New Year Menu at The Turtle Restaurant 2010

The Turtle Restaurant will be opened New Year's Eve until everyone leaves or it is midnight, which ever comes first. Make your reservations here or call 325-6466-8200 The Enoteca will be serving some of Ty Wolosin's fabulous pre prohibition cocktails and all of our champagne is half-off so bubbles may flow with abandon.

New Year's Eve 2010 Menu -
First Course - Choice of:
Goat Cheese agnolottis with roasted poblano and tomatillo sauce
Beef carpacio with shaved mushrooms, baby arugula and chipotle dressing

Second Course - Choice of:
Salmon and asparagus salad with mustard dressing and salmon caviar
Duck confit on potato gratin with pot sauce
(Vegetarian option available)

Third Course - Choice of:
Grilled beef tenderloin with foie gras butter on a potato, artichoke and mushroom ragout
Rack of Lamb with horseradish potatoes, mint and seasonal vegetables
Butter poached lobster tail with fennel and shrimp, pancetta bacon and preserved lemon
(Vegetarian option available)

A selection of pastries and gelato

Four Courses $55.00 per person excluding beverages, tip and taxes

The Sazarac

I've spent Tuesday evening of the last 10 weeks in Austin, Texas at Tipsy Tech learning as much as I could about Spirits, not the ethereal kind, but the temporal and delicious. Until recently I almost never drank anything other than gin and tonic, and that rarely, usually in the company of other drinkers, especially the Anglo Saxon. I am usually found at table with a glass of wine. Since The Turtle Enoteca and Restaurant could only acquire a full bar with food license due to the peculiarities of our local laws; and since that privilege was quite expensive, we decided to sell mixed drinks to help pay for the overhead of the full bar license. I really knew nothing about spirits and still consider myself to be a complete novice, even after attending 10 weeks of Tipsy Tech. I do not bar tend except under duress (someone doesn't show up for shift) and my head is too full of tax due dates, employee schedules, important reservations, gelato and bread recipes to make room for the sixty plus cocktail recipes we covered in class much less the nuances of the hundreds of spirits on the market. However, now I do have an idea about what is going on in the bar and an idea about what makes a good drink and how to make one with a good recipe book, other wise - it's gin and tonic. I have even begun to make my own tonic water. The history of tonic water is a long tall topic on it's own which traverses from Peru to India and then some.

I found the history of various drinks and alcohols to be deeply intertwined with all the rest of our history whether it be political, religious or scientific. This was the most interesting part of the class. But what I am going to post about today is the history of the Sazarac Cocktail. I am doing this not just to elucidate you, dear reader, but to practice my essay for my big test tomorrow evening at Tipsy Tech. I don't expect to receive a fabulous grade because, as I said, I am severely short of RAM these days and even if I could remember anything, I don't have time to study. Restaurant life intervenes.

Around 1830 Antoine Peychaud invented the bitters which carries his name today. Bitters started out as patent medicine, good for what ails you. Mr. Peychaud's family was from Bordeaux, France. They emigrated to Haiti. They were slave holders. Inspired by the American Revolution and the French Revolution, Haitian slaves began to feel that the "Rights of Man" belonged to all men and revolted. By 1803 it appeared unsafe for white people to be on the island so many immigrated once again, this time to New Orleans. Antoine found himself in New Orleans by 1811. He became a pharmacist. His recipe for bitters had immigrated with him as well. By 1820 he was offering Pechaud's Bitters for sale.

Mr. Peychaud entertained his fellow Masons with a drink consisting of brandy, sugar and his bitters served in the large end of an egg cup. Legend has it that this is how the word cocktail came into the language of the bar as the french word for egg cup is "cocquetier". If one had imbibed several or spoke with a southern drawl, one's pronunciation might be slurred into cocktail. There are other theories concerning the invention of the word "cocktail" but this much we do know and that is Antoine Peychaud invented Peychaud's Bitters in New Orleans around 1830. The little drink he served to his fellow Masons was almost a Sazarac but not quite. It needed a particular brand of cognac before it would earn it's name.
The french cognac company Sazarac de Forge Et Fils had an agent in New Orleans by the name of Sewell Taylor. It was a happy coincident that Mr. Taylor's and Mr. Peychaud's businesses were located up the street from each other. Mr. Taylor owned a bar called The Merchant Exchange. At some point he sold it to focus on his importing business but not before he declared that the drink that Peychaud served to his fellow Masons up the street was to be concocted in his establishment using only his own imported product, Sazarac de Forge Et Fils cognac. Aaron Bird took over the Merchant Exchange and changed it's name to Sazarac Coffee House - named after the main ingredient in the house drink. In 1870 Thomas Hardy took over and changed the name of the bar to Sazarac House (period). He also changed the main ingredient from cognac Sazarac de Forge Et Fills to Rye Whisky. Thomas Hardy used Maryland Club Rye. He also bought the Peychaud's Bitters company and other liquor companies.

Why keep the name Sazarac but change the main spirit? Well, it was on account of the Phylloxera epidemic. A tiny little bug caused total French wine production to fall by two-thirds between 1875 and 1879. Bartenders who had sworn by French brandy were switching to whiskey as cognac became expensive and rare. It may have also been on account of native pride, preferring red likker to french cognac.

Cartoon from Punch, September 6, 1890, page 110


Artwork by Edward Linley Sambourne (January 4, 1844–August 3, 1910)

We can't reproduce the Sazarac Thomas Hardy made with Maryland Club Rye because there aren't any distilleries in Maryland any more. Here is a link to some Maryland Rye Whiskey brands of the era.

In 2006 The Sazarac Company decided to release Sazarac Rye Whiskey made in their Buffalo Trace distillery. After a 116-year absence Sazerac Rye, bottled in the original late 1800s package, was available once more.

This is the official Tipsy Tech class Sazarac Rye Whiskey recipe: You need a mixing glass and an old fashioned glass. Pack the old fashioned with ice. In the mixing glass put 2 oz Sazarac Rye, .5 oz simple syrup, 4 dashes Peychaud's Bitters, stir until chilled. Throw out the ice in the other glass, rinse it with herbsaint (I like the idea of spraying the glass with Absinthe). Strain the Rye mixture into this glass. Flame a lemon peel over the glass and discard.

Now for something close to the original version substitute a decent cognac. It won't be the same since Cognac Sazerac de Forge et fils was bought in the early 1870's and became Sazerac de Forge et Kotniski then disappeared when the company was sold in 1965 to la société Engrand

We are too late in time to taste the original and can only mix a Sazarac with the spirits available today. There are many disputes about the proper way to make a Sazarac. So, mix it with what you or your customer like to drink using the technique you prefer, sugar cube or simple syrup, absinthe or Herbsaint, leave the peel in, take the peel out, rye or cognac, or half and half. I won't argue with you about whether you've made a Sazarac correctly as long as it is enjoyed. Bottoms up!

A Partial History of Thanksgiving

President Lincoln was the first president to proclaim a November Thanksgiving Day in 1863. The holiday has been a fixture of late November ever since. We were taught that Thanksgiving began with the Pilgrims in 1621. But is this entirely true? What is Thanksgiving's genesis?

Before going to Plymouth, the Mayflower group lived 11 years in the Dutch city of Leiden where they had fled to escape violent and endless religious and political wars. This affected their outlook on life in interesting ways. When the Pilgrims left England in 1607-08 they were not known as Pilgrims, but rather as "Separatists" who were out of step with both the Church of England and with the Calvinist "Puritans" who were trying to "purify" the Church of England of popeish influences.

