Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘current events’ Category

This year will soon be gone. Yep, in just a few short
hours, 2015 will slide into the history books. And so
I thought I’d write up one last post before it goes!

The Israel Crane House was again part of the annual
Essex County (NJ) Historic Holiday House Tour, which
took place the weekend of December 5 and 6. Of course,
I was busyImage (63) in the Crane kitchen, where
visitors were welcomed with a variety
of foods to sample. The spread featured
the usual suspects: Gingerbread Cakes;
Pounded Cheese (with crackers); and
Shrewsbury Cakes. Newly-added were
Chocolate Drops. As in previous years,
we offered hot spiced cider, dried apple
slices, a ham, chestnuts, candied orange
peels, and more. No one left hungry, that’s for sure!

I always look forward to this annual event, and this year
was no exception. The best part (besides the yummy food!)
is all the lively, in-depth conversations I have with those
who stop by the kitchen to see “what’s cooking.” It’s never
a dull moment. I have fun every year. I trust the visitors
do, too! HUZZAH!

Welcome to the Crane kitchen. Come on in!

008

Our spread of goodies:

010

New for 2015 were these tasty Chocolate Drops:

023

I prepared and cooked a dish each day, as well. First I made
a “Squash Pudding” (Saturday) and then a “Tart of the Ananas,
or Pine-Apple” (Sunday).

Both were baked in the bake kettle:

017

the Squash Pudding:

014

the Pine-Apple Tart:

021

Our spiced cider heated up over the fire each day:

004

Also new this season was a sweetmeat I saw Stephen Schmidt,
a fellow member of Culinary Historians of New York (CHNY),
make during the “Eating Through Time” symposium held this
past fall at the New York Academy of Medicine (NYAM). As he
did, I followed the “To Make White Marmalet of Quinces” receipt
from Martha Washington’s Booke of Cookery (circa 1550-1625).

Here is a portion of one of two batches I made:

024

I was also busy hearth-side on December 15 for “Family Fun
Day,” when I made oodles of “Dough Nuts,” all in accordance
with a receipt in Seventy-Five Receipts for Pastry, Cakes, and
Sweetmeats
(1828), by Eliza Leslie. We had more hot spiced
cider, as well.

Little nut-sized balls of dough ready to be boiled:

002

the fire doing its magic with our Dough Nuts and our cider:

010

TA-DA! our Dough Nuts! YUM!

014

All in all, we had lots of good eats at The Israel Crane House
this year. Here’s to another fantastic and tasty year of cooking
over an open fire in 2016! HUZZAH!

Happy New Year to one and all!

016

Read Full Post »

It’s time once again for us all to hail the woman who’s largely
responsible for “inventing” our Thanksgiving holiday, and that
woman is…drum roll, please…Sarah Josepha Hale! Yes, we
should all hail Hale! (get it? it’s a funny…you know, ‘cuz
the two words sound the same!).

During the mid-19th century, Hale lobbied tirelessly for a national
day of thanksgiving. At the time, it was already observed somewhat
regularly in New England, but she thought it should be nation-wide.
As the first-ever female editor of Ladies’ Magazine and later, Godey’s
Lady’s Book
, Hale used her position to publish numerous editorials
promoting the idea. The New Hampshire native also wrote letters
to any and every politician she could find, including then-President
Abraham Lincoln. Her campaign finally proved successful when he
declared Thanksgiving a national holiday in 1863. However, it was
many years before the entire country embraced it, particularly
in the South (for obvious reasons!). Nevertheless, Thanksgiving
has become one of America’s beloved celebrations. And we owe
it all to Hale’s incessant efforts. It’s amazing what one person
(and a woman, at that) can do!

Incidentally, Hale was quite a prolific writer. She penned a variety
of works, including cookbooks (such as The Good Housekeeper,
which was first published in 1839), numerous novels (she even
described a Thanksgiving dinner in one), and the nursery rhyme
“Mary Had a Little Lamb.”

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

===============================================
===============================================

For more factual information about our annual feast day, check
out the following:

New England, in the time of the so-called “Pilgrims,” when a day
of thanksgiving meant a day spent listening to religious sermons
and of fasting, NOT feasting:

http://marybarrettdyer.blogspot.com/2013/11/thanksgiving-in-new-
england-no-parties.html

____________________

And from those who “live” it daily at Plimoth Plantation:

http://hazelwood.patch.com/groups/house-and-home/p/discovering-thanksgiving-the-truth-about-the-holiday

There are plenty more, but I’ll let you search for ’em!

