Monday, October 26, 2009

26 October 1955 “What I Learned From My VICTORY WEEK and more”

55 plymouth This is an advert for a lower end Plymouth. I wonder what happened to the bench seat? Did it disappear because of some sort of safety reason? Was it to keep the woman from sitting snuggled to the man, as you see in old movies, in case of an accident? Does anyone know? I have to say it looks so much more comfortable and practical than bucket seats, and boy do you lose things down between the seat and console, at least I always seem to.

So, VICTORY WEEK has ended and here are some of the things I learned. First off, I can be even more inventive than I had already thought. At the end of the week, for a dessert, I had a few apples and some butter left, but not enough for a pie, so of course Baked apples. This recipe was actually quite nice as it felt very ‘apple pie’-ish and yet much lower calorie without all the crust!

CRUSTY BAKED APPLES

4 Tart apples, cored

2 TBS butter

1 TBS flour

1/4 cup brown sugar (I actually use white sugar and put a little molasses drizzled.  I know only make my own brown sugar with one tbs molasses to every one cup sugar. It is cheaper and it allows me to have molasses in the house for other reasons without buying that and brown sugar)

1/2 tsp vanilla

Nutmeg and cinnamon to taste

Pare apples half way down. Put in baking dish, pared side up. Melt butter. Stir in flour and mis well. Add sugar and vanilla. SPread over apples. sprinkle with cinnamon etc. Bake at 425 until crust is set. Lower temperature to 350. Bake until apples are tender (about 30 mins.)

I also noticed that, as I had mentioned before, I can stretch the amount of meat we eat even further with really not too much notice from hubby. I found myself eating less for breakfast, as well, as I would give up my rations for hubby since he had to have energy for his day of work, while I could always have a midmorning snack of say bread crust and jam.

I have to say that I surprised myself and feel that, though I do not want to deprive myself, there could be at least one week a month where I really trim back the groceries and not have it hurt too much. In fact, I am going to readjust our budget to a weekly budget from a monthly budget (A tip I learned from one of the films I showed you) so, in so doing I will enable myself one week a month to have a little extra from the grocery budget to either store away in a ‘Kitchen Emergency Fund’. I figure this fund could be like the Kitchen’s Pin Money, so one week if I have spent the budget for groceries but realized I forgot flour or something, I can steal it form there. Or, if there is something for hubby’s work where I need to bake extra or make something for he to take to work, it could come from there. I might, being of the artistic bent, make a darling little container out of an old cigar box or jar decorated to keep somewhere in the kitchen. So, budget-wise I feel VICTORY WEEK helped there.

As I had mentioned before, it also made me think more about my garbage. When you have your cupboards more bare (and I tried to stick to what I had for the week without taking from the pantry to get a more ‘rationed’ experience)you think more about what you throw away. I have already, since 1955, done this more. Most things are saved for future meals or for the dogs etc. But, bread crusts, or half eaten toast began to look like future meal filler. I don’t throw much food away, but sometimes at breakfast if hubby didn’t eat all of his egg, but part of it (and the dog’s won’t eat it, they are very picky) it would get tossed. I found myself saving it in a Tupperware to add to ‘cottage pie’ later in the week. Some would think, “Oh, no, germs, that’s garbage'” But it was only my hubby and I eating it, so it wasn’t as if I was giving it to company. Really, the level to which we waste food is becoming even more appalling to me. I can’t imagine in nursing homes and public schools and hospitals what they must throw away!

I also began to think how during the War, the country could rally together against a common enemy and work to ‘Save for Victory’ “Garden for Victory” etc and how, now that we do realize how much we waste and hurt the planet etc, how that some sort of common goal of “Unified Victory” could really work to make all our lives better, but that in our modern Consumer drive world of big box stores and etc really controlling the government through lobbyists, how that could never happen. It really got me thinking that if in the new year, if one of my ‘projects’ is to promote more community and to see if you ladies would, in your own communities, want to foster your own “Vintage Club/Apron Revolution” clubs a sort of Vintage Junior League, maybe we could, ourselves, help with such ideas. When ladies come together we can often accomplish a lot. Especially since, even in the modern world, the government and many still very male-driven organizations wouldn’t even notice us. We would just be groups of nice ladies in hats and gloves having charity teas, but how honestly such an Apron Revolution could really help us locally. Posters, meetings, bake sales, etc all to help us become aware of how to not waste, how to scrimp and manage our money, how to repair and use old and not continually buy buy buy and throw away. I think it just sounds such a lovely idea. I am not sure how we can go about it as of yet, but I DO know it will be part of my New Year Project.

