Sunday, August 31, 2008

Going Green

Another mid-century cookbook, this one the second volume of what it boasted was a cooking encyclopedia. It covers G (game) through S (salads).

And what nasty salads it did promote. In addition to the monstrosities shown below, there is a recipe for one made with baked beans and sauerkraut.

Personally, I have a five ingredient rule, as in salads should be limited to that many. Like this.

Green Salad with Apple, Walnuts, and Bleu Cheese

One red eating apple, cored and diced
¼ c of crumbled bleu cheese (approx)
¼ c of broken walnut meats (approx)
oil & vinegar dressing

Dice the apple and pour the dressing over it immediately to prevent browning. Fill a salad bowl with lettuce, toss it with the diced apple/dressing, and sprinkle the cheese and walnut pieces over the top.

If you have time, toast the walnut pieces before you add them to the salad. This is a favorite and I usually have the ingredients on hand.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Three Day Weekend

If the natives are getting restless in your neck of the woods, take a trip to Patricia's site. She has some great vintage toys to print out and assemble, including a donkey with his cart, a Norman farmhouse, and some tres chic ladies in promenade costume.

And even if you don't parley-voo (as my great-uncle the WWI Marine would have said), this page of ideas for corks and matchsticks doesn't need translating. Like most of us in this non-smoking age you may not have any matchsticks handy, so try toothpicks.


I'm really easy to get along with   once you people learn to worship me.
see more crazy cat pics

Friday, August 29, 2008

Quote of the Day

"There are nagging women and profane men; it is hoped they will all marry each other." Matrimonial Primer

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Prairie Life - Sanctuary

Stoneman Call* lives a couple of miles out of town, on the land his family settled in the 1880's. He left there for the first time in 1943 and when he came back two and a half years later Edie and the farm were waiting. They raised corn and beans in the fields and a family in the old wooden farmhouse, and their lines have mostly fallen, as the psalm says, in pleasant places.

He doesn’t farm any more, of course; the livestock and the machinery are long gone, although the barn cats have stayed faithful. Edie was taken to the nursing home out by the elementary school last winter, and Stoneman comes in to see her every day. On Memorial Day and Veteran’s Day he presents himself at the Legion Hall, joining the rest of us in the honor detail. His hands holding the heavy rifle are thin and nearly translucent but his grip is still firm as we perform the manual of arms.

The other day when I drove past, there was a dead buck on the road directly in front of the house. Now, Man is the only predator that white-tailed deer in this part of the country have left. They share the landscape with us warily and keep their distance, and I could not figure out how one of them had gotten struck and killed two jumps from Stoneman’s front porch, at least until my hunting brother in law explained it to me.

The house is completely surrounded by oaks and maples and a couple of big old pines, planted by his grandparents, probably. They have grown up so thick and close that you can’t see the house from the road until you are smack up on it, and the farmstead sticks out above the prairie landscape like an oasis.

At twilight the deer file up out of the rustling corn and settle down in the cool green spaces under the trees, paying no attention to the old man moving around in the silent house. The thick warm darkness closes in and they sleep until daybreak brings him out to feed the clustering cats and sends the deer back into the fields.

Stoneman’s children live in cities, in houses that have only known one generation. In a few years when he and Edie are lying together in the graveyard on the bluff above the river, the land will be sold. The new owners will tear down the farmhouse, the outbuildings and the empty barn to keep from having to pay the real estate taxes. The cats will die off or drift away.

And on the long summer nights the deer will still come to sleep under the trees.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Knitting-Something For the Boys

A knitted "Eisenhower" jacket in an interesting vertical stitch that is not quite ribbing. From Smart Knitting and Needlecraft, 4th Edition, 1948.

Named, of course, for General Eisenhower who favored this practical, waist-length battle jacket over the longer belted uniform "blouse." One page of instructions are on my Flickr account, here.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Hot, Hot, Hot

It is not even 10am and the dogs and the cats have already sought refuge in the cool basement. Babyface has flattened herself on the concrete floor of the laundry room—her big brother is not far away and the cats are draped across the tops of various bookshelves.

It is the kind of day, an old-time radio comedian once remarked, that makes you want to take off your skin and sit around in your bones.

It is the kind of day that the spousal unit is going to turn the kitchen into a “burning fiery furnace” when he starts canning tomatoes.

It is the kind of day when no one in his or her right mind does any cooking. Dishes that can be prepared without turning on the oven and that can be served cold are called for, preferably from lands where women have been coping with heat-dulled appetites for centuries.

Here are three dishes, copied/modified/adapted from various cookbooks (Claudia Roden, Martha Shulman, and Nancy Harmon Jenkins) and if not authentic they certainly are inspired by the Mediterranean and the Middle East. They can be made in the cool of the morning and eaten later that day (warning: they are not good keepers, not that there will be much left over).

