Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Bah, Humbug

The world is too much with me right now, so if no one minds I'm suspending blogging until the New Year.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

What's In A Name?

A “salad” recipe from my 1936 Detroit Times cookbook (as I have pointed out before—and been resoundingly contradicted but I stand by my statement—in the American South and Midwest, gelatin was and is technically a vegetable). It’s part of a Sunday dinner that includes squash soup, cheese rolls, corn custard, and roast beef with browned potatoes. The sort of light after-church repast that leaves everyone snoozing until suppertime. Note the seeded grapes. Does anyone, even Martha Stewart, bother to seed grapes anymore?

Ginger Ale Salad

¾ cup diced canned pineapple
¾ cup chopped grape-fruit pulp
1/3 cup blanched shredded almonds
¼ cup seeded Malaga grapes
1 cup ginger ale
2 tablespoons granulated gelatin
1/3 cup cold water
Few grains salt
Few grains paprika

“Soak the gelatin in the cold water for five minutes, then dissolve it over hot water. Add one-fourth cup of the ginger ale. Combine the diced pineapple, grape-fruit pulp, Malaga grapes, shredded almods, salt and pepper and then add the remaining three-fourths cup of ginger ale. Add the gelatin mixture, stir thoroughly and pour into individual molds which have been dipped in and out of cold water. Chill thoroughly, unmold and serve on lettuce leaves, garnished with mayonnaise. Serves six.”

Of course, if you combine the fruits with the gelatin before that mixture has congealed to the texture of egg whites, it’s all going to sink to the bottom of the mold. Oh well, perhaps that was the intended effect.

Saturday, December 25, 2010


Friday, December 24, 2010

Quote of the Day

He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end. (Luke 1:32-33).

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Look Ma, No Hands

So after beating the knuckles on my right hand all sore last weekend, what did I do tonight? As I was putting some wood into the stove I managed to slip and place my left hand, thumb downwards, onto a live coal. And because of the way I fell, they stayed in contact for several seconds (while I yipped like a coyote).

For someone who makes a living pounding a keyboard, I’m awful careless with my equipment.

The Online Bookshelf - Rick and Ruddy

A nostalgic read for the Christmas weekend. Definitely for the youngsters, from Project Gutenberg.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Patterns of the Past - McCall's Cutwork

McCall's 4940 and yes, I own this one (not that I'll ever use it; the thought of all that satin stitch makes my fingers hurt).

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Virtue Never Goes Unpunished

I nominated one of my team for Big Flat County Health Department Employee of the Year, and wrote an absolutely magnificent (if I do say so myself) citation for her.

I just found out that I was nominated for Employee of the Year, too. I lost. To my team member.

There’s a lesson here somewhere, if I can just figure out what it is.

Knitting - 2 Needle Mittens from Purple Kitty

And you may even have time to make a pair or two before Christmas.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Oh, The Weather Outside Is Frightful

Appearance of tomorrow's post is going to hinge on how much more sleet we get, I'm afraid. I can't believe we haven't lost power yet.

More Christmas Clipart

From Dover Publications.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Beans, Beans, The Wonderful Fruit

Another promotional cookbook from a manufacturer of new and improved pots and pans. By using Guardian products and methods, the homemaker was guaranteed to save time, effort and money while still producing delicious meals. The illustrations place it in the late 1940’s, which would be about the time American industry had re-tooled from defense products and was going after the domestic market again. Guardian pots and pans could be used either in or on top of the stove.

This recipe for baked beans is intended for the stovetop. I’ve seen the trick of placing the whole onion in the center of the beans, in other recipes. They don’t say so here, but I assume that the onion would be peeled, first.

The utensil used would be the Casserole Tureen, a sort of double boiler with an inner and outer unit.

Baked Beans

Time: 4-6 hours (serves 8 to 10)

1 qt Navy Beans
¾ lb. salt pork, sliced
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp dry mustard
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup molasses
1 whole onion

Wash and pick over beans, cover with cold water, soak over night. Pour into unit, add more water to cover, if necessary. Cover unit, simmer over low heat about 30 minutes or until skins crack when beans are lifted from water.

Scald pork, scrape it well, cut thru rind in several places. Cover bottom of Inner Unit with pork slices, then alternate layers of beans and pork.

