Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Vintage Fashion - Scarf Tricks

Postwar accessorizing from the Australian Home Journal.  How-to hints on Flickr.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Vintage Holidays - Halloween Ad Cuts

Copyright-free, from Dover.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

The Best To You Each Morning

What a feeble and decadent country we have become, breaking our fast on cold cereal, microwaved burritos, etc. when we should be following the example of our forefathers (mothers?  Somebody had to cook this stuff) as laid out in Breakfast Dainties, by a man named Thomas Jefferson Murrey.

After the fruit, eggs, muffins, potatoes and other trifles, Mr. Murrey gets right down to business.  Below is a list of suitable breakfast side dishes for which he offers recipes.


Artichokes (French)
Artichokes (French), Fried
Chicken Croquettes
Chicken, Devilled
Chicken, Fried
Crabs, Soft-shell
Fillet of Sole; Sauce Tartare
Hamburg Steak
Hominy Fritters
Kidneys, Sauteed
Lamb Chops with French Peas
Minced Turkey with Poached Eggs
Mushrooms on Toast
Mutton Chops with Fried tomatoes
Oysters, Broiled
Pork and Beans
Reed Birds
Salt Codfish, Broiled
Sardines, Broiled, Sauce Tartare
Smelts, Broiled
Smelts, Fried
Steak, Tenderloin; Sauce Bearnaise
Steak, Sirloin; Sauce Bordelaise
Tomato Sauce
Tripe with Oysters
Tripe, Lyonnaise
Veal Cutlet, Sauce Robert

Boy, if that doesn’t make you want to go out and do something heroic, I don’t know what would.  Mr. Murrey has four cookbooks available on Project Gutenberg; his work on curry dishes is awful.

Saturday, October 27, 2012


Friday, October 26, 2012

Quote of the Day

Nature never makes any blunders; when she makes a fool she means it. ~ Josh Billings

Thursday, October 25, 2012

I Hate Technology (Kittens Not So Much)

Six hours after it came back up the internet link went out again.  It appears to be (touch wood) restored.  We'll see....

The babies go to the Animal Shelter tomorrow (snf, snf).  But successful kitten-pusher that I am, two of them are going to be adopted almost immediately by a couple of my colleagues;  Ghost and Reb, which does not surprise me.  Ghost has those neat eyes and Reb (my little bobble-head kitty) really is adorable.

Monday, October 22, 2012

A Voice Crying in the Wilderness

We just got our Internet connectivity back after five days.  You have missed nothing except lots of squee! photographs of the kids.

Like this one (and these.  And this).

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Smart Kid

Got this card from Xena today.

Monday, October 15, 2012

And Now The Post You've All Been Waiting For

From left to right -- Cochise (on back), Prissy (staring at camera), Ghost (jacknifed) and Rebel (aka Reb, aka la Belle Rebel, aka Belle).

Sunday, October 14, 2012

You're In The Army Now

The Manual for Army Cooks, published by authority of the Secretary of War, 1896

This interesting document contains instructions on how to properly clean various utensils including coffee mills, tin and copper saucepans, and knives and forks;  with the additional stern admonition that before being used for cooking purposes, all utensils should be thoroughly clean, a statement that one finds, surprisingly, in a lot of 19th century cookbooks, and not just those written for men who – in most cases – one could safely assume would find the kitchen an alien environment (although the practice has fallen into disuse, punishing recalcitrant troops by assigning them to mess duty was for decades a cherished American military tradition, which meant that the people staffing the kitchens often were there due to a talent more for raising hell than cooking).

The chapter on beef includes a list of what the prudent army cook would look for in a beef delivery, with preference given to 1) spayed heifers from four to seven years old, 2) steers or bullocks (never worked) from four to six years old and 3) Free-martin (or barren heifer, a term I’ve not run across before) not over eight years old.  There are some interesting insights on how supplies and equipment were procured – the Army expected cooks to make up deficiencies from company or “mess” funds, indicating that the soldiers, non-coms and officers clubbed together to provide themselves with certain items the Commissary Department did not see fit to offer.

