Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Crochet - Lace and Insertion from 1948

This edging appears to be identical to last week's pattern, but comes with a matching insertion. From Workbasket magazine, January 1948 (I think. For the first ten years of its run, Workbasket had an odd way of numbering issues).

Two pages of instructions on my Flickr account.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Vintage Images - Poster for l'Hermitage

Copyright-free, from Dover.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

The Well-Traveled Spud

From our old friend Ruth Berolzheimer and her crew at the Culinary Arts Institute of Chicago, published in 1961.

Franconia Potatoes. Select medium-sized potatoes, pare and place them in the baking pan with the roast, allowing an hour and a quarter for their cooking. Turn them often and baste with the gravy from the roast. Serve them arranged about the meat on the platter. If you wish to shorten the cooking time, parboil them for fifteen minutes before putting them into the roasting pan, and allow forty-five minutes for the roasting.

Dutch Potatoes. 6 potatoes, 6 frankfurter sausages, 6 slices fat salt pork or bacon, pepper. Scrub medium-sized potatoes; pare or leave the skins on as preferred. With an apple-corer cut a tunnel through the center of each, lengthwise. Draw through each cavity one of the frankfurters. Place in a dripping pan and lay a blanket of fat salt pork or a thick slice of bacon on each potato. Pepper lightly and bake in a very hot oven (450° - 500° F) until the potatoes are tender, basting occasionally with the drippings and a little hot water.

Belgian Baked Potatoes. Prepare potatoes as for French fried. Dip them in melted fat and lay them in a shallow pan, being sure that the pieces do not overlap. Bake in a quick oven (400° - 450° F) until brown on top, turn carefully and continue baking until they resemble French fried potatoes. Baste them with more fat during baking, if necessary. When done, sprinkle with salt and serve piping hot.

Saratoga Potatoes. Wash and pare potatoes and shave into very thin slices. Soak them for one hour in cold water, then drain and dry on a towel. Fry in deep fat (395° F) a few slices at a time until light brown, keeping them in motion with a skimmer. Lay them on soft paper to drain. Sprinkle lightly with salt, and serve.

American Fried Potatoes. No. 1 – Cut boiled potatoes into slices one-fourth of an inch thick. Heat a very little fat in a frying pan and sauté the slices, browning on both sides. Season with salt and pepper. No. 2 – Chop the potatoes in a chopping bowl until the pieces measure one-half inch or less, and add them to the hot fat in the frying pan. Season with salt and pepper and sauté, stirring constantly, until the potatoes look yellow and are cooking well. Then cover the pan, set it in a slow heat for five minutes, and serve in a heated dish.

Lyonnaise Potatoes. 2 cups boiled potatoes, sliced, 1 tablespoon minced onion, 2 tablespoons fat, 1 tablespoon chopped parsley, salt and pepper. The potatoes should be rather underdone to produce the best results. Season with salt and pepper. Sauté the onion in fat until yellow, add the diced potato and stir with a fork until all sides are brown, being careful not to break the potatoes. Add more fat if necessary. When done, turn the potatoes out upon a hot dish, sprinkle parsley over the top, and serve hot.

Spanish Potatoes. 1 tablespoon minced onion, 2 tablespoons chopped green pepper, 2 tablespoons chopped pimiento, 4 tablespoons oil or cooking fat, 2 cups cold boiled potatoes, diced, ½ cup cold cooked ham, chopped, 1 teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon paprika. Sauté the onion, pepper and pimiento in the fat until light brown, add the diced potatoes, the chopped ham and seasonings and cook until thoroughly heated through.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

The Perils of Text Messaging

(Explanatory note: my youngest sister works at a VA vacility near Detroit).

Sister: help we have IRR* coming in today which is senior rank sgt major or master sgt they are army can’t read insignia help

Me: don’t know about army but in USMC sgts major senior to God

Twenty minutes later.

Sister: there is one sgt major n a lt of mst sgts

Me: why is army sending you musty sergeants are there no fresh ones available?