Oh, and in case anyone’s noticed, yes, this is a repeat of what I posted
at this time last year…and the year before that and…

Read Full Post »

It’s been nine years now, but I frequently
think of a beloved pet that passed away
on this day in 2006. He was a dear furry
friend and “cat-companion.” Yes, I have
another, and she’s a sweetie who keeps
me company, but it’s just not the same.
You could say it was a type of “first love”
with my previous buddy: he’s the one
I’ll never forget. In any event, as today
is the anniversary of his passing, once again I offer the following
remembrance. It’s the same every year, with minor updates.

___________________________________

IN MEMORIAM
Twenty-plus years ago, when I was living in Indianapolis, Indiana, I discovered
a stray cat sleeping now and then in an unused dog house in my back yard. As
time went on, I saw him more frequently, and I began to set out some food. Occasionally, I’d come home from work, and there he’d be out on the patio.
At first, I’d let him in, he’d ever-so-casually walk around the room, and then
head back out. sc001ab8d7 Slowly but surely, he became a regular visitor. Eventually, he’d come inside, eat, take a nap on
my couch, and go back out. Soon we became a team. It always seemed he
knew when I’d just gotten home, for he’d show up within minutes. Other times, if I didn’t see him right away,
I would soon hear him. There’d be meowing coming from one direction
or another, and all I had to do was meow back, and he’d come running. There were many times when I came home, and he’d be at the patio door, waiting patiently to come in. And if
I’d just had a long hard day, I’d lie
on the floor, he’d sit sphinx-like on
my chest, and we’d have ourselves a little cat nap. Before long, I’d come home,
let him in, and he’d stay until the next morning, when I’d be awakened by his meowing to be let out. As cats go, it was a match made in heaven. When I
moved to New York, he came with me. On the plane, in the cabin. In fact,
during the next several years, whenever I’d go back and forth to Indianapolis,
he went with me. He didn’t mind flying. I’m sure being in that cramped carrier, “placed under the seat in front” of me per airline regulations wasn’t the greatest, but he knew that I was right there. Several times I took him out (unbeknownst to the flight attendants, of course), and he’d quietly and calmly sat in my lap.
He’d even look out the window. As I said, we were a team. In any event, to make this long story short…the point of all this is that, eight years ago today (July 28) my beloved pal, this dearly-loved cat, who had essentially adopted me, passed away. He’d never been sick a day in his life, yet suddenly he became ill and was gone in no time. It was utterly devastating. And horribly heartbreaking.

Kitty-Pooh, 1992-2006

Kitty-Pooh, 1992-2006

Since those early days in Indianapolis, he had been my constant companion. He went from being a mostly outdoor cat to being a completely indoor one. He went with me from one state to another, and from one apartment to another and then another. There was even that short time spent in Jersey (what I refer to as my homeless period). He was there as I navigated the trials and tribulations of life in the Big Bad City. Not to mention all the ups and downs of pursuing an acting career. He was there, too, when my parents passed, first one, then the other. And the loss of my beloved dog, Casey. In short, for nearly 14 years he was the one constant in my life. And so, this is in honor of my beloved pal. You were the bestest cat I could ever hope for. My handsome fella. Mon copain. My gift from God. You were dearly loved and are greatly missed.

_________________________

scan0006

nap time!

nap time!

Read Full Post »

to one and all. HUZZAH!

Rockefeller Ctr Tree 2009

Read Full Post »

Heads up! This is a repeat from last year…and the year
before that! Yep. I’m STILL lazy! LOL oy

Anyway…I think we should all hail the woman who’s largely
responsible for “inventing” our Thanksgiving holiday, and
that woman is…Sarah Josepha Hale! Yes, we should all hail
Hale! (get it? it’s a funny…you know, ‘cuz the words match!)

Nevertheless, HUZZAH for Hale!

During the mid-19th century, Hale lobbied tirelessly for a national
day of thanksgiving. At the time, it was already observed somewhat
regularly in New England, but she thought it should be nation-wide.
As the first-ever female editor of Ladies’ Magazine and later, Godey’s
Lady’s Book
, Hale used her position to publish numerous editorials
promoting the idea. The New Hampshire native also wrote letters
to any and every politician she could find, including then-President
Abraham Lincoln. Her campaign finally proved successful when he
declared Thanksgiving a national holiday in 1863. However, it was
many years before the entire country embraced it, particularly
in the South (for obvious reasons!). Nevertheless, Thanksgiving
has become one of America’s beloved celebrations. And we owe
it all to Hale’s incessant efforts. It’s amazing what one person
(and a woman, at that) can do!

Incidentally, Hale was quite a prolific writer. She penned a variety
of works, including cookbooks (such as The Good Housekeeper,
which was first published in 1839), numerous novels (she even
described a Thanksgiving dinner in one), and the nursery rhyme
“Mary Had a Little Lamb.”