Add seasonings, molasses and brown sugar to cooking water (about 3 cups) and add to beans. Put whole onion in center, if desired.

Combine unites, bake 10 minutes over high heat, then reduce heat to low. If beans are more moist than desired remove cover during last 20 minutes of baking period. Add 1 cup tomato ketchup, if you like a tomato flavor. Then use ¾ cup less bean liquid.

Maybe I Should Stop Watching Laramie Just Before Bedtime

The knuckles on my right hand are bruised and swollen this morning. The question is, what/who was I punching?

Saturday, December 18, 2010


Thursday, December 16, 2010

There’s A Lot To Be Said For Monogamy

I caught a ride to a training session today with two nurses from the STD clinic. I now know more than I ever really wanted to about syphilis.

The Online Bookshelf - Caldecott's Picture Book No. 2

By Randolph Caldecott and published by Frederick Warne & Co. May be downloaded from Project Gutenberg.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

My Mamma Didn't Raise No Dummies

Me: You're looking at the new Secretary of the Big Flat County Disaster Council.

He: Congratulations--I guess. Why are you the new Secretary?

Me: Because I did not want to be Vice President.

Knitting - A Cozy 1948 BedJacket

A raglan bedjacket from Modern Knitting, 1948, with the yoke knitted in what appears to be a variation of blackberry stitch. Full instructions can be downloaded from my Flickr account.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Sunday, December 12, 2010

It's Always Been A Favorite

Quite possibly the most swashbuckling version I've ever heard.

I Guess Hell Has Frozen Over, Too

There can be no other explanation.

Further Signs that the Apocalypse is Upon Us

An aviator is the new Marine Corps Commandant, breaking a tradition of infantrymen as CMC dating back to…forever.

(It looks like the new Assistant Commandant is a guy I knew in Okinawa when he was the senior III MEF aide, twenty-odd years ago. I don’t think he was the one who rode a motorcycle through the officer’s club at Camp Courtney, but he was pretty goofy).

The Cranberrinator

A small promotional cookbook for Eatmor Cranberries, available from Project Gutenberg. Who knew that cranberries had biceps?

Friday, December 10, 2010

Quote of the Day

High on the list of things you will never hear a Southerner say; "I believe you cooked those green beans too long." ~ John McIntyre

Photo: BellaOnline.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

The Online Bookshelf - The Princess and the Goblin

By George MacDonald and with lovely illustrations by Jessie Wilxcox Smith. From Project Gutenberg.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

They Know Me So Well

The boss & I went to a local Chinese place for lunch today, and I brought the little message from my fortune cookie back to show the Things.

"You need to show more tenderness and less aggressiveness."

They both cracked up.

Patterns of the Past - For the Over 40 Crowd

From Smart Knitting, 1953. I wonder if the over 40 label means size or age?

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

It's War To The Knife

Our public affairs officer has been playing, in the office next to mine, a selection of Christmas music that includes this.

Tomorrow I am bringing in the CD someone gave me last year with the bagpipe version of “Angels From The Realms of Glory”.

Crochet - Some Christmas Gifts from 1948

From Modern Knitting, 1948. Right-click to enlarge, or go to my Flickr account to download.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Vintage Images - More Angels

Copyright-free, from Dover.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

"What Kind of a Party Shall I Give?"

An advertising pamphlet for Keith’s Bread, issued in 1939 by the Quality Bakers of America. The recipes, as might be expected, lean heavily toward sandwiches. Here are some suggestions for a bridge party that will include the menfolk, thereby mandating the presence of something more substantial than cucumber and chicken salad.

Three-Decker Sandwich

18 slices buttered toast
2/3 cup mayonnaise
12 slices cooked chicken
12 strips crisp bacon
4 medium tomatoes
Salt and pepper

Place a piece of lettuce on a slice of buttered toast. Spread lightly with mayonnaise and arrange slices of chicken on it. Cover with another piece of toast. Place lettuce, mayonnaise, bacon, and thin slices of tomato on this. Season with salt and pepper. Cover with third piece of toast. Trim crusts and cut in triangles or finger strips. May be garnished with radishes, pimiento, green pepper, or olives. Makes six club sandwiches.

Cheese Marmalade

1 loaf bread
½ cup orange marmalade
1/3 cup grated American cheese

Spread thin slices of bread lightly with butter. Soften cheese and blend with just enough mayonnaise to moisten. Work smooth. Spread 1 slice of bre3ad with cheese and another with orange marmalade. Put slices together and chill. Cut into tiny finger sandwiches if desired. Makes approximately ten whole sandwiches.

