Arts & Entertainment

CELEBRATE THEY SHALL The Force was strong in Port Jefferson Village last Saturday afternoon as the Friends of the Port Jefferson Free Library hosted its first Star Wars Day. Jedis and Siths called a truce for the event which celebrated 40 years of the classic film series with a visit from the Endor Light Saber Guild, Star Wars characters and vendors. The many visitors enjoyed taking part in Jedi training, crafts, games and raffles.

Photos by Heidi Sutton and Sal Filosa

Cranberry Chutney

By Barbara Beltrami

Once Thanksgiving is over and the turkey is just a carcass in a soup pot, and the fixings are just unidentifiable messes in plastic containers, there is still a whole month and beyond in which to take advantage of fresh cranberries, those little ruby-red gems that are in seasonal abundance. Rich in vitamin C, cranberries are not just a life-support system for a sauce. They make a fabulous pie, a delicious chutney and a moist and dense tea loaf — all perfect for holiday entertaining. And …. the tea loaf is an excellent gift from your kitchen as well.

No time to cook now? Buy them anyway and freeze them for the next occasion when you need something special. (They can be frozen for up to a year.) When you scavenge around and find them in the frosty recesses of your freezer right behind the turkey soup that was rejected in favor of a pizza, you’ll be happy to have stashed such a treasure.

Cranberry Walnut Pie

Cranberry Walnut Pie

YIELD: Makes 6 to 8 servings


Pastry for two-crust 9-inch pie

3 cups cranberries, halved

½ cup walnuts, finely chopped

1 cup raisins

1 cup sugar

2 tablespoons flour

Dash salt

Half a stick of unsalted butter, cut into six pieces

DIRECTIONS: Line a 9-inch pie dish with one pastry crust. In a medium bowl mix together the cranberries, walnuts raisins, sugar, flour and salt and turn into pastry-lined dish and dot evenly with butter. Cut remaining pastry crust into ¾-inch-wide strips and make a lattice across the top of the cranberry mixture. Bake at 425 F for 40 to 50 minutes, until crust is golden and filling is bubbly. Serve warm with vanilla or rum raisin ice cream or whipped cream.

Cranberry Chutney

Cranberry Chutney

YIELD: Makes 4 to 5 cups


½ cup cider vinegar

½ cup brown sugar

3 cups fresh whole cranberries

3 fresh pears, peeled, cored and chopped

1 cup drained canned pineapple chunks

1 cup dried figs, chopped

1 red onion, finely chopped

½ cup orange juice

1 tablespoon peeled chopped fresh ginger root

1 tablespoon prepared grainy mustard

1 tablespoon grated orange rind

2 cinnamon sticks

¼ teaspoon ground cloves

Pinch of salt

DIRECTIONS: In a large saucepan, heat vinegar and sugar to boiling point. Lower heat and simmer 5 minutes; add cranberries, pears, pineapple, figs, onion, orange juice, ginger, mustard, orange rind, cinnamon, cloves and salt. Continue to simmer half an hour, until cranberries burst their skins and mixture is thickened. Remove from heat. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use. Serve warm or at room temperature with pork, ham, fowl, game or any soft cheese.

Cranberry-Citrus Tea Loaf

YIELD: Makes one 9- × 5- × 3-inch loaf


2 cups flour

1 cup sugar

1½ teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon baking soda

1 egg, well beaten

½ cup grapefruit or orange juice

2 tablespoons vegetable, canola or sunflower oil

¼ cup Grand Marnier liqueur

1 cup fresh cranberries, coarsely chopped

½ cup chopped fresh pecans

1 teaspoon grated orange zest

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

¼ teaspoon orange extract

DIRECTIONS: Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease and flour a 9- × 5- × 3-inch loaf pan. Sift together the dry ingredients, then add the egg, juice, oil and liqueur. Stir to combine. Add cranberries, nuts, zest and extracts; mix thoroughly but do not overmix. Spread batter evenly in prepared loaf pan. Bake 50 minutes to one hour, until cake tester inserted in middle comes out clean. Cool 15 to 20 minutes; remove from pan when ready to serve. Serve with hot tea, coffee or chocolate with butter, orange sorbet, butter pecan or vanilla ice cr

Animal Heath & Wellness of East Setauket celebrated the grand opening of its new location with a ribbon cutting ceremony on Nov. 18. The event was attended by Carmine Inserra of the Three Village Chamber of Commerce, Joan Nickeson of Councilwoman Valerie Cartright’s office (D-Port Jefferson Station), staff, patients and their owners.