You see, the one main element I felt during the VICTORY WEEK was the lack of camaraderie that must have existed amongst those women who had to ‘get along and get to business’. We have one another here online and I am glad for that, but wouldn’t it be nice if we could foster it in our own communities as well? It seems a little intimidating to me as well and yet I feel driven enough to try it somehow. So, the idea of community, thrift and waste really were driven home from one week. It is amazing how when you really just approach a day  more alive or awake to your actions how you really feel in control of your life and empowered in a way to make it better for yourself. I mean, when I ran out of things during VICTORY WEEK I had to make do. I had to stop and think and manage something out of it. It really made me feel, even more, that the mind and imagination are one of the prime tools of a homemaker and so needed to achieve our ACTION!

I also, more than ever, really found that the kitchen really is a mix between a science laboratory, art studio, and Think Tank. If you have the right BASIC ingredients, you can make just about anything! From Glue to Bread to Window cleaner, so buying pre-made is really, even more so, going to be uppermost in my mind.

So, VICTORY WEEK had made me make the following concrete changes to my routine.

1. One week out of the month is a VICTORY WEEK (I will cut my weekly budget in half and buy what I can with that and make d0 and the rest goes into my darling decorated “Kitchen Pin Money” box/jar

2.Less Waste. Before anything, food or other (such as my dryer lint) goes in the garbage I stop and think, “Is there ANY use for this, or can I make this product myself so I don’t have this box/bottle/container to throw away?

3.The idea of community. To share my findings (as I do here) but in some form in the new year within my own community.

So, all in all, I would say VICTORY WEEK was really a success for me. I feel now as if I can take every challenge head on and rather I fail or not, I know I will learn something. I think that is one of the main lessons learned this year, that doing more and trying to challenge yourself doesn’t lead to disappointment or frustration, but to liberation and empowerment. I can make my own jam, wear the pretty dress, clean, organize and save. Do I miss the time I don’t have for hours of TV or mindless shopping? NO.

50s beauty Now, I think along with being a homemaker and learning to budget and save and manage, another element is as important. It is another thing I think really lacking from the modern world and one that certainly could easily be reintroduced. The idea of glamour. Feeling pretty and well groomed. Even if you don’t aspire to vintage clothes, there are many pretty modern ‘nice or fancy clothes’ that deserve a daily wearing. I think this coming week I will try and focus on some beauty ideas and tips. I need to get some get photos of simple hairstyles I now wear. Having short hair and bangs allows so many different ways to wear hair and so much easier to care for than long straight in your face locks. It seems as if even the creativity in ones hairstyles is gone. A person gets a cut and style and that is it everyday. With the right cut (one you can even maintain yourself ladies to save on your budget) you can have different styles for different occasions and still feel ‘movie star’ gorgeous throughout the day, even if only the grocer or the dog sees you. You deserve to be pretty for YOURSELF and as it becomes more of your daily life, you will WANT to go out and mingle and ‘show it off’ more.

I also want to share in tomorrow’s post an interesting thing. One of my followers, I believe she lives in Australia, is writing a paper and wants me to answer a series of questions for her. I am, with her permission of course, to post the questions and my answers as the next post. I think it should be interesting. I am hoping when she finishes her paper she could somehow link the final result for us to read.


I fogot, a commenter gave these wonderful tips on stretching milk and butter. I have not tried it yet, but am going to. Here they are:

"Speaking of stretching and conserving. I thought I would pass along a couple little hints first,about butter. (since you mentioned butter in this post) Here's a very inexpensive way to "stretch" your butter. (this only works with butter NOT margarine) Let one stick of butter come to room temperature. Put it in a bowl with 1/4 cup of canola oil (good for you) mix with electric mixer till the oil is incorporated in the butter. Then slowly add 1/4 cup of cold water to the butter while the continuing to mix with electric mixer. Mix until creamy and smooth. Store in the door of the fridge and it will be softer to spread then regular butter. (I do a pound of butter at a time...4 sticks of butter, 1 C. oil, 1 C. cold water = 2 lbs. butter!)