These British Pilgrims sharply advocated church-state separation unlike British Puritans who wanted to turn Massachusetts into a theocracy. The Pilgrims also believed the heresy that women should be allowed to speak in church. They were far more tolerant of other faiths and open to the idea that their theology, like all human dogma, might contain errors. They did not burn witches. The influence of the Pilgrims on the future United States has been great. No fewer than seven American Presidents are direct descendants of the Leiden Pilgrims.

Eventually political tides turned in Leiden, inhabitants of the city became less tolerant of dissidents and reformers so persecution of the refugees returned which encouraged both the Pilgrims and the Puritans living in this adopted home to take their chances in the New World and so in 1620, The Mayflower sailed.

The Pilgrims celebrated Thanksgiving in the fall of 1621 after having lost 46 members of their group the previous winter to starvation, cold and disease. Ninety-one native Americans participated in this Thanksgiving celebration with the Pilgrim settlers. I will tell the story of one of these natives down page. The menu included fish, berries, watercress, lobster, dried fruit, clams, venison, and plums and wild fowl. The celebration was not repeated for many years.

The reasons for this Pilgrim Thanksgiving were nearly identical to an Oct. 3 Dutch Protestant "thanksgiving." October the 3rd was the start of three days of sermons, games, militia exercises, and feasting which celebrated the end of the 1574 Spanish Catholic siege of Leiden, during which half the city starved. Thanksgiving there was a time to celebrate relief from certain starvation, political and religious persecution. In this picture, Leiden mayor Van der Werff is seen as offering his own body as food in an attempt to prevent the people from surrendering to the Spanish after the seige had gone on for nearly a year. The Spanish had tried to lure the citizens into surrender with promises, but the people of Leiden toughed it out. The Mayor offering the meat of his own body must have been a persuasive exhortation to resist. Finally, the Dutch army, led by William of Orange, deliberately flooded the fields around Leiden by breaking the dikes to force the Spanish armies to leave. The Spanish were literally washed away, and the siege ended on October 3, 1574. The Dutch army entered the city with food, bread with cheese and herring. The date on which the siege ended, the third of October (Leidens Ontzet or Leiden's Deliverance), is to this modern day celebrated every year with large scale festivities, and.... with bread and herring. As a reward for the Leideners' courage in resisting the Spanish, they were given a choice by their liberator, Willliam of Orange, of exemption from taxes or a University! Imagine a people who would choose a University over NO TAXES!! It is traditionally said that the citizens believed that a tax law could be rescinded, whereas the great universities of Europe had survived for many centuries.

Now back in the New World - how are the theocratic Puritans getting along? They declared Thankgiving, June 29, 1676, fifty five years after the Pilgrim's Thanksgiving, the Puritan governing council of Charlestown, Massachusetts declared an official Thanksgiving Day of Thanksgiving. One cannot help but notice that one half century after the Pilgrims had been saved from certain death by the natives, the theocratic Puritans are now thanking God when their "Enemies are in any measure disappointed or destroyed". The Puritans punished all who are not Puritans. The natives had been given reason, as we shall soon see, to exchange feelings of hospitality for hostility have begun taking an eye for an eye. As we all know, this conflict did not end well for the natives or Episcopalians, Quakers, and "Others" in the neighborhood. Non Puritans began to lose life, liberty, limbs, and ears.

Squanto -
I shall now tell the story of one Amerian Native of the era. I think the most important and certainly the most interesting man at the Pilgrim's Thanksgiving was a Wampanoag named Squanto. His life story is a fantastic one, nearly unbelievable and mythic and nothing like I learned in school.

When Squanto, discovered the Pilgrims in 1620-21, they were in dire straits. Their English crops of wheat and barley had failed. They had lost nearly half their members to disease and starvation. Imagine the Pilgrim's surprise when out from the forest came a man "stark naked, only a leather about his waist, with a fringe about a span long, or little more; he had a bow and two arrows, the one headed, and the other unheaded. He was a tall straight man, the hair of his head black, long behind, only short before, none on his face at all..." who spoke broken English. This was Samoset, of the Nausets. Samoset quickly returned with Squanto who spoke excellent English.

These were not "friendly Indians." Squanto was quite experienced in British ways. He had been kidnapped twice and sold into slavery by them. He spoke perfect English having lived the English life for 16 years. He probably spoke some Spanish as well, having learned it during captivity in Spain. The rest of the local natives had experienced trading furs and corn with Europeans, not to mention that European slave traders had been raiding their villages for at least hundred years. They were wary, never knowing which kind of European they were facing -- but it was their custom to give freely to those who had nothing and hold potlaches. It was believed that by giving there would be enough for all -- the exact opposite of the system we live in now. Potlatching was made illegal in Canada in 1885 and the United States in the late nineteenth century, largely at the urging of missionaries and government agents who considered it "a worse than useless custom" that was seen as wasteful, unproductive, and contrary to "civilized" values.

It is all the more astonishing to me that Squanto helped the Pilgrims survive that winter when you consider that they were building their settlement on the ruins of his own people's settlement and their bones at Patuxet. Squanto, it turns out was a pragmatist and a survivor of many horrors. I think he tried to live in a dual world which was quite impossible in the end. I think that one of the main themes running through all Thanksgivings is "survival." Sometimes it is for "my survival at all costs" and sometimes it is for "thank God we all survived."

Imagine when you were 14 years old you were lured aboard a ship and then carried off to England where you were delivered to Sir Ferdinando Gorges, commander of the fort at Plymouth on the coast of England. How would that shape your future thoughts? Imagine the fear, the homesickness, the strangeness of Plymouth. Sir Gorges had a substantial stake in the Plymouth Company which in the First Virginia charter of 1606, was granted the southern part of Maine. Sir Gorges had a financial interest in extracting all the wealth he could from the territory and needed a guide, a man with intimate knowledge of the territory. Fourteen year old Squanto was that "man."
"We gave them a can of peas and bread, which they carried to the shore to eat. But one of them brought back our can presently and staid aboard with the other two; for he being young, of a ready capacity, and one we most desired to bring with us into England, had received exceeding kind usage at our hands, and was therefore much delighted in our company." Captain Weymouth

In 1614 (this is 6 years before the Pilgrims set sail for the New World) Gorges sent two ships, one commanded by Captain John Smith and the other by Captain Thomas Hunt, to the New World to prepare to start a plantation in New England and to trade with the Indians who were natives of the region. Squanto went along as an interpreter. It was agreed Squanto would help Smith for a short time, and then he would be permitted to return to his village. Squanto traveled with Smith as his interpreter. Finally, when Captain Smith was ready to return home, he gave Squanto permission to travel back to his village.

On his way back to his village, Squanto ran into Captain Thomas Hunt and his ship. Captain Hunt tricked Squanto to board his ship. Hunt was an especially evil man. He had planned to sell natives as slaves in Malaga, Spain. Squanto was imprisoned along with 27 other young Indians. This evil event triggered a series of revenges by both the natives and the English upon each other causing many needless deaths.

Once again Squanto crossed the ocean but this time in worse quarters than before. Conditions on these ships were dismal for everyone, but especially for slaves. Rats scampered across the damp hold where the Indians were chained. Scarce provisions, a stormy trip, and continual seasickness took their toll. Many slaves died and were buried at sea. One could imagine hatred building in Squanto's heart for the white man, but that did not happen. He was more interested in surviving this ordeal.

On arrival in the Spanish slave port of Malaga, all the natives were sold. Several reputable sources assert that nothing is known about his life in Malaga except that after two years he escaped and was able to find passage back to England. They point out that Squanto's ability to speak English probably gained him sympathy with English sailors who brought him back to England.

William Bradford who was governor of Plymouth while Squanto was there describes the events as follows:

He was carried away with divers others by one Hunt, a master of a ship, who thought to sell them for slaves in Spain. But he got away for England and was entertained by a merchant in London, and employed to Newfoundland and other parts, and lastly brought hither into these parts by one Mr. Dermer, a gentleman employed by Sir Ferdinando Gorges and others for discovery and other designs in these parts.

