Monday, January 30, 2012

Vintage Images - Old Cars

Copyright-free image from Dover.  Right-click to copy.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Chafing Dish Possibilities

“The chafing dish of to-day has accomplished much as a civilizer, seeming to rekindle the flames of hospitality and to elevate the standard of cookery.  Who can doubt its permanent stay!

The broader and more valuable use of the chafing dish has asserted itself, and now it is found in the well-conducted home, where it’s appearance at the breakfast table means the cooking of eggs to perfection; at the lunch table, the savory rechauffé.  The chafing dish should not find a place on the table when a ceremonial dinner is served; but in the household where but one maid is kept, the Thursday night meal is often anticipated on account of its use.

The best grade of alcohol,known as high proof spirits, is recommended for chafing dish use.  It gives more heat, burns without an odor, and proves less expensive than an inferior qulity.  It is taken for granted that alcohol is to furnish the fuel, for the days of live coals and oil have passed away, and the days of gas and electricity are not yet at hand for those of moderate means.”

Scotch Woodcock.  Melt three tablespoons butter, and one and one-half tablespoons flour, and pour on gradually one cup milk.  Add one-foruth teaspoon salt, a few grains of cayenne and anchovy essence.  Add four hard-boiled eggs, finely chopped, and serve on slices of toast.

Oyster Fricassee.  Clean one pint oysters, reserve liquor, heat to boiling point, and strain through double thickness of cheese-cloth.  Add oysters to liquor, and cook until plump, then remove with a skimmer.  Add enough cream to liquor to make one cup.  Melt two tablespoons butter, add two tablespoons flour, and pour on gradually the liquid.  Add one-fourth teaspoon salt, a few grains cayenne, one teaspoon finely chopped parsley, the oysters, and one egg slightly beaten.  Serve on toast.

Shrimp Wiggle.  Melt four tablespoons butter, and add three tablespoons flour mixed with one-half teaspoon salt and one-eighth teaspoon pepper.  Pour on gradually one and one-half cups milk.  As soon as sauce thickens, add one cup shrimps, broken in pieces, and one cup canned peas, drained from their liquor and thoroughly rinsed.

Hash Balls.  Chop cold cooked, corned beef from which the skin, gristle, and most of the fat have been removed.  Add an equal quantity of cold boiled potatoes, chopped and seasoned with salt, pepper, and onion juice.  Moisten with milk or cream, make into small flat cakes, and cook in a hot buttered blazer.  Brown on one side, turn, and brown other side.

Chafing Dish Possibilities, by Fannie Merrit Farmer, published 1904.  Free download in various formats available at

Saturday, January 28, 2012


Friday, January 27, 2012

Questions, Questions, We Get Questions

Caller:  Where do I get a license for a reptile over six feet?

Receptionist:  Um...what's your address?

Caller:  *click*

Quote of the Day

Cats are rather delicate creatures and they are subject to a good many different ailments, but I have never heard of one who suffered from insomnia. ~ Joseph Wood Krutch

Thursday, January 26, 2012


Smitty came back from lunch with a high&tight.  We asked him if he was planning on telling us goodbye before he left for boot camp.

And in other news, his little sister is thinking about applying for an internship down in the clinics.  If she's anything like him, they'd better grab her quick.


funny pictures - Waiter!!!
see more Lolcats and funny pictures

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

I Want To Meet His Parents

Smitty came back from an Americorps meeting at the state capitol with a flyer about a governor’s award for which Americorps members (including Smitty) are eligible.  It’s some kind of big deal, one volunteer per region can be nominated.

He asked if we could put Xena up for the award.  He told me very seriously that it would look good when she applies for medical school.

