Sunday, December 23, 2012

And To All, A Good Night

I have taken several days off to help the spousal unit complete an awesome home remodeling project (and work on some writing).  The best wishes of the season a tous, and I'll see you after the holidays.

Saturday, December 22, 2012


Friday, December 21, 2012

Quote of the Day

Lord, give to men who are old and rougher
The things that little children suffer. ~ John Masefield

Monday, December 17, 2012

More RN Humor

The staff down in Maternal-Child Health have put tiny Santa hats on all their plastic fetus training aids.

Vintage Images - Christmas Clipart

Copyright-free, from Dover.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

The Victorian Kitchen

An oldie but a goodie.  There are eight episodes in all, from breakfast through tea, a dinner party, and supper.  The pace is very leisurely; you will have to consciously slow yourself down to watch them.  A real treat.

Available on YouTube.

Saturday, December 15, 2012


From the New York Public Library digital gallery.  H/T to Anna (who has an amazing blog).

Friday, December 14, 2012

Quote of the Day

But, whatever the reason, his heart or his shoes,
He stood there on Christmas Eve hating the Whos. ~ Dr. Seuss

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

My name is Ozymandias

I was elected President of the county Disaster Council today.  It would have been more of an honor but I ran unopposed.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Monday, December 10, 2012

I Hate It When That Happens

(Overheard at a committee meeting).

RN:  Sometimes I think my whole life is saved to the wrong drive.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

What To Serve For Dinner on the Second Sunday of December, 1913

There are at least two versions of Fifty-Two Sunday Dinners, and this one, printed in 1913, is available for download from Project Gutenberg.  It is a promotional cookbook, touting the virtues of a Crisco-like product called "Cottolene," which kind of makes one wonder what it's made from.

(Leaving aside the dubious antecedents, I'm not a fan of food cooked exclusively in vegetable shortening although there are dishes where it has it's place).

My 1920's copy has shed such tawdry associations, but the type of dinner considered suitable for Sunday fare changes remarkably little in the fifteen years between the two books -- the 20's version uses a few more convenience products but for the most part, everything was lovingly and laboriously produced "from scratch."

Three vegetables, plus the leg of mutton and the rice, after a delicious-sounding but heavy soup that would make an entire meal for a modern diner.  And Fig Pudding for afters, perhaps as a nod to the season.


1 cup chopped washed figs
1/3 cup Cottolene 
3 eggs well-beaten
2 1/2 cups soft bread crumbs
1/3 cup milk
1 cup soft brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
Grated rind of half an orange.

PROCESS:  Cover bread crumbs with milk.  Mix Cottolene with figs.  To the milk mixture add eggs, sugar, salt and orange rind; combine mixtures.  Beat thoroughly and turn into a well-greased tube mold; cover and steam three hours.  Serve with Brandy or Vanilla Sauce.

Saturday, December 8, 2012


Eleven years in a row.


Friday, December 7, 2012

Quote of the Day

With the exception of women, there is nothing on earth so agreeable or necessary to the comfort of man as the dog. ~ Edward Jesse

Thursday, December 6, 2012


Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Embroidery - A Cushion from "Woman and Home"

An embroidered cushion from one of my old British magazines...I think this one's from May 1955.  Four pages of instructions on my Flickr account.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Vintage Images - A Snowscape

One of thousands of beautiful vintage images that Patrice has on her site.  Well worth a visit.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Brand Recognition

Even after passage of the Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906, manufacturers of various foodstuffs resorted to advertising to assure potential customers that the item they were about to purchase was in fact produced under wholesome and sanitary conditions.  One of the biggest boosts for name brand products was the implied guarantee that an honest and public-spirited firm stood behind their wares.

At least that’s the claim made by the Baker’s Chocolate people in Miss Parloa’s Chocolate and Cocoa Recipes, who wanted housewives to be confident that Baker’s Chocolate was a safe investment.  It had to have been exhausting running a home back then; in addition to the muscle work involved in cleaning, cooking, mending and doing laundry without any electrical devices, women were expected to act as their own food inspectors, choosing wisely and protecting their families from adulterated products.

The book is available on MSU’s website, Feeding America.  Here is an example of pre-refrigerator cookery.  I guess ladies back then always kept clean squares of carpeting on hand for situations just like this one.

CHOCOLATE MOUSSE.  Put a three-quart mould in a wooden pail, first lining the bottom with fine ice and a thin layer of coarse salt.  Pack the space between the mould and the pail solidly with fine ice and coarse salt, using two quarts of salt and ice enough to fill the space.  Whip one quart of cream, and drain it in a sieve.  Whip again all the cream that drains through.  Put in a small pan one ounce of Walter Baker & Co.’s Premium No. 1 Chocolate, three tablespoonfuls of sugar and one of boiling water, and stir over a hot fire until smooth and glossy.  Add three tablespoonfuls of cream.  Sprinkle a cupful of powdered sugar over the whipped cream.  Pour the chocolate in a thin stream into the cream, and stir gently until well mixed.  Wipe out the chilled mould, and turn the cream into it.  Cover, and then place a little ice lightly on top.  Wet a piece of carpet in water, and cover the top of the pail.  Set away for three or four hours; then take the mould from the ice, dip it in cold water, wipe, and then turn the mousse out on a flat dish.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

What I Saw of NYC

Not much.  They hauled us down to the office before sunup and we left long after sundown, and my chief impression is of all the lights on Trump Place as viewed from the window of a van on the West Side Parkway.

But I did manage to have lunch one day with Thing 1 who is now in medical school in New York, bless the boy.

I was assigned the job of tracking down and entering into the database all of the commercial rolling stock contracts so my duties were not very glamorous.   Not that emergency response is ever terribly glamorous, but when asked what I did for Hurricane Sandy, having to reply that I spent all day making phone calls and slaving over a hot laptop is somewhat leveling.  However, my partner Larry and I had about 350 out of 400 trucks and 135 of 150 trailers corralled by the time I out-processed Saturday night.

(Completely unsolicited testimonial – Penske, your customer service people are the tops).

Four of us were operating on two church tables and four plastic folding chairs set up in a wide spot in the main hallway previously occupied by a copy machine.  Rather a high-traffic area, and everyone seemed to think that we were there to answer questions (Where can I get a Red Cross vest?  Will my cell phone work on Staten Island?  Is there a shuttle to the hotel?) that had nothing to do with our labors.  Hence the sign I posted on my workstation after the third day in Manhattan.

It was very intense and very focused, and occasionally goofy, as when three Disaster Mental Health ladies staged an impromptu performance  of “New York, New York” from On the Town.  In a 6x6 foot cubicle, complete with hand gestures and an attempt to high-kick by one of them.

“They’ve lost it,” I said to Larry.

“Took them longer than I thought it would,” he replied.

I did not spend all thirteen days at a desk; Thanksgiving Day was passed conducting a box truck inventory on Long Island.  A New York restaurant industry group served turkey and all the trimmings to the crew in the office which of course was where I was not*.

Timing is everything.

Leaving you with the money quote – an elderly volunteer stopped by my chair one day, looked at me glumly, and remarked “I ain’t had this much fun since the hogs ate my little brother.” 

He was the driver on the regular run from Manhattan to LaGuardia, poor bastard.

(*a cup of coffee and a Slim Jim, in case you were wondering).

Photo by Eli Wohl of an ERV on Staten Island, which is still in bad shape, btw.