Category Archives: The 1970’s

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

Drive-In Day

June 6th is National Drive-In  Movie Day. Shouldn’t it be Drive-In NIGHT????

It’s not as easy to see a drive in movie as it used to be……

As I’ve mentioned before, popcorn put me through college….

And Kingston was where I made it.

We also got to see the movies. Or hear them . Not always both at the same time, but after six nights, you had a clue. And we could always come in on our night off and watch, so yes, I went to the Drive-In to WATCH the movies.

And eat free popcorn, freshly made.

It was at the Drive-In I saw Star Wars

Not knowing anything about Star Wars before it first aired…it seemed to have dropped out of the sky.

Image a summer night sky and then…

Just think about this movie on a giant screen against the night sky.

Movie Magic.

drive in

 

 

 

 

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Filed under Summer, The 1970's

Scarborough Fair

Art Garfunkel was at Memorial Hall in Plymouth, and I was , too. And about 1,500 others, including Jacob, Erin, Kristi, Jeanne, Chris and Heidi, to name a few.

Art sang (natch)

He shared the credit with his musicians  :

Tab Laven 

and

Dave Mackay

He told stories and dropped a few names (Paul Simon. and also Mike Nichols, Jack Nicholson, Paul Simon, Ann Margret, Paul Simon….)

He talked about his family – his kids, his wife, his parents.

He said the Enrico Caruso’s arias from The Pearl Fishers was a huge influence on him.

and he sang……

Set List:

April Come She Will

The Boxer

Perfect Moment

A Heart in New York

All I Know

Scarborough Fair

The Side of a Hill

Homeward Bound

Intermission

Real Emotional Girl (Randy Newman)

For Emily, Whenever I May Find Her

Sound of Silence

Kathy’s Song

Bridge Over Troubled Water

Encore

Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep

(set list from Concert Comminicator)

 And now, humming, I shall continue my day.

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Filed under Influencers, The 1960"s, The 1970's

Three Layer Corn Bread

Not so Wicked Wayback….

Talking about 17th century cornbreads, some one recalled a 3 layer cornbread that her mother  used to make….and I recalled this one from Tassajara Bread Book

Tassajara Bread Book

 

  1. Three Layer Corn Bread

Easy, glorious and amazing!

1 cup cornmeal (fresh stone ground from your favorite local mill is best – natch!)

½ c. whole wheat flour

½ cup white flour

¼ cup wheat germ (not in the 1970 version)

2 t. baking powder

1 t salt

2 egg

¼ – ½ honey or molasses

¼ c 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)

Oh, the ’70’s…..

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Filed under Bread, Recipe, The 1970's, Wicked Wayback

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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Filed under Books, Spring, The 1970's

Happy Birthday, Jane Austen!

Jane_Austen_coloured_version

Many happy returns of the day!

Jane Austen was born this day in 1775, making this the 240th anniversary of her birth.

And shortly thereafter in 1779, this book was born….

Giovanni Anfossi, Dell'uso ed abuso della cioccolata (Venice, 1779).

Giovanni Anfossi, Dell’uso ed abuso della cioccolata (Venice, 1779).

This book is all about how BAD chocolate is for you. Jane Austen did not agree.

For although there is plentiful tea in the collected works of Jane Austen, there is also a little chocolate

He took his own cocoa from the tray, which seemed provided with almost as many teapots as there were persons in company —

Miss Parker drinking one sort of herb tea and Miss Diana another — and turning completely to the fire, sat coddling and cooking it to his own satisfaction and toasting some slices of bread, brought up ready-prepared in the toast rack; and till it was all done, she heard nothing of his voice but the murmuring of a few broken sentences of self-approbation and success. When his toils were over, however, he moved back his chair into as gallant a line as ever, and proved that he had not been working only for himself by his earnest invitation to her to take both cocoa and toast. She was already helped to tea — which surprised him, so totally self-engrossed had he been. “l thought I should have been in time,” said he, “but cocoa takes a great deal of boiling.” “l am much obliged to you,” replied Charlotte. “But I prefer tea.” “Then l will help myself,” said he. “A large dish of rather weak cocoa every evening agrees with me better than anything.” lt struck her, however, as he poured out this rather weak cocoa, that it came forth in a very fine, dark-coloured stream; and at the same moment, his sisters both crying out, “Oh, Arthur, you get your cocoa stronger and stronger every evening,” with Arthur’s somewhat conscious reply of “Tis rather stronger than it should be tonight”
–Sanditon, by Jane Austen, 1817

Printing

This iconic Walter Baker Chocolate logo was painted in the 18th century

Because the weather is supposed to cooler – it’s practically Winter, so it might even be COLD (but I’m not complaining) and the sound of Christmas carols is everywhere, and I saw this use of a Pilgrim reproduction object:

beercup with marshmallow

It’s a beer cup, re-purposed as a hot chocolate with marshmallows cup. Genius!

