Sunday

February 27, 1952 - Just a Quick Recipe to Share

Just thought that I would drop in and give you the recipe that I'm going to be making tonight for dinner. This is going to be fun. I am taking the advice of one of my good housekeeping magazines and involving hubby-to-be in the kitchen. Tonight we are going to be making Quiche Lorriane (Swiss Cheese Pie) but not just any old recipe. It is from my Who's Who of Cooks book by good housekeeping.

Alfred Hitchcock's Quiche Lorraine


Serves 4
Sift together:
3/4 cup sifted cake flour
1/4 tsp salt

With fingertips, in until crumbly:
1/4 cup margarine
Slowly add, stirring with fork:
1/8 cup cold water
Shape into ball; roll in waxed paper; refrigerate about 1/2 hour, or until easy to roll. Then start heating oven to 425F. On floured board roll dough into large circle, about 7-9" in diameter (I use smaller pie pans to make single servings so I only roll to about 4" each). Fit into a 9" pie plate. Make attractive fluted edge. Prick well place in refrigerator for 1/2 hour. Meanwhile make filling. Fry until crisp:
6 slices bacon
Crumble bacon into small pieces. Now using fine grater, grate:
2 ozs natural swiss cheese
Into bowl break:
2 eggs
Then add:
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 tsp salt
pinch nutmeg
generous pinch sugar
pinch cayenne
plenty of freshly ground black pepper

Beat with egg beater just long enough to mix thoroughly. Now spread surface of pastry shell with:
1/2 tbs soft margarine
Sprinkle bacon, then grated cheese, in bottom of pie shell. Pour cream mixture over all. Bake 15 mins. Then reduce oven temperature to 300F, bake 20 minutes longer, or until silver knife inserted in center comes out clean. Serve hot cut into wedges.

I hope you all try it and like it. There will be pictures of this Hitchcock inspired dinner later on. Come to think of it I should have done this for Halloween.
Till Later.

Saturday

February 26, 1952 - Britian Gets an A-Bomb

Today Winston Churchill announced to the world that Great Britain now has an atomic bomb. This is a scary thought that it was a big deal back then when you had gotten one. It's just understood that they are everywhere. Nearly every country has some form of chemical or nuclear weapon at it's immediate disposal and it only takes one real nutcase getting into power to use it.
I don't understand why everyone still feels the need to fight so violently with one another. I know that the hippie movement is still over a decade away but isn't it time that we just gave peace a chance and disarm these ridiculous weapons.
Side Note from Wikipedia:
The UK is currently thought to retain a weapons stockpile of around 160 operational nuclear warheads and 225 nuclear warheads in total.
The US maintains an arsenal of 5,113 warheads and facilities for their construction and design. Why?

Till Later.

Friday

February 25, 1952 - Our Problems With Portion Control

I will be the first person to stand up and say "Hello, I'm Andrea and I have a problem with portion control." I look at all of these pictures of women from the fifties and even the women that are a little bigger still are nowhere near the point where we are these days, myself included. We look at the sizes that they suggest as the portions and think, wow that is ridiculous! But really it isn't. It's ridiculous because those are nowhere near the portions that we grew up on. This is why no one can manage their own portions. If you think about it, you really should only be eating one normal taco and a side salad for an entire dinner at taco bell. This seems outrageous since I just went there and was still hungry after 2 5-layer burritos.
I think that through the years I, as well as most of the nation, have managed to stretch my stomach and got so used to high fat low nutritional foods that it is a VERY tough habit to break. I must admit since I have been eating 50's fare I have been noticing a change in my skin and hair for the better but I still have found recipe portions too small so my deal with myself for this weeks challenge of change is to drink a glass of water and eat a side salad with fat free dressing before dinner every night. This along with the cookbooks serving size suggestion makes this a possible new way of eating. We shall see.

Till Later!