Also, stretch a gallon of milk cheaply too. Split a gallon of milk between 2 gallon jugs. Add one can of evaporated milk to each jug and fill with water. TaDa...2 gallons of milk! Or if you are down to a half a gallon, add a can of evaporated milk and fill with water...you now have a gallon of milk again!"

40 comments:

  1. Thanks 50sgal for the results of your Vicotry Week. With the learning and success from that time, you must feel so empowered and in control that you had such will-power to complete your challenge and do it with inventiveness and maturity. Sometimes you must wonder at your grown-up strength and abilities!

    I love your no-waste examples. My husband and my mantra's been to each other as we save something, "We don't waste anything." This has only been a new phase for us these past few years and I now see the wisdom in my parent's lives as I recall examples in their responsible and frugal (but generous) lifestyle.

    Glamour.. oh that word. Delightful! (Had to laugh at even if it's only 'the grocer or the dog that sees you'. True.) You know how to incorporate all the inspiring, interesting, creative, meaningful, fun, mature, productive parts in our Apron Revolution. Thanks for your work.

    (And maybe you'll show us your Kitchen Pin Money Box/Jar when it's completed?)Linda

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  2. Linda-I certainly will show you my completed container. I also need to get some photos of my hairstyles and my dresses I am working on. It sometimes seems a challenge to get the photos and post them, but a challenge worth doing! Thank you for appreciating my efforts. I love our community here and I hope that even those who read, but don't comment, also love and learn and laugh at our musings.

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  3. Oh 50sgal, I am afraid to report I didn't participate in Victory Week. Our house is still a mess because of all the painting and now--new flooring (believe me--MUCH needed).

    Just like you say to look nice for yourself...homes are the same way. Our house has been so torn up by age and dogs that I would not even allow anyone inside. And, it's had an effect on my outlook for sure.

    Anyway, I thought I'd share what I did one Halloween, because I couldn't afford to buy lots of candy to hand out. I baked pumpkin-shaped sugar cookies and decorated them with royal icing (meringue powder, actually--no raw eggs). I bought cute fall-themed goodie bags just big enough for 2 cookies. Since people are weird about homemade treats, I included a tag with our name and address on it. Most people know us anyway. The cost savings between buying bags and bags of candy was easily over $20...and baking sugar cookies was just a few dollars!!

    Thanks for all you do!!

    Kris7
    Working hard at www.sccworlds.com

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  4. Good job Kris7! I understand your not participating in VICTORY WEEK. What is good about our little community here is that you can still learn from your fellow sister Apron Revolutionaries even if you aren't involved, just as you reminded me, and perhaps pointed out to others, that baking cookies would seem to most 'modern' people to be more expensive than bags of candy. Yet, it really isn't and how sweet to get that when going out for treaks and treats! You will become, "That lady that gives cookies!" and the line to your day may increase. Yes, interiors can be wearing on we homemakers. Since moving back to our antique house, I have so much that needs to be done in the yard as well as basic maintenance (we were just told our cedar shingled roof needs replacing and believe you me, cedar roofs are not cheap!) Thanks for all you do as well. Community, gals, community.

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  5. In reading this post I was thinking how wonderful it would be to sometime post a sign in our local grocery inviting ladies who are interested in vintage things to get together for a tea or something of the sort. Then, if there is interest, expand that into weekly or monthly meetings covering all types of topics. It would be such a great way to meet like minded women.

    Plus, something I am interested in could be parlayed into it which is "charm school". SuperKawaiiMama (another blogger who turned me on to your site) talked of the Lindy Charm School in Australia. I was so envious as I read her post. Things like manners, grooming, etiquette are just old fashioned terms never employed in out money driven, power hungry society. How grand would it be to gather with a group of ladies and discuss vintage hair, make-up, cooking techniques, nail care, dress sense, posture, manners (politeness, dinner table etiquette, etc.) how to write letters (genuine on paper letters) and so on. I am slowly endevoring to learn about these topics myself and pass the information on to my daughter. I am determined that she will grow up to be a lady and not some college room tramp. *note: I severly edited here what I wanted to say. :)

    I have been going through my own sort of Victory week this year with a tighter budget. And I have looked at it as a testing ground to learn to stretch our money wisely, use our groceries carefully, and be creative in ways to entertain ourselves.

