Hollandaise, Halibut and High Heel Hijinks

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Music – “High Heel Shoe” from Bluegrass Guitar by Bryan Sutton. Released: 2007

What do Barbara Billingsley (June Cleaver), Harriet Nelson and Donna Reed have in common?  1950’s sitcom wives?  Sure.  All were predominately featured in their busy kitchens, wearing sleek, tailored dresses protected by pretty organdy aprons, with a string of pearls around their dainty necks.  But, like their peers in advertisements for kitchen appliances in women’s magazines at the time, they shared another common element:  high heels in the kitchen!

Harriet Nelson, resting her feet, while the boys take over cooking duties (Photo Credit: http://www.au. pinterest. com)

 

 

 

 

 

I think there was a (probably male) conspiracy in the 1950’s, which dictated that women, while cooking, had to wear high heels to do so.  No matter that the shoes were uncomfortable (and still are), but were dangerous to be teetering around in carrying a pot of boiling water to the sink.  They wreaked havoc with your back and bones, but somehow, the myth that it was simply “de rigueur” for women to cook wearing high heels persisted. From steaming a halibut to whipping up hollandaise, the 1950’s woman in the kitchen did it all in high heels.

“I know your dogs are barking, June, but get back in the kitchen!” (Photo Credit: http://www.huffington post.com)

“I just love my new garbage shredder. How I’d love to toss these high heels into it!” (Photo Credit: http://www.pinterest. com)

 

“Gee, Mom….6 pies and all made, while you were wearing high heels!” (Photo Credit: American Graphics    Systems Collection)

 

 

“I just flit around the kitchen in my toga style high heels!” (Photo Credit: Alvarado Historic Collection)

“Cooking is a whiz, when I’m dancing in my high heels!” (Photo Credit: American Graphics Systems Collection)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Gee…I’m so classy, I not only go grocery shopping in hat and white gloves, but when I get home, I’ll still be wearing my high heels to cook the halibut!” (Photo Credit: http://www.theglamorous housewife. wordpress. com)

“Thanks for helping, Tommy. Mom’s feet are SO tired!” (Photo Credit:  Alvarado Historic Collection)

 

 

 

“Well, Harry, I wouldn’t have dropped all of the dishes if I hadn’t been wearing these d**n high heels!” (Photo Credit: http://www.the1950s kitchen. blogspot.com)

 

 

 

“Future schmuture. In my future kitchen, NO high heels will be allowed!” (Photo      Credit: http://www.digital     trends.com)

 

 

 

 

In an article about the trend, written by Mary Schmich in 1994 for the Chicago Tribune, she notes that “If my back and feet did not scream for mercy, I would cook in high heels. Kitchen counters were made for women 5-foot-5, not 5-foot-2. Short women know the thrill of the extra inch or 3 that lets them bear down on a knife or sponge with the right amount of leverage“.  Now, I admit that I never considered the leverage power of wearing high heels, while cooking, but she may have a point.  On the other hand, wouldn’t it be less painful and less risky to prep, while sitting on a high stool near the kitchen counter?

“These high heels are just the right height for cooking in” (Photo Credit: http://www.glamour daze.com)

 

 

 

 

 

“I wear my high heels around the house to do everything…mopping…..” (Photo Credit: http://www.pinterest.           com)

 

 

 

 

“…vacuuming…” (Photo Credit: http://www.the idealinthehouse          wife. wordpress.         com)

“…polishing the hardwood floors…” (Photo Credit: http://www.jalopy journal.com)

 

 

 

 

 

 

“…even doing the laundry in my state of the art washing machine!”  (Photo Credit: http://www.   pinterest.com)

 

 

 

 

Elissa Blattman, Project Assistant for the National Women’s History Museum, on “ThrowbackThursday:  In Defense of June Cleaver“, tells us that initially, Barbara Billingsley wore flats during the taping of the TV series, “Leave it to Beaver“, however, as “Beaver” and “Wally” grew taller over the six seasons of the show,  she started wearing high heels in order to look taller than the boys.  According to Blattman, June Cleaver was still the parent and had to appear larger than life, so to speak.

But in the 1950’s and even earlier, women wearing high heels were featured in endless advertisements from manufacturers of everything from cake mixes to vacuum cleaners.  The 1950’s housewife portrayed in television, film and in advertisements featured glamorous, sophisticated women tending to their households, flitting around the house in high heels, while cooking, dusting, mopping, vacuuming, bathing the baby, doing laundry and just about every other household chore.

“I never load my good crystal in the dishwasher….I’m afraid I’ll turn my ankle in these high heels and break everything!”  (Photo Credit: Alvarado   Historic Collection)

 

“Yes, I even bathe the baby, while I’m wearing high heels. I just put a quarter in this slot….” (Photo Credit: http://www.return  ofkings.com)

 

“Dusting, while wearing high heels  is definitely classy” (Photo Credit: http://www.magnolia box.com)

 

 

 

She was cool, beautiful and every boy’s idea of what a mother should be.  Even up to her elbows in rubber gloves, on hands and knees scraping gooey messes from the oven, she was still dressed to the nines and still had on those perpetual high heels.

Thankfully, the era of high heels in the kitchen has (hopefully) died a natural (and long overdue) death.  I wonder how many 1950’s women later suffered from back and foot disorders from years of hobbling around on those treacherous shoes.  At least, in America, we didn’t practice the ancient Chinese custom of female foot-binding.  Now, that’s gotta be not only painful but incapacitating!  Here’s to flats in the kitchen!

“Why, of course I’m wearing my high heels in the kitchen. I’d feel positively naked without them!” (Photo Credit: http://www.pinterest.    com)

 

“I use my high heels for everything in the kitchen…from pitting cherries to kicking the garbage can lid close” (Photo Credit: http://www.pinterest.           com)


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De gustibus non est disputandum (or: You’re eating what?!)

