Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The light in the middle of the winter tunnel...

As I write this, it is thinly flurrying outside my office window. At first I thought I had a bunch of those floaters you get when your eyes are misbehaving, but squinting like Mr. Magoo proved I wasn't at risk of an imminent retinal detachment. Which is good. However, the snow reminded me it is still, in fact, winter, despite the feeling that it's already been winter for quite some time.

So the story I found on the website Voices (while tailored to the state of Connecticut) made me inordinately excited and got me to wondering which of my friends/coworkers has a little girl around the age of eight. It's Girl Scout Cookie time!!!!!!!!! This is actually one of the gastro-highlights of my year. They will never be featured on any hip restaurant menu unless Adrian Ferria deconstructs them into liquid or something, but Tagalongs, Samoas, and Thin Mints rank very high on my all-time favorite foods list.

And (to steal from one of the best comedy sketch shows ever) for something completely different...the economy! I found a couple stories recently which examine the effects of the Great Recession on children, teens and 20s. Experts are pointing to comparisons between this generation of people and the one which came of age during the Great Depression, citing a larger importance of family and frugality. Others featured in the Sun Sentinel's story are talking about how due to technology and the issues of the day, kids really care and have opinions about broader issues, like free speech in China and carbon footprints. They've seen Wall Street escape relatively unscathed from the mess it created, and they know companies no longer retain workers for 30 years. Their attitudes about fundamental things are being shaped, and it will be fascinating to see how they turn out.

Speaking of valuing intangibles, the New York Times did a story on the reappearance of the early bird special. Once the domain of thrifty retirees, dining before 6 p.m. is mounting a comeback. The phenomenon is experiencing its quickest rise in hard-hit Florida. Restaurants all over the Gulf Coast state which offer EBSs are seeing a younger crowd come in and bring coupons with them. While some restaurants are doing a little rebranding of the term - twilight dining, early dining - whatever you call it, the chance to go out and spend time with loved ones without spending a mint is certainly appealing.

(Photo courtesy of the New York Times)

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