March 1, 2007

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Feeding Mama Kicks
Keyboardist for the omnipresent cover band dishes
By Susan†Reilly †news@hippopress.com

Gardner Berry is a keyboardist with the hugely popular cover band Mama Kicks and with Four Sticks, a Led Zeppelin tribute band. Berry grew up in Kingston, where his mother owned a donut shop.

He has lived in Manchester for 15 years and is a full-time musician. For the past 30 years Berry has been and on-again-off-again vegan-vegetarian. Here he talks about his thoughts on skipping beef.

Do you like to cook?
Yes, when I am not playing I often cook at home. On nights that I have a gig, I usually eat wherever I am playing.

How do you eat healthy when you eat out as much as you do?
I really try to eat light when we are playing. When I am not playing, I cook a lot of stirfrys with meat substitutes or lots of mixed vegetables. I like Ďfake ní cheeseí with peppers and onions, it is like a steak and cheese sub, or most of the chicken substitutes that are on the market. They really are very good.

Do you grab something to eat after a show?
I used to, and my friends do, but I donít now. It is just a really bad idea and mostly because of the type of food that is available at that hour, it is too greasy and I feel terrible later on.

Anyone influence the way you cook?
Yes, my mother, who was an excellent cook, and a former roommate who was a militant vegan. She turned me onto some great meat alternatives and showed me how to eat vegan.

How long have you been dabbling in vegan-vegetarianism?
About 30 years. In my late twenties I was out on the road a lot with a band and I was eating horribly, fast food and high-fat stuff all the time. I decided to change my eating habit and went strictly vegan.

Was it tough to follow a vegan diet while on the road?
Yes, extremely. My old roommate used to bring her own food when she came to see me play. Either that, or you would have to call ahead to see what was on the menu. It is exhausting living like that. It was also too extreme for my body and at 30, I had to have my gall bladder out because it seized up on me. After that, I began eating in moderation, with an emphasis on vegetarianism, but it isnít for everyone.

So moderation is key?
Yes, I am 57 and have an internal governor that lets me know when I need to do things differently. I am a one-cocktail man. I only drink Jack Daniels on the rocks, but recently I have started getting heartburn if I have more than two. So I really listen to what my body tells me now.

What are your favorite restaurants?
For sushi, Yuki and Tapei & Tokyo. Piccola Italia and Frattelloís have excellent vegetarian options and for special occasions, CR Sparks. I have a gift certificate to Hanover Street Chophouse, but I am waiting until a strong craving for beef hits me.

So you still eat beef occasionally?
Yes, sometimes. But I have to be honest, if I am home for the night watching TV and I eat a steak or a burger, I feel so slugged out that I canít get off the couch. I feel much better when I eat vegetarian.

Any recipes you can share with readers?
Nope. I inherited an instinct when it comes to food from my mother. I never follow a recipe and just put things together. Everything always comes out great, at least that is what people tell me. I just wing it in the kitchen, just like I do as a musician.




