Sunday, March 29, 2009

30 march 1955 “Academy Awards, Beauty, Food, and Spring Cleaning for your Life”

brando and grace kelly March 30, 1955 Brando and Grace Kelly wind for “On the Waterfront” at the 27th annual Academy Awards.

newyorker march 1955 This New Yorker is actually from the 26 of March 1955, but I forgot to picture it before. I think the image is very telling of the times. The bucolic setting, the innocence of the children, the serenity of an autumn New England day as a jet cuts across the sky. The ideals of antiquity are now being poised to receive modern life.

I know some of you have asked about beauty and personal care in the 1950s. So, I thought I would show some articles and images from some of my magazines.

beginning beauty article This is rather sweet how they encourage you to help and guide your daughter through a good beauty routine. I need to up my game, as I thought I only needed 100 strokes to my hair, but I guess I was wrong. I do know, that hair washed once a week and brushed thoroughly shines wonderfully. I realized another savings I have come upon with my 1955 life. I used to wash my hair alot. I would shower, not everyday, but at least five times a week and my hair is thick and needs conditioner. I now wash and condition my hair once a week. That means I use my shampoo and conditioner only four times a month. I can now get five months use out of what was one months use! I am not sure when the daily showering/hair washing began, but I can bet if we trace it far enough it will lead to some advertising on soaps and shampoo. Your hair does not need to be shampooed that often. Think of all the water, energy, money and waste if we used 1/4 of the bottles of shampoo and conditioner per person per year. Now, I still shower more than once a week, but I use my trusty friend, the shower cap. I do not, however, shower every day. I now have a good wash up on days I don’t show and probably shower three times a week of which one of those days is to shower and shampoo. It might sound disgusting, but I do not feel any dirtier and in fact think my hair looks the better for it. I keep coming upon these little realizations and they are amazing. I just really thought about it the other day, wow, five months of product out of my old one months supply. And the amout of plastic I won’t be throwing out, the amount of money I will save, and the energy costs. Again, something done to be authentic to the 1950s has lead to a green decision without my knowing it. I think it is funny that marketing and advertising follows trends, so as green is now the ‘it’ thing it uses that. So, people can feel green by going out and buying more things. We just respond to change in this way, “Oh, I need a new way of thinking, let me go buy the stuff that goes along with it” when, really, instead of buying green bags, use bags you already have or take some of your old shirts or clothes you don’t want and fasten those into green bags, but now our response is to buy more things. I know we reuse the bags, but do you sort of see where I am going with this. Even green cleaning products, silly. You can make all you need with vinegar, soda, pinesol, bleach and water. Use an old bottle you ALREADY have over and over again. Decorate it, like I and some of my followers did. Just because some product comes out in a new shape bottle with cooler writing you are still buying things that have to be put into plastic bottles. Here is an example of SC Johnsons approach. See, how happy and earth friendly this page is, but you can make your own green products and use the bottles you have.

Now, I was suppose to be talking about beauty, but you see how these rants just come upon me. This is, however, how my days often will unfold. I will be doing something or trying something ‘vintage’ and realize how ‘now’ it really should be.

Here is an article on antiperspirant use. It is scary to me how they point out in this article that the aluminum works well to keep you dry but that it can irritate and ruin your clothing. “However, because they check perspiration so well, they have a faithful following”. I know that many studies have shown that the aluminum in antiperspirants are harmful and can lead to Alzheimer’s disease. I tried to find a woman’s product that did not contain aluminum and had a hard time. The idea of not sweating was so important that good sense was set aside for social stigma. It is odd to me, too, as these women’s grandmothers would certainly have had sweat and the smell as part of their life and thought little of it, save using lemon verbena water or something. I think I found another chemical product that used advertising to promote the need to ‘not be sweaty’. anitperspirants

And, finally, here are some sweet beauty tips:

beauty tips

I am sort of behind in my food discussions here, so I have a couple of meals to cover. I wanted to make a souffle’ with some left over pork shoulder, as I had mentioned in a previous blog, so it would be a ham and cheese souffle’. I could find no recipe for this, so I simply created my own using the basic souffle recipe I had.souffle It turned out lovely, but I used a too large dish. I actually have this dish in the next size down, too, so I could have really made it look spectacular, as I made the ‘paper crown’ for it with wax paper, but as the dish was too large, it did raise properly, but does not look like it in this dish. I was so proud of it, as I served it, it stood so tall and was so light to eat. As I was preparing it, I saw how similar it was to making a cake. The beating of the egg whites, the beating of the egg yolks, folding in the ingredients, and honestly it looked like cake batter as I poured it in. It was heavenly and light. I am really beginning to see the skill set grow in cooking. As I have mentioned before, what used to seem like a random assortment of recipes to follow, are now really displaying the various similar traits. Now, I know when I look at a new cake recipe why it needs this or that and I am now rearing to make my own. I mentioned to Gussie yesterday that I want to make a maple walnut two layer cake with a maple cream cheese frosting decorated with crushed walnuts and topped with a circular halo of whole walnuts. I can see it in my mind. I tried finding a recipe for a maple walnut cake but could not find one in my old books and magazines, so if I can find a maple cake, then I will simply alter it. Although I really want to just try, based on my growing cake knowledge, to make up my own recipe. If it turns out good, of course I will share the recipe with you and pics.

Now, onto another dessert, that is all eat up now, is a blueberry apple pie. blueberryapple pieI mentioned it before that I was going to make it for our Saturday dinner and I did. I had some left over fresh blueberries from jam in my fridge and some apples, I had not enough of either to make a blueberry or an apple pie, so I combined them. This was also really a made up recipe. I used my ‘easy’ crust recipe that I have listed before where you use shortening and add boiling water etc. It really is so simple and this time it was wonderfully flaky. Almost as good as my lard crust. It was not too sweet as I mixed the fruit fresh with one cup sugar and I made a topping of butter and flour to crumble on top. And I squeezed half a fresh lemon on top before I popped it in the oven. It was really good, if I do say so myself, and I do! I know the crust looks a little sloppy, but I liked the rusticity of it. I will try my hand at fancy braided crusts and such in the future. Here is is waiting for coffee and me to devour it.appleblueberry pie slice

Here are my lovely Chicken croquets I made for our chicken croquettesSaturday Vintage Dinner. I was so proud and they were so good.