Year of the Dragon

Xinnian Keui Lo!  And a paper dragon to print off and put together, from those creative folks at Canon.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Year of the Dragon - Stencil

A free dragon stencil from Dover.  Left-click to enlarge and copy.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Quantity Cookery; Menu Planning And Cooking For Large Numbers, 1922

"Well-balanced and appropriate menus are absolutely necessary to the success of any establishment serving food. Given the best of raw materials and the most competent cooks, the institutional manager will fail to please his patrons if his menus show lack of careful planning. The truth of this assertion is verified by the analysis of many failures...The age, sex, nationality, economic condition and occupation of the patrons must be kept in mind. The adult demands a freedom of choice which may be denied children. For this reason the content of the grade school lunch may be fixed in an arbitrary way, while this will not do when one is dealing with adults of any class. For instance, grade school children are satisfied with the morning bowl of bread and milk and the noon lunch of bread and soup. Adults, even in a charitable home, would undoubtedly complain of the simplicity of such meals. The high school lunchroom may eliminate coffee from its menu and have frequent "pieless" days. Any such attempts to regulate the diet of adults, except for patriotic reasons such as were the incentive to denial during the war, are highly inadvisable."


Though it may be necessary to offer slightly more choice in foods in the commercial cafeteria, some cafeterias offer such a wide variety of choice that the patron is confused and has difficulty in choosing his meal. Furthermore too much variety makes for sameness from day to day. In all cafeterias where the same group is served each day, and where there is little or no competition, a simpler menu may be used. The following menu outline is suggested for use in the average cafeteria.

A Standard Form for Cafeteria Menu

1 soup
2 meats
(1 meat substitute)
1 kind of potatoes
2-3 vegetables
1-2 hot breads
1-2 sandwiches
2-3 salads
2-3 relishes
6-8 desserts
4 beverages

One inexpensive meat should be served in each meal.
 Two made-over meats should not be served in the same meal.
Two kinds of beef or pork or two kinds of any other variety of meat should not be served in the same meal.
Creamed potatoes may be served with meat lacking gravy or sauce.
It is seldom advisable to serve mashed potatoes unless there is a meat gravy to offer with them.

When possible one vegetable should be starchy and one should be succulent.
Two creamed or two fried or two buttered vegetables should not be served in the same meal.

Raised breads and quick breads give a good variety.

There should be at least one inexpensive salad.
The variety in salads may consist of one fruit salad, one vegetable salad and one salad in which protein predominates, such as cottage cheese, meat or fish.
Head lettuce salad is universally popular and may appear at every meal.
In salad dressings, there should always be a cooked dressing, French dressing and mayonnaise. Other varieties may be added as desired.

Variety in desserts includes:
Fruit in some form.
A pudding with a dough or bread foundation.
Two cold puddings.
One kind of ice cream.
One kind of cake.
One kind of pie.

One-crust and two-crust pies should so far as possible be alternated in successive menus.
Two or more kinds of pie may be demanded, but when possible patrons should be educated to other choices in desserts.

Milk should be served in bottles (with provision for opening).

(Recommended menus for cafeterias, tearooms, and special events, along with planning charts and recipes, can be found at Project Gutenberg).

Saturday, January 21, 2012


Thursday, January 19, 2012

If You're Looking for Sympathy, It's In The Dictionary Between "Shit" and "Syphilis"

The spousal unit is facing the inevitable this summer – replacement of one of his knees (twenty-three years as a Marine infantryman will do that).  He had a consult with the surgeon this morning and was giving me an account of the appointment over lunch. 

He:  So the doctor says I won’t be able to kneel for quite a while.

Me (snickering):  You’re Scotch-Irish.  You don’t kneel anyway.

Quote of the Day

Of all the toys available, none is better designed than the owner himself.  A large multipurpose plaything, its parts can be made to move in almost any direction.  It comes completely assembled, and it makes a sound when you jump on it.  ~Stephen Baker


Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Tatting - A Workbasket Scalloped Edge

From Workbasket magazine, April 1948.  Left-click to enlarge.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Vintage Images -- Seed Packets

Copyright-free, from Dover.  Because it's January and the Burpee's catalog should be here any day now.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Band of Brothers

Somebody's going to get his ass chewed for that blankie, though.