(*Individual Ready Reserve. Reserve personnel who are not formally attached to a Reserve unit but can be called up one-by-one to augment the active component. This frequently happens to service personnel unwise enough to choose highly specialized MOS's like Farsi translator or EOD technician).


Friday, August 27, 2010

Quote of the Day

Intelligence is knowing that the tomato is a fruit, wisdom is knowing not to put it in a fruit salad ~ Miles Kington

Thursday, August 26, 2010

The Online Bookshelf - Yorkshire, Painted and Described

Yorkshire Painted and Described, which includes York, a Sketchbook. By British artist Gordon Home. Lovely, lovely watercolors and available at Project Gutenberg.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Patterns of the Past - Two Dresses and a Girl's Sunsuit

From Workbasket magazine, February 1954. The bonnet and sunsuit are pretty cute. Practical, too.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Crochet - Spiderweb Lace from 1954

From Workbasket magazine, February 1954. Instructions on my Flickr account.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Health Department Humor

RN (peering into coffeemaker in break room): Anyone here allergic to penicillin?

Vintage Images - 1930's Ad Cuts

Copyright-free, from Dover.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

I Love A Parade, Mostly

I got to walk behind our ERV (Emergency Response Vehicle) this afternoon and toss candy; not my preferred activity on a sultry August Sunday, but somebody's got to do it.

The Junior Marine Detachment color guard did a nice job. Their drill sergeant is to be commended.

Every vintage tractor in the county was there, as well.

Our parade rank improved slightly this year. We were ahead of the horses (but unfortunately, behind the bagpipes. I believe the British army classifies them as weapons rather than musical instruments, and no wonder).

Cream Cheese, Tomato Soup, and Sardines

Silver Salad. “A meal in itself, this glistening pink and silver salad features the sardine-tasty, economical, and so good for you! Cream cheese dissolved in tomato soup provides the pink touch.”

2 envelopes unflavored gelatin
1 ¼ cups water
1 can condensed tomato soup
1 3 oz package cream cheese
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon grated onioin
½ cup mayonnaise
2 cans Maine sardines, drained (3 ¼ or 4 oz size)

Soften gelatin in ¼ cup water. Heat ¼ of the can of soup; stir in gelatin until dissolved. Stir into remaining soup and 1 cup water. Add cream cheese and stir until smooth. Allow to chill until slightly thickened. Then add lemon juice, onion, mayonnaise and sardines which have been broken into bits. Pour into mold and chill until firm. Unmold on salad greens and garnish top with two or three whole sardines. Serves 6.

From Workbasket magazine, May 1955. One has to ask oneself what the rest of the menu would look like.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Sometimes, You Just Want To Stick Around To See What Happens

While I was running errands in town today I drove past an older couple with a yappy little bedroom slipper of a dog at the end of a leash, headed east. About a block and a half later I topped a small rise and met a younger couple with a large and lupine-looking German shepherd mix on the end of a leash.

Headed west.


Friday, August 20, 2010

Quote of the Day

Heaven goes by favor. If it went by merit, you would stay out and your dog would go in. ~ Mark Twain

Thursday, August 19, 2010

The Online Bookshelf - The Masked Bridal

The prose is as lurid as the title. From Project Gutenberg.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

How do I love thee?

Let me count the ways.

1). I love you because when I got home from a late meeting the other night, you had cooked dinner.

2). I love you because you had also cleaned the bathroom.

3). I love you because you had also folded and put away the laundry.

4). I love you because when I left for work at 0715 the next morning, you were already in the kitchen, canning tomatoes.

5). But mostly I love you because you do all of this without me asking you to.

Patterns of the Past - McCall's #883

From McCall's Needlework and Crafts, Winter 1941-42, a bed-jacket to hand-quilt from silk crepe and lambswool (and then wash by hand for the rest of it's life).

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Crochet - Double Shell Insertion

From Workbasket magazine, November, 1951. Instructions on my Flickr account.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Vintage Images - 19th Century Birds

Copyright-free, from Dover.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

It's Too Darn Hot

Yesterday our bachelor neighbor – we’ve been feeding him vegetables from our garden all season – brought over a bag with two filet mignons, two baking potatoes and four ears of corn in it. Of course I cooked it all for dinner, even though it turned the kitchen into an inferno*.

