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The New Meat



A hip New York chef calls them “sexy.” Food writers say they’re “hot.” No, they are not talking about succulent patés or sinful chocolate soufflés. They are talking about vegetables. Yes, sweet little veggies.

Pulling itself off the list of side dishes and taking a seat underneath the Entrée heading, vegetables are becoming the new meat. One reason for the shift? Consumer awareness has spiked on what’s in our food and how it’s produced. Issues such as the health and environmental hazards of mass-produced meat have noshers looking to the nutritional perks of plants. “Vegivores”—one term for these ethically minded, health-conscious, not-quite-vegetarians—have yet to overtake traditional meat-eaters in these parts, but these exurban epicures are helping to redefine our menus and our diets—at home and at area restaurants.

Leslie Williams, a partner at The Perennial Chef in Bedford Hills grows all the vegetables for the business’s two retail stores—the other is in Ridgefield—which sell restaurant-quality prepared food to take out. Williams observes that aesthetics are a big part of a veggie’s appeal. “Michael Pollan says to eat a lot of greens, eat better food, and eat less of it,” she says of the author of In Defense of Food. “Adjusting to eating smaller quantities means finding food with better quality and taste, which may be attracting people to the vegetable part of the healthy-food movement,” she says. Take lettuce: “In a typical grocery store, you find maybe five kinds of head lettuce, and they all can be jumped on a few times and be just fine, because they are shipped long distances. But the ones that travel well, do you really want to eat those?” says Williams, who grows a host of tasty, vitamin-packed greens with names like claytonia, minutina, and broadleaf cress.

Web Bonus! "Watch Michael Pollan discuss his book, In Defense of Food."

“Foods have to be fun and taste good,” argues Mark Wilkins, of the Whole Foods’ Health Starts Here program, which educates customers about how to choose and cook healthy foods. Though any food can be faddish—kale is now au courant, for instance—Wilkins views the growing yen for vegetables as the beginning of a long-term lifestyle change in which people slow down to cook and savor food together. Like Williams, he sees variety as a key component of the aesthetic experience. “You can’t live by kale alone,” quips Wilkins, whose new favorite vegetable is imo, a sweet, pale-yellow Japanese yam. Many Whole Foods stores, including the new one in Fairfield, have a salad bar with dishes featuring unusual vegetables and grains—freekeh, anyone?—aiming to tempt customers into new territory with flavor and eye-catching presentations.

In Litchfield, James O’Shea, co-owner of the subtly chic West Street Grill, notes an emotional element in the trend: “Farmer’s markets have gotten people very excited,” says O’Shea, a lifelong vegetarian. “Picking up vegetables directly from the source is new and thrilling for most people, whether at a farmer’s market or at a CSA farm,” referring to community-supported agriculture. Vegetables play a complementary but significant role at the West Street Grill, where Chef James Cosgriff pairs them with meat, poultry, and fish dishes, and features meatless entrées such as faro (wheat) risotto and pasta with basil, tomatoes, garlic, sea salt, and parmesan.

Analiese Paik, creator of the online Fairfield Green Food Guide, also envisions a boom in farmers’ markets as both an outcome and a driver of the vegivore trend. “People are finding vegetables new to them, like garlic scapes, and the farmer can tell them what they are and how to cook them, so you’re not afraid,” Paik explains. “Then someone standing next to you says, ‘Oh, I make garlic-scape pesto—here’s what you do.’”

Web Bonus! Watch Analiese Paik discuss her new cookbook "Connecticut Farmer and Feast".

Even the likes of the adventurous Paik, however, occasionally meets a vegetable that stumps her. “Once I brought home a North Georgia candy-roaster squash the size of a baseball bat. I had no idea how to cook it, but it looked so intriguing. My Korean relatives were visiting, and they are used to some really strange vegetables, but they just looked at this thing and said, ‘What are you going to do with that?’ I said, ‘Well, first, I’m going to get a really big knife.’”

Inspired? Click here for a delicious Kale Waldorf Salad recipe!

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May 2018

School Days. School days. Dear old golden rule days! Join the Norwalk Historical Society on Sunday, May 20, 2018 at 2:00pm at Mill Hill Historic Park for a trip back in time to those good old...

Cost: $5 general public/ $3 current teachers

Where:
Mill Hill Historic Park - Town House
2 East Wall St.
Handicapped parking on site only. All others follow signs to overflow parking across the street.
Norwalk, CT  06851
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Sponsor: Norwalk Historical Society
Telephone: 203-846-0525
Contact Name: Samantha Kulish-Fargione
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Cost: $40.00

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Wall Street Theater
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Norwalk, CT  06850
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Sponsor: Wall Street Theater
Telephone: 818-857-2390
Contact Name: Jeanne Moore
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Cost: FREE

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SilverSource, Inc.
2009 Summer Street, 3rd Floor
2949 Long Ridge Rd
Stamford, CT  06905
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Sponsor: SilverSource, Inc.
Telephone: 203-324-6584
Contact Name: Kathleen Bordelon
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Cost: $30/pp

