Category Archives: Spring

#ShakespeareSunday

Today is the last day of a yearlong celebration celebrating the 400th anniversary of the death of William Shakespeare – #BardYear.

Title_page_William_Shakespeare's_First_Folio_1623

First Folio

April 23rd 1616 is the day he died. It might also be the day he was born. We have his baptismal date, so we know he was born by when. But funerals are a bigger deal, celebration wise, in the 17th century then births (infants are considered to be lumps of flesh in search of their humanity; if you live to adulthood, you’re a person).

A quick run through of a few, very few selected Shakespeare and food books:

Shakeontoast

Last one read, first one mentioned – Shakespeare on Toast

I need to find out what the English “on toast” reference is, but it was well written, fast paced and enormously entertaining and informative   (words that belong together especially when dealing with Shakespeare). Not about food, how to read Shakespeare (aloud – they’re plays, not novels!) and other tips, tricks and insights.

And to continue the reverse chronological order in which I’ve read/ discovered them….

Shakescookbook

The Shakespeare Cookbook. Andrew Dalby and Maureen Dalby.The British Museum Press: 2012.

Lovely illustrations from the British Museum collection, like 17th century fruit trenchers…and lots more. Great food, too and adaptations.

fruit trencher BM

Fruit trencher or roundel from the 17th century- not just any wooden plate! from the British Museum

Shakespeare, not Stirred. Cocktails for Everyday Dramas. Caroline Bick, PhD, and Michelle Ephriam, PhD. Perigee Books: NY 2015.

shakesnotstirred

Quite possibly the most fun of the bunch…. Shall I Campari to a Summer’s Day?….Oh, yes!

Shakespeare’s Kitchen. Francine Sagen. Random House NY 2003.

Shakeskitchen

The photo’s in this are lovely and the recipes work extremely well in a modern kitchen, even if one or two are so adapted as to be unrecognizable from their Shakespeare time form….if you like good food, cook it all; if you want good history, cook the ones with period recipe mentioned….

dining with shakesespare

Dining With William Shakespeare. Marge Lorwin. Atheneum: NY 1976. has been part of my life for decades…it was my introduction to food in the time of Pilgrims, and the scholarships – and readability –  have help up well through the decades. I always find something new when I go back.

shakesplantssimmons

Plants of Shakespeare. Adelma Grenier Simmons.   1987. Caprilands Coventry Conn.

I got this little book when I visited Caprilands Herb Farm in Coventry Connecticut in the early ’80’s….might be time for a field trip….

Adelma_at_Hilltop

 

 

and this, too!

Shakesflowers

 

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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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Whey cool

Little_Miss_Muffet_1_-_WW_Denslow_-_Project_Gutenberg_etext_18546

Little Miss Muffet 1901

Hey –  where are the  curds and whey?

Curds-and-Whey-Finalwiki 900

If this looks suspiciously like cottage cheese – well, that’s half the story. Cottage cheese is the curds drained of the whey, with a little milk mixed in to keep it sweet.

Once upon a time, in my ‘I’m probably gonna be a hippy when I grow up’ days, I got a hot off the presses book club edition of:

stillroom cookery

and I baked the breads, and I tried the yogurts (failures, every one – and every other ones I ever tried), I also searched up and down and all around for rennet tablets so I could make some cheeses.The only rennet tablets I could find were these:

junket.400x300

Junket Rennet Custard – so good!

But Junket Rennet Custard is not going to make cheese, although it is so, so good to eat.

If I’d only known  ….well, sooooo many things. The health food didn’t didn’t yet carry rennet, but the hardware and farm supply store probably still did, back in those days.

And then I went to work in the seventeenth century, so to speak.

We used herbs to make cheese

bedstraw-Galium_verum01

Maidshair or Ladies Bedstraw can act as a rennet

There are lots of curds and whey in the past.

curds and whey

Amid the sausages and the dead chickens and the veal head and tripe and assorted other offal – a bowl of curds! Whey is never far behind

And then I learned about Ricki Carrol, or the Cheese Queen 

and since then I’ve made ricotta (milk with buttermilk – fast and easy) :how to make ricotta

and I’ve made soft curds with lemon juice…because you don’t always have rennet in the house  : how to make soft curds with lemon juice

And I got some floursack towels to use instead of cheesecloth... because you can bleach and re-use these over and over again

canvasflour sack towels

And now a dairy meditative moment: dripping whey

Curds and Whey would be a great name for a rock band….