Here is the recipe:

chicken croquettes recipe You will see it says to serve with Cream sauce. That is simply the plain white sauce recipe I have given in a previous blog, but make it with 1 cup cream instead of milk. I have not tried the sauterne Jelly, but will next time. Sauternes is a French dessert wine from the Sauternais region of the Graves section in Bordeaux. Sauternes is made from Sémillon, Sauvignon Blanc, and Muscadelle grapes that have been affected by Botrytis cinerea, also known as noble rot. This causes the grapes to become partially “raisined”, resulting in concentrated and distinctively flavored wines. Sauternes is one of the few wine regions where infection with noble rot is a frequent occurrence, due to its climate. It is a sweet dessert wine and it is commonly served with Fois Gras (which I adore!), caviar, and pates. This wine is fairly expensive due to what goes into making it and there are really no domestic versions worth mentioning (however, if you know differently, please let me know as I love a good dessert wine!). I have heard there is a California version, but that it is not very good, I have not had that type. I would, and probably will, use an inexpensive Riesling when I make this sauce. I know it is a German wine and not a French wine, but I think in cooking and wanting to save on budget, the sweetness of a Riesling would work for this recipe. If anyone tries it let me know or if anyone wants to spend the money on a good Sauterne and use it in a recipe, let me know how it tastes. I would probably save the ‘real deal’ for a special occasion, Thanksgiving or something. If you have not heard of this wine and would like to try it, let me know what you think, oh, and for those of you who don’t know it is pronounced “So-Tairn” I know sometimes people feel funny asking for something if they are uncertain of how to ask for it. Anyway, here is the recipe.

sauterene sauce recipe

Okay, so how I actually made my croquettes, which I was so proud of and I really liked how they looked on the table. Was as follows:

I used boneless chicken thighs, as they are less expensive and dark meat is much juicier in a croquette. I think the white meat would be nice, but really liked the more moist quality of a thigh and it the cost can’t be beat! To moisten the ingredients, I did not use the white sauce but used their first recommendation of the 3/4 cup chicken stock and 1/4 cream. So, I took my chicken thighs and boiled them earlier in the day and put in my various spices that I like. I put in about 4 cups of water, let them boil and simmer for a few hours as I was about my day, until it boiled down to about 2 cups. Then I took my 3/4 cup of stock and the rest went into the freezer for future sauces and soups. You could use canned stock in a pinch, but I like making my own stock as it is easy, less expensive and I think much nicer and you can control the sodium more. I also chose to use fresh cut cilantro in lieu of the parsley. I am not sure if cilantro would have been used in 1955, I need to check on that, but I really like the taste and it did add a nice bite to the croquettes. So, I shredded the cooked chicken and mixed the ingredients, adding the above sauce of stock and cream as needed an shaped my little pyramids. Then I rolled them in bread crumbs (if you have any old croutons sitting about, these work great too!) and I popped them in the freezer for about 1/2 hour while I made my cream sauce. Don’t let them freeze, because when you deep fry something you want it to be close to room temperature so it doesn’t cool the oil. For my cream sauce I used the rest of the mixture of stock and cream that didn’t go into my croquettes and added that with the flour to the butter as I made the sauce. I put it in a serving pitcher and set it aside. Before I fried the croquets I dipped them in beaten egg and rolled them again in crumbs, this gives them a nice coating, then into the hot fat. You don’t really need them in there that long, just enough to brown the coating, as the chicken is already cooked from making the stock. I got many raves from these at our dinner and will definitely make them again, next time with the Sauterene sauce (or Riesling sauce). I think they would be a great answer to leftovers. Really any left over meat would be lovely this way and breaks the monotony of leftover predictability.

Now, with this ‘gourmet’ recipe, I used a recipe from my Campbell’s soup book. I like the idea that I am using a book that teaches you ‘high cooking’ and paring it with an advertising book that I would have most likely got as a promotion at my local grocer. That is the joy of cooking. Gourmet does not have to be hard, nor does it have to be exclusive. If you pair things that sound as if they would be good together, most likely they will.

Now, when I used this recipe, I did not make the sauce with Campbell’s chicken and rice soup, as I really don’t buy canned soup and enjoy making my own. However, with that said, I am certain it would be good and easy for a busy mother to use the soup as directed. I used, instead, the same sauce I made for the croquettes. It was lovely and tasted great and so no need to have another type of sauce with the dinner. Oh, and as I used bacon for this recipe, I put the bacon fat into the stuffing with the egg to hold it together. It was lovely and the tomato was just cooked enough.

So, after I prepared the croquettes, I put them in a pan and then I put in the tomatos with the stuffing, but did not cook it. I put the whole thing in the oven and 20 minutes before my guests arrived I turned the oven to 350 and it heated up the already prepared croquets, and cooked the tomatos. Then I just had to reheat the sauce and serve it all. The clean up was easier this week as well, as I am getting more skilled at doing things in stages and thinking ahead to what can be prepared and heated at the last minute. I can see now how women with multiple children ran a home and still put on lovely meals. It is just training and practice. When you approach this type of work as that work, but if you also love it, as I do, then multiple tasks become easier and in the efficiency of it you also garner more pleasure as you test yourself and think, “Oh, I can do one more thing, or Oh, I am going to make the soup from scratch or the cake from scratch etc.”

stuffed tomato recipe stuffed tomato pic

Yesterday, Sunday, was a good day. The three of us, hubby, myself and Gussie (yes, she is sporadically around) had a good lazy but productive day. It was raining. It was that good heavy Spring New England rain. It falls straight down, with purpose and hope, wetting the birds, the ground, those leaves that missed the rake. The light is soft grey shot with moments of bright. The tip-tapping on windows in my little sitting room gives me leave to stay inside and not feel the guilt of the approaching planting season. Instead, that busy yet lazy energy of a Sunday morning was put to the kitchen and its increasing list of little odd jobs. Today it was the pantry. Gussie and I took out everything! The kitchen was littered with canned goods and things long forgot in the dark recess of the pantry. When I do my little breakfast room addition there will be a new pantry. One I have oft dreamed of and imagined. There will be a window and neat white shelves edged in vintage shelf paper. Drawers below, tall spaces for cookie sheets, everything labeled and lovely. No have twisted bags of chocolate chips with ill-used twist-ties, but honest clear jars, standing ready and at attention, the soldiers of the cooking world; Ready and clearly labeled for battle. That, however, is in the future. Now, my pantry is a fairly large but deep and dark closet. It is the perfect place to hide out, if you so chose, for you could slip there, on that top shelf behind the countless bags of opened rice that you meant to condense and next to the odd batch of hideous Halloween plates that someone brought to a party and you hadn’t the heart to throw away. You could safely linger there for months, never being spotted and you’d have many cans of beans and various goodies to keep you going.

So, all of this came out as well as the two closed cabinets above the stove. It was all laid out upon the kitchen table and Gussie and I looked at each other, then the piles and stacks of things, and with a nod of a surgeon to the nurse, dug in.

This was rather cathartic and we dubbed it the ‘official’ beginning of Spring cleaning.

I have a darling set of vintage milk glass spice jars. They have been patiently awaiting their proper labeling and filling. Today, we did it. They needed to be scrubbed and washed and then I ran them through the dishwasher (ah, it’s good to be middle class in the 1950s) . I used a very 1950s idea of applying your own decoration to make something match your home, but did it in a very 21st century way. I scanned a Pyrex dish with part of the pattern that I collect. I then added the name of whatever space would go in that jar and printed it on sticky paper. The result is darling I think. They have great lids that screw on and a little shaker top that are not on in this picture. I think the result is darling, as they are milkglass and the rooster image from my Pyrex in my color is very effective, don’t you think?

new spice jar

So, I had to sit down, with all the spices I use and collect up before me, and consider, what are the 12 most used? I have so many spices and began sorting through realizing I use this most often this only in certain things, this for holiday cakes etc. It was really a great mini-exercise for the overall project of doing over my house; my life. Sit down, put all your cards on the table, what do you do most, what is a dream or a plan for the future, and what is just left rotting in the back shelf. By going through and check-listing out your life, you can decide what is worth keeping, worth striving for and what you realize is just something you are holding onto that would be better tossed aside. Spring cleaning for you life, I like it! Let’s all do it, shall we?