Tonight we are having BLTs. The bacon will be prepared in the microwave.

Since I have some zucchini to use up, I may even make this to take to work for lunch this week.

Zucchini in Peanut Sauce

4 cups (or so) of thickly-sliced zucchini
1 onion, thinly sliced

Oil your crockpot and put the onion in the bottom. Layer the zucchini over it. Sprinkle very lightly with salt. Set the crockpot to high and cook for an hour to an hour and a half, until the zucchini is limp.

A fair amount of water will have come off the zucchini. Drain it off, turn the crockpot to low, and then heat the following in a covered bowl in the microwave.

¼ cup smooth peanut butter
1 T soy sauce
1 T brown sugar
1 T Japanese vinegar
1 t. flavorless vegetable oil
1 t. sesame oil
Dash of red pepper flakes
about 1 clove of mashed garlic
about the same amount of grated fresh ginger

Thin with a dribble of water, if necessary. Wisk it all together with a fork and pour over the zucchini. Cook in the crockpot on low for another half hour. Or hour, if you forget. This is an extremely forgiving recipe. Serve over rice to soak up the peanut sauce. This tastes good with eggplant, too.

*We don’t have a/c, remember? I spent an extra hour at work Friday afternoon just so I could stay in my nice cool office.

Saturday, August 14, 2010


Friday, August 13, 2010

Thursday, August 12, 2010

The Online Bookshelf - Clark's ONT Book of Needlework

Copyright 1916. Knitting, tatting, embroidery and crochet, from archive.org.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Patterns of the Past - Simplicity 1509

Undated, but the NRA sticker places it in the early 1930's. Notice the row of buttons at the waistline; small boys had their shirts buttoned to the waistband of their trousers to keep them tucked in.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Crochet - An Edging from 1950

From Workbasket magazine, June 1950. Instructions on my Flickr account.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Vintage Images - Produce Labels

Copyright free, from Dover.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Are Midnight Suppers Hygienic?

"In regard to the chafing-dish and its most prominent use, some one may fittingly ask: Is it hygienic to eat at midnight? Can one keep one's health and eat late suppers? As in all things pertaining to food, no set rules can be given to meet every case; much depends upon constitutional traits, individual habits and idiosyncrasies. One may practise what another cannot attempt. As a rule, however, people who eat a hearty dinner, after the work of the day is done, do not need to eat again until the following breakfast hour.

Those who are engaged, either mentally or physically, throughout the evening, cannot with impunity, eat a very hearty meal previous to that effort; but after their work is done they need nourishing food, and food that is both easily digested and assimilated. But even these should not eat and then immediately retire; for during sleep all the bodily organs, including the stomach, become dormant. Food partaken at this hour is not properly taken care of, and in too many cases[158] must be digested when the individual has awakened, out of sorts, the next morning.

It is well to remember, also, that, at any time after food is eaten, there should be a period of rest from all active effort; for then the blood flows from the other organs of the body to the stomach, and the work of digestion is begun. Oftentimes we hear men say they must smoke after meals, for unless they do so they cannot digest their food. They fail to see that it is not the tobacco that promotes digestion, but the enforced repose.

But, if we must eat at midnight, the question may well be asked, What shall we eat? That which can be digested and assimilated with the least effort on the part of the digestive organs. And among such things we may note oysters, eggs and game, when these have been properly—that is, delicately—cooked."

From Salads, Sandwiches, and Chafing Dish Dainties, by Miss Janet McKenzie Hill, of Boston Cooking School fame. This particular chapter goes on to give a dozen recipes using lobster, cream, curry powder, etc that would certainly keep me awake.

The book itself is an interesting collection of light dishes (or what passed for light dishes in those days) suitable for Sunday supper, when the main meal would have been eaten just after noon. As hot as it has been here recently, I'm thinking that Miss McKenzie's suggestions would be a boon and a blessing to an Edwardian housekeeper faced with producing dinner in August, over a coal or gas-fired stove, with no air-conditioning (and in a floor-length dress and corsets).

