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Archive for December, 2010

It’s New Year’s Eve. Time to celebrate the end of 2010 and
the beginning of 2011. HUZZAH!

As I wrote last year at this time, the best way to celebrate
the dawn of any new year (at least, historically speaking)
would be to make New Year’s Cake. What could be better?!
Here’s a receipt (recipe) for this confection from Amelia
Simmon’s American Cookery (1796), which, as you may
know, was the first cookbook published in America that
was also written by an American. Now, if perchance you’re
going to try this, might I suggest that you cut the proportions!

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New Year’s Cake.

Take 14 pound flour, to which add
one pint milk, and one quart yeast,
put these together over night, and
let it lie in the sponge till morning,
5 pound sugar and 4 pound butter,
dissolve these together, 6 eggs
well beat, and carroway seed; put
the whole together, and when light
bake them in cakes, similar to breakfast
biscuit, 20 minutes.

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Note yeast is used, much like with bread. There’s the usual
flour, sugar, and eggs. Then “carroway” seeds, making this,
in essence, a spice cake. Notice, too, it says to “bake them
in cakes” that are “similar to…biscuit.” In other words, this
is a receipt for making little cakes, or what we call cookies.
Up until the late 18th century, and even way into the 19th,
the word “cake” could mean several things: what we refer
to as a cake, large or small; what we’d call a cookie; and
even a biscuit. All are usually grouped together in the same
chapter of historic cookbooks, as well. And don’t forget, even
today, if you ever find yourself hankering for a cookie while
in jolly ol’ England, you’ll need to be sure to ask for a biscuit.

Nevertheless, HAPPY NEW YEAR to one and all! Here’s
to a fantastic 2011. HUZZAH!

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I simply adore this song, particularly the words “…may you know
the warmth of love, and wrap it all around you.” It’s my Christmas
wish, as well, to you and yours. I hope everyone has a good one!

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It’s Christmas Eve, and tomorrow is Christmas. Wow. Hard
to believe, but it’s true! The yuletide season is my favorite
time of year, one that I eagerly anticipate. Yes, it’s always
a challenge to deal with the typical “hustle ‘n bustle,” but
I wouldn’t change a moment of the past few weeks. Well,
other than my appalling lack of blog entries! (My sincere
apologies for that.) In any event, Christmas is not only
here, but, sadly, it’ll soon, very soon, be over and gone.
And I’ll have to wait a whole n’other year to do it all again.

Of course, there’s nothing like Christmas in New York. I’m
often amazed, myself, that I’m able to partake of the City’s
holiday treasures each year. This year was no exception.
During the past few weeks, I saw the Rockefeller Center
Tree, the ice skating, the windows at Tiffany’s and Saks,
the tree in Bryant Park, storefront Santas, office and
apartment lobby decorations, and a few other treats.
Unfortunately, however, I often didn’t have my camera,
so there are only a few photos. dagnabit!

In any case, here’s a small taste of Christmas in New York:

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This year, Macy’s festive famous window displays depicted the story
of “Yes, Virginia, There is a Santa Claus”:

Except for the figures, most of this year’s display was made of paper.
I don’t have a picture, but, trust me, the lions for the Central Library
scene were truly spectacular!

Animation was also used, most notably in the windows of buildings
in the background. There were people partying, decorating, eating,
and so on. You had to look carefully, or you’d miss it. I wondered
how many people noticed the lighting of the Menorrah in the upper
window of the left-hand building in the final scene (above)?! Such
attention to detail, mixed with a bit of whimsy. So clever. I give
a huge “HUZZAH!” to the people who created the entire display:

“Believe” is Macy’s theme for this joyous season:

Which was repeated inside:

I tell you, the place was just wall to wall people! Was so glad I came
just to look, not to buy!

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Merry Christmas to all! HUZZAH!

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Spent this past Sunday cooking at the hearth in the Israel
Crane House
. Since it’s early December and winter is upon
us, I discussed and demonstrated various after-butchering
activities. Made sausage, fried up some salt pork, rendered
lard, and so on. Had many opportunities to compare “back
then” to the present day. Had a great time, as always!

I have a few photos to share. It’s always difficult, though,
to find free moments take any. Yes, too many visitors! Not
that I’m complaining, mind you. The more the merrier!

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During a brief break in the steady stream of visitors, I handed
my camera to another gal, who then took a few photos:

I really like the next one, except it’s a bit blurry…dagnabit!

Here’s another that’s a little bit better…almost:

Ahh, well…maybe next time!

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