There is a section on how to render rancid butter edible.  Ick.  Several sample bills of fare are helpfully posted (one Sunday breakfast menu lists beef stew, mush and sirup, bread, and coffee).

Vegetables include potatoes, sweet potatoes, onions, okra, Brussels sprouts, parsnips, peas, winter squash, summer squash, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, cucumbers, corn, beets, string beans, lima beans, boiled greens, tomatoes, turnips, salsify, spinach, celery, eggplant, artichokes, Jerusalem artichokes, asparagus and mushrooms.

Recipes range from the mundane – boiled beef and carrots – to the surprisingly cosmopolitan, reflecting perhaps the ethnically diverse nationalities that made up the rank and file.  Beef a la mode, kebabs and Turkish pillau are there, as well as an entire chapter devoted to “Spanish” recipes, including estofado, frijoles con queso, tamales, tortillas, chile con carne and (somewhat out of place) jambalaya.

The following recipes would not be found in a civilian cookbook.  At least not under these names.

BOMBSHELLS (Sufficient for 22 men)

16 ½ lbs meat
6 lbs flour
3 oz salt
1 oz pepper
Sweet herbs

Cut all the meat from the bone and sinews, reserving 1 ½ lbs of fat for the paste.  Chop up the meat like sausage meat with the onions an herbs shred fine; season with one-half the salt and pepper  (In India it is the custom to mix spices, capsicums, fruit, etc., with the meat.)  Make the paste as follows:  Place on the table the flour, make a hole with the hand in the center, in which place the chopped fat and the remaining salt and pepper, then put some water in the hole; gradually stir the flour into it until it is all moistened and forms a stiff paste;  work and roll it well for two minutes; let it remain as a ball for ten minute, then roll it out to the thickness required.  Have some very clean pudding cloths ready; their size must depend on the size of the shell; divide the past according to the size, for either 12 or 32 pounders*; form it into a ball, and roll it out round; divide the chopped meat and place it in the paste; add a little water; gather it round like a dumpling; bring the cloth around it, and tie it tightly, and boil according to size; a 12-pounder, for one person, one and three-quarter hours; 32-pounder, for two, two and a half hours. The bones and cuttings must be made into a gravy, and served separate.  The meat must be made into balls the size of bullets, and placed in it.

*an inside joke.

CANNON BALLS (sufficient for 22 men)

6 lbs flour
1 ½ lbs suet
3 pints molasses
1  pint water

Chop up the suet, mix with the flour, mix the molasses with the water, put the flour into a bowl, and pour the molasses gradually upon it, mixing it with the flour; when the whole is well mied, not too soft, form it into any size balls required, flour some cloths, tie up each ball separately in cloth, not too tight, and boil from one hour and upward, according to size.  NOTE. – These, with lime-juice sauce, are an excellent anti-scorbutic, and will keep good for twelve months and longer.  They could be made before going on any long voyage, and given out as rations.

Scurvy was a concern not restricted to Navy doctors, and the War Department put a great deal of thought into prevention.  Sometimes mis-directed, as in the case of the scurvy epidemic at Ft Laramie in what was then the Department of Kansas (later Wyoming Territory), in 1858.  The Medical Department insisted that the soldiers were getting scurvy because they had access only to dried vegetables.  The Commissary Department replied that it had to be something else – there couldn’t possibly be scurvy at Ft. Laramie because, after all, they had a plentiful supply of dried vegetables.  In this as in many things, the rest of the Army sometimes wondered if the Quartermaster Corps was in the pay of the enemy.

ARTILLERY PIE  (Sufficient for 22 men)

8 lbs bread
1 lb suet
4 dozen apples
2 lbs sugar

Melt the suet in a frying pan, cut the bread into slices one-quarter of an inch in thickness,dip each piece into the melted fat, and place them in the oven to dry.  In the meantime get the apples peeled, boiled, and mashed with the sugar.  Cover the bottom of the baking dish with the bread, cover the bread with some of the apples, then some more bread over that, then the apples, and thus until all is used; place it in an oven and bake for twenty minutes.  This may be made with any kind of fruit.

