PHILADELPHIA | The city’s Reading Terminal Market is celebrating long-lost foods that were formerly Philly staples, from teaberry ice cream to fried oysters with chicken salad.The third biennial Festival of Forgotten Foods, which takes place Saturday at the 121-year-old downtown market, is offering about a dozen examples of foods that were the hoagies, soft pretzels and water ice of their day: available everywhere and strongly associated with Philadelphia.“They’re quirky foods people might not have seen in the course of their lives,” said Sarah Levitsky, marketing and event manager at the Reading Terminal Market, a bustling home to butchers and fishmongers, sandwich stalls and Amish farmers. “We weren’t sure at the beginning how (the festival) was going to work out and the response was beyond that we expected.”Everything will be offered in small sizes so intimidated eaters won’t be overwhelmed and adventurous foodies will be able to taste everything, she said.“Some of the foods are old-fashioned kinds of foods that are part of Philadelphia’s culinary history,” Levitsky said Friday, “and some we sell every day in the market … like snapper soup and raw milk.”Pepper pot soup — a thick stew of tripe, vegetables, lots of black pepper and other spices — is sometimes called “the soup that won the Revolutionary War.” According to legend, it’s credited with restoring the strength and fighting spirit to Gen. George Washington’s troops during the harsh 1777-1778 winter at Valley Forge.Nowadays, pepper pot is served at a couple of niche restaurants and as an occasional special at the Reading Terminal’s Down Home Diner, which is making a batch for the festival.For the tripe averse, there’s fried catfish on a waffle with pepper hash — arguably the cheesesteak of the Victorian era, when catfish were a plentiful catch in the Schuylkill River. There’s also a combination platter of fried oysters and chicken salad, served side by side and known as the “Philadelphia Special” in the 18th-century taverns where it was a menu essential.Home cooks will be able to buy freshly made horseradish as well as hard-to-find local produce like fiddlehead ferns, ramps and chickweed.Local ice cream maker Bassett’s has revived for the occasion its teaberry ice cream, which has a bright pink color and unusual wintergreen flavor that come from the berries of native teaberry shrub. It may call to mind the taste of Pepto-Bismol, although a far tastier version, which might have a little something to do with why its popularity waned in the 20th century.Other sweets being served up by the market’s Pennsylvania General Store include Cara-Mellows, handmade marshmallow dunked in caramel by fourth-generation local sweets-maker Asher’s, and Wilbur Buds chocolate drops, made in Pennsylvania since 1894.“There’s a cycle I see where food traditions fell out of favor because people didn’t eat the sort of foods of their grandparents anymore but people are returning to them,” said Michael Holahan, who with his wife has run the General Store since 1987. “The things that kind of disappeared, you now have 30-year-olds and 20-year-olds rediscovering.”___Online:Reading Terminal Market:https://www.readingterminalmarket.org
WASHINGTON | After 20 years, the nutrition facts label on the back of food packages is getting a makeover.Knowledge about nutrition has evolved since the early 1990s, and the Food and Drug Administration says the labels need to reflect that.Nutritionists and other health experts have their own wish list for label changes.The number of calories should be more prominent, they say, and the amount of added sugar and percentage of whole wheat in the food should be included. They also want more clarity on serving sizes.“There’s a feeling that nutrition labels haven’t been as effective as they should be,” says Michael Jacobson of the Center for Science in the Public Interest. “When you look at the label, there are roughly two dozen numbers of substances that people aren’t intuitively familiar with.”For example, he says, most of the nutrients are listed in grams, a basic unit of the metric system. Jacobson says people don’t really understand what a gram is.Michael Taylor, the FDA’s deputy commissioner for foods, says 20 years ago “there was a big focus on fat, and fat undifferentiated.” Since then, health providers have focused more on calories and warned people away from saturated and trans fats rather than all fats. Trans fats were separated out on the label in 2006.