    I hope you ladies are all well out there. Our area is overwhelmed with H1N1 right now. My daughter came home sick with a fever today. Out of 21 kids in her class, 7 are out sick....They have closed schools all over the area for a few days here and there to try and head it off and stop it from spreading. Hopefully, we will not have the flu go through our house. With 4 children, it will be a month before we will all be well again.

    And yes, 50sgal...Community. I couldn't agree more.

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  6. Lori-I do hope your daughter gets better soon and how horrid that it is going through the schools.
    I have been thinking of posting such things, as well, to start a group. I really think my next year project will be to go out and formulate community with what I have learned thus far that is why I am DETERMINED to get my website up so we could have it as a sort of 'meeting ground' and we could all report back form our various parts of the world with our own Apron Revolutionary Junior League clubs, wouldn't that be fun?!

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  7. I would LOVE to join your web site! I am feeling great knowing there is so much support online for us homemakers. It is refreshing to know so many women believe in the same things I do! :)

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  8. I am glad, I am really working to understand how to create the darn thing. I unfortunately can't just cut some fabric and stitch it nor can I hammer and nail it, but knowing technology must be part of a 'modern' homemakers arsenal, so onward I forge. I have bought a web address and have hosting for it now, but I am still putting it together. I was going to 'unveil' it for Jan 1, but now I would really love to get it up (even in a rough state of 'under construction') by mid NOV so we could have another forum to meet and share holiday tips on food, decorating etc. We shall see. That is one of the reasons I have been lax in photos of my dinners and dress, taking my 'spare time' trying to build a site. We shall see. It will go along nicely with my idea of my next project year being more about community and the homemaker, don't you think?

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  9. I am killing time just before work and so can not manage to get through your entire post, but just a couple things before i'm out the door...
    1. i am sure the bench seat vanished for safety reasons...seat belts, too many people in the front distracting the driver, that sort of thing...and,
    2. how can someone not finish an EGG!!? :)
    (hope to finish reading when i've more time)

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  10. Well, when someone has two eggs two toast with homemade jam, bacon, and pancakes, he can get a little full. Although I think during VICTORY WEEK he was just not that hungry that morning as he had to leave extra early for weekly meeting.
    Yeah, I figured it was safety, though not sure why it is safer to be belted in a bucket seat rather than a bench seat? Sometimes I wonder if things done for our 'safety' are always with the intentions of people or money. For example I know hand sanitzers and anti-bacterial have actually been shown in tests to promote stronger virus that we might not be able to get a hold on fast enough, and yet one of my readers who works in a hospital mentions that they have to use it ALL the time. I think in that case it was about the company that makes it wants to make it part of a 'law' which comes about through their lobbyists in Gov. Just curious, that's all. They were cute, though, weren't they? I suppose one could always buy an old car with a bench seat if they want one, right?

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  11. I found this when researching why the bucket seat is so rare...

    "Even in the United States, the bucket seat has largely replaced the bench seat; the bucket is viewed as "sportier", and smaller cars have made the middle position less viable. For high performance cars, bucket seats help keep the driver in place during high accelerations. Some larger cars are still available with bench seats, as are some trucks, which would only be able to seat two if bucket seats were fitted."

    I think also when SUV's came around there was no need for the bench seat since the main reason for that was extra seating. The SUV did that without the bench seat....

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  12. Just a dash and run note as I am knee deep in meal planning and laundry today, but we have a 2002 truck that has two bench seats with 6 seatbelts, because there are 6 members of our family! We love love love the bench seats, great for bringing home groceries or loads of football players :-)

    ~Mrs. J~

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  13. Hi 50s gal,
    Yup, I looked into the bench seat to, since I have good memories of it from childhood. I was thinking it might be a safety thing too, but it looks like it might just be that most cars sold now are somewhat smaller, making the bench seat less useful. The bench seat is still standard in some larger cars like the Lincoln Town Car.
    As for getting "grossed out" at the idea of saving a half-eaten egg & putting it in a pie for a later meal, there's really no reason for that. I'm a biologist, which often simultaneously makes people more & less paranoid about germs/bacteria. On the one hand, at work I have to be constantly vigilant about the fact that bacteria are everywhere and can mess up my experiments, and I get to learn all about the particularly nasty types of bacteria. On the other hand, I learn a lot about how to kill bacteria & also know that the majority of bacteria is really harmless to us. Lots of them are even helpful! All that rambling to get back to the point that if you're saving the egg in the fridge for a couple of days, there won't be that much bacterial growth. And then, you put it in a pie & it gets cooked again. At that point, you've basically wiped out any bacteria that was there. I'm food-safety obsessed due to a combo of the biology background & my love for cooking, and what you mentioned doing sounds totally OK to me.
    Oh, and to finish up with a question, you mentioned making brown sugar using white sugar & molasses. I've done this before & used a food processor to mix them. Is that how you do it, or have you mixed by hand & had success? I ask because I left my food processor in the U.S. when I moved to France & don't want to pay for a French replacement at this point. Also, the French don't use brown sugar. It is _really_ hard to get it here. So, I was wondering if it would work to mix the sugar & molasses by hand (spoon or whisk?) or if I'm just asking for trouble.

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  14. evonne-interesting stuff about bacteria and thank you for sharing. So, really the bench seat was more for size than safety, since obviously some modern vans still have them according to another reader.
    I do not have or use a food processor. I do have a blender and that might work or even just the mixer, but I do it by hand. It depends on what I am using it in. I sort of had one of those 'ah-ha' moments when I was making chocolate chip cookies the other day. I was going to make the brown sugar, as in mix it up and then realized, why does it have to be pre-mixed? So it called for 1/4 cup sugar and 1/4 cup brown sugar, I just put in 1/2 cup sugar and then spooned in the molases and it got all mixed together anyway. Somehow, might just be my imagination, it actually seemed to make the cookies taste richer and of course I could add or subtract the amount of molasses as I chose to affect this. I hope this helps. Oh, and I mostly use wooden spoons when mixing and making such things or my hand held vintage mixer. I have a vintage 1950's stand mixer with meat grinder attachement on my 'Christmas List' this year, so if hubby can find it on ebay or a local antique shop, that might be my new toy.
    Also, I wonder if the smaller cars still had bucket seats back then or just the larger?

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  15. Hello,
    I recently came across your blog and have enjoyed reading it. I wanted to comment about brown sugar and bench seats. When I use molasses and white sugar to substitute for brown sugar, I do not even stir them together. I just dump the w. sugar and molasses in the mixing bowl together as I mix my cookies or ,what have you, up. I have not noticed any bad results from doing it that way.
    Secondly, bench seats. We have a large family and scoured the market looking for a Suburban with a front bench seat to provide extra seating for our family. We found one and are very happy with it. I remember my Dad saying that there is something wrong with the modern man, that he would want to buy a bucket seat instead of a bench seat, thus preventing him from snuggling with his sweetie next to him.
    Amy F.

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  16. Kind of off topic from this specific post, but wanted to share a website I discovered that ties in with buying locally and being more self-sufficient: www.pickyourown.org

    It's a site where you can find pick-your-own fruits/veggies farms that are near you (you can search by state), and it also has a plethora of how-to instructions and tips on canning, preserving, freezing, etc, and tons of recipes.

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  17. Crusty Baked Apples! New-to-me kind of a Baked Apple recipe. Thank you.

    Fantastic things you have taken from your VICTORY WEEK! And we learned too, by reading here, even if we didn't doooooooooo it all.

    Ahhh yes, a feeling of a country-wide-commitment to a common goal. I wonder if it will ever be able to come about, again? Have we gone too far, into "What? Me sacrifice anything?"??? Have we? I know I'm old so my view may be skewed. When you remember WWII, I suppose one's view is bound to become somewhat skewed. So I ask all you young ones... Do YOU think we ever could, again?

    Repeat, thank you for sharing all your discoveries. Especially things like to notice our waste. Oh wow yes!

    Aunt Amelia

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  18. 50sgal & Amy,
    Thanks for the responses about brown sugar. I did realize that for many uses I could just dump the correct white sugar & molasses amounts into the bowl w/ other ingredients & mix away, but it is good to know that if I need mixed up brown sugar for sprinkling over something that using a spoon will work.

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  19. Gingerella-we'll have to check that site out, thank you.
    Aunt Amelia-I am not sure if we have gone to far into 'ourselves' to think in a unified way that might mean a little work. I think if were to make it feel as if we were enjoying it, maybe on a small scale we could try. I am willing and going to see what can come about. I figure, in one year I feel my whole life has changed, I just wonder what a year of trying to think that way and trying to enact some sort of 'difference' will result in? Even if it only aids a few people, it will be worth it in the end, don't you think?

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  20. I am not sure Aunt Amelia...I know after 9/11 there was quite a rallying spirit in this nation I hadn't seen in many years. The sad thing of it was, people forgot. Within a few years, they just seemed to forget how horrid and devastating it was to watch the events of 9/11 unfold before their eyes. My oldest was 2 and 1/2 and he is now 11. He doesn't recall that day.

    I guess what I am saying is that, like during WWII, I believe that it will/would take something catastophic (sp?) to bring it about. Massive loss of life, horrendous unemployment, disease, etc. to really cull out the selfish and rally the strong. For that is just was such event did during WWII. It had come on the tail of the depression, which caused how many to die of starvation, disease (flu epidemics and tuburculosis were running rampant at that time) and untold number committed suicide. Sad, but true. And if something that nasty were to come along again in such a powerful fashion, the same thing would happen.

    I am an optimist. I would like to believe that should this country face a threat of the magnitude of Hitler and the Japanese invasion we would come together and ind Victory. Still, a small part of me is frightened by such thoughts, for I am not sure. There was a time I wouldn't have doubted it, but not anymore.

    Gingerella- thanks for the website, will check it out!

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  21. I think what is sort of sad is I feel, on some level, that the direction our country has been moving in, consumerism, complacency, isolation with technology, political competition of two silly sides fighting over the same thing, the right to control THEIR share of the money. Now, the Hitler, The Japanese invasion, it is more subtle. It is slipping into our lives amongst our complacency and mind numbed brains watching tv, buying buying, but how do we fight it? I don't know if we can. I do know that the america that existed (without the bigotry of course) of pre 1950's had a sense of humanity that seems to be gone. That is a big and scary thing for me to at least try and fight it. I may end up being the lone woman in her kitchen in an aprong on my soapbox while everyone thinks me crazy, but maybe, just maybe, if we could let others know and see that we can have a better quality of life for all of us and be more in control of our individual paths, there could be a sort of rally. Maybe I am just a dreamer, I mean I am living in 1955 for heaven's sake, I don't know. We shall see, I suppose.

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  22. I meant that the current direction of our country is the more subtle monster, not as apparant as a Hitler or Japanese invasion. That in it's pure genius of marketing, it has sold every one of us and wrapped us up into little packages to be sold to the highest bidder.

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  23. Aunt Amelia, Anything is possible I suppose:)...one step at a time, one family at a time.. The important thing is to try, therefore making our little corner of the world a better place and all those little corners certainly do add up. Who knows but it'll be fun, joyous and rewarding if we 'improve' our small area of influence.. even if that's just ourselves changing, growing and learning... how satisfying. Thanks dear 50sgal and all you ladies for such interesting 'conversation'. Linda

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  24. I do hope my comment doesn't sound too dark. I merely meant that I think we do have, we Americans, a very real 'pull together' spirit that we have exhibited in the past and I do wish we could be more that way now. I think problems like our economy and the environment CAN be solved by all of us, even we simple little homemakers, if we do care enough to try and make a difference. I certainly do not want to offend anyone, nor to put off anyone. I think any little bit we do as a community here is a part of the solution and I am very proud to have become apart of what we have built together here.

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  25. Another link, haha! :)

    I found on a message board I visit (simpleliving.net) a link to a video on how psychology and politics shaped modern marketing and got the brainwashing machine rolling in the early 20th century. It's a documentary made by the BBC, called The Century of the Self. It's free on Gogole Video in 4 parts, each part 1 hour long (maybe watch one part a day?) I'm only halfway through the first part but it's already riveting, and scary at how we've been manipulated for decades, going back to just after WWI! Here's the link:
    http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=8953172273825999151

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  26. Thank you Gingerella for the links!

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  27. Sorry, ladies, but I have an off topic question:

    Evonne- I have to ask you, since you're living in France and like to cook. Have you cooked on a Lacanche ro Cornue Fe range? I'm considering both when we renovate our kitchen because apparently in America no one has a need for a smaller range with a double oven. The smallest I can find is 48" or 60". We have less than 40 inches, although the Corneu is about 43". My contractor said he's going to try and change the plan a bit to accommodate the range. The option of double wall ovens won't work if I want a pantry. And I don't want to bump out like so many people do in my neighborhood of 1930's homes. If I wanted a Mc Mansion sized kitchen I would have bought a Mc Mansion!! (So many contractors and designers tried to talk me into this or said an eat in kitchen was impossible- well this kitchen has been "eat in" for over 70 years so I think not.)

    Thanks for letting me rant a little too.

    Back to our regularly scheduled programming.

    S

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  28. Sarah-have you considered an AGA I think they make smaller versions of double ovens (they were once my dream oven). I know you can buy them in the states.

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  29. Sarah-have you also considered an older stove? I just found, and may get for my birthday (which is next weekend already!) if hubby is agreeable (it is VERY cheap) a great 1950's double oven with six burners that is only 40" wide. Just a thought.

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  30. 50'sgal- We looked at the Aga this weekend and found the smaller one (not the big cooker) to be a bit flimsy for the price. It's not cast iron like the ones they're known for. As for a reconditioned vintage range- I found a company who sells them on line but hubby wasn't into it. You'd think if people are buying vintage ones the manufacturers would get the hint and make a 40 inch double oven range. I often see them at estate sales. And actually Kenmore makes a modern 40 inch but it looks really modern- all stainless and black with sharp edges. Nothing charming like the vintage and European ones.

    Thanks for the ideas though.

    S

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  31. That's too bad-why doesn't your hubby like the vintage, just curious? Good luck with your search.

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  32. Sarah-
    Oh wow, I wish. Those are so lovely. I'd love to have 2 ovens one day. Not sure if that will ever happen. We are still in the grips of lowly studenthood, so we happily took whatever was in our cheap apartment. The oven is teensy. Some of the pans (half sheet size jelly roll) I brought from the U.S. won't even fit in it. But I'm thrilled to have a gas range after 6 years using electric. Sorry I couldn't be of help or guidance.

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  33. Sarah-surprisingly, though, don't we always find ways to 'make do'. My hubby and I lived on a sailboat (not constantly) but for weeks at a time it was only 30' and the galley was very small, we had no oven and our 'stove' was two burners on a built in kerosene stove. But, I think the best coffee I have ever had (just thinking about it now makes me long for it) was brewed on our old metal perculator on that and sipping it out of metal cups on the deck in the early morning. The gulls crying, the gray mist and the endless water, ahhh. Sometimes it really is about the moment or where you are and how you make do that can be fun. I am cooking on an electric stove and oven right now and I have to admit I really hate it for its heating power, but it is an old Jenn-Aire and has a built in skillet which I use every morning. I want have the ability to have gas until we can do over the kitchen come spring, so I have to make do. I am sure your little french stove is not perfect, but how wonderful you are in France and I bet with the limitations you will come up with some brilliant solutions! And, as you said, you are thrilled with the gas range.
    It's funny because in the late 40s into the 50s so many movies and ads were made to show the wonders and greatness of the electric kitchen. But, honestly, I don't know anyone who actually prefers to cook with an electric cook top, do you? I guess it was just part of the electric co. move towards more usuage? Who knows.

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  34. 50's gal- Hubby likes vintage but not to the extent I do and as he's accepted much of my family's furniture into our home (and basing most decorating decisions on the key pieces) I know when he's reached his limit. His family, while lovely and kind people, don't have the same appreciation of antiques as mine thus hubby and I haven't one piece of furniture from his family.

    I understand what you mean about making do. We've been making do with the limits of this kitchen as our family has grown for the past seven years. We've been saving our money so we can renovate without going into debt- something we're both very proud of. I can't believe we're finally at the point where we can do it!

    I've been dreaming of this kitchen since we bought this house, when we had two toddlers and hoped for a third. (And now we have our third!!) I feel like how the the "lady of the house" in the 1950's who put in cabinets and updated her old 1930's kitchen must have felt except I'm updating a 1980's kitchen. I wish the previous owners had pictures of how the home looked thru the decades. It would be so enriching of my experience living in this here.