Where:
Norfield Church - Parish Hall
64 Norfield Road
Weston, CT, CT  06883
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Sponsor: WestonArts
Telephone: 917-363-5345
Contact Name: Brooke Valenti
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Where:
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Cost: $10 per person; Museum members and children under 5 free

Where:
Bruce Museum
One Museum Drive
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Telephone: 203-869-0376
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Where:
SilverSource, Inc.
2009 Summer Street, 3rd Floor
2949 Long Ridge Rd
Stamford, CT  06905
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Sponsor: SilverSource, Inc.
Telephone: 203-324-6584
Contact Name: Kathleen Bordelon
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Cost: $10

Where:
The Warehouse at Fairfield Theatre Company
70 Sanford Street
Fairfield, CT  06824
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Cost: FREE

Where:
SilverSource, Inc.
2009 Summer Street, 3rd Floor
2949 Long Ridge Rd
Stamford, CT  06905
View map »


Sponsor: SilverSource, Inc.
Telephone: 203-324-6584
Contact Name: Kathleen Bordelon
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Cost: $60.00

Where:
Stamford EMS
684 Long Ridge Road
Stamford, CT  06902
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Sponsor: Stamford EMS
Telephone: 203-252-2193
Contact Name: Jessica Anderson
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Cost: $15/class or $70 for all 5 sessions

Where:
Pequot Library
720 Pequot Avenue
Southport, CT  06890
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Sponsor: Pequot Library
Telephone: 203-259-0346
Contact Name: Tracy Steneken
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SilverSource – the leading resource for older adults and their families– announced today that it is now accepting nominations for the 2018 SilverSource Awards.  The awards...

Cost: FREE

Where:
SilverSource, Inc.
2009 Summer Street, 3rd Floor
2949 Long Ridge Rd
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Contact Name: Kathleen Bordelon
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KMR Arts is proud to present MAYDAY, an exhibition of new photographs by Barbara Vaughn. Please join us for the opening reception with the artist on June 2, 2018, from 3-7pm, 2 Titus Road,...

Cost: FREE

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KMR Arts
2 Titus Road
Washington Depot , CT  06794
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Website »

More information

SilverSource – the leading resource for older adults and their families– announced today that it is now accepting nominations for the 2018 SilverSource Awards.  The awards...

Cost: FREE

Where:
SilverSource, Inc.
2009 Summer Street, 3rd Floor
2949 Long Ridge Rd
Stamford, CT  06905
View map »


Sponsor: SilverSource, Inc.
Telephone: 203-324-6584
Contact Name: Kathleen Bordelon
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Cost: $42 Members Save:$5 /tckt

Where:
Fairfield Theatre Company StageOne
70 Sanford Street
Fairfield, CT  06824
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KMR Arts is proud to present MAYDAY, an exhibition of new photographs by Barbara Vaughn. Please join us for the opening reception with the artist on June 2, 2018, from 3-7pm, 2 Titus Road,...

Cost: FREE

Where:
KMR Arts
2 Titus Road
Washington Depot , CT  06794
View map »


Website »

More information

SilverSource – the leading resource for older adults and their families– announced today that it is now accepting nominations for the 2018 SilverSource Awards.  The awards...

Cost: FREE

Where:
SilverSource, Inc.
2009 Summer Street, 3rd Floor
2949 Long Ridge Rd
Stamford, CT  06905
View map »


Sponsor: SilverSource, Inc.
Telephone: 203-324-6584
Contact Name: Kathleen Bordelon
Website »

More information

A community-based, family-oriented event with dance performances, professional dance instruction, bands, DJs, and social dancing for youths and adults.​ We are thrilled to continue our...

Where:
Hilton Stamford Hotel & Executive Meeting Center
1 First Stamford Place
Stamford, CT
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Website »

More information

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KMR Arts is proud to present MAYDAY, an exhibition of new photographs by Barbara Vaughn. Please join us for the opening reception with the artist on June 2, 2018, from 3-7pm, 2 Titus Road,...

Cost: FREE

Where:
KMR Arts
2 Titus Road
Washington Depot , CT  06794
View map »


Website »

More information

SilverSource – the leading resource for older adults and their families– announced today that it is now accepting nominations for the 2018 SilverSource Awards.  The awards...

Cost: FREE

Where:
SilverSource, Inc.
2009 Summer Street, 3rd Floor
2949 Long Ridge Rd
Stamford, CT  06905
View map »


Sponsor: SilverSource, Inc.
Telephone: 203-324-6584
Contact Name: Kathleen Bordelon
Website »

More information

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Cost: $10.00

Where:
Wall Street Theater
71 Wall Street
Norwalk, CT  06850
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Sponsor: Wall Street Theater
Telephone: 203-283-5290
Contact Name: Jeanne Moore
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Fairfield Theatre Company StageOne
70 Sanford Street
Fairfield, CT  06824
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A community-based, family-oriented event with dance performances, professional dance instruction, bands, DJs, and social dancing for youths and adults.​ We are thrilled to continue our...

Where:
Hilton Stamford Hotel & Executive Meeting Center
1 First Stamford Place
Stamford, CT
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Website »

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