Music – “I Like What I Eat” from Songs To Strike A Chord by Jon Barker

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De gustibus non est disputandum comes from the Latin and means “In matters of taste, there can be no disputes”.  Personal preferences in foods are subjective opinions, not right or wrong, so as the maxim goes, “…they should never be argued about as if they were”.  The English rendition has come to be known as “There is no accounting for taste“.

Thus said, however, I am always amazed at finding “unusual” recipes in my cookbooks.  By “unusual”, I mean only that they are composed of food combinations I would never have thought of, or food combinations that are either unlikely or downright odious.  As an example, consider recipes I located in a new cookbook purchase, “Fashionable Food” by Sylvia Lovegren, published in 1995.  Her book traces “seven decades of food fads” and sports some truly unusual recipes.

Consider “Banana and Popcorn Salad“, from the 1920’s:  “Place the banana (peeled and cut in half lengthwise) on the lettuce leaf.  Scatter popcorn over the banana and put dabs of mayonnaise here and there“.

Part 1 (Photo Credit: http://www.dreams      time.com)

Part 2 (just add lettuce and mayo with Part 1 and you’ve got an unusual salad) (Photo Credit: http://www.newhealth advisor.com)



⇐           PLUS         ⇒



 

 

(author’s opinion!)

If that’s not to your taste, you might like “Fruit and Flower Frozen Cheese Salad“, which combines cream cheese, mayonnaise, whipped cream, pimientoes, bell pepper, chopped pecans, salt, pepper and paprika.

Always a favourite, there was “Chipped Beef and Pineapple“, from the 1930’s. Combine bits of fried pineapple (in butter), chipped beef (hydrated with boiling water) and cook.  Yum!

Mix with rehydrated chipped beef and you’ve got yourself a downright unusual meal! (Photo Credit: www. alibaba.com)

Good ole’ chipped beef! (Photo Credit: http://www.seriouseats.com)

 

 

 

 

 

Care for “Roast Possum with Sweet Potatoes” ? A “soul food” out of the 1960’s.

“First of all, find a possum” (Photo Credit: http://www.hillbilly crackpot.com)

From the 1950’s we have “Barbecued Bologna for Men a la Crisco“. Essentially, 3/4 cup of Crisco shortening, a couple of tablespoons of “Kitchen Bouquet” (bring on the sodium!), and 3 pounds of bologna sliced. Fry it all up and gorge yourself! If you don’t care for that, you can always make “Bologna Cake“.

Try a nice, filling Bologna Cake (or pie)! Nothing understated about this one! (Photo Credit: http://www.lasvegasfood adventures. wordpress.com)

 (author’s opinion)

 

 

In “Fashionable Foods”, the author has a similar recipe: “Wedgies A.K.A. Bologna Pie“, a nice combination of cream cheese, cream, mustard, and a pound of bologna, sliced into 12 rounds.

There are more recipes that astound: 1924 Italian Spaghetti (spaghetti, butter, lots of flour, canned tomato sauce, garlic and onions, salt, pepper and several cups of sliced American Cheese…sorry, you native Italians!)

You might want to serve “Baked Beans au Glow-Glow“, which definitely resembles the food of the 1960’s: combine canned baked beans, molasses, ketchup, mustard, and place sliced bacon on top. Bake for a couple of hours, warm 1/2 cup rum, ignite it and pour it over the hot beans. Hot diggity dog! How about “Impossible Pie“? The “impossible” part is the role of Bisquick in the recipe: mix eggs, milk, melted butter, vanilla extract, sugar and Bisquick in a blender. Stir in coconut and pour into a pie pan. The neat part is that somehow, the Bisquick settles out of this sludge to the bottom of the pan, forming its’ own crust! How cool is that?

“Impossible Coconut Pie”. Leave it to the manufacturers of Bisquick to work their magic! (Photo Credit: http://www.youtube.com)

Lastly, though, was one that I was most fascinated by: “Rosin Baked Potatoes“. Now, I used to dabble at playing the violin for a time, and I thought the only use for rosin was to keep the bow hairs smooth. It never occurred to me that in between maintaining the bow, I could nibble on the block of rosin in my violin case. If you want to sample this (kids, don’t try this at home), you need a large bucket, 15 pounds of lump rosin, 6 large baking potatoes, butter, salt and pepper. Melt the rosin in the bucket until bubbling hot and drop in the potatoes. Cook about 40 minutes, remove and wrap in foil. Serve. I’m not sure why you would go to all of this trouble and expense to cook 6 potatoes, but what the heck. Perhaps necessity was the mother of invention here. Or, maybe the conductor ordered a wee bit more rosin for the string section of his symphony orchestra and didn’t know what to do with it?

Next cookout, forget tossing the potatoes on the grill: just cook em’ up in 15 pounds of boiling rosin! (Photo Credit: http://www.amazon.com)

So, go out and indulge yourself: cobble together something from the array of leftovers in your fridge. Who knows, you might patent your creation and create a whole new taste sensation.  Below are some other suggestions you might like to try!


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What’s In a Number: Part 2

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Music – “Big Numbers” from I’ve Got Music in Me by Jack Hartmann. Released: 1995

Does the number 5729 mean anything to you? Should it? Well, “5729” is the number imprinted on a drug called “Famotidine”.

"5729" (Famotidine) (Photo Credit: www.drugs.com)

“5729” (Famotidine) (Photo Credit: http://www.drugs.com)

5729” is also the number of a scheduled American Airlines flight from Dallas to Pensacola.

Is this Flight 5729 from Dallas to Pensacola? (Photo Credit: www.feelgrafix.com)

Is this Flight 5729 from Dallas to Pensacola? (Photo Credit:www.feelgrafix.com)

 

 

 

 

If you’re at the local office supply store, you might be looking for Avery Labels 5729.

Avery Label 5729

Avery Label 5729

There is a spiffy watch called the “Invicta Men’s Reserve Subaqua Venom 5729“.