2/22/2007 Keepers of the vino

2/15/2007 Noodly comfort food
2/8/2007 The luxury of osso bucco
2/1/2007 Super platters for the Super Bowl
1/25/2007 It's a wrap
1/18/2007 The writing foodie
1/11/2007 Where the beef is, piled high and hot
1/04/2007 The healthy foodie
12/28/2006 The return of pasta and fall of the diet: the year in eats
12/21/2006 Organic on the ice
12/14/2006 French but not fussy
12/07/2006 Southeast U.S. culture, in sandwich form
11/30/2006 Bites of comfort with chips of happiness
11/23/2006 Cityside adds class to conveniece
11/16/2006 Easier-to-enjoy Thanksgiving feasts
11/9/2006 The new classic
10/26/2006 Whip up a quiche
10/19/2006 A new way to crepe
10/12/2006 Comfort food for blokes and birds
10/05/2006 Smaller crop but still red and delicious
09/28/2006 The crunchier, lighter, healthier wrap
09/21/2006 City bagels in suburbia
09/14/2006 Cracking the custard code
09/07/2006 Eat your way down the block
08/31/2006 New flavors for an old summer dish
08/24/2006 Way down south in Hollis
08/17/2006 Frappe vs. milkshake
08/10/2006 Enjoy the bluest month
08/03/2006 Death of Toro
07/27/2006 Vacation on a plate
07/20/2006 Hitting barbecue big time
07/13/2006 Relishing the raspberry
07/06/2006 Are your edible souveneirs kosher?
06/29/2006 Fish, upscale
06/22/2006 Sweet rosey taste of summer
06/15/2006 When to pull out the EVOO
06/08/2006 What can you grill?
06/01/2006 Taste of downtown Nashua
05/25/2006 Deulge at farms
05/18/2006 Adorable and delicious
05/11/2006 Rub down
05/04/2006 Pinot to go
04/27/2006 A bit Italian, a bit egg foo young
04/20/2006 Meatier than breakfast...
04/13/2006 Let yourself eat cake
04/06/2006 Fear not the Risotto
03/30/2006 Making Friday a fishy delight
03/23/2006 The Thin Mints are here
03/16/2006 Divining your personality from pizza
03/09/2006 Cooking up a big bowl of comfort
03/02/2006 Dumplings demystified
02/23/2006 Carbs and comfort all the way
02/16/2006 She sells sushi by the sea shore
2/09/2006 Biting into the burger with bling
02/02/2006 Forget formal dining, head to the bar
01/26/2006 Goodbye rooster, hello year of the dog
01/19/2006 The secret lives of chefs
01/12/2006 Cooking up a pot of delayed gratification
01/05/2006 A sunny Italian side dish
A year of eats

All-you-can-read guide to breakfast
A bagel by any other l
abel
A picnic ó itís romance with ants
A sweet burst of summer, in stages
Beef, It's What's For Dinner, Lunch, And Dessert
Be it ever so humble, the burger rules
Blockbuster snacks for your movie
Box Of Chocolates
C Is For Cookie And Christmas And Cool Combo
Celebrating A Holiday For The Rest Of Us
Celebrate Easter In A Sugar Coma
Chat And Chew

Chinese soup is magic
Chocolate cake makes everything better
Chocolate, Part II
Competition flows like chocolate
Corn Flake Chicken, Honeycomb Salad
Dining at the "Your House Bistro"
Don't Dread The Bread
Dress Up Your Next Meal
Drinking Out Of The Box
Eating Your Way Back To Health
Empanadas
Enter Soup
Experiments With Very Bad Brownies
Feeding A Crowd The Morning After
Follow the cider house rules
Fresh Herbs
Go ahead ó run silent, run deep
Goodbye corn syrup, hello organic oatmeal
Go Indian for Thanksgiving
Grilled Cheese Junkie

Halloween candy for grown-ups
Have a Happy Meal and a happier wallet
Holiday Cookies - The Easy Way
Holiday Potluck 101-Tips For The Kitchen Novice
Home-Based Date
How do you like them apples?
In-A-Pinch Love Feast
It's not easy to be cheesy
Itís not Christmas without tamales
Lest We Forget The Humble Squash
Keeping your cool while you eat
Living through your salad days

Looking Beyond The Hot Dog Stand
Lunching your way to a less toxic you
Meat's meat and a man's gotta eat

Moist and delicious chicken ó no, really
Oatmeal Cookies, The Miracle Cure
Oscar Night, When The Stars Come Out To Eat

Offering Up A Slice Of Teriyaki Pie
Pot Pies Are Darn Tasty
Pumpkin-Flavored Treats
Small Plates Are The Next Big Thing
Speedy 'za not pie in the sky
Steak: itís whatís for dinner, again
Summer coolers, just add sunlight
Summer Squash
Super Bowl Grub
Take A Walk On The Dark Side
Taste of Manchester Event
The Cosmopolitan
The joys of a simple oatmeal breakfast
The return of comfort food
The One-Note Cook Book
The New American Plate Cookbook
The Stickiest, Hottest & Sweetest Of Love's Labors
The taste of retro
The Unheralded Peanut Butter Cookies
The union of sweet and heat
The Weekly Dish (12-16-04)
The Weekly Dish (12-23-04)

The Weekly Dish [1-13-05]
There's a Barbecue Bonanza Next Door
Week Four: Adding Diet To The Mix
What Was Hot And Haute In 2004
When $$ trumps urge to dine out
When in doubt, go for the organic
When nothing else will cool, Slurp it
You Say Potato, She'll Say Potato,Too
You say tomato, writer says lunch