Monday, April 13, 2015

Annis Mirabilis

I remembered the spousal unit's birthday.

Sunday, April 12, 2015


Image from the Smithsonian's collection of seed company catalogs.

I went looking for a cream of lettuce soup recipe for last week and came across this one from 1900 on Click Americana.  Miss Crowley seems to be confident that her readers are experienced cooks and don't need any further instructions:


2 heads lettuce
2 onions
2 tablespoons flour
1/2 tablespoonful white pepper
Grating nutmeg
Pinch of soda
A little parsley
1 beaten egg

Put on and boil twenty minutes; also put on boiler half full of milk and boil.
Strain lettuce, etc. and put in a half tablespoonful of white pepper and a grating of nutmeg. Cream a one inch slice of butter (off the square) with two tablespoonfuls flour. Put half in the milk and half in soup. Mix all together, and just before serving add a pinch of soda. Salt to taste, and add a beaten egg.

Saturday, April 11, 2015


Friday, April 10, 2015

Quote of the Day

photograph courtesy of the National Park Service

And Lee is in the mountains now, beyond Appomattox,
Listening long for voices that will never speak
Again; hearing the hoofbeats that come and go and fade
Without a stop, without a brown hand lifting
The tent-flap, or a bugle call at dawn,
Or ever on the long white road the flag
Of Jackson's quick brigades.  ~  Donald Davidson

Thursday, April 9, 2015


Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Oh, The Joys Of Working Downtown

I am walking across the plaza on my way to work when I am accosted by a dazed but happy-looking young man who has just come out of the courthouse.

He:  (flashing a big smile)  I'm not going to jail today!

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Easter Dinner, 1913

Vintage Easter card from Dover.
                GRAPE FRUIT SALAD 
                CHEESE BALLS 
                RHUBARB TART—CHEESE 
                AFTER DINNER COFFEE 
             * * * * * 

BAKED HAM.  Select a lean ham, weighing from twelve to fourteen pounds, cover with cold water or equal parts of water and sweet cider and let soak (skin side up) over night. Drain, scrape and trim off all objectionable parts about the knuckle. Cover flesh side with a dough made of flour and water. Place in a dripping pan, skin side down. Bake in a hot oven until dough is a dark brown; reduce heat and bake very slowly five hours. Ham enclosed in dough needs no basting. Remove dough, turn ham over and peel off the skin. Sprinkle ham with sugar, cover with grated bread crumbs and bake twenty to thirty minutes. Remove from oven and decorate with cloves; place a paper frill on knuckle, garnish with sprays of parsley and lemon cut in fancy shapes. Serve hot or cold. 

          1/4 cup freshly grated horseradish. 
          1/4 cup fine cracker crumbs. 
          1-1/2 cups milk. 
          3 tablespoons butter. 
          1/2 teaspoon salt. 
          1/8 teaspoon pepper. 
          1 tablespoon vinegar. 
          2 tablespoons lemon juice. 
          1/2 tablespoon grated onion. 
 PROCESS: Cook crumbs, horseradish and milk twenty minutes in double boiler. Add seasonings, vinegar and lemon juice slowly, stirring constantly. Add grated onion, reheat and serve. 

          2 cups hot riced sweet potatoes. 
          3 tablespoons butter. 
          1/2 teaspoon salt. 
          Few grains pepper. 
          1/2 cup chopped walnut meats. 
          1 egg well beaten. 
PROCESS: Mix ingredients in the order given. If mixture is too dry add hot milk. Mold in cork-shape croquettes, roll in crumbs, then in egg, again in crumbs, and fry in deep hot Cottolene. Drain on brown paper and arrange around Baked Ham. 

GRAPE FRUIT SALAD:   Cut three large grape fruit in halves crosswise, remove the pulp and keep in its original shape. Arrange in nests of white crisp lettuce heart leaves, dividing pulp in six portions. Strew one cup of English walnut meats, broken in fourths, over grape fruit. Marinate with French Dressing, but with less salt and using paprika in place of cayenne, and lemon and grape fruit juice in place of vinegar. 

          1-1/2 cups grated cheese. 
          1 tablespoon flour. 
          1/3 teaspoon salt. 
          1/8 teaspoon mustard. 
          Few grains cayenne. 
          Whites 3 eggs beaten stiff. 
PROCESS: Add flour and seasonings to cheese, fold in whites of eggs, shape in small balls. Roll in fine cracker crumbs and fry a golden brown in deep hot Cottolene. Drain on brown paper. 

RHUBARB TARTS.  If rhubarb is pink, young and tender, simply wash and cut in one-half inch pieces; there should be two and one-half cups. Cover with boiling water and heat to boiling point; boil five minutes. Do not allow it to lose its shape. Drain off all the juice, sprinkle rhubarb with three-fourths cup sugar. Sift over two tablespoons flour and one-fourth teaspoon salt, dot over with one tablespoon butter and a grating of orange rind. Mix well and turn into a pie pan lined with Rich Paste. Arrange strips of pastry, lattice-work fashion, across the top of pie and bake thirty minutes in a moderate oven.

From 52 Sunday Dinners, the 1913 version; which was an advertising cookbook for "Cottolene," a vegetable shortening similar to Crisco.  The soup and the spinach recipes were not given -- perhaps it was assumed that they were common enough that no instructions were needed.  The free ebook can be downloaded from Project Gutenberg.

Saturday, April 4, 2015


Sunday, March 29, 2015

A Mere 100 Years Ago

Image from

"Table d'hote is the feature of San Francisco's restaurant life. It is the ideal method for those who wish a good dinner and who have not the inclination, or the knowledge, to order a special dinner. It is also the least expensive way of getting a good dinner. It also saves an exhibition of ignorance regarding the dishes, for if you are in doubt all you have to do is to leave it to the waiter, and he will bring the best there is on the day's menu and will serve it properly.