Wow! The "Invicta Maen's Reserve Subaqua Venom 5729" watch! (Photo Credit: www.amazon.com)

Wow! The “Invicta Men’s Reserve Subaqua Venom 5729” watch!  (Photo Credit: http://www.amazon.com)

“Alyce 5729” is the name of a dress available at http://www.newyorkdress.com.

"Alyce 5729" dress (Photo Credit: www.newyorkdress.com)

“Alyce 5729” dress (Photo Credit: http://www.new yorkdress. com)

In the market for a tropical tree? Try “Ficus Nerifolia Bonsai Tree 5729” available at http://www.miamitropicalbonsai.com.

"Ficus Nerifolia Bonsai Tree 5729" (Photo Credit: www.miamitropicalbonsai.com)

“Ficus Nerifolia Bonsai Tree 5729” (Photo Credit: http://www.miamitropical bonsai.com)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You could sew up a cool double-breasted cape jacket using Lekala pattern 5729 (Photo Credit: http://www.lekala.com)jacket

For rail fans out there, you might already be familiar with Canadian Pacific locomotive 5729.

CP Rail Locomotive 5729 (Photo Credit: www.rrpicturearchives.net)

CP Rail Locomotive   5729 (Photo Credit: http://www.rrpicture archives.net)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And, in 2013, the per capita monthly income in India was 5729 rupees (approximately $86.00 US)

But, regular readers will know where I’m going with this if they read my post “What’s in a Number“, posted on 6/21/2016.  At that time, the special number was 5328, however,  in my house, “5729” is the current number of cookbooks in “the collection”. And, as Ripley used to say “believe it or not“, I still have a few empty shelves to fill! Full steam ahead!

Supposedly, the "KOBO" electronic device can hold up to 30,000 e-books! (Photo Credit: www.twistthewayiseethings.com)

Not exactly the size of my collection (yet!) (Photo Credit: http://www.twistthewayi      seethings.com)


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Venturesome Vegan Victuals

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Music – “I Can Eat It All [A Music Video]” from Remotely Controlled by Mark Lowry. Released: 1996

I have always been curious about “vegans” and what they eat. The notion of being vegetarian is pretty clear, but “vegan” seems to be shrouded in mystery to me. For those who read my posts religiously, you might recall my January 14th, 2014 post “Any Locavore, Freegan, Flexitarians out There?”  In my cookbook collection, I have numerous vegetarian cookbooks, and a few vegan cookbooks including “Vegan World Fusion Cuisine“, “The Candle Cafe Cookbook“, “How it all Vegan!” and “La Dolce Vegan!”

My understanding is that a vegetarian eats no meat, fish or poultry. A lacto-ovo vegetarian eats vegetables, eggs, and dairy products but not meat.  A lacto vegetarian does not consume meat and eggs, but will eat dairy products.

"Faux eggs" (Photo Credit: www.sporkorfoon.com)

“Faux eggs” (Photo Credit: http://www.sporkorfoon.com)

 

 

A vegan, however, does not consume nor use in any fashion, any animal based products, which would include not only the flesh of animals, but products such as milk, honey, eggs, caviar (who could afford it anyhow?!), animal hides and the like.

The Vegan Society, in 1979, amended their definition of veganism as:

“A philosophy and way of living which seeks to exclude—as far as is possible and practicable—all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose; and by extension, promotes the development and use of animal-free alternatives for the benefit of humans, animals and the environment. In dietary terms it denotes the practice of dispensing with all products derived wholly or partly from animals.”

Now, I haven't seen the video, but this doesn't sound like a very nice thing to do! (Photo Credit: www.youtube.com)

Now, I haven’t seen the video, but this doesn’t sound like a very nice thing to do! (Photo Credit: http://www.youtube.com)

I find it an admirable aspiration, however, one that, although I deplore animal cruelty and contribute to several animal support groups and charitable organizations, and although I enjoy vegetables, I have never been able to make the leap from an omnivorous diet to a vegetarian or vegan one. Mind you, I haven’t tried very hard either. Old habits are hard to change.

But, what is most peculiar to me is that there are so many recipes in cookbooks and on the internet, for vegan meals, yet many of them seem to want to “emulate” the very products they eschew! For example, why eat “mock chicken” or faux “steak” or “fish” if you wouldn’t consider eating a real chicken, a piece of beef or a fish?

"Fake cheeseburger" (Photo Credit: www.meettheshannons.com)

“Fake cheeseburger”  (Photo Credit: http://www.meetthe shannons.com)

"Faux sausage pizza" Does Papa John serve this? (Photo Credit: www.thatwasvegan.com)

“Faux sausage pizza” Does Papa John’s serve this? (Photo Credit: http://www.thatwas vegan.com)

"Faux steak" (Photo Credit: www.pinterest.com)

“Faux steak” (Photo Credit: http://www.pinterest. com)

"Mock Chicken Salad" Why simulate something you don't want to eat anyhow? (Photo Credit: www.downtoearth.org)

“Mock Chicken Salad” Why simulate something you don’t want to eat anyhow? (Photo Credit: http://www.downto earth.org)

Why eat products that resemble eggs, or ham, yet aren’t? Why would a vegan want to partake of “sausages” or “cheeseburgers”, or “meatloaf”, made from vegetable sources, but resemble their real animal counterparts?

"Faux sausages" (Photo Credit: www.pinterest.com)

“Faux sausages” (Photo Credit: http://www.pinterest.com)

"Faux fried chicken" (I'll bet you can't get this at KFC!) (Photo Credit: www.hellyeahitsvegan.com)

“Faux fried chicken” (I’ll bet you can’t get this at KFC!) (Photo Credit: http://www.hellyeah itsvegan.com)

 

 

Could it be that some vegans are really closet carnivores, but won’t admit it, or are easing themselves into veganism from their lurid carnivorous past?