A Chocolate Cup Jane Austen might recognize:

Chocolate_cup_Chantilly_porcelain_18th_century

And a hot chocolate recipe she might use:

From Mrs Rundell’s Domestic Cookery, 1859.

books_003

And a little https://www.youtube.com/embed/E3fX2_bxEkg” target=”_blank”>Hot Chocolate from a little more recently…..

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Filed under Recipe, The 1970's, winter

Rat-a-tat-touille

Back to the garden……

Back in the day, we walked out back, pulled weeds and gathered what was ripe.

And tossed what was eaten by insects and animals.

One year the peppers had strange bites taken out of them, while they were still on the plant…..rabbits??? squirrels??

Watch me pull a rabbit out of my hat...Maybe next time!

Watch me pull a rabbit out of my hat…Maybe next time!

Turns out it was

Baby Brother

A typical mid-August haul would include zucchini, summer squash, peppers of various sorts, possibly an eggplant or two. We didn’t grow eggplant every year, some years omitted by design, some years there just weren’t any that survived drought or flood or powdery mildew or cutworm….

cutworm800px-Neil_Phillips_-_Large_Yellow_Underwing_caterpiller_(by)

Large Yellow Underwing Caterpillar

Our eggplants were always purple...

Our eggplants were always purple…

It was not uncommon to bring in a haul, wash them off and start lunch.

A good circle of oil in the bottom of a good sized frying pan.

Cut up an onion (we never grew onions, for reasons I know not, which is a pity (was a pity?) because they are dead easy if you start with sets); cut up the pepper and add it next. Nothing really browns, it cooks and gets a little weepy….cut, add, stir around……

Then the green zucchini, cut into circles or half moons or triangles, depending on big around they are….they should all be the same size, and not too terribly big.

Summer squash….same delio.

Cucurbita_pepo_collage_1Salt. Pepper. Stir.

Cut and seed tomatoes.

I know you got’em

……add them last, stir again.

Any fresh herbs in your garden?

Come on – if you’ve got tomatoes, you must have basil

– wash, chop and add.

Basil-Basilico-Ocimum_basilicum-albahacaSmells good?

You betcha.

Serve over pasta or leftover rice or just put in a nice bowl ….top with grated cheese…..Lunch is ready.

Mangia!

Imagine my surprise when I caught Julia Child making this on The French Chef….and it was called

Ratatouille

Julia tasting

Julia Child – taste as you go!

Ratatouille

from Mastering The Art of French Cooking

serves 6-8

Ingredients

1 lb. eggplant

1/lb. zucchini

1 teaspoon salt

6-7 tablespoons olive oil, more if necessary

1/2 lb. (about 1 1/2 cups thinly sliced yellow onions

1 pound firm red tomatoes, or 1 1/2 cups pulp

2 (about 1 cup) sliced green bell peppers

2 cloves mashed garlic

salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

Peel the eggplant and cut into lengthwise slices 3/8 inch thick, about 3 inches long, and 1 inch wide.  Scrub the zucchini, slice off the two ends, and cut the zucchini into slices about the same size as the eggplant slices.  Place the vegetables in a bowl and toss with the salt.  Let stand for 30 minutes.  Drain.  Dry each slice in a towel.

One layer at a time, saute the eggplant, and then the zucchini in hot olive oil for about a minute on each side to brown very lightly.  Remove to a side dish.

In the same skillet, cook the onions and peppers slowly in olive oil for about 10 minutes, or until tender but not browned.  Stir in the garlic and season to tastes.

Slice the tomato pulp into 3/8 inch strips.  Lay them over the onions and peppers.  Season with salt and pepper.  Cover the skillet and cook over low heat for 5 minutes, or until tomatoes have begun to render their juice.  Uncover, baste the tomatoes with the juices, raise heat and boil off several minutes, until juice has almost entirely evaporated.

Place a third of the tomato mixture in the bottom of the casserole and sprinkle over it 1 tablespoon of parsley.  Arrange half of the eggplant and zucchini on top, then half the remaining tomatoes and parsley.  Put in the rest of the eggplant and zucchini, and finish with the remaining tomatoes and parsley.

Cover the casserole and simmer over low heat for 10 minutes.  Uncover, tip casserole and baste with the rendered juices.  Correct seasoning, if necessary.  Raise heat slightly and cook uncovered for about 15 minutes more, basting several times, until juices have evaporated leaving a spoonful or two of flavored olive oil.  Be careful of your heat; do not let the vegetables scorch in the bottom of the casserole.