Thursday

February 24, 1952 - My Second Winter Cold

I apologize for the lack of updates lately but I am battling my second winter cold. I seem to get a cold twice a year. Once at the beginning of winter and once at the end. It's always the same symptoms in the same order. First I get a scratchy sore throat, then I start to get the sniffles. This is followed by my whole head stuffing up and constant headaches and nausea. Finally I develop a cough around day four or so and that will stick around for at least another week.
I thought that this would bring around a bit of a good subject to talk about. What did they do in the 50's to make yourself feel better. I'm sure they didn't park themselves in front of the TV with the remote. (Especially since they didn't have remotes.)
Well for starters they used cod liver oil. It has been clinically proven to have a positive effect on the heart, bones, skin and hair and well as proven to help the discomfort of muscle and joint pain. However I haven't been able to find any evidence that this would really help anything during a cold. Perhaps if you felt achy this would help. And, if you are interested in taking this I have found out that most companies have purified the oil so that it contains no traces of harmful mercury.
A bottle of warm water or ice put on top of the head. I sort of understand this one. The top of the head is a conduit of temperature in the body. There is an awful lot of heat released there and it is a great place to regulate your bodies temperature. The warm water would keep the heat in or even warm you up if you had the chills and as for the ice, well if you had a headache or even worse if your temperature got too high this was a great way to make you feel better.
Vicks vapor rub was supposed to clear up the nose and make breathing easier but I have read that a mixture of flour hot water and dry mustard was also used with positive results. This was probably a home remedy that was used long before Vicks was widely known and used. I can understand why it would work with all of the vinegar in it. The only problem that I could foresee is that perhaps it would burn the skin.
This is about all of the typing that I can muster up today so:
Till Later!

Saturday

February 19, 1952 - What a Waste

As you saw in yesterday's post I made the apricot mousse for the first time yesterday. This was a giant waste of ingredients. The only part that was even edible was the cut apricot that was on the top. It tasted like plastic with a weird air filled texture. This cook book has been very hit and miss. This was a very serious unfortunate miss. I spent about $6 for all of the ingredients and it all had to be thrown away. I will not be attempting another one like this again.
On a happier note I made a delicious corned beef.

Friday

February 18, 1952 - The Recipe Club

I was thinking of making every third Friday of the month my Recipe Club Night. I though this would be a good way to share some recipes with you ladies that I have tried or would like to try and if you would like, within the comments are you can share your favorite retro or retro-inspired recipes. Just make sure to write down where you got it from whether it be from grandma or from a recipe or magazine.

All of the recipes that I am sharing tonight are from my 1951 reducing cookbook. I have tried a few recipes from this so far and it is one of my year long goals to try every recipe that it holds in it's pages.

Beef Loaf With Vegetables [Serves 4]
I have made this and it comes out like a gray meatloaf. It doesn't look that appetizing but it is actually very delicious considering it is a 'diet' food.

1/2 cup onions, cooked until half done in:
1/2 cup tomatoes
Add the following raw ingredients:
1 pound lean ground beef1/4 cup celery, chopped fine
1/4 cup mushrooms. chopped fine
1 carrot grated
1/2 cup string beans, split and chopped very small
1 small clove of garlic, mashed into paste
2 eggs
1/4 cup milk

Season with:
1/4 ts dry mustard
1 tsp Worcestershire Sauce
2 tbsp soy sauce
1/8 tsp oregano
pepper and salt

Mix all ingredients thoroughly. Put in a light buttered baking dish. Set the dish a pan of hot water. The water should reach to the level of the meat loaf, so add more during the cooking as it evaporates. Bake in a pre-heated moderate oven (350) for about 1 1/2 hours. Allow the loaf to cool slightly in the pan before turning out. Serve hot or cold. Honestly I can't imagine serving this cold.


Stuffed Lobster Supreme [Serves 2]
I work sometimes in the seafood department of a local grocery store and I can tell you that lobster is not worth what you pay for it. I would just make this with artificial crab meat or canned lobster meat.

1 cup double-strength skimmed milk (1 cup milk +2 tbs dried milk)
2 egg yolks
pinch of dry mustard
dash of tabasco
paprika
salt

Cook in the top of a double boiler, stirring constantly. until mixture tickens. Meanwhile cook for a few minutes

2 tbs shallots or spring onions, cut small
1/4 pound mushrooms, sliced thin through stems and unpeeled caps in
1 tbs consomme or their own steam

Mix gently into the sauce. Add
Lobster coral or roe, blended with a little milk
2 tbs sherry, boiled for two minutes
1 cup hot lobster meat, diced

Add salt and cayenne, if needed. Heap the mixture in the lobster shells or scallop shells.
Brown under broiler flame. Garnish with parsley.


