NEWS&VIEWS by Jacqueline Bennett

Mom’s Recipe Box: Great-Great-Granddaughter Sofia’s Award-Winning Apple Pie

Posted on November 15, 2018








Mom/Nana’s great-great-granddaughter Sofia’s award-winning apple pie has been added to Mom’s Recipe Box.



Great-Great-Granddaughter Sofia’s Award-Winning Apple Pie


Inspired by the love of her grandmother Deb Landeck’s baking and cooking, Sofia, Mom/Nana’s great-great-granddaughter, recently decided to enter a pie contest. Her first ever baking contest. Sofia won a red ribbon and a $35 award!


Praising her grandmother, Sofia told her,”I want to learn from the best.”


A member of our “West Coast family,” Sofia entered the Fall City Apple Festival contest in September 2018, in Washington state. Sofia, who turns 13 in December, loves horses. A very compassionate young lady, Sofia was also motivated to take part because the contest was sponsored by the Northwest Natural Horsemanship Center (NWNHC), that is located in Fall City. The center offers equine therapy to folks such as our American military families.


“The NWNHC Family Fund was founded to help families in need experience the healing power of the horse without worrying about the costs,” it is noted in a brochure about the event.


The entire process from beginning to red ribbon was wonderful, added Deb, because of the time she and Sofia spent together. And because of the memories it brought back of Mom/Nana.


“Couldn’t help but think of Nana and I in the kitchen,” said Deb.


Congratulations Sofia! – Jackie 

Sofia shows the red ribbon she won for her homemade apple pie! 

Fall City Apple Fest




Sofia Landeck-Williams Fully Loaded Apple Pie

Pie dough – 2 and a half cups flour, 2 Tbsp sugar, 1 tsp salt, 6-8 tsp ice cold water. Once made, divide dough into two equal parts, wrap dough with plastic wrap and let rest for 1 hour

Egg Wash – 1 egg beaten, 2TBS water, 1 TBS cream or whole milk

Crumb Topping – three quarters cup packed brown sugar, one half cup unsalted butter-softened, 1 cup flour, 1 tsp cinnamon, one half tsp nutmeg, pinch of salt

filling- 6-7 Granny Smith Apples peeled and cored, 3 Tbsp cornstarch, 1 tsp cinnamon, one half tsp nutmeg, 1 cup granulated sugar, 2 tbsp butter

Combine dry ingredients, set aside. Peel, core, half, and slice apples approximately one fourth inch thick. Roll out one 12-inch crust and place in pie plate. Trim.

Use decorative cutters to make shapes for top crust if desired. Mix dry ingredients with apples and fill prepared pie plate. Fill one and one half to two inches above top of pan forming a dome. Next, dot the apples with 2 Tbsp of butter. Cover the top of the pie with an even layer of crumb topping. Place top crust or cut-outs of dough as desired. Cover edge of pie with foil to prevent crust from over browning.

Bake in preheated 375-degree oven on the lowest oven rack for 60 minutes, or until filling is bubbly and crust is golden brown. Allow to cool before serving.



Look for Mom’s Recipe Box as an occasional feature on as family members add to and celebrate my mother’s collection of recipes – the Cecelia G. Bennett Collection – JB

Democrat Jane Garibay Elected To 60th House District, Unseats Incumbent

Posted on November 8, 2018

Newly elected Democrat State Representative Jane Garibay shown with her husband Bernie during a victory party Nov. 6, 2018 at Union Street Tavern in Windsor, CT.

Article & Photos by Jacqueline Bennett


Elation describes the mood at Union Street Tavern in Windsor, Connecticut Tuesday night November 6, where newly elected State Representative Jane Garibay celebrated with supporters. In a vote of 5,454 – 4,863, Garibay, a Windsor Democrat, unseated one term Republican Scott Storms of Windsor Locks, to represent the district which includes Windsor Locks and part of Windsor.


“It took a great team of people to do this,” Garibay said.


Literally logging tens of thousands of steps, Garibay went door-to-door intent on communicating directly with voters and listening to their concerns firsthand.


“And each time I brought someone with me,” she said of her door-to-door campaign.