La Nuit Des Rois

(Image from Patricia).

Epiphany or King’s Night is an excuse to make King Cake, an easier recipe than which you cannot find.

Ok, ignore the grammar structure of that first sentence. 

If you live in proximity to a decent French bakery, buy one.  Otherwise, take a flyer on this cake which is very rich, very sweet, and tricky to eat because of the bean.  But a snap, really, if you remember to keep the pastry cold.

1 package frozen puff pastry, thawed
¼ cup almond paste
¼ cup white sugar
3 T softened butter
2 eggs
¼ cup all-purpose white flour
½ t vanilla extract
¼ t almond extract
Pinch salt
Confectioner’s sugar
Dried kidney bean or bean-shaped bead or charm (this is important).

Preheat the oven to 425⁰F. Blend the almond paste with a hand mixer or in the food processor with half the white sugar.  Add the butter and remaining sugar and beat until smooth, then beat in ONE egg, the extracts, flour and salt. 

Roll out one sheet of the puff pastry to about 10 inches.  Keep the pastry cold (keep it in the refrigerator if you aren’t working with it) and try not to handle it too much.  Use a plate or cake pan to trace a 10 inch circle on the dough using a small knife or a pizza cutter.  Place this first sheet of pastry on a well-oiled baking sheet (you can use butter instead of oil, I just find it very convenient to pour a little flavorless cooking oil onto a paper towel and then rub the baking sheet with it).

Repeat with the second sheet of pastry but stick this one back in the fridge.

Drop the almond filling onto the first pastry sheet and gently spread it out a bit, leaving a 1 ½ inch margin around the edges.  Insert the bean or charm into the filling.  Beat the second egg and spread a little around the bare margin.

Place the second pastry sheet on top and press down around the circumference to make a good seal.  Brush the top with the remaining egg.  Prick the top sheet of pastry in several places, like a pie crust, to vent steam while baking.

Bake for 15 minutes in the preheated oven.  Do not open the oven to peek before then or the puff pastry may collapse.  Remove from the oven and dust with confectioner’s sugar, then slide it back in for another  12-15 minutes or until the top is golden.  Allow to cool.

Cut in wedges.  Warn your guests about the bean – nobody wants a cracked molar.  Whoever finds it is the king or the queen and gets to boss everyone else around for the day.

Saturday, January 14, 2012


Friday, January 13, 2012

Quote of the Day

There is no use in reproving vulgarity, for it never changes. ~ Goethe 

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Perhaps I’ve Taught Them A Bit Too Well

Me:  Has (school district) RSVP’d for the luncheon tomorrow?

Xena:  I don’t know.  The list is in the folder on the server…

Me:  You’re supposed to be omniscient.

Xena:  Ok.  I actually know, I am just withholding the information from you.

Something in the Air

I left work early.

When I got home, Her Majesty immediately raced to the front door and demanded her freedom.  I opened the door, she stepped outside, stuck out her tongue (I swear I am not making this up) and turned right around and came back in again.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

A Teachable Moment

We are co-hosting an event on Friday.  Xena has been making all the arrangements.

Me:  How many people have RSVP'd?

She:  Forty-five but Bill Bunson's* office said he wouldn't want lunch.

Me:  Senator Bunson is coming?

She:  Yes.  Is that important?

Tatting - A Blouse Motif

From Workbasket, November 1954. Left click to enlarge.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Vintage Images - Victorian Birds

Copyright-free, from Dover.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Delectable Desserts

If you read vintage cookbooks from Mrs. Childs to Betty Crocker , one of the most difficult issues facing American housewives throughout history has been menu planning (Planning?  We're supposed to plan meals instead of staring morosely into the freezer every morning?  News to me).  In an effort to address this problem, starting in the late 1940's the Culinary Arts Institute of Chicago issued a series of pamphlets, the first of which was made up of menus for every day of the year.  Each dish on the menu had an alphanumeric code allowing the cook to find the associated recipe in one of the pamphlets issued for each course (Main Dishes, Salads, etc). 