“The food environment has changed and our dietary guidance has changed,” says Taylor, who was at the agency in the early 1990s when the FDA first introduced the label at the behest of Congress. “It’s important to keep this updated so what is iconic doesn’t become a relic.”The FDA has sent guidelines for the new labels to the White House, but Taylor would not estimate when they might be released. The FDA has been working on the issue for a decade, he said.There’s evidence that more people are reading the labels in recent years.An Agriculture Department study said 42 percent of working adults used the panel always or most of the time in 2009 and 2010, up from 34 percent two years earlier. Older adults were more likely to use it.The revised label is expected to make the calorie listing more prominent, and Regina Hildwine of the Grocery Manufacturers Association said that could be useful to consumers. Her group represents the nation’s largest food companies.Hildwine said the FDA also has suggested that it may be appropriate to remove the “calories from fat” declaration on the label.It’s not yet clear what other changes the FDA could decide on. Nutrition advocates are hoping the agency adds a line for sugars and syrups that are not naturally occurring in foods and drinks and are added when they are processed or prepared. Now, some sugars are listed separately among the ingredients and some are not.It may be difficult for the FDA to figure out how to calculate added sugars, however. Food manufacturers are adding naturally occurring sugars to their products so they can label them as natural — but the nutrition content is no different.Other suggestions from health advocates:— Add the percentage of whole wheat to the label. Many manufacturers will label products “whole wheat” when there is really only a small percentage of it in the food.— Clearer measurements. Jacobson of the CSPI and others have suggested that the FDA use teaspoons, as well as grams, for added sugars.— Serving sizes that make sense. There’s no easy answer, but health experts say that single-size servings that are clearly meant to be eaten in one sitting will often list two or three servings on the label, making the calorie and other nutrient information deceptive. The FDA said last year that it may add another column to the labels, listing nutrition information per serving and per container. The agency may also adjust recommended serving sizes for some foods.— Package-front labeling. Beyond the panel on the back, nutrition experts have pushed for labels on the package front for certain nutrients so consumers can see them more easily. The FDA said several years ago it would issue guidelines for front of pack labeling but later said it would hold off to see if the industry created its own labels.Tracy Fox, a Washington-based nutrition consultant, says clearer information is needed to balance the billions of dollars a year that the food industry spends on food marketing.“There’s a lot of information there, it’s messy,” she says. “There may be a way to call out certain things and put them in context.”___Follow Mary Clare Jalonick on Twitter: https://twitter.com/mcjalonick
During college, I took a class on global populations and food (affectionately known as “pops and crops”). I’m sure it was a fine class, but really only one lesson has stuck with me in the 25 years since.Professor Tremblay was adamant that if we ever were stuck on a deserted island and could take only one food with us, we should choose the sweet potato. “A nutritional bargain” he called it. And he was right. One cup of the tasty tuber has seven times more vitamin A than you need in a day, more than half of the vitamin C, 7 grams of filling fiber and 4 grams of protein. There’s also vitamin B6, potassium, calcium and iron.This Nov. 10, 2014 photo shows smoky sweet potato latkes in Concord, N.H. Sweet potato latkes are delicious and crispy and perfect accompanied by unsweetened applesauce and plain Greek yogurt or sour cream. (AP Photo/Matthew Mead)And of course they are wonderfully sweet. That does come at a price; sweet potatoes have about twice the sugar of carrots, ounce per ounce. (I suppose this is less of a concern if you are on a deserted island.) But the good news is that the sweetness really satisfies, no sugary ketchup (or marshmallows) needed.But how to incorporate this natural little treat into our diets without resorting to melted marshmallow casseroles? Try sweet potatoes instead of regular potatoes in your favorite recipes, oven-baked fries, for instance. In terms of flavor, smoky and spicy play off the sweetness perfectly. Sweet potato soup with adobo or chipotle Greek yogurt is pretty perfect in that way.Also try subbing sweet potato in some of your favorite root vegetable recipes. Roasted sweet potato and parsnip hash, anyone?With the coming of Hanukkah, I was inspired to make smoky sweet potato latkes, which balance the sugar of the sweet potatoes with earthy cumin and smoked paprika. They are delicious and crispy and perfect accompanied by unsweetened applesauce and plain Greek yogurt or sour cream.Since most of us don’t care to deep-fry at home, I baked my latkes. To ensure they were still crispy, both the pan and latkes get brushed with oil. Much easier, much less mess and a whole lot leaner. I also found a great way to cut the cooking time. I par-cook the shredded sweet potatoes by pouring boiling water over them. This not only speeds up the baking, it also washes away some of the starch, which results in a crispier latke.SMOKY SWEET POTATO LATKESStart to finish: 45 minutesMakes 16 latkes1 large sweet potato, peeled and grated (about 4 cups grated)1/2 large yellow or sweet onion, grated (about 3/4 cup grated)1 egg1/2 teaspoon kosher salt1/2 teaspoon ground cumin1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika1/3 cup cornstarch4 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil, dividedPlain Greek yogurt and unsweetened applesauce, to serveHeat the oven to 400 F.In a large colander, combine the sweet potato and onion. Set over the sink.Bring about 4 cups of water to a boil. Slowly pour the water over the potato mixture, then let it drain and cool until easily handled, 8 to 10 minutes. A handful at a time, place the sweet potato mixture in a clean kitchen towel and squeeze to extract as much liquid as possible, then transfer to a large bowl.In a small bowl, beat together the egg, salt, cumin and paprika, then stir into the sweet potato mixture. Sprinkle the cornstarch over the sweet potatoes and mix well. The mixture should be moist, but not wet. If needed, blot excess moisture and add a little more flour.Use 2 tablespoons of the oil to evenly coat a rimmed baking sheet. Divide the sweet potato mixture into 16 mounds (each about 2 tablespoons) on the prepared baking sheet, leaving about 2 inches between them. Use the bottom of a glass or measuring cup to flatten each.Using a pastry brush and the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil, brush the tops of the latkes with oil. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until lightly browned and crisp. Serve the latkes with a dollop of yogurt and applesauce.Nutrition information per serving: 60 calories; 35 calories from fat (58 percent of total calories); 3.5 g fat (0 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 15 mg cholesterol; 6 g carbohydrate; 1 g fiber; 1 g sugar; 1 g protein; 70 mg sodium.Food Network star Melissa d’Arabian is an expert on healthy eating on a budget. She is the author of the upcoming cookbook, “Supermarket Healthy.” https://www.melissadarabian.net
Others go high-tech, changing the pressure and temperatures in barrels and tanks, and even using sound waves to get the liquor vibrating within them.There even are at-home options for rapid aging. The Copper Fox Distillery in Sperryville, Virginia, which takes a number of steps to speed aging, including adding toasted apple wood and oak chips to barrels, sells a home kit of a 2-liter charred American white oak barrel along with two 750-milliliter bottles of cask strength spirit and detailed instructions. Another consumer option is www.oakbottle.com, a 750-milliliter oak vessel that resembles a large wine bottle. You fill the vessel with your own wine or spirit to intensify flavors, and the effect can be dramatic.Using technology to get faster results is “very American,” observes Clay Risen, author of “American Whiskey, Bourbon & Rye.”Some distillers are better at the new approach than others, and Risen says he generally finds the smaller barrel approach to be better than the more tech-y versions. But even just using smaller barrels can be risky. It’s “like driving a really fast car. You’re talking about very rapid aging. A lot of times what you end up with is a whiskey that tastes woody but also very vegetal. You get a lot of unfinished, unprocessed grain notes.”Risen says he has yet to see “anybody who can convincingly and transparently present a technology that works. It simply is a matter of brute biology and organic chemistry that dictates how whiskey goes from being an unaged distillate to an aged whiskey.”Austin Hope, a California winemaker who recently started making Highspire, a whiskey produced in Kentucky from 100 percent rye, sees things differently. He ages his whiskey in just 130 days, putting the distillate into charred used wine barrels from his Austin Hope Winery Estate and adding toasted staves to punch up the wood influence.