Two special sit-down meals coming in November

Note: there are two special Senior Center sit-down meals in November. Both of these meals require advance registration and volunteer servers are needed.

For a great inspirational and fun read about the critical assistance provided by volunteers, read “The Dictionary People: The Unsung Heroes Who Created the Oxford English Dictionary.” As the New York Times review puts it, this group included “explorers, suffragists, murderers and ordinary citizens … a wide range of gloriously colorful people who worked on this project as an act of service or pleasure.”

Sarah Ogilvee, the author, was about to leave her job at the Oxford English Dictionary when she discovered the address book of James Murray, the longest-serving editor and a remarkable man whose learning certainly didn’t end when poverty forced him to leave school at age 14.

I read this book as a splendid sequel to Simon Wincester’s “The Professor and the Madman: A Tale of Murder, Insanity, and the Making of the Oxford English Dictionary.” But you needn’t read Wincester to appreciate this new one, which is just an exceptional read.

Monday Munch
Nov. 6, 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
Crustless quiche, apple salad, pumpkin cake with cream cheese frosting and cranberry seltzer.

Veterans Day Lunch
Friday, Nov. 10, noon
A complimentary lunch will be provided by the Residence at Shelburne Bay for all veterans and a guest. Registration is required. Call 802-425-6345 or email.

Monday Munch
Nov. 13, 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
Autumn vegetable soup, salad and apple cake.

Age Well sit-down Thanksgiving meal
Wednesday, Nov. 15
Roast turkey with gravy, stuffing, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, sliced carrots, dinner roll and pumpkin pie with cream. NOTE: This is a sit-down meal requiring advance registration. The two rooms will be filled with tables, and volunteer servers are needed to distribute meals, not to mention the clean-up crew. This is a busy and fun occasion, so give volunteering a try. There will be good food for you, too.

Also note that November’s two Monday Munches feature apples. According to “On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen” by Harold McGee, “apple trees are especially hardy and are probably the most widely distributed fruit trees on the planet.” Of 35 species, the one giving us most of our eating apples probably originated in the mountains of Kazakhstan. Writers of the Greek epics referred to apples, and the Romans introduced this fruit to the rest of Europe.

Courtesy photo Apples are one of the specialty crops that could qualify for a recently announced grant from the Vermont Agency of Agriculture.
Courtesy photo Apples are one of the specialty crops that could qualify for a recently announced grant from the Vermont Agency of Agriculture.

By now, there are several thousand named apple varieties. According to the Vermont Fruit Tree Growers Association, Vermont’s oldest agricultural trade organization, formed in 1896 as the Vermont State Horticultural Society, each year Vermont growers produce around 1,000,000 bushels (or about 40 million pounds) of apples. Vermont orchards grow more than 150 varieties, with about 50 percent being McIntosh.

The Vermont Fruit Tree Growers Association provides a fascinating chart on apple varieties: where they originated, which is best for eating fresh, best for cooking, best for making cider. On this site you will find “New England’s hands-down favorite for pies” and lots more information.

Apples aren’t featured in “Recipes for Murder: 66 Dishes that Celebrate the Mysteries of Agatha Christie, but we find one small shredded apple in the Middle-Eastern turkey stuffing from her novel, “They Came to Baghdad.”

This novel features not Poirot nor Miss Marple, but Victoria Jones, a young woman yearning for adventure. She finds it in Baghdad, which Christie makes the meeting place for a secret summit of superpowers worried about the development of a clandestine, very dangerous weapon. A wounded spy dies in Jones’ room and the tale takes off.

Although Miss Marple might have felt misplaced in Baghdad, Christie was well-suited. She went on digs with her second husband, an archaeologist, and they maintained a house in Baghdad for years. Certainly, she had the background to give Victoria Jones adventures.

Christie was also well qualified to give her heroine a fancy meal featuring Middle Eastern Turkey Stuffing at the high-end Tio Hotel located on the banks of the Tigris. The turkey stuffing at the Charlotte Senior Center’s Nov. 15 Thanksgiving meal, provided by Age Well, surely won’t be Eastern turkey, but New England style — and delicious. Christie offered foie gras on the side. Age Well offers diners cranberry sauce.

A very popular song during World War II, “Don’t Sit Under the Apple Tree” seems especially relevant for eating at the Charlotte Senior Center in November. You can find versions by Les Brown, Benny Goodman, Henry James, the Andrews Sisters, Bing Crosby, Carol Channing and many more. But here’s an unusual surprise: Robert Mitchum singing it (maybe not laudable, but certainly unusual).

Actually, he is featured singing in a number of films in which he was the star.

Here are the Andrews Sisters.
Glenn Miller.
Bing Crosby.

Reminder: Reaching out to the community, the Charlotte Senior Center donates books to the Little Free Library at the Grange. You can reach out to the Charlotte Senior Center by getting a copy of “The Dictionary People” at The Flying Pig, partners in this effort to get books for kids, and then taking the book’s message to heart by volunteering, Stop by, and they will fill you in on the many possibilities.