Happy Homemaking.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

27 & 28 March 1955 “Tony Awards, Child Rearing, and more Ranting”


The 9th Annual Tony Awards, presented by the American Theatre Wing, took place at the Plaza Hotel Grand Ballroom on March 27, 1955. It was broadcast on radio by the National Broadcasting Company. The presenter was Helen Hayes .

steeve mcqueenSteve McQueen makes his network debut on CBS.

time cover 28 marchTime cover for March 28 1955. Computers and Automation are starting to change the world.

 spanking cartoonI thought this was an interesting cartoon.

I have never raised children, so I will never presume to give advice. I do know that some of you have asked about information on child rearing during the 1950s. This article which I have scanned for you to see is from a 1951 Better Homes and Gardens. I think as the decade progresses the concept of child rearing begins to change. (Sorry about the poor scan quality, but what do you expect, I am from 1955 who can understand this new modern technology)

article on children 1 article on children 2

These four steps of the ‘situation’ were posed on pg 10 with the results in the back of the magazine, in an almost test-like format. It was given to you, the reader, to put yourself in their shoes and see what you would do. Here is the answer:

article on children 3

I think their reasoning is sound. I think, and again I am speaking from NO experience with children, that today many children seem confused or unsettled by the lack of actual boundaries and rules on how to deal with others as well as their own needs. But, many people today are not really allowed to live in a world that requires us to be ‘true grownups’ so how can we teach children this. I like that they point out that an exact across the board ‘tit for tat’ is unrealistic for the child, which is a great life lesson. The world certainly does not work on the tit for tat method of equality. What do any of you parents think of this article?

cookie and whip cream ad Here are two ads from a 1951 magazine, so this answers my question as to when ‘prepared whip cream’ was available. I detest this type of whip cream and it is SO easy to whip up fresh whipping cream and then you can add any thing you like to it, I love adding Almond extract, mmmmm.

Tonight is my saturday for our ‘vintage dinner’, Recipes and photos will be up on Monday. I am making an apple blueberry pie ( I did not have enough of either in the house and instead of buying more, I thought, ‘heck, combine them!) Chicken Croquettes ( which I have never made, so we shall see. But anything served with a cream sauce can’t be that bad, right?) and stuffed tomato slices. I may do brussel sprouts as my green vegetable.

Now, for today’s rant:

I am almost starting to feel that those of us into the vintage lifestyle owe it to ourselves AND our community and therefore the world, to include in our love and desire for history the importance of social history. I think we may find rather than having to want to wrap ourselves only in a fantasy of better times, it is more fulfilling and more ‘right’ to take what we love and can learn from these times and set out to insert them into the present. Our joy of old things, cooking, enjoying family, helping others, EVEN wonderful clothing, could really help make a better future. The respect you show yourself and that which you receive from others by your clothes is an integral part to self-worth and hope. When the concept of caring for you family and helping others is seen as a job and a valid action, think how we can change the world? One neighbor at a time.

I think also, this responsibility involves helping others who may  seem to be unhappy, as a real quality way to inject your life with meaning and purpose. Through both our example and teaching, as we live with community and care for ourselves and family and our homes etc, we may also find ourselves seeing a friend or associate who turns to you for guidance. If you see a wayward sister, let her know how homemaking (rather it leads to marriage or not) is a means to an end. Sometimes when we are lost and looking out into the world for answers, they are right there in our own hands. I know it sounds cutesy or simplistic, but even a single gal who may feel hopeless or unsatisfied, working, shopping, watching tv and hanging out, should look to your home. Make it a place you feel like an honored guest and have your friends and family over. You’ll save money on food and entertainment and get to know yourself as well as those around you. I know it sounds silly to say,' “Hey make your bed when you get up, iron your clothes, paint and decorate affordably and clear out the clutter (donate all that stuff you don’t use because someone can use it) wear your ‘nice clothes’ just for you, even if you are at home, shut off the t.v. and tadah you feel purpose” I know that can sound odd, or too easy (though it is not easy to learn all the things, but worth doing.) the act of doing it gives you a purpose each day. It makes you focus on making yourself nice for you and your mind, then you will find you want to share this with others.

I just really think our modern society has made us SO self-centered in a bad way that we are intrinsically unhappy. I know, many of you are already much more accomplished than am I at cooking and sewing and homemaking, but perhaps your skills are a great way to show a new batch of women (and men too!) what personal satisfaction comes from living your life in a more controlled manner. Take control and responsibility for the way you look and how you live and what you think and buy, and you will feel better. It is a great aid for the blues to have things we now seem to think are silly, as important tasks you need to do and want to do for yourself, your family and friends.  Even if you are not volunteering at a soup kitchen, if you make homemade food and entertain your friends, or help your family by providing them with clean clothes and a good home cooked meal, you are doing for others and you will feel good about it.

I guess, I just really feel I can say this because it is all new to me. I was one of those unhappy consumers. I had moments that felt like happiness, but in the pit of my stomach or my heart I felt sort of aimless or empty. But, really taking control and action of each day has made a world of difference. I feel like I could do more in my life than I thought I could before. I know I sound like a self-help book, but really and truly, I feel more in control and happier than I have ever before.

There were so many things I wanted to do and I would always say, “I need 10 lives to do half of the things I want to try in my life”, but now I am finding, I may do much more than I thought. By taking control of my days and spending habits and my environment, I actually know I can add another item to my day and be able to handle it all. Again, I am not saying being a time Nazi is the answer, but by scheduling my days I find I get more done than before and soon do things faster as my skill level increases. Before,  I thought things like a clean organized kitchen or making my bed was silly or a waste of time keeping me from doing what I want, now I  see it as a means to disciplining myself to be ABLE to do what I want. If I cannot take 10 minutes to make my bed so it is nice for me at the end of a long day, or spend 15 minutes at my vanity, doing my hair, or checking my pearls, than how am I going to have the discipline to learn an instrument, or write a book, or hike 20 miles? The importance of daily living seems to always get a bad rap and yet people won’t mind spending two hours on a day off watching some t.v. program. I know, I used to do it. But, you know what, going out and raking my leaves may not be the most fun, but by doing it I get to then have a beautiful garden or the reward of going to the local greenhouse and picking out those roses I have always wanted to try. I think one of the main points I seem to have come across that we have in the modern world is that we want result with no prep work. We want to have a perfect home and life, but don’t want to do any of the work to get it. We want to be thin and beautiful but don’t want to bother to try. Even someone overweight and not model beautiful will be lovely if she is happy with herself and if she is wearing a nice dress, accessories, hose etc, you will be surprised how nice you feel and in so doing, people will see how beautiful you are. Not because you had to hide your true form in all that, but because you took the time to look nice for the people you encounter, they respond to that and see you looking beautiful.

I do realize a lot of what I am saying sound like tired old self-help rules, but I know I didn’t follow these norms before and am happier now for doing so. And I am not saying “Just feel good about yourself and your life will be better” because you know what; IT WON’T! You need to work hard at learning to care for yourself and your home and get a skill-set that makes you feel happy, then you WILL feel good about yourself and you will have every right to do so. Because, you are a good, cook , or your home is clean and welcoming, or you have a beautiful garden people love to sit in or eat from. I just want we (the 21 century gals) to feel we can take control of our lives and make a change for ourselves and in so, we will make a generation that others will look back on and think, “Wow, those early 21st century gals were amazing. One day they just turned away from commercialism and became super women” Because, were we to slowly acquire the skill-set of those women in 1955 we would probably be considered super woman by today’s standards.

