Sunday, May 31, 2009

2 sick 2 post

Sinuses. Sry.

Saturday, May 30, 2009


(more LOLCats here).

Friday, May 29, 2009

Quote of the Day

Our God and soldier we alike adore.
Even at the brink of danger; not before;
After deliverance, both alike requited.
Our God's forgotten, and our soldiers slighted. ~ Frances Quarles

(photo courtesy of the Hoosier Veteran's Assistance Foundation).

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Be Careful What You Ask For

Three or four years ago a Springfield, Missouri klavern of the Ku Klux Klan filed a lawsuit to force that great state to allow them to participate in the Adopt-A-Highway program. Not permitting them to do so, they argued, was a violation of their First Amendment Rights. Eventually, they won their case, since the Constitution does in fact provide the same protection to inbred knuckle-dragging brachycephalic fruitcake pond scum troglodytes Klan members that is granted to more rational citizens.

They were given their assignment in January; a two-mile section of the Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel Memorial Highway.


Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Patterns of the Past-"Knit-o-Graf" Sweaters

From Smart Knitting, 1952. I think one of the mail-order needlework places still carries these, Mary Maxim's or Herrschner's, but would any children nowadays wear lambs and leprechauns to school?

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

My Birthday Present

(Maybe next year I'll get my tortilla press).

Knitting-A Child's Sports Cardigan from 1952

From Modern Needlecraft, Spring-Summer 1952 issue, a child's sports cardigan with jaunty contrast piping, perfect for cooler days at the beach. Instructions on my Flickr account.

Monday, May 25, 2009

What's Wrong With This Picture?

(image from

In the movie The Devil’s Brigade, William Holden plays the CO of a special forces regiment fighting in the European theater during WWII. At the time the film was made in 1968, Holden was fifty years old. Cliff Robertson plays Holden’s Canadian battalion commander, Major Alan Crown. Robertson was forty-five. Claude Akins, James Coburn and Richard Jaeckel, all in their forties, play privates in the film. Even young Andrew Prine (as opportunistic slacker Pvt Ransom) was thirty-two.

I’m bringing this up because I was reading the comments on this New York Times story and one writer was just about having a fit because Specialist Boyd is only nineteen years old. He is shocked…shocked… that there are American teenagers fighting overseas.

News flash, buddy: Old men make wars. Young men fight them.

You do the math.

Day 6 of Captivity

… tempers are fraying. Mild-mannered Reserve Cat took a swing at the Drama Queen yesterday and then chased her down the basement stairs, up over the back of the daybed, around the recliner and back up the stairs.

And this morning I was sitting at the computer when I heard a crash from the spare room. Her Majesty had pulled the window fan (which is set into a wooden frame, btw) out of the front window and was working on the screen.

We’re going to try aversion therapy. I have a squirt gun full of vinegar water and I’m not afraid to use it.

Vintage Book Cover-The Flag

The book is available on Project Gutenberg.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Good Things To Eat

The 1880’s in America were a time of fabulous fortunes won and lost in minutes, by men like Get-Rich-Quick Wallingford, Bet-a-Million Gates, Diamond Jim Brady and others with appetites to match their riches. Some of the best cooking in the country was found not in homes or restaurants, but in the private railroad cars owned by the millionaire magnates history has dubbed the robber barons. The kitchens on these cars made their reputations with staff that was always male and almost exclusively African-American.

One of these cooks was Rufus Estes, born a slave in Tennessee in 1857. After the Civil War Estes managed to attend school for a term, but soon had to quit and find work to support his family. When he was fifteen a Nashville restaurant owner offered him a job, and he began to learn the trade that was to make him famous.

In 1883 he was hired by the Pullman Car Company and spent the next fifteen years cooking for tycoons, Presidents, and celebrities like Adelina Patti and Ignace Paderewski. Estes traveled to the Far East as chef aboard a private yacht and later went to work for the president of the KC, Pittsburgh & Gould Railroad. When that company went into receivership in 1907, U.S. Steel Corporation hired him to run their corporate dining room in Chicago.