Some Internet sources maintain that Squanto was fortunate enough to have been purchased by a group of Spanish Franciscan friars in Malaga. The friars offered Squanto his freedom. Some historians contend that he converted to Christianity at that time, because the Friars treated him with care and respect. Those sources assert that after a period of time, the Franciscans helped him to board a ship back to England. Sir Ferdinando Gorges, who knew Squanto very well as Squanto had lived in his house. Sir Gorges asserts:

Some local Friars, however, discovered what was happening and took the remaining Indians from Hunt in order to instruct them in the Christian faith, thus "disappointing this unworthy fellow of the hopes of gain he conceived to make by this new & devilish project".

To the Pilgrims, and most English and European peoples, the Wampanoags were savages, and of the Devil. They saw Squanto not as an equal but as an instrument of their God to help his chosen people, themselves.

Once Squanto returned to England, he stayed in the home of John Slany, treasurer of the Newfoundland Company. So Squanto was sent sailing again, this time for the New Foundland colony of Cuper's Cove. The year was 1618. Two years before the Pilgrims arrived in The New World.

By the time Squanto landed in New Foundland, Cuper's Cove had been in existence for 8 years. During that time the colonists had learned to survive the harsher climate conditions of the Atlantic cost line of North America. They used the abundant fish of the north Atlantis to fertilize their crops. Squanto later taught the Pilgrims to fertilize their crops the same way. One could ask, who taught the colonists these methods at Cuper's Cove?

In 1618 Squanto accompanied Dermer back to England to ask Sir Gorges permission to return home. This was Squanto's fifth crossing of the Atlantic. Sir Ferdinando Gorges wanted to use Squanto to help make peace with the Indians of the Coast in New England so it would be useful to return Squanto home. Captain Hunt's evil slaving had really made a mess of things:

Notwithstanding these disasters, it pleased God so to work for our encouragement again, as he sent into our hands Tasquantum [Squanto], one of those savages that formerly had been betrayed by this unworthy Hunt....There was hope conceived to work a peace between us, and his friends, they being the principal inhabitant of that coast....But this savage Tasquantum, being at that time in the New-found land with Captain Mason governour there...Master Darmer (who was there also, and sometimes before us) found the means to give us intelligence of him, and his opinion of the good use that might be made of his employment....

Squanto again worked for Gorges and Dermer by traveling along the coast with Dermer. May 1619 they arrived at Patuxet, Squanto's home, which had once had a population of 2,000 people. They found it was deserted with skeletons everywhere. One can only imagine the shock and horror that Squanto experienced upon his arrival, sixteen years after having been stolen from his beloved home. Imagine discovering that your family and everyone else you had known and loved were dead. Patuxet was in ruins. Clouds of black anger and hatred surely would have built in his heart and he would take revenge, but this did not happen. I think Squanto thought pragmatically, it was better to hang onto life, make the best of it even during long periods of adversity, than to die.

Two Wampanoag leaders, Massasoit and Quadequina told Squanto that a plague had killed all the people of Patuxet. Not only had Squanto's village been destroyed, but the plague (most likely small pox) had swept across the lands of the Massachuset and the Pokanoket Wampanoag, destroying whole communities, and reducing those surviving to ten to thirty per cent of the original population.

Thomas Dermer returned to Wampanoag Country in the summer of 1620 with Squanto and an Abenaki leader from Pemaquid (Maine) named Samoset. This is the Samoset who first walked into the Pilgrim settlement. Later in summer the people of Pokanoket and Namasket took Dermer prisoner. Squanto spoke on Dermer's behalf so he was set free. Captain Dermer later wrote that he would have been killed at Namasket without Squanto's intervention. He added,
"their desire for revenge was occasioned by an Englishman, who having many of them on board made great slaughter of them when they offered no injury on their parts."
Squanto and Dermer then traveled to Martha's Vineyard, an island south of Cape Cod Bay. Near Capawack they met Epenow, a native who had been previously captured with Squanto by Captains Hunt and Smith. Epenow knew Dermer worked for the same Sir Ferinando Gorges who had kept him a prisoner until 1614, so it was reasonable he feared Dermer might have come to take him prisoner again. As a result, Epenow and his men attacked. Captain Dermer was wounded and several of his men were killed. Captain Dermer, although he was able to escape to Virginia, later died of his wounds.

Epenow held Squanto and Samoset prisoners because he did not trust them as he considered them traitorous traveling companions of Demer. Epenow turned his prisoners over to Massasoit. Squanto charmed Massasoit by fires at night telling him stories of his time in England and his travels. Then he tried to convince Massasoit that making peace with the English would be in his best interest. Since they had been weakened by the plague, Massasoit's people could not defend themselves against the Narragansetts, and they were now under the control of Narragansett leader Canonicus. Squanto told him that the Englishmen had powerful weapons. He also told them the lie that the Pilgrims kept the plague in a box and would open it if they were attacked, surely this must have seemed true enough after what had happened. If Massasoit and his allies decided to make peace with the Englishmen, they could use them as allies against the Narragansetts who were influenced by the French in the Canadian territories. In return, they would offer the Englishmen help if they had any enemies. He convinced Massasoit that by helping the English, Massasoit's people could be strong again, and not forced to be subservient to their Narragansett enemies. There was relative peace between the Pilgrims and the Massasoit's people for a number of years as a result of the treaties brokered by Squanto.

The Pilgrims first encounter with American Natives -
It was not the Wampanoa natives whom the Pilgrims first met but the Nauset. The Nausets observed from a distance, the Mayflower near land on November 9, 1620. While the Mayflower remained off Cape Cod, the Pilgrims went ashore near Namskeket.

The Nauset were alarmed when they saw armed men come ashore and search the area. The Nauset saw them take corn and other items that had been stored there. On December 6, ten of the Pilgrim men landed on the coast in a small boat, and set up camp. Finally, the Nauset, remembering the men (Samoset being one of them) who had been captured and taken away six years before, attempted to drive them away. They attacked and shot arrows at the Pilgrims in their camp, but left when the Pilgrims shot back with their guns.

The Pilgrims described this event that occurred on December 8, 1620 as follows:
"About midnight we heard a great and hideous cry, and our Sentinel called out 'Arm, Arm'. So we bestirred ourselves and shot off a couple of Muskets and noise ceased; we concluded that it was a company of Wolves or Foxes for one told us he had heard such a noise in New-found-land. About five a clock in the morning we began to be stirring. of our company being abroad came running in and cried, 'They are men, Indians, Indians'; and withal their arrows came flying amongst us, our men ran out with all speed to recover their arms. .. "There was a lusty man and no whit less valiant, who was thought to be their Captain, stood behind a tree within half a musket shot of us, and there let his arrows fly at us. .... He stood three shots of a musket. At length one took as he said full aim at him he gave an extraordinary cry, and away they went all."

In Mourt's Relation, there is a description of a later meeting with an elderly native woman, Squanto now on the scene, serving as the interpreter and peace maker:

"One thing was very grievous unto us at this place; there was an old woman, whom we judged to be no less than a hundred years old, which came to see us because she never saw English, yet could not behold us without breaking forth into great passion, weeping and crying excessively. We demanding the reason of it, they told us she had three sons who, when Master Hunt was in these parts, went aboard his ship to trade with him, and he carried them captives into Spain (for Squanto at this time was carried away also) by which means she was deprived of the comfort of her children in her old age. We told them we were sorry that any Englishman should give them that offense, that Hunt was a bad man, and that all the English that heard of it condemned him for the same: but for us, we would not offer them any such injury though it would gain us all the skins in the country. So we gave her some small trifles, which somewhat appeased her."

