Monday, January 31, 2011

Signs and Omens

If no one hears from me before Friday, it's because we're either without power or without Internet connectivity (or probably both).

Sunday, January 30, 2011

"It Doesn't Take A Weatherman..."

We're supposed to get 20-22 inches of snow between now and Thursday. I'd better check the brandy supply.

Chieftain o' the Pudding Race

Last week’s mention of Burns Night garnered some comments on haggis, a dish that I personally have sampled, and on its native heath, no less (a bed and breakfast on the isle of Uist). I have never been tempted to repeat the experience. I went looking for recipes and found a number of vegan and vegetarian versions (well, it only makes sense, surely there are some non-carnivores in Scotland) as well as a link to haggis-flavored potato chips. I believe it is available canned, which is just as well, since some of the ingredients (such as a sheep’s lungs) are probably not FDA-approved.

If you happen to have a freshly-slaughtered sheep on hand, go for it. And let the rest of us know how it turned out.


1 cleaned sheep or lamb’s stomach bag
2 lbs. dry oatmeal
1 lb. chopped mutton suet
1 lb. lamb liver, boiled and minced
2 cups stock
Sheep heart and lights*, boiled and minced
1 large chopped onioin
½ t. cayenne pepper
½ t. allspice
½ t. salt
½ t. pepper

Toast oatmeal slowly until crisp. Mix all ingredients except the stomach bag together. Add stock. Fill bag to just over half full, press out air, and sew up securely. Have ready a large pot of boiling water. Prick the haggis all over with a large pin so it doesn’t burst and boil slowly for 4-5 hours.

The site where I found this recipe recommends it by served with clapshot.


Saturday, January 29, 2011

Quite Possibly My Father's All-Time Favorite Movie Line

"Pretty bold talk for a one-eyed fat man!"

(Or at least in his top ten).


Friday, January 28, 2011

"All human evil comes from a single cause --"

" -- man's inability to sit still in a room."

For example: I am sitting in a hospital coffee shop right now (I'm fine, I'm just waiting for a training session to start).  I have on the table in front of me a laptop, a Nook, a Blackberry, and an MP3 player.

Thursday, January 27, 2011


The ultimate ladies' accessory.

The Online Bookshelf - Barbara Ladd

Not a classic, but the cover's sweet. From Project Gutenberg.

Patterns of the Past - Needlework Kits

Okay,it took a while, but here's this week's usual Wednesday post. From McCall's Needlework and Crafts, Spring/Summre 1958, some lovely Bucilla kits to order by mail.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Well, Dang

I can't get today's image to post. Will try later.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Crochet - A Window Shade Pull From 1951

From the February, 1951 Workbasket magazine. I'm not sure how many people use window shade pulls anymore, but it's a cute motif. On my Flickr account.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Vintage Images - Edwardian Children

Late 19th/early 20th century children's images, copyright-free, from Dover Publications. Left-click to enlarge.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

When The Business Couple Entertains

Two-career couples were enough of an anomaly in the 1950’s to prompt the editors of The Good Housekeeping Party Book (first published 1949 – my copy is from 1958) to devote an entire chapter to the problem of entertaining guests when there was no traditional stay-at-home wife to handle all the pesky little details of a dinner party (actually, I want that life back – one of the editors’ helpful comments is to entertain the day that your cleaning lady is going to be there). Here are some of the suggested menus, all chosen from dishes that could be made in advance, bought at the supermarket or deli, or quickly prepared at the last minute.

Note: recipes are not provided. For those, the editors recommend you buy the Good Housekeeping Cook Book.

Couples’ Club Get-Together

Old English Hot Spiced Cider
Big Meatballs in Sour Cream Gravy
Tomato-Aspic Ring with Vegetable Salad in the Center
Toasted Celery Rolls
Roasted Mixed Nuts in Shell
Cheese Tray
Hot Coffee (Instant)

Why instant? They had percolators back then. I have dim memories of sitting on the kitchen floor and spinning the basket and stem from ours like a top.

Very Swish

Veal Paprika on Parsley-Almod Rice
Buttered Peas
Salad Bowl of Boston Lettuce, Scallions and Radishes
Hot Cheese Biscuits
Strawbery Ice Cream with Bing-Cherry Sauce

Doesn’t Mind Waiting

Chicken Tetrazzini
Platter of Chilled Asparagus and Peas with Garlic French Dressing
Strawberry Tarts
Iced Tea or Coffee

A Man’s Meal

Oxtail Ragout on Caraway Seed Noodles
Tossed Green Salad with Chives and Dill
Hard Rolls, Sweet Butter
Coffee Ice Cream with Hot Chocolate Sauce
Fresh Orange Cookies
Hot Coffee or Glasses of Milk

Most of the men I know are Mid-Westerners, and I have to say I can’t think of too many of them who would eat ox-tail ragout. Of course they're all in the emergency preparedness/response racket and, almost to a man, retired military, so it's safe to say they've eaten wierder stuff. As long as I gave them enough beer, I might get away with it.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Friday, January 21, 2011

Quote of the Day

One should make a fire swiftly, with the happiness of one who creates a pleasant thing. ~ Dorothy Hartley

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Perhaps I Have A Doppelganger*

A total stranger just telephoned to invite me to a Burns Night supper. He said he had my name and phone number on his list.

(*This might explain my sister's delusion).