Apricot Mousse

1 tbs plain gelatin dissolved in
1/4 cup cold water or apricot juice.
Add 1/2 cup cold apricot juice
1 cup apricot (canned without sugar) blend or put through a seive
6 saccharin tablets (1 packet sweet n' low) well dissolved, (or more to taste)

Mix thoroughly. Chill until it begins to congeal. Whip with a rotary beater until very light and fluffy. Add
1/2 cup double strength skimmed milk
Beat again, thoroughly. Pour into a mold rinsed with cold water. Chill for two hours or until very firm. Unmold just before serving.
This is good alone or garnished with apricots sweetened with saccharin or with custard sauce.


I hope that you all enjoy these tasty little tidbits. If you have any recipes of your own that you would like to share please feel free to do so. Even if you would like to tell everyone if your tried any of these recipes and give your own review it would be welcome.
Till Later!

Thursday

February 17, 1952 - Just a Diatribe

Why have our parents gotten so lazy. I'm sure there are a good portion of you that are not going to agree with me on this but I have to say that my parents generation has really dropped the ball as far as raising children with any kind of life skills. Maybe it's because a vast majority were/are single parents and had to work without having time to teach us the life skills necessary to really make a go at this crazy world prepared and on our own. I personally grew up with a single mother and my brother with a very heavy influence from my maternal grandparents (they are probably the only reason I am as prepared as I am.) My mother never taught me the basic life skills necessary to take care of a household, financially or otherwise. Everything I have learned I learned from my grandmother, grandfather, the internet or a book.
Cooking was something that I had to learn on my own and I must say that I am still learning as you have seen in several of my recent posts, there are many cooking terms and ingredients that may be very familiar to you but are like foreign language to me. My mother was very good at making burgers and fries, macaroni and cheese and spaghetti and meatballs. You know the simple stuff that can be made quickly in less than a half an hour after she got out of work. My grandmother on the other hand was no slouch in the kitchen, although she never really tried new things. She had a repertoire of about 20-25 different dishes that she always made. All very delicious and most of them I still make to this day. However, I never got the chance to learn how to cook from her. The only thing that I stood by and watched her make was chicken and dumplings a tried and true stand by for the winter months in my kitchen. She never wanted anyone in her kitchen though. She always said that we would just get under feet so I always ate well with her but didn't have the first clue about cooking it.
When I moved out on my own I started out pretty much living on hot pockets and lunchables. After a couple of years I realized that this was no way to live so I dug out my Fannie Farmer cookbook that had been collecting dust in the bottom of one of my closet and started just to try things out. Some were good and some weren't. Through the years since I had fallen into a mixture of my mother and Grandmother. I stuck with 20 or so things that were easy and quick to make along with at least two microwavable meals and two meals out per week. This way of life led to an idle and boring kitchen.
Why is cooking no longer an important thing to teach your kids? Boy or girl they should know how the kitchen works. I know way more woman my age that can't boil water without burning it than can plan out meals for the week and feed her family nutritiously on a budget. It's like most other things . . . If it's not from a jar or a box, if it's not easy or quick it's just not worth doing. You just have to run back to the television before you miss one more sarcastic Charlie Sheen punchline.
Writing is a somewhat dead art form. At least in a traditional sense. I mean I'm writing this but I can not remember the last time that I wrote a letter to anyone. I think it was back in the eighties when my uncle was stationed in Egypt with the navy. My mother and aunt both worked in our local public library so reading was pretty important around our house but writing really wasn't. School didn't really do much for that either. Sure you had English class that would teach you the ins and outs of basic writing but once you learned that who cares. Outside of the fourth grade penmanship doesn't matter anymore and I can tell you that I don't remember one teacher outside of English that ever corrected your grammar unless it was atrocious.
I am left handed so my penmanship skills were terrible until I took an active role in teaching myself to write better and more legibly, before that it was what they call chicken scratch.
In the fifties it was made a point to write to relatives that you don't see often or friends that had moved away. Also teachers were always on you about your grammar and sentence structure even if they only taught you geography. Your parents too took more of an active role in your education, not just the occasional parent teacher conference or getting upset if you are about to fail your class. They made sure that you had time set aside for study and and that you actually did it. Why were we not pushed that way. I didn't do my homework more often than I ever did it and school was so easy that I think I studied for about two tests in high school and still passed all of them with flying colors. That's sad. I suppose this part is more about education in general than just writing.