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

===============================================
===============================================

For more factual information about our annual feast day, check out the following:

New England, in the time of the so-called “Pilgrims,” when a day
of thanksgiving meant a day spent listening to religious sermons
and of fasting, NOT feasting:

http://marybarrettdyer.blogspot.com/2013/11/thanksgiving-in-new-england-no-parties.html

____________________

And from those who “live” it daily at Plimoth Plantation:

http://hazelwood.patch.com/groups/house-and-home/p/discovering-thanksgiving-the-truth-about-the-holiday

There are plenty more, but I’ll let you search for ’em!

Read Full Post »

Back in April of this year, I attended an annual “foodie” conference
here in NYC at the Roger Smith Hotel. In the past it was dubbed
“The Cookbook Conference,” but it was re-named the Food-Tech
Conference
for its fourth go-round in 2014. Every year, there are
sessions on multifarious topics, the speakers and panelists (well,
most of them!) present informative talks, and the opportunities
to network with “fellow foodies” are abundant.

Now, one of the sessions I attended was entitled “Mechanizing
Cacao.” It featured a panel of three speakers, plus a moderator.
Each panelist spoke on some aspect of cacao, whether its history
or the modern chocolate-making process. However, one of these
supposed “experts” was sadly mis-informed! And oddly enough,
he just happened to be a representative of Mars, Inc., who’re
the makers of American Heritage Historic Chocolate,** and was
also one of the sponsors of this year’s Conference. Oh, dear…!

Anyway, according to Mr. Mars/American Heritage, chocolate
was consumed ONLY as a beverage during the 18th century
and NOT as a food. HA! That statement is NOT true! I know
this, definitively, because I’ve made “eat-able” dishes that
contained chocolate (remember my “Nut Bomboons”?). But
coincidentally, I’d also just participated in an historic hearth
cooking workshop the previous weekend, wherein we made
several 18th century chocolate dishes that were meant to be
eaten. Thus, I am sorry Sir, but you are incorrect! And yes,
I had intended to raise my little hand during the session-ending
Q & A, in order to share the above information about replicating
18th century chocolate as something to be eaten, but, alas, it
wasn’t meant to be. You see, after all the panelists had done
their spiels, the session rather abruptly ended, as time had run
out! Everyone then quickly disappeared, both the speakers and
the audience! I must say, it was rather bizarre. I found myself
wondering, “What just happened? Where’d everyone go? It’s
over?!?” And so, there was no Q & A, no sharing of anything.
It was officially The End.

Ahh, well…so it goes.

In any case, below are the dishes we prepared during the hearth
cooking workshop. The receipts utilized for each one were taken
from assorted 18th century cookbooks. As you’ll see, chocolate
was consumed not only as a beverage, but also as a food. Indeed,
it was enjoyed in various forms, whether in a cup or on a plate.

____________________

First up was a Chocolate Tart. We began by working on the paste
(or crust), which was beaten:

IMG_2121

IMG_2124

IMG_2127

The paste was cooked first. Beans were placed on it to keep it flat:

IMG_2130

Time to work on the cream filling:

IMG_2137

The chocolate was grated:

IMG_2141

Then it was added to the cream mixture and cooked:

IMG_2143

Ready to go:

IMG_2155

Into the bake oven it went, where any and all baking was done:

IMG_2114

Soon the Tart was done and it was then time to caramelize the top
with a heated salamander:

IMG_2157

IMG_2159

TA-DA! Our mighty fine tart was completed:

IMG_2165

Next, we worked on Chocolate Drops:

IMG_2154

Then we made Chocolate Almonds, which, incidentally, do not
contain almonds, but are shaped like them:

IMG_2168

All the chocolate mixtures were cooked on a brazier:

IMG_2140

And finally, we made Chocolate Biscuits:

IMG_2172

IMG_2200

Our intrepid workshop leader, Deb:

IMG_2116

It was a fantastic workshop. Lots of wonderful chocolate dishes
were made AND eaten. I’m looking forward to making them
in my own hearth cooking classes. HUZZAH!

IMG_2183

____________________________________________

* Names withheld to protect the innocent…and the guilty! LOL
** American Heritage Chocolate is (allegedly) a reproduction of 18th century chocolate, which has been manufactured using an “Authentic 18th Century Product Recipe and Ingredients” (to quote the copy on the box). However, well…maybe not! *sigh* More on that later.
*** The chocolate hearth cooking workshop was conducted by the talented Deborah Peterson (formerly of Deborah’s Pantry) as part of the Mid-Atlantic region of the Association for Living History, Farm and Agricultural Museum’s (ALHFAM) annual conference. The workshop took place in the historic kitchen
of the Peter Wentz Farmstead, of Montgomery County, PA.

Read Full Post »

I have a follow-up to my recent “phantom receipt” entry, but before I post it,
and seeing as it’s now July 4, I thought I’d once again share this fun video.
Rock on, Mr. Jefferson!

Happy Independence Day, everyone! HUZZAH!

______________________________

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »