Here we are, exactly 527 years since the year 1492, "when Columbus sailed the ocean blue." And we have problems...

Columbus Day, 2019, brings a new round of issues surrounding the memory of the explorer, what he represents, and how and if we should celebrate the day. There have been questions and complaints about the statue of Columbus, like the one pictured along the Parkway in Utica and the one in downtown Syracuse. As a result, there are alternate events going on in recognition of Native Americans.

An Indigenous Peoples' Day celebration occurs at the Amphitheater in the Syracuse Inner Harbor, Monday from 5 to 6 pm, and includes traditional Native American singing and dancing. Syracuse University has its own special observance from noon to 4:00 p.m. on the campus Quad.

Amid the controversy, a few things are certain: (1) We ARE a melting pot of cultures and lifestyles here in Central New York and in the U.S. overall. (2) There IS a large presence of Italian-Americans in our region and also significant contributions from Native Americans. (3) We're all in this together.

What's wrong with continuing to celebrate our Italian heritage AND our Native American roots? We could accomplish this by highlighting menu items representing BOTH cultures. Here are some links to recipes for a few great meals from both cultures:

By the way, grocery stores are open on Columbus Day, so you'll have no trouble getting ingredients for these recipes.

Here's what's closed: post offices, some banks, city, state and federal offices. Courts are also closed, but county offices remain open.