Sunday, April 29, 2012

To Tempt a Sweet Tooth

To Make Barley-Sugar. – To every pound of sugar allow one-half pint of water, one-half the white of an egg.  Put the sugar into a well-tinned saucepan, with the water, and when the former is dissolved, set it over a moderate fire, adding the well-beaten egg before the mixture gets warm, and stir it well together.  When it boils, remove the scum as it rises, and keep it boiling until no more appears, and the syrup looks perfectly clear; then strain it through a fine sieve or muslin bag, and put it back into the saucepan.  Boil it again like caramel, until it is brittle when a little is dropped in a basin of cold water; it is then sufficiently boiled.  Add a little lemon juice and a few drops of the essence of lemon, and let it stand for a minute or two.  Have ready a marble slab or a large dish rubbed over with salad oil, pour the sugar on it, and cut it into strips with a pair of scissors; these strips should then be twisted, and the barley-sugar stored away in a very dry place.  It may be formed into lozenges or doprs, by dropping the sugar in a very small quantity at a time onto the oiled slab or dish.

To Make Everton Toffee. – One pound of powdered loaf-sugar, one teacupful of water, one-quarter pound of butter, six drops of essence of lemon.  Put the water and sugar into a brass pan, and beat the butter to a cream.  When the sugar is dissolved, add the butter, and keep stirring the mixture over the fire until it sets when a little is poured onto a buttered dish; and just before the toffee is done add the essence of lemon.  Butter a dish or tin, pour on it the mixture, and when cool it will easily separate from the dish.  Butterscotch, an excellent thing for coughs, is made with brown, instead of white sugar, omitting the water, and flavored with one-half ounce of ginger.  It is made in the same manner as toffee.

Molasses Candy. – One cup of molasses, two cups of sugar, one tablespoon vinegar, a little butter and vanilla; boil ten minutes, then cool it enough to pull.

From What Shall I Eat? The Housewife's Manual, by Miss E. Neill, 1892.  It's not surprising that candy was such a rare treat, given the effort required to make it.

(Image from The Confectionery).

Saturday, April 28, 2012


(The PC has returned.  Everything on the desktop looks a little different, but it all appears to be there).

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Youth and Speed

While the old PC and the new PC are in the hands of someone who is going to do the files transfer (and who is younger than my last pair of combat boots.  I could probably still outshoot him, though).

Monday, April 23, 2012

It's Going To Be That Kind Of A Week

Oh and I have a new PC so until I re-locate everything don't expect much in the way of posting right now....

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Further Signs That The Apocalypse Is Upon Us

Photographed this afternoon in the main hallway of a local junior high school.


Friday, April 20, 2012

That Was Harrowing

Smitty decided, God bless 'im, that three weeks was too short to try and quit his job, get rid of his apartment, put his car in storage and ship his belongings 2000 miles.  So he's deferring medical school.


He's still going, just not for another 2 semesters.  Maybe by that time he can show me how to use the Department of Homeland Security's after action report template without taking a baseball bat to the PC.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Note To Self

Don't read any more about the 1900 San Francisco bubonic plague outbreak while eating.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Two-fer Tuesday - Crocheted Doilies

From 1949 and available at the Purple Kitty site.

Sewing - A 1950's Flower Basket Quilt

An applique pattern from Workbasket.  My notes say February of 1950 but I don't think that's right.

Anyway, it's pretty. Right-click to enlarge.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Vintage Images - 1930's Fashions

(we nominated Xena for a Governor's Service Award, which she won.  She asked me what she should wear to the ceremony and I recommended a suit.  She's balking.  She's an awfully nice kid but her generation has no sense of the fitness of things.

We're Supposed To Fear This

I realize that what I see when I arrive at web pages like iGoogle is carefully designed to tempt me by reflecting what my browsing says about my personal taste.  It doesn't appear to be working; today alone so far, there has been a Google book announcement in what appears to be Dutch, an Italian soccer video, and ads for cholis.

Either I'm a schizophrenic or their information-gathering and interpretation mechanisms are incredibly inefficient.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

More Leftovers

From a cookbook sent all the way from the other side of the Mississippi River!  (Missouri, actually) by my oldest sister.  It’s an advertising cookbook for a dairy, the Prairie Farms Cookbook, and it was put together in 1941 by our old friend at the Chicago Culinary Arts Institute, Ruth Berolzheimer.

