Category Archives: Perception ways

Happy Birthday, Pappa!

June 18th was Father’s Day in 1933.

It was also the day my father was born, which made a certain amount of sense when I was little  –  why wouldn’t fathers be born on Father’s Day?  (My mother was christened that same day in Italy, which is the start of the connections between the two of them…..)

And he  LOVED Chinese food.

chinese-take-outLike blue eyes and curly hair (what was left of it) this was such a fundamental part of who he was and what he did,  that I never asked, nor do I remember anyone else ever once asking,

“Chinese food? What is about Chinese food, Bill? Why Chinese food? How does an Irish boy learn about Chinese food”

Good questions…wish I’d thought of them sooner. Not only was  Chinese food the treat of treats, it brought him into the kitchen after he retired.

He had a wok.

Serious Wok action. This was the attitude, if not the reality.

Serious Wok action. This was the attitude, if not the reality of the ancestral home cooktop.

For a very long time, perhaps as far back as the ’70’s, a paperback copy of  “The Pleasures of Chinese Cooking” by Madame Grace Zia Chu has been kicking around .Chinese Cooking larger

Several recipes have markers….but the basic of the basics is Fried Rice.

HAM FRIED RICE

2 Tablespoon soy sauce

½ teaspoon sugar

2 eggs

4 tablespoons peanut or corn oil, divided

¼ cup scallions cut into ¼ inch pieces

4 cups cold boiled rice

½ cup diced cooked ham

  1. Mix the soy sauce with the sugar. Set aside.
  2. Beat the eggs and scramble them slightly in 1 Tablespoon of the oil. Set aside.
  3. In a heavy frying pan or a wok heat 3 tablespoons of oil over high heat.
  4. Add scallions and stir a few times
  5. Add rice and stir quickly so that rice won’t stick to the pan and will be well coated with the oil
  6. Add the soy sauce/sugar mix, stir well.
  7. Add the ham and the slightly scrambled egg, mixing and breaking the eggs into little pieces in the rice.
  8. Serve hot.

NOTES: The rice needs to be THOROUGHLY cold or all you’ll get is a sticky mess. Madame Chu’s note and my experience. Brown rice may be used for a more hippie version, just be sure that the rice is cooked thoroughly.

Cooked chicken or beef may be substituted for the ham.

The original recipe does not call for a wok, but I think they’re a little more common now, so if you got one, go ahead and use it.

The original calls for ¼ teaspoon MSG, which I stopped using years, make that decades, ago. If that departure from the recipe makes it Irish/Chinese fusion, so be it. Call the Food Police. Guilty as charged.

Serves 4.

Grace Zia Chu. The Pleasures of Chinese Cooking. Pocket Books, March 1969. p.51.

Fried_rice

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Filed under Birthday, Books, Irish, Perception ways, The 1970's

Cornbread Song

I left out a little measure in the 3- layer cornbread recipe last time around – so here it is again, with all the tablespoons, teaspoons and cups that you could want!

  1. Three Layer Corn Bread

Easy, glorious and amazing!

1 cup cornmeal (fresh stone ground from your favorite local mill, like Plimoth Grist Mill is best – natch!)

½ cup whole wheat flour

½ cup white flour

¼ cup wheat germ (not in the 1970 version)

2 teaspoon. baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

2 eggs

¼ – ½ cup honey or molasses

¼ cup oil or melted butter

3 cup milk or buttermilk (my fave)

  1. Combine dry ingredients
  2. Combine wet ingredients
  3. Mix together. Mixture will be quite liquidy.
  4. Pour into greased 9×9 pan
  5. Bake at 350° for 50 minutes or until top is springy when gently touched.
  6. As a variation, add a cup of grated cheese – Jack, provolone or parmesan.

Tassajara Bread Book 25th Anniversary Edition (1995)

Tassajara Bread Book (1970) p. 107 (#58)

plimoth grist mill ex

Plimoth Grist Mill in Plymouth – formerly known as The Jenney Grist Mill

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Filed under Bread, Perception ways, Wicked Wayback

National Coffee Day

coffee-shop-17thc-london

I went to the Coffee Club and heard very good discourse… ~Samuel Pepys, diary, 1660 January 17th

Coffee beans in the shape of a coffee cup. Stock Photo

Coffee beans in the shape of a coffee cup. Stock Photo

A fig for partridges and quails,
ye dainties I know nothing of ye;
But on the highest mount in Wales
Would choose in peace to drink my coffee.
~Jonathon Swift

jean-baptiste-simeon-chardin_glass-of-water-and-coffee-pot_1760carnegie

      Chardin, Glass of Water and Coffee Pot, 1760, Carnegie Museum of Art

 

No coffee can be good in the mouth that does not first send a sweet offering of odor to the nostrils.