It is really something to elicit wonder when one considers the possibilities of a table d'hote dinner in some of the less expensive restaurants. Take, for instance, the Buon Gusto, in Broadway. This restaurant boasts a good chef, and the food is the finest the market affords. Here is served a six course dinner for fifty cents, and the menu card is typical of this class of restaurants. What is provided is shown by the following taken from the bill of fare as it was served us:

Hor d'ouvres—four kinds; five kinds of salad; two kinds of soup; seven kinds of fish; four kinds of paste; broiled spring chicken; green salad with French dressing; ice cream or rum omelet; mixed fruits; demi tasse.

With this is served a pint of good table wine.

As one goes up with the scale of prices in the restaurants that charge $1, $1.25, $1.50, $2, $2.50, and $3 for their dinners it will be found that the difference lies chiefly in the variety from which to choose and from the surroundings and service.

Take, for example, the following typical menu for a dollar dinner, served at the Fior d'Italia, and compare it with the fifty-cent dinner just mentioned:

Salami and anchovies; salad; chicken broth with Italian paste; fillet of English sole, sauce tartare; spaghetti or ravioli; escallop of veal, caper sauce; French peas with butter; roast chicken with chiffon salad; ice cream or fried cream; assorted fruits and cakes; demi tasse. Wine with this dinner is extra.

Now going a step up in the scale we come to the $1.50 dinner as follows:

Anchovies, salami (note that it is the same as above); combination salad; tortellini di Bologna soup; striped bass a la Livornaise; ravioli a la Genoese and spaghetti with mushrooms; chicken saute, Italian style, with green peas; squab with lettuce; zabaione; fruit; cheese; coffee. Wine is extra.

Let us now look at the menu of the $3.50 dinner, without wine:

Pate 'de foie gras—truffles on toast; salad; olives; Alice Fallstaff; Italian ham "Prosciutto;" soup—semino Italiani with Brodo de Cappone; pompano a la papillote; tortellini with fungi a funghetto; fritto misto; spring chicken saute; Carcioffi all'Inferno; Capretto al Forno con Insallata; omelet Celestine; fruit; cheese, and black coffee.

This dinner must be ordered three days in advance."

From Bohemia in San Francisco, by Clarence E. Edwards, published 1914.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

2 Timothy 4:7

In seven hours and forty-five minutes.

You Know You're In For A Great Weekend When...

This is the first thing you see upon pulling into the New Mexico ("Land of Enchantment and Really, Really Big Poisonous Snakes") Welcome Center.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Knitting -- a Chair Set from 1945

A knitted "chair set" from the days when upholstered furniture had to last a lifetime.  McCall's Needlework & Crafts, Summer 1945.  The pattern is on my Flickr account.

Monday, March 16, 2015

It's Deja Vu All Over Again

I have managed to strain an oblique muscle, coughing.  The only thing that doesn't hurt is lying in the recliner (I am so looking forward to our flight to New Mexico on Friday).

Vintage Ephemera - St Patrick's Day Card

Monday, March 9, 2015

Vintage Images -- Fleurs

From Marie Claire, October 1937, courtesy of Patricia's lovely site.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Compliments of the Season

(Japanese matchbox from Agence Eureka)

Some selections suitable for Lent.


2 hard-cooked eggs
2 cups medium white sauce
2 cups flaked cooked fish
salt and pepper
1 cup buttered bread crumbs

Rub egg yolks through sieve and chop egg whites.  Mix well with white sauce.  Arrange alternate layers of fish and sauce in greased baking dish.  Season fish with salt and pepper.  Cover with buttered crumbs.  Bake in moderate oven (350⁰ F) 20 minutes or until crumbs are browned.  Serves 4.


1 cup cooked fish
1/2 cup cooked mushrooms
1 cup bread crumbs
2 cups milk
1/3 cup butter
salt and pepper
few grains nutmeg
4 eggs, beaten

Remove skin and bones from fish, add mushrooms and chop very fine.  Rub through sieve.  Cook crumbs and milk in double boiler 10 minutes.  Add butter and season with salt, pepper and nutmeg.  Add fish and beaten eggs.  Pour into greased molds or custard cups.  Bake in moderate oven (350⁰ F) until firm, about 30 minutes.  Unmold and serve with hollandaise sauce or tomato sauce.  Serves 4.

This mixture may be baked in a large mold, about 60 minutes.


1 teaspoon onion juice*
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 cup medium white sauce
2 eggs, separated
1 cup flaked cooked fish

Add onion juice, salt and pepper to white sauce.  Stir in beaten egg yolks and flaked fish.  Beat egg whites until stiff and fold into mixture.  our into greased baking dish and place in pan of hot water.  Bake in moderate oven (350⁰ F) 60 minutes.  Serve from the same dish.  Serves 4.


2 cups flaked cooked fish
1 cup cooked rice
2 hard-cooked eggs
4 tablespoons butter
salt and pepper

Heat fish, rice and chopped egg whites in butter.  Season and sprinkle with sieved egg yolks.  Serves 6.

(*often called for in mid-century American cooking.  Why not just mince an onion and be done with it?)

From The American Woman's Cook Book, edited by Ruth Berolzheimer, 1950.

Saturday, March 7, 2015


Sunday, March 1, 2015


Just when I was congratulating myself for going three winters without my sinuses felling me.  I've been lying on the sofa since Wednesday, keeping the Kleenex™ and Robitussin™ people in business.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Quote of the Day

Never play cards with a man called Doc.  Never eat a a place called Mom's.  Never sleep with a woman whose troubles are worse than your own. ~ Nelson Algren.