Posts Tagged ‘food’

At parties, even in the age of Covid 19, “No thank you“ is a complete sentence

Tuesday, December 22nd, 2020

Addiction and Recovery

By Bob Gaydos
4435B31C-C139-4733-A848-5B49FD50C6EE  I’ve written a column on addiction and recovery for more than a dozen years. A staple of the column has been a sort of “word to the wise“ on how to survive the holidays for those in recovery. It also serves as a guide to party hosts who may not be in recovery.
This year, things are more complicated. For starters, the parties have to be much smaller and confined to people you have good reason to believe are Covid free. Large parties, especially with strangers, are out. Hopefully the vaccines work and we can return to bigger gatherings next year. But even at small gatherings, the risks to those in recovery are real. So listen up.

This is a treacherous time of year for people in early recovery from addiction. People who have found their way to recovery, be it via a 12-step program or otherwise, have been given suggestions on how to survive the season of temptation without relapse. If they use these tools, with practice, they can even enjoy the season.

It’s the rest of you I’m mainly talking to here. You hosts, family members, well-meaning friends who want to be supportive and do the right thing, but aren’t sure what that is. And yes, to those who don’t get the concept of addiction at all, but can still avoid harming a relationship by following a few basic suggestions. So, some coping tools for the non-addicted, if you will:

“No thank you” is a complete sentence and perfectly acceptable answer. It should not require any further explanation. “One drink won’t hurt you” is a dangerously ill-informed reply. The same goes for, “A few butter cookies won’t hurt. C’mon, it’s Christmas.” Or, “Get the dress, Put it on your credit card. You’ll feel better.” Not really.

By the way, “No thank you” is an acceptable answer even for people not in recovery. Not everyone who turns down a second helping of stuffing or a piece of pumpkin pie is a member of Overeaters Anonymous. Not everyone who prefers a ginger ale rather than a beer is a member of AA. Not everyone who won’t go into hock for an expensive New Year’s Eve party is a compulsive debtor. But some of them may be.

If you’re hosting a party to which people in recovery have been invited, have some non-alcoholic beverages available. Not just water. Don’t make a big deal about having them, just let your guests know they are available. The same goes for food. Have some appetizing low-calorie dishes and healthful desserts on hand. Don’t point out that they’re there because so-and-so is watching his weight. Just serve them. You’ll be surprised how many guests enjoy them and comment on what a good host you are.

If you’re honestly concerned about how the person in recovery is doing, approach him or her privately. He or she might not feel comfortable discussing it in front of other guests. If you’re just curious, keep it to yourself.

Honoring a guest’s wishes is a sign of respect. Anticipating them in advance is even better. Encouraging someone to eat, drink or spend money when they don’t want to is, at the very least, not gracious. Pressuring someone to partake of something when you know he or she is trying hard to avoid it is a good way to lose a friend. Addictions are not trivial matters. “No, thank you,” is a perfectly good answer. Members of AA, OA and DA will be especially appreciative if you remember that.

And for those in recovery, remember to bring a phone with plenty of numbers and have a way to leave the party if you become too uncomfortable. There will be other parties, but there may not be another recovery.

Be smart and enjoy. Have a mask handy or, if need be, make a virtual appearance this year. Happy holidays.
Bob Gaydos is writer in residence at

10 Reasons to Join CSA

Sunday, March 25th, 2012

By Shawn Dell Joyce

A new model of agriculture is catching on in our region; Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) offers farmers a guaranteed income during these uncertain economic times, and gives supporters part of the bounty of fresh produce.

In CSA, a shopper buys a weekly “share” of a participating farm’s harvest, and in return receives an assortment of locally grown fruits and vegetables. If the glorious taste of that isn’t enough to convince you about the worthiness of CSA, here are 10 more good reasons to join a local participating farm:

–The typical American forkful of food has traveled 1,500 miles from the farm to your mouth. When you join a CSA farm, you avoid all those diesel emissions from transporting the food. Additionally, because the produce hasn’t been commuting for a week to get to you, it’s much fresher and tastier.

–You know what you’re getting when you buy from a local farm. Many conventional farming practices are cruel and unhealthy. When you buy locally, you can see how the animals live. Most of these farms are run by small scale producers who allow animals to roam freely, graze on grasses (which is much healthier for them and us), nurse their young, and live a good life. The farms I buy from treat animals with respect and honor, which is important to me.

–Being a member of a farm helps to build a closer community. When share members come to pick up their weekly box of produce, they swap recipes, chat with the farmer, and discuss the weekly bounty. CSA farms often become gathering places, hosting potluck dinners, special events and even classes. The operators of Phillies Bridge Farm in Gardiner often show movies in their barn for share members.

–You create memories for your children and yourself. Some of my fondest recollections are picking ripe grape tomatoes with my young son on a hot summer day. The tomato plants, laden with deep red fruits, towered over our heads. Some were so ripe they would split in your fingers as you pulled them from the vine. We popped the lovely little split ones right into our mouths, and the flavor burst on our tongues. I’ll never forget the taste of those tomatoes, warm from the sun, dribbling down our chins.

–Connect yourself to the land and the season. Nothing tastes quite like a crisp apple on a cool fall day, or hot buttered corn off a summer grill, or baked squash in mid-winter. When your family is a member of a farm, you are treated to seasonal produce. Things naturally taste better in their season.

–Get to know your region. Farms are beautiful, and fun to visit. Be a tourist in your hometown. Many of our small farms rely on agri-tourism. Visiting a working farm gives your family a taste of our region’s history and local flavor.

–Money spent at a local farm stays local and grows. British researchers found that money spent at local farms multiplied because the farmer used a local bank, bought seed and supplies locally, advertised in local papers, and paid local employees. These “farm dollars” had twice the economic impact of the same amount of money spent at a chain grocer. Farmers tend to help and support one another rather than compete. As a result, CSA farms often offer produce grown on other farms.

–You acquire a taste for new flavors. Have you ever eaten a sunchoke? How about tossing some fresh purslane into a salad? When you read the word “sorrel” does a lemony flavor come to mind? Broaden your palate by joining a farm. The farm gives you a bit of everything it grows, which often includes a few things you may not have heard of. This is a great way to find your new favorite vegetable. Mine is the spicy hot daikon radish, long as your arm and white as potatoes.

–Preserve open spaces. When you participate in CSA, you support a farming family. This helps preserve the farmlands as well. If you appreciate the view of pumpkins and vines growing in the fields along Route 211 in Wallkill, support Sycamore Farms. The only way our farmers can afford to pay the taxes on those picturesque views is if we support the farms.

–An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Eating fresh, organic vegetables makes your family healthier, and saves you sick time and medical expenses. The fresher your vegetables, the higher the vitamin content, according to nutritionists.

For a list of CSA farms in your area, visit or stop into the Wallkill River School of Art in Montgomery for personal recommendations.