Many people think, “Oh, well they got to stay home while their man took care of them. Or things were cheaper than, so one person could stay home” When, really, I am finding comparatively prices were similar and actually food is much cheaper today, and yet they managed, because their core desires were to care for their children or entertain themselves in ways that did not involve being on an endless revolving spending spree. The concept of ‘spending on yourself into your savings account’ is often a foreign concept. And, really, those of you who are in a relationship who think you have to work two jobs, maybe look at what and where you spend and you might be surprised. Now, I am not saying that is true for everyone, but again, how many cars and phones do you need. Do you need cable and tivo.  Do you have to eat out x amount of times a month. Do you have to spend x amount of junk food etc.

It is amazing to me that there are more big stores with great ‘bargains’ and yet we are all more in debt that any previous generations and no one can save. It is because we have been trained into being bargain shoppers instead of just not being shoppers at all. Obviously we need to go shopping to get food, but when we go where they have everything else too, we buy those things. Those stores that have everything in them aren’t really doing it to make your life easier, they are doing it to make you buy more and spend. They don’t honestly care if you save money, if you save it, you are not spending it on their products. When you have to go to various shops to buy various things you will buy less as you will be thinking in between your purchases. Malls and Chain stores that carry ‘all you need’ are there solely to make money. Don’t be their victim. I know you may think, “Oh, I can just hop in and buy this I don’t HAVE to buy other things” but even if you don’t you are still giving them your money and not the local guy. And if it costs more locally, than don’t buy as much. I know that sounds glib, but I really believe it. Now, don’t get me wrong I know it is hard, but for me, when I do go into a place that has everything you bet I come out with things I would not have bought. I do it all the time. The hardest part for me, and again I sort of tried it originally for  my project to stick to 1955, was not going to HomeGoods and Christmas Tree Shops (any of you from this area will know the lure of Christmas Tree Shops). I would go there as they had house ware cheaper.  Yet, now as I am doing over my house I am finding all this stuff that I have no idea why I ever bought it? Just to buy it? I mean I would just purchase things, as if I were a zombie, I’d walk in the store, fill the cart and handover the money. It is a sort of zombie like existence, but it is so ingrained into our culture you think nothing of it. SO, now instead of an afternoon shopping with the girls, I’d rather stay at home with them and have tea and food I have prepared and we can talk about how we want to decorate or do things with what we have or inexpensively. I still get that same rush (as I love interiors and design) but I am not just aimlessly buying things.

So, anyway, just more of the same thing I guess. And, again, I don’t want to feel as if I am telling people what to do, only what I have discovered and how it has made me feel better and more empowered. Hopefully, even if you think I am a crackpot, you can enjoy my enjoying it!

Well, have a good weekend, and I will see you all on Monday. I have a dinner to prepare and tomorrow, if the weather holds, I will get back to my garden.

Happy Homemaking.

Friday, March 27, 2009

March 1955 "Time Warp Wives Interview"

I am so busy today, rearranging my husbands new study and making room for the dinning room makeover. I will be back with a regular post tomorrow, I promise, but for now you can check out my Time Warp Wives interview by following the link. Just scroll down and it should be open to the page. Enjoy and let me know what you think, I actually haven't read over it yet, if you can believe it, too busy. Until tomorrow, then.

Happy Homemaking!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

24 & 25 March 1955 "H.G. Well, Computers, A New Book, Cooking, Decorating and Chickens"

"At last I came under a huge archway and beheld the Grand Lunar exalted on his throne in a blaze of incandescent blue . . . The quintessential brain looked very much like an opaque, featureless bladder with dim, undulating ghosts of convolutions writhing visibly within . . . Tiers of attendants were busy spraying that great brain with a cooling spray, and patting and sustaining it . . ."
—H. G. Wells, The First Men in the Moon

The newest calculating 'brain' was installed in Monsanto Chemical Co.'s St. Louis headquarters. To IBM, it was the "Model 702 Electronic Data Processing Machine." To Monsanto and awed visitors, it was simply "the giant brain." Seated at its control console, a man has at his command the computing ability of 25,000 trained mathematicians.

In just twelve machine-hours the brain will do 1,200 cost reports that normally take 1,800 man-hours; in barely two hours it will complete a financial statement that takes a staff of accountants 320 hours. For Monsanto's chemists it will open up new horizons by rapidly working out complex equations to help discover new products, improve old ones, find out which of dozens of technically "correct" answers' to problems are the best.
[so it begins, the computer. Governments would have probably killed then to have 1/10 of the power that I am using to talk about how to clean your kitchen or make a cake. I hope we can now use our abilites to learn how best to be human so we can go forward with technology the right way. I used to think there was no 'right' way. Things were more subjective. Now, I know the right way is they way of Humans, community, and personal knowledge over endless faceless greed. I want Rosy the robot maid NOT the Terminator!]

I am very excited, as well you all should be, as I just got this in the mail today! I couldn't believe it when I found it on ebay. It is even better than I had hoped. It was published 1951. Just to give you a sample of what great things this book will be teaching us, this book goes into detail addressing the construction of rugs and how to make your own rugs! It is very thorough and I am really excited.There are even before and after shots of redecorating a room. This mingled with the previoius book I had posted about from 1908 will be a great comparrison of that time span and will cover all a 1955 woman would know from her grandmothers time to her 'present'. Be excited, as I am!

Here is my latest cake. I liked the recipe, but it was rather light because I used some squares of an actual chocolate bar instead of baking chocolate, as I normally do, and so it was lighter. My hubby, who does not like very sweet things, really likes it. The frosting is two kinds mixed. I made this new recipe, which was good, but I felt it was too runny, so I made up a batch of my 7-minute frosting (see previous blogs for recipe) and added this to it to make the frosting you see. It made a nice stiff frosting ( if you do make it, though, when you add the two frostings together, add a handful of confectioners sugar then let it sit for a good hour, it will bet a nice stiff consistency. It is a sweet frosting so paired nicely with the more mellow not-to-sweet cakes. It is nice to have a dessert always going, as vintage friend popped in last night as we were sitting down to dessert and I could dish her up a piece and a cupa and it was lovely.
This was a nice sidedish I just tried. I, of course, always have potatos in the house. There are some lovely ways to make them in my Boston Cooking School book from 1951. These were really good and I thought very 1950s as they have both a cream sauce AND pimentos in. It was yummy.
This is the white sauce recipe you use with the potato dish. I love what is says here: "Learn to make a perfect white sauce, not only for itself but because it is the basis of many sauces."
I am beginning to get to that point where I see cooking not as a bunch of random recipes, but a skill-set that you build up and then build out on. My attempts in the kitchen are beginning to result in my making up my own recipes. Last night I wanted to make a Ham and Cheese Souffle' but only had a recipe for a cheese souffle, so I began to think about what it takes to make a souffle rise and how it works and realized chunks of ham would not cut it. SO, I say my blender and it hit me, puree! So into the blender when the bits of ham I had diced and slices of sharp cheese and I just poured in what seemed the right amount of milk and ta-dah! This went into the other parts of the souffle. I will show pics and more of that tomorrow, now here is a picture of the original Pork Shoulder that I cooked with the above potate dish. It was so good. I slow cooked it for a few hours and basted it with, what else, brown sugar and syrup glaze. This is a bone in pork shoulder and I really prefer it to the precooked smoked boneless pre-cut hams. It cooks nicer and juicer and and you get so much more bang for your buck. I believe this 8 lb pork shoulder cost me around $7.00 on sale. We have had it for this meal. Then it went into two lunches for hubby, last night I used part of it to make my ham and cheese souffle and today the bone and the remainder of the meat will go into a bot to boil. From that I will get some great soup to eat and freeze and before it is a soup, I will take a cup or two of the stock and freeze that for future use. This is the kind of 'freezer' use I like. I really get so much out of one cut of meat. ALso, having the bone in is important. Any good chef will tell you that the meat and a stock and soup are only improved by having the bone in. The marrow and such add greatly to the taste. The skin being left on also really helps seal in the juices and I like scoring it. True, it looks like a pigs skin, because IT IS. I just feel, as I have said before, almost more honest about my food when it is in this form. Almost as if I am respecting the animal in a way by saying, yes you were alive and now you are going to feed my family. But, you know, we homemakers often have a running dialogue in our heads! Also the dogs LOVE this crispy skin. I will cut it up into strips and bake it crispy and the dogs love it AND they are cheaper than dog treats and I know there are no preservatives in.