Creamed Chicken with Macaroni

3 T. butter
1 T. flour
3 oz. cream cheese
1 small pimiento, chopped
1 c. milk
1 c. chicken broth
2 c. diced cooked chicken
1 ½ c. cooked macaroni
1 t. salt
dash pepper

Melt butter, add flour, cream cheese, pimiento and seasonings.  Blend.  Combine milk and chicken broth and add gradually to first mixture, stirring constantly.  Heat to boiling and cook for 3 minutes.  Add chicken and macaroni, pile into buttered baking dish and bake in moderate oven (350°F.) 25 to 30 minutes.  Serves 8 (according to Mrs. Berolzheimer, who has obviously never met my family).

Chicken and Asparagus

2 T. butter
1 T. flour
2 c. cream or evaporated milk
1 egg, beaten
2 c. diced cooked chicken
2 c. cooked asparagus tips, cut into 2-inch lengths
2 T. chopped pimiento

Melt butter, add flour and seasonings.  Add cream; cook until slightly thickened, stirring constantly.  Pour over egg and blend.  Add chicken, asparagus tips and pimiento and heat thoroughly.  Serve on hot toast.  Serves 4.

Chicken a la King

1 T. butter
1 T. flour
dash white pepper
¼ t. salt
½ t. paprika
1 c. milk or diluted evaporated milk
¼ c. cream
1 c. cooked chicken, cut into pieces
2 olives, chopped
1 pimiento, chopped

Melt butter in top of double boiler, blend in flour, add pepper, salt and paprika.  Add milk and cream gradually, stirring constantly until thickened.  Beat well.  Add chicken, olives and pimiento.  Cook for 15 minutes and serve on toast, baking powder biscuits, in patty shells, or bread croustades.  Serves 2.

(Olives must be a Chicago addition.  Downstate we prefer peas).

The last recipe on the page – in a chapter devoted to entrees – is something I have never run across before, at least under this name.

Farmers’ Chop Suey

1 c. shredded lettuce
½ c. sliced radishes
½ c. diced cucumbers
¼ c. diced green pepper
½ c. shredded carrots
2 recipes Sour Cream Dressing

Have all ingredients cold.  Combine and toss together in a salad bowl.  Serves 6 to 8 (where on earth did these people come up with their serving size suggestions, one wonders).

Sour Cream Dressing

2 T. sugar
¼ t. salt
dash white pepper
1 c. sour cream
2 T. lemon juice

Mix sugar, salt and pepper, add cream and pour in lemon juice slowly.  Makes 1 cup (two servings of this would drown the salad given above by, modern standards).

Cat Geometry

The shortest distance between two points is across the computer keyboard.

Saturday, April 14, 2012


Friday, April 13, 2012

Good News/Bad News

The good news is that Smitty got accepted into medical school.  The bad news is that he's leaving next month.

Damn that boy.  I'm going to have to start doing my own DHS paperwork.

Thursday, April 12, 2012


Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Tatting - A Bowknot Medallion from 1950

From Workbasket magazine, December 1950.  Left-click to enlarge.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Vintage Advertising - 1930's Ad Cuts

Copyright-free, from Dover.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Ham I Am

Definition of eternity; two people and a ham. ~ (old cook’s saying).

Ham or lamb seems to be the choice for Easter dinners in the US, with most of us unaware that this was due to food storage problems prior to the invention of deep freezes and trans-continental motorized shipping.  A ham could be cured from the pig slaughtered in the fall and kept safe from trichinosis and other dangers until spring.  A lamb could be slaughtered and the meat consumed within days.

Of course, modern supermarkets are kind enough to sell ham by the slice now, which is a good thing.  It’s bad enough that the spousal unit and I eat turkey for five days after Thanksgiving and Christmas.  Trying to eat up an entire pig’s haunch would about do it for me.

Fortunately there is that ducky little culinary invention, the casserole; not all of which involved boiled noodles and a can of some kind of condensed soup.  I’m looking at some of the offerings from my copy of Better Homes and Gardens Casserole Cook Book, circa 1968.  This recipe doesn’t too bad – it  includes American cheese but no other processed ingredients.