Moscow Canapes

Slice off the bottom of a round rye loaf and slice the loaf into large circles. On each round slice, place a circle of caviar in the center, then a circle of chopped egg moistened with mayonnaise, then strips of smoked salmon. Cut in sections like a pie and serve.

Boston Bean Sandwiches

Mix ½ cup grated cheese, 1 can Boston baked beans, 1 c up white sauce. Heat in a pan until the cheese melts. Serve on portions of toast as open sandwiches.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Just Because


And in breaking news, it started snowing before I left work last night and it is still snowing. It's looking very seasonal out but I'm glad I have no plans to go anywhere.

Friday, December 3, 2010

At Least They Aren’t Anatomically Correct

My counterpart in another county, due to storage limitations, has stacked in her office two boxes clearly marked “Inflatable Life-Sized Rubber Dolls.” She says she can’t wait for the mass casualty exercise so she can get rid of the damn things and the ribald comments from co-workers will stop.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

The Revenge of the Queen

Her Majesty and Funnyface have been sparring, and she is completely covered, soaked, in dog spit. I have been laughing at her.

She just jumped up in my lap.

She Cringes When She Sees Us Coming

Thing 1 and I have invaded the finance administrator's office to find out if we can spend county money on a Santa Claus costume.

She (covering her face with her hands): Why don't you two ever ask for anything normal?

The Online Bookshelf - More Celtic Fairy Tales

By Joseph Jacobs, and with some very Beardsley-like black and white illustrations by John D. Batten. From Project Gutenberg.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Patterns of the Past - It's Deja Vu All Over Again

Have I posted this before? Because that dressing gown looks familiar. From Workbasket magazine, November 1950.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Tatting - A Collar from 1950

From Workbasket magazine, November 1950. Two pages of instructions (and advertisements) on my Flickr account. Even if you weren't interested in the collar (and I'm not), that's a nice holiday motif for a snowflake ornament.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Nothing Like This Ever Happens When I Go Shopping

This is now officially my second favorite version.

Vintage Images - Christmas

It's almost December, so here are some holiday cards from Dover.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

A Tale of Two Sundays - December

No fancy holiday dinner here, just homey Sunday fare for 1927 – Boiled Chicken with Egg and Parsley Sauce, Boiled Rice, Mashed Carrots, Escalloped Tomatoes, Waldorf Salad, Date Muffins, Orange Pudding, and Coffee.

Two desserts seemed to be the norm for Sundays in 1927; of course, the leftovers could have formed the basis of Monday’s breakfast, Monday always being the kind of day where things are rushed and time is short. The remains of the boiled chicken undoubtedly wound up in some kind of casserole on Monday night. The recipe for boiled rice is not as bad as some from that era, it only calls for 20 minutes of steady boiling. When did this country stop cooking starches to death, I wonder—my Detroit Times cookbook instructs me to boil macaroni for 40 minutes, for example.

The orange pudding looks tasty and cheap; a sort of orange-flavored bread pudding calling for breadcrumbs, one orange and one egg.

Orange Pudding. Cover 1 cup bread crumbs with 1 pint milk and let stand until milk is absorbed, then add ½ cup sugar, the yolk of 1 egg, and the grated rind of an orange. Turn into buttered baking dish and bake for 1 hour in moderate oven. Remove from oven, turn over pudding the strained juice of 1 orange, and a meringue made with the egg white beaten with 3 tablespoons confectioner’s sugar. Return to oven to brown the meringue.

The 1953 cook was more ambitious, serving her family Tomato Bouillon, Roast Ribs of Beef, Yorkshire Pudding, Lyonnaise Carrots, Celery Cabbage Salad, and a Jellied Plum Pudding. I can’t find the Jellied Plum Pudding in any of my Culinary Institute pamphlets, but here’s Plum Fluff, a simple dessert from a time when no one worried about eating uncooked egg whites.

Plum Fluff

1 #2 ½ can plums (about 16 oz)
1 T. lemon juice
2 egg whites
4 T. confectioner’s sugar
1 cup heavy cream, whipped

Drain plums, remove pits and mash plums with fork; add lemon juice. Beat egg whites until stiff; beat sugar in gradually. Fold whipped cream and plums into meringue. Chill about 1 hour.

