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Archive for October, 2010

Here’s one last photo from my most recent “toss or keep” trek
through my camera:

I really like these little pots. They’re just so cute! This one is fairly
small, but it’d be perfect for various tasks, whether making a fancy
sauce or simply melting a bit of butter.

I’ll probably need to have this re-tinned before I can use it, though.
Fortunately, there’s a company in New Jersey that’ll take care of
that for me. HUZZAH!

Now, if I could just remember the company’s website address…!
Hmmm, what did I do with all that information?

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Yep, more photos from the depths of my camera. I find pieces
like this extremely fascinating. Of course, I can only guess as
to its use and origin. Even so, it’s always a thrill to come upon
some woodcut, painting, or whatever, wherein a similar pot,
or just an element of one, is depicted.

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from The Opera of Bartolomeo Scappi (1570):

also from Scappi:

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More “toss or keep” photo sorting:
here’s one of my two sausage
stuffers. It was used for making
all those yummy sausage links
this past summer during the final
Fireside Feasts historic cooking
program out at Wyckoff.

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Sorting out images on my camera. Again. Yep, more “toss or keep”
games. Or not. Amazing what’s on there…and for how long.

In any event, how about a nice shot of the lovely bake kettle
I found some time ago on e-Bay?

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Wow! I’ve finally found it. My winter “hearth” home. Where I can
cook over an open fire. Indoors. During cold, snowy, and rainy
weather. At a bona-fide historic hearth. With its brick bake oven.
What could be better? Absolutely nothing! HUZZAH!!

Yes, I now have a new gig, cooking at the hearth in the kitchen
of the Israel Crane House in Montclair, New Jersey. I’ll be there
at least once a month, if not more. Hopefully, more! In fact,
I was there yesterday (Sunday) for the first-in-a-long-time
Kids’ Day. We made butter and drank the resulting buttermilk
along with cold and brewed-over-the-fire spiced cider. A nice
crowd attended the event and partook of all the festivities,
from quill pen writing to candle-dipping to special house tours.
Everyone had a blast! I know I certainly did. I just LOVE this
stuff! I must admit, too, that it is SOOOOOO satisfying to be
cooking at an open hearth once again. I’ve missed it. What
a privilege. And a mighty fabulous one! HUZZAH!

So, stayed tuned for more adventures at the Crane House.
In the meantime, here are a few pictures from Sunday’s
special event just for kids.

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My young volunteer-friend Lucy started the churning:

Once we had butter, other young hands assisted with washing it:

Our churning yielded a bowlful of rich, yummy buttermilk:

And, of course, an overflowing batch of creamy, luscious butter. HUZZAH!:

I had also made some butter in advance and brought it, with crackers,
so that people could have a taste while we churned:

And finally, along with cold cider, visitors enjoyed spiced cider
brewed at the hearth:

In the end, it was a highly successful event. All had a fun time.
Hopefully, there’ll be many more in the future. Stay tuned!

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Lately, it seems that every day there’s yet another new report
of a bedbug infestation somewhere here in the Big Bad City.
The little buggers are showing up in every conceivable location,
from hotels to clothing stores, newspaper offices to schools,
and apartment buildings to Broadway theaters. According
to one recent local TV newscast, the little creepy crawlers
have now headed to the library, particularly the children’s
section. Maybe they heard there was to be a story hour?
Or not.

In any event, as I was browsing through a few of my historic
cookbooks today, I came upon an intriguing solution to this
buggy problem. There, in Lydia Child’s The American Frugal
Housewife
(1833), was this remedy:

An ounce of quicksilver, beat
up with the white of two eggs,
and put on with a feather, is
the cleanest and surest
bed-bug poison.

Poison is right. Quicksilver is mercury.

Hmmm, maybe I’ll find some other ideas….

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If you’ll indulge me for just a moment…
Previously, I’ve mentioned a stray cat that
had taken up residence in my backyard.
Of course, I cared for and fed it regularly,
and I’d frequently go out just to sit with it
for awhile. It was a nice, easy-going cat.

Well, a year ago, I brought her inside. And
yes, in accord with my original inklings, it is a she. The vet declared her
a Tortoiseshell/Calico/Tabby mix. She certainly is pretty! I must say, it
has been nice to have a cat in the house once again. We’ve become
fairly good friends, and she’s learned to trust me more each day. This
is a major achievement, considering the fact that she spent the first
four (count ’em, FOUR) months hiding under the sofa! At this point,
however, she seems quite comfortable being around me. She can
still be a bit skittish and is easily spooked on occasion. Now, though,
instead of running away to hide for hours, she stays close by, assesses
the situation, and returns. Overall, I’d say she has settled in and is
completely at home. HUZZAH!

Now, may I present my INDOOR cat, Mystery-Kitty:

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