In 1911, he published his own cookbook, Good Things To Eat as Suggested by Rufus. This was the period when American kitchens were coming under siege from Miss Fanny Farmer and her Boston Cooking School cohorts, who were trying to win us over to a style of cuisine best categorized as “dainty” and exemplified by horrors like the banana-as-candle salad. By contrast, Estes’ cooking represents the best of turn of the century American food, drawn from his Southern roots and taking advantage of the bounties of farm and field. His recipes were written in a straightforward, business-like style and were meant for a cook who already knew her way around a stove. Here are a few of them (you can read the entire book on Michigan State University’s Feeding America website).

HINTS TO KITCHEN MAIDS. It is always necessary to keep your kitchen in the best condition.

Breakfast—If a percolator is used it should first be put into operation. If the breakfast consists of grapefruit, cereals, etc., your cereal should be the next article prepared. If there is no diningroom maid, you can then put your diningroom in order. If hot bread is to be served (including cakes) that is the next thing to be prepared. Your gas range is of course lighted, and your oven heated. Perhaps you have for breakfast poached eggs on toast, Deerfoot sausage or boiled ham. One of the above, with your other dishes, is enough for a person employed indoors.

When your breakfast gong is sounded put your biscuits, eggs, bread, etc., in the oven so that they may be ready to serve when the family have eaten their grapefruit and cereal.

Luncheon—This is the easiest meal of the three to prepare. Yesterday's dinner perhaps consisted of roast turkey, beef or lamb, and there is some meat left over; then pick out one of my receipts calling for minced or creamed meats; baked or stuffed potatoes are always nice, or there may be cold potatoes left over that can be mashed, made into cakes and fried.

Dinner—For a roast beef dinner serve vegetable soup as the first course, with a relish of vegetables in season and horseradish or chow-chow pickle, unless you serve salad. If quail or ducks are to be served for dinner, an old Indian dish, wild rice, is very desirable. Prepare this rice as follows: Place in a double boiler a cupful of milk or cream to each cupful of rice and add salt and pepper to taste. It requires a little longer to cook than the ordinary rice, but must not be stirred. If it becomes dry add a little milk from time to time.

Do not serve dishes at the same meal that conflict. For instance, if you have sliced tomatoes, do not serve tomato soup. If, however, you have potato soup, it would not be out of place to serve potatoes with your dinner.

Fish should never be served without a salad of some kind.

The above are merely suggestions that have been of material assistance to me.”

CHICKEN GUMBO, CREOLE STYLE. For about twelve or fifteen, one young hen chicken, half pound ham, quart fresh okra, three large tomatoes, two onions, one kernel garlic, one small red pepper, two tablespoons flour, three quarts boiling water, half pound butter, one bay leaf, pinch salt and cayenne pepper. To mix, mince your ham, put in the bottom of an iron kettle if preferred with the above ingredients except the chicken. Clean and cut your chicken up and put in separate saucepan with about a quart or more of water and teaspoonful of salt; set to the side of the fire for about an hour; skim when necessary. When the chicken is thoroughly done strip the meat from the bone and mix both together; just before serving add a quart of shrimps.

BRUNSWICK STEW. Cut up one chicken, preferably a good fat hen, cover with cold water, season with salt and pepper, and cook slowly until about half done. Add six ears of green corn, splitting through the kernels, one pint butter beans and six large tomatoes chopped fine. A little onion may be added if desired. Cook until the vegetables are thoroughly done, but very slowly, so as to avoid burning. Add strips of pastry for dumplings and cook five minutes. Fresh pork can be used in place of the chicken and canned vegetables instead of the fresh.

HAM CROQUETTES. Chop very fine one-fourth of a pound of ham; mix with it an equal quantity of boiled and mashed potatoes, two hard boiled eggs chopped, one tablespoonful chopped parsley. Season to taste. Then stir in the yolk of an egg. Flour the hands and shape the mixture into small balls. Fry in deep fat. Place on a dish, garnish with parsley and serve.

VIRGINIA STEW. A half grown chicken or two squirrels, one slice of salt pork, twelve large tomatoes, three cups of lima beans, one large onion, two large Irish potatoes, twelve ears of corn, one-fourth pound of butter, one-fourth pound of lard, one gallon of boiling water, two tablespoonfuls salt and pepper; mix as any ordinary soup and let it cook for a couple of hours or more, then serve.

