Monday, September 26, 2011

Mug Musings

I've been contemplating the difference in coffee cup sizes from the 1950s to today. They seem to have gotten quite a bit larger in the last half century or more.

Just look at the size of the cup this fella hoists, obviously forced on him by a loved one hoping to sober him up:


DiDi and I tend to like mid-century modern dishware, and so have a small collection of cups from that era.

We have some like this:

And like this:
We don't have these but I wish we did because they are very cool:


We have a number of other styles as well, but Google images isn't helping me find them and I can't be bothered to take some real pictures and deal with all the images currently on the memory stick.

(True Confession Time: If I don't get to them quickly, they add up and I procrastinate.)

The mid-century cups typically hold about 8 oz if you've got a steady hand or don't mind a periodic morning scald. 6 oz is better if you prefer to play it safe.

Contrast that with today's mugs:

Ok so this is a bit of an exaggeration, but you know what I'm talking about. Walk into your local AstroDollars Coffee Shop and take a look at their options. Assuming you understand the language they use to make you feel hip, the smallest one is typically 12oz, and the large is 20oz.

That's a lot of joe, no matter how much they've frothed the milk and decorated the top with hearts and flowers.

The mugs most people use at home are similarly ginormous.

What happened in the intervening years? Do we really need that much more caffeine now?

Did the coffee mob strong arm cup manufacturers?

Here's what I discovered. When I'm at home, the amount I drink in a small cup is satisfying. When I'm on the road and pull over for a jolt, I still tend to go for the 16 oz medium.

Which is weird. Somehow just looking at the larger cups make me think I need more.

But I don't.


Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Aunt Jenny's Dumplings

It's apple season, so here's a blast from the past to get you started. It comes from Who Says We Can't Cook, and submitted by cookbook author Florence Brobeck of "Press Relations".

Florence writes:
My aunt Jenny was oen of the most famous cooks in central Ohio forty years ago. Her kitchen was a huge room dominated by a coal range from which came aromas which touched off a stampede of children from all parts of the house.

Best of all, especially in winter, were the big pans of apple dumplings, steaming at the top with apple jelly oozing out. They were supposed to be served cold, or nearly so. But we couldn't wait. We ate them hot with very cold, very thick cream.

Here is her recipe. (Today's busy housekeepers may use ready mixed pie crust.)
Ohio Apple Dumplings
6 cooking apples
Pastry for two pie crusts
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar (packed)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons grated lemon peel
1/2 cup dried currants (soaked and drained)
1/4 cup apple jelly
1/4 cup butter or margarine

Wash, pare and core apples. Roll pastry about 1/4 inch thick. Cut in circles large enough to cover apples. Mix sugars, cinnamon, peel, currants, and jelly. Spoon mixture into apples. Dot each with butter. Wrap each apple in dough, crimping edges togeter at the top. Place on baking sheet or in shallow baking pan. Bake in moderate oven (375 degrees) about 30 minutes, or until apples are soft and pastry golden. Serve warm or cold, with cream, lemon sauce, or hard sauce. Six servings.