Saturday, November 11, 2017

All Are Welcome as Provincetown's Soup Kitchen Opens for the Season

Volunteers cook terrific meals and welcome us to Provincetown's Soup Kitchen.
SKIP, the Soup Kitchen In Provincetown, operates weekdays from November through April, serving not only delicious soups, but tasty, nutritious, hot meals at no charge to the public.
Throngs of people keenly await the opening day each year, eager to visit with friends they haven't seen during the summer months while the organization is closed for the season. Old friends and new ones from many Outer Cape towns gather at the Provincetown United Methodist Church, at 10 Shank Painter Road, to share a meal together. Sometimes this community luncheon is even accompanied by live music from local performers.
SKIP, founded in 1992, is open Monday through Friday, including holidays, which are always celebrated with gusto. Lunch is served from 12:30 PM to 1:30 PM, with the church's thrift store staying open till 2 PM for browsing or to receive donations of good, used clothing, housewares, linens, or other useful items. There's also a food pantry available to help folks who might need to supplement their own food supply at home.

Whether a tomato bisque or a clam chowder, Skip meals all start with a great.soup.

SKIP's goal is to provide nutritious and healthy meals in a welcoming and warm atmosphere for all individuals on the Outer Cape who are either in need or who seek community. Many who come for lunch are there as much for socialization as for the meal. It's easy for folks living at the tip of Cape Cod to feel isolated over the winter, when the crowds are gone, many local gathering places are closed, and the streets are very sparsely populated. You'll always find a diverse crowd of local people at the Soup Kitchen, welcoming you into the conversation around a table of tasty, nutritious food, at no charge.
Contributions are welcome, of course, but never required. Sales from the thrift shop on the premises help to cover some operating costs, and a number of fundraisers such as the annual Swim For Life help SKIP raise some of the cash to fulfill it's mission.
Local restaurants closing for the season will donate food. Fishermen will donate bushels of cod or shellfish. Stop & Shop contributes. Businesses, individuals and families make contributions, or volunteer their time, or sponsor a meal.
This winter SKIP will likely serve upwards of 10,000 meals to those who need something to eat or who simply seek a bit of companionship. Find out how you can help by calling 508 487-8331, or visit the Soup Kitchen's website at www.ptownsoup.org. From there you can also make a donation, or send them an email for more information.
By the way, reserve the date on Saturday, December 2nd, when Tin Pan Alley will once again host Souper Saturday, a luncheon where a couple of dozen great local restaurants provide kettles of a variety of favorite soups for $5 a bowl, with all proceeds going to the Soup Kitchen.
In the meantime, come and join friends and neighbors for a nice lunch and a little camaraderie, weekdays at SKIP.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Provincetown's Moonrise Tonight Just Might Prove Spectacular

I took this photo with no special equipment, just my trusty Canon PowerShot. Not too
bad with no tripod, and clouds moving through the sky, making even autofocus tricky.
Tonight's full moon over Provincetown has the potential to be spectacular, if the weather will cooperate.
The moon will rise at 1:23 AM, likely amid partly cloudy skies, according to the most recent hour-by-hour predictions from weather.com.

I took this photo over Provincetown Harbor during a remarkable Perigee Moon in 2015. That's when the moon's orbit brings it much closer to the earth than it will be at other times of the year, making it look much larger than usual. Since the moon travels in a sort of oval-shaped orbit, during part of the year it appears much smaller, since it is farther away from the earth. That's called an Apogee Moon.
The full moon tonight is known by many names relating to this time of year, most often called by scientists the Beaver Moon. That's what early colonists and Algonquin tribes called it, as they set beaver traps to provide warm furs for the coming winter.

This photo was taken a bit earlier on the same night. As the
moor rises above the  harbor, we can get a golden or even red
color, which quickly fades to yellow, then to white as it rises.
Some call it the Hunter's Moon, or Blood Moon, when First Nations of North America were busy killing deer to stockpile meat for the winter. The name Frost Moon, of course, comes from the usual time of the first real frost of the autumn.
The average person on the street might call it a Harvest Moon, though that usually comes in September or October, varying a little from year to year, but whatever you might call it, tonight's moon will appear to be bigger and brighter than usual.

Not quite the "biggest" moon of the year, tonight it will look very much like a so-called Super Moon, which actually will appear next month, in the wee hours of December 4th in this neck of the woods. Tonight's moon will look a fraction smaller, since it will be some 2,000 miles closer to us next month.But it will still be an amazing sight, provided we can catch a glimpse of it between the clouds that are predicted.