Curds___Whey_banner

Lots of clicking – Links galore!

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Coffee time

It’s official  – this has been the darkest May on record. The least sun for this much May ever recorded.To think I was reading the weather news to escape the Election news…..A little more coffee seems in order.

Van Gogh, Coffeepot, Earthenware and Fruit, May 1888. Oil on canvas, 65 x 81 cm. Private collection.

Vincent Van Gogh – 1889 Nice coffee pot.

Cezanne 1890 woman w coffeepot

Cezanne also had time for a little coffee – 1890

Chardin coffeepot

Chardin – Glass of Water and a Coffeepot. This painting is at the Carnegie Museum of Art.c. 1761

Renoir coffee-pot

Renoir also had time for coffee

Toulousse Lautrec coffee-pot

Toulouse-LauTrec also had coffee time

Matissefruit-and-coffee-pot

Matisse had fruit with his coffee.

Pablo+Picasso+-+The+Blue+Coffee+Pot+(1944)+

Even Picasso had coffee.

HopperAutomat

Automat – Edward Hopper

coffee hopper

Coffee – another Edward Hopper

And Mercury is in Transit….just a little more shade on the sun…..

Mercury-transit-disk-plot-3

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May Day

Lily_of_the_valley_777

Corinna’s going a Maying

Get up, get up for shame, the Blooming Morne
Upon her wings presents the god unshorne.
                     See how Aurora throwes her faire
                     Fresh-quilted colours through the aire:
                     Get up, sweet-Slug-a-bed, and see
                     The Dew-bespangling Herbe and Tree.
Each Flower has wept, and bow’d toward the East,
Above an houre since; yet you not drest,
                     Nay! not so much as out of bed?
                     When all the Birds have Mattens seyd,
                     And sung their thankful Hymnes: ’tis sin,
                     Nay, profanation to keep in,
When as a thousand Virgins on this day,
Spring, sooner than the Lark, to fetch in May.
Rise; and put on your Foliage, and be seene
To come forth, like the Spring-time, fresh and greene;
                     And sweet as Flora. Take no care
                     For Jewels for your Gowne, or Haire:
                     Feare not; the leaves will strew
                     Gemms in abundance upon you:
Besides, the childhood of the Day has kept,
Against you come, some Orient Pearls unwept:
                     Come, and receive them while the light
                     Hangs on the Dew-locks of the night:
                     And Titan on the Eastern hill
                     Retires himselfe, or else stands still
Till you come forth. Wash, dresse, be briefe in praying:
Few Beads are best, when once we goe a Maying.
Come, my Corinna, come; and comming, marke
How each field turns a street; each street a Parke
                     Made green, and trimm’d with trees: see how
                     Devotion gives each House a Bough,
                     Or Branch: Each Porch, each doore, ere this,
                     An Arke a Tabernacle is
Made up of white-thorn neatly enterwove;
As if here were those cooler shades of love.
                     Can such delights be in the street,
                     And open fields, and we not see’t?
                     Come, we’ll abroad; and let’s obay
                     The Proclamation made for May:
And sin no more, as we have done, by staying;
But my Corinna, come, let’s goe a Maying.
There’s not a budding Boy, or Girle, this day,
But is got up, and gone to bring in May.
                     A deale of Youth, ere this, is come
                     Back, and with White-thorn laden home.
                     Some have dispatcht their Cakes and Creame,
                     Before that we have left to dreame:
And some have wept, and woo’d, and plighted Troth,
And chose their Priest, ere we can cast off sloth:
                     Many a green-gown has been given;
                     Many a kisse, both odde and even:
                     Many a glance too has been sent
                     From out the eye, Loves Firmament:
Many a jest told of the Keyes betraying
This night, and Locks pickt, yet w’are not a Maying.
Come, let us goe, while we are in our prime;
And take the harmlesse follie of the time.
                     We shall grow old apace, and die
                     Before we know our liberty.
                     Our life is short; and our dayes run
                     As fast away as do’s the Sunne:
And as a vapour, or a drop of raine
Once lost, can ne’r be found againe:
                     So when or you or I are made
                     A fable, song, or fleeting shade;
                     All love, all liking, all delight
                     Lies drown’d with us in endlesse night.
Then while time serves, and we are but decaying;
Come, my Corinna, come, let’s goe a Maying.
hawthorn_flowers,common

white-thorn or hawthorne flowers

 

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“April is the cruellest month”

Thank you, TS Eliot for summing up the weather situation in New England – too hot, too cold, too wet, too dry.