"Faux chicken soup" Is it still good for colds, even if it has no chicken in it? (Photo Credit: www.thecomfortingvegan.com)

“Faux chicken soup” Is it still good for colds, even if it has no chicken in it? (Photo Credit: http://www.thecomforting vegan.com)

"Faux meatloaf" (Photo Credit: www.avirtualvegan.com)

“Faux meatloaf” (Photo Credit: http://www.avirtual vegan.com)

 

And, for the Scottish in you, fake Haggis! (Photo Credit: www.vegnews.com)

And, for the Scottish in you, fake Haggis! (Photo Credit: http://www.vegnews.com)

 

 

 

 

 

I welcome comments from readers to assist me in explaining this odd conundrum. After all, if it looks like a duck and walks like a duck, it must be a duck, right? But not necessarily so, in the world of veganism!

If it walks like a turkey, gobbles like a turkey, it must be a turkey, right? Not necessarily! (Photo Credit: www.archives.quarrygirl.com)

If it looks like a turkey, walks like a turkey, and gobbles like a turkey, it must be a turkey, right? Not necessarily! (Photo Credit: http://www.archives. quarrygirl.com)

Could this lady really be a cheating vegan? (Photo Credit: www.dailymail.co.uk)

Could this lady really be a cheating vegan? (Photo Credit: http://www.dailymail.    co.uk)


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The Pivotal Parable of the Peaceable and Plucky Porcine


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Music – “This Little Pig” from Baby’s Best Playtime Songs by The Countdown Kids. Released: 2002

January 17th, 2017 has come and gone and my spouse has a brand, spanking-new mitral heart valve.  The days of sodium restrictions have not yet faded, however, thanks to a plucky porcine, he can look forward to many more heart-healthy years.

When he was recently diagnosed with atrial fibulation and congestive heart failure, the world as we knew it came crashing down.  Sodium restrictions, fluid restrictions, a virtual pharmacy of medications was all foreign territory to our otherwise placid and uneventful lives.  However, when it became apparent that surgery to replace his mitral valve was the only viable option, we did a lot of research, guided by our very competent cardio surgeon.

We learned that there were essentially two options:  a mechanical valve, or a biological valve, composed of either bovine or porcine tissue.  It appeared that porcine tissue was the best option and on January 17th, my long-suffering spouse emerged from a lengthy surgery with a fully functioning-functioning mitral valve, thanks to an anonymous pig donor.

We owe a lot to these little guys! (Photo Credit: www.quatr.us)

We owe a lot to these little guys! (Photo Credit: http://www.quatr.us)

Well, it got me to thinking about that little pig, to whom we pay homage for giving up his little heart valve tissue. There are so many idioms associated with pigs:  “pig in a poke”, which is essentially a warning of buying a pig unseen (poke being a sac or a bag). Then, there is “in a pig’s eye”, etc. which supposedly denotes that, when compared to a human eye, a pig eye is relatively small.  Of course, there is the story of “The 3 little pigs“ and the infamous “Bay of Pigs”, the location of the 1961 US/Cuban volatile situation with John F. Kennedy and Fidel Castro being significant players.  “Sweating like a pig” refers to the moisture which “sweats” out of a pig being cooked on a spit.  After coming across so many porcine-related idioms, most of which maligned this very intelligent animal, I researched how significant the little guy has been in human history.

Just a few things the pig gives up his life for humankind (Photo Credit: www.animalsmart.org)

Just a few things the pig gives up his life for humankind (Photo Credit: http://www.animalsmart.org)

In addition to heart valve tissue, I found the following contributions the pigs provide for pioneering research, industry, food and the entire gamut.  The list is by no means inclusive:  of course, there is food:  bacon, ham, pork chops, sausage, ribs, headcheese, chitlins, lard, ice cream, bread, beer, wine, yogurt,  cream cheese, whipped cream, energy bars.  But did you know that pig parts are also harvested and used in the production of insulin, collagen injections, Heparin, multivitamins, toothpaste, medicine tablets, shaving cream, makeup, shampoo, body lotions, soap and moisturizers?  Not to mention antifreeze, water filters, insulation, rubber, floor wax, chalk, fertilizers, corks, adhesives, footballs, fabric softener, crayons, tambourines, suede for clothing, bullets, cigarette filters, paints, paper, photographic film, train brakes, shoes, dog treats and other pet foods…the list is endless.  In addition, pigs have played an important role in forensic science:  the mass, tissue features, etc. of pigs mimic human anatomy in many ways and are used in studies of bullet trajectories, soft tissue decomposition and more.

pig-valve-cartoon

Thus, our homage to the pig is immeasurable.  I recall that, years ago, when I attended the annual Royal Winter Fair in Toronto, I passed by a small enclosure with about a dozen baby piglets, all pink, cute and fuzzy, nuzzling up to their mother.  After a few “oh, they’re SO cute”, my gaze fell upon a sign immediately above their enclosure:  “Put pork on your fork” and I squealed in disgust.  However, I have not eschewed pork since that time, but I have a whole new respect for those plucky porcines, who have given their all (literally!) for humankind.


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Post Election Blues: So You Want to Move to Canada, Eh?

Music – “Eh Canada” from Rick Around the Rock by Rick Scott. Released: 2010.

The 2016 election is a done deal (well, it depends on whom you ask).  The GOP is in, the Dems have been quashed and “The Donald” will soon be inaugurated and will be leading this country (hopefully, not into temptation).  The die is cast, like it or not.  Count me in the latter group.  Although this post diverges from my usual posts about cookbooks, being Canadian, I had to address all of the recent kerfuffle.

Months prior to the election, there was much abuzz from individuals seeking asylum in the Great White North, that civilized and much-maligned country just north of the 49th parallel, otherwise known as “Canada” (my home and native land).  It was said that on election night, the official Canadian government website crashed due to an overload of inquiries about moving to the true north strong and free.