The Pilgrims apologized, paid back the Nauset for the corn they had taken, and exchanged gifts. Then Aspinet and the Pilgrims made peace with one another.

In October of 1621, the Pilgrims celebrated their first harvest with feasting and games, as was the custom in Leiden. Samoset, Squanto, and Massasoit and 87 other natives were in attendance. Since that initial sharing, Native American food has spread around the world. Nearly 70 percent of all crops grown today were originally cultivated by Native American peoples. What did the Europeans give in return? Within 20 years European disease and treachery decimated the Wampanoags. As discussed earlier, even before the Pilgrims arrived in the New World, eighty percent of the native population had already been decimated by plagues. The original Pilgrims attempted to maintain peace and be fair with the natives, however other Englishmen had evil in their hearts.

One Hundred Years Later -
In October of 1777 all 13 colonies joined in a Thanksgiving celebration. It commemorated the American victory over the British at Saratoga. This battle was a turning point in the colonists war against the British and proved that George Washington's men could defeat them. Not long after France, Spain and Holland all took notes and declared war on Britain as well. What had been a "rebellion" became a World War, the economic strain of which the British Empire could not sustain. This Thanksgiving was a celebration of victory in war, one of the same reasons, the city of Leiden gave thanks .

both Houses of Congress have by their joint Committee requested me "to recommend to the People of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness. Now therefore I do recommend and assign Thursday the 26th day of November next to be devoted by the People of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be. That we may then all unite in rendering unto him our sincere and humble thanks, for his kind care and protection of the People of this Country previous to their becoming a Nation, for the signal and manifold mercies, and the favorable interpositions of his providence, which we experienced in the course and conclusion of the late war, for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty, which we have since enjoyed, for the peaceable and rational manner, in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national One now lately instituted, for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed; and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and in general for all the great and various favors which he hath been pleased to confer upon us.

Several other efforts were made at creating the holiday "Thanksgiving" by national, state and local governments. Finally, the author of "Mary Had A Little Lamb," Sarah Josepha Hale, credited as the individual most responsible for making Thanksgiving a national holiday persuaded Lincoln to proclaim "Thanksgiving" as a national holiday. The new holiday was considered a unifying day after the discord of the American Civil War. This Thanksgiving Proclamation was one of unity, repentance, forgiveness, and peace.

The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God. In the midst of a civil war of unequalled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union. Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defence, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle, or the ship; the axe had enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years, with large increase of freedom. No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and voice by the whole American people. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to his tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquility and Union. In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand, and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed. Done at the city of Washington, this third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the independence of the United States the eighty-eighth." Proclamation of President Abraham Lincoln, October 3, 1863

Today, even though most of us left the farm a generation or two ago, I think we regard Thanksgiving as a fall harvest festival when we celebrate the space between the end of the harvest and the beginning of a long cold winter by tasting a bit of everything we have put away to get through the coming cold dreary days. We are thankful for this bounty. Looking back through the mists of time we can see that there are many reasons for being thankful, relief from hunger, relief from persecution both religious and economic, for abundance, for freedom to enjoy one's life peacefully, for hospitality and conviviality.

In stories told by the Dakota people, an evil person always keeps his or her heart in a secret place separate from the body. The good people must find that secret place and destroy the heart in order to stop the evil. Where is the good person who will destroy the heart of evil? I believe it must be each of us. Indeed, when I give thanks this Thanksgiving, I will be thinking of this hidden heart and how all of our ancestors, who ever and where ever they may have been, survived evil through their ability to share and give. If we can survive, with our ability to share and to give intact, then good will have crushed evil.

Celebrate Thanksgiving 2010 at The Turtle Restaurant

Don't want to spend a week in the kitchen?
The entire family is not coming this year?
All by yourself?

The Turtle Restaurant will be opened on Thanksgiving Day from 11:00 am until 7:00 pm. We will be open all day so you can enjoy your Thanksgiving Dinner any time you wish during the day. The last seating will be at 7:00 so our employee will be able to enjoy the end of the day with their own families.

We have a traditional and delicious feast planned - $25.00 per person, $11.50 children under 12, tax, drinks, gratuity not included.

Please make your reservations here

Discover the pleasures of a deep fryer and micro wave free leisurely
repast, choose one starter:

Caesar Salad with garlic croutons
Butternut Squash Soup with toasted nuts and spices
Mixed Green Salad with roasted vegetables and herb vinaigrette

Choose: one entree and three sides


Roasted Turkey with cranberry chutney and giblet gravy
Stuffed Pork Loin
Vegetarian three cheese lasagna with charred tomato sauce

Choose three Sides:

Mashed potatoes
Baby French beans with shallots and bacon
Apple and walnut stuffing with sage
Spice roasted sweet potatoes with orange
Roasted root vegetables with cumin

Choose one dessert:

Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Tart
Traditional Pumpkin Pie with whipped cream
Pumpkin Gelato

Oktoberfest at The Turtle Restaurant October 21, 2010

Octoeber 21, 2010 6:00 pm Reserve your seat now for a special paired beer dinner featuring Rahr Beer from Fort Worth. Seats are $35.00 per person which includes four beer tastings and four courses of Chef Curt Sassak's German cooking. We will be serving several sausages from Pederson's Natural Farms.

1) Camembert cheese with pear and sun dried cranberry chutney, baguette toasts and arugula
paired with Rahr's Blonde Lager.

2) Pederson bison Polish smoked sausage on German style potato salad with veal jus

Vegetarian option: Grilled vegetable brochette on German style potato salad with vinaigrette paired with Rahr Oktoberfest

3) Pork schnitzel with braised red cabbage, spatzle and red wine jus

Vegetarian option: Root vegetable pave with herbed coulis paired with Buffalo Butt

4) Chocolate Macho cupcakes paired with Rahr's Ugly Pug

Be there!
The Turtle Restaurant
512 Center Ave
Brownwood, TX 76801
325-646-8200 or make reservations on line

Watch this video!

Texas Fall Fest in Marble Falls October 10

Visit us at Texas Fall Fest’s Farm to Market & Wine Fair, showcasing food artisans and wines, Oct. 10. The Turtle Restaurant will be selling our fabulous artisan breads and homemade gelato. We will be there sunday for the Farm to Market Wine Fair There are three days to celebrate Texas Fall Fest in Marble Falls, with wine dinners, a wine auction and a Chef’s Taste-Off, among other activities. On Sunday, October 10, from noon to 4 pm, Edible Austin will host the Farm to Market & Wine Fair, featuring all things locally grown and made. This event, held in downtown Marble Falls, will be an entertaining finale to the spectacular wine and food offered during the entire three-day Texas Fall Fest. Fair goers will peruse the big tent of vendors presenting their locally grown and produced olive oils, meats, produce, chocolates and more, complimented by Texas wines, available by the taste, glass or bottles. Food artisans / vendors include: Art Y Chocolate, Aurelia’s Chorizo, Christen’s Gourmet Pralines and Beignets, Cuvee Coffee, CKC Farms artisan cheeses, Doctor Kracker, Dry Soda, Green Grass Meats, Hill Country Homestyle Canning, Reel Popcorn, Texas Olive Ranch, Texas on the Plate, The Turtle Restaurant, Twin County Lamb and Zhi Tea. For a complete listing of the wineries, click here! Come curious, hungry and thirsty! $15 fee includes 10 wine tastings, and raises money for much needed Texas wine research as well as for child healthcare needs. Buy tickets here

The Turtle Studies Mixology with The Tipsy Texan

The fall semester of Tipsy Tech started last week. I traveled all the way to Austin to study the craft under David Alan and Lara Nixon. The Turtle Bar staff has had many discussions about cocktails they've had lately, about the ills of bad mixes laden with chemicals and high fructose corn syrup and how the scene in Austin is exciting and full of all manner of new craft cocktails. All of the hard work and evangelization going on in Austin is making inroads into the cultural fabric of the city and even reaching out to bubbaville - heart of Texas - Brownwood. Once you taste the pure thing, there is no going backwards. People like Bill Norris, Rob Pate, Adam Bryant, Billy Hanke, Lara Nixon, Adam Harris, Moxy Castro, and David Alan are working to continue moving the cocktail revolution forward. They embrace the history and understanding of what was and are adding to the pantheon of new classics with their own creations. Support your craft bartenders everywhere, because they are a treasure. We love our own Ty Wolosin. Ty has been creating some amazing berry and fruit smashes and brewing up his own natural infusions and syrups.