The Manual for Army Cooks can be found at the wonderful MSU site, Feeding America.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Maybe She Grew A Pair

Prissy head-bumped one of the German Shepherds this morning.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Anybody Can Make A Mistake

Percy is (ahem) Prissy.


Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Three Down, One To Go

The spousal unit came downstairs this evening, festooned with kittens, and announced that he had names for three of them.

The little white female is Ghost (I suppose it's better than Snowball).  The other female is Rebel "because she's grey and white and she's always doing what she's not supposed to."


The black and white male is Cochise, which I gather was the name of Little Joe Cartwright's pinto. I'm taking that on faith because we weren't allowed to watch Bonanza when I was growing up.  It should be Geronimo -- when we put them on the bed to play, he heads straight for the side and flings himself over.

That leaves the timid little grey tiger striped boy, whom I have been calling Percy because he's such a wimp. Brian doesn't care for that.  He says Percy is no name for a cat.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Vintage Advertising -- A Thread Card

It's entirely possible that I've posted this image before (it's from Dover) but it seems appropriate.

The Naming of Cats is a difficult matter
It isn't just one of your holiday games;
You may think at first I'm as mad as a hatter
When I tell you, a cat must have THREE DIFFERENT NAMES.

Our little band of refugees are developing distinct personalities but as yet aren't really named, although the white female seems to answer to Snowball*.  Then again, she answers to anything, or as much as a cat can be said to answer.   The only one that we have positively identified as male is a wee cowering tim'rous beastie and has to be coaxed out from behind Mamma.  I'm so tempted to call him Percy.

The others are perfectly at home, treating the dogs like part of the furniture, zooming all over the room as soon as the crate door opens.  Part of the socialization process is for each of them to be petted at least once a day and I think we're way beyond that.

It's kind of funny watching the Terminator walk around the house with four kittens clinging to his shoulders.

(*I must be channeling the Bobbsey Twins).

Sunday, October 7, 2012

I Don't Think I'll Be Trying This

Rabbit and Macaroni Turnovers.  Four to six ounces of cooked rabbit; 2 ounces cooked macaroni; sauce or gravy; seasoning; sauce or gravy; 4 ozs plain flour; 3 ozs. Mashed potatoes; 2 ozs. Margarine or cooking fat; 1 small teaspoon baking powder; salt; cold water.

Beat the margarine or fat to a cream.  Add the potatoes, then work in the flour, baking-powder, and a pinch of salt.  Mix the whole to a stiff dough with cold water.  Knead it slightly, roll out thinly, and divide into squares – the size depends on individual requirements.  Remove all skin and bone from the rabbit and chop it up.  Cut the macaroni in small rings and add it to the rabbit, with enough sauce or gravy to moisten the mixture.  Season carefully.  Place some of the mixture in the centre of each square of pastry, moisten the edges and fold them over, pressing them together.  Make a hole in the center of each turn-over, and brush over with a little milk.  Bake in a hot oven for about 15 minutes.

Australian Home Journal, May 1st, 1951.

Saturday, October 6, 2012


Currently residing in the dog crate in the (locked) sewing room, are a cat and four kittens.  We're taking care of them until they are old enough to be adopted out.  None of them have names yet, but I am resisting the urge to call the white female kitten "Snowball."

Mamma was picked up in a trailer park.  She is small, quiet, pretty, and has the manners of a gentlewoman in reduced circumstances.  Someone, at some time, must have had her as a pet.  One of her paws got crushed somehow and we have to administer an oral antibiotic twice daily, an ordeal to which she submits with calm patience. The spousal unit has been admiring her.  

The Drama Queen, who is not small, not quiet, and not pretty, has been in a sustained, Olympic-caliber snit, a snit beyond which all other snits pale in comparison, ever since our little furry guests got here.  I'm almost afraid to fall asleep at night.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Quote Of The Day

Autumn...the year's last, loveliest smile. ~ William Cullen Bryant.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Fashion Advice

A boring outfit can be livened up with the right accessories.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Vintage Advertising - Cadbury's

Mouthwatering.  From Woman and Home, May 1951.