~Henry Ward Beecher

coffee-pot-renoir

Coffee Pot -Pierre Auguste  Renoir

A cup of coffee — real coffee — home-browned, home ground, home made, that comes to you dark as a hazel-eye, but changes to a golden bronze as you temper it with cream that never cheated, but was real cream from its birth, thick, tenderly yellow, perfectly sweet, neither lumpy nor frothing on the Java: such a cup of coffee is a match for twenty blue devils and will exorcise them all. ~Henry Ward Beecher

henry_ward_beecher_-_project_gutenberg_etext_15394

 

“There was a special Nolan idea about the coffee. It was their one great luxury. Mama made a big potful each morning and reheated it for dinner and supper and it got stronger as the day went on. It was an awful lot of water and very little coffee but mama put a lump of chicory in it which made it taste strong and bitter. Each one was allowed three cups a day with milk. Other times you could help yourself to a cup of black coffee anytime you felt like it. Sometimes when you had nothing at all and it was raining and you were alone in the flat, it was wonderful to know you could have something even though it was only a cup of black and bitter coffee.

Neeley and Francie loved coffee but seldom drank it. Today, as usual, Neeley let his coffee stand black and ate his condensed milk spread on bread. He sipped a little of the black coffee for the sake of formality. Mama poured out Francie’s coffee and put milk in it, even though she knew that the child wouldn’t drink it. From time to time, she’d smell the bitter sweetness of it. That was better than drinking it. At the end of the meal, it went down the sink

Mama had two sister, Sissy and Evy, who came to the flat often. Every time they saw the coffee thrown away, they gave mama a lecture about wasting things.

Mama explained: “Francie is entitled to one cup each meal like the rest. If it makes her feel better to throw it away than to drink it, all right. I think it’s good that people like us can waste something once in a while and get the feeling of how it would be to have lots of money and not have to worry about scrounging.

This queer point of view satisfied mama and pleased Francie. It was one of the links between the ground-down poor and the wasteful rich.  The girl felt that even if she had less than anybody in Williamsburg somehow she had more.”

treegrows-in-brook-1947pb

Popular Library ed. pp. 15-16

Harper edition published August 1943; 29 printings.

tree-grows-in-brooklyn-coffee

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Filed under Autumn, Perception ways

Van Gogh’s Potatoes

There it was in the magazine – FoodNetwork? Rachael Ray? It was July…..this July, just a month ago.

Van Gogh

painted four

still lifes of

Potatoes

He only painted one

STARRY NIGHT

9th-wonder

This is part of the Potato Promo

SOOOOOOO….

In this Potato Salad season of the year,

I give you Vincent Van Gogh

ON POTATOES

800px-Van_Gogh_-_Stillleben_mit_Kohlköpfen,_Kartoffelkorb_und_BlätternBaskets of Potatoes, 1885, Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam

Van Gogh – Still Life with Potatoes, 1885, Rijksmuseum Amsterdam

Vincent van Gogh, Baskets of potatoes, March-April 1885.

Vincent van Gogh, Baskets of potatoes, March-April 1885.

800px-Van_Gogh_-_Stillleben_mit_Karoffelkorb Baskets of Potatoes, 1885, Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam

Van Gogh Still Life with Basket of Potatoes 1885, Rijksmuseum Amsterdam

Still Life with an Earthen Bowl and Potatoes c.1886 Rotterdam Musuem Boi.

Still Life with Earthen Bowl 1886 Rotterdam Boi

vangogh stillife potatoyellow bowl Rijkmueums 1888

Van Gogh Potatoes in Yellow Bowl 1888 Rijksmuseum

and of course…..

Van_Gogh_Digger_(1882)

Van Gogh, Digger 1882

Van Gogh Potato peeler NY met

Van Gogh Potato Peeler 1885 NY Met

Van-willem-vincent-gogh-die-kartoffelesser-03850

Van Gogh The Potato Eaters 1885 Rijksmuseum

And if you’re not Van Goghed out,

Van Gogh The Life

By Steven Naifeh and Gregory White Smith

 

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National Apple Pie Day

was May 13th.

How did I miss this????

Who makes apple pie in MAY??????

There’s rhubarb and blueberries and strawberries…..but apples…

Not still and not yet.

Now, if were

National Mock Apple Pie Day

I could get behind that. A little pastry practice for all the lovely real fruits that are just ahead.

ritz cracker

Ritz Cracker did not invent the mock apple pie….but it certainly popularized it.

When there are no apples people still wanted apple pie. Dried apples were the thing that used to extend the season. After the fresh apples, the dried apple. After the dried apple, the crackers….and then Spring and Summer fruits until the new apples.

Here’s an earlier then Ritz version:

applepiepart1applepie part2

A CALIFORNIA PIONEER APPLEPIE-1852
Mrs. B. C. Whiting.

Break four soda crackers into an earthen bowl. Pour
over them a pint of cold water, made very tart with citric
acid. When soft, but not mashed, removed the soda crackers
to your pie plate, with the under crust already on; then sift
over two tablespoons of light brown sugar, and a little all-

spice and cinnamon to flavor. (The brown sugar and spice
give the requisite color), after which put on a prettily per-
forated top crust, and bake in a very quick oven a few
moments.
The deception was most complete and readily accepted.
Apples at this early date were a dollar a pound, and we
young people all craved a piece of mother’s applepie to
appease our homesick feelings.

applepiesource

Los Angeles, C. Simpson Methodist Episcopal Church (Ladies Social Circle).1894.How We Cook in Los Angeles. A practical cook-book containing six hundred or more recipes….including a French, German and Spanish department with menus, suggestions for artistic table decorations, and souvenirs.pp.240-1.

 

 

Here’s what used to be on the back of the Ritz box:

mockapplepieritz

I have made this pie. More than once. The first time I made it, there was a certain amount of disbelief. So, I made it a second time (in the same 24 hours) –  with witnesses.

Which also happened the second time I made it…..and I have made it since then, too. Because sometimes crackers are better then apples.

.It’s still a little hard to believe how much like apple pie it tastes. And looks. And smells.

Is it the cinnamon?

Or is it just how bland so many of our apples have gotten that they taste like crackers?

Part of the ruse is science.

pie-science2

Newsweek has an article on the appleless apple pie.

Part is that your eyes and nose believe, and then convince your brain.

mock_apple_pie_Savour2008

from Saveour, Feb 2008

And it’s really, really good – if  ironic  – with cheddar cheese

apple pie w cheddar

This is pretty orange cheddar….but for cheese and cracker pie …

Just like Real Apple Pie.

 

 

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Filed under Eating, Pantry, Perception ways, Pie, Spring, The 1980's

Loose Ends

Loose tea ends, that is…..or rather, loose beginnings.

Tea in different grades of fermentation

Tea in different grades of fermentation. Admit it – you don’t think of tea as a fermented beverage much, do you?

After bag after bag after bag after tea bag…and then I bagged the bag.

Tea_bagsI loosened up. No strings attached.

In part because I had collected a few more tea pots and assorted other tea accessories

A Strainer, made of all natural bamboo thta after a few pots never looked quite clean, and finally got a little funky, and not in the good funky way.

A Strainer, made of all natural bamboo that after a few pots never looked quite clean, and finally got a little funky, and not in the good funky way.

Tea infuser - stainless cleans up much nicer then bamboo

Tea infuser – stainless cleans up much nicer then bamboo

The little Ducky was just too adorable, but his small size meant he was for a smallish cup

The little Ducky was just too adorable, bordering on the twee (Bordering On The Twee would be a great name for a fake rock and roll band, like Spinal Tap) but his small size meant he was for a smallish cup and not a pot.

……and because loose tea was becoming a thing on this side of the Pond. Seriously, 200 years after a certain nearby Tea Party in Boston,

boston-tea-party-painting-currier

This Tea Party – I think the nasty habit of not getting the water to a proper boil begins right about….NOW

Not to be confused with THIS Tea Party…. Tea Party Alice TennielLoose tea was available.

tea loose-English_Westminster

By the pound in the Health Food Store…or in very expensive little tins in the specialty food store. I bought them . I brewed them. I drank oceans of tea.

Then I went herbal.