“Purists and authorities alike think I’m off my rocker for making whiskey this way, but I’ve never been big on following the rules. Better grain means there is a quicker path to great flavor,” says Hope, who uses an heirloom rye varietal grown exclusively for Highspire. “Rapid aging isn’t about cutting corners in my book. When you’re dealing with heirloom rye, it’s about determining just the right balance of flavor between the grain and the wood.”At Cleveland Whiskey, Lix ages his whiskey using a process he calls pressure aging.Federal regulations require that bourbon be aged in new charred oak barrels, but don’t say for how long unless you want to put an age statement on the label. So, Lix puts his raw distillate in the barrels, then promptly pumps it back out and into pressure-capable stainless steel tanks.The barrels are chopped up, not randomly but with attention paid to weight and moisture content, as well as the shape and the surface area, and measured amounts of the oak then are added to the tank. Large swings in pressure are created that squeeze the wood, forcing the spirit in and out of the pores like squeezing a wet sponge and putting it back in water.Lix says it takes about 24 hours to produce a bourbon he says has done well in blind tastings against established brands and now is being sold in 12 states.Michelle Locke tweets at https://twitter.com/Locke_Michelle Everyone knows the secret to great whiskey is long, slow aging in oak barrels tucked away in cellars and warehouses for a decades-long nap.Or is it?Recently, some distillers have been taking shortcuts, using technology to mimic the effects of long aging — and prompting spirited debate over the merits of the resulting liquors.“The traditionalists hate us,” says Tom Lix, founder and chairman of Cleveland Whiskey Company. “They’re all very interested in what’s being done, but of course it runs very contrary to not only generations of how it’s been processed, but generations of how it’s been talked about. All of the marketing has been around how it takes time and how you have to have patience. I just say age is really irrelevant.”It doesn’t take rocket science to figure out why new distillers want to speed up their spirits. Starting a new distillery takes a capital investment of tens of thousands of dollars and no banker wants to hear it’s going to be years before you start seeing any revenue.Those who don’t want to wait use interventions that speed up the way the whiskey interacts with the oak, a relationship that defines that flavor of whiskey. Some distilleries intensify the wood influence by using smaller barrels or by adding wood chips or staves of oak to the barrels. Both methods increase the surface area of the wood in the oak-to-whiskey ratio. In this photo taken on Friday, May 29, 2015, Tom Lix, founder and chairman of Cleveland Whiskey Company, pours a glass of whiskey, in Cleveland. Recently, some distillers like Cleveland Whiskey Company have been taking shortcuts, using technology to mimic the effects of long aging – and prompting spirited debate over the merits of the resulting liquors. The traditionalists hate us, says Lix. Theyre all very interested in whats being done, but of course it runs very contrary to not only generations of how its been processed, but generations of how its been talked about. All of the marketing has been around how it takes time and how you have to have patience. I just say age is really irrelevant. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak) In this photo taken on Friday, May 29, 2015, Tom Lix, founder and chairman of Cleveland Whiskey Company, stands next to the stainless steel pressure aging tanks used to speed up the whiskey process, in Cleveland. Recently, some distillers have been taking shortcuts, using technology to mimic the effects of long aging – and prompting spirited debate over the merits of the resulting liquors. The traditionalists hate us, says Lix. Theyre all very interested in whats being done, but of course it runs very contrary to not only generations of how its been processed, but generations of how its been talked about. All of the marketing has been around how it takes time and how you have to have patience. I just say age is really irrelevant. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak) This Friday, May 29, 2015 shows a display of Cleveland Underground whiskey, which is a bourbon whiskey finished with black cherry wood made by Cleveland Whiskey, in Cleveland. Recently, some distillers like Cleveland Whiskey have been taking shortcuts, using technology to mimic the effects of long aging – and prompting spirited debate over the merits of the resulting liquors. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)
BOISE, Idaho | A potato genetically engineered to resist the pathogen that caused the Irish potato famine is as safe as any other potato on the market, the Food and Drug Administration says.In a letter Tuesday to Idaho-based J.R. Simplot Co., the FDA said the potato isn’t substantially different in composition or safety from other products already on the market, and it doesn’t raise any issues that would require the agency to do more stringent premarket vetting.This 2013 photo provided by the J.R. Simplot Co. shows a demonstration field of a new potato, genetically engineered to resist the pathogen that caused the Irish potato famine, at Michigan State University in East Lansing, Mich. In a letter Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2016 to Idaho-based J.R. Simplot Co., the Food and Drug Administration said the potato isn’t substantially different in composition or safety from other products already on the market, and it doesn’t raise any issues that would require the agency to do more stringent premarket vetting.