As I mentioned previously, from time to time I will share tidbits from "The American Woman's Cookbook" (1942 edition) with you.
From page 80:
ORDER OF SERVICE:
In many houses the hostess is served first. This is a relic of the old custom of taking it for granted that the giver of the feast prove the absence of poison by first tasting of the food or drinking of the beverage! Some hostesses too justify this custom by maintaining that, when complicated foods are served, the hostess indicates to her guests the methods by which they can most conveniently serve themselves.
However, the custom of serving the honor guest first is growing, and many hostesses now insist on giving the chief guest this additional compliment.
The former custom of serving all the ladies first and the gentlemen afterward is no longer in vogue, for this method consumed too much time and delayed the service. Now guests are served in the order in which they are seated, usually beginning with the honor guest or the hostess and proceeding to the right.
Hmmm, usually at our house we just tell everyone to dig in!
We stayed overnight at The Sister and Brother-in-Law's house, which worked out well because 1) Tulsa had a blizzard and driving conditions were treacherous and 2) we were present for all the activities with the nieces. Such as:
Putting out reindeer food in the blizzard on Christmas Eve. Baby L enjoyed this.
Big Sister A enjoyed it too.
Tracking Santa via Uncle Steve's phone:
Uncle Steve found Santa's "Naughty or Nice List" on the internet! Reading your name on the "Nice List" = priceless!
Taking a photo with your "Elf on a Shelf" also = priceless. Billy and Wayne borrowed Barbie's car for this photo op!
Meeting Mommy and Daddy's elves, Harry and Jewel. Also, priceless.Christmas morning excitement began with the stockings!
And ended with Uncle Steve putting together the big Princess Castle.
Remember that blizzard I mentioned earlier? Christmas morn we slowly and cautiously made our way home on the snow covered streets. An unexpected gift on the drive home was seeing an eagle in flight near the river.
At home, The Husband had to get out the old shovel...
Because our car would not make it up our snow covered, sloped drive.
Merry Christmas to all and to all a good afternoon nap!
I hope your Christmas was filled with fun and your families are all safe...
I am drawn to old cookbooks at estate sales, flea markets and antique shops. I just can't help myself.
It's not recipes I enjoy so much, it's all the other informaton included in the books that fascinates me. Information on how to set-up and manage your household, table settings and service, daily menus, as well as party or holiday menus.
And my favorite bits of advice are how to be a good hostess in this new "servantless" era in which we find ourselves.
From time to time I will share tidbits from "The American Woman's Cookbook" (1942 edition) with you. The purpose of this is:
to provide a peek into a style of life that is now long gone (at our house anyway)
give us an opportunity to learn something new (old, I should say) about dining customs
perhaps inspire us to do things differently in our own home on occasion
Following text found on page 79:
Styles of Service
There are three styles of service:
RUSSIAN: In this style of service all the food is served from the kitchen, by attendants. The host and hostess take no part in the service. No food is put on the table except the decorating dishes of nuts, candy and fruits. The food may be placed in individual portions before the guest, or may be separated into portions and arranged on serving dishes for each guest to help himself.
ENGLISH OR FAMILY TYPE: In this service all the food is served at the table by the host, hostess, or both.
COMBINATION OR MIXED SERVICE: In this service the main course is usually served at the table, while the soup, salad and dessert are served from the kitchen. Sometimes, the salad is served from a large salad bowl, and the hostess serves the dessert at table.
No one disputes that on-line shopping is frequently less expensive and much less stressful than patronizing local shops. But the point of the article is, it is not fair to shop owners for consumers to use their services, only to order the product on-line to save a few bucks. In these situations, a lot of times the small local shops close due to lack of business. The author encouraged consumers to think of the long term implications of losing the small, local shops.
Another very important point is the loss of local sales tax revenue. Just look at the cutbacks the City of Tulsa has experienced in 2009 due to diminished sales tax revenue. Friday's Tulsa World article discussing the lay off up to 120 firemen and possibly closing existing fire stations in early 2010 was disturbing. Think about public safety. Who will fight our fires? Who will be first responders to accidents and illnesses?