I have been lucky enough to find the master menu pamphlet and several of the recipe booklets.  Some of the dishes featured are going to raise modern eyebrows but some of them are comfortable old friends. 

Chocolate Bread Pudding

2 ounces chocolate
3 cups milk
1/4 t. salt
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 eggs, separated
1 1/2 t. vanilla
6 slices dry bread, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
4 T. granulated sugar

Heat chocolate and milk in double obiler until chocolate is melted.  Add satl.  Combine brown sugar and egg yolks' add chocolate mixture gradually, stirring vigorously.  Add vanilla.  Combine brad and chocolate mixture; let stand 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Turn into buttered baking dish, place in pan of hot water and bake in moderate oven (350 F) 30 minutes or until almost firm.

Beat egg whites until foamy; add half of sugar, beating until blended; add remaining sugar and continue beating until mixture will stand in peaks.  Pile meringue lightly into ounts in border around edge of pudding.  Sprinkle merinque with shaved chocolate and continue baking 8 minutes longer, or until meringue is delicately browned.

Baked Custard

3 eggs, slightly beaten
¼ t. salt
1/3 cup sugar
3 cups scalded milk
½ t. vanilla

Combine eggs, salt and sugar.  Add milk slowly, stirring constantly  Add vanilla.  Pour into custard cups.  Sprinkle with nutmeg, place in pan of hot water and bake in moderate oven (350 F) 30 to 35 minutes or until a knife inserted in center of custard comes out clean.

Butterscotch Pudding

1 T. butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 ¾ cups scalded milk
3 T. cornstarch
¼ t. salt
¼ cup cold milk
1 t. vanilla
2 egg whites, stiffly beaten

Melt butter, add brown sugar, cook, stirring frequently until sugar melts.  Add hot milk slowly and heat until smooth, stirring constantly.  Mix cornstarch and salt, dilute with cold milk and add to hot mixture, stirring constantly until mixture thickens.  Cook 5 minutes longer.  Coll slightly, fold in flavoring and egg whites, turn into individual serving dishes, chill and garnish with whipped cream and red raspberries.

From 250 Delectable Desserts, published 1951 by the Culinary Arts Institute.

Saturday, January 7, 2012


Friday, January 6, 2012

An Officer And A Gentleman

It's just before 6pm and I'm running around madly dishing up the comestibles.

Me:  Are those potatoes hot enough?

He (jamming thumb into mashed potatoes):  Yep.


The quarterly meeting for our regional group was this afternoon.  I wouldn't say that relations with higher headquarters have become frayed over the last few months, but my suggestion that we strip the deputy director naked and stake him out over an anthill with honey smeared on his genitalia was met with universal approbation.

Quote of the Day

The Frost performs its secret ministry, unhelped by any wind. ~ Samuel Taylor Coleridge.

Thursday, January 5, 2012


Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Children's Crafts - A Butterfly Coin Purse

From Workbasket magazine.  I think I'd skip the rubber cement and just sew the wings splotches down (left-click to enlarge).

Monday, January 2, 2012

Rings and Things

Well, earrings at any rate.  Revelling in the luxury of a day off (bloated civil servant that I am, I get the day after New Year’s as a holiday) and poring over the combined swag of a recent eBay acquisition and a couple of trips to the neighborhood thrift stores. 

The thrift store visits rarely cost me more than three dollars; the eBay purchase was rather more than that but still cost less than a couple of pizzas (I know the spousal unit reads this and I’m waiting for the roar of thrifty Scots anguish, especially since I went to the dentist and Flora had to be re-aligned this month).

Not shown in the large photo -- the cat must be lying on them -- are two flower brooches made of enamel over some kind of bend-y metal.  I know old books and old fabric, and I even know a little about old furniture, but nothing about vintage jewelry.  Fifties?  There’s no markings on them.  Each is a little smaller than my palm.