CREAM DRESSING. Mix one-half level tablespoon each of salt and mustard, three-quarters level tablespoon of sugar, one egg slightly beaten, two and one-half tablespoons of melted butter, three-quarters cup of cream, and heat in a double boiler. When hot add very slowly one-quarter cup of hot vinegar, stirring all the time. When thickened strain and cool.

SALAD DRESSING. When making salad for a large family take quart bottle with a rather wide mouth, put in one-half cup of vinegar, one and one-half cups of olive oil, two level teaspoons of salt and one-half level teaspoon of pepper; cork the bottle tightly and shake vigorously until an emulsion is made. The proportion of vinegar may be larger if not very strong and more salt and pepper used if liked. Use from the bottle and shake well each time any is used.

KEDGEREE. For this take equal quantities of boiled fish and boiled rice. For a cupful each use two hard boiled eggs, a teaspoonful curry powder, two tablespoonfuls butter, a half tablespoonful cream, and salt, white pepper and cayenne to season. Take all the skin and bone from the fish and put in a saucepan with the butter. Add the rice and whites of the boiled eggs cut fine, the cream, curry powder and cayenne. Toss over the fire until very hot, then take up and pile on a hot dish. Rub the yolks of the boiled eggs through a sieve on top of the curry, and serve.

CHEESE RAMEKINS. Use two rounding tablespoons of grated cheese, a rounding tablespoon of butter, one-quarter cup of fine breadcrumbs, the same of milk, and a saltspoon each of mustard and salt, the yolk of one egg. Cook the crumbs in the milk until soft, add the stiffly beaten white of the egg. Fill china ramekins two-thirds full and bake five minutes. Serve immediately.

BEAUREGARD EGGS. Two level tablespoons butter, two level tablespoons flour, one-half level teaspoon salt, one cup milk, four hard-boiled eggs. Make a white sauce of the butter, flour, salt and milk, and add the whites of the eggs chopped fine. Cut buttered toast in pointed pieces and arrange on a hot plate to form daisy petals. Cover with the sauce and put the egg yolks through a ricer into the center.

CORN FRITTERS. Prepare four ears of fresh corn by removing the outer husks and silks; boil and then drain well. Cut the grains from the cobs and place in a bowl, season with salt and pepper, add one-fourth pound of sifted flour, two eggs and a half pint of cold milk. Stir vigorously, but do not beat, with a wooden spoon for five minutes, when it will be sufficiently firm; butter a frying-pan, place it on a fire, and with a ladle holding one gill put the mixture on the pan in twelve parts, being careful that they do not touch one another, and fry till of a good golden color, cooking for four or five minutes on each side. Dress them on a folded napkin, and serve.

CRISP WHITE CORNCAKE. Two cups scalded milk, one cup white cornmeal, two level teaspoons salt. Mix the salt and cornmeal and add gradually the hot milk. When well mixed, pour into a buttered dripping pan and bake in a moderate oven until crisp. Serve cut in squares. The mixture should not be more than one-fourth inch deep when poured into pan.

EGG BREAD. One pint of boiling water, half pint white cornmeal to teaspoon salt, two tablespoonfuls of butter, two eggs, one cup milk, bake in a moderate oven.

GREEN TOMATO PIE. Take green tomatoes not yet turned and peel and slice wafer thin. Fill a plate nearly full, add a tablespoonful vinegar and plenty of sugar, dot with bits of butter and flavor with nutmeg or lemon. Bake in one or two crusts as preferred.

APPLE SLUMP. Fill a deep baking dish with apples, pared, cored and sliced. Scatter on a little cinnamon and cover with good paste rolled a little thicker than for pie. Bake in a moderate oven until the apples are done, serve in the same dish, cutting the crust into several sections. Before cutting, the crust may be lifted and the apples seasoned with butter and sugar, or the seasoning may be added after serving. A liquid or a hard sauce may be served with the slump. If the apples are a kind that do not cook easily bake half an hour, then put on the crust and set back in the oven.

COFFEE CUP CUSTARD. One quart milk, one-fourth cup ground coffee, four eggs, one-half cup sugar, one-fourth level teaspoon salt, one-half teaspoon vanilla. Tie the coffee loosely in a piece of cheesecloth and put into double boiler with the milk. Scald until a good coffee color and flavor is obtained, then remove from the fire. Remove the coffee. Beat the eggs and add the sugar, salt and vanilla, then pour on gradually the milk. Strain into cups, place in a pan of hot water, and bake in a moderate oven until firm in the middle. Less vanilla is required when combined with another flavoring.