( J.R. Simplot Co. via AP)“We’re pleased and hope that consumers recognize the benefits once it’s introduced into the marketplace next year,” Doug Cole, the company’s director of marketing and communications, said Wednesday.Before the potato is marketed to consumers, it must be cleared by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Cole said. That’s expected to happen in December. The U.S. Department of Agriculture approved the potato in August.There is no evidence that genetically modified organisms, known as GMOs, are unsafe to eat, but for some people, altering the genetic code of foods presents an ethical issue. The food industry has faced pressure from retailers as consumer awareness of genetically modified foods has increased. The retailer Whole Foods plans to label GMO products in all its U.S. and Canadian stores by 2018. And some companies have decided to remove the ingredients altogether.The Russet Burbank Generation 2 is the second generation of Simplot’s “Innate” brand potatoes. It includes the first version’s reduced bruising, but less of a chemical produced at high temperatures that some studies have shown can cause cancer.The second-generation potato also includes an additional trait that the company says will allow potatoes to be stored at colder temperatures longer to reduce food waste.Haven Baker, vice president of plant sciences at Simplot, said late blight — the cause of the Irish potato famine — remains the No. 1 pathogen for potatoes around the world.“This will bring 24-hour protection to farmers’ fields and, in addition, has the potential to reduce pesticide spray by 25 to 45 percent,” Baker said.The late blight resistance comes from an Argentinian variety of potato that naturally produced a defense.“There are 4,000 species of potatoes,” Baker said. “There is an immense library to help us improve this great food. By introducing these potato genes we can bring sustainability and consumer benefits.”The company has already been selling its first generation of Innate potatoes to consumers, selling out its 2014 crop and currently selling the 2015 crop of about 2,000 acres.Cole said those potatoes were mostly grown in Idaho and Wisconsin, and are being sold in supermarkets across the nation.But one of the company’s oldest business partners — McDonald’s — has rejected using any of Simplot’s genetically engineered potatoes.Cole said the company plans to introduce the potatoes to other restaurants and hotel convention centers as precut and pre-peeled potatoes, where he said the resistance to bruising makes them a good product.
A waitress cuts up the short ribs on Monday Feb. 29, 2016 at Han Kang Korean Restaurant.Photo by Gabriel Christus/Aurora Sentinel short ribs are grilled on the table-top grill on Monday Feb. 29, 2016 at Han Kang Korean Restaurant.Photo by Gabriel Christus/Aurora Sentinel But that hasn’t stopped customers from packing Mr. Kim and several other local Korean BBQ spots in recent months as the cuisine’s popularity continues to grow. And as is the case with pretty much any ethnic cuisine, Aurora is the metro area’s hub when it comes to Korean BBQ, boasting close to a dozen restaurants, including several along Havana Street. At Mr. Kim’s, an order of garbi — marinated steak cut thin and cooked on the grill at your table — comes with an impressive array of sides and dipping sauces. Danny Kim, the manager there, said the mix of side dishes — including kim-chi, calamari strips, peanuts, zuchini and vegetable pancakes on this particular day — always varies. Sometimes there are about a dozen, other times close to 20, he said. Lee, who owns the restaurant with her husband, Chris Kim, said the sides vary in part bases on the seasons and what fresh vegetables are available. That freshness is a key to Korean BBQ, Lee said. Everything from the kim-chi to the bean sprouts slathered in savory sauces are made fresh at the restaurant, she said. Lee said that beyond the obvious differences between a Korean BBQ restaurant and a typical restaurant — mainly cooking the food yourself and the array of sides and sauces — there is another important distinction. While at other places the whole meal comes together, like a bowl of pho or some other Asian dish. But with Korean BBQ, everything is separate. Once people get past that, she said, they tend to enjoy themselves. “When they actually try it they are kind of amazed by it because it’s something different,” she said, the sound of an exhaust hood blaring near by. Mr. Kim’s opened last fall and Lee said they are still seeing a steady stream of customers who aren’t just first timers to their restaurant, but