This brings me to my next subject, sewing. This is a subject that I have more than a passing interest in. This is a talent that if you possess it you can actually make money on so why is there not more emphasis on it. Unless you want to design your own clothing line it seems that no one cares if you even know how to thread a needle. I took home Ec in two different schools and in the one we didn't sew at all, we made hook rugs. Yeah, that's teaching you a real life skill. The other had you sew but nothing more than a straight line. The only thing you had to make was a square pillow and a pair of shorts. They didn't teach you anything about tension or the different materials or feet for the machine.
It was in this class that I took it upon myself that while everyone else was making their simple shorts I decided to instead make my Halloween costume for that year. It only took me about two weeks longer to make than the kids that just made shorts and for a princess gown I think that was pretty good. I ran into two problems however. First the teacher was not very supportive. She thought that I was too good for her lesson plan and to be truthful I was. I had already made clothes for myself and dolls by this point. The other was that she didn't know what she was doing either. I asked her for help attaching the sleeves to the bodice and she royally messed the first one up until I faked like I understood what she was doing, ripped it all out and started over and figured it out on my own.
Sewing is a marketable skill that in this day and age there is only a small community of people that take it seriously. You need to know the basics at least and if I have a daughter in the future, and a son if he would like to learn, she will know how to work a sewing machine.
May I also add in those two years of home ec they never taught us a thing about real home economics, no budgets, no cooking and nothing practical to real life. Not even a trip to the grocery store to show how to read nutritional labels and shop for the best meat deals. Home ec is seen as an unnecessary fluff class nowadays. Not something that can prepare you for your life as an adult. I watched an educational film Why Study Home Economics?. I think that this should be a mandatory film for all school boards to watch so that they can see what a massive part of education that they are throwing to the wayside.
The last topic that I'm going to drivel on about today is proper etiquette. This doesn't mean pinky up while drinking tea with Muffy at the club. This means the common courtesies that are no longer in existence. A sad but overwhelmingly obvious fact of life. People push each other around, call people that they don't know, nay have never seen before in their lives, terrible names just because their carts get in the way of one another. A few weeks ago on one of my very rare trips to the terrible W store that I won't even give the publicity of mentioning it's despicable name I was walking down the isle when a woman got trapped in a small area and couldn't move but there was another lady trying to get where this woman was. The scary woman started yelling 'You better get the F* out of my way.' while the other woman said in a pretty curt manner herself 'Where the he** am I supposed to go?' While the scary lady retorted 'I don't give a f* just get the he** out of my way before I knock your a** out of my way.' This went on for a few more lines, each escalating in their violent threats.
I was embarrassed for them both and honestly afraid that I was about to be a witness to an assault. I do not live in a terrible, crime stricken ghetto. I live in a pretty small city with less than 100,000 people in it but this is how they act. With no shame and no feelings of consequence for the things that they say or threaten to do.
I remember growing up that as long as I didn't embarrass my mother too terribly she didn't care what I said or did and with that said I was still a pretty behaved kid. My grandmother made darn sure of that. But manners were never really brought up. As long as I didn't belch or pick my nose, no one told me that I wasn't being a proper lady, although I wasn't. I was never told to cross my legs or that I shouldn't swear. In fact when I was fourteen and started swearing in front of my mother she never said a word about it. I still never swore in front of my grandparents out of respect, something that I unfortunately never developed for my mother, at least not to that degree.
Why have we stopped teaching our children how to become proper young ladies and young men that will turn into proper women and men. You won't see a man hold the door for a lady anymore whether it be that it never occurs to him that this is the nice or polite thing to do or whether he is afraid that the woman will yell at him as though he is taking away some part of her independence by being nice. I have seen this in person. There was an elderly gentleman that held the door open for a mid thirtyish woman. As she passed by him she said 'I could have gotten it myself, I'm not a cripple.' The worst part is that comment probably made that nice elderly gentlemen think twice about ever opening the door for a lady again.
This carries over to cell phone use as well. This is just a quick note and I will stop rambling. I know in this day and age that we are not going to give up the cell phone. It is probably something that is only going to go further as time goes by but for goodness sake, give the person that is there in front of you in person a little more respect by if not hanging up with the person on the phone at least put them on hold until your interaction is through. When you are checking out at the grocery store acknowledge the clerk. Your ignorance just may ruin their day.
Sorry for this rant but I was looking at the list of all of the things that I want to learn how to do and get into the habit of doing and it just seemed to be a mighty long list of things that I should have learned in school and from my parents long ago. Sorry if you don't agree, I'm not here to offend or bore.
Till Later!

