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What's Cooking in Region 1 - October 2004
by Marghretta McBean

September started off on a glorious note as I journeyed up to the scenic foothills of the Catskills, joining Mid-Hudson Mensa's 17th "Autumn in New York" Regional Gathering. Actually the weather was wonderful late summer: azure blue skies, coolish nights, and not too many mosquitos. This RG featured games of all genres from a 3-D puzzle of Notre Dame, a Yahtzee/Cosmic Wimpout/Quiddler triathlon, to a Saturday night game show that combined elements of the TV shows ‘Survivor' and the original ‘Match Game' from the 1960s. Competition was merciless - the winner voted her own husband off! Gourmet quality food from a Culinary Institute of America trained chef: meal choices for carnivores included steak and grilled pastrami sandwiches, while the veggie folk supped on ginger marinated tempeh and stuffed portobello mushrooms. If that weren't enough, we got to see the SUNY New Paltz swim team and I can personally testify that the guys were in really great shape.... This RG is an all round winner: mark your calendars now for September 9 - 11 2005.

The next weekend saw me in Portland Oregon for a quarterly AMC (American Mensa Committee - Mensa's board of directors) meeting. I flew in a day early to do a little sightseeing and was totally enchanted. Portland has HUGE trees (imagine a city full of pines and spruces the size of the Rockefeller Centre Christmas tree). It is an excellent example good urban planning: streets and transit choices are clearly marked; traveling is easy via public transportation (free in the city centre) or bicycle - it is the most "bike friendly" city in the U.S. The Rose Garden is not to be missed, and of course for the biblioholic, there's Powell's City of Books. Words cannot do it justice. I wisely limited myself to cash purchases, knowing that if I took out a credit card, the frenzy would not be controllable.

Friday was spent in a planning session, which to the surprise of many, was quite productive. "Slimming down" the Mensa administration and structure and revising RVC and group funding were just two of the many issues we tackled.

Some items that were approved at Saturday's AMC meeting were:

  • a new 401(k) plan administrator (currently Mensa was sponsoring its own), which will save money and eliminate liability.
  • continuation of INTERLOC publication with The Joyce ('TJ') Lundeen as editor.
  • simplifying the Gatherings processes. As some of you know, groups no longer have to fill in paper RG Approval forms and send them to their RVC for approval, who in turn would have to mail copies to the Membership Officer and Bulletin Editor. An RG Approval& Gatherings Listing Request form is now available online. I volunteered to act as the RVC representative to the ongoing form design and process.
  • starting 1 July 2005, the Hospitality Chair of any Annual Gathering (AG), Regional Gathering(RG), Leadership Development Workshop (LDW), or Colloquium must have completed a governmental or Mensa food safety course. Mensa will be purchasing food safety textbooks to accompany its food safety course. The certification does not require that the Hospitality Chair must prepare all of the food at an event; it is merely to ensure that the sponsoring group has furnished food under the supervision of a person (or persons) trained in food safety. Groups are encouraged to have as many members who are interested get certified to avoid relying on one person.
  • SIGs will be limited to American Mensa members, whose member status will be verified by American Mensa. SIG Coordinators may elect to allow members of international Mensas and non Mensans to participate as guests.
  • The Mensa Foundation will consider changing its requirement that applicants for Mensa scholarships live in an area where the local group is participating in the yearly scholarship essay contest. Since about 40% of local groups do not participate, individuals are penalised. I have long spoken out about this unfairness, which is also, I think, can gives a poor image of Mensa to the public. The main issues are who would read these ‘unaffiliated' essays and how much more monies would be eventually disbursed.

    New York has some of the best apples in the world. The Dutch were its first settlers. As an autumnal/Hallowe'en treat, here are:

    Chocolade Appeltjes (Little Chocolate Apples)
    Chocolade Appeltjes

  • 12 Lady (or 6 Liberty) apples
  • 2 cups sugar
  • ½ cup corn syrup
  • 1 cup milk
  • 3 oz. unsweetened chocolate
  • 2 oz. (½ stick) butter
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • [optional: ¼ tsp. cinnamon and/or 1/8 tsp. mace]
    1. Insert wooden skewer (pointy chopsticks work well) into stem end of each apple.
    2. Combine remaining ingredients, except vanilla [and spice(s)], in medium-sized heavy saucepan. Cook until a hard ball forms when a small amount of mixture is dropped in cold water (246 degrees F. on your candy thermometer).
    3. Remove from heat and add vanilla [and spice(s)].
    4. Place on sheet of waxed or parchment paper to cool.
    5. For overkill, roll in coconut, chopped nuts, chocolate sprinkles, etc. before cooling. Eet smakelijk!

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