Ravioli from Heaven

Sample Sale: Best Place to Spend Your Lunch Money

New Corporate Angel: American Girl

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These articles by Jamie Saxon were prepared for the October 13, 2004 issue of U.S. 1 Newspaper. All rights reserved.

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Ravioli from Heaven

Being thin-skinned is a good thing when it comes to ravioli. And since you can never be too thin, Lucy’s Ravioli Kitchen & Market has put its ravioli through the ringer – literally. Thanks to a new state-of-the-art ravioli machine, custom-made for Lucy’s in Italy, co-owner Caron Wendell says the ravioli pasta now comes out thinner than ever and the seal is better (no more ravioli "explosions" in the pot).

In October Lucy’s unveils its three seasonal ravioli flavors – butternut squash, pumpkin (secret ingredient: amaretto cookies), and roasted root vegetable with mascarpone cheese.

Since we believe you should put your money where your mouth is, we taste-tested this new skinny ravioli.

On the day in question, Lucy’s hadn’t yet unveiled its roasted root vegetable ravioli (it was technically before October, you see) and the whole case of butternut squash ravioli in the kitchen was slated to go to a restaurant (Lucy’s supplies ravioli to about 25 restaurants in New Jersey), but we did score some pumpkin ravioli as well as porcini mushroom and goat cheese ravioli. Wendell recommends the sage cream sauce with the pumpkin and just a sprinkle of olive oil and butter with the porcini and goat cheese. But of course we can’t get anything right, and had the sage cream sauce with the porcini and goat cheese.

Molto bene! Love at first bite, we intoned, practically licking the pot with the sage cream sauce in it. We poured the sauce over the pumpkin ravioli, too (it needed something, we thought) and gobbled that down. Add a salada caprese (tomato, mozzerella, and basil), there’s a superfast weeknight dinner.

Why is it that most of the Italian we know is food words? Biscotti, panini, gelato, cappuccino, espresso!Mangia!

Lucy’s Ravioli Kitchen & Market, 830 Route 206 (Route 206), 609-924-6881.

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Sample Sale: Best Place to Spend Your Lunch Money

In one of my favorite books, "I Don’t Know How She Does It," by Alison Pearson, the protagonist toggles hilariously back and forth between her work world as a hedge fund manager and her home life where she’s constantly trying to keep up with the "muffies" (the stay-at-home moms). One thing the muffies always have is a present drawer. Whenever they need a present quickly and at no notice – which is always – simply pull out the present drawer and voila.

To stock your own present drawer, go to the sample sale at Philip David, Wednesday and Thursday, October 20 and 21, where this gift store supplier unloads all its samples of jewelry, books, watches, stationery, Halloween and Christmas items, plush toys, porcelain, glassware, pottery, baby gifts, decorative accessories, candles and candle accessories, magnetic notepads, frames, aromatherapy products, magnets, reading glasses, gift books, and keychains – at 50 to 70 percent off retail.

Hint: The line to get in starts well before 9 a.m. when the doors open. Cash. only.

Sample Sale, Philip David/Party City,Wednesday and Thursday, October 20 and 21, 3625 Quakerbridge Road, behind Mercadien, 609-588-0141. 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Special offer: Bring in this article and receive $1 off for every $10 you spend.

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New Corporate Angel: American Girl

We all know about good places to network, like the golf course or the Yale Club. But Kathy Edenzon – coordinator for the upcoming American Girl fashion show on Sunday, October 17, at the Westin Hotel to benefit Special Olympics of New Jersey – discovered that her eight-year-old son’s Little League was tops for making connections.

At one game Edenzon, who lives in Montgomery, met Carrie Bonfield, 7, a second grader at Stuart Country Day School. "I told her about the fashion show and she was breathless," says Edenzon, whose six-year-old son is a special needs child and whose husband, Marc, is president of Special Olympics of New Jersey. "My plan was to develop a committee (of parents) and I asked Carrie if she would like to be on it. This little girl has done Meals and Wheels and grown her hair for Locks for Love. She just wowed me and this light bulb went off – why do I need the mommies?"

Edenzon pulled together a committee of eight members, aged 6 to 12. "They are our ‘ambassadors,’ promoting the event in their schools. These girls are walking the walk, talking the talk – fifty percent of ticket sales have come through the schools," says Edenzon, adding that Bonfield will tape an interview with Radio Disney (1560 AM out of New York and 640 AM out of Philly) that will air the day of the show.

For those of you who don’t have a daughter or niece addicted to American girl dolls, books, and merchandise galore (my sister allows the books but strictly forbids the rather pricey catalog in her house; my clever eight-year-old niece has one stashed at Grammy’s), here’s the skinny:

All the American Girl dolls and products are based on eight diverse nine-year-old fictional girls throughout American history with names like Nellie and Samantha. The company was founded as the Pleasant Company in 1985 by Pleasant T. Rowland, a former educator and publisher of educational materials. It quickly mushroomed into a retail phenomenon – more than 100 million books and 10 million dolls have been sold since the company’s inception – and Mattel acquired the business in 1998. There’s even an American Girl Emporium in New York that boasts cafes, a doll salon, a theater, and shops. The advertising-free American Girls magazine has 650,000 subscribers. Like the Energizer Bunny, American Girl just keeps going and going.

American Girl also has its own bible for these fashion shows, designed for fundraising efforts. "They provide a guidebook on running the show, a timeline, a script, all the clothing. They even tell you where a skirt’s hemline is supposed to fall between the knee and ankle," says Edenzon, who got through to the company with a well-written E-mail. American Girl sets the number of fashion shows per state – there are only three in New Jersey this year. "You can be on the waiting list for years, they told me," says Edenzon. "We must have been in the right place at the right time."

The October 17 show, which features girl models (including seven girls who won a contest at Talbots Kids, one of the show’s sponsors), showcases the eight main characters in historical costume, historical holiday attire, and nightgowns, followed by Bitty Baby clothing, contemporary holiday clothing, and Angelina Ballerina clothing. There will also be a "chance" auction and a raffle.

Edenzon says her own daughter, age 10, is hooked on the American Girl books. "They show history through the eyes of a young girl. I used to read them to her, and even after she’d fall asleep, I’d keep reading – I had to know, would Nellie leave the factory?"

Styles of Yesterday and Today, American Girl Fashion Show to benefit Special Olympics of New Jersey, Sunday, October 17, Westin Princeton. $25. Shows at 10:30, 1:30 (sold out); and 4:30 p.m. 609-896-8000. Not recommended for children under five.


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