Friday, October 31, 2008

Another Precinct Heard From

A colleague brought in two ginormous home-made Rice Krispy Treats today, one representing Senator McCain and the other Senator Obama.

From the neck up. They were put in the break room with a small sign that said “Whichever one gets eaten the first, is going to win!” At quitting time Senator McCain was ahead by…erm…half a head. I refrained. This is not an indication of political neutrality; I just find people’s heads molded of Rice Krispies and marshmallow fluff a little off-putting.

Besides, somebody else brought in pumpkin bars.

Quote of the Day

Little Orphant Annie's come to our house to stay,
An' wash the cups an' saucers up, an' brush the crumbs away,
An' shoo the chickens off the porch, an' dust the hearth, an' sweep,
An' make the fire, an' bake the bread, an' earn her board-an'-keep;
An' all us other childern, when the supper-things is done,
We set around the kitchen fire an' has the mostest fun
A-list'nin' to the witch-tales 'at Annie tells about,
An' the Gobble-uns 'at gits you
Ef you

Wunst they wuz a little boy wouldn't say his prayers,--
An' when he went to bed at night, away up-stairs,
His Mammy heerd him holler, an' his Daddy heerd him bawl,
An' when they turn't the kivvers down, he wuzn't there at all!
An' they seeked him in the rafter-room, an' cubby-hole, an' press,
An' seeked him up the chimbly-flue, an' ever'-wheres, I guess;
But all they ever found wuz thist his pants an' roundabout:--
An' the Gobble-uns 'll git you
Ef you

An' one time a little girl 'ud allus laugh an' grin,
An' make fun of ever' one, an' all her blood-an'-kin;
An' wunst, when they was "company," an' ole folks wuz there,
She mocked 'em an' shocked 'em, an' said she didn't care!
An' thist as she kicked her heels, an' turn't to run an' hide,
They wuz two great big Black Things a-standin' by her side,
An' they snatched her through the ceilin' 'fore she knowed what she's about!
An' the Gobble-uns 'll git you
Ef you

An' little Orphant Annie says, when the blaze is blue,
An' the lamp-wick sputters, an' the wind goes woo-oo!
An' you hear the crickets quit, an' the moon is gray,
An' the lightnin'-bugs in dew is all squenched away,--
You better mind yer parunts, an' yer teachurs fond an' dear,
An' churish them 'at loves you, an' dry the orphant's tear,
An' he'p the pore an' needy ones 'at clusters all about,
Er the Gobble-uns 'll git you
Ef you

James Whitcomb Riley

Tuesday, October 28, 2008


Only fifty-eight sewing days until Christmas (more or less). This would be a great way to use up that yard of border print you have hanging around in your stash. Left click on the image to enlarge and copy it, or go to my Flickr account for a download. From Modern Needlecraft, 1950.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Vintage Greeting Cards - Halloween

(vintage greeting card image from Dover)

Sunday, October 26, 2008

The Further Adventures Of

Back again for more on that handy kitchen gadget, the blender. It has been dethroned by the food processor for just about all aspects of food prep except Daiquiri-making, but before the food processor came into common household usage (for you youngsters out there, that would have been the mid-1980’s), the blender was the appliance of choice.

I have both a blender and a food processor (two food processors, actually, one big and one small) and I have to admit that for making sauces and drinks the blender has no peer.

These recipes are from a 1971 Better Homes and Gardens specialty cookbook that belonged to a lady who was a good friend as well as the spousal unit’s mother. She was a wonderful human being and a damn fine cook.

Garden Row Salad

3 medium carrots, sliced
1 large cucumber
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
4 stalks celery, sliced
1 ½ cups croutons
4 ounces sharp natural cheddar cheese, cut into cubes (1 cup)
½ slice bread, torn in pieces
2 hard cooked eggs, sliced
6 slices bacon, crisp-cooked and crumbled

Put carrots in blender container; cover with cold water. Blend until coarsely chopped. Drain. Layer carrots in bottom of glass salad bowl.

Halve cucumber lengthwise; remove seeds. Cut cucumber in pieces; put in blender container. Cover with cold water. Blend until coarsely chopped. Drain. Layer cucumber atop carrots. Place tomatoes atop cucumbers.

Put celery in blender container; cover with cold water. Blend until coarsely chopped. Drain; layer celery atop tomatoes. Place croutons atop celery layer in bowl. Wipe blender container dry. Put cheese and bread in blender container; blend until coarsely chopped. Arrange cheese, egg slices, and bacon atop salad. Before serving toss with dressing. Makes 10 to 12 servings.

This salad was born of the blender—no one but a restaurant chef would have made it by hand—and could be seen at potluck dinners all over this country for about 25 years. It was very fashionable, which is why those of us who prowl garage sales and thrift stores so often run into those high-sided glass salad bowls. It would have been served with a blender-made dressing, Thousand Island or French, or this one that used to be a favorite of mine.