Wednesday

February 16, 1952 - Junket and Other New Products

Over the past few months, as I delve deeper and deeper into my new life, slowly letting go of the "old way" that I do things and readjusting to a new way of thinking, I have come across the I have discovered so many new things. Some of those things open my eyes to a new way of thinking and others, to a new way of doing.
I have not used a microwave in three months and it is one of the best decisions that I have ever made. I had used my microwave so often, become so dependent on it for a quick meal that I had forgotten how wonderful real, fresh cooked food could taste. I suggest that everyone take a step back once and a while and re-evaluate how much we let technology control our lives, now I'm not saying that I want to go back to sleeping in a cave and cooking over an open flame, but I really don't think I need all of my meals to go from the freezer to the plate in three minutes either. Patience is a virtue that just isn't taught anymore and it like most other things like it is a virtue that is very much worth having.
One of the new products that I have been introduced to is known as rennet tablets. When I first looked looked into what rennet was I was most reluctant to buy it. It was in quite a few recipes throughout many of my recipe books sometimes they even said that it could be used in place of unfavored gelatin. If any of you are wondering what it is, technically it is a naturally produced enzyme in the stomach to digest milk. They are a byproduct of veal production. What they do is extract the rennet from a calves fourth stomach chamber. Yes I know it sounds absolutely disgusting and it's one of those things that I was pretty sorry that I had ever read it. I don't eat veal because I don't believe in the way that the calves are treated. However, I promised myself that I would throw myself into this head over heels and this was just another part of it. There are a couple of types of rennet. There is of course mammal rennet, vegetable rennet, microbial rennet (fermented molds) and genetically engineered rennet.
Junket is the brand of rennet tablets that is most widely known and available. They are also responsible for Junket Dessert that is and has been available for quite some time in strawberry, raspberry, vanilla and chocolate. This product came with instructions on how to make ice cream in your freezer without an ice cream maker. I can't wait to try this one out. I have some apricots that are just dying to become a unique dessert and I think that is just the thing.
The second product that I have gotten over a fear of is MSG. It was added to a whole lot of stuff back then but I had grown up hearing how horrible MSG was for you. Most of my cookbooks mention it in some recipe or another so again began my research. What really made MSG get such a bad rep. Apparently a person can have an MSG intolerance, kind of like lactose intolerance or a slight allergic reaction. The over usage of this product can cause problems in those with a sensitivity to this affliction.
However, if it is used in moderation (most recipes call for 1/2 a tsp total for six to eight servings) you should have no problem at all and is seen as safer than table salt. It is used in many ready made foods that you probably have in your house right now and although they can no longer just call it a flavoring it is still known by some alternative names such as protein isolate, hydrolyzed yeast, hydrolyzed vegetable proteins, soy extracts, autolyzed yeast, and yeast extract.
The only brand that I could find on the market is Accent though there are other companies that you can buy it from over the internet. I just feel safer getting it at my local market than possibly getting more than you bargained for from a fly by night spice company on-line.
There are a few other products that I had heard of before but never really kept in my house until the experiment began that are now staples in my pantry like evaporated milk, both sweetened and unsweetened. I also keep canned mushrooms, pimentos (a very heavily used 50's ingredient) and cream of mushroom soup. I also ALWAYS have a few pounds of potatoes, sugar and flour on hand. I'm still getting used to all of the other little things like brown sugar and cornstarch. Actually until a few days ago I had never bought cornstarch in my life.
Just goes to show you that with everything project that you undertake, you take in a whole lot of new knowledge that can help you throughout your life.
Till Later!