The lineup of guest lecturers is awesome. Bobby Heugel (Anvil/Houston; and David Suro (Tequilas Restaurant/Philadelphia; Siembra Azul) will make a return appearance for our Spirits of Latin America class. Brand Master Apprentice Aaron Rodonis of Bacardi will be here to talk rum. Hugo Chambon will walk us through the Cognac region of France. Adam Harris will take us on a tour of Bourbon Country with the seminar on American Whiskey. And many more

Field Trip! Intro course students who sign up for the whole course will get to go on the Balcones Distilling facility tour in Waco, Texas. Chip Tate is on the Fall cover of Edible Austin magazine. We have their Blue Corn Whiskey and Rumble in The Turtle Enoteca. I made some very tasty caramel with the Rumble and streaked our vanilla gelato with same. Devine. Texas is growing some mighty fine distillers.

Drink Local Night-the fall semester classmates will show off their stuff at Drink Local Night. This will be the fourth year for this event, sponsored by Edible Austin magazine, and hosted by Peche/Cedar Street. Attendees will meet the distillers of Texas, and sample great cocktails made by the best bartenders in town, featuring the spirits of Texas. Peche is our favorite place to go for cocktails when we are in our capitol.

Drink Local, Eat Local, Go Texan

Tour de Vin

The Turtle Restaurant will be one of the featured restaurants at Tour de Vin, Thursday, October 7th, 2010 6:30-9:00 pm at Whole Foods Market on Sixth and Lamar on the rooftop plaza.
This will be a world class wine tasting and a chance to sample some of the finest cuisine to be found in Central Texas while enjoying music by Cienfuegos. Call 512-327-7555 for tickets or visit $75.00 general admission. $50.00 for Wine & Food Foundation Members.

The Turtle is a community partner of The Wine & Food Foundation of Texas. Our Chef, Curt Sassak will be stirring up a special risotto. We look forward to seeing you there.

Five Facts About The Ten Dollar Bill And One That Will Save You Money

1. This 1901 United States Large Ten Dollar Note featured portraits of Meriwether Lewis on the left, William Clark on the right, and Black Diamond, an American Bison.

2. Alexander Hamilton is the only person featured on U.S. currency who was not born in the continental United States, as he born in the West Indies.

3. The Bureau of Engraving and Printing says the average life of a $10 bill in circulation is 18 months before it is replaced due to wear.

4. Approximately 11% of all newly printed US banknotes are $10 bills.

5. The $10 bill is the only U.S. paper currency in circulation in which the portrait faces to the left.

6. August 31 - September 30, 2010 from 11:00 - 2:00 pm Tuesday - Saturday you can buy any sandwich plate on The Turtle Restaurant’s menu which includes a cup of soup or salad and our homemade spiral cut potato chips AND a small scoop of gelato AND iced tea, ALL for $9.95. Offer excludes To Go orders, tax and tip.

This is a recession beating plan! A delicious bail out available to our customers. A complete freshly prepared lunch made with home made breads and love for $9.95 because you deserve good food. Just tell our waitstaff you want The Black Diamond Special! They will know what you mean.

The Turtle Restaurant
514 Center Ave
Brownwood, TX 76801

Vote for The Turtle Restaurant Chefs Under Fire

Mary Stanley and The Turtle Restaurant have been chosen as one of the top entries for Chefs Under Fire 2010 Austin-San Antonio Regional Competition. Follow this link and vote for Mary Stanley and The Turtle Restaurant.

The competition starts out with an online poll where votes are cast for the public’s favorite chefs. The poll opened on Wednesday and will last through August 30 at 11:59pm. Click here to give Mary and the Turtle your support each day until the deadline. So vote every day.

The top four contestants then have a live competition against other in the finals where he or she could be named Chef Under Fire 2010 by Celebrity Chefs and Iron Chef America contenders.
Chef David Bull, Chef Tyson Cole, and Chef Kent Rathbun. The Austin-San Antonio Regional Finals will be held Monday, September 27, 2010 at the Texas Beef Council.

Chef Stanley will be up against such names as:

* Chef Victoria Ann, of Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts Austin, Student
* Erica Beneke, of MAX's Wine Dive Austin, Sous Chef
* Chef Camero, of Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts Austin, Student
* Chef Trysh Gonzales, of Art Institute of Austin, Student
* Chef Jason Hardacker, of Silver Whisk Cooking School, Kitchen Manager
* Chef Tanner Harris, of Thai Fresh, Chef
* Chef Tonni, of Hinospices, Executive Chef/Proprietor
* Chef Chad Holt, of Wandering Chef, Owner/Chef
* Chef Deegan McClung, of Jeffrey's Restaurant, Executive Chef
* Chef Renee Morgan, of Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts Austin, Student
* Chef Steve, of Southern's Fine Dining, Owner
* Chef Byron, of TRIO at Four Seasons Hotel, Cook 1

“As you can see from the list of chefs we are up against some large and extremely popular restaurants in Austin,” stated Stanley. “ We need every vote we can get so this little David can take on an Austin Goliath.”

Chefs Under Fire is national competition, open to professional chefs in the United States (all 50 States and the District of Columbia). Regional finalists will be asked to prepare 4 identical plated dishes on site under a time restriction for the judges. Dishes will be judged on taste (50%), presentation (25%), and originality (25%). Regional finalists will be annouced September 2, 2010. One contestant will be selected as a Finalist to move on to the CUF Final Competition that will be held at the AT&T Executive Education & Conference Center in Austin, TX on October 25, 2010.

These CUF Finalists will then be asked to prepare a pre-developed 4 serving dish (entrée and side dish) to be judged by a Celebrity Chef Judging Panel. The dish must use all specified secret ingredients which will be announced no later than 14 days prior to the competition date (October 25, 2010). Finalists’ dishes will be judged on taste (50%), presentation (25%), and originality (25%). An overall winner, (chosen by the Judges Panel) and a Fan Favorite (chosen by voting via text and online public polling) will be named at the Final event.

Lisa Smith - Artist Photographer - Show Opens May 29, 2010

The Turtle Enoteca is proud to present the work of Lisa A. Smith. Join us for wine and nibbles from 5:00 pm - 7:00 pm Saturday, May 29, 2010. Lisa'a work will be for sale and remain in our wine bar and Candle Room until the end of July.


Art to me is to provoke. To get people thinking, talking, it’s sometimes supposed to make them angry, so that they can’t help but confess frustration to the stranger standing next to them. But it is also supposed to help humanity question what art is, what life is, and even what, what is. Art can address any issue, emotion, problem, idea or ideology.

The main interest within my work is people, all aspects: anatomical, emotional, mental, spiritual, societal and intellectual. Because of this my imagery had ranged from the frightening others*, to the iconic Eve in the Garden.

People cannot escape themselves or their perspective, empathy can bring people close, but never completely outside of themselves, so it is with this recognition that I approach each idea from my own worldview. Even if I am doing a study of the human figure or a bird, it is through my eyes and my neurons that my hand draws out what my brain is telling the rest of my body is before me. Because of this my work is often biographical, or deeply personal. The subject matter may not directly relate to me, but my interest peaked on the subject because of a conversation that I found fascinating, a reveling story or something that I simply found curious or humorous.

