Showing posts from September, 2014

Downton Abbey Costume Exhibit!

A couple of weeks ago for a post-birthday girl trip getaway I met my friend Katherine at the Winterthur Museum in Delaware. It was only about 2 hours away, so not too bad a drive! The Winterthur Museum is a lovely, private museum and house that was owned by Henry Francis du Pont. He was an avid collector of American decorative arts and was also a dedicated gardener. His natural gardens are really lovely.
I had heard last year about the museum hosting an exhibit, the only of its kind in the U.S., of the costumes of the first three seasons of BBC's Downton Abbey. I've followed the show and have enjoyed it, though I'm not obsessed. :-) I adored the costumes from the first two seasons (before the 20s hit) and so I really, really wanted to see them in person!

Katherine and I gave in to our completely girly, giggly side as soon as we walked into the exhibit, especially when I found out we could take pictures. It was fabulous! The exhibit winds through the seasons, starting from…

Project 52: Rationing - Week 38 - Golden Corn Bread

It had been awhile since I'd pulled a recipe from my Thifty Cooking for Wartime cookbook by Alice B. Winn-Smith. I guess I haven't used her book as much as I thought I would because so many of her recipes are practical, familiar, and not that crazy. I'll admit the crazy recipes tend to grab me more just because they're so strange and interesting.

However, I have been really falling in love with Thrifty Cooking for Wartime just as a cookbook itself. Her recipes really are so practical and flexible. And that's the whole point of the book.

I love her take on what realistic wartime cooking should look like. Just like today in modern times, they didn't always have every single ingredient a recipe called for. She was advocating using what you had on hand without feeling the need to run to the store for just one or two ingredients that may or may not be in stock.

Since fall has arrived alarmingly on time out here in Maryland, I felt like I needed to make some cornbre…

Humorous Takes on History

I think historical accuracy is important, but sometimes it's really fun to take a jab at history and stretch it just a bit for entertainment's sake. I've found two things I had to share that I find extremely hilarious (not to mention really cool) and they both happen to do with the Revolutionary War. I hope you enjoy!

The first is a skit called "Founding Fathers" by comedy troop Studio C. If you haven't heard of them, I'd recommend checking them out. I'd describe them as a much cleaner version of SNL. No, not all their skits are awesome enough to gush about, but there are a lot that really stand out and are always good for a laugh. (If you want to know the really good ones, just let me know! haha!)

The next is a music video parody by Soomo Publishing. It's set to the song "Too Late to Apologize". I'm not a fan of the original lyrics, but this version changes the words to be about the Declaration of Independence. It's compelling, …

Project 52: Rationing - Week 37 - Molasses Lemon Pudding

I was very interested in this week's ration recipe for Molasses Lemon Pudding that I found in Grandma's Wartime Kitchen by Joanne Lamb Hayes. Initially I was interested because a pudding made with molasses and lemon sounded so bizarre I just had to try it! But then as I was making the recipe I realized that this was a pudding made without any milk whatsoever!

This recipe would have suited the Brits well, I think, since it doesn't have any milk. The amount of sugar would have been a bit of a hang up though. It calls for 1 cup and then molasses on top of that. One cup of sugar would have been a lot to give up all at once for just one pudding recipe, but I'm sure you could get creative if you needed to, using honey or golden syrup to replace some of the sugar.

As for today, if you or someone you know has a milk intolerance like in my family, this pudding recipe is worth a look.

Ingredients for this ration recipe include sugar, cornstarch, salt, molasses, water, lemon juic…

"Savoring the Past" w/ Jas. Townsend & Son

I just love these 18th century cooking videos created by Jas. Townsend & Son! They are completely awesome. Even my kids (ages 7 & 4) watched quite a few of them with me and enjoyed them, especially the ones featuring Jon's little girl. It's been great supplementation for our Revolutionary War studies and has gotten my son excited about trying a few of their recipes. He wants us to make the currant jelly which is perfect because I have red currants sitting in our freezer waiting to be made into something delectable.

These videos have also gotten me freshly inspired to get to work making our Rev. War clothing so we can be ready to go to an event next year. Just seeing all their cool tools and cooking dishes..! *sigh* As a teenager I drooled over their print catalog which was chock full of everything you could possibly dream of to use at a reenactment or a museum.

This whole time I had no idea they were from my home state of Indiana. I wish I'd known when I lived ther…

Project 52: Rationing - Week 36 - Vegetable Beef Soup w/ Biscuits

Some weeks I need something super fast and super easy to do for this ration project. This week was one of those. My dinner-time creativity is scraping bottom, so it's been a struggle lately. I was glad I remembered this recipe I had seen in the July 1943 issue of the Westinghoue Health-for-Victory booklet. It was a winning recipe tip sent in by a reader:

I didn't have unexpected company, but I needed a time saver, and this recipe was so simple! 
So, while I waited for my husband to come home I made up the biscuit dough. I've mentioned on here before that I've had to switch to a gluten-free diet for health reasons. I didn't want to miss out on this yummy-sounding recipe, so I used a ration biscuit recipe but substituted a gluten-free flour mix + some xanthan gum as a binder for the all-purpose flour. I was glad I used a ration biscuit recipe because I noticed an important difference between that recipe and my usual recipe - a 4 tablespoon fat difference. The ration …

Project 52: Rationing - Week 35 - Hot Potato Salad & Frankfurters

I wanted to pick a special, but familiar recipe for the holiday week and was happy to find this interesting 1940s take on potato salad for Hot Potato Salad and Frankfurters. It really should be called Hot Potato Salad with Frankfurters, Bacon, and Boiled Egg. I love that this recipe is so protein heavy since I'm not a fan of a lot of potato salads out there. This one, though, is almost a main dish unto itself.      One thing that I found interesting is that the recipe has you boil the potatoes and then peel them. I've always peeled my potatoes first. And while the Brits wouldn't approve of jacket-less potatoes, boiling them actually helps save on potato. Peelers removes some of the potato meat, but boiling and then peeling using a thin paring knife to lift the skin off, makes the skins only peel off paper thin - no potato meat included. Pretty nifty! 

For this recipe you need 5 medium potatoes, 4 frankfurters, 8 slices bacon, and 2 boiled eggs along with the other odds and…