Saturday, November 27, 2010


Friday, November 26, 2010

Quote of the Day

Speak your mind, but ride a fast horse. ~ old cowboy saying.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

"With signs and wonders, and with divers miracles..."

The Lions are beating the Patriots.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

'Tis The Season To Live Dangerously

I can't get today's Pattern of the Past to load, so here's a silly cat video.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Knitting - A Blouse in Larger Sizes from 1953

From Smart Knitting and Needlecraft, 1953, a knitted blouse in those hard to find larger sizes. Instructions on my Flickr account.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Vintage Images - Thanksgiving

Some black and white Thanksgiving advertising cuts, copyright-free from the nice folks at Dover.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

La Patronne Ne Mange Pas Ici, Part Deux

There's a plastic squeeze bottle labeled "Fox Urine" on the kitchen counter.

They Also Serve

Last week’s post stirred up a number of comments on the presence, or absence, of hired help in American homes during the first half of the 20th century. At least judging from the tone of my pre-1960 cookbooks, the expectation was that a middle-class family could afford full or part-time help, particularly for parties. And although cookbooks do tend to present the ideal as opposed to the attainable, a sober look at economics supports this assumption. Particularly in regions where there was a large, undereducated and disenfranchised demographic (such as African-Americans in the South, Irish in the Northeast, and Hispanics in the Southwest), one of the few—if not only—employment opportunities for women lay in domestic service.

This is still true. When I was a first lieutenant, stationed in California in the mid-1980’s, even on my pay I could afford the services of a nice lady named Mrs. Lopez who sent someone over every Monday to clean our house (I was with the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing at that time and our CG, General Comfort—grossly misnamed, that man—firmly believed that we should spend at least 3 weeks out of every month living in tents way out in the High Mojave desert and bombing the hell out of the local real estate. I would come home, do laundry, and head back out again. It cured me forever of my former fondness for camping). It never occurred to me that I should check Mrs. Lopez’ citizenship, so it’s probably a good thing I have no plans to run for public office.

Currently, the domestic and kitchen staffs at the nursing home that shelters my father are made up entirely of recent emigrants from the Balkans and the Middle East. When their English gets better and their prospects improve, they’ll move on to less exhausting and more remunerative occupations. In the meantime, I must say that I’m very grateful to them. They take much better care of him than I could.

Looking at my 1955 copy of The Supermarket Cookbook, I find an entire section of menus for entertaining that take the servant question into account. These are all for ladies’ luncheons, but I'll admit that the spousal unit would be lucky to get this kind of cooking for dinner.


Deviled Crabs, Potato Chips
Hot Rolls
Mixed Green Salad
Wine Jelly, Whipped Cream

Jellied Consommé
Carrot strips, Gherkins
Chicken Mousse with Green Salad
Melba Toast
Canned Cherries and Whole Apricots

Broiled Grapefruit
Stuffed Celery, Olives
Noodle Ring with Creamed Mushrooms
Lettuce with Tomato Dressing
Sponge Cake with Butterscotch Sauce


Hot Mushroom Canapés, Relishes
Cheese Soufflé
Spinach with Rice, Corn Sticks
Mixed Green Salad
Melons filled with Berries

Consommé Bellevue
Che-Braz*, Relishes
Broiled Chops
Potatoes Hashed in Cream
Artichokes with Vinaigrette Sauce
Hot Rolls
Orange Soufflé

(*Che-Braz are a hot hors-d’oeuvre made of grated cheese and chopped Brazil nuts. I’ll spare you the recipe).

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Bill Mauldin Was Right

Earlier this week a couple of Darwin Award candidates took it upon themselves to assault three nicely dressed gentlemen (one of them in a wheelchair) on a street in London. Pity those suit-and-tie clad sissies were, respectively, a Royal Marine, a British Army captain, and a member of the SAS, returning from a reception in their honor at Buckingham Palace.

Why is there never an anonymous bystander with a camera around when you need one? I’d pay money for that video.

(h/t to Popehat).


Friday, November 19, 2010

I Should Be So Lucky

Me: Are we having server issues? I haven't gotten a single email since yesterday afternoon.

Departmental IT Functionary: Maybe no one wants to talk to you.