SUNSHINE CAKE. Cream one cup of butter, add two cups of sugar and beat, add one cup of milk, the yolks of eleven eggs beaten until very light and smooth, and three cups of flour sifted with four teaspoons of baking powder three times to make it very light. Turn into a tube baking pan and bake three-quarters of an hour in a moderate oven.

SOUR MILK DOUGHNUTS. Beat two eggs light, add one cup of sugar and beat, one-half cup of butter and lard mixed, and beat again. Stir one level teaspoon of soda into one pint of sour milk, add to the other ingredients and mix with enough sifted pastry flour to make a dough as soft as can be rolled. Take a part at a time, roll half an inch thick, cut in rings and fry. Use nutmeg, cinnamon, or any flavoring liked. These doughnuts are good for the picnic basket or to carry out to the boys at their camp.

SOFT GINGER COOKIES. Put a level teaspoon of soda in a measuring cup, add three tablespoons of boiling water, one-quarter cup of melted butter or lard, a saltspoon of salt, a level teaspoon of ginger, and enough sifted pastry flour to make a dough as soft as can be handled. Shape small bits of dough, lay in the greased baking pan and press out half an inch thick; bake carefully.”

(copyright-free vintage advertising cuts from Dover Publications).

Saturday, May 23, 2009


(This is actually from the LOLCats and is not Reserve Cat. Although I caught him on the dining-room table yesterday, scratching and biting his pretty new red harness).

Friday, May 22, 2009

Really Busted

This guy.

Quote of the Day

"It has always seemed strange to me,” said Doc. “The things we admire in men — kindness and generosity, openness, honesty, understanding, and feeling — are the concomitants of failure in our system. And those traits we detest — sharpness, greed, acquisitiveness, meanness, egotism, and self-interest — are the traits of success. And while men admire the quality of the first, they love the produce of the second.” ~John Steinbeck, Cannery Row

Thursday, May 21, 2009


The spousal unit took a bus-load of middle-schoolers up to Chicago today to see a (execrable) White Sox game, and guess what? He made the highlight reels for Fox Sports Chicago. When I saw him go head-first into the trough after that Twins homer I wasn't quite sure, but when they re-ran the video I confirmed it.

He was not wearing a hat. He sat in those bleachers all afternoon with no hat on. And I'll bet the farm no sun-block, either.

He'll be home in half an hour.

(picture from

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

House Arrest

There has been some recent unpleasantness in our immediate neighborhood (with which we, luckily, are not involved), and the village animal control officer tipped us off that one of the parties stands under suspicion of shooting at cats that trespass in his back yard. As of Sunday, ours are restricted to quarters until further notice.

You can imagine this has proved to be a very unpopular edict and one difficult to enforce. Reserve Cat has already escaped once (they double-teamed me at the front door when I went out to get the mail). Fortunately he is a sweet and trusting soul and allows himself to be captured by the promise of a belly-rub; since it is beyond his comprehension that humans are capable of any more lethal activity.

So far he seems to be adjusting better than the Drama Queen is. I don’t know how long cat memories are, but he did live in a shelter until he was four months old. Her Majesty, on the other hand, is used to coming and going as she pleases. She spent the first day glaring at me from the top drawer of my dresser. The second day she viciously attacked Babyface with no provocation—twice.

And today the sergeant of the guard burst in at 0630 to announce there was a perimeter security breach and someone had gone over the hill

Or more accurately, out the window. There was a tiny rip in the screen in one of the kitchen windows, and sometime last night the Drama Queen inserted her claws and enlarged the hole enough to get her pudgy little backside through. She was waiting on the porch when the spousal unit came back from walking the dogs this morning with a distinctly neener neener neener look on her face.

The spousal unit asked me to pick up a cat harness while I’m in town today. I can’t wait to see what happens next.

Patterns of the Past-Summer Togs

From the summer of 1915, Modern Priscilla patterns for children's clothes and a ladies' sports coat. I wonder where she would have been wearing that hat?

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

From Those Wonderful Folks Who Brought Us "An Engineer's Guide To Cats"

Advanced Cat Yodeling. Do not watch this at work.