It is the subject matter or idea that is most important to me, more often than not. And so I let the idea dictate the process, because of this I do not work with just one medium, and I prefer to mix mediums to any other method. With my two-dimensional work, for example, I enjoy layering not only images, but also text. Often within my 2D work I also utilized the technique of repeated image, and with my paintings and drawings that is almost always include collaged Xerox images.

Sacred imagery is something that I have used often, and within the culture that I grew up in one was constantly bombarded with religious imagery and language, and the question that I have been exploring for some time now, is, “If one repeats an image, how many times does it take for that repeated image to lose its meaning? Or does the repetition just reinforce the meaning?”

It is questions like these and my deep urge to create that drive my art, and that will continue to drive my art. I hope to perpetually challenge myself as an artist, so that my art may always challenge the viewer.

*Other in the philosophical concept of the self and the other.

Lisa was born in Abilene, but grew up in Huntsville, Texas. People have always fascinated her; so much of her art is figurative and explores the question of what it means to be human. Lisa's interests are wide and so her art reflects this, but there is a strong theme of the human figure. Her work is also often rooted in personal experience yet universal. She is a B.F.A. painting and drawing major at Hardin-Simmons University where she also received a BA in Theology this past December. She will finish my undergrad in December after which I will pursue an MFA, which MFA program she has yet to decide.

Fire Dancer

May 8, 2010 Four Chilean Wines - Three Empanadas 5:00pm - 7:00 pm

Saturday, the eighth of May, The Turtle Enoteca plays host to Dan Gibb of South American Wine Importers. Dan is bringing four wines with him while The Turtle is pairing empandas to complement these wines. The cost is $15.00 per person. Time is between 5:00-7:00 pm come and go, meet Dan, discuss wines, taste empanadas and more, hang out on the patio and in the wine room.

Tasting Notes Chilean Wine Tasting May 8, 2010 at The Turtle Restaurant

2009 Cantaluna Sauvignon Blanc received a Silver Medal - Wine of Chile Awards 2008

Sauvignon Blanc finds its apogee in brisk, vibrant wines that are at their best when consumed young. The color is light yellow with an intensely fruity nose and offers scents of melon, peach, fig and tangerine, plus a hint of anise. Sappy citrus and pit fruit flavors show good depth and energy, with a refreshing bite of white pepper adding further lift. Finishes with good cling and a bit of heat, echoing the melon note.

Chile's Central Valley as well as the Casablanca and San Antonio Valleys to the north are emerging as the source of vibrant, unoaked Sauvignon Blancs at very reasonable prices. The Colchagua Valley is located between the southern latitudes of -34º 15' - 34º 50' , and the eastern longitudes of 72º 00' - 72º 15', 130 km south of Santiago .

The combination of an excellent climate with different soil types that are irrigated with melted mountain ice, make the Colchagua Valley a true paradise for quality winemaking.

With its bracing acidity, Sauvignon Blanc is a natural partner for fresh goat cheese, as the acidity slices perfectly though the chalky texture of this style of cheese. Sauvignon Blanc also works well with shellfish and delicate seafood.

We are serving this Sauvignon Blanc with goat cheese and beet empanadas.

2006 Amayna Chardonnay received 93 points from Robert Parker’s The Wine Advocate, October, 2008

This 2006 Chardonnay exhibits mineral, almond, white peach, and poached pear aromas. On the palate it displays elegance, a creamy texture, layers of flavor, and a striking resemblance to Grand Cru white Burgundy. It is a terrific value at the price.

Amayna is a new super premium Chilean brand that is owned by the Garces Silva family. The winery that bears the family name was founded by Jose Antonio Garces who acquired the property in the San Antonio-Leyda Valley in 1997, and in doing so become a pioneer in the area’s vitivinicultural development

On the seaward side of Chile’s coastal range and only 14km from the ocean, Amayna is produced from some of Chile’s most temperate vineyards. Situated on rolling hills with a clay loam soil, Amayna’s vines are also supported by a long cool ripening season that offers an ideal environment for perfumed and elegant Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir. A particularly delicate grape, Chardonnay readily expresses the characteristics of the growing region as well as the specific techniques employed in the winery.

An important feature of the Amayna winery is that it is built into a hillside, there is a natural downward slope that permits use of gravity to move must and wine, a critical aspect of the winemaking process. Gravitational flow implies that pumps are not used in the winemaking process, providing greater hygiene and less astringency, but most importantly greater elegance to the final.

We are serving this excellent Chardonnay with sweet corn and cheese empanadas

PARQUE 2008 Carmenere

Dried plum, strawberry & fresh blackberry blend with green pepper & earthy notes of fresh tree sap & dried leaves. Notes of dried sage & thyme round out the flavor of this mouthwatering Carmenere.

The carmenère grape was imported to South America in the 1850s, along with other Bordeaux varieties, prior to the European outbreak of Phylloxera. The history of Carmenere wines is interesting. Carmenere was one of the six nobel grapes of Bourdeaux, France, brought to South America in the mid 1800’s by the French to become a very important part of South American wine character. Carmenere has fallen out of favor in France due to the time it ripens and the phylloxera plague which destroyed most of the vineyards in Europe during the late 19th Century. Carmenere is only produced in extremely small quantities around the world outside of South America. Carmenere is a mellow grape with soft tannins and very herbal accents. Chile is really the only country producing Carmenere wines in quantity

If you tasted a Merlot wine from Chile before 1994, chances are you were actually drinking a Carmenere wine. This mix up happened because Carmenere grapes look just like Merlot grapes. The vintners in Chile weren't being dishonest, it took genetic analysis to tell them apart. In 1994 French ampelographer, Jean Michel Bourisiquot discovered that these grapevines were actually the “Lost Grape of Bordeaux”, Carmenere. Vineyards had been interplanted with both grapes. Now wineries are doing their best to sort out which grapes they receive from their growers are Merlot and which are actually Carmenere.

Carmenere wines are table wines and very good wines to serve with vegetarian dishes, something like stuffed peppers or vegetarian casseroles, or ethnic food like burritos, tacos with beef or chicken, couscous with meat, Gyros, Moussaka, Blackened Cajun Steak, Meat Tarjines, Meat Tandoori. Another great way to enjoy Carmenere is in your bath, both in the bath water and in a glass in your hand. Now that is putting on the Ritz.

We are serving this Carmenere with beef empanadas.

Pérez Cruz Cabernet Sauvignon Reserva 2008 Valle del Maipo, Chile

The regional identity of the Maipo Alto region, in the production of high-end red wines is highlighted in this wine; its Mediterranean climate and piedmont stony soils contributes to its unique characteristics, structure and aromas. This is the terrior of Viña Pérez Cruz, a family owned company that has been marked by the consistent quality of its wines, led by their balanced and well-structured Cabernet Sauvignon Reserva.

This is a big bold gutsy wine and it’s proud of it. Deep aromas and flavors of blackberry, chocolate, cherry. Just enough alcohol to warm the mouth and throat without being offensive. Get a nice cut of meat and invite some friends over. Perez Cruz is coming to dinner.

Pérez Cruz was declared 2008 Winery of the Year" by Wine & Spirits. This Cabernet earned 93p points.

We are serving this Cabernet Sauvignon with grilled beef skewers.

The History of Mother's Day

Mother's Day is both modern and centuries old. Honoring mothers goes back to the times of ancient Greeks, who held festivities to honor Rhea, the mother of all the gods. Ancient divinities were not static types, but rather expressions of cultural systems that responded to historical change. How holidays are celebrated are also expressions of cultural systems that respond to historical change. As we have noted before, Easter, Christmas, nearly all our modern holidays have Greek or Roman origins which were converted to Christian holidays as the Roman Empire and Europe converted to Christianity.