From left, Carmine Inserra, Dr. Steven Templeton and Joan Nickeson

Nickeson presented Dr. Steven Templeton with a Certificate of Appreciation from the Town of Brookhaven which read, “It is with great pleasure that we congratulate you on the grand opening of your new enterprise. Our thanks for all your efforts in promoting economic development in Brookhaven Town. Best wishes for a successful and rewarding experience.”

The new office, which is located at 150 Main St., just north of the Setauket Presbyterian Church, offers many services for your pet including internal medicine and surgery, dental care, cancer treatments, laser therapy, alternative and herbal medicine as well as routine health exams and vaccinations.

Office hours are Monday from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m., Tuesday and Wednesday from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m., Thursday and Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. For more information, call 631-751-2200.

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Above, a 19th-century glass plate portrait of mother and infant in Australia. Photo courtesy Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences
Whaling wives in the 19th century faced daunting challenges
Nomi Dayan

By Nomi Dayan

As I prepare to become a mother for the third time around, I am brought to reflect on one of the most dirty, reeking and unlikely places possible to birth a baby: a whaleship. Today’s challenges with pregnancy and childbirth pale in comparison with the experience of the 19th-century woman — and even more so, the challenge whaling wives faced at sea.


Because whaling wives saw so very little of their husbands, some resorted to going out to sea — a privilege reserved for the wife of the captain. Aside from dealing with cramped and filthy conditions, poor diets, isolation and sickness, many wives eventually found themselves — or even started out — “in circumstance.”

In the 19th century, pregnancy was never mentioned outright. Even in their private diaries, whaling wives rarely hinted to their pregnancies. Some miserably record an increase in seasickness. Only the very bold dared to delicately remark on the creation of pregnancy clothes. Adra Ashley of the Reindeer wrote to a friend in 1860, “I am spending most of my time mending — I want to say what it was, but how can I! How dare I!” Martha Brown of Orient was more forward by mentioning in her diary in 1848 that she is “fixing an old dress into a loose dress,” with “loose” meaning “maternity.”

Once the time of birth approached, women at sea faced two options: to be left on land — often while the crew continued on — or to give birth on board. Giving birth on land was far preferable, as the mother would be theoretically closer to medical care and whatever social support was available. Martha Brown was left in Honolulu — much to her personal dismay to see her husband depart for 7 months on the Lucy Ann — but fell into a supportive society of women, most left themselves in similar situations.

During Martha’s “confinement” after birth when she was restricted to bed rest, a fellow whaling wife nursed her. When Captain Brown returned, he wrote to his brother: “Oahu. I arrived here and to my joy found my wife enjoying excellent health with as pretty a little son as eyes need to look upon. A perfect image of his father of course — blue eyes and light hair, prominent forehead and filled with expression.”

Giving birth on land did not always ensure a hygienic setting as one would hope. Abbie Dexter Hicks of Westport accompanied her husband Edward on the Mermaid, sailing out in 1873. Her diary entry on the Seychelles was: “Baby born about 12 — caught two rats.”

Some whaleships found reaching a port before birth tricky. In 1874, Thomas Wilson’s wife Rhoda of the James Arnold of New Bedford was about to give birth, but when the ship arrived at the Bay of Islands of New Zealand, there was no doctor in town. A separate boat was sent to search up the Kawakawa River for 14 miles; when a doctor was finally found and retrieved, the captain informed the doctor that it was a girl.

Some babies were born aboard whaleships — either by design or by accident, despite hardly ideal conditions. Births, if recorded in the ship’s logbook, were mentioned matter of factly. Charles Robbins of the Thomas Pope recorded in April 1862: “Looking for whales … reduced sail to double reef topsails at 9 p.m. Mrs. Robbins gave birth of a Daughter and doing nicely. Latter part fresh breezes and squally. At 11am took in the mainsail.”