The Fire Department will not be the only department experiencing an impact. The Police Department will suffer cutbacks also, due to diminished local sales tax revenue. Think about public safety. Who will chase the bad guys? Who will patrol our streets?
I'm an on-line shopper, make no mistake about it. But, I intend to think twice about shopping on-line until Tulsa's budget crisis is resolved.
I helped my sister (the homeroom mom) with the "Winter Party" Wednesday for the 6 year old niece's first grade class.
A room full of first graders certainly has a lot of energy.
The kids all had fun. They started off by painting salt dough ornaments to take home and ended up frosting their own sugar cookie for consumption in the classroom, along with grapes and apples
Stockings and gift bags were also bestowed and the kids were happy to get purple glue sticks, crayons, pencils, etc.
Good memories for the kids were made today!
P.S. More fun for me on Thursday...I think I'm going to the 4 year old niece's "Winter Luncheon."
P.S.S. I realize this blog has been focused on recipes, parties and kids in the last few weeks. Not that there's anything wrong with that! However, I will try to provide some different topics in the next few days...
I took my Mom to lunch at Nelson's Ranch House. We both had chicken fried steak, with great side dishes. Mmmmm good! And, of course, we both ordered a piece of pie. She took home coconut cream pie and I took home chocolate pie. Again, mmmmm good!
This evening, Mom and I went to Miller Swim School to help my sister with her daughters before and after their lessons. Those girls have learned so much and are going to be great swimmers. Good for them!
I hope to finish the Christmas cards on Tuesday. Fingers crossed, people!
Love is going to Chuck E. Cheese at 10am on Saturday morning for the baby niece's 4th birthday party.
When my sister told me she had scheduled the party at CEC, I moaned. Approximately 20 years ago we went there with friends and their young children one Friday evening and I had a mini nervous breakdown. At least, I have always sworn it was a mini nervous breakdown!
My sister told me to "buck up" and get myself to CEC Saturday morning like a big girl. I did. It wasn't bad at 10am. It was fairly calm.
Here's how I found Baby L when I arrived.
Baby L and Big Sister A even sat quietly in this thing-a-majig for a few minutes.
Here's Baby L and one of her little friends in a car ride.
Baby L with her Princess cake.
Look at that face. I couldn't have missed the party. Even Uncle Steve made a brief appearance!
I am now the proud owner of "The Betty Crocker Guide to Easy Ironing", which is a 33 page booklet that answers all of our ironing questions.
Two pages are devoted to dampening. Remember when your mother or grandmother dampened clothes before ironing them? My mom used an oversize glass Pepsi bottle with a nozzle. Once the clothes were dampened, she would roll them tightly and place them in a plastic bag until she ironed them later in the day.
I wish I had that old Pepsi bottle...
I don't know when this booklet was published, but there are instructions on how to hang laundry on an outside clothes line to dry and minimize wrinkles. Which would then minimize ironing. I'm guessing clothes dryers were not common when this booklet was published.
Instructions are included on how best to iron blankets, brassieres, foundation garments, nightgowns, pajamas, sheets, underwear, towels, veils, plus many, many other items. (As a matter of note, I do not believe I have EVER ironed any of the aforementioned items in my lifetime.)
So far, my favorite piece of advice from the booklet is this:
"Choose a cheerful spot for your weekly ironing--but don't feel you must stick to it. It's where you want to iron, not where you think you should iron, that counts." (italics theirs)
So, good readers, I have the answers to your ironing questions. Not only about how to iron a variety of items, but the ironing accessories you require to do a great job.
Send me your burning questions on ironing and I will be happy to provide Betty Crocker's answers to you!
P.S. There does not seem to be a section devoted to dry cleaners? What???
P.S.S. Do you think Martha Stewart collects these types of old booklets?
I just finished the official "after action review" of our Christmas open house.
For those of you who haven't spent recent time in Corporate America, an "after action review" is the analysis of an event to determine what went well and what did not go well. The goal is to document the review findings so the next time the event occurs, any problems are not repeated and all successes are repeated or improved upon.
Obviously, Corporate America still influences me.
So, my party book now contains all the notes on the guest list, food, beverages, glass rentals, household preparation/help and party set-up.
For the 2010 party, all I have to do is open the book!
I grew up with my grandmother and mother watching As The World Turns. I must confess, I have watched it off and on for all of my 50 years.
This is a tragedy* for ATWT fans, just like it was for Guiding Lightfans when that show ended this year.
Whatever will we do without ATWT? Where I could occasionally be tempted into watching the show, I certainly will not be tempted to watch any game shows, reality shows or talk shows that may be scheduled to replace it.
*Tragedy might be too strong a word to describe this situation. However, it will be like losing really good neighbors when the show is gone.
The plumber completed installation of our new tankless hot water heater. It will be more energy efficient and we will qualify for a tax credit this year, plus we will never run out of hot water!
The plumber helped The Husband remove the old, dead refrigerator from the basement that has been taking up space for over a year. YIPPEEEEEEEE!!! The Husband just made arrangements for the City of Tulsa to pick it up next week and take it away.
I have a favorite artichoke dip recipe that I have been using for years. It's a good, simple recipe that friends and family love.
When I got the Pioneer Woman's cookbook, I vowed to make every recipe because they all look so good. Sunday, I made her Hot Artichoke Dip found on page 30.
It is different from my standard as it uses cream cheese, green onions, cayenne pepper and salt/pepper. But I thought, "Give it a try, Cindy. It's got to be good."
Here's the final product.
I enlisted family members to taste test for me. Here are the Sister and The B-i-L taking their first bites. The Sister gave it a thumbs up!
I used a bit too much cayenne pepper, so the dip was pretty spicy. It got your attention, so to speak. The consistency was different from my old recipe, due to the addition of the cream cheese. The green onions were a unique taste in the dip also. Unexpected, but good.
We all like PW's dip, but ultimately decided my old, simple recipe was our favorite. It is found in the Stir Ups cookbook on page 29.
Jeannine Bower's Hot Artichoke Spread
1 (14 oz) can artichoke hearts, drained, rinsed and chopped
1 cup Hellman's mayonnaise
1 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1/2 tsp garlic powder
Lemon juice to taste
Dash of Tabasco
Combine all ingredients. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes. Serve hot with assorted crackers.
I think the next time I'm asked to bring an appetizer to an event, I will make the PW's recipe again (with less cayenne pepper) and ask for additional comments.
Have you made the PW's artichoke dip? If yes, what did you think of it and what kind of comments did you receive?
Ours was fun. The Husband had company during the turkey frying portion of the day. Our B-i-L and his brother observed closely.
Below is The Husband removing our turkey from the fryer.
Here's a portion of the lovely table my sister fixed for us.We had a small problem with the french fried onions on the green bean casserole and the marshmallows on the sweet potato casserole getting a little overdone in the oven. No problem. Sister and B-i-L just scraped off the burned stuff and we all called it good!
Here are the B-i-L's parents. We were very glad they were able to visit Tulsa this year!
Here is the B-i-L's nephew, who is 7 years old. Note the missing teeth...
You can tell he and Big Sister A are cousins, yes?
And here is Baby L with her own mini pumpkin pie. Life is good!We are grateful today for so many things and spending time with the family is just one of them.
In this post, I shared our friend Robert's recipe for Cajun Fried Turkey.
At the end of the post, I had mixed all the spices and was beginning the filtering process. This picture is the result of the filtering process. Spicy, filtered liquid to inject into the bird and golden sludge to rub on the skin.
Below are a couple of short videos that document how to prepare the bird.
The men of the family will gather together on Thanksgiving morning to drink cold beer, while frying the bounty of the hunt.
I list all ingredients for our standard holiday recipes. I note the menu type (main, side, appetizer, dessert, etc) and number them 1 through whatever.
