Lunenberg, Nova Scotia is a beautiful little town built into a hillside. With carefully preserved Victorian houses, a cool harbor area, and lots of little touches here and there, it’s a very picturesque spot. (I mean that literally; after our visit there today Webner House readers should expect to endure some photos over the next day or two.)
This little town also is home to a great place to eat called Magnolia’s Grill. The folks we are renting from said it’s their favorite restaurant, and I can see why. It’s unprepossessing inside and outside, but exceptional. I had the fish cakes and clam chowder, and it knocked my socks off.
Living in the Midwest, it’s very hard to get fresh fish. So hard, in fact, that one of the airlines that used to fly into Columbus, America West, advertised its flights to Boston with the tag line “Because fish in the Midwest tastes like fish in the Midwest.” Fresh fish just tastes better by several orders of magnitude.
So it was with the food at Magnolia’s Grill. The fish cakes, made with halibut and grilled, were fresh and flaky and fabulous. The cakes were served with a rhubarb relish chutney that was sweet and tart and went perfectly with the fish.
The clam chowder, on the other hand, was superb. It wasn’t overly creamy as some faux chowders are. It had a touch of milk, but mostly that fabulous clam broth, some potatoes, and dozens of clams that had just left their shells. Fortunately, we were served bread with the meal, so I could sop up very drop of clammy deliciousness.
Kish and Russell had the key lime pie to round out the lunch, and Kish said it was the best key lime pie she’d ever had. I passed on dessert, because I wanted to savor my food. If I lived here, I’d eat this meal at least once a week.
In America, warning labels on cigarette packs are a continuing source of controversy. Most recently, the Food and Drug Administration had to retreat from requiring cigarette manufacturers to include graphic photos on cigarette packs after an appeals court found the mandatory labels violated the First Amendment.
The FDA photos were macabre, and included pictures of a corpse, diseased lungs, and a man with a tracheotomy puffing away with smoke coming from the hole in his throat. The FDA presumably thought the disgusting images would shock people into not buying cigarettes. In our culture, however, would the labels actually discourage anyone — or would smokers, would are already used to social exclusion and often seem to smoke to cultivate a rebel image, just try to collect all nine images? We’ll never know.
In Canada, where Russell (unfortunately) bought a pack of Camels yesterday, the approach is different. His pack included a picture of a smoker who has emphysema and now must breathe with the help of an oxygen tank, but it also . included a loose, wallet-sized card with a message (in both French and English, of course) from a smiling woman who successfully quit. She says quitting was hard, but she was ashamed of being a smoker and felt guilty about her habit. The first few days were tough, she concedes, but after she made it past the initial cravings she became more proud of herself and her will to quit got stronger.
I don’t know whether smoking labels make a difference. In America, the number of smokers has fallen, but there remains a solid core of smokers and it is popular with younger people — even after the health issues are described in brutal detail. I wonder if the Canadian approach, with the sad photo presented side-by-side with a positive story about quitting, is more likely to produce results.