Thomas_Stearns_Eliot_by_Lady_Ottoline_Morrell_(1934)

He wrote really great poetry, not just random lines that sound like rants.

Eliot is pretty famous for this book:

TSeliot cats

a book made more famous by the musical..

CATS music

It was too windy or too rainy or too cold to plant garden seeds – but the weeds are doing just fine.

But enough about the weather..

I’ve been to book launches –

James W. Baker, formerly of Plimoth Plantation  was up to his eyeballs in a new edition of a 17th century sermon…

2aaef62d-9a66-4ade-a3e3-c219000f7b90

The book is great because there’s a copy of the 17th century page facing an transcribed one….as well as annotations by Jim

and then a former neighbor published a 20th century Plymouth history…of Plymouth connection to Bartolomeo Vanzetti of the Sacco and Vanzetti trials

Suosso's Lane

Edna_St._Vincent_Millay

Edna St Vincent Millay (when she wasn’t hanging out with the like of TS Eliot) wrote a poem about this trial

Justice Denied in Massachusetts

Let us abandon then our gardens and go home
And sit in the sitting-room
Shall the larkspur blossom or the corn grow under this cloud?
Sour to the fruitful seed
Is the cold earth under this cloud,
Fostering quack and weed, we have marched upon but cannot
conquer;
We have bent the blades of our hoes against the stalks of them.

Let us go home, and sit in the sitting room.
Not in our day
Shall the cloud go over and the sun rise as before,
Beneficent upon us
Out of the glittering bay,
And the warm winds be blown inward from the sea
Moving the blades of corn
With a peaceful sound.

Forlorn, forlorn,
Stands the blue hay-rack by the empty mow.
And the petals drop to the ground,
Leaving the tree unfruited.
The sun that warmed our stooping backs and withered the weed
uprooted—
We shall not feel it again.
We shall die in darkness, and be buried in the rain.

What from the splendid dead
We have inherited —
Furrows sweet to the grain, and the weed subdued —
See now the slug and the mildew plunder.
Evil does overwhelm
The larkspur and the corn;
We have seen them go under.

Let us sit here, sit still,
Here in the sitting-room until we die;
At the step of Death on the walk, rise and go;
Leaving to our children’s children the beautiful doorway,
And this elm,
And a blighted earth to till
With a broken hoe.

There was a little field trip to Wahlburgers….I had a turkey burger…with sweet potato tots
Sindicated-Turkey-Burger-Home-Page1

And I went to both a Beer tasting and a Beer dinner……

AND ….I’ve been spending time at the Richard Sparrow House. Among other things they have a very fantastic wafer iron.

waferiron sparrowhouse

Tree of Life on one side the year 1752 and another tree on the other

 

April is the cruelest  because it’s just too much.

It’s not really a complaint, it just is.

vincent VanGogh April1889Field-of-Yellow-Flowers,-A

Vincent Van Gogh Field of Yellow Flowers April 1889

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Bee looking for Spring, Honey

Me, too, Bee, me, too.

beehive27-alimenti,_miele,_Taccuino_Sanitatis,_Casanatense_4182.

Golden treasures I contain,
Guarded by hundreds and thousands.
Stored in a labyrinth where no man walks,
Yet men come often to seize my gold.
By smoke I am overcome and robbed,
Then left to build my treasure anew.
What am I?

A beehive

bees

Bees – honey bees, not bumble bees – were introduced to this continent. We don’t tend to think of them as invasive, because without them the apple trees (introduced) and orange trees (introduced) and many other fruits and veggies would just not thrive.

Bumblebee_closeup

Bumble bee

Bee-apis

honey bee

And without honey bees we’d have no golden treasure of honey.

Honey-miel

Mmmmm – honey.

Radish-Celery Salad

one large stalk celery, sliced very thin

4 or 5 radishes, sliced very thin

celery leaves/parsley leaves, chopped finely – it should be one third radish/one third celery/one third leafies

optional – one teaspoon capers OR chopped olives OR not

Slice, chop and mix together.

A little salt and pepper.