I discuss with my sister what dishes she would like for me to be responsible for making for the current year. After we agree, I highlight in the ingredients from the first three sheets. I then copy & paste all lines to the fourth sheet "shopping list #1." This view gives me an overview of the ingredients I will need for each dish.
I then create the "shopping list 2" sheet and sort the list by ingredient name. As you can see on this sheet, sorting by ingredient name groups them together regardless of what dish you are making. This gives you an overview of the total amount of each ingredient you require.
Using "shopping list #2", I inventory those items I already have in my kitchen. If I do not need to purchase an item, I put "N" in the "need to purchase?" column. If I need to purchase the item, I put a "Y" in the column.
I then create the "shopping list 3" tab. I copy the contents of the "shopping list 2" tab and sort it by "Y" or "N" and then by "ingredient." This gives me the final shopping list, grouped by ingredient, with quantities visible.
I print "shopping list 3" and head to the store. If I am successful in obtaining every item on this list, then I can complete every dish for which I am responsible.
This sounds like a complicated process, I know. But if you have basic Excel skills, it is extremely easy.
The beauty of this process is that you can keep this file year over year. The initial file I have was probably created in 2000 or 2001. I have just added recipes over the years.
Because I have this excel file and my sister and I have our "Thanksgiving Recipe" binders, we can quickly plan our holiday dinner with the minimum of stress.
If you have any questions about this process, please leave a comment and I will respond.
More importantly, if you have a BETTER process, please leave a comment and tell us about it!
We were both still in bed at 7:30 am, half asleep, when we heard "bang, bang, bang." Both of us jumped up to look out the window, asking each other "Were those gunshots?"
As we peered out our upstairs windows, we looked directly across the street and saw our neighbors doing the same. We saw two older people walking down our street and The Husband said "I should go get them to come into our house."
Duh...we figured out a couple of minutes later the sound was the starting gun for the Route 66 Marathon, which started near our house. Talk about feeling silly. But, good grief, three shots? And they were really loud...really they were.
Our neighborhood is the site of many runs, but that is the very first time we've ever heard the starter's gun so clearly. Not a good way to get out of bed!
Later in the day, my sister and I spent a couple of hours at The Affair of The Heart show. We had a good time and spent a bit of money.
One thing I purchased is the wine bottle below with lights inside and a Pilgrim couple with a babe in arms on the front. I asked the artist to create another bottle with an Indian couple with a babe in arms. I thought together they would make great Thanksgiving decor.
They are made by Misty Baker in Bella Vista, AR. Her company is Elegant DeLites and her website is found here.
This afternoon I put together the seasoning we will use on our Thanksgiving fried turkey.
Our friend Robert is a born and bred Cajun who grew up frying turkeys before it became mainstream. Honestly, we are both so happy he shared his recipe with us a number of years ago. It makes the best turkey ever. HONEST!!!!
1 tablespoon Tabasco or other Cajun-style hot sauce
1 tablespoon celery salt
2 tablespoons cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon garlic salt
1 teaspoon onion salt
1 teaspoon lemon pepper
4 tablespoons Zatarain's concentrated crab and shrimp boil liquid
Two-three days before you cook, mix all seasonings in one of the jars. Fill the jar almost full with HOT water. Shake well and let stand for at least an hour.
Filter the sludge through the coffee filter into the other jar. This is slow going and does take several hours, as you have to keep adding more liquid to the filter as it drains. Be sure to keep shaking the liquid prior to adding additional to the coffee filter, otherwise all the good stuff will be left in the first jar.
The goal of this process is to separate the liquid from the solids in the mix. The liquid part should not contain any solids as they will clog the injection needle. DO NOT dispose of the solid sludge. This stuff is more valuable than GOLD.
At least 24 hours before you cook the bird, inject the liquid into the bird in about 35 places. Don't put more than 3-4 cc in any one spot as it will make the meat pink and people will think it is not done.