Saturday, August 7, 2010


There's a black panther at the 2.55 mark who really, really likes catnip. H/T to the World's Most Dangerous Librarian by way of William the Coroner.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Quote of the Day

Anything worth doing is worth doing slowly. ~ Mae West

Thursday, August 5, 2010

The Online Bookshelf - The Strand Magazine, April 1893

From Project Gutenberg, a Sherlock Holmes story and (at the very end of the magazine), illustrations of horses doing the kind of jobs we haven't seen in a century.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Revenge Is A Dish Best Served Cold

One of my sisters recently pulled something on me -- no need to go into details, but she really, really ticked me off.

The next time I see her children I'm going to tell them she played the accordian in high school.

Patterns of the Past - The Ubiquitious One Yard Apron

One yard patterns were extremely popular in the '40's and '50's. This one is from Workbasket magazine, February 1951.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Crochet - a Cloverleaf Edging from 1949

From Workbasket magazine, June 1949. One page of instructions on my Flickr account.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Vintage Clipart - Butterflies

Copyright-free, from Dover.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

A Tale of Two Sundays - August

On the first Sunday of August, 1927, our homemaker prepared a Slice of Ham Baked in Milk, Glazed Sweet Potatoes, Escalloped Tomatoes, Canned Asparagus Tips in French Dressing, Salt Crackers with Cream Cheese, and a Charlotte Russe for dessert.

Baking a ham slice in milk is a way to draw out some of the saltiness and keep the ham moist; and the sweet potatoes were partially pre-cooked and then baked in the oven beside the ham, in a sugar-butter syrup (no marshmallows, a curious omission. 1920’s cooks were madly in love with marshmallows). Both of the side dishes called for canned vegetables, at a time of the year when the average home garden was bursting at the seams with fresh produce. And the dessert was served with something called Mock Cream.

Mock Cream. Bring to scald in the double boiler a cup of milk. Beat the whites of 2 eggs with a tablespoon powdered sugar and a scant teaspoon butter, creamed until soft enough to beat. Mix a teaspoon cornstarch with ½ cup cold milk, add to the egg whites and stir all with the hot milk. Cook until mixture thickens, strain and cool. It should be of the thickness of real cream. If too thick, thin with a little real cream or milk. This can be used plain or can be flavored and is very useful when real cream is not on hand or has perhaps soured.”

Too much time in a hot kitchen, even for a Sunday. Cold sliced ham, with sweet potatoes made in the cool of the morning and re-heated, and a salad of fresh tomatoes and cucumbers, would be more to my liking. Let’s see what our 1953 cook is up to.

Planked Salmon with Glazed Beets, Buttered Spinach, Mashed Potatoes and Hardcooked Eggs; Hot Rolls, Apple and Nut Salad, and Peppermint Stick Ice Cream with Chocolate Sauce for Dessert.

Planked fish was a popular company dish because the presentation demonstrated the hostess’ skill not only at cooking, but garnishing. Are there any home cooks out there who still plank fish, I wonder? General directions are as follows.

Planked Fish. Select any fish suitable for baking. Large fish may be split, boned, seasoned and planked flat, or small fish may be cleaned, seasoned and planked whole. Oil plank and preheat thoroughly in hot oven. Place fish in center of plank, brush lean fish with melted butter or French dressing*. Bake in a very hot oven (450° F) 10 to 15 minutes, reduce temperature to moderate (350° F) and bake until fish is nearly tender, allowing about 10 mintues per pound. About 15 minutes before fish is doen, remove plank from oven, garnish with mashed potatoes pressed through a pastry tube and other vegetables as desired. Return to oven to finish baking fish and to brown potatoes. Garnish.”

(*As I've mentioned before, at that time French dressing would be our old friend oil and vinegar).

I’m not thrilled by either menu. Anyone care to vote? Which meal would you rather prepare today?