Sweet Treats: Desserts & Delicacies from the Garden State

This post was contributed by a community member. The views expressed here are the author’s own.

Just in time for Thanksgiving join the Woodbridge Public Library November 10 at 7PM to explore a variety of “sweet” culinary traditions from the 18th and 19th centuries. We will delve into how the treats we enjoy have changed and we will discuss the process and ingredients of making these food items then and now to give us some perspective!

Presented by Hilary May of Museum of Early Trades and Crafts in Madison, NJ.

Registration is required. Please register @https://bit.ly/3dbCGKO.

On the day before the program you will be sent the Zoom meeting information by email. Please note that if you are using Zoom on a tablet or smartphone you will need to download the Zoom app.

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This 95-year-old Peninsula company found a sweet spot during the pandemic: Your kitchen

By Alicia Wallace | CNN Business

When the Covid-19 pandemic hit the US, some businesses held fast and hunkered down. Torani, the 95-year-old company that makes those colorful bottles of flavored syrup at your local coffee shop, didn’t have that luxury.

Torani needed to follow through on a plan that had been years in the making: a relocation of its headquarters and manufacturing operations from South San Francisco to a brand new building across the Bay. The Covid-19 pandemic, however, turned what was already an ambitious and expensive undertaking into a dramatic exercise in operational gymnastics.

Torani was slated to start its move in March to a spacious, 327,000-square-foot San Leandro building that would house its offices and state-of-the-art production lines. It also would serve as a Willy Wonka-esque, tourist-friendly “Flavor Factory” with a coffee-making “receptionista,” a “customer play area” to try some of the 150-plus flavors, and a speakeasy that could be accessed via a secret passageway behind a bookshelf.

But then the shelter-in-place orders came down, and restaurants and cafes were ordered to temporarily close their doors. Torani entered into pandemic planning mode and conducted a financial analysis to determine if it could weather sales drops of 20%, 30% or even 50%.

The company had borrowed around $40 million in loans to invest in its Flavor Factory.

“Could we make it? Could we hold onto everybody?” Torani CEO Melanie Dulbecco told CNN Business. “Could we pay off these loans we just borrowed? Could we keep the business running for our customers and make it?”

The privately held company, which got its start in San Francisco’s “Little Italy” neighborhood of North Beach, has been accustomed to double-digit annual revenue growth for decades. It now was projecting a 40% sales drop for the month of April and bracing for the worst.

Coffee shop sales tanked during that time. According to survey of more than 5,000 shops by payment processor Square, median revenue tumbled 55.4% between March 1 and April 30.

When April was said and done, Torani did have a sales decline on its books, but only 20%.

“And then business came back like crazy,” Dulbecco said.

What happened was that sales of Torani’s syrups started spiking at the retail store level. Americans working remotely during the pandemic had brought their coffee shop habits home with them.

And as the homebound turned to homemaking, Torani syrups and sauces were landing in concoctions such as mixed drinks, kombucha batches, and even sourdough starters, Dulbecco said.

The pickup in store sales also meant that Torani had to increase supplies of its 375-milliliter flip-cap bottles often found at retail. Coffee shops typically buy the bottles that are twice that size.

“We had to shift a lot around in our supply chain to have all the packaging materials,” Dulbecco said.

Torani, which makes syrups used in coffees and Italian sodas, completed a move of its headquarters and manufacturing facility during the pandemic.(Torani) 

Happening in the background of this was the move from

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IN THE KITCHEN with Fareway: Sheet Pan Jerk Chicken with Sweet Potatoes

Whitney Hemmer showed us how to make them Tuesday, September 22nd.

September is Family Meals Month 

  • Regular family meals have been linked to positive outcomes we all want for our children: higher grades and self-esteem, healthier eating habits and less risky behavior.  

  • Children and adolescents who share family meals three or more times per week are more likely to be in a normal weight range and have healthier dietary and eating patterns than those who share fewer than three meals together.  

  • Children who grow up sharing family meals are more likely to exhibit sharing, respect, and fairness.  

  • Adults and children who eat at home regularly tend to eat more fruits and vegetables.  

Sheet Pan Jerk Chicken with Sweet Potatoes  

Total time: 50 minutes  

1 sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes  

Salt and pepper, to taste  

½ tsp. red pepper flakes 

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts  

Preheat oven to 425°F. Toss potatoes with oil, salt and pepper. Place on a large sheet pan and roast for 15 minutes. While potatoes cook, combine lemon juice, sugar, paprika, salt, pepper, garlic powder, red pepper flakes, thyme, allspice and chicken. Add chicken to sheet pan and roast for an additional 20 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 165°F and the potatoes are fork tender. 

Nutrition information per serving: 335 calories; 6.1 g fat; 0.6 g saturated fat; 120 mg cholesterol; 533.6 mg sodium; 26.2 g carbohydrate; 3.8 g fiber; 3.9 g sugar; 45 g protein. 

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