Her first time elected to a state level office, Garibay brings a wealth of experience in public service to the position, including tenures as chairman of the Windsor Board of Education, a past Parent Teacher Student Association president, president of the Windsor Education Foundation, which she co-founded, and co-chair of the School Business Partnership which she also co-founded. Her ongoing commitment to education earned her a place on the Connecticut Education Association Honor Roll. Education, she said, will continue to be a priority as she takes on this new challenge at the state capital. Not long ago Garibay wrapped up 19 years as executive director of the Windsor Chamber of Commerce and currently is executive director of First Town Downtown.


In conceding the race, Storms, a lawyer, was quoted as having said, “The voters spoke.”

Jane Garibay is joined at her victory celebration by her sister Carol Engelmann (right) and friend Susan Cardillo.

Windsor, CT Mayor Donald Trinks with Jane Garibay.

Jane and her husband with former state representative Peggy Sayers and Scott Nolan, vice chairman of the Windsor Locks Democrat Town Committe.











“I’m happy for her and the community,” said Bernie Garibay, Jane’s husband.


Fellow Democrat Windsor Mayor Donald Trinks was thrilled with the outcome. “To not only have a Democrat representing Windsor and Windsor Locks, but a Democrat from within the Windsor boundaries,” he noted.

Preparation underway at Windsor Town Hall to post election results. According to the town clerk’s office, 175 same day registration ballots were cast in Windsor.



Karen Hatcher, of the Windsor Democrat Town Committee, was at town hall to gather election results.




















Garibay’s win was a milestone for the town of Windsor, which it was said has not had a Democrat state representative from within the town borders in 36 years. Healthcare and taxpayers are also issues critical to Garibay – finding ways to keep current residents and attract new residents into Connecticut. In addition, Garibay ran on a platform emphasizing her reputation for integrity, honesty and hard-work which clearly resonated with voters.


In other results, Democrat Ned Lamont was elected governor of Connecticut defeating Republican Bob Stefanowski. Lamont led a Democrat sweep in the other top statewide positions and the congressional delegation. Stirred perhaps by reaction to presidential politics and policies, across the nation history was made with record mid-term voter turnouts, with the election of at least one hundred women to Congress and the election of among the most diverse group of candidates.

“North Windham Remembered” – Muriel’s Gift

Posted on October 25, 2018

North Windham Remembered a rendering of North Windham, Connecticut by Muriel Bennett Lucas

“North Windham Remembered”, an artistic rendering of North Windham, Connecticut by Muriel Bennett Lucas.


By Jacqueline Bennett


My sister Muriel had discovered a new talent before her passing – watercolors. She fought a noble fight against the cancer that took her from us. During that time in visits with a friend of hers who studied art in college, Muriel studied watercolors. Muriel displayed a natural talent that impressed everyone who saw her beautiful artwork. 


People were taken aback to think they were her first pieces. The flow of the lines, perspective, choice of colors, and subjects. Just prior to her passing, Muriel selected a few of her watercolors to share. She knew of my newsandviewsjb site and said she would be pleased, if at some point, I would share her work here. The timing seems right this year, and specifically today which is the anniversary of her October 25 birthday.





“Pink Roses”


One titled “Pink Roses” was her first ever rendering. It was drawn, as was all of her work, freehand. She used as a subject, a bouquet of flowers given to her by my sister and me. Muriel gave each rendering perfect titles.


Another one Muriel especially cherished, she titled “Marshmallow” – a stuffed animal that had been a gift to Muriel from her youngest daughter Maureen and granddaughter Kathleen. In this rendering, I believe my sister captured Marshmallow’s lighthearted, carefree and soothing spirit. 



Natchaug State Forest in Connecticut’s Quiet Corner was a spot where Muriel enjoyed picnicking with the family. It is located along the banks of the Natchaug River, and is not far from Diana’s Pool where my parents often brought all seven of their children over the years, Muriel being the oldest.


As the youngest, I was not part of the earlier years but I listened to many a tale about Diana’s Pool, such as ones about our brother Glen in his daredevil teenage years heading to Diana’s Pool with friends where they all dove from the HIGH trees there. Many moons after bringing the older children to Diana’s Pool, it is where my parents also brought my sister Candy, my niece Debbie and me. With my dad, I would ride the bubbling white rapids at the pool. In fact, it is where he taught me to swim.