Tuesday

February 15, 1952 - Happy Belated Valentines Day and a Christmas Outfit Update

Yesterday was one of the laziest days that I have had since beginning this project and I have tried not to be like that anymore. So here it is a day late, Happy Valentines Day to one and all. My day did not go over as planned. Hubby-to-be and I decided to celebrate a day early when we learned that he would be conducting his capstone study on Valentines day itself. I was still able to make him some killer french toast for breakfast and we went out for dinner just as we would have on Valentines day. We exchanged cards and gifts. He got me a recipe card set for the holidays. I hadn't seen this one but it is a very welcome addition to the collection and I got him a couple things for the Wii which he wanted, this is one of the sacrifices that I have to make because he is not nearly as into this as I am. He feeds into where he can though. We made due with the early holiday.
Although I was by myself yesterday I didn't let that get me down as far as celebrating the festivities. I had heart shaped ham for dinner as well as a heart shaped cupcake for dessert and watched 'We're Not Married'. One of Marylin Monroe's first movies. Her part is actually quite small and of course she plays a beauty queen. It was a nice day all in all.
Back to my laziness. I have been trying to get to work on this skirt for such a long time. For some reason I just can't find the motivation to get into it. I think that comes from the fact that I won't be wearing it for about 10 more months. Subconsciously I don't care because there is no real deadline. I wanted to get it done by Christmas and I would nearly have to be brain dead not to do that. This is a project that should take two or three hours not months. This is one of the many things that I am working on changing about myself.
I did however get the cutting done. It made a huge mess since it was plush. I ended up with a fine green dust all over my floor. Last time I used this pattern, after I hemmed it, is was only a couple of inches below my knee. This was far shorter than I was looking for so this time with that in mind I added an additional eight inches to the bottom of the skirt. As of right now it nearly touches the floor. Perhaps next time five inches will do. When I hem this I am going to use some biased tape and maybe even line it so that there will be weight to it. I'm not sure if I have enough material left over to make the caplet that I wanted. (Another reason five would have been better than eight. I would have another 6 inches of material left.) So what I'm going to do instead is make a wrap to go along with it. I was thinking of making it really Christmas-y and putting a faux white fur border along the bottom. It'll be cut I think.
I have work and there is a little more research that I would like to get done before I leave so . . .
Till Later!

Sunday

February 13, 1952 - New (To Me) Cooking Terms

Once again I get the pleasure of sharing some of my new found cooking facts from "2000 Useful Facts About Food". This time I am going to tell you about a couple of the cooking terms that I had never heard of or have heard of but didn't really know what they meant. I hope that these perhaps can help everyone hone a few more skills at the stove.

Fricassee- To cook meat by stewing in gravy.

Glace- To coat with a thin sugar sirup that has been cooked to crack stage. I believe that this is pretty close to glazing nowadays.

Mask- To completely cover with a thick sauce, jelly or mayonnaise.

Parch- To brown by means of dry heat. Applied to grains.

Render- To free fat from connective tissue by heating until fat melts and can be drained off.

Shirr- To break eggs into a dish with cream or crumbs and bake in the oven.

Honestly the last one I had never even heard of but was very interested in trying this out.
Till Later!

Thursday

February 10, 1952 - A Few Things You May Not Know About Spices

There are at least a dozen spices that I have never used during my kitchen adventures just because I didn't know what they were or how they tasted. Maybe you even use them without knowing what they really were. I just got a little book called "2000 Useful Facts About Food © 1953" and inside this little treasure trove of culinary tidbits there is a list of Spices and their origin. You may already know all of these but I didn't please forgive my ignorance I am still new to this whole cooking from scratch thing.

Allspice- The dried berry of pimento tree of the West Indies. Used as a condiment. The name is due to the flavor which resembles a combination of cloves, cinnamon and nutmeg.

Balm- Also known as lemon balm is a perennial garden herb with a sharp lemon scent. Use fresh or dried in soups and salads. I cannot seem to find this at any local stores, however, it is available in on-line health stores. This makes me wonder if most people just switched over to using lemon rind which I have been told is very close to the same thing.

Capers- The flower buds of Capparis spinosa grown in Mediterranean countries. Pickled and used as a condiment.

Chervil- An apiaceous (I didn't know what this word was so I looked it up and this is what I found: family of usually aromatic plants with hollow stems, commonly known as umbellifers.) plant with aromatic leaves used to flavor soups and salads.