Dressing – 1/2 teaspoon whole grain mustard

1 Tablespoon wine vinegar

1 teaspoon honey

2 Tablespoons olive oil

Mix the honey and vinegar into the mustard. Drizzle the oil in until all blended. Pour over the sliced/chopped radish and celery, toss well.

Other add ins or leave outs – chopped shallot or onion or minced garlic  – just to season. A little shaved Parmesan  or Romano cheese is good, too.

 Serves one.

I eat this alone; on crackers; on a bigger leafier salad; on a microwaved baked sweet potato…did you know that salads started out as condiments? When the baby greens and radishes start coming out, I cut the honey out…an sometimes the dressing altogether.

inspired by a Radish-celery salad in the Boston Globe,   February 27, 2008 – Jill Santopietro

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International Carrot Day

Carrot Song

carrot foot

If you’re going to put your foot in your mouth…..

vangogh2carrots

Vincent Van Gogh

Now it just so happens that I like my carrots in sticks to pick up dip – or hummus if I want to appear virtuous or in soups or in cakes but almost never boiled and served as a side and never never frozen and unless maybe they’re for a cake….carrot cake with cream cheese frosting…mmmmm…..and there’s a carrot upside  down cake I’d like to try, perhaps in a savory version…..

And salads – I really like a carrot salad, because they can usually be made ahead and travel well and still taste good, if not better.

And because of my recent moves and the power of the  Internet it seems as if several of my go-to carrot salads of the past 20 years are more or less versions of the same carrot salad.

Which just proves that good is good.

It was a page from Vegetarian Times from February of 2004 that led me to the website that helped put 2 +2+ 2 more carrots altogether….

VegetarianTimesMagazineCover

This is NOT the correct cover for this story…but it is the official sample cover on the Wikipedia site

SOOO – Paula Wolfert in C0uscous and  Other Good Foods from Morocco (published back in 1973) had a several carrot salads : a spiced, a sweet and a grated.

PWcouscous and other good foods

out and about since 1973

and then the story in Vegetarian Times in 2004 in which  Crescent Dragonwagon mentions that the Moroccan Carrot Salad in The Passionate Vegetarian is a version from  the Paula Wolfert… and here I’ve been toggling between each of them, Lo these many years….here’s link to the CD (CD for Crescent Dragonwood) version of

Moroccan Carrot Salad  

CDPassionateVeg

I just LOVE this cover -click Deep Feast, to link with Crescent Dragonwagon’s website

And thus we celebrate yet another International Carrot Day…

carrotwinter1wolfaerts

This is Winter who should be gone by now….see you later Winter, much, MUCH later, bye-bye!

carrots, boy and girl

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Hello, Spring!

On this day in 1888 Vincent Van Gogh painted Grass and Butterflies because  SOMETIMES in SOME PLACES,  April is Spring.

vangogh april31888GrassNbutterflies

Oh, Spring, you are a tease.

botticelli-primavera

Botticelli’s Primavera

 

Spring_-_Allegorie_des_Frühlings_-_17th_century

Boy, Spring – you fool!

Spring 17th c

Spring – where are YOU????

sprin 17th c_man_with_stag

This little 17th century Spring time scene sums up how I feel about snow in April – STUPID SPRING. Seriously, if you have a Stag by the back legs – LET GO. Holding on is stupid. VERY VERY INDEED

This is the Spring I’m waiting for…..

Ambrosius Bosschaert's 1606 oil on copper painting Flowers in a Glass

             Ambrosius Bosschaert’s 1606 oil on copper painting Flowers in a Glass

This is what it was like as I was looking out my window this morning, and will probably see more of tomorrow.My friend Mindy lives up and over the street from me, and she got it on film…

Don’t need to wait til tomorrow – it’s just started again…..

 

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Filed under Spring, winter

Welcome, Spring!

Yes, YOU Spring, over there…

as I listen to the WEATHER WATCH to prepare for 3 or 5 or 7 or 12 inches of snow….

Winter Storm Warning in Massachusetts

Active for next 19 hours ·

Spring is about

the SNOWDROPS,

Snowdrops_Feb_2009BankHall Bretheton2009

not

SNOWDROPPING

 

No more snowballs, PLEASE…

snowball-Ambrogio_Lorenzetti_010

but rather

tennis balls

 

StephensField tennis courts

These tennis courts are just down the street..tennis AND an ocean view. My tennis isn’t pretty, so view matters.

snoball

My fave snowball – even then in limited quantities. Enough already

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