“Natchaug Forest” in Northeastern Connecticut.


Natchaug Forest continued to hold fond memories for Muriel after she married Art. It was with painstaking effort and attention to detail that, from memory, she created the watercolor titled “Natchaug Forest”.



My personal favorite, however, is the rendering featured at the top of this story which Muriel also created from memory. In that Candy and I are the two youngest, Muriel tried to give us as much information as possible about the family’s history.






One story she told was of a special hill in northeastern Connecticut’s North Windham, a small village that had been the family hometown when the ‘older children’ were youngsters.



Every winter she said, all the children in North Windham would await with grand anticipation winter’s snowfalls. Then they scurried over to “the hill” to go sledding. “The hill” was not far from the town center which can be seen in “North Windham Remembered”, showing depictions of the First Congregational Church, the red schoolhouse and our maternal grandparents’ home decorated with a holiday wreath. Notice the little girl dressed in a blue snowsuit – that is my sister Muriel – standing next to her sled.







So it is with bittersweet joy that, as promised, I share this beautiful artwork – this gift Muriel left for us.

Mom’s Recipe Box: Great-Granddaughter Kathleen’s Bread & Butter Pickles

Posted on October 14, 2018









Refrigerator Bread & Butter pickles from her great-granddaughter Kathleen have been added to Mom’s Recipe Box.


Kathleen’s Refrigerator Bread & Butter Pickles

Pickles are most definitely a passion of mine. Half Sour, Dill, Kosher – I love them all. Except the Bread and Butter pickle is just something special. It’s a guiltless snack that can be gobbled up so quickly; of course when I looked at the two cups of sugar that goes into pickle juice … I’ll try to only have a couple slices at a time.

But it’s always about the memories that we have with food, Grannie, Muriel Bennett Lucas, had the same adoration for pickles that I do. We would open a jar of pickles (it never mattered what kind!) and watch television in the summer, and when the pickles were gone – I’d drink the juice.

I don’t much recall making pickles growing up, and every time I made the slightest attempt to – I would forget and the cucumbers would go bad. Although Sunday morning I was scrolling through Facebook and I noticed this exact recipe for Bread and Butter Pickles. I knew I had white vinegar and I was sold. Of course I still had to get the rest of the ingredients. Except once I have those, I’m set for a while. So while Evan, my fiance, is baking his chocolate chip cookies, I begin slicing the cucumbers. The time of preparation that goes into this recipe does not seem long … but when you are waiting for something as delicious as homemade Bread and Butter pickles, 1 hour can be treacherous.

And the 24 hours of chilling afterwards – let’s just say it’s a good thing I was working over-time today! I would have been itching to open the fridge all day!! Once I was finished heating up our leftover ribs, baked beans, and coleslaw – I officially cracked that first jar open. It is the most heavenly experience I have ever had making something with my own two hands. And I am proud to share it with everyone. Bread and Butter pickles for everyone forever! – Kathleen Miller



Refrigerator Bread and Butter Pickles – Yields: about 4 cups of pickles Preparation: 3 hours Cook: 5 minutes Total: 3 hours

Ingredients: 5 and a half cups ( about 1 and a half pounds) thinly sliced (about one quarter inch) pickling cucumbers; 1 and a half tablespoons kosher salt; 1 cup thinly sliced sweet onion; 1 cup granulated sugar; 1 cup white vinegar; one half cup apple cider vinegar; one fourth cup light brown sugar; one and a half teaspoon mustard seed; one half teaspoon celery seed; one eighth teaspoon ground turmeric


  1. Combine cucumbers and salt in a large, shallow bowl; cover and chill for 1 and a half hours. Move cucumbers into a colander and rinse thoroughly under cold water. Drain well, and return cucumbers to bowl. Add onion to the bowl and toss with the cucumbers.
  2. Combine the granulated sugar, white vinegar, apple cider vinegar, brown sugar, mustard seeds, celery seeds, and turmeric in a medium saucepan; bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves.
  3. Pour the hot vinegar mixture over the cucumbers and onions; let stand at room temperature for 1 hour. Cover and refrigerate for 24 hours. Store in airtight container in refrigerator up to 1 month (if they last that long).