first timers to Korean BBQ in general. As for the newbies who might get a little spooked by the exotic array of foods, or the strange equipment adorning their table, Lee said she always tells them to relax and enjoy the meal. “Just come in and try it, she said. “You wont regret it.” Danny Kim puts brisket on the table-top grill on Tuesday March 01, 2016 at Mr. Kim’s in the Pacific Ocean shopping center.Photo by Gabriel Christus/Aurora Sentinel AURORA | Terri Lee has seen a look of bewilderment come over the faces of first time customers at Mr. Kim’s Korean BBQ in Aurora.The towering exhaust hoods over the tables, plus the gas grill smack in the center of it, create an atmosphere that can be a little intimidating to newbies. And that’s before the staff comes out with close to 20 different side dishes and sauces to accompany a heaping platter of raw meat dripping in seasonings. That crowded table, plus the array of equipment, can be a bit much. “They can be a little overwhelmed,” Lee said with a laugh. Por belly is grilled on the table-top grill on Monday Feb. 29, 2016 at Han Kang Korean Restaurant.Photo by Gabriel Christus/Aurora Sentinel Ban chan, a mix of kim chi, seaweed and vegetables on Monday Feb. 29, 2016 at Han Kang Korean Restaurant.Photo by Gabriel Christus/Aurora Sentinel
NEW YORK | Jack Riley, who played a counseling client on “The Bob Newhart Show” and also voiced a character on Nickelodeon’s animated “Rugrats,” died Friday. The 80-year-old actor died in Los Angeles, according to his representative Paul Doherty.FILE – In this Sept. 5, 2007 file photo, actor Jack Riley poses at the TV Land 35th anniversary celebration of “The Bob Newhart Show” in Beverly Hills, Calif. Riley, who played counseling client Elliot Carlin on “The Bob Newhart Show” and also voiced a character on Nickelodeon’s animated “Rugrats,” died Friday, Aug. 19, 2016 in Los Angeles. He was 80. (AP Photo/Dan Steinberg, File)Besides portraying grumpy, self-absorbed Mr. Carlin on the 1970s “Newhart” sitcom and providing the voice for absent-minded dad Stu Pickles on “Rugrats” and its spinoff, “All Grown Up!,” Riley appeared in the Mel Brooks films “History of the World: Part I,” ”High Anxiety” and “Spaceballs.”In a statement, Newhart said Riley created one of TV’s “most endearing” situation comedy characters with his Carlin portrayal.Riley was a “dear friend,” one whose loss leaves an emptiness in the lives of his friends and family, including his wife Ginger Lawrence, Newhart said.The Cleveland native also voiced commercials and made guest appearances on numerous TV series including “Seinfeld,” ”Night Court” and “Diff’rent Strokes.”
ANAHEIM, Calif. | “The Twilight Zone” is ceding way to “Guardians of the Galaxy” on Disneyland’s popular Tower of Terror ride, but a change that could be seen as a victory for millennials’ pop culture over baby boomers’ is drawing complaints from thrill-seekers of all ages.The plan was greeted with boos as soon as it was announced to fans during a “Guardians” panel at Comic-Con in San Diego in July. Negative votes are outpacing positive ones by a 3-to-1 margin on a YouTube video describing the project. A Slate article on the plan to close the ride in January described it as “a national tragedy.” An online petition questioned why Disney would replace what it called a “truly inspired and original idea” with “a marketing ploy.”FILE – In this May 4, 2004, file photo, The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror ride at the Disneyland Resort is seen in Anaheim, Calif. Some fans are outraged at the decision to close the ride and revamp it into a “Guardians of the Galaxy” themed attraction. The plan was greeted with boos when it was announced at the San Diego Comic Con in July 2016. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes, File)The ride opened in 2004. The voice of “Twilight Zone” creator Rod Serling greets visitors to the mock Hollywood Tower Hotel as they are strapped into seats and plunged down an elevator shaft.Disney executive Joe Rhode explains in a promotional video that the revamped ride will have the same freefall experience, but everything leading up to it will have a “Guardians” theme when it reopens next year.Disney didn’t respond to a request for comment on the reasoning behind the change, but there’s no doubt many riders may be unfamiliar with Serling or his weekly fright fest “Twilight Zone” series that began airing in the 1960s. “Guardians of the Galaxy” was a surprise blockbuster in 2014 and a sequel is set for next year.Tower of Terror fans still have time to take one final ride. Disney is running the ride in complete darkness through Halloween and is offering special merchandise to commemorate its closing. The Tower of Terror shuts its doors for good on January 2.Disney hasn’t announced any changes to a sister attraction at Walt Disney World in Florida.
