Monthly Archives: January 2014

Dark and Handsome

happy birthday candles

Someone has a birthday….OK, we ALL have birthdays, whether we acknowledge them or not , but SOMEONE has a birthday today….and birthdays need cake.

Some people have particular cakes that they share for birthdays. Some people have favorites that are extra special for special occasions, but if you say, “BIRTHDAY CAKE” the only constant will be the candles. And even that isn’t always the same.

800px-Blue_candles_on_birthday_cake

Make a wish!

Birthday cake is made special by the occasion of the birthday.  But sometimes the “This Day in History” makes you want the day to go by quickly….

On January 30th

in 1649

Charles I of England was executed

charles1_execution in 1948 – Mahatma Gandhi assassinated in New Delhi
in 1968 – The Viet Cong launched begin the Tet Offensive.
in 1969 The Beatles make their last public performance. (BTW -it was so NOT Yoko’s fault) and then in 1972 – Bloody Sunday  – you get the sad and sorry picture.

So this is a day the needs cake, birthday or no birthday.

One of the cookbooks I first bought when I went out on my own (and I’m pretty sure I got this at Woolworths, no less) was

Manners Quick and easy

RuthAnn Manners and William Manners The Quick and Easy Vegetarian Cookbook .

40s-old_woolworthsPlymouth MA

Woolworth’s in downtown Plymouth a few year before I went shopping there

Woolworth’s photo from http://www.jabezcorner.com/phs63/pictures.html 

 Much of it was indeed quick and easy and also good, which wasn’t always, or even often, the case in the late 70’s and early 80’s vegetarian cookbooks. That goes for quick and easy, but especially GOOD. There was a whole lot of far too undercooked brown rice in the ’60’s and ’70’s.

Their chocolate pound cake was what my not-crazy-about-frosting brother had as his birthday cake for several years. It’s also a good anytime cake. Ice cream or whipped cream are referred to as lily-gilders by the Manners, and they’re right – it doesn’t need heavy dairy products to be good, but it can make the day much better.

They call their chocolate pound cake Dark and Handsome…..what more could a girl ask for?

Dark and Handsome

A chocolate pound cake

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350°
  2. Grease a* 8 ½ x 4 ½ x2 ½ inch loaf pan.
  3. 3.   Then in a Pyrex measuring** cup melt 1- 1 oz square unsweetened chocolate with 1 Tablespoon butter (I now use the microwave…)
  4. Sift together 1 cup AP flour, 1 cup sugar, 1 teaspoon baking powder and a pinch of salt in a bowl.
  5. Crack 1 egg into the now not so terribly hot chocolaty melt and stir it in.
  6. Add milk (approximately ¾ cup) so that the chocolate/butter/egg milk equals one cup.
  7. Add the wets to the drys and mix thoroughly – no streaks.
  8. Scrape into the greased pan.
  9. Bake about 40-45 minutes or when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  10. Cool on a rack and remove from the pan.  Serves 8. OR
  11. Eat directly from the pan with a spoon while still warm. Serves one (on a Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, which will then be made significantly better.)

*Spellcheck wants to make this a an an and I disagree.

**or melt it in a whatever/however  and scrape it into a 1 cup measure to continue OR just mix in 3/4 cup of milk with the butter, chocolate and beaten egg and call it a day.

bakers-squares-375

Walter Baker’s – local chocolate – Pa Flynn worked there – not designer or artisanal, but the one I reach for.

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Meatless Monday

Since earlier this month, I encourage eating a little less meat, it seems only right to offer the occasional meatless option.

This is a recipe from my cousin Flora, who got it from her mother, my mother’s big sister.   One of the joys/confusions of a big family is that generations start to meld. My mother is the youngest of 10, and Flora was the youngest daughter of the the oldest daughter…so Flora and my mother were close enough in age to be raised more like sisters. It was confusing when I was little to have a cousin who was also a grown-up

Flora’s birthday was the 23rd of January. Birthdays in our family, especially since so many of us are Snow Babies, and Winters in New England  can throw a monkey wrench in the best laid travel plans, are often observed officially rather then on just the day itself. And they can stack up, so one cake could be for more then one birthday – unless there were more then one cake….. The end result is that I’m always a little murky on the actual dates of any family actual b-day.

