Saturday, March 30, 2013


Thursday, March 28, 2013


Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Never Forget

Pfc Robert Simmons, Weapons Platoon, Company K, 242nd Regimental Combat Team, 42d ("Rainbow") Infantry Division, mustered out at 0100 this morning.  Let's hope Popeye was waiting for him.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Vintage Images - Animal Woodcuts

Copyright-free, from Dover.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Winter's Last Hurrah (We Hope)

“She and the other Laura, and all the other children, scooped up clean snow with their plates.  Then they went back into the crowded kitchen.

Grandma stood by the brass kettle and with the big wooden spoon she poured hot syrup on each plate of snow.  It cooled into soft candy, and as fast as it cooled, they ate it.

They could eat all they wanted, for maple sugar never hurt anybody.  There was plenty of syrup in the kettle, and plenty of snow outdoors.” Laura Ingalls Wilder, Little House in the Big Woods.

(The Drama Queen is convinced that this is all my fault, btw).

Updated @12:40 CDT.  It's about to start snowing again.  I'm waiting to see which goes out first, the power or our Internet connectivity.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

In Memoriam

Beauty without Vanity, Strength without Insolence, Courage without Ferocity, and all the Virtues of Man without his vices. 

Dr. Tinyvet said we might have bought him three more months by having his spleen removed.  We couldn't put him through that.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Vintage Advertising - Kellog's Corn Flakes

From Every Week magazine, 1912.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Those Delicate Victorian Females

MOCK-TURTLE SOUP.  Take a calf's head which has been scalded, and quite fresh; place it in a pot which will just hold it, and cover with cold water.  Let it boil for half an hour; then cool in cold water.  Take a sharp knife; make a cut down the forehead, and remove the scalp, keeping close to the skull.  Scrape off the rough cuticle inside the cheek, and cut in pieces an inch square.  Tear open the jawbones, and take out the tongue and palate; both of which flay.  Cut the tongue in thin slices.  Lay open the ears, and take away the skin which is inside.  Put the whole into a stew-pan, with as much stock or water as will just cover, and boil until tender.  Melt one pound of butter in a stew-pan; pare and cut down in very thin slices six large onions, and fry in the butter, taking care not to burn.  When tender, add a pound and a half of flour, with a few springs of sweet basil, marjoram and thyme; which stir carefully with a square wooden spattle until the flour is slightly coloured. Pull the pot aside; add a ladleful of hot stock, and mix till smooth.  When as much stock has been added as will make it to the consistency of cream, strain the whole through a fine hair search, add the pieces of head, and set it on the fire.  When coming through, carefully remove all the scum as it rises on the top.  After a few minutes, add two wine glasses of mushroom ketchup, and one of essence of anchovies; season with Cayenne pepper and salt to taste; finish with a quarter bottle of Sherry.  Twelve or fourteen quarts will be produced from the above; if less is required, only use half a head.

(reproduced without any alteration whatsoever from the original in Sarah Josepha Hale's Modern Household Cookery By A Lady, 1854.  May be downloaded from Google Books.)

Saturday, March 16, 2013


Friday, March 15, 2013

Quote of the Day

The lives of fanatics are usually rather low on Gross Reality, which allows them to take their visions too seriously.  Joan of Arc or Mary Baker Eddy might have found their personal lives less complicated if, say, either of them had a bowel complaint or a passion for chocolate milkshakes. ~ Jeannette Winterson

Thursday, March 14, 2013

The Online Bookshelf - Constantinople

From 1906, with many lovely watercolor illustrations.  For download from Project Gutenberg.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

A Brooch and Earrings from 1867

A beaded brooch and matching earrings, from Peterson's Ladies' National magazine, 1867.  It can be viewed online at the University of Wisconsin's Human Ecology website.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Vintage Images - St. Patrick's Day

Copyright-free, from Dover.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Setting The Breakfast Table, 1851

“First spread the table cover upon the table, and then the linen breakfast cloth.  Large cups and saucers are used generally for breakfast and of these you must take care to place the number that will be wanted, as conveniently as possible for the lady who makes the tea, or pours out the coffee.  Take care there is a spoon for each cup and saucer; and lay a small plate, with a small knife and fork, for each person.  The milk-jug and slop-basin must be placed on the table; and if an urn is used, you should place the urn-rug on the table, close behind the tea-pot, that it may be ready to put the urn on, when you bring it up.   Salt-cellars are usually required on a breakfast-table; and where ham, or any cold meat is taken, you must put the mustard also, taking care to see that the mustard-pot is nice and clean.  When meat is taken, do not forget to lay a large knife and steel fork to each dish, to carve it with; and if fish is taken, as well as meat, lay an additional silver fork to each person.

A loaf and butter are usually put upon the table; the loaf should be in a bread plate, not a bread basket having a table knife to cut it with; and if there is a silver knife for the butter, you must not forget to place it ready with the butter cooler, or on the butter pate, if a butter cooler is not used.  Dry toast may be made before it is wanted, and should be set up in the toast-rack the moment it is done, as it gets tough if laid on a plate to cool.  The toast-rack, with the toast in it, must likewise be set on the table; as well as cresses, or any other salads it may be the custom of the family to take; but hot toast, bacon, or eggs, must be got read by the cook punctually by the time they are required, and must be taken up stairs by yourself, at the minute they are wanted.