Loose leaf chamomile tea

Loose leaf chamomile tea….helps you sleep

Mint - good for digestion and just plain tasty

Mint – good for digestion and just plain tasty

And the herbs were healthy and organic and pure ….and a little dull.

Time to spice it up.

Bengal SpiceLemon GingerBag again.

37-loop-chantal-chili-red-loop-teakettle-popup

Time to put the kettle on, let’s all have tea! Tea cakes, tea biscuits, tea sandwiches – there are lots of good foods that go with tea.

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Cuppa, cuppa burning love

Long, long ago, when I was young and Mr Nixon was president,

RMNI started reading books.

Actually I started reading books – and newspapers and magazines and Sear and Roebucks catalogs and the backs of cereal boxes, much, much earlier, but I started reading books set in England and by English authors during the Nixon administration. For reasons I do not remember, I chose to narrow my reading to England for a year. Winnie-the-Pooh? Been there, read, that.

William Shakespeare? Working my way through.

Wm Shakes chandosWatching movie versions to help sort it all out.

I remember.

It was all about Shakespeare. Writing these words – the collected works of William Shakespeare, I remember.

But not just any ole Shakespeare….

Romeo and Juliet.

The Movie.This Movie.

Romeo and Juleit Zeffer

THIS is why I wanted to read ALL of Shakespeare. Sexy. sexy Shakespeare.

Which led to a major Agatha Christie Read-a-thon. Not the non-sequester this seems.The Library had scads of them. It put me in England.  I tried to read them in the order in which they were written – or just the way they were on the shelves.

Dame Agatha Christie

Dame Agatha Christie

All the detectives…..I would eventually re-read many of them by character series.

Hercule PoirotTommy and TuppenceHarley Quinn

Miss Marpleand so on and so forth…..

and then there was Thomas Hardy

hardy

far-from-the-madding-crowd-dvd

Far from the Maddening Crowd – the 1968 movie

The movie gave me a visual….each time I read Hardy I still make new discoveries. I loved the flow of the words, the poetry  – there’s no way I understood HALF of what he was writing about when I first read him.

Jane Austen….

Jane Austin

Jane Austen

I started with Emma.

3panel book reviewMy Great Aunt Eileen had given me three volumes of Jane Austen when I was nine – before cookbooks, she gave me Austen so  the books would be waiting for me to be ready for them. I had forgotten them.

They had become part of the backdrop, three red covered hardbound volumes. Until  my then brand new best friend came into school with a paperback book:

Emma Jane Austen.

Emma Jane Austen? Who’s that? I asked.

Oh – Emma by Jane Austen.

Well, yeah, I’ve heard of Jane Austen (quick brain scan, can’t remember a thing – wait!  She’s English. Fits in with my read only English authors plan for the year. Where exactly did I leave that book?)

And while I read, I drank tea.

Tea made the books more English.

Tea made me more English.

Proper tea is made in a teapot, so I wanted a tea pot.

I got one at a yard sale and it was a beauty.

I'm a little teapot...

I’m a little teapot…

Little, orange, luster-ware. It was like a little bit of sunshine on the morning table.

Considering that much of the coffee I was drinking at this period was Freeze-dried…..hey, it was the ’70’s!

sanka 1970's

He played a doctor on TV, and he sold coffee, too. Robert Young.

Back to  tea. Pots and pots of tea. Hot tea, never iced or sweet. Pots and pots of hot tea poured into cup after cup.

That’s Salada Tea

Salada_PackShot691-164639and also Red Rose and Lipton.

Constant-Comment-1-300x271

Lots and lots of Constant Comment. Perhaps the signature tea. Thank you, Judith!

Earl Grey. English Breakfast. All day long.

Drank tea while I read. And I read every day.

Sharing pots of tea as part of the conversations of the books, the characters, the plots, the places, the movies.

Often in a China cup, also purchased at yard sales and received and given as gifts, often given as gifts between those of us reading the books and discussing them. A proper cuppa. Book love = Tea love. tea cup lady carlyleThe kettle was always on. The pot was always warmed.The good China was out, singular and mismatched as it was.

Tea was served. Sometimes with milk, sometimes with lemon, sometimes with something a little sweet, sometimes with friends, sometimes with family.

The Rule of Three was established in the ancestral home – you always put the kettle on with enough for yourself and two others, even if you were alone. Someone could come in! Be prepared!