Flora was the first cousin born over here and not in Italy, and when she was little she got to spend lots of time with Nonna, whom she had nothing but nice things to say about. Flora also took it upon herself to take the cooking of the aunties and write it down. None of them had cookbooks – they just cooked. When gathered together the talk was always about food, and where you got it, and what you did with it, and what else you might do with it, and how different people like things in different ways.

Flora passed away 2 years ago, and when I have a question on  how to make something, I remember anew that she is no longer with us. It still takes me a little by surprise. But she did leave a whole lot of recipes written down. This post is a birthday remembrance for her.

 This is a recipe we found fairly recently when going through my mother’s files looking for the original Walnut Cake recipe (we still only have copies and no the original). The Note to Irma (my mother) is on one side – the recipe is on the other.

Three types of lentils - we generally used the brown and sometimes the green and never the red.

Three types of lentils – we generally used the brown and sometimes the green and never the red.

Lentils and Macaroni

1 cup lentils

1 tomato

1 celery stalk

1 small onion, diced

1 tablespoon salt

2 tablespoons oil

Macaroni, cooked

  1. Soak 1 cup lentils ½ hour. Empty into a colander and rinse. Return lentils to the pan.

  2. Add: 1 cut up tomato, 1 cut up celery stalk, 1 small onion, diced, 1 tbs salt, 2 tbs oil and water – at least 2 inches higher.

  3. Bring to a boil.

  4. Simmer 1 hour.

  5. Add cooked macaroni.(She doesn’t mention how much, but seldom did we cook less then a pound…and ditalini or tubertini or some little pasta that wold hold on to lentils would be best)

  6. Ditalini

    Ditalini

  7. Let flavors blend 5 minutes.

From note to Irma from Flora. Flora mentions 41 years of marriage, so maybe this was written in 2001?

The note:

Irma,

This is my mother’s recipe as given to me 41 years ago. Over the years I have changed things slightly. I put in less onion, less salt, little, if any, oil.  I top the dish with grating cheese. It’s a good meatless dish for Friday. Every time I make this dish, I have to endure Bob (who loves lentils) telling me “Lentils – the oldest dish in the world. Did you know Christ ate lentils?” After 41 years of this repartee, I am ready to crown him with the lentils.

Flora

200px-Small_Red_Rose

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T Day

Throwback Thursdays…..

Sarah Jospha Hale as a Bobblehead

Sarah Josepha Hale as a Bobblehead

Why, pray tell is there a Victorian Bobble-head here? What has THIS got to do with Thanksgiving?

This is Sarah Josepha Hale, the godmother of the American holiday of Thanksgiving, so honored and remembered in Bobble form.

Sarah in portrait, decades before The Bobble was even a thought

Sarah in portrait, decades before The Bobble was even a thought

2013 was the 150 anniversary of the holiday, and this woman had worked tirelessly for decades to have the day made into a National Holiday.

A Letter (one of many) that she wrote to Abraham Lincoln to have Thanksgiving, a New England tradition, made into a a National Holiday

A Letter (one of many) that she wrote to Abraham Lincoln to have Thanksgiving, a New England tradition, made into a a National Holiday

So when we gather together in November, we should add Sarah to the things we are thankful that day. And olives. We must be thankful for olives that can be carried to our mouths on the tips of our fingers, and perhaps use them as bobblehead finger puppets. And playing with our food, we should always be thankful for food to play with.

Thank You Sarah: The Woman Who Saved Thanksgiving  by by Laurie Halse Anderson

Thank You Sarah: The Woman Who Saved Thanksgiving by by Laurie Halse Anderson

 

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Early Influncer – JULIA

I can not talk about cooking without mentioning Julia Child.

We were allowed to watch Educational TV (that was what PBS was called back in the dim, dark ages) and THERE SHE WAS. Right in our Living Room.

Julia at work

Julia at work

Just like Miss Jean on Romper Room, she looked right into the camera and talked right at you. It was always Magic Mirror time with Julia.

I love the towel in the apron

I love the towel in the apron

But practically from the start -and by start I mean 1963 – The French Chef  was a presence in our house.

julia-turkey

She was The French Chef, and yet she wasn’t French.

She cooked thoughtfully and fearlessly and with interest and curiosity.

