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Bloody Mary Mornings with Mom

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By Dawn Bright


Dear Dawn,

I asked my mom where she’d like to go for Mother’s Day, and she said she wanted to go out for Bloody Marys. She’s a big Bloody Mary fan, and went to a Bloody Mary festival last year that was apparently pretty amazing. When she described the event, I thought she’d tell me about different flavors of Bloody Marys. Instead, she described a variety of Bloody Marys with FOOD on them—miniature cheeseburgers, toasted bread with pimento cheese, shrimp, bacon, sushi, even a Bloody Mary made with squid ink that included a tiny octopus. Anyway, she always orders a Bloody Mary when she bowls, and last night she told the bartender she wanted extra olives because it was dinner. The bartender thought that was funny, but Mom was serious. Is she right? Are Bloody Marys a meal? 

– Penelope C. from Miramar Beach



That was a lot of explanation just to find out if Bloody Marys can be considered “dinner.” I do think a Bloody Mary with food—such as a miniature cheeseburger, for example—could be considered a meal. And although green olives are loaded with vitamins and minerals such as calcium, iron, vitamin E, selenium and copper, and the fat in a green olive is monounsaturated fat (the GOOD fat), I don’t think a few green olives is really a meal. So instead of just plowing her with drinks, take Mom out for a delicious brunch that includes actual food…but keep the Bloody Marys coming!

Dear Dawn,

There’s a fast food place around here that I personally boycott because the owner of this chain hunts elephants and rhinos for fun. In my mind, that’s criminal. My friends understand why I won’t go to the place, but they think it’s fruitless because the actions of one person will not make a difference. What do you think? 

John F. from Shalimar



I think your friends are wrong. Mahatma Gandhi said, “You must be the change you want to see in the world.” He was saying that it is possible for the actions of one person to make a difference in the world. And that, in fact, it’s the only way that change ever occurs. It also means that “leading by example,” and taking personal responsibility is essential to making change happen—whether it occurs immediately or gradually over time.


Many people seem to believe that sweeping change is often hopeless, and that you have to get the majority of people on board to make anything worthwhile happen. But I’ve read studies that say all you really need is a “committed minority” of true believers—just one in 10 people—to make change happen. My suggestion to you is to start with those friends of yours who claim they understand why you are boycotting this establishment. Get them on board! And by the way, John, I too boycott this particular fast food place for the exact same reason.

Dear Dawn,

I moved here from California about 10 years ago. One thing that really bothers me is the containers used for take-out are made of Styrofoam. In California, when you order Chinese food, it is given to you in cardboard boxes with a wire handle. Why are we still using Styrofoam here in Florida? Everyone knows these throwaway containers do not decompose!

– Li W. from Destin



I’m with you, Li. I also moved here from California, and it was shocking to me 17 years ago and still shocking today that Styrofoam is the take-out container of choice, not just at Chinese restaurants but everywhere. Your question is timely, though, as I just read this morning that Maine is the first state to outlaw these items. Oregon, Vermont and Connecticut are also considering banning these food containers, and dozens of individual communities from Berkeley, Seattle, Minneapolis and New York City have already passed their own bans.


The question above kind of ties into this, too, Li. One person can make a difference! Write your congressman, voice your opinion, and let’s close the lid for good on these ocean-polluting, non-decomposing Styrofoam take-out containers in Florida!

Dawn Bright is an eternal optimist. And that’s pretty much all you need to know about her. Email your questions to


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