The Online Bookshelf - Japan, A Record in Color

From Project Gutenberg, with a few dozen lovely circa 1901 watercolors.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

One Of Our Clydesdales Is Missing

Well, the weekend started with my oldest sister biffing me across the back of the head with the trunk lid of her car, and ended with my youngest sister accusing me of being complicit in the cyber-attack on the Iranian nuclear program. I have no idea what she thinks I do for a living, but evidently working for the Health Department is just a cover for my “real” job.

Friday, January 14, 2011

A Warning Shot Across Your Bows

To the nice ladies who run the Lambert Field USO: I am meeting my sisters in St. Louis this weekend. Remember last time the three of us were there together?

(short version: four soldiers, nineteen Marines, a missing bus, illegal use of a government cell phone, and me in a pissing contest with the duty officer at Ft. Leonard Wood).

Just a heads-up, is all.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Mad About The Boys

Thing 1 and Thing 2 are required, as part of their Americorps service, to develop and implement a community outreach project. They came up with a very interesting and ambitious idea, and even went so far as to submit a proposal to present it at the state public health summit this summer.

Their abstract was accepted. I am so dadgummed proud.

The Online Bookshelf - The Troubles of Biddy

Surely her troubles can't be serious; not with baby ducks to play with, in such a pretty fountain.

Illustrated by Margaret Evans Price, from Project Gutenberg.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Patterns of the Past - "Frilly Not Fussy"

From Modern Needlework, Fall 1951, a set of dresses for little girls.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Crochet - Pillow Slip Insertion from 1950

From Workbasket magazine,June 1950. Larger image can be found on my Flickr account.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Vintage Images - More Fruit Crate Art

Something to start us dreaming of warmer climes; copyright-free, from Dover.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

A Tale of Two Sundays - January

On the second Sunday in January, 1927, the menu contained clam broth and crackers, baked ham, mashed potatoes, carrots and peas, nut bread, grapefruit salad, stuffed celery, caramel custard and fancy sweet crackers.

The grapefruit salad (lettuce, grapefruit, and olives – hmmmm…) is served with that old Southern standby, boiled dressing.

Boiled Dressing

Put in double boiler 2 tablespooons butter, 1 tablespoon flour, 2 teaspoons sugar, 2 beaten eggs, 1 teaspoon dry mustard, 2/3 teaspoon salt, 1/3 teaspoon pepper. Cook until mixture thickens, then add 1 cup vinegar and continue cooking 3 minutes longer. Chill, and when ready to serve, thin with plain or whipped cream to suit the taste.

Note to self: way too much vinegar. The rest of the menu looks like a good choice for a chilly winter Sunday.

In January, 1953, we are offered fruit cocktail, stuffed lamb shoulder, Franconia potatoes, broccoli with Hollandaise sauce, watercress salad, and peppermint mousse. No recipe is offered for the watercress salad (perhaps it’s assumed that everyone knows how to make watercress salad?). Peppermint mousse is a frozen dessert that takes advantage of that perennial boon to fifties cooks, marshmallows.

Peppermint Mousse

1 cup heavy cream
16 marshmallows
Green coloring
6 drops of oil of peppermint

Add 1/3 cup of the cream to marshmallows and heat until softened, fluffy and smooth. Color a light green and stir in oil of peppermint. Cool until thick. Whip cream and fold into marshmallow mixture. Freeze in refreigerator tray without stirring.

Note to self: way too much oil of peppermint. I’d start with 2 drops and keep upping the ante until I was satisfied.

I could go for either menu, substituting a plain green salad for the grapefruit one. And forget the clam broth, too, it not being high on my list of preferred comestibles.

Saturday, January 8, 2011


Do not drink coffee (or any other beverage, for that matter) while watching this video. In fact, don't eat anything, either, unless you have someone trained in the Heimlich maneuver standing by.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Quote of the Day

Hope has two beautiful daughters; their names are Anger and Courage. Anger at the way things are, and Courage to see that they do not remain as they are. ~ St. Augustine of Hippo

More Lioness (FET) photographs at MSNBC.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

The Online Bookshelf - Handicraft For Girls

Take a look at the Christmas bags they suggest as a suitable project for fourth graders, and feel very, very humble. From Project Gutenberg.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Not Just No But Hell No

The spousal unit was asked this evening to run for a seat on the Village board.

(His mamma didn't raise no dummies, either).

Creating a Hostile Work Environment

I was having sinus problems today and succumbed to a coughing/sneezing/hacking attack that lasted a couple of minutes.

Alert Fellow Health Department Employee: (eagerly) Should I get out the epi pen?

Me: No.

AFHDE: are you sure?

Me: Positive. And no CPR, either.

AFHDE: Maybe just chest compressions?

Me: Over my dead body.

AFHDE: That works!

Patterns of the Past - Teens and Juniors

From Modern Knitting magazine, Winter 1948.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Knitting -- Lace and Insertion from 1953

From Workbasket magazine, April, 1953, edging and insertion to knit. Instructions on my Flickr account.

Monday, January 3, 2011

With My Luck, The Cop Would Have Been Ex-Army

On top of everything else that happened this holiday season, a battery-operated hamster in dress blues and singing the Marines’ Hymn went off in the back seat of my Impala the other day, and trying to grab it and turn it off while driving almost put me in the ditch.

One can only imagine what the accident report would have looked like.

Vintage Images - A Thread Trade Card

From the Graphics Fairy, who has hundreds of free vintage images on her website. Go and see.