Captain Charles Nicholls was in for a surprise when he headed to New Zealand on the Sea Gull in 1853 with his wife. Before the birth, fellow Captain Peter Smith had told him during a gam (social visit at sea), “Tis easy,” and advised the first mate be ready to take over holding the baby once it was born. When the time came, Captain Nicholls dutifully handed the baby to the first mate, only to return several minutes later shouting, “My God! Get the second mate, fast!” — upon when he promptly handed out a second infant.

Captain Parker Hempstead Smith’s wife went into labor unexpectedly: “Last night we had an addition to our ship’s company,” seaman John States recorded on Feb. 18, 1846 on board the Nantasket of New London, “for at 9 p.m., Mrs. Smith was safely delivered of a fine boy whose weight is eight lbs. This is quite a rare thing at sea, but fortunately no accident happened. Had anything occurred, there would have been no remedy and we should have had to deplore the loss of a fine good hearted woman.”

He also added his good wishes for the baby: “Success to him — may he live to be a good whaleman — though that would make him a great rascal.”

A pregnant Martha Brown had two options, to be left in Honolulu while the crew continued on or to give birth on board. She chose the first.

The author is the executive director of The Whaling Museum & Education Center, 301 Main St., Cold Spring Harbor.


More reading:

▶ Joan Druett, “Petticoat Whalers.” Auckland: Collins, 1991.

▶ Anne MacKay, Ed. “She Went a Whaling: The Journal of Martha Smith Brewer Brown.” Orient, NY: Oysterponds Historical Society, 1993.

This Thanksgiving, offer healthy dessert options like dairy-free pumpkin pudding, above, or fruit salad.
Eating well can set the table for a year of well-being

By David Dunaief, M.D.

Dr. David Dunaief

Many of us give thanks for our health on Thanksgiving. Well, let’s follow through with this theme. While eating healthy may be furthest from our minds during the holidays, it is so important.

Instead of making Thanksgiving a holiday of regret, eating foods that cause weight gain, fatigue and that increase your risk for chronic diseases, you can reverse this trend while maintaining the traditional theme of what it means to enjoy a festive meal.

What can we do to turn Thanksgiving into a bonanza of good health? Phytochemicals (plant nutrients) called carotenoids have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity and are found mostly in fruits and vegetables. Carotenoids make up a family of more than 600 different substances, such as beta-carotene, alpha-carotene, lutein, zeaxanthin, lycopene and beta-cryptoxanthin (1).

Carotenoids help to prevent and potentially reverse diseases, such as breast cancer; amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease; age-related macular degeneration; and cardiovascular disease — heart disease and stroke. Foods that contain these substances are orange, yellow and red vegetables and fruits and dark green leafy vegetables. Examples include sweet potato, acorn squash, summer squash, spaghetti squash, green beans, carrots, cooked pumpkin, spinach, kale, papayas, tangerines, tomatoes and Brussels sprouts.

Let’s look at the evidence.

Breast cancer effect

We know that breast cancer risk is high among women, especially on Long Island. An American woman has an average risk of 12.4 percent for getting breast cancer (2). Therefore, we need to do everything within reason to reduce risk.

In a meta-analysis (a group of eight prospective or forward-looking studies), results show that women who were in the second to fifth quintile blood levels of carotenoids, such as alpha-carotene, beta-carotene and lutein and zeaxanthin, had significantly reduced risk of developing breast cancer (3).

Thus, there was an inverse relationship between carotenoid levels and breast cancer risk. Even modest amounts of carotenoids can have a resounding effect in potentially preventing breast cancer.

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis: Lou Gehrig’s disease

ALS is a disabling and feared disease. Unfortunately, there are no effective treatments for reversing this disease. Therefore, we need to work double time in trying to prevent its occurrence.

In a meta-analysis of five prestigious observational studies, including The Nurses’ Health Study and the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study, results showed that people with the greatest amount of carotenoids in their blood from foods like spinach, kale and carrots had a decreased risk of developing ALS and/or delaying the onset of the disease (4). This study involved over 1 million people with more than 1,000 who developed ALS.