This concept of really using as much of an animal is really part of my trying not to waste. I bought some lovely cow heart on sale yesterday. I saw it and it was only .70 cents so I bought two packages. I knew there had to be recipes for these in my cookbook and there are. I just think, why let this part of the animal go into the dumpster. We killed the thing, at least have the decency to eat as much of it as we can! I love organ meats, kidney liver brains etc, but I do not know if I have ever had the heart. So, it will be exciting to see what it tastes like. Some people might think "Ick the heart" but honestly, should we just throw away bits of the animal because we think they might be icky? They might not, and why not NOT waste MORE? What do any of you think? Have any of you had heart befor? I Adore sweetbreads and we know that is brain, but if you have never had it made properly in a french restaurant, you don't know what you are missing. There was actually a great little french restaurant tucked away in a basement in Boston that had the best sweetbreads. But, now I can simply try to make them myself. But, then when I do use the 'restaurant budget' you can bet it will be for something good, I mean I can make hamburgers, or whatever at home, I am only going to eat out now if I know I can have very well prepared foods beyond my own current skill level.

Now, onto some decorating:

Dorothy Draper gives us this advice for ceilings and wallpaper.

"As you select your wall paper it's a good time to decide aobut your ceiling. If you don't wnat to paper it, the ceiling can match the background color of the paper.Or it can match a dominant color in the pattern of the paper. For instance, in a room hung with flowered paper the ceiling might match the pink of the roses or the pale green of their leaves."

I know wallpaper is definitely having a renaissance right now, and brava or bravo, not sure what gender wallpaper is! Anyway, I have never ever hung wallpaper before, but I am determined to use it in my decorating scheme.Have any of you ever hung paper before? What am I getting myself into?

Aren't these dreamy wallpapers? I know I could never afford them, though I am writing to find out. They are from SecondHandRose in NYC. They are actual vintage papers NOT reproductions. I think if I paid alot for them, I might be scared that I would ruin them, but it is fun to dream. I am sure I can find some things that are similiar new.

I know this paper seems rather silly, but I ADORE it. I really want it for my first floor poweder room! I wanted to do it over in grey and pink. I already have a lovely silver accented mirror in there and could just see this in there along the top of a half wall of lucious pink tile! YES, I said PINK TILE! I know, but living in 1955 you really begin to have such lovely doll house fantasy's of pink! And, if you see, it still fits with my overall home scheme. The pink and red in the warm color, the touches of the blue I love in the plants and you can see the shades of brown and tan in some of the fish and everyroom whould have some black to ground it as this paper demonstrates. Have any of you paper in your bath and if so, how does it hold up. This would be for a powder room, so it is not as if peopel would be showering or taking long baths in there. [Addendum: I just recieved an email and this paper is $200.00 a roll! Wow, I think reproduction will have to do. That is out of my budget, plus now I am really going to try and redo this place with fleamarket, local thrift sale finds, the free dump shop, some paint fabric and cheaper wall paper and of course my 1955 Homemaking powers of creativity and ingenuity!

Speaking of the dump. I mentioned our dump as a great 'swap shop' where you drop off things you don't want but SHOULDN'T throw out. After all, one mans garbage IS another man's treasure. So, here is my hubby this past Sunday playing with his new free toy. It is a great early 1960s typewriter and it is truly portable. He already has visions of sitting in a chair in the yard, pipe in mouth with this little devil typing away. Free fine, indeed.
Isn't this 1876 Copeland creamware dreamy?! The colors are wonderful. I am not sure if any of you noticed my french chair upholsterd in orange in one of my photos, but this would be perfect with that fabric.

I am certainly not in the market to spend on such things, but a gal can dream can't she. AND, if you are going to buy something precious that you don't NEED but just WANT, make it something with some intrinsic value because then you can always 'sell it off to uncle when your in need of some stumpy' as they say. You can find bargains. My 'good china' which is bought mostly due to is having my favorite blue in it, was not expensive, as I got it marked down at a sale in an old antique store, but as a set it could be sold for more than I paid for it, if I needed to.Or, if you have children, the joy of having things that were passed down is priceless. I know I have things that are not terribley costly that were, my grandfathers, but becuase of that, they are all the more precious to me. I think this idea of something you care for and have your whole life and leave to your children, is sort of missing a little today as well. Unless you are really wealthy, most things people buy today are throw-away. Yet, what we pay for computers today would certainly have been an expense our ancestors would have put onto somthing of real value that you could still own. I doubt lil Tommy will be happy to see in the will that he gets Nana's black and white 386 laptop. I know our modern technology can't but help be throw away, but I wonder, if you are not into video games with your computer, could we stop buying new computers now, at the current stage of technology, as they can handle graphics of youtube and Hulu, and are fine for emails, blogging an such. Could we honestly stop at some point. When I say, we, I mean anyone who thinks, you know, this computer is fast enough and cutting edge enough for me. I don't want to stop progress, but I also want to think for my family when is enough technology. Wait until computers are screenless or whatever space-age future they have and then buy a new one.
I really want to take my computer I have now and turn it into a sort of 'vintage look' with wood I can polish etc. There is a movement now of people who do this, called Steampunk. I guess I would want mine to be more Eams meets early american.

I was thinking today, no surprise there, that I really seem to come to this cross-roads everyday: What is ME and what is the character Me in 1955?
This project has just become so engrained, enmeshed into my life, that I often find myself confronting a new idea with a question, "wait, would I want to do that in 1955?"

Then I have to say to myself, "Look, Self"(housewives have often, intimate, and sometimes heated debate with themselves!) "You do not want to just try and be some one-dimensional 'character' or 'art piece' of what you think a woman in your circumstances in 1955 would do. You want to take on the aspects and ideas of her world and then see what YOU would do."

Case in point: I am now the proud owner of some chickens. I cannot tell you how excited I am about this. The amount of eggs I go through is incredible, and I love the sound of the Rooster (though we have to make sure the ole' boy is locked away at night as he wakes up hubby and presumably some of the neighbors!)