It’s June. Strawberry season. Time to read Emma again.

But first, put on the kettle.

tea-kettle-with-whistle

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Filed under Influencers, Perception ways, Summer, The 1970's

Gingerbread. Man

A confectionery tale

Once upon a time, in a time not so very long ago, a messenger or two brought glad tidings of great joy.

“Oh, Yoo-Hoo, Oftabakin! In a village nearby The Historical Society shall soon choose the best gingerbread. Send your gingerbread as the best.”

Man, oh man, replied Oftabakin. Cakewalk.

And over the clatter of baking pans in and out of the oven, much like the clatter of hooves of twelve tiny reindeer on the roofs, Oftabakin heard ‘historical’ and ‘gingerbread’ and as these were great words, among her favorite words, she smiled with delight. For like ‘chocolate’ and ‘peanut butter’, some great words are even more great together.

So she cleaned up the kitchen and got out the historical books and the gingerbread books and made a study of historical gingerbread.

She discovered all sorts of strange and wonderful ways to spell gingerbread:

Blah blah blah

She found that honey was very common and then – like magic – sugar replaced it, only to later be replaced by molasses. Except that sugar never went completely away and in some places and cases came back stronger than ever.

That not all gingerbread had ginger in it.

Whodathunkit.

That gingerbread was pressed and rolled and cut and caked and iced and frosted and gilded, served hot and cold and could be crispy/crunchy or soft and even gooey.

The more she studied gingerbread the more fascinating it became.

And so Oftabakin made lists and notes in margins and scribbled on different colored sticky papers and stuck the papers out of the books and on the sides of the fridge, and had to re-write several of the things she wrote for she could barely read her own handwriting.

And she slept on it and dreamed sweet angel dreams.

Gingerbread angel mold - 17th century

Gingerbread angel mold – 17th century

 

She made charts and lists and other charts….and then she saw the time, and it was time to bake.

So she shopped, for she had a mighty list.

Oftabakin checked and double checked the bowls and mixers and pans, and removed boughs and boughs of holly to clear the decks.

Boughs-of-Holly-Border-Roll-12.99

Decks cleared, she commenced a-measuring and a-mixing. Stirring, folding, warming, cooling, dropping, spreading, smoothing, timing.

A-baking. A-humming. Fa la la la la la la la la.

The kitchen was alive with the fragrance of sugar and spice and everything nice and the sound of angelic harps, very Celtic it seemed, but then they would be.

Oftabakin tasted the gingerbread and the gingerbread was good.

When Oftabakin said Cakewalk, she thought that the Historical Society wanted plates of gingerbread, to judge the gingerbread and choose the best gingerbread. Like a real cakewalk.

So she went to their magical website to get an entry form and directions and to see if she needed particular plates to serve it on, and would they need a copy of the recipes, for she had decided to make FOUR gingerbreads, to demonstrate Four Hundred Years of Gingerbread History on one plate. History you could eat.

What The Historical Society wanted was….

GINGERBREAD HOUSES.

(Duh duh DUUUHHHHH)

Oftabakin was many things, and when not a-baking could be a-gardening or a-cleaning or even a-humming, but Oftabakin was not a carpenter.

Oh, sure she knew the difference between a thwart saw and a sawzall, a screwdriver and a screw, timber framing and balloon framing – although that there were no actual balloons involved in balloon framing was the source of perpetual disappointment for her and a real shortcoming for carpentry in general she thought.

So she sharpened her knives and disinfected a T-square and covered the correct sized base with tin foil and made gobs and gobs of royal icing and got a pastry bag with different tips and cutters in different shapes and candies in different colors and went to work.

Hard hats were now required in the kitchen.

This is a Martha Stewart Gingerbread House. It bears no resemblance to any house in this story.

This is a Martha Stewart Gingerbread House. It bears no resemblance to any house in this story.

The list of things that Oftabakin was not continued to grow.

Not a construction worker.

Not an engineer.

Not an ice cubes chance in you-know-where for a career in fancy pastry work, either.

gingerbread house

This is not the actual house under construction. It is a re-created facsimile….minus the royal icing and gumdrops – and it is standing up straighter…..

 

And when it was done, she took some photos of The Little House, made with 4 kinds of gingerbread. And copious amounts of royal icing. And gumdrops. With a little Gingerbread Man.

