Who Knew? Drying Out Your January, One Hour at a Time

‘Who Knew?’ is sponsored by Walter Stewart’s Market. 

There are few experiences that are more boring than someone yammering on about how successful their Dry January has been, so let me be the first to assure you that this column was written with a glass of my favorite Spanish white wine by my side. Txakoli is crisp, lightly effervescent, and dry. If dry wine isn’t the point of dry January, let’s at least call it thematically compliant and move along. 

In the 1950s, France’s government launched a public service campaign to temper the wine-drinking habits of her citizens–albeit lightly. The recommended amount was one liter per day. And while that seems hilariously high (and hilariously French), it’s also worth noting that wine in the 1950s was weaker than it is now.

Who Knew: Yes, the New Library is Going to be Spectacularly Bonkers

‘Who Knew?’ is sponsored by Walter Stewart’s Market. 

“The years past have seen the establishment and subsequent growth of our library until it has long since outgrown its accommodations and has thus been seriously handicapped in its attempted work.” —Henry W. Saxe, ‘Relation of the Library to the Community,’ in the  Jan. 30, 1913 New Canaan Advertiser

In 1913, a time capsule was placed under the cornerstone of the New Canaan Library, to be opened “one hundred years from now” when, as leadership then anticipated, our town’s needs would outgrow the footprint of the building they’d just begun. 

New Canaan has grown from almost 4,000 souls to over 20,000 in 109 years. Moreover, the information-seeking landscape has been wildly, dramatically altered. Right now, you’re reading your morning paper on a tiny, handheld computer that also serves as a portal to all the world’s information. You’re also not wearing pantaloons and reading by kerosene lamp; if you are, I salute your freaky-deaky choice.

Who Knew: A Very New Canaan Gift Guide

‘Who Knew?’ is sponsored by Walter Stewart’s Market. 

The fun thing about getting older (besides knowing where all the candy is hidden) is that you start to enjoy giving gifts more than receiving them. There’s a midlife shift toward benevolence, whether brought on by parenthood, maturity, or working with a therapist to develop a more sensible attitude toward hoarding Legos. Turns out, ‘tis actually better to give than to receive. 

And when the holiday season rears its $960 billion head in mid-October, we all start to get the Gift Sweats. Not that we won’t find anything; that’s impossible when consumer culture confronts each of us with 4,000 to 10,000 advertising messages per day. But we fear that it won’t be the right thing.

There’s One Place Like Home: Chef Luis

Over the past decade, give or take a couple of rounds of musical chairs on the New Canaan dining scene, Chef Luis has created a restaurant that’s more than the sum of its parts. It’s a game-day go-to, a fixture on the local shortlist for lunches with friends and date nights, and a dog-friendly outdoor patio in warm weather. Just don’t call it Mexican. Owner & head chef Luis Lopez will always crank out a dependable list of greatest Tex-Mex hits, like perfectly-turned pork shoulder Al Pastor and skirt steak fajitas. His La Americana Burger is decidedly one of the town’s very best.

Who Knew: What’s New is Old Again

This column is sponsored by Walter Stewart’s Market. And that’s great, because while antique sideboards are fine, antique lettuce is not. 

 The discount chain HomeGoods has a time and a place. If you’re looking for mercury glass pumpkins, a decorative sign for a wino pal, or a wobbly lamp, it’s an absolute necessity. I’ll never be mad at cheap housewares, at least not for as long as the trusty Ikea footstool purchased with my 1999 assistant’s salary sits squarely at my feet. I just don’t 100% understand why we’ve started feathering our nests with stuff that was essentially made to be thrown away. 

Look, I’m not going to judge unsustainable decor choices, at least not publicly.