So, I put to myself, "well, here I am a middle-class homemaker in 1955. My husband works in the city. We live in the country/suburbs. There is abundance everywhere, but I was a young lady during WWII. I know what rationing is and may therefore still have the habits of that time as well."

You see, I worry if I am trying to justify things that might seem like an ecological/safe or green thing to do know with what my 'character' would do in 1955. It is true keeping a garden and chickens certainly became suburban practice in the 1940's, but would I have worried about what the bridge club thought?

Then, I go one step further in this line of resoning ( My conversations with myself often go on for a long time, I am rather long-winded with myself!)"Honestly, I am not a character." I say, " I am a person and I really think the concepts, morays and ideals I am picking up are true to the time period and earlier and might seem like the 'in thing or green thing' now, only because we lost our way along that path somewhere. What seems like a modern 'green' concept, is really just natural living in 1955"

My point is this: Here I wanted to sort of make a character to portray to myself in order to experience history at first hand as possible. Now, the things I am learning are becoming such a part of me that I do not always see them as some character-set. This project has forced me to really face myself in the mirror and try to separate project from whom I thought I was. I realize, now, that only the project is forcing me to do somthing that we all SHOULD and will do:evaluate our life.

We are confronted daily with a barrage of information and physical stimuli. We are told what to eat, when to eat it, where to buy it, how much to pay etc. Overload of info at every street corner and we take it all in stride, but really it can often silence that voice in our head which tells us who we really are or what we would like to strive to be. Although, I am not truly in 1955, in some way I have shut off some of those voices. I no longer watch tv and that is a big distraction. The tv silences that voice in your head that tells you, "Hey, what are you doing GO LIVE YOUR LIFE, this is it, don't waste it tryin to decide what toothpaste to buy or if joe or sue are going to be the next american idol".

I also no longer read modern magazines. This, at first, I didn't really think about. Now, however, when I go to a modern bookstore, there are SO MANY MAGAZINES. Everything has a magazine. It is another way to separate out little bits of who we might be. An entire book on just kitchens for example. When I read my magazines and my homemakers manuals, they cover EVERYTHING in one book or issue. You can literally learn how to strip a chair down to its base, refoam and wire it etc. There was a certain level of ability that was just expected of you as a human being then, that now is almost gone. Think of the layers of skill we no longer use. Even cooking. It is not really that hard. Yet, we zombie ourselves to the store, buy prepared foods, pop it in the food heater (micro) and eat it in front of the tv while it tells us what better frozen meal to buy next. I know I know, another rant and all because of chickens!

I also now only listen to music before and up to 1950s. This at first, I thought, would be hard. I certainly think there are alot of great modern musicians out there. I adore Joanna Newsome, and I thought, "This will be hard". But what I have found is not that I listen to the same amount of music, but replace it with'oldies', but that, in fact, there are hours that go by in the day where I listen to nothing. I can be in my little sitting room having my afternoon 'homemaker break' with a cup of tea and a book and it is quiet. The dogs rustle in their heap of blankets. The parakeet rings its little bell, maybe the rooster crows. But, it is silence. It is as if I can hear the actual voice in my head.

The endless need for sound and visual stimuli has become such a normal part of modern society that I had not realized it until it was all shut off. I have to say, I really like silence. Now, I would probably go mad with it all the time, but I can see if I were in 1955 and I had children who would watch tv and such in the evening, during the day while they were at school, you could see how this would be a time of bliss for the homemaker. I think someone my age, too, would not have succumbed to the soap operas. I would have grown up without tv and of course had radio, but I would have had alot of freedom to use my imagination. I would have craved the silence during the day. Even in the grocery stores and such there is always music. One aspect I am upset about our little local store that I will be doing my marketing at next week, is since the renovated they added a flatscreen tv to the wall over the newspaper rack. WHY? It just sits there spewing 'news' over the printed news. This was not here last summer and this is a genuine old store. Crooked wooden floors, old shelves with canned goods individually priced with now scan bars, but now A flat screen tv? And they have taken away some of the seating where many locals would sit and chat over coffee or have a good town gossip, now what? Are we suppose to stand there and watch the news instead of converse? Very odd, indeed.

Even toys, which are really a big business growing in 1950s, begin to give the distraction to kids. To prepare them for the noise and information of adulthood and really on some level, take away a little of their silence.

As a child in the Depression, I would of had very little in the way of toys. Even if I were still staunchly middle class, I would have had nice dolls and miniture tea sets, surely, but that is most likely it. I would have had a freedom to go and run and be free that is no longer available to children. Even, during the 1950s, this was being discussed. The new generation of children were not given the freedom of their parents. Perhaps it was the war that scared the new mothers. Watching a child leave the house could feel as if they never would come back. I do know that I have no children now and we have no plan for any, but this is the point in my life where I have most thought about possibly having one. However, now I am not sure what I would do. I do not think I could raise my child completley in the modern world. Would it be unfair to the child, as he would then possibly not relate to others because of it, like Branded Frasier in that movie where he was raised in a bomb shelter completely free from modern norms. I used to not even think there was any big deal with video games, but now I cannot honestly say that I would even let him know they existed until he discovered them at a friends house, but I would want him to learn to play and create on his own first. SO, perhaps it is good we do not have children, maybe I would warp the poor thing into some sad vintage human who was self-reliant but unable to communicate with others as he who have no modern pop-references or know how to play video games. I have to hand it to all of you parents out there, how do you make the decisions on how to create and grow your child?

So, trying to get back to my main point: I am not a character, but a real person. I do not really live in 1955, but am trying to recreate as much of it as possible in so doing I am closing out alot of the 'modern world' and that is making me open my eyes, hear my own voice, and become, I hope, a better person. IF not better, at least someone I can respect.

Now, when I look in a book that says I can reupholster a chair, make a souffle', build a bookcase, make a rug, and also look pretty for my husband AND myself I don't think, "They were crazy back then." but "Oh, okay, I will try that tomorrrow and the next day add one more thing to that."

Life is for living not just watching.

I could see how I can come off as some sort of 'conspiracy theroist' when I make such statements as "THEY don't want you to entertain yourself" or "THEY don't want you to be skilled enough to make your own dress, your own rug and curtains and lampshades, do your own nails, grow your own food, etc" But, honestly, if we all learned to do HALF of what is in my latest Homemakers Handbook, we would spend alot less money by merely making things ourselves and wouldn't need the latest tv because we would be so busy living our lives and adding to our skills that we would laugh at the idea, "What? Sit in front of that thing for hours watching someone else live their life? I have jam to put up, I am braiding these rags from the ragbag to make a rug for the front hall, and I have to make a cake for the local charity, No thank you".

Have you wondered why reality tv is so big? It is because now it is allowing you to vicariously "LIVE" through others. It gives you the perception of whatever the life is they are portraying, all while you sit down and consume more products! I know, I did it.