Evergreen Jazz Festival July 28-30 throughout Evergreen. Three-day passes start at $100; single-day tickets range from $30 to $55 before June 30. Call 303-697- 5467 or visit evergreenjazz.org.Their teaser sums it up best: “Big tal- ent. Small venues. Great setting.” What started out in 1999 as a birthday party for Evergreen resident and former Denver Jazz Club President Sterling Nelson has morphed into one of the region’s premier showcases of local and statewide jazz tal- ent. But considering that jazz is the epito- me of cool, it’s no wonder a laid-back burg like Evergreen could play the perfect host for all the cool jazz cats and kittens alike.Fair game The annual Arapahoe County Fair, July 27-July 30. Arapahoe County Fairgrounds Event Center, 25690 E. Quincy Ave. 303-795-4955 ArapahoeCountyFair. org $10-$20.It’s everything you want it to be. Craft beer festival. Mutton bustin’. Fair food. Music. Amusement rides. Midway. And this year? Boots Not Suits kick-off dinner. So many animals. Rodeo and more round this out to be the quintessential fair game of the summer.Underground Music Showcase July 27-30 in the Baker Neighborhood, Denver. Four-day passes are $55 plus $9 booking fee. Four-day passes during the event are $75 plus $10.27 in booking fees.If live music is your jam, the UMS is the crown jew- el of the Denver music scene, offering almost 200 dif- ferent bands at 16 venues over four days. Musical acts range from major label artists like Esme Patterson to up-and-coming bands that you might not have heard of yet — but who might become the next big thing to come out of the Mile High city. Showcase goers can wander down South Broadway in Denver, alternat- ing between folk acts playing in a tattoo shop to punk bands blasting out eardrums in a dive bar.Buffalo Bill Days July 27-30 in Golden. Free. www.buffalobilldays.comEven before he died — and hey, maybe we shouldn’t even assume that particular fact is 100-percent accurate — BuffaloBill Cody was the sort of western legend whose reputation seemed to mix fact and fiction from time to time. But while the details about the famed gunslinger might be debatable, the fact that Golden puts on a helluva party to celebrate the man isn’t up for debate. For four days in late July, kicking off with a July 27 golf tournament at Applewood Golf Course, the town at the foot of the Rockies celebrates Cody with plenty of food, music and enthralling — if not quite always accurate — storytelling.Colorado Dragon Boat Festival July 29- 30 at Sloan’s Lake, Denver. Free.Even if the temperature hovers near triple digits, and the sun radiating off the blacktop makes it feel even hotter than that, you’ll still be glad you made the trek to the west side of Denver for the annual Col- orado Dragon Boat Festival. It might not be because the races themselves — paddlers in perfect sync propelling their boats across the urban lake — though that’s always a sight worth seeing. It’s the food. Asian cui- sine from around the metro convenes on this stretch of land to serve up some of the finest grub you’ll find. So while you might feel like your feet are melting to the black top, you’ll decide it was worth it once you bite into that steaming plate of pad Thai or those tasty Monkey Balls.
