could stop flying and planes would still fly. When more people buy tickets, more planes fly, and vice versa.
The fair way to count your carbon impact is to divide the plane’s impact by the number of passengers. For each passenger, the fuel consumed is about the same as driving a compact car the same distance. For a family of four, it’s like driving four compact cars that distance.
As for the adjacent letter [“Guilt Trip?,” Feedback, September 21] from one of the tourists who resented the guilt trip of the original letter [“Climate Change Behavior,” Feedback, September 7], I hope she and the other tourists enjoy their trip, and I, too, plan to visit Scotland one day. But we should all make such choices with an awareness of our impact and must work to reduce global warming. It is not “presumptuous” to think that human activity is the major cause of climate change — it is a very strong scientific consensus based on decades of research. The worst case of runaway climate change (due to huge methane releases) is a very real possibility that could wipe out the majority of species on the planet, including us. If we are almost certain that we’re the main cause and know we can prevent it, it’s imperative that we do so.
Bower is a certified energy manager.
No “Jacuzzi Jazz”
[Re: Album Review: Dawna Hammers, Love & Loss, June 22]: “Frustrated lounge singer?” “Dinner jazz?” Are we listening to the same album? These songs are full of raw, gut-wrenching emotionalism. This is not easy listening music or Jacuzzi jazz, and it is not meant to be. These songs are little novelettes, rendered in a voice so full of heartbreak that you know they are real and that Dawna has survived a kind of emotional trauma that many people will never have contact with. Of course there are moments that are “jarring”; that is intentional. Those who like pleasant pap for background music aren’t going to like this CD. Those who listen with their hearts will understand Dawna’s beautiful poetry and melodies, and be rewarded.
Re [“Businesses Do Goods,” Feedback, September 14]: Letter writer Benjamin Adler, owner of the Skinny Pancake, took issue with Judith Levine’s August 31 Poli Psy column [“Job Creation Science”], reading her paean to the wealth-creating value of workers and her critique of capitalism as a personal affront to small-business owners. Adler misses the point.
In Vermont, we recognize that local is always better than global corporate because local businesses have a stake in supporting the community that supports them financially. That a business like his should invest its profits in opening another outlet that creates jobs and economic activity (rather than in trophy houses and yachts) is as much good business as it is altruism (likely more the former). And for businesses to contribute some of their profits to hurricane relief and reconstruction is admirable, but it’s merely a small-scale form of noblesse oblige
Levine’s core point: It is workers who create value and owners who skim the surplus for whatever purpose they choose. But it is owners, not employees, who choose whether to pocket the unearned increment, invest it or use it for charitable purposes. Capitalism, which Adler believes is necessarily here to stay, is inherently undemocratic and economically unjust. It depends on and maintains a (now exponentially growing) disparity of wealth. Let us hope that Adler is wrong that “capitalism isn’t going to go away.” If we don’t find ways to move toward greater egalitarianism and participation in our common economy, then we will not be able to build a truly sustainable society.
A September 14 article in the food section [“Heady Topper”] contained conflicting packaging information about the Alchemist’s new brew. Heady Topper beer is sold in packs of four cans, not six, for $12.