Green Goddess Dressing

1 cup mayonnaise
½ cup dairy sour cream
1 sprig parsley
1 2-ounce can anchovy fillets, drained
2 tablespoons tarragon vinegar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Dash pepper

Put all ingredients in blender container; blend until smooth (when necessary, stop blender and use rubber spatula to scrape down sides). Makes 1 ¾ cups.

(I do not eat anchovies by choice, which leads me to believe that my mother must have left those out back when she was making this for us).

If you have no reason to fear raw egg yolks (they are not for the very young, the very old, or the health-compromised), you can make the mayonnaise that goes into this dressing. Homemade mayonnaise is sinfully rich and egg-y. I am a bit dubious about this recipe, though; during the year I lived in Paris my boss, Mme Dubois, made mayonnaise regularly and I seem to remember she used only an egg yolk, lemon juice instead of vinegar, and oil.

Blender Mayonnaise

1 large egg
1 tablespoon vinegar
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon dry mustard
1/8 teaspoon paprika
dash cayenne
1 cup salad oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice

Put egg, vinegar, salt, dry mustard, paprika and cayenne in blender container; blend till mixed. With blender running slowly, gradually pour half of the salad oil into blender container (when necessary, stop blender and use rubber spatula to use rubber spatula to scrape down sides). Add lemon juice to mixture in blender container and slowly pour remainder of salad oil into blender container with the blender running slowly. Makes about 1 ¼ cups.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Threadbanger's Shirred Dress

If you have been tempted by this dress pattern but aren't sure of your shirring skills, Threadbanger has this video for you.


(image courtesy of the LOLCats).

Friday, October 24, 2008

Quote of the Day

"Many American ladies on leaving their native land adopt an appearance of chronic ill-health, under the impression that it is a form of European refinement, but Mrs. Otis had never fallen into this error. She had a magnificent constitution, and a really wonderful amount of animal spirits. Indeed, in many respects, she was quite English, and was an excellent example of the fact that we have really everything in common with America nowadays, except, of course, language."

(Oscar Wilde, The Canterville Ghost)

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Eternal Father, Strong to Save

"... forever, Amen. Hit the dirt."

Today is the Feast Day of St. John Compostela, the patron saint of military chaplains. I’m very fond of chaplains. They have always seemed to me both more open-minded and more worldly-wise than the civilian clergy. I’ve only ever met one that I wanted to smack, and twenty five years ago last month, the spousal unit and I were spliced by one of them (who must have been doing something right since we’re still together….).

(cartoon by Bill Mauldin)

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Knitting - a Baby Jacket from 1949

"Bows for Baby" is the name of this little jacket, from Modern Knitting, Fall Issue 1949. One page of instructions may be found on my Flickr account.

(Their recommendation? That modern miracle, washable and non-shrinking nylon yarn).

Monday, October 20, 2008

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Suited to a Tea

Stands the Church clock at ten to three
And is there honey yet for tea?

Dainty little sweet or savory finger sandwiches used to be a staple at every garden party, bridge club meeting, or afternoon tea. Very few people (in this country at least) make or serve them any more, and yet with some exceptions – I’m thinking of one I saw recently that called for prunes, mayonnaise, and salted peanuts – the kind of tea-sandwich recipes that Betty Crocker, Fanny Farmer, and Mary Meade published in their numerous cookbooks are delicious and still acceptable to 21st century palates.

21st century waistlines, maybe not so much, but of course any of these fillings could be made with Neufchatel or other lowfat cream cheese, or maybe even yogurt cheese. All of them are from Mary Meade’s Magic Recipes for the Osterizer, published in 1952 for those lucky enough to own that modern kitchen marvel, the blender.

I got my copy at a church thrift shop. Hand-written on the inside of the back cover is a recipe for “Bill Miller’s Drink” that calls for eight shots of whiskey. Ol’ Bill obviously wasn’t a Baptist.

Almond, Cheese and Marmalade Spread - Ladies’ Choice

1 3-oz package cream cheese, cut in pieces
½ cup orange marmalade
¼ cup salted almonds

Have cheese at room temperature. Blend until almonds are chopped fairly fine. Thin with milk or orange juice, if necessary. According to the author, “This one is nice for rolled tea-party sandwiches.”

Apricot Nut Spread – For Dainty Sandwiches

1 cup well-drained soaked dried apricots
¼ cup walnuts
¼ cup mayonnaise

Blend, leaving nuts chopped, not minced.

Maple Honey Butter – A Spread or a Sauce

½ cup honey
½ cup maple sirup
½ cup softened butter

Blend until smooth. Add pecans for Maple Honey Nut Butter.

Orange, Cheese and Pecan Filling – Fine For a Wedding Reception

1 cup pecans
¼ cup orange juice
outer peel of ½ orange, in strips
2 – 3 oz packages of cream cheese

Blend until well mixed and of fairly fine texture.

