Friday, July 15, 2011

15 July 1957 “A Cape Cod Day”

capecodbeachday  We had a very Cape Cod day the other day. Gussie and I went out on our bikes to the local waterway. We swam and lounged in the sand. We stopped on the way back when we heard the jingling sounds of the Ice Cream truck. And, as it was on my way home, I stopped at our local Fish Monger. I hadn’t much on me (Cash being the payment of a 50’s gal) but enough to get a few pounds of mussels and 1/2 pound of scallops.

I felt very Cape Cod: happily riding along the water on my vintage bike, my skirts happily flapping in the breeze, and my basket full of fresh shellfish.

mussels1Here was one of the plates of my delicious haul. Steamers and oysters are usually more sough after than mussels, so they are therefore more affordable. I like the taste of all seafood and shell fish. Mussels, however, are so wonderfully easy to cook and yet can often impress guests.

Usually we would simply stem them in a lobster pot with simply an inch or two of beer or white wine and they are still wonderful. But, sometimes I like to make them as I did here. I cook up butter and olive oil, garlic and various fresh herbs from the garden. This time I did basil and some thyme and just a sprig of rosemary. I get that cooking until the garlic just softens sweet and then in go the mussels (shells and all of course. Running them under cool water and picking any beards as need be. If there are any open that won’t close, discard those, they have died).

Then I just pour in some white wine, maybe 3/4 of a cup or so. I just pour until I smell the sweet aroma of the wine mingled with the herbs and garlic. Let them steam about 3-5 minutes. Then, as they are opening, give them all a good stir. This mingles the lovely broth with all those delicious opening mussels. And I steam another 3 minutes. Then simply scoop out onto a plate or in a bowl and I pour some of the broth over them, as it has such a good taste. Garnish with some fresh basil and there you go.

 mussels2 Look how lovely they look and I even captured the steam rising from the plate. They are sweet and wonderful and of course are served with drawn butter. Many people who find they don’t like steamers of other shellfish, often like mussels. Their taste is not as strong and they are not prone to the bellies of a clam.scallops As my pocketbook could only allot a small amount of scallops, I sliced them up and rolled them in bread crumbs and some powdered onion soup mix. I know, any purists out there might shutter at that, “Onion soup mix”, but least we not forget I have been living in the 1950’s for some time now. And any self respecting homemaker will have a packet of onion soup mix handy to make anything from a sour cream based dip for a bridge game or cocktails, an additive to her own soup stock, or as a sprinkle on chicken or any meat to add zest.

These were simply flash fried in olive oil for about 2 minutes and plated with some fresh tomatoes with again fresh basil from the yard. Such an easy dinner and yet so delicious and again, very Cape Cod Summer.

musselshells Always provide a bowl or some recepticle for you and your guests to place the empty discarded mussel shells as they eat them up. I always love the look of the bowl of empty shells as we sit back, bellies full, and sip our second glass of wine or a G & T with a sprig of fresh Lemon Balm in.

I hope all are having a lovely day and that you can enjoy your own area’s Summer greats. Don’t forget, wherever you live, some may consider it a summer vacation spot. Think of what strangers would do in your town for a fun Summer day and then you do it. We often ignore the fun and advantages in our own back yards. Staycations can be anytime, not just during designated week long holidays.

Happy Homemaking. No News today. I am considering changing the format to a weekly news day of multiple pages.


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  2. Greetings from Down Under!

    I have just discovered your blog about a month ago and am trying to read a few entries a night from the start. I am so inspired by you and am loving reading every entry. What I wanted to ask you was - do you have a list of the homekeeping/cooking books you have been using for the past couple of years??


  3. What a happy, inspirational post!

    A great return to what your blog used to be - no political rants or controversial issues, just pure unadulterated vintage living at its finest.

    Welcome back!


  4. GiGi-that is a rather tricky one, because so much of the blog is about what I am thinking or going through and discovering. Just as in my real day to day life, sometimes I am frustrated or upset at things I discover. These things may be of a political nature or simply me going off on one of my rants. I am sure I will still have 'those days', for it does sometime color my time and is usually apropos of the 1950's as well.
    There will always be little things that upset me when I compare today to back then. The fact that my 1957 counterpart would have had money backed by gold (the gold standard wasn't dropped until 1970s) More affordable housing and cars, schooling at a reasonable price for her college age children, and no Big Box stores clouding up the country making it homogeneous and destroying small town life. It can be hard to simply look these things in the eye, the more I discover what it was like back then.
    But, of course, I am generally a happy gay person who enjoys life and enjoys discovering every day. So, though I am not sure I am back nor, for that matter, ever left, it is all a part of the rich complex tapestry of simply being a human being.
    I think I perhaps put too much of my daily feelings into it and should, as many do, pick a particular topic and have the blog be just about that. It would make posting a dream, but it isn't how I really started out. When I began as a 50's homemaker it wasn't just about cooking, so it touched on fashion, and politics, and costs, labor and current views of women. It was all encompassing, which is probably why it has so easily transitioned into a way of life for me as opposed to just a hobby one could set down.
    I am glad you enjoy the blog, maybe when I have political post or rant, you can simply turn away. I do think it important for we today as homemakers, just as it was then, to pay attention to what is happening in the world around us in government and politics. But, a sunny day of biking and enjoying the simple things is always just as important. But, I feel for me at least, I need both. Just one or the other would become tedious and boring, for me at least.

  5. Gosh, that's much more relaxing than my Friday. Mine was much more Boston: we went to one of the major hospitals for an ultrasound than then I walked Spouse to the bus stop so he could go out to work. I then took a bus to the Copley farmers' market and then another back home.

    Okay, so I also baked bread, had a nap (I'm a lazy pregnant woman after all) and made a nice dinner, but no beach.

  6. What a wholesome, entertaining, and mouth watering post. Such a nice break from your recent posts. More like 1955. More posts like these and you will shine as a 1950s gal.

    A Vintage Friend

  7. I think your rants and raves are as much a part of 50s living as aprons and tea sets. When women sit around having a cuppa and a chat (which is how I see your blog) we talk about whatever is on our mind at the time:)

    As you have said previously even the magazines of the day included in depth articles on banking and science - too much today is gloss and shine with no substance to actually make you 'think'.

  8. I just wanted to tell you I've just found your blog today, and spent the past two hours reading from the start. I'm not quite done, and I want to catch up on your current musings as well.

    I've just become a non-working wife this month, and have two children 5 and 9. I've already had the question of, "Why now? Why not just when they are babies?" As you've shown, just because you don't have an infant doesn't make the housework do itself.

    I'm SO excited to continue reading, and follow your blog. I'm been searching the internet for a month for something just like this. I"ll be looking forward to your next post : )


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