Mace- The network around the nutmeg kernel. It is a vivid red when fresh and dries light orange. It is sold whole as "blades" or ground and is used to flavor sauces, gravies, cakes and pies. The aroma us similar to nutmeg but it has a different flavor.

Saffron- The stigma of a flower similar to a crocus. Crocus sativas. Dried and used to flavor breads and meats. Has a rich orange-yellow color.

As I said above you may already be familiar with all of these herbs and spices and I had heard of a couple but in reading the full list in the book these are the ones that stuck out for me because I didn't recognize the spice at all or I was surprise to learn what their origin was, as was the case with capers who would have thought that they were just flower buds?
I might post a few other things from this books as I get farther into it. What a wonderful primer for those of us that aren't very educated in the art of the kitchen. I am going to be storing this one right in the kitchen to use as a reference guide while I am cooking.
Till Later!

Tuesday

February 8, 1952 - The Life of a Working Girl!

I had the unfortunate opportunity of working all the way through the Superbowl weekend not leaving much room for anything else. I even broke down and bought a few little convenience foods like a frozen pizza and bagged french fries because I was so tired from running like an absolute mad woman for the last five days. To make up for it I have the next two days off to catch up on my sewing, cleaning and cooking. Tomorrow I am going to be making three kinds of chicken all at once. Chicken salad for lunches and Roasted Chicken and BBQ Chicken for 2 dinners. I'm also going to spend a few hours sewing up a new skirt. As for tonight however I'm going to be watching a wonderful 1952 release The Greatest Show on Earth. Right now I will just leave you with a few more images of outfits that are hopefully in my future.

Thursday

February 3, 1952 - Planning for the Week Ahead

As part of my new thinking I am spending at least a couple of hours on Thursday's to plan out the week ahead. I get paid on Thursdays so that is the best day for me to sit down and figure out the budget for the week as well as make up the menu for the next week and grocery list so that I do not wander aimlessly through the store and end up buying all sorts of things that I don't really need. I also try and plan out my schedule of things that I need to get done in the following week. This however is much easier to do once I get my schedule for work on Friday morning.
Because of getting paid on a Thursday it is much easier for me to plan my week Thursday to Wednesday instead of Sunday to Saturday like most people do. As they say you have to find a routine that works for you. So with all that in mind I thought that I just might share my dinner menu for the week.

Thursday - Jiffy Turkey (a recipe made with leftover turkey from Christmas)
Friday - Crab stuffed button mushrooms with snow peas
Saturday - Beef Birds with broccoli and rice with butter
Sunday - Borscht
Monday - Crab Casserole (With leftover crab) with mixed vegetables
Tuesday - Roasted Chicken with leftover peas
Wednesday - Leftover night (probably if there is any (leftover borscht)
Weekly Dessert: Apricot Mousse

The recipes for Beef Birds, Borscht, Crab Casserole and Apricot Mousse all came from my reducing cookbook © 1951. That being one of my New Years resolutions, which was to make it through an entire cookbook making every single recipe at least once. I thought since the wedding was coming up and I wanted to look good that this would be the perfect cookbook to start with even though I must have at least 2 dozen 50's cookbooks to choose from.
The guidelines are pretty simple but strict. They don't want you eating anything sugary, although saccharine is ok in moderation. It's kind of like a low carb diet but you are allowed to have fruit. Even some of the starchy veggies are off limits. Apparently there were a lot of women obsessed with their weight even back then. The difference is how far overweight and how many people had the problem. I'm sure that there were obese people back then but it wasn't a problem to the point where we had ratings of the fattest city in America.
The portions in this book seemed a little ridiculous to me at first and then I got to thinking that this is probably what people really ate back then. Here is an example of a typical day for the 1951 dieter:

BREAKFAST
citrus fruit or juice
whole grain cereal (one serving)
skimmed milk or cafe au lait
black coffee or clear tea

LUNCH
jellied consomme, lemon wedges
Spanish omelet
sliced cucumbers
cantaloupe filled with fresh fruit compote
skimmed milk or buttermilk or milkshake (this was their version not one made with ice cream)
black coffee or clear tea