Time Magazine

Time Magazine November 25, 1966

In this Time interview she says she’s tired of grey food and waiting to shoot a cooking show in color. For those of us with black and white TV, there was a whole grey world  that was no less magical for lack of color.

Julia tasting

Julia tasting

It wasn’t until the late ’70’s that I even read one of her cookbooks. I would take notes and cook from the shows. Unlike so many others, I did NOT start with boeuf bourguignon . She did LOTS of other things.

Julia and monkfish - where's the beouf?

Julia and monkfish – where’s the boeuf? I did not do monkfish, although I since skinned eels

I distinctly remember French Onion Soup, but it was not the first thing I made

Julia making French Onion Soup –

the episode is on YouTube

Tamar Hapsel at Starving Off the Land has a different version that is also great…

starvingofftheland.

February marks the anniversary of the first airing of The French Chef, so there’ll be more then.

August marks the anniversary of Julia’s birth – I usually dedicate the month to reading her and cooking from her….So much Julia!

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Good Housekeeping

  1. What you want people to think when they come over
  2. A magazine since May 2, 1885.

    Good Housekeeping 1908

    Good Housekeeping 1908

  3. A Seal of Approval since 1909.

    Original 1909 seal of approval

    Original 1909 seal of approval

  4. A cookbook – mine is the 1963 edition.
    1963 edition of Good Housekeeping Cook Book

    1963 edition of Good Housekeeping Cook Book

    This is what the dust jacket looks like - I lost mine so long ago, I don't remember, but there's more then one image of this on the vintage cookbook e-bay place....

    This is what the dust jacket looks like – I lost mine so long ago, I don’t remember, but there’s more then one image of this on the vintage cookbook e-bay place….

     

But this is not just ANY cookbook….it is my FIRST cookbook.

Christmas, 1971.

This was a gift from my Aunt Eileen. She was my Grampy’s sister, so properly my great- aunt, although she might have better approved of the title ‘Grand-Aunt’.  She gave me books by the shopping bag full, to read what I was ready for, and to have something left for later.

Fill with books and call it Christmas - I learned to wrap from Auntie Eileen....

Fill with books and call it Christmas – I learned to wrap from Aunt Eileen….

She said cook books were great to read.

Every recipe is a story. And they don’t all have happy endings

Truer words were never spoken. Just because it’s written as recipe doesn’t mean it’s any good. Or that you’ll like it, no matter how precise your measurement or how gourmet your ingredients.

The foreword is by Willie Mae Rogers and in many ways shaped how I approach food and cooking and the whole foodways spectrum.

“A cookbook can be many things – depending on its author and its purpose. The only one element all are sure to possess is recipes.

This cookbook almost defies classification. It is so many things. It is years of Good Housekeeping’s knowledge of and respect for food – its preparation, its serving, its role in family life.

It is a loving compilation of favorite recipes from our famous cookbook series, a complete chapter of our teenage Susan’s cherished step by step directions for fabulous dishes, more quick-and-easy recipes than ever before. It is what to do to make those ever-present leftovers seem new and exciting. It is how to cook for that magic number – two. It is cooking with utmost confidence because the recipes have been tested and proved beyond any question.

It is the tremendous contribution of the food industry to our country – and the zealous care and protection of our government agencies.

Overwhelmingly, it is American women. It is the grandmother who writes from a small town in Montana to say: “My grandchildren’s birthday cakes have made me famous. I owe it all to Good Housekeeping.

It is the young bride who valiantly copes with the complexities of a new marriage, an outside job, no knowledge of cooking, and who says to us: Dear Good Housekeeping, what would I ever do without you?”

It is the “older” woman who says: “Now that my children are grown, now that our budget is bigger, I can truly enjoy and use all those wonderful ideas for gourmet dishes. Thank you for your food pages.”

It is the young high school or college graduate who writes to us: Dear Good Housekeeping, I’m being married in June. My mother says you taught her to cook. Please, will you teach me too?”

It is a Foods and Cookery staff that almost defies belief in its dedication and devotion, its enthusiasm and creativity.

But perhaps more than anything else, this cookbook is the spirit – the caring – the untiring giving of a magnificent food editor and a great and gracious lady, Dorothy B. Marsh.

It comes to you with the gratitude and best wishes of all of us at Good Housekeeping.”

