Saturday, April 25, 2020

Comforting Cookbooks


With all of the news about meat and poultry processing plant closings coupled with shortages at the grocery stores, it made me think of other times in history that found food in short supply.
Of course one of these times was during World War II.
Growing up I remember hearing stories about the rationing of many food items, but couldn't imagine what that must have really been like.  After all, we have been grocery shopping for years in stores with shelves filled with multiple choices of everything.  Sometimes too many choices, it seemed to me.
Anyhow, this all brought to mind a cookbook I have in my collection.  You can see it in the photo above.

Dedicated to General Douglas MacArthur, it provides a glimpse into the ways women aided the war effort on the American homefront.

It was a time when women rolled up their sleeves and did what was necessary.  This very heavy book (have you ever noticed how heavy some of the old books are?) went into great detail about keeping food on the table despite the shortages.

Another cookbook in my collection.
This one also provides a peek into the American kitchen, although from a slightly different perspective.

Published in 1943, this one was for boys and girls who like good food.  My, those children were snappy dressers, weren't they?

I love this book for many reasons.
Among them is this inscription in the front cover.
Perhaps it's because my mom always wrote something nice in the front cover of books she gave as gifts.  I still have many of them and seeing her handwriting is like a warm hug after all of these years.
I don't know how little Jeanne's book found it's way from California to a North Carolina thrift shop, but I'm glad it found it's way into my collection.  I like to think of the excitement Jeanne felt when Mother returned with this surprise after going to see Granny :).

I also adore these sweet colored photos of simpler times.

One last cookbook from the collection.
Written in 1937, this one provides many different recipes using Crisco.  Apparently one of the many benefits of Crisco at that time was that it was "fit for delicate stomachs".  For some reason that made me chuckle.

Nice of them to start off with helpful suggestions for the servantless households.  Although after reading the entire chapter I was exhausted with the amount of work they put into putting a meal on the table.  Between making absolute certain there were no spots on the tablecloth to making sure the knife blade was facing the right direction, the servantless woman was under a lot of pressure.

Thankfully it all became clear near the end of the book.
As long as the children's cheeks were rosy and the man of the house was healthy and happy it was all worth it.
Chuckle, Chuckle, Chuckle.

Friday, April 17, 2020

From the Herb Garden ~ Chive Blossom Vinegar

 In all the years I've been growing chives, I've never once made vinegar with the blossoms.  I have seen the pretty pink-hued final product in some of my herbal books and thought maybe someday I'd try it.  Well, I guess that day has finally come.

At the start of our stay home orders, it occurred to me that if I used my time wisely a lot could be accomplished by the time this was over.  I considered making a list of projects to keep us busy and then decided that wasn't really necessary.  Since we both work from home, we are normally home a lot and tend to stay on top of most things around here during the week.
For us it is more a matter of finding some variety to add to our days to keep from going stir crazy.  Part of that for me has been trying some of the simple things that I never seem to get to.
In this instance, snipping those blossoms off my chives before it's too late and they have dropped their seeds all over the garden.

After a very thorough washing, into the jar they went.
The vinegar was added and now they will rest in the dark pantry for a few weeks.  Every couple of days I will give them a little shake.
It sure is a pretty looking concoction so far. 

Outside the kitchen door the lettuce I planted in pots is growing well.  I see a salad dressed with chive vinaigrette in my future.


How are you all doing?
Are you finding ways to add variety to your days?
Anything planned for the weekend?
I'm craving chocolate and the supplies in that department are a bit sparse around here.  With a birthday coming up on Sunday I'll be rooting around in the pantry to see if I can at least whip up a batch of brownies.  

That old saying about variety being the spice of life is so true, isn't it?

Take Good Care!!

Thursday, April 9, 2020

The Week Before Easter

 Our days at home have been arranged to include time on the patio at the end of the work day.  We've watched the trees go from their winter dormancy to that glorious light green that looks especially lovely with the blue sky forming the background.
Birds are chirping and travelling in pairs.  Love is in the air.
At times I envy them for going about their business without the cloud of a pandemic hanging over their heads.

 Speaking of clouds, they were fantastically fluffy last night.

 Like many of you I have been working at using things in the pantry, fridge and freezer before resorting to a grocery expedition.
I do have a habit of not finishing the jar of yeast before the expiration date as evidenced by the above photo :(.
Now, I do know that there is a way to test your yeast to see if it's still active.  Not wanting to bother figuring that out I decided to just try making a loaf of bread yesterday.  I figured the finished product would answer the question for me.
To rise or not to rise... that is the question :).

 I'm thinking the result proves the yeast is still active.
For all of you who bake beautiful loaves, I know it isn't the prettiest.  A bit lopsided.  Ha!!
The important thing is that it tasted good as my morning toast.
So, it looks like I will be pumping out bread and rolls until that yeast is gone.

 Yesterday our temps reached 85 degrees which is warm even for us.  I was hoping to be able to cut a bouquet of tulips for the Easter table.  Looks like that won't be happening as they are now just about done.  Glad I had a little photo session last weekend when they were looking their best.

When I look down the side of the house I noticed the azaleas blooming just past the tulips.  I can just picture the Easter Bunny hopping down the trail.  Word has it that he is an essential worker this year.  ; D.


I do hope that you are all staying well and managing to keep your spirits up.  

If you will be celebrating Easter I'd be interested to know what you've got planned.  We've decided to support our neighborhood restaurant.  They are offering a complete dinner as take-out.  On the menu is:
  • Turkey with Gravy
  • Ham with Pineapple Chutney
  • Sweet Potato Souffle
  • Broccoli Casserole
  • Mashed Potatoes
  • Dinner Rolls
  • House Salad with Choice of Dressing
  • No-Bake Cherry Yum Yum
Sounds good to me plus it serves 4 so there will be leftovers.