DINNER
thick borscht
broiled steak with all the fat cut off
asparagus with special hollandaise sauce
grilled mushrooms
shredded cabbage and carrot salad with horseradish mayonnaise
apricot mousse with apricot sauce
skimmed milk or cafe au lait
black coffee or clear tea


Do you know how much work and groceries for that matter would have to go into making a set of meals like this. Although this is wonderful in theory, it like all other diet books, never take a budget into consideration. That is why I am picking a few things here and there to try and mixing it in with my own normal foods that still stick to the guidelines.
As for projects for the week I am starting to study for my drivers test. I know it's a little late, I honestly should have taken it 13 years ago but never really wanted it before. I was happy with the bus and it just seemed to work for me. Other then that I am working on my Christmas skirt and I would like to get some semblance of order as far as what I would like to get done for projects in order. I am aiming to get at least one dress and one skirt and blouse combo done this month. I would also like to start the planning of re-doing my kitchen. The first thing I'm going to look into is getting a curtain made to cover the empty space that is all under my sink and counter tops although I don't think that is going to even get started on this week except for maybe the measuring.
Honestly it is time to get back to work so,
Till Later!

Wednesday

February 2, 1952 - Happy Groundhog Day!

Punxsutawney Phil here in 1952 predicted a long winter which makes more sense then my glimpse into the future where he predicted an early spring. The weather outside is terrible. Today is going to be my second day in a row with no work. I have lost a lot of hours due to this storm. My paycheck is going to be stinky!
As I sit here looking through all of the old catalogs just like any woman of the fifties and pointing out 'oh, I want that' and 'I just have to get my hands one that' I think to myself what out of this can I make and what must I buy. Seeing as I am becoming the queen of the list I decided to make several new ones.
First I am making a list of all of the items that I want from each catalog. Then I am taking that list and dividing that one into three columns, one of stuff that I can sew, one of stuff that I can make (jewelery, accessories, ect.) and one of stuff that I have to try and buy.
This necklace set is a perfect example of something that I can make and even with the original cost of $19.85 (necklace $8.95, bracelet $4.95 and earrings $5.95 or by 2011 standards about $130) I believe that I can buy all of the material for the 52' cost. And wouldn't it just go wonderfully with my Christmas outfits. Imagine it with a plain white dress or my green skirt even a red dress would be within the Christmas Spirit.
A couple of examples of things that I can sew are this lovely shirt. I just love the collar and the detail on the sleeves. The only thing that I wonder is how stiff is the white part. It looks as though it may have been starched. The other example is this whole outfit. It is said to be winter and if it is I love the bright colors. When you think of winter colors you think of drab dark colors and thick stretchy fabrics. This outfit has almost none of those traits. I believe the shirt is made of wool jersey and the skirt is of felt with a velveteen cummerbund style belt that is sold separately for an additional $1.98. Not a bad deal! I think that I could honestly make these things if I could find similar patterns. That is one of the nice things about 50's fashion. Most things are done in simple plain colors and textures with sewing styles making the little touches instead of crazy patterns or fabric changes.
The last list is things that I have to buy. I may have a little talent as a seamstress but not as a carpenter or cobbler or especially a glass blower so there are some things that I am just going to have to buy. I have had my eye on getting a breadbox for a while and once I officially decide on the colors of my kitchen redo I will go in search of that and many other little odds and ends. It's is just difficult when it is something that you know in your heart that you want and your significant other isn't nearly as into the idea as you are and fights you with all of the design ideas. Ce la vi.
Well here I go into another day with next to nothing to do, oh, and did I mention I have tomorrow off as well!
Till Later!

Tuesday

February 1, 1952 - A Snow Day To Play!

My department decided not to open today, so I have the day to do as I please. My schedule wasn't planned out this early. This is going to be a great day to get to work on one of my outfits.
I spent the morning doing some research. Thanks to one of my followers they let me know about a flickr group that posts vintage catalogs. What a wonderful cache of fashion and home decor. The two that I focused on were Speigel from 1955 and a Sears Catalog from 1957. They had the catalogs in their entirety. The prices were so low, however if you consider the price increase over the past 55-60 years I suppose they would be about the same as they are now. Could you imagine getting a shirt for $1.30 or a dress for $3.50. I'm just hoping that I can make a couple of these for under $30 each.
Off I go to wash some material.
Till Later!