The Chapter titles (The Story of Meat; The Best of Susan; Dreamy Desserts, The Macaroni Family….) and then sections like ‘Menu Planning Can Be Fun’ and so many of the sample menus……

There’s been some recent interest with vintage (I admit I’m having a hard time referring to my childhood as vintage) recipes which shouldn’t come back.

May I submit for your consideration :

Roast-Beef Hearty Party Salad

illustration from p. 311 ; recipe on p. 459

Hearty-Beef-Salad001_thumb

I have never been the least bit tempted to reconstruct this particular tableau

For 4 serving – 3 # of sirloin ….and then there’s the LIMA BEANS.

Lima beans turn up ALL OVER in this cookbook.

I come from baked bean people and pasta and beans (pasta fazoole) people, but not from lima bean people.  So much of this cookbook was like a visit from another planet when I was reading – and re-reading it – back in the day.

What’s missing from this book, besides the dust jacket, is smudges and smears and other evidence that I’ve ever cooked from it. I might very well have saved most of my cooking for other books, and newspaper clippings and  pages from magazines, and maintained this as my how to cook reference manual.

And I continue to view cookbooks as short story collections.

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Filed under Books, Influencers, The 1970's

Throwback Thursdays

I’ve been studying Thanksgiving professionally since 1980.

Semi-professionally since the Kennedy administration. My first area of expertise was the relish tray, specifically black olives,

Your Basic Black - olive, that is.

Your Basic Black – olive, that is.

the canned pitted ones that fit over your fingertips so you can wiggle them at your brothers.

This is not me, and yet it was me....olives are very philosophical, as well as tasty

This is not me, and yet it was me….olives are very philosophical, as well as tasty

 

My brothers were never the least bit squeamish, but they’ve always kept a respectable distance from black olives.

That first year of professional study was a fluke – a 10 week position as a Pilgrim at Plimoth Plantation.

I wasn’t going to make a CAREER out of it, and end up in Food Network Magazine’s Odd Job  or anything

How about a throwback to Thanksgiving? I hereby that Throwback Thurdays will be Thanksgiving themed here at Foodways Pilgrim

Here I am on How2heroes about the history of ‘the first thanksgiving’

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Orange You Glad, Two

I should have begun with Sunrise

Sunrise

Sunrise

and Sunsets also often have orange.

Sunset

Sunset

A Tequila Sunrise also has an orange layer.

Tequilla Sunrise

Tequilla Sunrise

Tang

We begged begged for Tang when it first came out. Astronauts drank it! One taste - finishing of the jar was it's own form of punishment.

We begged begged for Tang when it first came out. Astronauts drank it! One taste – finishing off the jar was it’s own form of punishment.

Darling clementines  – these are my favorite fruit of winter. I save the peels in a jar in my  kitchen because I love the scent. My mother says that her mother used to keep orange peels on the back of the old black stove for the same reason. And I love the name. Well played clementine people, well played.

Darling Clementines

Darling Clementines. The box says to wash before use. I keep wondering what was lost in that translation . ‘Use’ means eating, right? That’s what I do with them!

Carrots – don’t come in just orange, and originally were violet or black, and yellow and red, as well as white. Violet and red carrots cross to make orange carrots, (it’s not a color wheel, it’s genetics) a hybrid in honor of the Prince of Orange, who was ruling the Netherlands in the 17th century. By the 18th century it was a common color for carrots throughout Europe.

Orange carrot - this is what happens in rocky ground - carrots like sandy soil

Orange carrot – this is what happens in rocky ground – carrots like sandy soil

Sweet potatoes

Sweet Potato

Sweet Potato

Butternut squash

Butternut squash

Butternut squash

Golden Gravy from Valicenti Organics from Hollis NH(www.gimmiespaghetti.com)is made with butternut squash

Apricots,

Dried apricots

Dried apricots

which are pretty darn near close to perfect just the way they are (in dried form), and brought closer to heaven if they’re half dipped in dark chocolate (thank you Judith Campbell)

Mario Batalio’s crocsMario Batali clogs

Racheal Ray’s housewares line

Rachael Ray bread knife

Rachael Ray bread knife

Fiesta Ware

Fiesta Ware Tangerine Orange

Fiesta Ware Tangerine Orange

Red lentils…..which make incredibly great dal and are much more orange then red.

red, brown and green lentils

red, brown and green lentils

Turkey baster – my favorite turkey baster

My favorite turkey baster

My favorite turkey baster

 

Pay As You Throw bags for the town of Plymouth (at last we are getting town trash pick-up!My first day is Tuesday. Welcome to the 21st century, Plymouth)

Orange trash bags for Plymouth's pay As You Throw, which now has pick up!