Canada, the true north strong and free (Photo Credit: www.pinterest.com)

Canada, the true north strong and free (Photo Credit: http://www.pinterest.com)

 

A lot of Americans were unhappy with the outcome of the election and wanted to forsake their homeland and travel to still waters (yea, thy Tim Horton coffee and thy ice hockey they comfort me).  “The Donald” has spurred many to lie down in greener pastures, north of the border.  They fear that he will not lead them in the paths of righteousness, for the sake of his name.  If they choose to move to Canada, they should not fear any evil:  they will be walking through the valley of socialized medicine and many other advantages of living in the Great White North.   If they follow the proper path to living in Canada, they may dwell there forever.

There is even a service, which is catering to the rich and famous:  any celebrity who is anti-Trump will get a free flight to Canada!

Free flights to Canada for anti-Trump celebrities! (Photo Credit: www.infowars.com)

Free flights to Canada for anti-Trump celebrities! (Photo Credit: http://www.infowars.com)

This map might represent the number of Canadians flocking to the US (because of the weather) and the number of Americans flocking to Canada (because of the politicians) (Photo Credit: www.dreamstime.com)

This map might represent the number of Canadians flocking to the US (because of the weather) and the number of Americans flocking to Canada (because of the politicians) (Photo Credit: http://www.panamerican world.com

 

 

 

Get used to seeing maps like this: the USA is a barren wasteland (Photo Credit: www.dreamstime.com)

Get used to seeing maps like this: the USA is a barren wasteland (Photo Credit: http://www.dreamstime. com)

Now, if you are bent on migrating to the Great White North, you’ll have to start studying.  There’s a lot to know.  For example, contrary to popular belief, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police are seldom seen clopping around downtown Toronto.

You probably won't see these in downtown Toronto (Photo Credit: www.temmplates.mrdonn.org)

You probably won’t see these in downtown Toronto (Photo Credit: http://www.templates. mrdonn.org)

 

In addition, you’ll have to get used to Canadian bacon and you’d better learn how to make butter tarts.  There are plenty of Canadian cookbooks around.

Canadian bacon, eh? (Photo Credit: www.ign.com)

Canadian bacon, eh? (Photo Credit: http://www.ign.com)

 

 

 

 

You’ll have to remember that the Canadian side of Niagara Falls is the bigger and better side.

The Canadian side of Niagara Falls makes the American side look puny (Photo Credit: www.pixabay.com)

The Canadian side of Niagara Falls makes the American side look puny (Photo Credit: http://www.pixabay.com)

You will have to be aware of some life-changing Canadian inventions, most of which Americans have in their homes, including the following:

Canada Dry (guess where its' from?) (Photo Credit: www.mediatrainingtoronto.com)

Canada Dry (guess where its’ from?) (Photo Credit: http://www.media  training        toronto.com)

 

A Canadian invented instant mashed potatoes (Photo Credit: www.westmanpreacher.blogspot.com)

A Canadian invented instant mashed potatoes (Photo Credit: http://www.westman    preacher. blogspot.   com)

 

Yes, the zipper! (Photo Credit: www.westmanpreacher.blogspot.com)

Yes, the zipper! (Photo Credit: http://www.westman preacher.blogspot.    com)

Canadian hockey player Jacques Plante invented the plastic goalie mask (Photo Credit: www.theweathernetwork.com)

Canadian hockey player Jacques Plante invented the plastic goalie mask (Photo Credit: http://www.theweather network.com)

Of course, everyone knows that Insulin was invented by a pair of Canadians (Photo Credit: www.thegearpage.net)

Of course, everyone knows that Insulin was invented by a pair of Canadians (Photo Credit: http://www.thegear      page.net)

 

 

 

 

 

If you come to Canada, you’ll definitely need to know the language…and don’t forget that there are two official languages…English and French…

…and contrary to popular belief, we don’t say “ooot” and abooot”

Part of the Canadian language (Photo Credit: www.canada.pppst.com)

Part of the Canadian language (Photo Credit: http://www.canada.pppst.com)

Got it? (Photo Credit: www.pinterest.com)

Got it? (Photo Credit: http://www.pinterest.com)

Check your spelling before you cross the border (Photo Credit: www.pinterest.com)

Check your spelling before you cross the border (Photo Credit: http://www.pinterest.com)

…and you’d better make sure you know who the Prime Minister is…

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (much better looking than Trump) (Photo Credit: www.businessinsider.com)

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (much better looking than Trump) (Photo Credit: http://www.business insider.com)

Also, be sure you are familiar with Canadian currency.  Your American dollars will buy more Loonies and Toonies!

"So, are those the loonies? "You mean the immigrants from the US?" (Photo Credit: www.inhabitat.com)

“So, are those the loonies? “You mean the immigrants from the US?” (Photo Credit: http://www.inhabitat.com)

If you’re not already polite, be prepared to be extra polite when in Canada.  Among other qualities, Canadians are known for their politeness and generosity:

An example of Canadian politeness

An example of Canadian politeness (Photo Credit:  http://www.dumpaday.com)

 

Politeness and generosity: definitions of a Canadian (Photo Credit: www.konichiwakatano.wordpress.com)

Politeness and generosity: definitions of a Canadian (Photo Credit: http://www.konichiwa katano.wordpress.     com)

Also, learn the national anthem, “O Canada“:

The national anthem of Canada, "Oh, Canada" (Photo Credit: www.pinterest.com)

The national anthem of Canada, “Oh, Canada” (Photo Credit: http://www.pinterest.com)

Finally, if you are quizzed at the border, here’s what you need to know about Canadian inventions, innovations, creations, exports, etc.  The following list is by no means inclusive, so do your research:  Winnie-the Pooh, the walkie-talkie, the atomic clock, pagers, 56K modem, hydrofoil, snowmobile, electric wheelchair, rotary snowplow, gas mask, ice hockey, basketball, sonar, instant replay, Trivial Pursuit, electron microscope, plexiglas, Easy-Off Oven Cleaner, instant mashed potatoes, cardiac pacemaker, caulking gun, egg carton, garbage bags, paint roller, IMAX movie system, Superman (the artist was Canadian), AM radio, prosthetic hand, the Wonderbra, Jolly Jumper, peanut butter, Canadarm, electric oven….also, Alexander Graham Bell, although he was from Scotland and later emigrated to the US, he was working in Canada at the time of inventing the telephone.  In addition, in 1874, a Canadian actually invented the first light bulb.  Although crude, he sold his patent to Thomas Edison, who improved on it and made it available to the public.