TRICK - To limit the amount of liquid that runs back out of the bird, slide the needle under the skin and make the injection and inch or two from the puncture, then change spots with the needle without pulling out of the skin. The fewer holes in the skin, the better.
Now take the sludge left in the coffee filter and coat the outside of the bird. Rub the skin well and the bird turns an orange color.
Place the bird in the fridge and let set overnight until you are ready to cook.
Follow the turkey frying directions that came with your equipment to safely cook the turkey.
I promise, this recipe makes the most flavorful fried turkey ever! Our family will never eat turkey cooked another way...
How do you organize the recipes you gather from various sources, such as the newspaper, mailings, magazines, friends, etc?
I accumulate a small stack of them on top of my cookbooks, then take a few minutes to place the recipes in clear page protectors and insert them in a 3 ring binder.
Obviously my stack of recipes (below) is a bit out of hand. Give me a day or two and I will correct this situation! Promise.
Here's my recipe binder. Yes, it is a 4" binder. And yes, I've made tabs to sort the recipes by category.
I started down this recipe road because I told my sister I would do the first pass of planning for Thanksgiving.
Which made me think of a question for you. How do you keep your holiday recipes organized?
I "borrowed" the idea of separate holiday binders for Thanksgiving and Christmas from my sister a few years ago.
Any recipe we make for either of these holidays is automatically added to our binders, so we can duplicate previous holiday meals if we wish.
And how, you may ask, do we know what we served from year to year?
We know because I make our own version of a chalkboard for the holidays! I put our menu in a picture frame and it is placed on the buffet to let everyone know what is being served.
I started creating menus and place cards when my sister and her husband were dating and came to our house for dinners. She and I thought it was fun. He thought we were a bit crazy at first, but now he's the first one to mention these little details if they are missing for some reason.The young nieces love all the extra things we do for our "dinner parties" and our binders will be a great resource for them in planning their family holidays when they are adults!
I'll share the easy way I create my holiday grocery shopping list in a couple of days. It works great and saves me lots of time and aggravation!
Tuesday I cleaned one of those areas in the house that gets grungy over time and the cleaning of it you put off, put off and put off. (No, it's not one of the bathrooms!)
It was the appliance garage in the kitchen. You know...you reach in and take appliances out of there practically every day, but you don't look inside because the space is fairly small and dark (at least ours is.) By the time you notice it's getting dirty, you (I) say "I'll get that later."
Tuesday was the day I pulled everything out of the area, grabbed the 409 and paper towels and went after it.
I have another grungy, hidden area identified to tackle next week.
The Husband and I went to Norman, OK this weekend.
We attended the OU - Texas A&M game Saturday. We had a great time at the game, but the most fun was had spending time with our extended family.
Below is a picture of The Husband and nieces Mary and Tracy.
Plus, we spent time with Mary's fiance, Joel, his family and roommate. Joel and his mom, Pam, below. (Inside joke.)
OU was well ahead at half time, and I was happily impressed with how the OU crowd respected and appreciated the Texas A&M marching band. My GAWD...the band was superlative! This is a video I found on You Tube. It's not the performance we saw this weekend, but close.
I said the obvious to The Husband, "The kids in the band work just as hard as the football team." I was proud of all the OU fans as they stood, cheered and applauded for the A&M band.
OU won the game BIG - which is what students, alumni and fans want.
We stayed at the Sooner Legends Hotel. If you ever want to be overwhelmed by OU photos and yearbooks, please schedule a weekend here. Oh...my...goodness!
The hotel bar was quite a hoot. They have karaoke on Fridays and Saturdays. We went in to get a bite to eat & drink and ended up enjoying quite a show!
Sunday morning, as we were leaving the hotel, The Husband took a lot of photos of the OU sports history pictures that line the walls of the hotel. Here's a photo I took of him with a mural of the famous Selmon Brothers!
As we drove to Norman on Saturday and as we drove around Sunday morning, The Husband reminisced about his freshman year at OU.
This weekend was great! I'm so glad we got to experience it together and with our nieces!