Those who were in the highest carotenoid level quintile had a 25 percent reduction in risk, compared to those in the lowest quintile. This difference was even greater for those who had high carotenoid levels and did not smoke, a 35 percent reduction. According to the authors, the beneficial effects may be due to antioxidant activity and more efficient function of the power source of the cell: the mitochondria. This is a good way to prevent a horrible disease while improving your overall health.

Positive effects of healthy eating

Despite the knowledge that healthy eating has long-term positive effects, there are several obstacles to healthy eating. Two critical factors are presentation and perception.

Presentation is glorious for traditional dishes, like turkey, gravy and stuffing with lots of butter and creamy sauces. However, vegetables are usually prepared in either an unappetizing way — steamed to the point of no return, so they cannot compete with the main course — or smothered in cheese, negating their benefits, but clearing our consciences.

Many consider Thanksgiving a time to indulge and not think about the repercussions. Plant-based foods like whole grains, leafy greens and fruits are relegated to side dishes or afterthoughts. Why is it so important to change our mindsets? Believe it or not, there are significant short-term consequences of gorging ourselves.

Not surprisingly, people tend to gain weight from Thanksgiving to New Year. This is when most gain the predominant amount of weight for the entire year. However, people do not lose the weight they gain during this time (5). If you can fend off weight gain during the holidays, just think of the possibilities for the rest of the year.

Heart attack risk: Even in the short term

Also, if you are obese and sedentary, you may already have heart disease. Overeating at a single meal increases your risk of heart attack over the near term, according to the American Heart Association (6). However, with a little Thanksgiving planning, you can reap significant benefits. What strategies should you employ for the best outcomes?

• Make healthy, plant-based dishes part of the main course. I am not suggesting that you forgo signature dishes, but add to tradition by making mouthwatering vegetable-based dishes for the holiday.

• Improve the presentation of vegetable dishes. Most people don’t like grilled chicken without any seasoning. Why should vegetables be different? In my family, we make sauces for vegetables, like a peanut sauce using mostly rice vinegar and infusing a teaspoon of toasted sesame oil. Good resources for appealing dishes can be found at,,, and many other resources.

• Replace refined grains. A study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, showed that replacing wheat or refined grains with whole wheat and whole grains significantly reduced central fat, or fat around the belly (7). Not only did participants lose subcutaneous fat found just below the skin but also visceral adipose tissue, the fat that lines organs and causes chronic diseases such as cancer. For even better results, consider substituting finely chopped cauliflower for rice or other starches.

• Create a healthy environment. Instead of putting out creamy dips, processed crackers and candies as snacks prior to the meal, put out whole grain brown rice crackers, baby carrots, cherry tomatoes and healthy dips like hummus and salsa. Help people choose wisely.

• Offer healthy dessert options. Options might include dairy-free pumpkin pudding and fruit salad.

The goal should be to increase your nutrient-dense choices and decrease your empty-calorie foods. You don’t have to be perfect, but improvements during this time period have a tremendous impact — they set the tone for the new year and put you on a path to success. Why not turn this holiday into an opportunity to de-stress, rest and reverse or prevent chronic disease by consuming plenty of carotenoid-containing foods.

References: (1) Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr 2010;50(8):728–760. (2) SEER Cancer Statistics Review, 1975–2009, National Cancer Institute. (3) J Natl Cancer Inst 2012;104(24):1905-1916. (4) Ann Neurol 2013;73:236–245. (5) N Engl J Med 2000; 342:861-867. (6) (7) Am J Clin Nutr 2010 Nov;92(5):1165-71Givi.

Dr. Dunaief is a speaker, author and local lifestyle medicine physician focusing on the integration of medicine, nutrition, fitness and stress management. For further information, visit or consult your personal physician.