Knitting-A Rootin' Tootin' Cardigan from 1951

This li'l fella, with his six-shooters and his authentic John Wayne hat, is wearing a cowboy cardigan knitted for him from Modern Needlecraft, Fall 1951. The instructions are on my Flickr account.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Vintage Advertising Cut-outs from Patricia

Patricia at Agence Eureka has a vintage cutout for canned milk products, complete with a pre-WWII cupboard and the cow's head, above, under the slogan A Cow In Every Cupboard.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Vintage Golf Clothing

FuzzyLizzie used the 20's golf vest pattern that I posted as one of the illustrations for her article on vintage golf clothing. Fun read and great pix, here.

In Spring a Young Man’s Fancy Lightly Turns to Thoughts of…Spinach?

THE SPRING MENU (by Mrs. Sarah Moore)

"It is no new idea that vegetables and fruits should form a much larger part of the spring menu than is the general practice in most homes. Of all early vegetables, spinach is the most valuable. It is one of the first in the garden or market and one of the cheapest. Spinach furnishes little bodily energy, it is true, but it is so exceptionally rich in iron and in vitamins that it is especially recommended for children, and invalids as well as persons in normal health. While it is very easy to cook, most housewives do not serve it as often as they should. It is such a nuisance to prepare because it takes so much washing to free it from sand and grit. Now I find it easier and quicker to wash spinach in two pans than by the usual method of rinsing it in one. Cut off the roots, break the leaves apart and drop them into a big pan of water, rinse well and lift into a second pan of water. Do not pour off the first water over the spinach, or the dirt that has just been washed off will sift back over the leaves again. Continue washing first in one pan and then in another until there is not a trace of sand on the bottom of the pan. The number of times this will have to be done depends entirely on the original condition of the spinach.

Simple Dinner Menus for Spring

Cream of Onion Soup
Meat and Vegetable Pot-Pie
New Potatoes
Rhubarb Tapioca

Pea Soup
Spinach and Poached Eggs, or Spinach a la Marguerite with Bacon
Macaroni and Cheese
Rhubarb Pudding

Tomato Soup
Lamb Pot-Pie, Fried Potatoes
Dandelion Greens
Rhubarb Mince Pie

Potato Soup
Cheese Omelet
Dandelion Stew
Strawberry Pie

Steamed Cod with Egg Sauce
Boiled Potatoes
Italian Spinach
Baked Milk Toast with Strawberries

Stuffed Small Fish
Creamed Potatoes
Spinach with Egg Garnish
Strawberry Sponge

Broiled Haburg Steak
New Potatoes and Green Peas
Dandelion Salad
Strawberry Baskets

Spinach Cooked Without Water. Fresh young spinach when washed will hold enough water to cook it in. Put the spinach in a tightly covered saucepan and cook for ten minutes. Press down and turn the spinach over several times during the process. Then turn the spinach into a chopping bowl and chop rather fine. Return to saucepan and add for every half peck of spinach two heaping tablespoonfuls of butter and a teaspoonful of salt and half a tablespoonful of vinegar also if desired. Then simmer for five minutes longer and serve. Spinach cooked in this way retains all its useful vegetable-salts and the flavor will be much better than when boiled in water. But when spinach is old and somewhat tough it needs to be cooked longer and so must have water put with it to keep from burning.

Spinach a la Marguerite. Cook spinach in its own juice, chop, season, and pile in a mound in the center of a platter. Decorate with hard-boiled eggs with the white cut in strips and arranged around the yolk like the petals of a daisy. Fry slices of bacon very crisp, and arrange around the edges of the platter.

Stuffed Small Fish. Clean and remove backbone from six small fish (porgies, butterfish, scup, trout, pickerel, etc. can be served in this way). Stuff them with breadcrumbs seasoned with salt, pepper, thyme, sage and chopped onion, moisten dressing with melted butter. Tie each fish or skewer with a steel skewer to hold it together. Cover with bits of butter and roast in the oven. Serve on platter decorated with parsley.

Spinach with Poached Eggs. Dandelion or beet-greens can also be served in this way. Boil and chop as usual, season with salt, pepper and vinegar and reheat, press into a dish and then invert this over a hot platter. Poach four or five eggs and place on top of spinach. The dish is used for a mold to give shape to the spinach.

