Monday, January 18, 2010

18 January 1956 “Blue Suede Shoes, Baked Noodle and Cheese Casserole, and Desegregation”

carl perkins On 1 January 1956, the song “Blue Suede Shoes” was released by Carl Perkins on the Sun Records label. Many consider Perkins the beginning or one of the leaders of the “Rockabilly” movement. Many today use the term ‘Rockabilly’ to denote a fashion sense that mixes 1950’s and modern urban sometimes incorporating tattoos and piercings as among its oeuvre. But, Rockabilly is, in fact, a genuine American Music Genre. Here is a description I found:

The term rockabilly is a portmanteau of rock (from rock 'n' roll) and hillbilly, the latter a reference to the country music (often called hillbilly music in the 1940s and 1950s) that contributed strongly to the style's development. Other important influences on rockabilly include western swing, boogie woogie, and rhythm and blues.

This form of music and dress has its own subculture today.

Here he is performing his 1956 hit:

It seems interesting to note that here, mid decade, we are beginning to see a pattern forming that will lead to our present day of such a varied list of musical styles. While, during the early 1900’s Ragtime (such as Scott Joplin) was really that first movement of ‘youth’ or ‘young peoples’ music that first made the older generation put their hand to their ears and suddenly a divide was born between what the young and old listened to.

Of course, not on the level of today, but there was a time, even in the 1950’s before Rock and Roll, where families might be at a dance together and all share in the joy of a similar kind of music.

Now various genres are beginning to form, rock and roll, rockabilly etc until today the varied ‘sections’ of music is almost staggering from Freak Folk, to Death metal. While hardly wanting to stimey nor restrict the creative act of new music styles and art, it seems the continual ‘separation’ of ‘what type of music you like’ just serves to further separate us into groups so we can know whom to hate and make it easier for the corporate world to sell to us. For example the Goth movement was a subculture which then became a marketing movement with such stores as Hot Topic. But, I digress. We shall always love and want music in our lives.

It is also important to state that here, in the early 20th century, the American movement of new music really begins to form and affect the whole world. Not until the “British” invasion of the 1960’s is there really a contender for the American style of popular music.

But, you can see how this early Joplin piece moves into the 1920’s Jazz then the 30’s Boogie Boogie and 1940’s Big band, and into 1950’s Rock and Roll.

Now, I thought I would throw in a fun recipe for Baked Noodle and Cheese Casserole. This recipe is even MORE homemade and fun if you make your own egg noodles, but of course you do not have to. But, let me tell you, once you make your own noodles you will DEFINITELY have an ‘ah-ha’ moment.

I recieved, as a gift from dear hubby (at my request of course) a hand crank pasta machine. I had wanted to ‘unravel’ the mystery of pasta. It can be eaten and used so many ways, I had dreams of various flavored pasta mixed with herbs and what have you. And, I have tried many varieties and even dried my own for ‘spaghetti’ type italian dishes. However, the indespensible egg noodle is such a versatile creature and is so yummy in homemade soups and casserroles.

Now, ladies, here is how EASY egg noodles are. You can take this recipe and double it as needed to feed more people. This is usally enough for me to do a hearty large pot of soup or I would double it for the following recipe.

You take one cup flour in a bowl. Now make a little hole in the center of the flour ( I always think of it as a little volcano!) next, take one egg and be careful to break the egg fairly evenly in half, and I will tell you why next. So you broke the egg into the flour volcano hole, now take half of your broken egg and fill it with milk (see you don’t have to dirty another measuring cup!) and drop that in the volcano. Now, with a fork, swirl that around in the flour volcano hole until it is blended and then start mixing it with the flour. It should eventually ‘chase itself around’ the bowl, as you do with other doughs. That is it!

Now, as I have a pasta machine, I make three little balls, roll it through the ‘smoothing’ side a few times to get it as thin as I like and then run it through the pasta side, and ta-dah! If you were making soup, you would already have your stock boiling and about an half an hour on a low boil will cook them up lovely.

Now, no pasta machine? No worry! Just roll it out like biscuit dough, get out your trusty pizza cutter ( I know you must have one!) and viola, cut the noodles to your hearts content. Sometimes the uneven quality makes them even prettier, I think.