The Catholic Mother's Day celebration became part of the liturgical calendar as Laetare Sunday, the fourth Sunday in Lent to honor the Virgin Mary and the "mother church". Laetare means "Rejoice" in Latin.During the sixteenth century, people returned to their mother church for a service to be held on Laetare Sunday. This was either a large local church, or more often the nearest Cathedral. Anyone who did this was said to have gone "a-mothering".

Another name attributed to this festival is Simnel Sunday. Simnel Sunday is named after the practice of baking Simnel cakes to celebrate the reuniting of families during the austerity of Lent. Recipe Mothering Sunday as it was also known was a time put aside for relaxation and enjoyment during the long Lenten fast. It was kind of a break or holday from fasting. Young British servant girls who worked away from home were given time off by their masters to visit their mothers on this special day and they would bake a Simnel cake to present to their Mothers as a gift.

Earlier traditions saw the cake being eaten on Simnel Day but it soon became customary to keep the cake for a week until Easter Sunday. Keeping the cake fresh for the we
ek leading up to Easter was seen to be a test of the cook's culinary skills; she was considered to be a good cook if the cake tasted good, a week later, on Easter Sunday. Catholics and Episcoplaians brought versions of these traditons to the New World.

Mother's Day in the United States of America

Julia Ward Howe, author of the "Battle Hymn of the Republic", organized a day for mothers dedicated to peace. It is a landmark event in the history of Mother's Day in the United States. She proposed an annual Mothers' Day for Peace. Committed to abolishing war, Howe wrote: "Our husbands shall not come to us reeking with carnage... Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn all that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy and patience. We women of one country will be too tender of those of another country to allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs".

Mothers' Day Proclamation: Julia Ward Howe, Boston, 1870

Arise, then, women of this day! Arise all women who have hearts,
whether our baptism be that of water or of fears!

Say firmly: "We will not have great questions decided by
irrelevant agencies. Our husbands shall not come to us, reeking
with carnage, for caresses and applause. Our sons shall not be
taken from us to unlearn all that we have been able to teach
them of charity, mercy and patience.

We women of one country will be too tender of those of another
country to allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs. From
the bosom of the devastated earth a voice goes up with our own.
It says "Disarm, Disarm! The sword of murder is not the balance
of justice."

Blood does not wipe our dishonor nor violence indicate possession.
As men have often forsaken the plow and the anvil at the summons
of war, let women now leave all that may be left of home for a
great and earnest day of counsel. Let them meet first, as women,
to bewail and commemorate the dead.

Let them then solemnly take counsel with each other as to the
means whereby the great human family can live in peace, each
bearing after their own time the sacred impress, not of Caesar,
but of God.

In the name of womanhood and of humanity, I earnestly ask that a
general congress of women without limit of nationality may be
appointed and held at some place deemed most convenient and at
the earliest period consistent with its objects, to promote the
alliance of the different nationalities, the amicable settlement
of international questions, the great and general interests of

Julia Ward Howe

Beginning 1872 and for the next 30 years, Americans celebrated Mothers' Day for Peace on June 2. Many middle-class women in the 19th century believed that they bore a special responsibility as mothers to care for the casualties of society and to turn America into a more civilized nation. They played a leading role in the abolitionist movement to end slavery. They launched successful campaigns against lynching and consumer fraud and fought for improved working conditions for women, protection for children, public health services and social welfare assistance to the poor. People like Glen Beck would hate them.To these activists, the connection between motherhood and the fight for social and economic justice seemed self-evident. Ann Maria Reeves Jarvis is a fine example of this sort of activist 19th century woman. It is because her daughter , Anna, wished to honor her work that Mother's Day is celebrated on the Second Sunday in May in the United States.

Ann Maria Reeves Jarvis and her brother, a doctor, organized a series of Mothers' Day Work Clubs in five Virginian cities to improve health and sanitary conditions. She actively sought to improve the health of her community. Among other services, the clubs raised money for medicine, hired women to work for families in which the mothers suffered from tuberculosis, and inspected bottled milk and food. In 1860, local doctors supported the formation of clubs in other towns and these ideas spread. Ann Jarvis urged the Mothers' Day Work Clubs to declare their neutrality and provide relief to both Union and Confederate soldiers. The clubs treated the wounded and regularly fed and clothed soldiers stationed in the area. Jarvis also managed to preserve an element of peace in a community being torn apart by political differences. She actively sought to bring peace to her community.

Tensions increased as both Union and Confederate soldiers returned at war's end. In the summer of 1865, Ann Jarvis organized a Mothers' Friendship Day to bring together soldiers and neighbors of all political beliefs. The event was a great success despite the fear of many that it would erupt in violence. Mothers' Friendship Day was an annual event for several years. Perhaps it's return would bring together the disparate parts of our modern body politic.

The first Mother's Day observance was a church service honoring her mother, Ann.
Services were held at Andrews Methodist Episcopal Church in Grafton, which is now the International Mothers Day Shrine at which Anna handed out her mother's favorite flowers, white carnations, because they represent sweetness, purity, and patience. Anna was successful in getting West Virginia Governor Glassock to proclaim a statewide Mother's Day in 1910. President Woodrow Wilson finally proclaimed the second Sunday in May as a national holiday in honor of mothers in 1914.

Anna Jarvis had worked in an insurance company’s advertising department, and used that experience to promote her Mother's Day by incorporating an association in 1912, registering trademarks for the white carnation symbol and the phrases “second Sunday in May” and “Mother’s Day.” Note the apostrophe: the holiday was to be personal and possessive, not collective and plural as in the previously observed Mothers' Day For Peace. The coming commercialization of Mother’s Day should have been no surprise to Miss Jarvis; her ally in creating Mother's Day and fellow Philadelphian, John Wanamaker had become wealthy by inventing the department store and modern advertising. Wanamaker’s department stores gave free carnations to women shoppers on the holiday, which was observed at a ceremony in the Wanamaker Store Auditorium on May 10, 1908, where Miss Javis spoke to the crowd for over an hour.

By 1920 Politicians and businessmen eagerly embraced the idea of celebrating mothers and motherhood. As the Florists' Review, the industry's trade journal, bluntly put it, "This was a holiday that could be exploited." America was becoming a consumer culture with mother's charging the way. This holiday took on the expressions of a changing cultural system.

The new advertising industry quickly taught Americans how to honor their mothers - by buying flowers. Outraged by florists who were selling carnations for the outrageous price of $1 a piece, Ann Jarvis daughters undertook a campaign against those who "would undermine Mother's Day with their greed." But they fought a losing battle. Within a few years, the Florists' Review triumphantly announced that it was "Miss Jarvis who was completely squelched." Anna and her sister Ellsinore spent their family inheritance campaigning against the holiday. Both died in poverty. According to her New York Times obituary, Jarvis became embittered because too many people sent their mothers a printed greeting card. As she said,

A printed card means nothing except that you are too lazy to write to the woman who has done more for you than anyone in the world. And candy! You take a box to Mother—and then eat most of it yourself. A pretty sentiment! The "grafters" who purveyed such trifles would, she said, "take the coppers off a dead mother's eyes."

Anna Marie Jarvis never married and had no children. Growing blind and deaf, she was finally moved to a nursing home—where she was secretly supported by the florists she so despised until she died in 1948.

Regardless of Jarvis' concerns, Mother's Day has flourished in the United States. Flower sales have grown at a 6% annual rate, and now represent a $102 billion global market. The second Sunday of May has become the busiest restaurant day of the year, surpassing even Valentine's Day.