Italian Spinach. Take enough cold boiled and well chopped spinach to fill a baking-dish. This is a delicious receipt for using cold spinach left from the day before. Season the spinach well with salt and pepper and a very little lemon-juice or vinegar. Place in the baking-dish and pour over it a sauce made from one cupful of milk, one tablespoonful of flour, one tablespoonful of butter and three tablespoonfuls of grated cheese, a pinch of salt and a dash of pepper. Cover the top with buttered crumbs and place in the oven until the top is brown.

Shad-Roe and Cucumber Salad. Salt well one quart of boiling water, add two tablespoonfuls of vinegar, drop a good-sized shad-roe in this and simmer slowly from twenty minutes to half an hour, then drain and let cool. When the fish is cold, cut in small squares or thick slices, pour a little French dressing over this. When ready to serve, peel and slice a cucumber that has been kept on ice or in a cold place until crisp. Arrange this on lettuce-leaves and pile to shad-roe in the center of the dish and pour over it a little mayonnaise-dressing. This salad is also very good without the mayonnaise. Canned salmon or tuna-fish can also be used for this salad.

French Dressing. There are different ways of making this, but one of the simplest and best is to take two tablespoonfuls of salad-oil, stir in one scant tablespoonful of vinegar, more or less according to strength, add a saltspoonful of salt and a good dash of pepper (if red pepper is used be careful not to get in too much). If this rule is too sour for you, use less vinegar. Lemon-juice can be substituted for the vinegar, if preferred.

Strawberry Baskets. This is a very simple yet exceeding pretty way of serving strawberries and cream. The idea is a good one for strawberry-festivals, etc. Make some cup-cakes from your favorite receipt. When cold cut them in two crosswise and place the top piece bottom up on a dish and cut the lower section straight down in two portions. Whip and sweeten the desired quantity of cream. Place the small cut pieces of cake on top of the larger piece and fill between and around them with strawberries, partially covered with whipped cream.

Strawberry Sponge. One box of strawberries washed carefully, half a cupful of sugar sprinkled over them and then the berries mashed and rubbed through a sieve. Soak two tablespoonfuls of gelatine in half a cupful of water until dissolved, boil half a cupful of sugar and one cupful of water to a syrup, add to gelatine, and cool. Add juice of half a lemon, berry-pulp and the white of three eggs beaten very stiff, beat all together until it begins to thicken, pour into a mold or glass dish and set in the refrigerator until hard. Serve with whipped or plain cream.

Rhubarb Pudding. This is best made of the red-skinned rhubarb that comes earliest in the spring. Wash but do not peel this rhubarb unless it is big and coarse, cut it into half-inch pieces – there should be enough to fill two cups. Take the same quantity of stale bread cut into dice, and sprinkle a layer of this in the bottom of a baking-dish and sprinkle little bits of butter over it, over this place a layer of the rhubarb and sprinkle lavishly with sugar and grate a little nutmeg on it, then another layer of bread and bits of butter or substitute, and so on until the dish is filled to the top, having the top layer bread. Separate two eggs, beat yolks, add one half cupful of sugar and two cupfuls of milk and pour over pudding. Bake slowly one hour. When the pudding is done, beat the white of eggs, add two tablespoonfuls of sugar and brown in the oven.

Strawberry Pie. Make a rich pie-crust and line a pie-plate with it and bake in a quick oven. When done fill with strawberries that have been cut in half and well-sugared. Beat the white of two eggs very stiff, add two tablespoonfuls of sugar, spread over the pie and brown in the oven. This pie is delicious served either hot or cold. If preferred, the strawberries can be baked between two crusts in the usual way and the pie served with cream.

Rhubarb Mince Pie. Take enough rhubarb to jmake two cupfuls when finele chopped, mix with this three large soda-crackers rolled fine, half a teaspoonful of salt and one cupful of sugar and one tablespoonful of butter. This is enough for three small pies. When each pie-dish is filled add a tablespoonful of water before putting on the crust.

Mint Potatoes. A sprig of fresh mint put in the kettle while boiling new potatoes gives them a very refreshing flavor.

Strawberry Tapioca. Soak two-thirds of a cupful of pearl tapioca overnight in enough water to cover, or use minute tapioca that needs no soaking. Put in a double boiler and add half a teaspoonful of salt and two and one-quarter cupfuls of boiling water and cook until the water is all absorbed. Then add two cupfuls of strawberries or other fruit (fresh or canned) and cook until the tapioca is transparent and the fruit soft. Serve with cream or milk or strawberry-sauce.