Orange trash bags for Plymouth’s Pay As You Throw, which now has pick up!

Great Tupperware bowl.

This is  a huge bowl - I think the color is pumpkin...I've had it for so long, they have different names for everything now. Great for holding bread dough in the fridge.

This is a huge bowl – I think the color is pumpkin…I’ve had it for so long, they have different names for everything now. Great for holding bread dough in the fridge.

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That 70’s Bread Man

More like bread-men – James Beard on the one hand; Edward Espe Brown on the other. This post is mostly about JB. That’s how I think of him – JB.

These two pretty much represent the extremes of 1970’s bread baking – one writing for Middle America, publishing in newspapers and more than a few glossy magazines .

Cuisine and James Beard - the back cover was the back of his head

Cuisine and James Beard – the back cover was the back of his head – and the magazine cost $2!

The other, writing from a Zen Center in California – uber hippie.

Edward Espe Brown

Edward Espe Brown

Beard on Bread beard on bread and The Tassajara Bread Book the-tassajara-bread-book_1 were my go-to guides.

In my efforts to be ‘all-natural’ I made more than a few….. door-stops and….hockey pucks, which I hope gives no offense to door stops and hockey pucks. By this time I had 4 younger brothers, and they all had friends, and no one ever went hungry and no one actually got ill…..

James Beard had a section on whole-meal breads; (not all the hockey puck came from Tassajara, which had and still has a killer three layer corn bread and the bestest and tastiest, easiest  gingerbread, but I digress).

James Beard could be a little cranky about some things:

“One doubtful fashion in bread making today, however, is the tendency to acquire as many different flours and meals as can be found and incorporate them all into a single loaf, without thought for texture, for crumb, or for the other attributes by which a fine loaf is judged…….The irony of the health trend is that many of the course flours and meals found on the market, particularly in health food stores, are often quite dirty and, if anything, a risk to one’s health.” (xii/Introduction)

You see? He was on a fine tear about the jumble loaf, the loaf that begins with an odd mix of every which thing with “HEALTH” as an end product, and not a loaf of bread that you should like to eat, especially after you’ve been through the trouble to make it. The dig against health food stores was just unnecessary.

It’s the end of his Introduction that got me to go back time after time, and eventually buying my own copy:

“You can throw a recipe together, or you can be meticulous and, chances are, both approaches are likely to produce a good bread. It is a mysterious business, this making of bread, and once you are hooked by the miracle of yeast, you’ll be a breadmaker for life.”

Hooked by the miracle,I’ve signed on to the breadmaker life. Still baking, still learning.

Some of the things I still turn to, like the Sally Lunn is more properly a cake. Other, like Cream Biscuits, are, bread-ish. Dill Seed Bread – the bread with cottage cheese and dill seed or weed in it, is SO totally ‘70’s, EVERYONE had a version of it. The first pita bread I ever made, I made from here. Portuguese Sweet Bread, Italian Holiday Bread (which I shaped into a ring and made for Easter), ditto. My youngest brother was a huge fan of the English Muffin Bread.

But the one I made a lot when I need a lot of bread, and continued making when I didn’t have a lot of time and I could freeze it until I needed it was an oatmeal bread. Maryetta’s Oatmeal Bread. This makes three loaves, and after making it once, I just always made sure I had three loaf pans. I have never tried to divide this one. It was never too much. If I could figure out how to fit 6 loaf pans in any oven I’ve ever had, I would probably double it. Three is good, just right, just like in Goldilocks.

Maryetta’s Oatmeal Bread

From James Beard’s Beard On Bread. p. 106. Alfred A. Knopf, NY. 1973.

4 cups boiling water

3 cups rolled oats (traditional, not quick or instant)

7-8 cups AP flour (I often use ½ whole wheat)

2 packets yeast (or 1 big tablespoonful)*

1-2 tablespoons salt**

4 tablespoons melted butter***

½ cup mild molasses

  1. Pour the boiling water over the oatmeal in a large bowl and leave to cool.
  2. Stir in 2 cups of the flour and the yeast (so you don’t want this more than 103 so it will encourage the yeast to grow and not kill it off. This is slightly warmer than blood warm)
  3. Place in a warm, draft free (cat-free) place to rise, uncovered, until doubled in bulk.
  4. Punch down and work in the salt, the melted butter, molasses, and enough flour to make a smooth, pliable, firm dough. 10 or so minutes by hand – you can’t knead too much by hand! Work out those anxieties!
  5. Divide the dough into three equal pieces and form into loaves to fit into 3 buttered 9x5x3 inch loaf pans.
  6. Allow to rise again, uncovered, until doubled in bulk.
  7. Bake in a 350 oven 40-60 minutes, or until the bread sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom (slip the bread out of the pan – use potholders! – and rap away. Knock-Knock. Hollow sounds like a hollow-core door sounds when you knock on it. You’ll hear it. Otherwise you’ll hear a thud thud thud, and then it needs a little more oven time. After you’ve made it a few times, your nose will tell you the done smell, so the rapping becomes a double check.)
  8. Cool thoroughly before slicing (or let cool enough to let the middle finish baking before ripping in – warm bread does not slice well. It also stales up faster, so you might as well eat the whole loaf, good thing there are 2 more for later.)
  9. Makes great toast, should there be any left the next morning.

*I buy yeast in bulk, and I think a packet is 2 ¼ teaspoons….close enough.

** James Beard like LOTS of salt. I like not so much. He recommends the 2 Tablespoons, I like less.

***The original calls for salad oil; I never have that and olive oil is very distinctive and not great with molasses, so I’ve been using melted butter for years.

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Filed under Books, Bread, Influencers, Recipe, The 1970's

Beard on Food

sounds like something you’d see on Duck Dynasty

Duck Dynesty

Beard OVER  food

or maybe inspired by them

This is more of Beard AS Food, not on it

This is more of Beard AS Food, not on it

But back in the the good old days of the 1970’s it was the title of a syndicated column by James Beard. It was carried by the Brockton Enterprise, in   the weekly Food section (which wasn’t  called FOOD then, but something to let you know it was for the Mrs. House-wife/Homemaker – anyhow it was the day that the grocery stores ran the ads with the coupons). So James Beard was another Early Influencer.

James Beard in front of a portrait of...James Beard

James Beard in front of a portrait of…James Beard – this was a man who was literally larger then life.

James Beard was a unique voice – a MAN writing in the Women’s Section who happened to be writing for PEOPLE. His voice was NOT the usual. He was witty and opinionated and generous and interested and interesting. He was no lightweight.  One of his books was titled Delights and Prejudices, and that’s what you got with him.

JBdelight

I don’t like gourmet cooking or ‘this’ cooking or ‘that’ cooking. I like good cooking.
James Beard

James Beard also liked to drop names…if it weren’t for James Beard I wouldn’t have heard of Marion Cunningham or Helen Brown or Elizabeth David, for instance.

English Bread and Yeast Cookery - Elizabeth David

English Bread and Yeast Cookery – Elizabeth David

In fact, there’s a great deal I owe to  James Beard on the topic of  bread alone.

Although bread is often better with something.

Beard On Bread

Beard On Bread

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Margherita and Pizza

The reign of Umberto I and Margherita of the Kingdom of Italy  began on this day 136 years ago, the 9 January in  1878. They ruled until 29 July 1900. Margherita Maria Teresa Giovanna of Savoy (etc, etc) dies on the 4th of January in 1926.

Queen Margherita

Queen Margherita

Considering the politics she was born into, and married into and the time and place of history that she was a part of, how is it that  because of pizza that she is most often remembered today?

Pizza al taglio - pizza WITH CORNERS in Rome

Pizza al taglio – pizza WITH CORNERS in Rome

A Philosophy of Pizza Napoletanismo is a  Great Pizza History website 

Flag of Italy - so have a pizza with red, white and green in honor of Queen Margherita

Flag of Italy – so have a pizza with red, white and green in honor of Queen Margherita

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