Ham-Potatoes au Gratin

¼ cup chopped green onion
¼ cup chopped green pepper
2 T. butter or margarine
1 T. all-purpose flour
dash pepper
1 c. milk

4 oz sharp process American cheese, shredded (1 cup)
¼ c. mayonnaise or salad dressing
3 medium potatoes, cooked and diced (3 cups)
1 pound cooked ham, diced (2 cups)

Cook onion and green pepper in butter until tender.  Stir in flour and pepper.  Add milk all at once and bring to boil stirring constantly.  Reduce heat; add cheese and mayonnaise; stir till cheese melts.  Combine potatoes and ham with sauce.  Bake in a 10x6x1 ½ inch  baking dish in moderate oven (350°) for30 to 35 minutes.  Makes 4-6 servings.

No salt, I notice, but the cheese probably makes up for it.  This is one of the more acceptable offerings; on the next page there’s a recipe for California Curry Platter that calls for hard-boiled eggs, ham, raisins, rice, curry powder and monosodium glutamate.

Oh, The Horror

We ran out of cat food this morning.

The spousal unit is on an emergency run for kibble.  In the meantime, Her Majesty has been sitting next to an empty bowl for about an hour and twenty minutes and giving me the stink-eye.  Every so often she whallops it, just to make sure I'm still paying attention.

Saturday, April 7, 2012


Friday, April 6, 2012

Quote Of The Day

...anyone who has dabbled in Christianity or spent their childhood Sunday mornings learning the lessons of Jesus — that friendly bearded 2,000-year-old Israeli peace-loving hippie — knows that if there's anything Jesus thought was A-OK, it was loving people and treating them with dignity and respect ~ Erin Ryan.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

The Online Bookshelf - A Winter Nosegay

Somewhat unseasonal, but wonderful illustrations.  From Project Gutenberg.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Someone Notify The Field Museum

After catching a fleeting glimpse of Donald Trump on Fox News the other day (I was in a car dealership.  Don't chide me), it's clear that the dilophosaurus is not extinct.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Two-fer Tuesday - Vintage Rugs

Star Book #63, New Rugs for Every Room.  Most of them are crocheted, but this boy is actually tufted using rug yarn sewn to a backing. The patterns can be downloaded (free) at Purple Kitty.

Embroidery - An Edwardian Rose Pattern

From Every Woman's Encyclopedia, vol I, page 236.  I'm reasonably sure this one's out of copyright!  There are two pages of instructions on how to use pattern transfers, as well.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

The Ironing and Starching of a Lady's Shirt

A LADY'S PRINT SHIRT.  After washing, this should be put through thin hot-water starch before it is hung up to dry.  This will give a slight stiffness to the body part of the front.

Hot-water Starch.  For a moderate quantity take three tablespoonfuls of dry starch, and mix into a smooth paste with cold water.  Then pour on fast-boiling water, stirring all the time, until the starch runs clear.  the addition of a little shredded wax makes the iron run more smoothly when ironing the article.  Hot-water starch is usually diluted according to the material to be starched, and no hard and fast rule can be given.  For thinning starch the water need not be at boiling-point, a slightly cooler temperature is quite sufficient.

When quite dry starch the cuffs in cold-water starch in the same way as a gentleman's shirt, then starch the collar and band down the front.  Always wet the part just beyond where the starch should come to prevent the latter spreading where it is not wanted.  Sprinkle the dry parts of the print with cold water, roll up tightly, and wrap in a towel ready for ironing.  To iron, unroll the shirt and place it with the neck towards the edge of the table.  Iron the collar first until dry, then the yoke on both sides.  Next iron the cuffs in the same way as ordinary cuffs, and run the iron inside the sleeve for a little way to dry the gathers and the hems of the opening.  Then iron the sleeves, laying out as much as will lie flat on the table and ironing it front and back.

Slip the hand inside occasionally to prevent the two sides sticking and causing creases.  Iron well into the gathers top and bottom, finishing off the top of the sleeve from the inside with a small iron.  If a sleeveboard can be used the ironing will be found much simpler.  Damp over any parts that are too dry, and iron all smoothly.  Finish off any corners, hems, tapes, etc., and air well before folding.  The cuffs and collar may be polished if wished.

From Every Woman's Encyclopedia, volume III.  Several volumes of this useful and informative Edwardian compendium may be found on (caveat lector; you will find yourself dallying on this website for hours).