MEET WYATT! Fun loving, sharp, loyal and true to the breed. That’s why Wyatt, a 1-year-old blue heeler mix, is TBR News Media’s shelter pet of the week. Rescued from a high-kill shelter in Texas, this handsome boy is currently up for adoption at Kent Animal Shelter and comes neutered, microchipped and up to date on all his vaccines. Wyatt would love to go home with you for the holidays. Kent Animal Shelter is located at 2259 River Road in Calverton. For more information on Wyatt and other adoptable pets at Kent, please call 631-727-5731 or visit

By Michael Tessler

Theatre Three delivers perhaps one of my most favorite holiday traditions: a classic retelling of Charles Dickens’ most beloved work, “A Christmas Carol,” right in the heart of downtown Port Jefferson. This stage adaptation is so beautifully conceived and has been so well refined over the years that it’d appear Dickens’ 174-year-old novel jumps quite literally from the pages onto the stage in a fashion that can be best described as magical.

This particular production, which is celebrating its 34th year, is nothing short of miraculous, not just for its stunning set design, incredible wardrobe and perfectly planned lighting and sound … but also for the fact that somehow each and every year the show (while familiar) feels brand new.

Jeffrey Sanzel, the show’s director and the actor behind the famous literary curmudgeon Ebenezer Scrooge, shuffles the cast, set and various elements of the show, refining it and bringing new life to it each and every season. In the long and impressive shelf life of “A Christmas Carol” there has never, in my opinion, been a better Scrooge than Jeffrey Sanzel. No actor has ever lived and breathed that character for so long and with such passion as Sanzel. Watching his character’s transformation unfold on stage is pure delight.

This year’s show beams with talent. One can’t help but admire the incredible skill of the show’s youngest cast members who perform alongside their adult counterparts as equals both in professionalism and talent. Not for a moment does any actor’s performance take you out of this whimsical Dickensian world Sanzel creates.

Steve Wangner shines as Bob Cratchit, bringing to life all the warmth and love of Scrooge’s least favorite employee. Wangner had big shoes to fill, replacing Douglas Quattrock who has long held the role. No doubt Quattrock should be proud of his successor who masterfully carried Tiny Tim (portrayed jointly by Ryan Becker and Cameron Turner) upon his shoulders. His family dynamic especially with his wife (Suzie Dunn) and children is wonderfully endearing.

My personal favorite of the ensemble cast is Mr. Fezziwig portrayed by the cheerful George Liberman. Though I’ve got the bias of loving his character, this actor’s presence puts an instant smile on your face and reminds you of the wholesome fun of Christmas time. His partner in crime, Mrs. Fezziwig, is portrayed by the wonderful Ginger Dalton who also excels as Mrs. Dilber … the cockney maid of Scrooge whose comedic ability is unparalleled in the two-act show.

Megan Bush brings to life Belle, the first and only love of Scrooge and daughter of Fezziwig. Though her character’s time on stage is brief, she so perfectly captures the innocence of a first love and shows us a side of Scrooge we often forget. Steve McCoy, the wildly talented Theatre Three veteran, brings to life (and death) Scrooge’s late business partner Jacob Marley. His performance is haunting in the best kind of way. On the opposite end of the spectrum is the kind and loving Fan performed both by Heather Kuhn and Sophia Knapp. Her special relationship with young Scrooge (Kiernan Urso and Alexander Yagud-Wolek) encapsulates the special bond reserved just for siblings.

This year the three spirits have outdone themselves — beginning with the stunningly talented Jessica Contino whose Ghost of Christmas Past comes to life in almost angelic form. She is followed by the hysterical and larger-than-life Antoine Jones as the Ghost of Christmas Present, whose epic bellowing laughter echoes through the historic Athena Hall. Last, but certainly not least is the incredible puppetry of Dylan Robert Poulos as the Ghost of Christmas Future who also shows off his talent as an actor in the role of Scrooge’s orphaned nephew Fred Halliwell.

Randall Parsons and Bonnie Vidal bring 19th-century England to Port Jefferson with stunning production design and impeccable costuming. Robert W. Henderson Jr. transports you to the past, present and future with some mesmerizing lighting. This year’s production also welcomed newcomer Melissa Troxler as stage manager who ran the set flawlessly from an audience perspective. Brad Frey provides some wonderful musical direction in addition to the late Ellen Michelmore, whose lasting legacy at Theatre Three can be heard with the beautiful musical conception and sound effects that remain a centerpiece of this production.