Be as generous as you can with the fresh herbs. I am lucky enough to have mint, parsley, cilantro, sage and dill growing along the side of the house all summer. Serve any or all of them with good country bread or pitas, and with dishes of olives, sliced raw vegetables, and pickled hot peppers on the side. If you worry that this is not substantial enough, add a cold roast chicken for the carnivores.

Baba Ganoush

Half a dozen long Japanese eggplants
1 clove garlic, smashed with a little salt
1-2 T plain Greek yogurt or sour cream
2 T olive oil
Half a jalapeno pepper, chopped fine (about 1T, or more if you like it fiery)
Salt to taste
One plum tomato, diced
Half a lemon

Prick the eggplants and cook them in the microwave until they are soft. Depending on the size and age of the eggplants, this will take 3-5 minutes. When they have collapsed, they are done. Put them to one side until they are cool enough to handle.

Carefully remove the skin and scrape the flesh into the bowl of a food processor. It will be feel a little slimy but that’s ok. Add the garlic, oil, jalapeno, and yogurt or sour cream and pulse until it is fluffy. Stir in the diced tomato and squeeze the lemon over the top. Taste for salt and garnish with chopped parsley.

Skinny Hummus

1 can of chickpeas
1 T flavorless cooking oil, such as Wesson’s
1 T sesame oil
2 T plain Green yogurt
2-3 cloves garlic, smashed with a little salt (I like my hummus garlicky)
Half a lemon (edited to add: this should read JUICE of half a lemon!)

Rinse the chickpeas and remove as many of those nasty hard skins as you can. I pour them into a bowl of cold water and then agitate them until the skins float to the top. Place all of the ingredients in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until it is fluffy. Taste it and add more yogurt if it is too dry. Add salt if it needs it. Garnish with lots of parsley; anything with legumes needs a shot of something green.

White Beans with Dill

2 cans of Great Northern beans
2 T olive oil
¼ c plain Greek yogurt or sour cream
1-2 cloves garlic, smashed with a little salt
Salt to taste
Coarse-ground black pepper
2 hard-boiled eggs, quartered

Rinse and drain the beans, and place them in the bowl of a food processor with the oil, yogurt or sour cream, and garlic. Pulse until it is fluffy. Garnish with the pepper, hard-boiled eggs and a fistful of chopped fresh dill.

(images from Dover)

Saturday, August 23, 2008


(image courtesy of the Lolcats)

Friday, August 22, 2008

Quote of the Day

For I Will Consider My Cat Jeoffry (excerpt, Jubilate Agno)

For I will consider my Cat Jeoffry.
For he is the servant of the Living God duly and daily serving him.
For at the first glance of the glory of God in the East he worships in his way.
For this is done by wreathing his body seven times round with elegant quickness.
For then he leaps up to catch the musk, which is the blessing of God upon his prayer.
For he rolls upon prank to work it in.
For having done duty and received blessing he begins to consider himself.
For this he performs in ten degrees.
For first he looks upon his forepaws to see if they are clean.
For secondly he kicks up behind to clear away there.
For thirdly he works it upon stretch with the forepaws extended.
For fourthly he sharpens his paws by wood.
For fifthly he washes himself.
For sixthly he rolls upon wash.
For seventhly he fleas himself, that he may not be interrupted upon the beat.
For eighthly he rubs himself against a post.
For ninthly he looks up for his instructions.
For tenthly he goes in quest of food.
For having consider'd God and himself he will consider his neighbour.
For if he meets another cat he will kiss her in kindness.
For when he takes his prey he plays with it to give it a chance.
For one mouse in seven escapes by his dallying.
For when his day's work is done his business more properly begins.
For he keeps the Lord's watch in the night against the adversary.
For he counteracts the powers of darkness by his electrical skin and glaring eyes.
For he counteracts the Devil, who is death, by brisking about the life.
For in his morning orisons he loves the sun and the sun loves him.
For he is of the tribe of Tiger.
For the Cherub Cat is a term of the Angel Tiger.
For he has the subtlety and hissing of a serpent, which in goodness he suppresses.
For he will not do destruction, if he is well-fed, neither will he spit without provocation.
For he purrs in thankfulness, when God tells him he's a good Cat.
For he is an instrument for the children to learn benevolence upon.
For every house is incomplete without him and a blessing is lacking in the spirit.

Christopher Smart

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Required Reading: The Ladies' Book of Useful Information

Want to learn how to preserve a rosy and youthful complexion, or what to expect when a young man's attentions are serious? Then you must read this book, another late Victorian treasure from Project Gutenberg.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Vintage Advertising-Independent Orange Growers' Association

I thought I'd post this since summer is fleeting fast; the spousal unit starts teaching again tomorrow (personally I think there should be a law against starting school before Labor Day).

Image from Dover.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Unlikely Conversations Department

He: There's an estate sale at the Kieffert's.* Why don't you go down and take a look?

Me: Who are you, and what have you done with my husband?