Strawberry-Sauce. This sauce can be used for all sorts of puddings, boiled rice, etc. Put three tablespoonfuls of butter in a hot bowl and work until creamy, add slowly, while stirring, one cupful of confectioner’s sugar. Take two-thirds of a cupful of strawberries and add to the sugar and butter one at a time, beating until all are well blended. If the strawberries are added two fast the sauce will look curdled. Serve on a glass dish.

Baked Milk Toast With Strawberries. Cut slices of bread medium thick, trim off the crusts, toast it light-brown on both sides and then butter it. Lay the slices in an oven-glass dish or baking-dish in which it is to be served, sprinkling each slice with a little powdered sugar. Pour over this as much milk as the dish will hold. Cover and bake in the oven for twenty minutes. Have ready two or three cupfuls of strawberries (according to the size of the dish of toast), mash them slightly and sweeten with sugar. When the toast comes from the oven, put the strawberries between the slices. Decorate the top with whole strawberries and serve at once. Try this and see how good it is. If you can use thin cream instead of milk, the dish will be all the better."

(from Needlecraft, May 1922).

Saturday, May 16, 2009

So, I'm Not Martha

But how can you go wrong with irises, honeysuckle, and lilies of the valley?


see more crazy cat pics

Friday, May 15, 2009

Quote of the Day

The most affectionate creature in the world is a wet dog. ~Ambrose Bierce

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Patterns of the Past-Nylon Sweater Blouses

In 1950, four dollars not only bought you the pattern, but enough yarn (your choice of nylon, wool zephyr, or "crepe velene") to complete this sweater blouse, as advertised in McCall's Needlework & Crafts.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Vintage Paper Crafts-Crepe Paper Costumes

The last of the selections I'm going to post from an undated 1950's booklet, Paper Arts and Crafts for Teachers and Group Leaders, published by the Dennison Crepe Paper Company. Left-click to enlarge, or go to my Flickr account to download.

Four pages of general instructions for working with crepe paper are here.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Vintage Book Illustrations-Robin Hood

Illustrated by N.C. Wyeth, and it can be downloaded free from Project Gutenberg.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

All Your Britches

...are belong to us.

Strawberry Fields Forever

Once upon a time, before distributors figured out how to import South American fruit year-round, strawberries were a special and seasonal treat. They would start to appear in the market in the middle of May and last until the end of June. Since my frugal mother could only give us desserts on our birthdays, and since my birthday is in May, I always asked for strawberry shortcake.

Shortcakes on a Midwestern table are simply rich baking-powder biscuits, covered with fruit and whipped cream. These biscuits are from a great website called Mennonite Girls Can Cook (who would ever question that?) and they are the real deal.


2 ¾ c. flour
¾ t. salt
4 t. baking powder
¼ c. lard or butter
1 c. heavy cream
2 eggs

Preheat the oven to 400º. Mix the dry ingredients and cut in the lard or butter until it is the size of frozen peas. Make a well in the mixture and add the eggs that have been lightly beaten with the cream. Stir together just until the dough comes together. Quick bread dough toughens if you handle it too much, so be careful.

Pat out the dough to ¾ inch thickness and cut out with a round cookie or biscuit cutter. Place on a baking sheet, and bake for 15 minutes or until the tops are golden.

Split the biscuits open and spoon a generous amount of sliced, sweetened strawberries over them. Garnish the berries with whipped cream.

(Another delicious, but very different version of biscuits, can be found at Southern Plate).

I have met deluded people who believe that strawberry shortcake is made with angel food cake, not biscuits. They are welcome to this particular recipe, which I have not made but comes from a WWI-era cookbook called Mary At The Farm, and can be found at the Michigan State University’s online historic cookbook library.

Aunt Sarah’s Angel Cake

“When preparing a dish calling for yolks of eggs only, place the white of eggs not use in a glass jar in a cold place or on ice. When you have saved one cupful bake an angel cake over the following recipe.