I have found so far that when I come upon somthing that I think is going to be too hard or is a bit scary [like I am a little scared next week about only shopping local and keeping to my budget] that once I do the thing I find it was not hard but challenging and learning.I was actually a little worried about not getting to shop at my Stop and Shop (grocery store chain on the east coast) next week for my food. Then I just said to myself, "Self (see, you have to really sit yourself down somtimes and have a good heart to heart) Self," I said,"Stay in your dollar amount budget. If you have to buy LESS food, then so what? Make what you have stretch to fill the week. We are just so tricked into thinking that we have to have SO much around us and it is so easy to just pop down to the store and use our debit or credit card and just get 'a quick meal', when really we are spending more than we need to! Case closed. We buy too much. You cetainly would have had less in 1944 then 1955, so I just figure I will have to make do with what is in my icebox and my pantry next week.
When you do your own cooking you realize how meals are actually put together. You can see that if you are low on somthing or you have leftovers you know how to make it stretch and make it into a new meal. I honestly believe this very basic skill of cooking so so important to the money saving of the majority of America and yet there is no push nor need to learn it. Why is it required to read Dickens in school but not learn how to make three basic meals?

So, fianlly (I know I am like a rollercoaster of rant) back to my very original point: The Chickens. I don't know if A middle class homemaker in 1955 would have had chickens, but I know THIS middle class homemaker of the new 1955 does.

After hubby left this morning, I took my pile of scraps and a bucket of water and headed out to the little darlings. At the end of each day there is alwasy something that I won't give the dogs and won't make it for 'leftovers' that goes in a little bowl, "for the chickens'. In this way, not only am I making less garbage, but I am putting it into an animal that then uses it to produce that wonderful perfect ingredient for cooking: THE EGG. There is a feeling of connection when I do this. Again, maybe it is all the time I spend with myself thinking too much, but I stroll out (today it was bitterly cold) with my little bowl. Sometimes the dogs follow me, today they chose to stay bundled up in blankets. I pull open the door to their house and they come rushing out; the cluck cluck of their 'good-morning' and the confidence of the rooster. I open the door to their run and they come up to me, for I am the bringer of wonderful table scraps. Today they had the leftover pancakes (some of which went to the dogs as well) and the end of my romaine lettuce. A few green beans that didn't get eat last night. Then, there is that magical moment, when I go into the chicken house and see, in perfect little circular nests ( I swear they make honest to goodness perfect little nests out of the hay I give them. I don't use straw, I think it is too picky, and the hay smells so wonderful) lay the eggs. Like magic, there they sit waiting to be made into souffles and breakfasts and yummy cakes. How distanced we have come from our food.

I know not everyone can have chickens where they live, but you would be surprised that people even in the city, keep chickens. I guess it is a new thing that many people are trying to lift the bans in their cities to allow them to keep chickens (just hens NO roosters, as you know you don't need a rooster, but ours was an accident and so I am gonna keep him. I actually thought of eating him, but I really think he does a good job of protecting my gals) If any of you have the land or the opportunity, go for it! If you don't like it there are ALWAYS people looking for good laying hens. The satisfaction from watching these pets that provide for you table is worth it ten-fold and their feed is quite cheap especially when supplemented with your table scraps.

So, I am not telling anyone what to do or how to live their life, there is plenty of that IN your life already, but even if just for one day, turn off the tv the radio, grab an old book (no modern magazines) and see what you hear inside. Think, "what if this were my everyday? Would I go batty without my show. I need to watch this or that. I don't want to not have distraction!" See what all that noise is really hiding. I think when someone cannot live without distraction, they are trying to silence something in them. Just listen to that something, it might be the real you screaming to get out and live.

Well, that is my rant for today.
Until tomorrow, happy homemaking, and listen to your inner voice, it might be trying to get your attention.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

22 March 1955 "Closed for Gardening, Open for Discussion"

I am half way through a blog post, but know if I spend anymore time on it today I will not get out to the yard as I had promised myself.
My veg garden needs some attention. Besides the basic turning of the soil and prepaing the area, there are leaves to be raked and I have to move some plants to go
with my over all new landscape scheme. There will be a new fence and gate (made by yours truly) surronding this area and some new permamnent plantings (possibly a grape arbor).
I have to get my beets, onion sets and snow peas in today!
So, enjoy your sunday and maybe you could share with me some of your gardening tips, stories, ideas, questions etc. I would love to know anything about vintage gardening if anyone has any tips and also maybe stories of parents and grandparents gardening or perhaps hating gardening.
Have a great day and enjoy your weather where ever you are. I will be back tomorrow with a post. I will most likely pop my head in time to time to see if anyone has commented. It might be a fun all gardening day for all! If you are trapped in the city in a small space, live vicariously!
Happy planting.

Friday, March 20, 2009

23 March 1955 "Middle East, a New Bread Pudding, Kedgeree, and a challange!"

Convertible Boat. A steel, all-purpose boat that looks like a shallow square box on pontoons has been developed by Trail-Craft Corp. of Clarksburg, W. Va. Designed for use with an outboard motor, the boat weighs 230 lbs., can carry 750 Ibs. as a trailer, and also converts into a tent for four, a duck blind, a wading pool, a swimming raft. Price (including tent top and four cots): $324.50. (I love that this one even has fins!)

The Central Treaty Organization (also referred to as CENTO, original name was Middle East Treaty Organization or METO, also known as the Baghdad Pact) was adopted in 1955 by Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, Turkey, and the United Kingdom. It was formed in 1955, at the urging of the U.S. and Britain, to counter the threat of Soviet expansion into the Middle East. CENTO was never very effective. Iraq withdrew after its anti-Soviet monarchy was overthrown in 1959.(It was dissolved in 1979.) [We see the beginning of that middle east rumble. Also the Saudi Arabian Rulers are gaining in power and money as their hold of oil begins to become the shinning beacon of power for our countries production of everything from gas to all the increasing plastics and other pertroleum products. It is amazing to me how so much of EVERY aspect of our daily life is somehow connected to petroleum. The plastics in just the computer I am now using are all possible due to it. We are so deeply entrenched, it can sometimes be rather scary to me.]

Now, let's hop right into the kitchen:

Here is the recipe I used as the base for my 'leftover cake pudding'. I had a yellow cake mix in my pantry from pre 1955 that I had forgot about and decided to make early this week. I wanted to 'jazz it up' so I added coconut and chocolate chips to the mix and then coconut on top so it would toast as it baked. It was good but hardly a contender with my other homemade goodies about (see cherry pie recipe in previous blog!) so for tonights dinner I thought, hey that leftover cake would make an interesting 'bread pudding'. I used only 1/4 cup brown sugar, as it is already sweet as it is cake. I put less raisins in and sprinkled extra cinnamon on top. I also whisked all the ingredients save the cake and then cut the cake into little squares and lined my casserole dish. Then I poured in the mixture over that and sort of mixed it and setteled it until it looked pretty, topped it with a sprinkle of cinnamon and popped it in the oven. Oh, and I (surprise surprise) drizzled maple syrop on the top half way through baking. I think if I had to go to a desert island I would need to take bacon and maple syrup, they seem to play a large role in my life.

It was funny, though, as we really didn't like or eat up the box cake, it just wasn't up to snuff compared to what I make homemade (if I can toot my own horn) but taking it and using it in a new form of a homemade recipe was such a hit. My hubby isn't really a fan of sweet, but he loved this! He said it was the best, cold in the morning as a snack as he waited for our Saturday breakfast. I am definitely going to grab some cake mixes the next time they are on sale to experiment with some various versions of this 'busy gal bread pudding' as I am calling it! Vintage friend and I were already dreaming up a version with carrot cake as the base! I think I feel a challange coming on to perfect a cream cheese/whipped cream for that one!

Ahh, the smell of my chicken boling for the homemade stock and the warm fragrance of this pudding in the kitchen was heaven. This is why I don't think I would want to do the cook for a month that hairball had mentioned some people do. I would miss that daily cooking smell. Honestly, I don't know how I lived without it before. It does make a gal want to 'feather her nest'.

Now, back to the smell of chicken boiling away. I had this recipe I wanted to try.
It is from my Boston Cooking School vintage cook book. I love the name, as if you know french, poulette translates to pullet which is a female chicken or a hen. So this is basically chicken chicken. Anyhoo, I am a jeune poulette (spring chicken) when it comes to cooking. I had some chicken thighs, which I really love. They are always so expensive as most people prefer the white meat. The juicyness AND the cost of thighs make them a favorite for me to use.
This is the sauce that goes with this recipe. Simple to make and I like adding another sauce to my repetoire. My French is a little shaky, but I think Veloute means 'to soften' not sure. (Any french speakers want to help me out with that translation?)

This presentation is not the best, I actually dressed it up with some greens, but it was really delicious. I squeezed fresh lemon on it just before serving it and though I had intended the leftovers to go into hubby's lunch come monday, he squirreled this away to his den on Saturday for a snack. I think he is really getting into my cooking! I would defnitely recommend it and plan on trying many of the other chicken/sauce dishes in that cook book.

Now, if any of you have had a good English breakfast you will have had Kedgeree. It is actually scottish. It is usually made with curry powder and I think that is because the scottish took it with them to India and it became what it is today due to that. Any English/Scottish readers can correct me on any of this. Anyway, I love eating it and found this recipe for it in the same Boston Cooking School cook book from early 1950's. I did not have any curry, so it did not have that taste, so I suppose it was sort of pre-Anglo/Indian. It was good none-the-less. It would be wonderful with fresh salmon, but I had a can of Mackeral that I wanted to try. I have to say, for canned fish, it was rather yummy. And served warm with the rice and boiled eggs on toast with fresh grilled tomatos (another English breakfast treat) it was quite fine. My hubby loved it. (do excuse the wrinkles in my linen. I put it on fresh that day and had not got to it in my ironing pile.) I have to say, fish and tomatos are really good at breakfast time. If you have not tried it, go for it. It is a nice filling start to a busy day, or a lazy day off too!

Here is what I wore this Saturday to our Vintage Dinner. It was vintage friends turn to cook, so I enjoyed having saturday off from making dinner. She made a wonderful roast and a great vegetable dish from my new campbells soup recipe book I illustrated on an earlier post. She did the eggplant dish (recipe is on previous post) and I loved it. She also made a lovely banana cream pie in her first made from scratch pie crust. It was delicious and I KNOW she loved making it. We had our usual fun and watched a Vincet Price movie 'The Tingler'. It was rather silly, though meant to be scary. I love Vincent Price films, and though this was from 1958, I still watched it. The womens dresses were wonderful and there is a dressing gown in it that I have to copy for myself.

I often come across many fun little ads when perusing my magazines. They are the intersting little black and white ads, with say 10 to a page. They often show an interesting element of the time. They offer up another level, or layer of you will, of the time. I somtimes feel like an archaeoligist of pop culture, combing through my old mags and peeling back another layer of society through what they may have sent for with their pin money from the 'kitchen money jar'.
Here is a great one, for a 'phony phone' which is in fact a usuable flashlight for safety, but disguised as a car phone. I would imagine to have a car phone in 1950s you would need to be quite wealthy or high up in the government. I wonder how many people had these? I bet they were recieved as fun 'dad' Christmas gifts with a laugh!
I am not sure if visors do not yet exist, or if this is just another attempt at one. I makes me think of the invention in the Steve Martin movie ( I know, it doesn't exist for me yet!) The Jerk, when he invents that eye glass holder that makes you cross-eyed (boss-eyed). I wonder how many stockings recieved these little lovlies for mummy on the course love Johnny and Susie, or somthing along those lines.
I like this ad for both pointing out another piece of evidence of women working in trousers, as well as showing how tight women wore their trousers then. Though, I suppose, many women recalling the 1940's would still have and wear loose trousers. I think these were more for work, biking, gardening etc. I love that the ad encourages you to buy and wear these toreador pants because it is safe, it reads:

"safe, yes, because so many home accidents are caused by tripping over a skirt hem! Save your skirts for streetwear!"

Sometimes these little ads speak volumes. They give a segment of the times that is sometimes telling of our own. This ad, for example, for this board to make it safe for your child in the back seat. I am sure at first viewing of it, as I did, you almost gasp! You think, "How could they just leave their children to sit freely in the cars". It does make you realize how much legislation has gone thru for 'safety'. Now, I am not saying it is safer to not have a child in a car seat, but how did the people back then survive? We often act as if we, in the present, have a monopoly on how things should be done or the right way to do a thing. Certainly, there are more cars today, maybe driving faster etc, but I wonder how many accidents their were with children in cars then? It would be interesting to find out.

These ads also sort of confront us with another current issue: our garbage and waste. In this little snippet about various labor saving deviced for the home, it states "doesn't it seem we have more garbage to dispose of today then we used to?" Simply stated to promote this new type of garbage burner. Yet, how loaded is that statement! In is then that so many pre-packaged goods are coming out. And boy, oh boy, hold on, because the level of packaging you will have in the future kids, you would not believe. I don't know if these are still legal today. I imagine if you are just burning trash that is animal, vegetable and packaging that is just paper, it wouldn't matter. But, did they burn plastic? I imagine it was starting to show up on some products. Then, there is this ad. I am not sure, but I think this might actually be a precurser to the composting bin. I do recall that in the 'old days' people used to bury their garbage. But, what did they have for garbage in say 1900? Old clothes that were beyond reuse, maybe old shoes beyond repair, tin cans and bones? Isn't it amazing the amount of throw away we actually have today. Just the junk mail in my mailbox is insane! Does anyone remember what sort of garbage you had if you were around in the 1950s? Did you have a dump you went to, or garbage pick up? It is all very telling and interesting

Finally, I keep badgering on and on about shopping local etc, so I thought, maybe I could prepose a project for any of you who would like to participate. What if for one week we said, only buy local? JUST for one week. When you need anything (even gas or oil change) try to go to a local place. It might be intersting don't you think? We can see what has been completely removed from our communities, like perhaps you no longer have a butcher or a baker locally, only in your chain grcoery store, if you do have one or try looking one up, go try it out and see what it was like. Did you like it? was it too expensive? How did it feel compared to just popping in and getting everything in one place etc. So, what do you think? Should we try it? Let me know. I prepose we start next monday if anyone is game.

I often feel as if I am at the university of Home and so, if we are learning, then let us make this an assignement. Let me know if you want to try it out. Next monday we will start. It will be hard, I know, as I will not be doing my weekly grocery shopping at my local Stop and Shop, but we do have a new place that just reopenend that has some groceries etc. Even for an oil change, no jiffy lube but the local guys garage. Let me know if anyone wants to try this challange with me. I think it could be fun and a great learning experience.

Until tomorrow: Happy Homemaking.

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