Also, be aware of these well-known CanadiansDonald Sutherland, John McCrae, Robert Service, Margot Kidder, Gorden Pinsent, Genevieve Bujold, Glenn Gould, Maureen Forrester, Norman McClaren, Deanna Durbin, Arthur Hill, Art Linkletter, Rich Little, Guy Lombardo, Gisele MacKenzie, Joni Mitchell, Raymond Massey, Anne Murray, Christopher Plummer, Michael Sarrazin, William Shatner, Norma Shearer, Richard Dreyfuss, John Candy, Martin Short, Dave Thomas, Catherine O’Hara, Rick Moranis, Glenn Ford, Lorne Greene, Leslie Nielson, Fay Wray, Mary Pickford, Walter Pidgeon, Monty Hall, Dan Akroyd, Paul Anka, Hume Cronym, Yvonne DeCarlo, Colleen Dewhurst….whew….too many to list!  Now get memorizing!

In the meantime, enjoy this humerous YouTube video!

(there really is a website! http://www.brickingitforcanada.com/)

(Note: no offense intended to the 23rd Psalm)


My EatYourBooks cookbook collection

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The “BREXIT” Effect and Cookbooks

CLICK ABOVE TO PLAY MUSIC

Music – “The Brexit Song (Brexit Blues)” from The Brexit Song (Brexit Blues) by Isaac Adni. Released: 2016

On June 23rd, 2016,  British citizens voted on the question, “Should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union (EU) or leave the European Union?”.  52% of votes were cast in favour of leaving the EU.  The process of this “exit”, some say, may take more than two years to complete.  The United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union is widely known as “Brexit” (British Exit)   The referendum caused a ricochet effect in global markets.

Due to a rather coincidental series of events, at around the same time as “Brexit” became a done deal, I was dealing with a curious problem of my own and wondering how it could be resolved.  You see, I had reached the limits of shelf space I had previously assigned to cookbooks from the UK, not imagining that I would eventually have 116 from that part of the world.  Pressed into two small shelves in the European section of The Great Hall of Cookbooks, lodged among their cohorts from France, Germany, Spain, etc.  they were clearly in need of breathing room.

"The Great Hall of Cookbooks" (read: European Union)

The Great Hall of Cookbooks” (read as: European Union)

 

 

 

 

 

As a result, the only option was to remove them from The Great Hall and sequester them in the “annex”, a room across from The Great Hall, where they could enjoy two bookcases dedicated to their newly found isolation.

"The Annex" (Read: no longer in the European Union)

The Annex” (Read as: no longer in the European Union)

In the process of relocating them, I was suddenly struck by the peculiar timing of the move, coinciding as it was, with “Brexit“.  Alas, they were forced to leave the “union“, by popular vote, so to speak, and are now more or less isolated from their previous compatriots.  Mrs. Beeton, Jamie, Nigella, the Two Fat Ladies and others have bid “adieu”.  There is no looking back.


My EatYourBooks cookbook collection

 

 

 

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The Fruitcake, Revisited Yet Again


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MUSIC – “Fruitcake” from Joy to the World It’s Christmas by Brian Kinder. Released: 2006.

Note: This post is a repeat of one I first published on December 10th, 2013, which was written by my spouse Stan Rhine, who loves fruitcake.  I made him a 6.5 pounder this year and he has already delved in!  Happy Holidays!

fruitcake 4

Potato chips and French fries are both held in high esteem by the American eating public – which is the majority of Americans. Nutritionists, however, decry their empty calories, their fat-saturated preparation and salt-laden surfaces. Why is that anything so obviously bad for us is so desirable, so delectable, so irresistible? For the same reason that foods known to be of high nutritional value are shunned like the plague? Healthy foods like broccoli, kale and kumquats are more likely to be tossed down the garbage disposal than someone’s gullet.

However, the very nadir of the desirable food ladder (the Ralph Nader of foods) is the fruitcake. Even the name has taken on a derogatory hue. The statement “Octavius Beauregard Smith is a fruitcake” is not one calculated to bring delight to either Mr. Smith or his partisans. Especially if true.

fruitcake 3

This is quite illogical, as the fruitcake has a very strong association with the holidays, that most-anticipated season of peace and goodwill, a time when we bestow cards, greetings and gifts upon relatives, acquaintances and associates, as well as on people we like. Among the colorful, heavy, beribboned boxes beneath the tree is sure to be a fruitcake, the true symbol of the season.

Yet, the innocent fruitcake has become the butt of jokes (the Twinkie of holiday foods). There are fruitcakes alleged to have been in the family for generations, being cycled through the members anew each time the tree is put up. Fruitcakes have also been pressed into a wide variety of roles differing greatly from their customary one of comestible. For instance, used as a doorstop, a weapon of self-defense, building blocks for a biodegradable house, and most inglorious of all, ammunition for a trebuchet competition in Colorado.

Composed of the most innocent but nutritious elements, flour (even some exotic flours), butter, eggs, minor miscellaneous spices, raisins, nuts and great gobs of fruit*, and sometimes anointed with rum, fruitcakes are unquestionably not only nourishing for the body, but for the psyche as well. A visual treat whether whole, sliced and artistically arranged on a plate, or viewed at extremely close range on the way into your mouth.

           *Footnote: In order for the fruitcake to achieve its legendary longevity, it is necessary that the fruit undergo some minor processing before incorporation into the delectable dessert. This processing amplifies the fruits’ natural color, adding just a touch of sweetness to their taste. This creates a loaf that is not only solid to the touch, but solidly satisfying, a visually appealing fusion of brilliant reds, yellows and greens in hues unknown in nature, vying for attention and top billing, “I like the cherries the best!”