    And, yes, I love bench seats in cars. I think it has something to do with the shoulder type seatbelts. To get a middle seat the manufacturer has to put a belt in the ceiling of the car or back of the seat. Both options can be visually cumbersome and since cars are supposed to feel spacious it makes sense they just did away with them. My minivan has a middle seat in the back with the belt attached to the ceiling and it's fine, but it's in the third row. Just an idea. I could be wrong.

    S

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  35. 50sgal,
    Yes, moving here has been all about adaptation. Sometimes it can get a little tiring, but really I'm very thankful for the chance to have this adventure. Yes, so the oven is a little small in this apartment. That just means I may have to adjust a couple of recipes to fit into smaller pans. On the other hand, this apartment sits at the foot of a lovely mountain range, I have a small garden with herbs already growing (thanks former tenants!), and I have three fruit trees just outside my yard that the landlord has given me permission to pick from. I mean, how can you not be happy about that?! Thanks to my husband's addiction to mac & cheese and the absence of it (in convenience form, i.e. boxed) here, I now have a fabulous homemade recipe that is really so much more tasty than the box version. Oh, and I have homemade chicken stock in the freezer because I can't rely on canned here. So, I think living here might change some old habits for the better. I don't think I will never again buy boxed mac & cheese or canned chicken broth assuming we end up back in the U.S., but I'll probably make the homemade much more often because it does taste better & is less expensive. And believe me, I'm taking advantage of the bread, cheese, pastry, and chocolate here that I know are much harder to locate in the U.S.
    Gingerella,
    Thanks so much for posting the link to that BBC documentary! Wow, it's going to take me a while to process all of it. I've already watched the whole thing because I just couldn't keep myself from watching the whole thing. Truly fascinating, quite disturbing, and pretty scary.

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  36. Evonne- What a wonderful setting with the fruit trees and beautiful mountains. I think I could handle a small stove/oven in that situation! And bread, cheese and chocolate- my favorites. To get the excellent quality you get in France would be a dream. :)

    S

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  37. here here for bread and cheese in france and close to the border, as I think you said you are, the chocolate must be wonderful. I do miss France. We always joke that when we are older, if the usa has just become one large mall with floating Wall Mart ads everywhere, we will retire to a little village in the sount of France. Puttering about, a little stone studio to mess about with my paint pots, hubby smoking his pipe among the trees. Shoping every day in the local village for bread and cheese, ahhhh...

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  38. Every day glamour is to me as important as breathing. That’s what makes it all worth living. I always put on a pretty dress, or a skirt and cardigan/blouse, take time to do my hair and put on makeup. I wear vintage jewellery matching my outfit or season/holiday each day and is known at my job for it. My nails are always looking nice, short, but well-manicured. I always wear heels and stockings. Many of my colleagues compliment me and ask me if I ever wear jeans, and I say no, hardly ever, except for gardening. I could never be a slug (is it the word for it? I don’t have a dictionary here at my sofa), even now being ill, I’m wearing a nice satin silk pajamas and leopard slippers, my hair in a nice and easy up-do fastened with a rhinestone comb. And on every occasion, even the smallest, I always do even more to look great. I think we owe this honour to the hosts of the party.

    For my home I’ve always chosen beauty and elegance, from my dinnerware to tablecloth and bed linen. Some think it doesn’t matter weather you make your bed before going to work or not, but try it and you’ll find out that it does. I always open the bedroom window in the morning, and after breakfast I come up to put on my makeup I close it, and make the bed. I feel so happy to enter my bed at night seeing it elegantly made, it takes a lot of stress from my shoulders.

    I also always have flowers on my table. I can be a single rose in a slim, pretty vase or sprigs from my garden, but also beautiful bouquets received from friends or DH. It doesn’t matter if the flowers are one or many, cheap or expensive, it makes quite another feeling in the dining room.

    One last tip, which I’ve read is very vintage, is to keep everything seasonal. From your food, your tea to your decorations. Honour each season and holiday, not only Christmas. Decorate according the season, and again – it doesn’t have to cost a lot of money. Some dried Autumn leaves collected in your garden or in the streets, and voila, here you are decorating. During Autumn and Winter, which is a really a dark and cold season here in Denmark, I use a lot of candles every day. I put up nice looking board games, like chess and calaha, made of different kinds of wood. And even my teenage son and his cousin, who is a hardcore goth punk, enjoys a game.

    Am I writing too much? I hope you read my comments, although I am still behind.

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