Leaving the theater I found my heart filled with a joy and merriment only felt in those special moments when you’re surrounded by family and huddled around a great big Christmas tree. For that wonderful moment, I felt the spirit of Christmas itself … and what a wonderful gift it was to receive from the cast and crew of Theatre Three’s “A Christmas Carol.”

Theatre Three, 412 Main St., Port Jefferson will present “A Christmas Carol” now through Dec. 30. Tickets are $35 adults, $28 seniors and students and $20 children ages 5 to 12. (Children under 5 are not permitted.) To order, call 631-928-9100 or visit


All photos by Brian Hoerger, Theatre Three Productions Inc.

The word 'fondue' comes from the French word 'fonder,' meaning 'to melt.'

By Bob Lipinski

“Cheese complements a good meal and supplements a bad one.” — E. Briffault, French gastronome

Bob Lipinski

As the weather turns colder and days become shorter, thoughts of sitting around a roaring fire come to mind. Although freshly roasted chestnuts and large mugs of mulled wine or even hot chocolate satisfy, I enjoy dipping some crusty bread into a pot of melted cheese. Not just any cheese, but one that is flavored with kirsch (cherry brandy), garlic, white wine and seasonings. I’m talking fondue, a true Swiss tradition.

The word “fondue” comes from the French word “fondre,” meaning “to melt.” There are several kinds of fondue including the traditional cheese one and a meat fondue known as fondue bourguignonne from Burgundy, France, where cubes of raw beef are threaded on skewers, then dipped in bubbling hot oil for several minutes prior to being eaten with various dipping sauces.

Then there is a dessert fondue featuring chocolate, cream and liqueurs heated until melted, then used to coat pieces of cake or fruit.

When selecting wines to pair with fondue, choose fairly neutral dry white wines with good acidity, while avoiding oaky ones. My recommended white wines include a Swiss Fendant (Chasselas grape) or Neuchâtel; French Chablis or Muscadet; Grüner Veltliner, sauvignon blanc or dry Riesling. Choose red wines with little tannin and oak in favor of wines like Beaujolais, grenache, grignolino, and pinot noir.

The following fondue recipe is a modification of the original I enjoyed while in Switzerland. Although the recipe calls for the traditional Emmental or Gruyère cheese, you can also try Appenzeller, Beaufort or Comté and any combination of these cheeses.

Cheese Fondue

The word ‘fondue’ comes from the French word ‘fonder,’ meaning ‘to melt.’


3 cloves garlic, pressed

1 pound Emmental or Gruyère cheese, grated (not chopped)

1 teaspoon butter

½ cup dry white wine (see above recommendations)

¹/3 cup kirsch (cherry brandy, NOT “flavored” brandy)

1 teaspoon cornstarch

Nutmeg for dusting

Salt and white pepper to taste

¹⁄₈ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

DIRECTIONS: In an earthenware pot, rub the sides and bottom with garlic (add to pot), then add cheese, butter, white wine, kirsch (in which the cornstarch has been dissolved) and nutmeg. Place the pot over medium heat and stir with a wooden spoon. If the cheese forms into a thick mass, continue to stir and it will be re-absorbed. As the mixture continues to bubble, adjust flavor with salt and pepper, then add the bicarbonate of soda, which will make the fondue lighter. Now the fondue is ready to enjoy. Take cubes of crusty French or Italian bread; fasten onto foot-long, three-pronged, metal fondue forks and dip into the fondue for a moment or so before popping it into your mouth. Now enjoy a glass of some good Swiss wine!

Bob Lipinski, a local author, has written 10 books, including “101: Everything You Need to Know About Whiskey” and “Italian Wine & Cheese Made Simple,” available on He conducts training seminars on wine, spirit and food and is available for speaking engagements. He can be reached at or

UNCOMMON BEAUTY Gerard Romano of Port Jefferson Station captured this image at Satterly Landing Park in Mount Sinai. He writes, ‘I stopped by the area to see my friends fishing and I noticed how nice the common reeds looked when the sun shined at a 45 degree angle so I framed the abandoned shack across the harbor with them.’

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