The G-Man

The G-Man

“But the lightening isn’t very good,” Oftabakin said to herself. “I can’t find the good side of this house.”

“It’s not the lighting, Toots”, said the Gingerbread Man. “It’s the House. It doesn’t have a good side. Well, it does – INSIDE…someone’s mouth

Great. Of All the Gingerbread Men in All the World, Oftabakin managed to make one who was also a Wise Guy.

But daylight was burning, delivery had to be made, so the house and the icing and the gumdrops and the mouthy G-Man were all packed up and maps came out and it was time to roll.

On the highways and byways, the roll came to a sudden stop – there was an accident ahead. “Hey, Toots,” said the G-Man, “That’s not the only accident on this road – look in this box.”

Before Oftabakin could answer, she saw a sign, a sign that had colors and shapes that spoke of the Sunrise and the Sunset, and she was drawn to it, so she pulled off the highways and closer to the sign. “What would you like?” asked the Sign, and Oftabakin told the Sign.DD drive thru

Oftabakin had a Gingerbread Coffee and it was good. Oftabakin liked her coffee with cream, and no sugar, for she was sweet enough just the way God made her. Sometimes a little sugar on the side made coffee even better. So she reached to box with the Little House and picked up the G-Man and dunked his head into the coffee.gman headless

And it was good. And he was quiet. At last and for always.

And then she went home, for she realized the gingerbread was never meant to go away, but was something she could share with her own Village.

And so she took apart the house and made plates of the four different gingerbreads and shared them.

And the Villagers said, “This is Good.”

 

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Old Chestnuts

1640 Kitchen Still Life Barbieri

1640 Kitchen Still Life Paolo Antonio Barbieri

Under the spreading chestnut tree…’ Longfellow, The Village Blacksmith

Up until fairly recently chestnuts trees  were a part of the New England landscape. Castanea_dentataA fungal blight introduced at the beginning of the 20th century pretty much took all the chestnuts by the 1940’s. The presence of imported chestnuts in time for the holidays is just a shadow of the spreading chestnut tree’s previous presence.

Like in the Fable of The Monkey and the Cat from Aesop, no less

Aesop for Children (1919)

61. THE MONKEY AND THE CAT

Once upon a time a Cat and a Monkey lived as pets in the same house. They were great friends and were constantly in all sorts of mischief together. What they seemed to think of more than anything else was to get something to eat, and it did not matter much to them how they got it.

One day they were sitting by the fire, watching some chestnuts roasting on the hearth. How to get them was the question.

“I would gladly get them,” said the cunning Monkey, “but you are much more skillful at such things than I am. Pull them out and I’ll divide them between us.”

Pussy stretched out her paw very carefully, pushed aside some of the cinders, and drew back her paw very quickly. Then she tried it again, this time pulling a chestnut half out of the fire. A third time and she drew out the chestnut. This performance she went through several times, each time singeing her paw severely. As fast as she pulled the chestnuts out of the fire, the Monkey ate them up.

Now the master came in, and away scampered the rascals, Mistress Cat with a burnt paw and no chestnuts. From that time on, they say, she contented herself with mice and rats and had little to do with Sir Monkey.

The flatterer seeks some benefit at your expense.

Singe et chat

Singe et chat

 

chestnutTomasso_Salini_Mao_Una_fábula_de_Esopo._El_gato_el_mono_y_las_castañas

Tommaso Salini – The Monkey and the Cat – 1575

 

 

But chestnuts were also good roasted – and they still are.

To stuff a roasted Goose or Duck.

….Geese and Ducks are also stuffed with Chestnuts from which the peels and membranes have been removed [and which have been mixed] with Butter.

Rose, Peter, ed and translator. The Sensible Cook.(1683) p. 66.

Evidently FDR also like some chestnuts stuffed in his holiday bird.

 

Young, small turnips should be cooked in water without wine for the first boiling. Then throw away the water and cook slowly in water and wine, and chestnuts therin, or, if one has no chestnuts, sage.

Pleyn Delight, #17. (The Menagier de Paris, 1393)

Chestnuts

Castanea sativa or sweet chestnut

 

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Filed under Autumn, Christmas, Perception ways, The 17th century

Extraordinary Pie

From Samuel Pepys diaries:

6 January 1662.

Thence to dinner to Sir W. Pen’s, it being a solemn feast day with him, his wedding day, and we had, besides a good chine of beef and other good cheer, eighteen mince pies in a dish, the number of the years that he hath been married.