FILE- In this Jan. 4, 2019, file photo people walk by a real estate office in Pittsburgh’s Lawrenceville neighborhood. Even if it’s a stretch now, buying your first home by age 35 can mean more wealth in retirement. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic, File)Nicole Christianson, a 26-year-old sales rep, was tired of writing big checks for tiny apartments. And she wanted to do more with her cash than stash it in a savings account.One night, she and her husband Thure, 28, took a look at their newly combined finances and uncovered a pleasant surprise: Together, they had saved enough for a 5 percent down payment on the affordable fixer-upper right across the street from their Milwaukee apartment. They closed in December 2017, and Nicole Christianson says they’re happy to finally be “making something that’s ours.”MILLENNIALS’ HOMEOWNERSHIP GOALSMany in Christianson’s age group are chasing that feeling. Eighty-two percent of young adults say owning a home is a priority, according to NerdWallet’s 2018 Home Buyer Report. If they can make it happen, most will be first-time homebuyers , but that ‘if’ looms large.Millennials (those born from 1981 to 1997) are buying houses at lower rates than when previous generations were the same age, and it’s not hard to see why. Saving up for a down payment and qualifying for a mortgage can feel like pipe dreams for young adults grappling with student debt, underemployment and high rent costs.Still, millennials are a optimistic lot, and research shows there are big rewards in store for those who find a way to buy their first home sooner rather than later.HOW BUYING YOUNG CAN PAY OFF LATEROf today’s older adults, those who bought their first home from ages 25 to 34 accumulated the most housing wealth by their 60s — a median of around $150,000, according to a report by the Urban Institute , a nonprofit research organization.In contrast, the median housing wealth for those in their early 60s who bought later (ages 35 to 44), was about half as much, at $76,000. Homeowners who bought after they were 45 had about $44,000 in housing wealth by their 60s.“Housing wealth” is another term for equity, which is the difference between the home’s market value and an owner’s mortgage balance. Equity becomes profit when a home is sold or refinanced, and it’s more likely to grow the longer one owns the home.The takeaway for millennials? Buy a home as early as you can feasibly do so, says Laurie Goodman, vice president of housing finance policy at the Urban Institute.Paying rent to yourself is a top perk of homeownership, Goodman says. “It’s also forced savings in the sense that you’re paying down a mortgage each month. Yes, you could put away the same amount of money in a savings plan, but people don’t.”Thinking about homeownership as part of retirement planning is important for millennials, says Jung Hyun Choi, a research associate at the Urban Institute.“People are living longer and job stability has declined,” she says. These circumstances make housing wealth even more essential.LOANS AND PROGRAMS THAT BOOST AFFORDABILITYCertain mortgage options can reduce the upfront costs of buying a home, allowing younger borrowers to qualify with far less than the traditional 20 percent down payment.“We wanted to go with a VA lender,” says Marissa Avila, 33, a self-employed small-business consultant in Norfolk, Virginia. Her husband Greg, 36, is in the Navy, so they were eligible for a loan guaranteed by the Department of Veterans Affairs. The VA loan helped the Avilas buy their colonial-style house with no down payment.Low down payment loans aren’t just for borrowers in uniform: Some conventional loans require just 3 percent down, the minimum for a Federal Housing Administration mortgage is 3.5 percent and eligible borrowers can get a Department of Agriculture, or USDA, loan with nothing down.Goodman recommends first-time homebuyers investigate down payment assistance programs. State housing agencies often offer mortgage, down payment and closing-cost assistance. These programs may allow millennials to buy a home sooner than if they try to build savings, she says.Talking to a lender can be a good first step if you’re not sure that you’re ready, Avila says.“The worst that someone is going to say is ‘No, you need to save a little bit more money,’ and then you know where you stand,” she says. “It’s so much easier once you finally start that conversation.”This article was provided to The Associated Press by the personal finance website NerdWallet. Beth Buczynski is a writer at NerdWallet. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @bethbuczynski.RELATED LINKS:NerdWallet: 17 tips for first-time home buyers https://nerd.me/tips-first-time-home-buyersUrban Institute report https://www.urban.org/urban-wire/buy-young-earn-more-buying-house-age-35-gives-homeowners-more-bang-their-buck