Quote of the Day

Do well and you will have no need for ancestors. ~ Voltaire

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Damn those Pilgrim Fathers

I have a quarterly report due at the end of the month to the agency that funds 49% of my operating budget. I was just patting myself on the back for having all next week to finish it when it dawned on me that it's a short week due to Thanksgiving. Arrrghh.

The Online Bookshelf - Her Letter

A romance in rhyme, with wonderful faux ante-bellum illustrations. At Project Gutenberg.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Prisoner of Love

Explanatory note: Thing One is twenty-two years old, has big brown eyes and curly dark hair, and is cute as a bug.

Me: Where have you been all afternoon?

Thing One: One of the sanitarians took me over to the county jail to do a kitchen inspection.

Thing Two: I see they let you back out.

Me: Maybe we should dust him for fingerprints.

Knitting - A "Modern Blouse" from 1948

A blouse knitted in grey with red triangles, from Modern Knitting, 1948. Instructions on my Flickr account.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Better Late Than Whenever

I've been trying to upload this week's vintage project and something is sticking, so I'm going to bed. I'll try again tomorrow.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Conversation Stopper

Thing Two: (tripping over a big cardboard box on the floor of my office)What's this?

Me: Condoms.

Vintage Catalog Cuts - Men's Clothing

1930's catalog illustrations from Dover Publications.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Tea and Sandwiches

I have been dipping into my Detroit Times cookbook (Practical Recipes for the Housewife, published during the allegedly-Great Depression), just for enjoyment. It appears to have been slapped together in a big hurry by the women’s pages staff (remember women’s pages in the newspaper? They’re called lifestyle pages now, but the content is the same) from contributions by subscribers, and it sure doesn’t look as though an editor or a proof-reader was ever called in.

There is a Table of Contents but no index, and in some chapters you run across recipes that clearly don’t belong there.

In the Menus section everything runs into each other. The sub-heading An Automobile Lunch lists a nice little cold collation to be taken along on your Sunday drive (remember Sunday drives?) and includes Cold Sliced Ham with Parker House Rolls, Brown Bread Sandwiches with Celery and Olive Filling, Potato Salad, Dill Pickles, Chocolate Cake, and Coffee. Very tasty.

But then it segues right into a meal of Baked Ham with Cider Sauce, Baked Sweet Potatoes, Creamed Green Beans, Head Lettuce Salad and Peach Cobbler, all delicious but with the exception of the sweet potatoes, not exactly picnic food. This menu just possibly wandered over from the Sunday Dinners page.

I would certainly prepare this; what a lovely, homey supper it would be. I'm getting hungry reading it.

The Celery and Olive Sandwiches turn up again under the sub-heading of School Girl Parties. “Whether you are planning an afternoon snack a-la-teatime or having school friends in for the evening, the following menus will be found helpful. They are inexpensive and easy to prepare so that little help from mother or the family cook will be needed.”

Celery and Olive Sandwiches

1 cup finely-diced celery
¼ cup chopped, stuffed olives
1 loaf whole-wheat bread
“Mix chopped celery and olives with enough mayonnaise to spread. Spread between slices of buttered whole-wheat bread. Cut into squares and garnish each sandwich with a slice of stuffed olive. Makes 18 small sandwiches.”

Interesting that mayonnaise is the mortar of choice; tea sandwiches in this era were more frequently bound with cream cheese. I wonder if mayonnaise was used because it was cheaper.

Saturday, November 13, 2010


Friday, November 12, 2010

Quote of the Day

Don’t worry about the world coming to an end today. It’s already tomorrow in Australia. ~ Charles Schulz

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Perhaps I Do Need A Life

Me (making conversation while waiting for staff meeting to start): So, I was reading about radiation poisoning last night--
Health Dept Colleague: You know something? You are really wierd.

But We In It Shall Be Remembered

Matt Simmons, USAF; Brian Blair, USMC; Robert Simmons, USA.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

November 10th

Happy Birthday and Semper Fi.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

New Toy Patterns at freevintagecrochet.com

It's been a heckuva week here so I am shirking my vintage pattern-sharing duties and posting instead a link to the Free Vintage Crochet site. These kitties (and more) are from the Star Crochet Book 39. Enjoy!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Vintage Images - Birds

Before they all fly away for the winter, some vintage bird clipart from Dover.