One heaping cup of pulverized sugar sifted 8 times. One cup of a mixture of pastry flour and corn starch (equal parts) also sifted 8 times. The whole then sifted together 4 times. The one cupful of white of eggs beaten very stiff. When about half beaten, sprinkle over the partly beaten eggs one scant teaspoonful of cream of tartar, then finish beating the whites of eggs. Flavor with almond or vanilla. Then carefully sift into the stiffly beaten whites of eggs sugar, flour and corn starch. Fold into the whites of eggs rather than stir. Bake in a very moderate oven, one in which the hand might be held without inconvenience while counting one hundred. The oven should be just hot enough for one to know there was fire in the range. Bake slowly for about 55 minutes.”

For something richer and a bit fancier, for a special Mother’s Day meal, perhaps, there is coeur a la crème. I suppose there is no reason not to eat this in the middle of the winter with canned or frozen fruit, but it’s an excuse to buy strawberries in season (not that I have ever needed an excuse). I don’t have the proper French mold for this but I do have a smallish round plastic colander that works just as well. If you have a metal mold to spare and want to dedicate it to coeur making, you could pound drainage holes in it with a hammer and a sixteen-penny nail.

Coeur a la Crème

2 eight-oz packages cream cheese, softened
1 cup sour cream

Beat together the cream cheese and the sour cream, thinning it with a teaspoon or so of cream if it is too stiff. Line your mold with cheesecloth, rinsed out in ice water and wrung out almost dry. Press the cream cheese mixture into the mold, cover and place over a bowl to drain. Refrigerate until quite cold, several hours. When it is ready, unmold onto a chilled serving dish and serve with strawberries cleaned and tossed with a few teaspoons of sugar.

This recipe is from James Beard’s Menus for Entertaining. Note there is no sugar added to the cream cheese mixture because Beard is a purist. If this seems a little plain to you, beat ½ cup of confectioner’s sugar and a teaspoon of vanilla extract or grated lemon peel into the cream cheese/sour cream. The coeur is not supposed to be very sweet; it gets that from the berries, and Beard recommends it be served with French bread or brioche.

And of course there is my favorite way to eat strawberries, which is standing over the kitchen sink with a knife in one hand and a towel tucked into the front of my shirt.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Just when you thought it was safe to go back on the Internet

If you hated the Hamsterdance, for God's sake don't go here.


Happy Muvr's Day!
see more Lolcats and funny pictures

Friday, May 8, 2009

Alarums and Diversions

The laundromat caught fire this afternoon. Of course, by the time the volunteer fire department got there one of the bank tellers and the guy who owns the welding shop had raced over with fire extinguishers and put it out.

Quote of the Day

Why? Why were most big things unladylike? Charlotte had once explained to her why. It was not that ladies were inferior to men; it was that they were different. Their mission was to inspire others to achievement rather than to achieve themselves. Indirectly, by means of tact and a spotless name, a lady could accomplish much. But if she rushed into the fray herself she would be first censured, then despised, and finally ignored. Poems had been written to illustrate this point. ~ E.M. Forster, A Room With A View

(print from голова at Pattern Recognition).

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Har de Har Har

Very funny. Don't give up your day job, toots.

Patterns of the Past-Practical Playtime Garments

From Needlecraft magazine, June 1915. I like the cut-in-one collar on the right. And yes, that is a little boy wearing Mary Janes.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009


The lady across the street, as it turns out, is the owner of Evil Stranger Cat. She has been calling for him all evening, and I've been watching him toy with her. She'll come to the front porch and call, and he'll whisk around the corner and conceal himself in the bushes. She then goes to the back door to call, and he hops back up on the front porch.

Vintage Paper Crafts-Wigs and Hats for School Plays

From Paper Arts and Crafts for Teachers and Group Leaders, published sometime in the 1950's by the manufacturers of Dennison crepe paper. Left-click to enlarge, or these pages can be downloaded from my Flickr account.

Four pages of general instructions on using Dennison's crepe paper are here.

This is the second page of the menagerie that I posted about here (but forgot to include the second page). It's now on my Flickr page, as well.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Word of the Day-Bask

Pronunciation: \ˈbask\
Function: verb
Etymology: Middle English, probably from Old Norse bathask, reflexive of batha to bathe; akin to Old English bæth bath
Date: 14th century

1: to lie or relax in a pleasant warmth or atmosphere
2: to take pleasure or derive enjoyment
(See also cat).

Prairie Ghost