Saturday, March 22, 2014

No Baking Drudgery

He's dreaming about...let's see, it looks like a house with a big front lawn. That would require a lot of mowing. Which isn't "LIGHT housekeeping," but, whatever. And she seems to be dreaming of - it looks like an oven. That's she's wearing as an earring. Also not a light sort of thing.

She seems to be dreaming about baking,  but (the ad points out) baking is drudgery so why not order bread and pastries from the Eagle Bakery. It sort of makes sense. I guess.

The funny thing is, there are lots of household jobs that I think are WAY more annoying and laborious than baking. Baking is kind of fun. I like making muffins and kneading bread - not every day, though, and yes, that's the point in this ad (which is from about 1911, I think - I clipped it awhile ago).

Before we had kids I did do more baking - braided bread, stollen at Christmas, that sort of thing. Once, a long time ago, I made someone a Christmas present of 3 kinds of shortbread in a fancy tin. Plain, chocolate chip and lavender shortbread. I can't imagine doing that now. In fact I reckon that that bride wearing an oven as an earring probably has more time and energy to make pastries than she will later on.

Because it isn't pastry that's going to age her, Mr. Bridegroom, it's all the mopping and scrubbing and child wrangling she'll be doing as the 1920s get roaring, that's what. My grandmother did all that in the 1920s and made her children's winter coats, too. Can you imagine, making a heavy winter coat by hand? I can't. And she had 3 children! Of course, she could have gone to a dry goods' store. And, of course, the bakery after that.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Serpent Potatoes and Irish Coffee

So it's St. Patrick's Day...and I suppose I should be wearing my green cardigan but I always figured that since I have green eyes I don't really have to do anything special. I am part Irish and so is my dear spouse and we have an Irish last name but...still. It's Monday. It's the luck of the part-Irish that I woke up on time and found the coffee, really. And that makes me think of Irish Coffee. We'll be getting to that in just a minute.

I found some things from the Milwaukee Sentinel in March 1915 that might interest you, though. They tell you everything you need to do to have a creditable St. Patrick's Day luncheon - not a lunch, mind you, but a luncheon. I got tired just reading about it.

You'll need a  centerpiece that's a harp. Ideally not a real, full size one, because your table will fall down. It must be surrounded by "small shamrock plants in potato cases." Yeah, okay. That'll only take a couple of hours. Then make place cards shaped like little green hats.  And you'll have to find those bonbon dishes you have in the shape of pigs (you do have those, right?).

After you get all that going you have to dye your grapefruit a bright emerald and whip up some stuff like Cabbage Souffle (best not to ask about that) and Irish Dessert (it's green and jellied and there's parsley involved and that's all I'm saying about that). And then there's the very festive Serpent Potatoes, in honor of the serpents that St. Patrick drove out of Ireland. Yeah, how about that? Do you have the time and inclination to mold "snakelike shaped" out of hot mashed potatoes, then bake them and put them on a bed of lettuce? Yeah, me neither.

Let's get back to that Irish Coffee instead.. Irish Coffee was invented in the 1940s by an Irish chef named Joe Sheridan who worked at Shannon airport and served coffee laced with whiskey to a bunch of Americans who just got off the plane, because it was really cold and rainy there.

That was very nice of Joe Sheridan. I don't believe I've ever had a special weather-inspired drink made for me just because I got off a plane, have you?

Anyway, as you know, Irish Coffee is super easy to make. Add some whiskey to hot coffee - anywhere from a splash to a snort - and add some whipped cream on top. And milk and sugar, too, if you like. I don't mind.

If you don't care whether you're making the classic Irish Coffee, go crazy and add some brandy, or Kahlua or Bailey's Irish Cream instead.

As for me, I'm making vegetarian shepherd's pie for dinner. And  I am not dyeing the soy crumbles green. And the mashed potatoes, you can be sure, will not resemble serpents.