The bolo is from the eBay loot and if that thumbnail-sized chunk of turquoise is real it’s probably worth more than what I paid for everything else.  It’s marked on the back, ?PACA? over MEXICO.  There are two more Mexican pins, one a cat-like creature biting himself on the butt, and one inlaid with abalone that has a couple of trademarks and MEXICO over CASADOS.  I guess I’ll have to do some research.  I think all three pins are real silver, they have that heft.  There is a pair of Mexican-looking silver and coral earrings in the batch, as well, and a delicate little necklet of silver tubes and turquoise (colored glass?) beads that’s very pretty.

Only one of the necklaces is plastic – everything else is the real deal, although all those “pearls” are glass beads.  Some of this will be taken apart and restrung into something that actually fits me, as the owner/wearer of several pieces was obviously someone with a delicate and swan-like neck.

The world’s two flashiest brooches are going to be put aside until someone wants me to sew them a Wise Man costume.  Or I meet a particularly needy belly-dancer.

(Apologies for the poor photo quality but the camera died and I had to use my county Blackberry).

It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Winter

funny pictures - barefoots, uphill boef wayz
see more Lolcats and funny pictures
No, this is not the Little Grey Bungalow, but it did snow today, rather gloriously, for all of an hour.  Just long enough to convince the cats that somehow I'm to blame.

According to a winter safety training I attended just before Christmas, given by the county EMA*, this winter is going to be as bad as, if not worse than, last winter.  The spousal unit concurs and is predicting a minimum of five snow days.

(*he's a retired Sergeant Major and would not lie to me).

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Ring In The New

Traditionally in the US, New Year’s Day passes quietly, with most people sleeping in, recovering from hangovers, and watching football (okay, so at some point it stops passing quietly).  There is no customary New Year’s feast unless you’re a southerner and sit down to collard greens and hopping john as a delicious way to ensure prosperity during the upcoming twelve months.  The rest of us snack our way through the day, usually with a television set in front of us.

These are from 500 Tasty Snacks; Ideas for Entertaining, produced by the indefatigable Ruth Berolzheimer and her minions at the Chicago Culinary Arts Institute.  My copy was published in 1940 and re-issued in 1949.

Olive Pinwheels

6 T ground boiled ham
2 T mayonnaise
1 t horseradish
1 loaf sandwich brad
4 T butter
6 stuffed olives
Combine ham, mayonnaise and horse-radish.  Remove all crusts from bread.  Cut bread lengthwise into slices ¼ inch thick.  Spread with softened butter and with ham mixture.  Place olives in a line crosswise at 1 end of the bread; roll bread starting at the end of slice.  Wrap roll in damp cloth or in oiled paper and place in refrigerator for several hours.  When ready to serve cut crosswise into slices any thickness desired.  This makes sufficient filling for 1 full-length slice of bread which will cut 8 thin pinwheels.

Hot Crab-Meat Canapés

½ cup salad dressing (and I think they mean oil and vinegar here)
½ t prepared mustard
1 t Worcestershire sauce
2 t grated horseradish
1 ½ c flaked crab meat
2 shallow croustades
½ c grated Parmesan cheese
Mix salad dressing, mustard, Worcestershire sauce and horseradish with crab meat.  Heap mixture into croustades, top with cheese and brown in moderate oven.

That actually sounds pretty good, if you left off the cheese.

Filled Beets

Marinate small cooked beets overnight in French dressing (again, they mean oil and vinegar).  Remove centers and fill with paste made of hard-cooked eggs, dry mustard, minced sweet pickles, salt, pepper and mayonnaise.

I love beets so I’d make a bee-line to this dish on the buffet table. 

Happy New Year to all; may the world have a much better 2012 than it did a 2011.  I keep reminding myself that I still have a job, a house and a husband, but I’m one of the lucky ones.

(Vintage Russian New Year's postcard from, who is very nice about letting people use his images).

Not Auld Enough, Lang Syne