Sooooooooooo

Is what he saying that….

1) Wedding anniversaries are solemn feast days, which means the Puritan curse of not celebrating anniversaries has somewhat lifted in London in the 1660’s and

2) You celebrate with the number of pies to correspond to the number of years married?

HOW AND WHY DID WE EVER STOP DOING THIS??????

And being Samuel Pepys, there’s more.

 Monday 3 February 1661/62

After musique practice I went to the office, and there with the two Sir Williams all the morning about business, and at noon I dined with Sir W. Batten with many friends more, it being his wedding-day, and among other froliques, it being their third year, they had three pyes, whereof the middlemost was made of an ovall form, in an ovall hole within the other two, which made much mirth, and was called the middle piece; and above all the rest, we had great striving to steal a spooneful out of it; and I remember Mrs. Mills, the minister’s wife, did steal one for me and did give it me; and to end all, Mrs. Shippman did fill the pye full of white wine, it holding at least a pint and a half, and did drink it off for a health to Sir William and my Lady, it being the greatest draft that ever I did see a woman drink in my life.

What have we here? A certain friskiness, for one.

Also,another occasion where the number of pies corresponds to the number of years married.

Notice also – eating the pies with a spoon. Before pies were cut into wedges, which is a relatively recent phenomenon in pie history, pies were broken open from the top and more or less scooped out.

A-Still-Life-Of-A-Pie-And-Sliced-Lemon-On-Pewter-Dishes-A-Vase-Of-Flowers-A-Glass-Of-Beer-And-A-Wine-Glass-Upon-A-Partly-Draped-Table

Heda 1642

Willem Clauszn Heda 1642

Still Life by Willem Clauszn Heda

Still Life by Willem Clauszn Heda

and then there’s this:

William Playfair - 1789 - the first pie chart

William Playfair – 1789 – the first pie chart

And they’re using the pastry to drink wine from – a pint of wine. It’s like drinking champagne from a slipper…only more so.

Robert May in The Accomplist Cook RobertMayTheAccomplishtCookFrontispiecehas a section called:

“To make an extraordinary Pie, or a Bride Pye of several Compounds being several distinct Pies all on one bottom”

bride pie mayround234

 

 

Robert May has a few notes on these pies:

“…..you may bake the middle one full of flour, it being bak’t and cold, take out the flour in the bottom, & put in live birds, or a snake, which will seem strange to the beholders, which cut up the pie at the Table. This is only for Weddings to pass away the time.” (235)

I was at a wedding last week and I for one am so grateful they chose skywriting over snakes or birds to dazzle and entertain us.

skywritingIloveU

Skywriting is SO much nicer then snakes in a pie!

But today is the anniversary of John Jenney and Sarah Carey, the Sarah Jenney I play in 1627. According to the Leiden records:

[THE DUTCH RECORD]
Aengeteyckent de v. septemb 1614
tjee de 6 . 9 . 1614 Johan Jene Jongman brouwersinecht van
tije de 13 . 9 . 1614 noorwiets In engelant nu woonende te Rot
tiije de 20 9 . 1614 terdam verselschapt met Rogier Wilson syn zyn Getrout voor bekende Jasper van Bauchem met
& Jacob Paedts Sche- Sara kaire Jonge Dochter van moncksoon in
pene Dese eerste engelant verselschapt met Johanne Leyns
Novemb xvi veertien haer bekende

and now in English…

[THE ENGLISH TRANSLATION]
Entered on 5 September, 1614.
John Jenney, single man, brewer’s man, from Norwich in England, now dwelling at Rotterdam, accompanied by Roger Wilson, his acquaintance, with Sarah Carey, single woman, from “Moncksoon” in England, accompanied by Joanna Lyons, her acquaintance.
They were married before Jasper van Bauchem and Jacob Paedts, Sheriffs, this first of November, 1614.

The entries “tje de 6 . 9 . 1614” &c. show that the banns were published three times, on 6, 13 and 20 September, 1614

November 1, 1614 was the wedding day. Thirteen years for 1627. 400 years for the rest of us.

What would their culinary biography be if told pie-wise?

Every pie has a story.

Table-Talk time.

Table talk pie pan

What’s in YOUR pie plate?

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Filed under Eating, Perception ways, The 17th century