Yet, for all of its undeniable eye-appeal, the incorporation of the fruitcake into the holiday season has come to be viewed with negativity. It was as if people actually did not like fruitcakes, that they did not hold back, biding their time, waiting to strike the moment the after-Christmas sales are posted at Wal-Mart, stocking up on a supply of fruitcakes sufficient to bridge the interminable famine season until next year.

Pity the poor, maligned fruitcake, nutritious, delicious harbinger of the twilight of the year.

fruitcake 1

Note: This piece was written by my husband, Stan, who is anxiously awaiting his little block of fruitcake on Christmas morning

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The Saga of Salt Suppression: Part II


CLICK ABOVE TO PLAY AUDIO

Music: “Salt” from I Wish I Could Shimmy Like My Sister Kate by The Vagabonds. Released: 1999.

Salt of the earth“,  “he’s not worth his salt“, “old salt“, “take it with a grain of salt“.  Salt is ubiquitous and ever-present.  We can’t live without it, but frequently, we cannot live with it either, if we consume too much.  How much is too much?  Well, over the years, the medical community has continually revised estimates about what represents a “healthy” daily dose.  It appears that for the average adult, about 500 mg is needed daily for the body to maintain some sort of saline equilibrium.  More than that is often unnecessary and often harmful.

Salt piles in Bolivia (Photo Credit: gethdimage.com.blogspot)

Salt piles in Bolivia (Photo Credit: gethdimage.com. blogspot)

The American Heart Association’s current recommendations are 1,500 mg daily, but some studies show that the average American adult consumes as much as 3,400 mg daily! 2,500 mg daily used to be the recommendation, but that seems to fluctuate depending on which source you consult for statistics.  According to Time Magazine, a study conducted in 2011 – 2012 suggested that the average daily sodium intake among US adults was an incredible 3,592 mg per day!, most of which comes from pre-packaged meals and processed foods.

This little girl is getting her salt ration! (Photo Credit: www.redditpics.com

This little girl is getting her salt ration! (Photo Credit: http://www.redditpics.com

If you think that is bad, “The Low Salt Diet and Recipe Book” (1982) indicates that the recommended adult diet should average 5,000 to 6,000 mg of sodium daily, which amounts to 8 teaspoons, from all sources.  This, coming from book entitled “The Low Salt Diet?”

"Monte Kali" in Hesse, Germany: 188 tons of salt! (Photo Credit: www.redditpics.com)

“Monte Kali” in Hesse, Germany: 188 tons of salt! (Photo Credit: http://www.redditpics.com)

So, why is there salt, in most cases a lot,  in just about every processed food we consume?    Michael Moss, author of “Salt, Sugar Fat:  How the Food Giants Hooked Us” suggests that sugar and fat in foods are indicators of high fat content, which our ancestors probably needed for survival, but since salt or sodium is necessary only in small amounts, he wonders why we love it so much.  It may be because it tastes good.  As a result, knowing our human foibles, food manufacturers have taken advantage of our affinity for salt and keep on adding it to processed foods at an alarming rate.  It wasn’t until 1991 that the food labeling we see today came into being.  Before that, you just took your chances and ingested sodium blindly.

Where most of our salt comes from (Photo Credit: www.medlineplus.com)

Where most of our salt comes from (Photo Credit: http://www.medlineplus.com)

Salt was used as a preservative historically, but that is scarcely the reason why today, a pressurized, sterilized can of green beans needs to have sodium injected into the mix.  In fact, most salt/sodium in canned foods is supposedly used to enhance texture and flavor, but not to act as a preservative.  Lower sodium and even no-sodium processed foods do exist, but as I have found out recently, they are not easy to find and it requires a fair amount of time and travel and a magnifying glass to do so! Take a look at some of these food labels from items in my pantry:

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As I indicated in “The Saga of Salt Suppression“, Part I, due to my spouse’s recent  issues, a low sodium diet was imperative (1,500 mg or even less if possible), along with fluid restrictions of 1,500 cc’s daily.  My 75 or so salts from around the world are currently gathering dust in a cupboard, reluctantly relinquished for the benefit of the health of my significant other. It is alarming to realize that in a mere teaspoon of  salt there lurks 2,325 mg of sodium, much more than the recommended 1,500 mg  and right up there with the total sodium ration for those who prefer to maximize their salt intake at 2,500 mg daily, FROM ALL SOURCES!

When we started on the sodium restricted diet, I looked through the comestibles in my pantry and in the fridge.  I was stunned to find out that a lowly 7 inch flour tortilla (a staple in the Southwest, and one that my husband frequently enjoys), has 460 mg of sodium!  Three tortillas for him and that would be his entire sodium limit for the day.  One of his favourite (ex-favourite) Saturday lunches was a can of pork and beans with added ketchup, and a hot dog wrapped up in a flour tortilla.  Read:  1,610 mg of sodium (and that was just for lunch!)

460 mg. of sodium in a lousy flour tortilla!

460 mg. of sodium in a lousy flour tortilla!