Walnut, Green Pepper and Cheese Spread – This Can Be Molded for a Party

1 green pepper, diced
½ cup walnuts
½ pound cream cheese, diced
¼ cup cream or milk
salt, pepper
dash Worcestershire sauce

Blend, leaving pepper and nuts in fine pieces. I think I would use a red bell pepper, and also white Worcestershire sauce instead of the dark stuff.

Tomato Cheese Spread – With Fresh Tomatoes

1 sliver garlic
2 ripe tomatoes, cut in pieces
½ pound cream cheese
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
½ teaspoon salt
Thin slice of a small onion

Blend until smooth. Again, I’d try the white Worcestershire sauce, and seeded Italian tomatoes. A beefsteak would make the spread just too juicy.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Overheard at the Hardware Store

"By God, if that !@$#^%Q!! wins, I'm moving to Canada!"

I wonder if Canadians get as sick as I do of hearing this every four years. My instinct is to fire back with "What makes you think that Canada will let you in?"


(photo from the LOLCats).

Friday, October 17, 2008

Quote of the Day

Congratulate yourselves if you have done something strange and extravagant and broken the monotony of a decorous age. Ralph Waldo Emerson

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Crochet-A Tablecloth in Filet and Embroidery

From Creative Hands, published by the Fratelli Fabri in the 1960's-1970's. Two pages of instructions for this pretty tablecloth can be found on my Flickr account.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Sunday, October 12, 2008

The $64,000 Question

Since we have two of these:

And two of these:

Why did I open a kitchen drawer this morning and find one of these?

We all know what goes on at those cocktail parties in suburbia, don't we?

A 1959 pamphlet from the General Mills company full of useful tips on entertaining such as "Just as in a drama, the opening act should be a teaser." Which, presumably, is why the hostess would offer her guests this appetizer.

Cock Kabobs (no, I am not making this up)

1 cup sifted Gold Medal flour
1/2 t. salt
1/3 cup shortening (add 1 T. if using hydrogenated)
1/4 cup finely grated American cheese
2 T. water
1" cubes of sausage (Vienna, salami, bologna)
tiny stuffed olives.

Heat oven to 476 degrees (very hot). Mix flour and salt. Cut in shortening. Blend in cheeses. Sprinkle with water, mix with fork. Round into ball. Roll 1/8" thick on lightly floured cloth-covered board. Cut into 1" rounds. Alternate with sausage cubes and olives on toothpick, kabob style. Lay on foil-covered baking sheet; bake 10 to 12 min., or until pastry is lightly browned. Serve with Hot Cocktail Sauce.

Hot Cocktail Sauce. Combine 1/2 cup chili sauce, 1/2 cup catsup, 3 T. prepared horse-radish, 1/2 t. Worcestershire sauce. Heat.

Saturday, October 11, 2008


(photo from the LOLCats).

Friday, October 10, 2008

Quote of the Day

Was worm
swaddled in white.

Now, tiny queen
in sequin coat
drinks the wind and feeds
on sweat of leaves.

Is little chinks
of mosaic floating,
a scatter of colored beads.

Alighting, pokes
with her new black wire,
the saffron yokes.

On silent hinges
open-folds her wings'
applauding hands.

from coddling white
to lake-deeep air,
to blue and green,
is queen.

May Swenson

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Free Things That Go Bump In The Night

A page of copyright-free Halloween clipart from Dover. If you are not already on their mailing list, consider a visit to and signing up. I get at least one batch each week of free samples from whichever books they are advertising. Today's offering included several sheets of Halloween images as well as some Japanese prints and three vintage illustrations from childrens' books, this one by Edwardian artist Mabel Lucie Atwell.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Sewing-a Nihon-Nekko Ornament

(And an exercise in patience. Hers or the cat's, I'm not sure which).

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Sewing-a Skirt from 1953

A skirt with four deep pleats from Smart Sewing, 6th Edition, 1953. Two pages of instructions for cutting and sewing are on my Flickr account.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Who Are These People and Why Are They All Getting Married?

I am off for my fourth wedding since June, this one in the Shenandoah valley. The young man involved is the brother of this bride, and of course inquiring minds want to know if the costume will make a re-appearance.

I don't think so. I've met his fiancee but once, and she impressed me as being a sweet, soft-spoken little thing (what tempted her to hook up with a gangly goofball like my nephew Bruce is the million-dollar question). However, she's a Virginian. My experience with Southern women is that there are things up with which they will not put, and I imagine a groom in a gorilla suit falls into that category.

But regardless of what the weekend brings, I will not be posting again until Tuesday.

Quote of the Day

"Another way in which words are wondrous is their meanings. Some of the strangest concepts can be expressed in a single English word. For example, the act of employing your fingers to help you count is called dactylonomy; if you urinate backwards you are retromingent; and if you call two people unasinous, you mean that they are equally stupid. The strangest single word that I'm aware of is spanghew, which apparently means to throw a frog into the air, a concept so weird that you wonder why anyone would ever feel the need to coin a word for it." Richard Watson Todd