Look so … tasty!


























*My niece Kathleen writes her own food blog – this recipe also appears on her blog.

Look for Mom’s Recipe Box as an occasional feature on newsandviewsjb as family members add to and celebrate my mother’s collection of recipes – the Cecelia G. Bennett collection – JB

The Tale of “Big Tom Roberts” – Windham, CT Cop & Stone Mason

Posted on August 20, 2018

Tom Roberts’ great-great grandson and great-great-great grandson, Lance Bennett and his son Preston Bennett shown in front of Eastern Connecticut State University. In the background can be seen the exquisite stone spheres that grace the stairs of the university along Valley Street and are said to have been carved by “Big Tom Roberts”, respectively their 2 times and 3 times grandfather, who was also a stone mason. Windham/Willimantic, CT. Photo courtesy of Lance and Preston Bennett 8/19/2018

By Jacqueline Bennett


With the 2018 celebration of the 125th anniversary of the police department in Windham, Connecticut going on – a.k.a. Willimantic Police Department – my brother reminded me of a family connection to the early days of the WPD. According to our mother, her grandfather Tom Roberts walked the ‘rowdiest’ beat in the city.


“They called him ‘Big Tom Roberts’,” she would say, “He was known to be tough but fair.”


“Big Tom Roberts” was said to have walked the toughest beat in the city for the Willimantic Police Department during the early part of the 20th Century. His great-great-great grandson, Preston Bennett, proudly stands in front of the present day WPD. Photo courtesy of Lance Bennett 8/19/2018

This colorful part of the family history has been passed on by word of mouth, and through the years it was corroborated by more than one of the family elders who were contemporaries of my mother. Many of her grandchildren have probably heard the tales and certainly all seven of her children, myself being the youngest, heard the stories of “Big Tom Roberts”. He stood about 6′ 6″ tall and was said to have had a powerful presence.


An article in the Willimantic Chronicle detailing the history of the WPD notes it began in 1893 “as little more than a few neighbors wanting to keep their town safe.” By the early 1900’s wrote Claire Galvin, there is evidence of the department’s first K-9 unit patrolling what she described as the “rowdy” Jackson Street and Union Street block.


It is that very section that my mother said was patrolled circa the same timeframe by “Big Tom Roberts”. According to my brother John Jr., his recollection of the tale of “Big Tom Roberts” was that he was one of a highly select group of individuals chosen to serve as a supernumerary for the WPD, at a point in time when that position was considered an honor. These were part-time fully sworn officers, sometimes volunteers, who typically had the authority of full-time police officers.


In fact, my brother said, some 30-40 years later, fueled by the continuing heyday of the American Thread Company which closed in the 1970’s but was centrally located in that district, (Willimantic’s nickname is Thread City) that rowdy part of the city was still referred to as an east coast version of San Francisco’s “Barbary Coast.” During the second half of the 19th Century and early half of the 20th Century the California Gold Rush spurred a “red-light” district in San Francisco of dance halls, concert saloons, jazz clubs, variety shows and brothels dubbed “The Barbary Coast, San Francisco” where lawlessness was not uncommon, say on-line sources.


The small town girl in me prefers to think brothels were not part of Windham’s Barbary Coast east, however, apparently there were plenty of bars frequented by the mill workers, and lots of drinking. Enter “Big Tom Roberts” who as Mom would tell it, was well-respected and fearless in his determination to help keep the community safe. As a kid, I must say, these stories were thrilling of a great-grandfather who stood tall in every sense of the phrase, and, who served on the side of lawfulness helping to tame the roughest part of town.


“You really stand on the shoulders of these cops who have served before you,” Lt Matt Solak, of the present day WPD was quoted as saying in The Chronicle story.


Tom Roberts’ shoulders were certainly broad.


A photo of him belonging to my mother showed this towering man. Unfortunately, I have not been able to find it. If I do, it will be added to this article. A family tree prepared by Mom and my sister Muriel before their passings, indicates that Tom Roberts’ parents came to America from England. His first wife, my great-grandmother, passed away after the couple had three children, Delia Roberts Generous – my grandmother who is buried in North Windham Cemetery, Oliver Roberts and Celia Roberts Palmer, both also buried in Windham. We do not know the location of Tom Roberts’ grave.


