Saturday, February 14, 2015

Join a Pig Club for Valentine Circus Fun Every Day!

I know we live in an age when twisted, nonsensical humor is hot. And I like it. Ridiculous imagery and word pairings tickle me.

But this valentine...

I just don't know what to think. And I don't know what the designers were thinking.

But there's one thing I DO know. Pigs in Blankets are the perfect dish to go along with this disturbing Valentine.

These little guys, a box of chocolates, and a bottle of bubbly... Need I say more?

Ok, I'll say one thing more. Did you know there was an effort in World War I to get kids to raise pigs? (Me either.)

Don't delay. Join a pig club today.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Veggie Valentines and Sauteed Tomatoes

Valentine cards were made in all sorts of themes, including fruits and vegetables. Here are some samples for you, followed by a simple recipe appropriate for a St. Valentines Day themed meal.

Sauteed Cherry or Grape Tomatoes

1 pt grape or cherry tomatoes
2 tablespoons olive oil or garlic herb basting oil
1 tsp. dried basil
Salt and pepper

Heat the oil in a skillet, and add rinsed tomatoes. Saute over medium heat, turning often. Tomatoes will split as they cook, some sides browning and caramelizing into sweet goodness.  Pierce with the tip of a knife any stubborn tomatoes that refuse to pop on their own. When tomatoes are uniformly softened and popped, add basil and season with salt and pepper to taste. Saute for another few minutes to blend flavors. If using fresh basil, add just before serving.

Serve as a side dish for red meats or roast chicken. Crusty bread is wonderful for scooping up the warm, salty, sweet tomato flesh.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Valentine Countown: for Adult Eyes Only

I found these Valentines and thought they should be passed along immediately.

But first, kick all the little ones out of the room. I mean it.
Are they gone?

If the coast is clear, just look at this:

What sort of insane person creates cards for kids to pass out, which show other kids inside of refrigerators???

Believe it or not, that card isn't the only one.

Not quite so scary, you might think. But wait.

Look what happens when you open the ice box door:


I want you to run out and find some children right now, and tell them to never, ever climb in a refrigerator. Not for love, nor money, nor even cake.

After I recovered from the initial outrage, I figured I should see how widespread a phenomenon fridge-related Valentines had become. Turns out it wasn't much of a movement. Thank goodness.

What I did find were some interesting refrigerator advertisements, many of which did involve children. Some are more innocent than others.

(For some reason this last one makes me want to cry a little bit.)

Not all ads were focused on the family however. Some companies decided to go glamorous. Check these beauties out.

And eventually, along came Space Glamor!

I blame Star Trek for this. Or thank them. Depending on my mood.

Regardless, I'm grateful to see that kids and refrigerators are no longer popular images for Valentines. Today's are so much saner; with little monsters, vampires, zombies, and undersea pineapple houses.

Ah, progress.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Valentines to Relish!

Four our second day of the valentine countdown, I figured we might as well not waste time, and jump right into the hot dog cards.

No commentary. Just lots of weiners, wurst, and relish.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Valentine's Day Countdown! Heart Shaped Fish Croquettes

It's only a few weeks from Valentines Day, so there's no time like RIGHT NOW to start thinking about VD goodies! Especially all you wives out there.

Wilma said it best.

Apparently Pet Milk agreed that the fastest way to a man's heart was through his stomach, and so they published this booklet in the 1940s.

It was FREE if you can believe such a thing, and apparently contained recipes like this one:

"Love it? Of course he will! It's a man's idea of really good eating."

Check back soon for more Valentines Day meal ideas!

Monday, August 4, 2014

Culture and the Kitchen: A Taste of Cooking Past


Sunday August 10 at 2:00pm - 4:00pm

Please join Suzanne DeWitt at the opening reception for her exhibit at the Buttonwoods Museum. As the museum's first guest curator, Suzanne has created a nostalgic collection inspired by gastronomic ephemera from the 1920s to the 1960.

Cookbooks are time capsules and anthropological windows into life and culture. The making of a Sunday dinner in 1895 was very different from it's making in 1954, and another thing entirely in 2014. The procurement process for a chicken alone is vastly different, as are the styles of meal taking, our calorie requirements, and many other things. Suzanne's personal collection of cookbooks inspired this exhibit, featuring things like the "new mechanical iceboxes", war-time meals which accommodate rationing, entertaining without servants, psychedelic Jell-O preparations, and how to achieve better living through the use of the best brand of shortening. Each book is a snapshot into an era and a way of life that we have left behind. Each one illustrates the concerns and limitations of the day, while focusing on the vast improvements in ease of preparation and quality which arrive with each new generation.