Set aside uncovered.  Reheat slowly at serving time or serve cold.

JCMastering

https://www.radcliffe.harvard.edu/news/in-news/ratatouille-mastering-art-french-cooking-and-day-julia

Julia cooking up ratatouille on ABC network

Julia cooking up ratatouille on ABC network

Ratatouille – it’s also a movie….starring…a Rat.

RatatouillePoster

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Filed under Eating, Influencers, Lunch, Recipe, The 1970's

Salad (in the) Day

 Once upon a time salad was leafy green….mostly that meant iceberg lettuce

iceberg lettuce Doleand tomatoes came in packets  – except when they came from the garden.

And salad dressing was a verb, what my mother did after the potatoes were mashed and before we had to wash our hands to sit down to supper,

The lettuce was ripped and put in the salad bowl, and then the tomatoes were cut on top. Cukes – peeled and sliced. Cut in half to make half moon or in quarters to make little triangles. Radishes – sliced and added but not always.

cuke3tomato

No fancy radishes - red on the outside and white on the inside radishes

No fancy radishes – red on the outside and white on the inside radishes

Not a lot of fancy ingredients – olives always got their own dish, croutons didn’t show up until the ’80’s – salad was salad and not much more.

Now do I remember the order of what comes next?????

Oil, a circle around, not too much. And not EVOO, this is before Rachael Ray. Our oil often had

Wessonality

wessonality

Toss.

Sprinkle the salt –

When it rains, it pours

When it rains, it pours

Sprinkle the pepper

pepper black tinSprinkle the dried basil

basil dried jar More tossing.

Wine vinegar – just a little.

Not balsamic, not artisan, not fancy

Not balsamic, not artisan, not fancy, salad was for supper not showing off.

Toss some more.

Put the bowl on the table, wash those hands and sit down at the table.

Things got fancier in the ’70’s…..

Good Seasons dressing

Good Seasons Dressing Mix – with cruet included

Up until a few minutes ago, I've been calling this Good Seasonings. Probably for decades.

Up until a few minutes ago, I’ve been calling this Good Seasonings Salad Dressing.

Good Seasons, of course was the gateway bottle to the Wishbone and Kraft and Kens Dressings that would flood the market – and our table – in the ’80’s…

To be continued……..

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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

Rabbit Rabbit (Wabbit)

Trixie emeralds

The Mystery of the Emeralds (1962)

Chapter 1: “Rabbit! Rabbit!”

Trixie Belden awoke slowly, with the sound of a summer rain beating against her window. She half-opened her eyes, stretched her arms above her head, and then, catching sight of a large sign tied to the foot of her bed, yelled out, “Rabbit! Rabbit!” She bounced out of bed and ran out of her room and down the hall. “I’ve finally done it!” she cried […] “Well, ever since I was Bobby’s age I’ve been trying to remember to say ‘Rabbit! Rabbit!’ and make a wish just before going to sleep on the last night of the month. If you say it again in the morning, before you’ve said another word, your wish comes true.” Trixie laughed.”

Somewhere in my childhood – my life before junior high, say – I had started reading Trixie Belden, and specifically, this  Trixie Belden, the one with the Rabbit/Rabbit chapter. Trixie says two ‘rabbits’; others say three rabbits…

And once I had read it, rabbits popped up everywhere….Flopsy Bunnies

bunnies, floppsy

Assorted Flopsy Bunnies from Beatrix Potter

Dutch bunnies

Durer_Young_Hare

Durer – Young Hare

and Bugs Bunnys

This image is titled "The Bugs Bunny Classic"

This image is titled “The Bugs Bunny Classic”

Notice how I’ve avoid any reference to March Hares…..

There is one other rabbit, though.

Jolly Rabbit.

She was JR before Dallas and that JR….

JR in dallas

When we were in junior high, we had secret code names…she was Jolly Rabbit because her initials were JR and I was Quail because, well, say kwall real fast –  it makes it own sort of sense.

So on the first of the month, I always think of her, whenever I would finally clue in that it was in fact the first of the month…and now I have to remember that she’s no longer a phone call or Facebook message away.

So many of my Judith memories are connected to food – we enjoyed a lot of meals together – tuna sandwiches, and blueberry pancakes and blini and horseradish testing and experimental soups and and and and and…..

March is (was) her birthday month.

If you’re remembering someone, they’re still in the present tense, right? Even if they are no longer present?

Happy Birthday, Judeen. XoX

Judith Recke

Judith Recke

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