My husband and I rarely eat “out”, but as our 23rd Anniversary is coming up on Christmas Eve, I wanted to find a restaurant that offered low sodium options.  Well, good luck with that!  Restaurant chains, which have 20 outlets or more must now list nutritional values, on their menus.  Other restaurants can voluntarily offer this information, but few seem to do so.  While writing this post, I discovered some amazing information about what’s in that fast food hamburger or your favourite Red Lobster dish.  Below is just a small sample I picked:

Red Lobster 

  • Seaside Shrimp Trio (3,860 mg) (hefty, hefty, hefty!)
  • Walt’s Favorite Shrimp (2,730 mg)
  • Popcorn Shrimp (1,980 mg)
Red Lobster's "Seaside Shrimp Trio", with 3,860 mg of sodium! (Photo Credit: www.redlobster.com)

Red Lobster’s “Seaside Shrimp Trio”, with 3,860 mg of sodium! (Photo Credit: http://www.redlobster.com)

Outback Steakhouse

    • Slow Roast Prime Rib (12 oz) (1,420 mg)
    • New York Strip Steak (14 oz) (230 mg)
    • Chicken Tender Platter (1,620 mg)
    • Aussie Fries (410 mg)
Chicken Tenders from Outback Steakhouse: 1,620 mg of sodium (Photo Credit: www.outbacksteakhouse.com)

Chicken Tenders from Outback Steakhouse: 1,620 mg of sodium (Photo Credit: http://www.outback steakhouse.com)

Red Robin

  • Royal Red Robin Burger (2,150 mg)
  • Guacamole Bacon Burger (1,450 mg) (I’m guilty on this one!)
  • Reds Big Tavern Burger (1,640 mg)
  • Keep it Simple Burger (1,010 mg)
Red Robin's "Royal Red Robin Burger", with 2,150 mg of sodium (Photo Credit: www.redrobin.com)

Red Robin’s “Royal Red Robin Burger”, with 2,150 mg of sodium (Photo Credit: http://www.redrobin.com)

McDonald’s

  • Big Mac (1,010 mg)
  • McNuggets (4) (450 mg)
  • Egg McMuffin (850 mg)

    McDonald's Big Mac: 1,010 mg. of sodium (Photo Credit: www.hcbb.com)

    McDonald’s Big Mac: 1,010 mg. of sodium (Photo Credit: http://www.hcbb.com)

Kentucky Fried Chicken

McDonald's Egg McMuffin is a mere 850 mg of sodium (Photo Credit: www.mcdonalds.com)

McDonald’s Egg McMuffin is a mere 850 mg of sodium (Photo Credit: http://www.mcdonalds.com)

  • Extra Crispy Chicken Breast (1) (1,230 mg)

Taco Bell

    • Bean Burrito (1,020 mg)
Taco Bell's "Bean Burrito: 1,220 mg of sodium (Photo Credit: www.tacobell.com)

Taco Bell’s “Bean Burrito: 1,220 mg of sodium (Photo Credit: http://www.tacobell.com)

Burger King

    • Whopper (1,020 mg)
Burger King's Whopper: 1,020 mg. of sodium (Photo Credit: www.burgerking.com)

Burger King’s Whopper: 1,020 mg. of sodium (Photo Credit: http://www.burger    king.com)

Hormel, the makers of the infamous “Spam” have come out with numerous variations on a theme.  The original “Spam” contains 790 mg of sodium in a 2 ounce piece.

Original "Spam" contains 790 mg of sodium for one serving (Photo Credit: www.lawstreetmedia.com)

Original “Spam” contains 790 mg of sodium for one serving (Photo Credit: http://www.lawstreet media.com)

The “reduced sodium” version still packs in 580 mg.  Curiously enough, however, those same folks have managed to produce “Herb Ox”, which is completely sodium free chicken and beef bouillon in dry, packaged form.  Why they couldn’t do the same thing with “Spam”, I’m not sure.

"Reduced Sodium" Spam still packs in 580 mg of sodium for a 2 ounce serving

“Reduced Sodium” Spam still packs in 580 mg of sodium for a 2 ounce serving

There are millions of folks on restricted diets for one reason or another:  heart issues, diabetes, high cholesterol, etc. and some manufacturers are slowly starting to take notice. There are plenty of “salt substitutes” out there, and I have purchased about 6 or 7 of them recently.  Some, like “Mrs. Dash”, are not unpalatable, but are just lacking flavour, in my opinion, even though there are numerous varieties.  Some are downright horrible with a bitter, metallic taste.  One of the best I’ve sampled is “Table Tasty” by Benson’s Gourmet Seasonings, a small family run company out of Nevada.  They have a good selection of other seasonings and I am currently awaiting my “sampler” pack.   There are other places specializing in low sodium foods, and another one, which I ordered seasonings from is http://www.healthyheartmarket.com.  They have numerous offerings, including a low sodium soy sauce, “Chinatown Soy Sauce Dark”, which is pretty tasty.  Curiously enough, its manufactured in Jamaica.  It has only 145 mg of sodium per tablespoon, compared to most other well known brands, which weigh in at 800 to 1,000 mg or more for the same amount!

This "naturally brewed" soy sauce has 980 mg of sodium per 1 tablespoon!

This “naturally brewed” soy sauce has 980 mg of sodium per 1 tablespoon!

 

Alas, our occasional treat of a Papa John’s “The Works” pizza is now relegated to the black list.  Just one slice packs a whopping 1,013 mg!  And who can stop at just one?

Just one slice of Papa John's "The Works" pizza packs 1,013 mg of sodium (Photo Credit: www.papajohns.com)

Just one slice of Papa John’s “The Works” pizza packs 1,013 mg of sodium (Photo Credit: http://www.papajohns.com)

So, the moral of this whole dreary story is:  pay attention to food labels!  Your heart will thank you for it.

(Photo Credit: www.medicalnewstoday.com)

(Photo Credit: http://www.medicalnews today.com)


My EatYourBooks cookbook collection

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Coming Soon: “The Saga of Salt Supression”

The current silence from The Vintage Cookbookery stems from a cascade of events concerning my primary taster, chief bottlewasher and spouse (all rolled into one!) In a nutshell, due to a series of recent, rather melodramatic medical events, he is now on a very restricted sodium diet, which is a definite shock to the man, who has carried a bottle of garlic salt in his pocket (with a backup bottle in his car) for 40 years! Needless to say, with 5,616 cookbooks on my shelves, the sodium information for recipes is negligible, even in cookbooks published in the past few years. More of that later, though. In the meantime, I am having to put my 80 or so salts from around the world in the back of the cupboard and am delving into the wonderful world of pseudo-salt (aka “Mrs. Dash”, which I think is tasteless and pointless!). Please stay tuned.

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