Suzanne's exhibit presents a pivotal shift for each decade from the 1920s through the 1960s to highlight how the culture impacted the American kitchen.

Materials presented include period recipe collections, cookware, product advertisements, aprons, and many other items.

Come prepared to reminisce and maybe even giggle a little.

Buttonwoods Museum / Haverhill Historical Society
240 Water St,
Haverhill, Massachusetts 01830

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Betty Crocker's Ways with Hamburger

"Just imagine a whole collection of ground beef recipes in one little book!"

I love this book. It's small; a 5" hardcover square in the style of a children's book, which makes sense given that it was published by Golden Press in 1969.

I can't figure out to whom the book is targeted. From the style and illustrations (by Roland Rodegast) you'd think it was for Little Golden Book readers. Take this snowman for instance:

Some of the recipes are things I would expect an adult to use. Others are like this one:

After all, how many of you actually pull out a cookbook to make a simple burger? Sure Rachel Ray helped keep her book business alive by inventing burger variations of all flavors and protein types, but you and I generally know how to get a hamburger together. By memory.

So I can't quite figure it out, this little book.

Since the burger picture above isn't really a recipe, here's something that actually does qualify. Make it, and it won't be the milkshake that brings the boys to your yard.

Hungry Boy's Casserole

1 pound ground beef
1 cup sliced celery
1 medium onion, chopped (about 1/2 cup)
1/2 cup chopped green pepper
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon salt
1 can (1 pound) pork and beans
1 can (1 pound) lima beans
1 can (6 ounces) tomato paste

In large skillet, cook and stir ground beef, celery, onion, green pepper, garlic and salt until meat is brown and onion is tender. drain off fat.

Stir in pork and beans, lima beans (with liquid) and tomato paste. Simmer uncovered 10 minutes. 4 to 6 servings.
That old lima bean juice is sure to keep them coming back for more!

Monday, April 1, 2013

My Spring Haul!

I just got a new batch of cookbooks!

The local library held their twice yearly Big Book Sale and when I go, I always head straight to the cookery section. This time I waited until clearance hour, when prices drop to $2.00 a bag.

What a collection!

Check it out:

It may not look like much from this shot, but trust me, it's a treasure trove.

Stay tuned for a taste of the first one shortly.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Win an Apron... and Bragging Rights!

Tuttorosso Tomatoes is hosting another giveaway and recipe contest on its Facebook page (

Between Jan. 14 and Feb. 8, Tuttorosso will send an apron to the first 4,000 people who 'like' Tuttorosso and submit their favorite Italian recipe.

(Have I mentioned that I love aprons, and have a vintage apron collection?)

But it's not just a free apron. Four recipes will be highlighted on Tuttorosso's Facebook page and website, and will also be printed on future Tuttorosso cans!

How cool is that?

One grand prize winner will even receive a $500 gift card for!

You can submit an original Italian recipe for anything OTHER THAN TOMATO SAUCE. Soups, casseroles, main dishes, cocktails, you name it. Just not sauce.

Here are the basic rules:

The recipe must include a minimum of one Tuttorosso product. It must be original. It must list ingredients in order of use, and in standard U.S. measurements.

You also have to include a photo of the finished product.

Here's a direct link to the contest:

Good luck, and happy cooking!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

I'm a Convert: Tuttorosso had Me at Hello

I recieved a sample package of tomatoes recently from Tuttorosso, and here's what I found inside:

The box included three kinds of tomatoes, a cleverly designed ergonomic pot holder, several recipe cards, a refrigerator magnet imprinted with useful kitchen information, and a drink koozie.

Why a drink koozie, you may ask?

I don't know. I would think a collapsible wine glass would be more apropos, but perhaps that's just my drink preference talking.

I decided that I'd use the first can for my Tuscan Tomato Soup.

While I chopped an onion, I could hear the green olive oil start to bubble in my favorite vintage enameled pot.

It made a good, hot sound.

I tasted the tomatoes straight out of the can, which I don't usually do. I tend to wait until all the ingredients are in before taking my first sample. Often the tomatoes are tinny or tart, and I worry about how the soup will come out. I've found that the off flavor cooks out with some time. In this case however, the tomatoes were amazing right from the container; fresh, and sweet, the basil florally apparent.

I would have been happy to carry the can to the couch along with a hunk of good bread, and just have at it.

I managed to practice a bit of restraint however, and dumped the can into the kettle, then added the few remaining ingredients. It is a simple concoction of onions, tomatoes, basil, and black pepper. Sometimes I add red wine, but not tonight. Sometimes I add red pepper. Sometimes I finish it with cream.