So, see how that is it: flour, egg, milk mix and noodles. You can add spices to this dough, dried cheese whatever your little heart desires.

Now for the casserole recipe:

1 package (12 oz.) wide egg noodles (or make your own, gals!)

2 cups cottage cheese, large curd

3 cups sour cream

1 clove garlic, minced

6 TBS grated onion

1 TBS chopped pimento (the pimento was THE ingredient in 1950’s cooking. They could not use it enough as garnish, filling, or ingredient! The packaging today, as it happens, is still very similar the 1950’s. They even made Pimento spreads you could buy. See picture below.)

1/4 tsp Tabasco sauce

1 1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce (please don’t call this War-sest-er-shy-err. It offends our New England ears. It is Wor-shis-ter sauce as Worcester Massachusetts is ‘Wooster” Massachusetts.)

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese.

Cook noodles until tender in large amount of boiling salted water. (if homemade noodles about 1/2 an hour girls)Drain. Combine drained noodles, cottage cheese, sour cream, garlic, and seasonings. Turn into buttered 2-quart casserole and sprinkle grated cheese over the top. Bake in moderate oven (375 F) for 25 minutes or until heated thoroughly. Makes 12 servings (that is 1955 servings, most likely 6 modern servings.)

bordens pimento spread

So, let me know if you like this recipe.

Now, as today (in 2010) is MLK day, I thought I would mention the race struggle. In my 1956 copy of American Magazine there is an article entitled, “School Crisis in Dixie” about the impending desegregation to take place in the south come this September (1956).

Again, many people seem to think the race issue was not around until 1960’s but in fact, as you might have seen in one of my earlier posts, as early as the 1940’s the issue was being addressed by the government.

And on 17 May 1954, the court declared racial segregation in public schools unconstitutional and all state segregation laws null and void. Then on 31 May 1955, the same court, without setting a specific deadline date, ruled that the states must act in ‘good faith’ in making prompt and reasonable start in putting desegregation into effect. This coming September (1956) is when many things will occur.

Here, again, I find that pivotal point in 1950’s when we were faced with a problem that has become a part of our modern world, that had the majority of reasonable people stood up, such a different path could have been taken. Yet, we let, as is our case usually, the loudest wheels speak for us and the 'whites’ soon became seen to be all racist idiots who cared little for anyone but themselves. I believe we really suffer, to this day, for out stepping aside in this manner.

Yet, one cannot go back and rewrite the past, but we can learn from our past mistakes. I hope when we see the outcome of the rational people keeping their voice silent we often are left looking the fool in the end. This is, again, the case today concerning such things as the MONSANTO corp. and their ilk. I hope our grandchildren will not look back upon us, while they sit in their world controlled by 2-3 corporations who hold the patent on the very cell structure of humankind, all plants and animals, and wonder, “Why did they do nothing?”

This video is an interesting compilation of the boycotts happening in 1955-56. It finishes up in 63 with MLK, which I thought appropriate today.

It does show our country, since it’s very beginning, has been hard won and hard fought. There are things that we, as most countries have to contend with as well, were not ‘fair’ to others. The misuse of the Native American,Slavery, the fight against the British for unfair taxation when we were just a fledgling colony.

+Yet, in all of the hate, war, and mistrust we are all still individuals. And, if we can only just see ourselves and then others as individual people with feelings, mothers and fathers, as brothers and sisters, then perhaps we can come to judge and treat one another with the shared respect of humanity not race, creed, class. I DO think we have come a long way. And I also think that we need now, more than ever, to have the reasonable people, those of us who would not have shouted in protest AGAINST equality or fair treatment, to finally raise our voice and let the world know that not only the severe people, the ‘squeaky wheel’ with their ill-mannered hate speak for the majority. It is ALL OUR country and I hope we can stand up, not only to ignorance but also to our own inability to think we cannot stop the march forward of the corporation or the buy out of our own government by the corporation. It is, truly all our country now, but for how long.

In the words of MLK, “Every man must decide whether he will walk in the light of creative altruism or in the darkness of destructive selfishness.”

And, in a quote that seems pertinent to we homemakers, “All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence.”

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