* The Golden Rule: "Whatsoever ye would that others should do for your mother if she were in need, and whatsoever your mother would do for the needy if she had the opportunity, do in her name and in her honor for other mothers and their children, victims of present-day maladjustments."

Easter Brunch Buffet April 4 2010 10:30 am - 3:00 pm

Easter is the only time during the year that The Turtle Restaurant sets out a buffet. Buffets are an easy way to serve a large number of people but there are draw backs from a fresh food perspective. That's why we will have a carving station and an omelette station.

The main draw back of buffets for me is the temptation to overeat. My father used to tell us to eat enough to "get his money's worth." It was a command, I was duty bound to become chubby. I imagine that he still saw these sumptuous spreads through his own child's eye which suffered terribly through considerable poverty, danger and starvation during World War 2 in Europe, so I forgave him. Like everything else in life there are good and bad points about "a way to do things" so we only serve buffet style once a year. It is fun to taste everything.

Wikipedia says "The modern buffet was developed in France in the 18th century, soon spreading throughout Europe. The term originally referred to the sideboard where the food was served, but eventually became applied to the form. The buffet became popular in the English-speaking world in the second half of the nineteenth century."

The "all you can eat" buffet has been ascribed to Herb Macdonald, a hotel manager who introduced the idea in 1946 and was closely connected to LasVegas Casinos. William Pearson wrote in The Muses of Ruin of the buffet:

At midnight every self-respecting casino premières its buffet—the eighth wonder of the world, the one true art form this androgynous harlot of cities has delivered herself of.... We marvel at the Great Pyramids, but they were built over decades; the midnight buffet is built daily. Crushed-ice castles and grottoes chill the shrimp and lobster. Sculptured aspic is scrolled with Paisley arabesques. They are, laid out with reverent artistry: hors d'oeuvres, relish, salads, and sauces; crab, herring oyster, sturgeon, octopus, and salmon; turkey, ham, roast beef, casseroles, fondues, and curries; cheeses, fruits and pastries. How many times you go through the line is a private matter between you and your capacity, and then between your capacity and the chef's evil eye.

Well...our chef won't give you the evil eye and our spread will be delicious, attractive, perhaps even a bit healthy as we will be serving Pederson's All Natural Ham and eggs supplied by Windy Hill Farms and greens from there as well as Wiley Ranch. We'll tempt you to eat as much as you want, once a year.

Real Ale Paired Beer Dinner March 11, 2010

The Turtle Restaurant, a slow food restaurant, recently received an Award from Wine Enthusiast Magazine for it's wine list, however few people know that we serve great craft made beers as well. The Slow Food Movement helps people rediscover the joys of eating and understand the importance of caring where their food comes from, who makes it and how it’s made. The Turtle Restaurant and Enoteca invites you to discover the joys of of eating and understanding how Real Ale Beer is made and who makes it at our first paired beer dinner with Real Ale Brewing Company, Blanco, Texas.

"You can't be a real country unless you have a beer and an airline - it helps if you have some kind of a football team, or some nuclear weapons, but at the very least you need a beer."
-Frank Zappa

Texas has a hand full of great craft brewed beers, football teams, Southwest Air and probably a nuclear weapon or two (ain't that right Amarillo?). So ... Texas is a full fledged Real Country. Several of our favorite beers are made by Real Ale Brewing Company, established in 1996 in Blanco, Texas. Their beers can be found primarily in San Antonio, Austin, Houston, and at The Turtle Restaurant and Enoteca in Brownwood, Texas.

Originally operating out of a tiny basement brewery on the square in Blanco, the brewery relocated in May 2006 to a brand new facility in Blanco, where they have increased production. The owner credits the Blanco River as having some of the best brewing water for the styles of beer that they make, obviously Blanco is an ideal location for the brewery.

A dedicated team of brewers produces quality handcrafted beer utilizing a 60-barrel stainless steel brewing system. They incorporate 100% malted grain, domestic and imported hops, and crystal clear water from the Blanco River into their unique recipes. Be sure to ask for Real Ale by name at your favorite places. Support our Texas brewers - Go Texan - Go Slow.

Real Ale is also a great destination for a day trip in the Hill Country. Currently their tasting room is open on Fridays from 2 - 5 pm with tours starting at 3 and 4. If you have a large group please give them a heads-up. For directions and more information, please call 830.833.2534 or send them an email (

This paired dinner, in honor of St. Patrick, is a great opportunity to meet the owner and brewer of Real Ale, Brad Farbstein and salesman Scott Hilaman. They will be here to guide you through their beers while our chef entertains your palate.

Here's the MENU, cost $35.00 per person. Reservations can be made online or by phone 325-646-8200. The Date is Thursday, March 11, 2010 at 7:00 pm.

First course: Turtle made chubby pretzels with Fireman's #4 beer mustard paired with Fireman's #4 Beer

Second Course: Choice of Shrimp Beignet with hop pesto, fried lemon garnish OR Leeks and Spinach Fritatta Wedge with fried lemon garnish paired with Rio Blanco Pale Ale

Third Course: Lamb Provencal Terrine, Smoked Raisin Mustard, Hearth-baked Crackers, Fried Pickle OR Rice and Eggplant Timbale paired with Full Moon Rye Pale Ale

Fourth Course: Shepherd's Pie - tender chunks of steak, with celery and onion in a hearty Brewhouse Brown ale gravy, topped with pepperjack and sour cream mashed potatoes and Veldhuizen Redneck Cheddar OR Shepherd's Pie with chunks of portabella mushrooms and onions in Brewhouse Brown Ale gravy, topped with the same decadent potato topping as the meat version paired with Brewhouse Brown Ale (but of course!)

Fifth Course: Coffee Porter gelato topped with crushed malted milk balls.

You will be quite full and warm and happy all over by the end of the evening.

See you at The Turtle Restaurant, 514 Center Avenue, Brownwood, Texas 76801, right across the street from City Hall in historic uptown Brownwood!! Bring your friends. Drink Real Texan Beer - Real Ale - Real Country.

An Early First Valentine

Trois Chansons by the French Impressionistic composer, Claude Debussy, are settings of poems by Charles d’Orleans to music. This Charles was Charles (1394-1465), Duke of Orléans, a prince. He was wounded at the Battle of Agincourt in 1415 and imprisoned in England for the next 24 years (held for ransom, actually), during which he wrote most of his poetry, more than five hundred poems — including what some claim was the first Valentine sent to his very young wife, Bonne d'Armagnac, from prison. Sadly, Bonne died while Charles was pining away in The Tower. A manuscript of that poem is in the British Library, however I couldn't find a translation on line. This is the manuscript cover. You can see Charles writing at his desk through the artistic contrivance of a cut-away in the wall of the tower.

Upon Charles' release, he met Maria of Cleves, who was the daughter of a German Duke and a French Duchess also of the house of Burgundy, the older sister of Philip the Good, who arranged for Charles' release. Upon first sight of the 14-year old princess, it is said that he told her, "M'Lady, I make myself your prisoner." Maria went on to bear Charles his only son, Louis the XII of France. Maria would outlive Charles by many years, and would become a poet herself.

The imagery in Charles's poems is vivid, strongly visual, and so romantic. So much medieval French poetry is stilted stuff about unrequited love... sigh... oh Charles, my prince! I can understand why Debussy selected these old poems as texts for his scores. Here is a rendition of Debussy's Dieu! Qu'il La Fait Bon Regarder!
Listen, English translation below:

God! But she is fair,
graceful, good and beautiful.

All are ready to praise
her excellent qualities.
Who could tire of her?
Her beauty is ever new.

God! but she is fair,
graceful, good and beautiful!

Nowhere does the sea look on
so fair and perfect
a lady or maiden.
Thinking on her is but a dream.
God! but she is fair!