Once it was all in, I left it on a low simmer and went off to play with one of my Christmas presents. An hour or two later, after a quick whirl with my immersion blender and the addition of more basil, we ate the soup along with a few satisfyingly garlic cheesy cheddar biscuits.

The soup was delicious. It usually is, but as I said, it normally takes time. I'm guessing that with the Tuttorosso tomatoes, it would have been wonderful if I'd merely heated it before whizzing it up.

I still have the can of the sauce, and the can of whole plum tomatoes left. I'm now wishing I'd used the sauce for the soup, and saved the crushed for some sort of tomato and bread concoction. I'm envisioning a cross between panzanella and tomato pudding. Yum!

So yes, I'm a convert. Thanks for the sample pack Tuttorosso! I'll be buying more soon!

Monday, December 31, 2012

Holiday Hot Dr. Pepper!

Today I was reminded about the (to me) strange idea of serving Dr. Pepper hot. (Click here to read my previous post on the subject.)

The film and sound quality for this video is terrible, but still. It's worth the watch for those of you who remain skeptical about whether or not to heat up a batch.

Perfect for wrapping up your holidays. There's still time; it's not midnight yet!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

My Latest Love, In all it's Psychedelic Glory!

Check out this fabulous find from a recent library book sale:

It's a far out promotional piece which Cool Whip published in 1969. And just to make it that much hipper, check this out:

That's right. It stands up! 

Here's a close up of Miss Psychedelic Cupcake Girl:

Something tells me her name might be Lucy.

This is just the beginning of the awesomeness. Stay tuned for more love to come from this special book.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Moxie. Wicked Good Stuff

I'm drinking my first Moxie, even as I type.

It is reputedly the oldest soft drink in America, having been brewed since 1884. I haven't done the research to either confirm or deny this factlet.

All I know is that it definitely is different. No doubt about that. Just take it from this guy:

Moxie. Try it if you can find it in your neck of the woods.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Get 'em while you still can...

Oh, the days of prepackaged chocolatey goodness are numbered!

No matter if you call them King Dons, Big Wheels, or Ding Dongs, they soon will be no more. Hostess is apparently going out of business.

Run, don't walk, to your corner store.

Fill your freezer.

Stock up while you still can.

Friday, October 5, 2012

I'm not done with Bacon! Curried Macaroni, at your service

Might as well cook it while you can afford it!

In case you're tired of the same old BLTs, rashers and eggs, and angels on horseback, here's a recipe just for you.

Curried Macaroni

Cook 1 package (8 ounces) elbow macaroni or macaroni shells according to package directions. Prepare 2 cups Medium White Sauce. Add 1 tablespoon minced onion and 1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder. Add macaroni; heat thoroughly. Garnish with bacon.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Cook of the Month! That's Me!

I'm Cook of the Month here in (not so) sunny Newburyport! The Daily News featured me in today's newspaper: Inspired to become a Foodie


I'm very happy with the article, but hope that my Mom won't be offended by the few lines mentioned about the cooking I remember from childhood. Loyal readers of this blog know that she is a beloved guest blogger who has posted several recipes here.

(She also gave me the pig plate shown holding braised pork in the picture above.)

As you'll see if you take a read, I focused on cranberry recipes, because tis almost the season. Also because I love them.

It was great to spend time with Features Editor Katie Lovett, and photographer extraordinaire Jim Vaiknoras. They made me feel very relaxed, as if I was merely having a few friends over for dinner.

Thanks Daily News! You made my Wednesday!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Broiled Fish with Bacon-Grease-Slathered Bananas

Continuing with the bacon thing, here's a recipe sure to please seafood lovers, bacon lovers, and lovers of all things sunny and fruity. It comes from a 1958 Cookindex recipe card, published by Tested Recipe Institute, Inc.

Shad Tropicana

Select a shad weighing about 4 pounds. Have the fish dealer split and bone it. Wash fish thoroughly and pat dry with paper towels. Place the split, boned shad on a well-greased broiler pan. Brush the fish with melted butter or margarine and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Broil fish, 3 to 5 inches from the heat, without turning, 8 to 10minutes or until fish flakes easily with a fork.

Halve 3 slices of bacon. Fry bacon strips in a skillet until crisp. Drain bacon well on paper towel; keep warm. Peel and slice 2 medium-size bananas; dip slices in bacon fat. About 2 minutes before removing shad from broiler, arrange banana slices in a row on top of fish. Finish broiling fish. Remove fish carefully with a broad spatula or pancake turner to a hot platter. Garnish with bacon, lemon wedges and parsley. Makes 4 servings.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

For the Love of Bacon

In honor of what we may soon pay a fortune to indulge in, I offer the following.