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

Once again Boston Mensa put on a Regional Gathering to bring smiles to all attendees. From the very young to the young at heart, there was something for everyone. One of the few RGs where children attend in significant numbers, the Kid's Room was the site of paper airplane and seasonal wreath making, a baking class, and age-appropriate videos, as well the kiddie mealtimes. A big tip o' the hat goes to Chris and Dave Picard who coordinated the Kid's Room, and to all the parents and friends who gave so generously of their time and expertise.

Friday night's activities included karaoke, and yours truly (after several liquid libations) took to the mike with my rendition of Janis Joplin's "Take a Little Piece of My Heart". Even I cannot, in good consciousness, call what I did "singing". Saturday night's talent show revealed a wealth of real talent. Region 1 must hold some kind of talent record: we have four Presidents/LocSecs who are professional singers: John Baumann (New Hampshire), Paul Mailman (Boston), Tom Padwa (Rhode Island), and Michelle Wojtaszek (Mid-Hudson). Paul and Tom did solos and also sang together, with encore requests.

With another nod to regional talent, by now you all must have seen the November/December issue of the Mensa Bulletin, with Michelle Wojtaszek on the cover. Congratulations Michelle! She certainly marches to the beat of her own drummer- she is, in fact, the drummer in her group, Abominatrix.

The AMC (American Mensa Committee) quarterly meeting was held in Orlando Florida at the Disney World Coronado Springs Resort, the site of the 2006 World Gathering. Many of the motions passed pertained to eliminating a lot of the micromanagement and administrivia that had crept into the Communications area (Mensa publications and website primarily). Despite the unfortunate resignation of Tim Folks, the former Communications Officer, I was pleased to be a sponsor of his legacy: better and more efficient governance. Robin Crawford, Chicago Mensa's President, was appointed to serve the remainder of the Communications Officer's term. Central Alabama Mensa won the bid for the 2007 Annual Gathering to be held in Birmingham Alabama. Fort Worth Texas lost in a very close race.

In Old Norse, the term "ves heill" means "be of good health"; the Old English transliterated it to "wes hal". The term was associated with both a spiced mulled beer punch and the tradition of going door to door on Christmas Eve, greeting one's neighbours and drinking to their health.

This wassail is made with wine, since finding beer that warms up nicely is difficult (Canada's Quelque Chose, a cherry beer from the Unibroue brewery, is a great choice but hard to find). Warm wishes for a wonderful holiday season and the best for 2005!:


  • 4 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 lemon, sliced horizontally
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ½ cup water
  • 6 cups dry red wine
  • 2 cups pineapple juice
  • 2 cups orange juice
  • 1 cup sweet sherry
    1. Bring the cinnamon, lemon, sugar and water to a boil, and cook until slightly thickened. Take care not to burn the mixture.
    2. In a large non-reactive pot, heat the wine, juices and sherry until hot. Add the syrup. This tastes even better when it has been allowed to stand and mellow.

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