If a bright copper tea-kettle is used in the parlour, instead of a tea-urn, you must take care that it looks clean and bright; and that the water boils in it when the lady comes down.  It is usually cleaned by the cook; but if you have to do it, it must be polished with wash-leather and a little rotten-stone; or , if it be tarnished, with rotten-stone moistened with a little sweet oil, and afterwards polished with leather and dry rotten-stone; or dry whiting; but if it gets stained with smoke, or soot, the best thing to clean it off with is, a little very strong soda and water; and afterwards polish it with a leather and dry rotten-stone, or dry whiting.  Many of these tea-kettles have a heater used with them, which is made hot in the kitchen fire by the cookmaid, the same as the tea-urn heater is.

Place the chairs in order around the table; and in cold weather, make up a good fire, but never leave a poker in it, as it is almost sure to fall out, and burn the hearth-rug. Having got all ready for the family breakfast, you should, while they are taking it, sit down with the cook and take your own.”

From the The Housemaid's Complete Guide and Adviser, free download at Google Books. A fun but rather exhausting read.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Quote of the Day

No fiddler ever gets tired of his own music. ~ Anonymous

Thursday, March 7, 2013


Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Even First Responders Get The Blues

We are winding down an eight-hour workshop on disaster risk reduction.  It's 4pm.  We're a mixed bag of EMTs, RN's, emergency managers, etc, and we're all pretty frazzled.

Instructor:  So what are some steps your jurisdiction can take to reduce the demand for medical resources after a disaster?

Fellow student:  Euthanasia.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Sewing - a 1949 Beach Bag

Left-click to enlarge, or go to my Flickr account for a bigger image. From the Australian Home Journal.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Beautiful Soup

Beautiful Soup, so rich, so green
Waiting in a hot tureen
Who for such dainties would not stoop
Soup of the evening, Beautiful Soup.

(chorus) Beautiful Soul! Beautiful Soup!
Soup of the evening, Beautiful Soup.

Beautiful Soup, who cares for fish,
Game or any other dish?
Who would not give all else for two p-
Ennyworth only of Beautiful Soup? ~ Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

" The day before you dress a turtle, chop the herbs, and make the forcemeat, then on the preceding evening, suspend the turtle by the two hind fins with a cord, and put one round the neck with a heavy weight attached to it to draw out the neck, that the head may be cut off with more ease; let the turtle hang all night, in which time the blood will be well drained from the body.  Then, early in the morning, having your stoves and plenty of hot water in readiness, take the turtle, lay it on the table on its back, and with a strong pointed knife cut round the under shell (which is the callipee), -- there are joints at each end, which must be carefully found, -- gently separating it from the callipash (which is the upper shell); be careful that in cutting out the gut you do not break the gall.  When the callippee and the callipash are perfectly separated, take out that part of the gut that leads from the throat; that with the hearts put into a basin of water by themselves, the other interior part put away.  Take the callipee, and cut off the meat which adheres to it in four quarters, laying it on a clean dish.

Take twenty pounds of veal, chop it up, and set it in a large pot, as directed for espagnoles, putting in the flesh of the turtle at the same time, with all kinds of turtle herbs, carrots, onions, one pound and a half of lean ham, peppercorns, salt, and a little spice, and two bay leaves, leaving it to stew till it take the color of espagnole; put the fins—the skin scalded off—and hearts in, half an hour before you fill it, with half water, and half beef stock, then carefully skim it; put in a bunch of parsley, and let it boil gently like consommé.

While the turtle is stewing, carefully scald the head, the callipee, and all that is soft of the callipash, attentively observing to take off the smallest skin that may remain; put them with the gut into a large pot of water to boil until tender; when so, take them out and cut them in squares, putting them in a basin by themselves till wanted for the soup.

The next thing is the thickening of the soup, which must be prepared in the same manner as sauce tournée. The turtle being well done, take out the fins and hearts, and lay them on a dish; the whole of the liquor must pass through a sieve into a large pan; then with a ladle take off all the fat, put it into a basin, then mix in the turtle liquor (a small quantity at a time), with the thickening made the same as tournée; but it does not require to, neither must it, be one−twentieth part as thick. Set it over a brisk fire, and continue stirring till it boils.

When it has boiled gently for one hour put in the callipee and callipash with the guts, hearts, and some of the best of the meat and head, all cut in squares, with the forcemeat balls and herbs, which you should have ready chopped and stewed in espagnole; the herbs and parsley, lemon, thyme, marjoram, basil, savory, and a few chopped mushrooms.

It must be carefully attended to and skimmed, and one hour and a half before dinner put in a bottle of Madeira wine, and nearly half a bottle of brandy; keeping it continuially boiling gently, and skimmit it, then take a basin, put a little cayenne into it, with the juice of six lemons squeezed through a sieve.  When the dinner is wanted, skim the turtle, stir it well up, and put a little salt, if necessary; then stir the cayenne and lemon juice in, and ladle it into the tureen.

This receipt will answer for a turtle between fifty and sixty pounds."  Maria J. Moss, A Poetical Cookbook.

No wonder turtle soup was such a luxury; and no wonder it was usually ordered from a caterer's.  The vintage turtle image is from

Saturday, March 2, 2013


Friday, March 1, 2013

Quote of the Day

Kipling wrote one of his best stories on how Mulvaney and his captain with an undressed company swam the Irriwaddy River in India and captured Lungtungpen. It was a brave deed. The average man can't be brave without his clothes. ~ Samuel Scoville

Makes Sense To Me

From PassiveAggressive Notes.