The next time the moon will be closer to Earth than tonight's or December's full moons won't be until November 25th, 2034.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

PTown Chefs Have Made Me Like Foods I Had Always Hated

I love to visit a new restaurant I've never tried, and order the most unusual thing on the menu; whatever sounds the strangest. It started about 30 years ago when I wandered into a little Thai restaurant with a lengthy menu of things unfamiliar to me.
After about twenty minutes of reading descriptions and ingredients I settled on chicken with chilies and mint. I've never cared much for mint, and this was the weirdest sounding thing on the menu, so I ordered it, along with a couple of other dishes that were more familiar and sounded like safer bets.
To my delight, this dish was so tasty that I returned often and ordered the same thing each time, along with something else that sounded risky from the confusing menu descriptions written in broken English.
 
The Canteen's Brussels sprouts in an Asian fish sauce are amazing, and a best-seller.
These days I'm more familiar with the world's cuisines, but I still scour every menu for something unusual, or I'll order something I don't like, as long as it comes from a chef or a restaurant I trust. 
In fact, many a Provincetown chef has made me adore foods I had never before enjoyed.

Case in point: the lowly Brussels sprout. My mother was an excellent cook, but the way she made these, boiling them into oblivion, they were so terrible that even my dad, who had learned to eat anything while surviving the Great Depression as a young man, had trouble choking them down, and they made the house smell funny for days, so we hardly ever had them. Of course, I never "learned to like them."
Fast-forward a few decades, and 2,300 miles to the east, to Provincetown, where a little restaurant called The Canteen is serving a very popular dish called "Crispy Brussel Sprouts in Fish Sauce." I ordered them on one of my first visits there, right after they opened, confident that these chefs would make me love their sprouts, and I was right. I now order them on nearly every visit, unless I go for breakfast, which won The Canteen its third Best Bite award from TheYearRounder. Read my post from this spring, on Friday, April 7th.
Another food I've always hated is Coleslaw. Those thick, tasteless, mayo-based sauces and bitter cabbage always made me gag, but Fanizzi's changed all of that with their delicious slaw marinated in a light, slightly sweet vinaigrette, with no gloppy mayonnaise. It is so good, I now look forward to having it with my Friday fish fry or a burger. It's made me brave enough to try other coleslaws around town, and I've now found a few that I like almost as well.
So next time you go out to eat, take a chance. Consider trying something unusual, or ordering something you may not think you'll like. Broaden your horizons, taste something new, try something a little risky... With the great chefs and restaurants we have in Provincetown, you just might find an unexpected treat somewhere, like some of the unusual choices on The Canteen's menu. How about Fries With Eyes - fried smelts with a choice of sauces. Sounds risky, doesn't it? They're next on my list to try. Bon appétit!

Monday, October 23, 2017

A Lovely Sight I Almost Missed...

I was surprised to find this splendid Monarch butterfly on Bradford Street.








Hurrying to beat the clock on Saturday afternoon, I was headed for the farmers market before they closed. On the way there I noticed there was someone ahead of me on the street, bent over with her cell phone out.
She was taking a picture, so as I walked by I looked to see what she had spotted. If I hadn't seen her stopped at the edge of Bradford Street, or had hurried by half a minute later, I would have walked right past this little flower bed, and missed this truly gorgeous butterfly.
Luckily, I didn't let being in a hurry stop me from observing what was there for me, and I took just the tiniest moment to enjoy the lovely sight the planet was offering to anyone paying attention.
It seemed a little odd to find this elegant butterfly in PTown just now, slurping up nectar from flowers freshly budding, just as the chill of this brilliant autumn weather has us all digging out our woolly socks and sweaters once again, but still not quite ready to pack away our shorts and sandals.
And whadda ya know? Amid these new flower buds there stood a daffodil (at this time of year!?!) that I almost missed, because it was exactly the same sunny yellow color as these mums that surrounded it.
Every day, Provincetown presents us with hundreds of jewels large and small, scattered all through the town by the fistfuls. Watch for them out on the beaches, or right on the streets. Stop and smell the roses, as it were. Listen for the sounds of hundreds of bird species stopping here on their migrations, bringing us new bird calls you may never have heard before. Taste a wild cranberry while you're biking/hiking/strolling through the low spots in the forests and dunes...
There are a couple of gazillion ways to find a little treat for yourself on any day spent in Provincetown, whether you come upon a stirring sight, have a little taste of something wild, catch a captivating scent wafting by, happen into an encounter with the myriad wildlife surrounding us... or stumble across a butterfly and a daffodil showing up way out of season.
Any or all of these can be yours any day here, simply for paying attention.