(image used by permission from Chris Mullen's great site).

A Suffragette Recipe

Anti's Favorite Hash

(Unless you wear dark glasses you cannot make a success of Anti's Favorite Hash.)

1 lb. truth thoroughly mangled
1 generous handful of injustice.
(Sprinkle over everything in the pan)
1 tumbler acetic acid (well shaken)

A little vitriol will add a delightful tang and a string of nonsense should be dropped in at the last as if by accident.

Stir all together with a sharp knife because some of the tid bits will be tough propositions.

(From The Suffrage Cookbook, 1915)

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Mystery Solved

Online friend and fellow needlewoman Gina has offered a reason why this would be called San Antonio Cocoa Cake. It seems that the Pioneer Mills in San Antonio used to produce Swansdown cake flour.

(She also volunteered to test the cake and said it was delicious!)

In Honor of National Physical Fitness Week

(ok, so National Physical Fitness Week was in May, I still think all of us desk-bound warriors should try this!)


Friday, August 15, 2008

Quote of the Day

"Now I've joined the amputees. It's a very expensive club to join. It costs you an arm or a leg." Sgt Mike Buyas, USA.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Knitting-3 Way Sweater from 1946

This is from (obviously!) Smart Knitting, the very first issue, Winter 1946-1947. The cover and two pages of instructions can be downloaded from my Flickr account.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Sunday, August 10, 2008

That Wascally Wabbit

Salmon Rabbit Pie

1-1b. can salmon, drained, boned and flaked
1 cup cooked peas (8 oz can)
2 T. finely chopped green pepper
1 cup grated cheese
½ cup milk
2 T. mayonnaise
1/3 cup milk
1 cup Bisquick

Heat oven to 450 degrees. Mix salmon, peas, green pepper; spread in greased 10x6” baking dish. Blend cheese, ½ cup milk; pour over salmon. Mix mayonnaise, 1/3 cup milk, Bisquick with fork. Drop with spoon on salmon mixture. Bake 10 to 15 min, until browned. 6 servings.

I can’t begin to count the number of things wrong with this recipe. I think the cheese is supposed to make it a rarebit.

Caturday! (late post)

(Photo from the LOLCats. Sorry about the tardiness but I just got back from yet another wedding, my third this summer. Who are these people and why have they all decided to get married now?)

Friday, August 8, 2008

Quote of the Day

"Guns have little or nothing to do with juvenile violence. The causes of youth violence are working parents who put their kids into daycare, the teaching of evolution in the schools, and working mothers who take birth control pills." Tom Delay.

(clipart courtesy of Bucaro TecHelp).

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Obsolete Information Dep't-An Economical Petticoat

"An inexpensive and serviceable petticoat. Buy a short knit petticoat (usual price twenty-five cents) and one yard black sateen, fifteen cents. Cut a bias ruffle of sateen, ten inches deep and hem. Stitch the ruffle onto lower edge of petticoat, stretching edge of petticoat tight. When complete the knitted edge will draw together, casing the flouce to ruffle. One may use silk, in place of sateen, if desired, and plain white ones made in this way are fine to wear with evening dresses. N.S."

(from Modern Priscilla, April 1917).

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Crochet-Pattern for a 1923 Summer Hat

This comes from Needlecraft magazine, July, 1923. Three pages of instructions are on my Flickr page.

Another project that makes me want to learn to crochet.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Vintage Book Covers-The Last of the Legions

For those who don't believe that history repeats itself, please read the title story.

(Doyle wrote this before WWI. Long before).

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Baker's Chocolate and the Lone Star State

For reasons that they do not explain, the writers of this delicious little booklet called this San Antonio Cocoa Cake. The cocoa part is obvious. Where does the San Antonio come in?

1/2 cup Baker's Cocoa
1 3/4 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups buttermilk or sour milk
2 1/4 cups sifted SwansDown cake flour
1 t. soda
1 t. salt
1/2 cup shortening
2 eggs
1 t. vanilla

Combine cocoa and 1/2 cup sugar. Stir in 1/2 cup buttermilk. Set aside.

Measure sifted flour, soda and salt and sift together. Cream shortening, gradually add remaining 1 1/4 cups sugar, and cream together until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add flour mixture alternately with remianing 1 cup buttermilk, a little at a time, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla. Blend in cocoa mixture.

Pour batter into two 9-inch layer pans, lined on bottoms with paper. Bake in moderate oven (350 F) for 30 to 35 minutes. Cool layers in pans on racks for 10 minutes. Then loosen from sides with spatula. Turn out, remove paper, and cool on racks.

(They recommend seven minute frosting and maraschino cherries as decoration).

This is for T-Mom

Warning: two and a half dozen sappy puppy pictures.


(Picture from the LOLCats).

Friday, August 1, 2008

Quote of the Day

"Any authentic work of art must start an argument between the artist and their audience." Rebecca West