Windham’s “Barbary Coast” east exists no more. It was torn down decades ago during redevelopment. Recently a new band shell named “Shaboo Stage” was built on a parcel where some of these notorious spots once played dance hall music.


Outside ECSU 

My brother added that the former rowdy section of Willimantic was not one-dimensional. Other types of businesses existed there, residents lived in upstairs apartments, as well as, civic clubs being located in the area. “There were good people who lived there,” he said.


As for “Big Tom Roberts,” according to my mother, he was also a stone mason who carved the exquisite spheres that grace the front stone stairway of what is now Eastern Connecticut State University along Valley Street.



Destination: Two Little Fish a Clam Shack in Westerly, Rhode Island

Posted on August 12, 2018

Write-up & Photos by Jacqueline Bennett

Thanks to its new location, I discovered Two Little Fish, a clam shack on Atlantic Avenue in Westerly, Rhode Island, this summer – what a great find! It has been voted ‘Best Seafood’ for “seventeen years running” in the Westerly Sun online reader’s poll, as announced on the sign out front it’s Atlantic Avenue locale. Relocated from Granite Street where Tim Brennan and Kevin Urbonas started the business in 1997, Two Little Fish is so good that customers willingly, eagerly, wait in long lines to enjoy the food.


Seriously, Two Little Fish has been in business for 21 years but in the past I must have overlooked it as I was focused on going to other restaurants located along the long beach strip that is Atlantic Ave. With the landscape of Misquamicut Beach having been changed by the storm of 2012, I decided to search out clam shacks this season and I’m glad I did.

Typical in season weekend night line at Two Little Fish. Overhead fans help diffuse the summer heat.












Overhead fans help diffuse the summer heat at the environmentally conscious Two Little Fish which is plastic free and has a supportive relationship with Mystic Aquarium. Straws, bags, plates, bowls and soft drinks cups are made from “biodegradable recycled paper” to help reduce their carbon footprint. A portion of the sale of every meal is said to be donated to the Animal Rescue Team of the Mystic Aquarium, which rescues, provides medical care and releases injured and stranded animals, ie. turtles, seals, manatees. According to their menu, Two Little Fish donates its used cooking oil to be converted into bio-diesel – “a non-toxic, locally produced fuel, to power vehicles and heat the homes of those in need”. The chartiable effort not only helps the less fortunate, but is also predicted to prevent more than 30 million pounds of CO2 emissions this year alone. 


How about that great tasting seafood served by Two Little Fish? They are proud to say their seafood is “wild caught” meaning it is non-farmed, sustainable (non-endangered) and locally sourced. “At the end of every season, all left over food is donated to local soup kitchens and social service agencies to help feed those in need.” Impressive, I must say.


The kicker, what we have ordered thus far has been excellent – whole belly clams, lobster roll, lobster bisque and Tim’s Clam Fritters. Even the refillable lemonade is good. Waiting in line with the weekend night crowds has been part of fun – everyone in a good mood, friendly, striking up conversations; so too with the staff – friendly, pleasant & very, very busy. Or, you can call ahead for pick-up. Seating is available in the rustic indoors and on the front deck.


Two Little Fish seems to be fast becoming one of those “it’s the place to be” kind of spots.  Situated directly across the road from the beach, parking is available in an adjacent lot.









Two Little Fish 300 Atlantic Ave. Misquamicut, R.I. 401- 384-9941


Oh Those Summer Nights ~ in Black & White

Posted on July 21, 2018

Looking towards the early evening sun at Misquamicut Beach.


No – I didn’t snap this one of me by the lifeguard stand.


By Jacqueline Bennett


Shot these photos in color in Westerly, Rhode Island Friday evening, July 20. Decided to experiment with the saturation, and do a simple black & white pictorial. One of my college photography professsor’ s favorite themes was “self portrait”. He encouraged us to “be creative” and I still play around with the concept ~ such as the shadow pic. Oh those summer nights! ~ Jackie




The day ends and the nightlife will soon begin.











Self portrait.











Waves roll in.