Harvest Home

Last night I read a very interesting history of the first so-called (American) Thanksgiving, which said many of its attendees were not in fact religious and thanking any deity, but that they simply were celebrating being alive and having food! Though some people seem very much to disagree; I've ordered copies of primary sources to check out for myself...

Meanwhile I've read accounts of the traditional British+ Harvest Home, which at least some scholars believe the first "Thanksgiving" really was with all its 1600s British people....

A wonderfully done book on old train dining cars in USA

and other information, written very well, researched thoroughly --

Dining by Rail: 
The History and the Recipes of America's Golden Age of Railroad Cuisine
by James D. Porterfield
He's done other books I'll check out asap...

I remember with great fondness walking with my kids to the dining car and enjoying a relaxing meal on tablecloths with good service even on Amtrak from New York -- especially lovely when we were seeing mansions by the Hudson!...

"How to Serve Meals" in 1889

I have for years found Alessandro Filippini very generous with his ideas on food. Today my copy of The Table: How to Buy Food, How to Cook It, and How to Serve It arrived and I've been learning that at a nice dinner you would want to...

Keep the dining room "neither too hot nor too warm; the temperature should never exceed 60 degrees"! Brr!

You'd want salt at each place. Why? So your guests don't need to ask your servants for it, of course.

You'd have a floral centerpiece, of course, but also, at each place, a "bouquet" for each lady and a boutonniere for each man. I vaguely remember having a fancy meal in Philadelphia in the 1970s where this was still done.

You'll want a menu card at each place as well.

Also on the table:
  • a plate of radishes and/or olives
  • a plate of celery (without this and the above, it would "look like a boarding house table"!)
  • little dishes of black pepper and of red pepper
  • 2 fruit stands, 1 on each side of the floral centerpiece, with the best seasonal fruit
  • assorted cakes next to the fruit (though the fruit and cakes aren't actually eaten until late in the meal)
  • your wines, liqueurs

The glasses at each place include a green one for the sauterne and a red one for the Rhine wine, of course, plus glasses for sherry, Champagne, Latour wine, Chambertin red wine, and water (the last one is placed closest to each person's plate).

You may wonder if there's room for the rest of the food on the table. Well, probably not; M. Filippini suggests your servants hand it around and serve it, and gives detailed instructions.

Yes please! home design

There's a wonderful home, still available as I write, that has "a separate kitchen wing with both a breakfast room and a snug"! as reported in, well, next month's The English Home US edition. You can see much more at its realtor's site: http://www.jackson-stops.co.uk/cgi-bin/properties/summary-details.pl?propID=81976 , which mentions more food glories: "Lying between the drawing room and study is an internal corridor with steps up to a cloakroom and apple store with original safe. The study has a cosy feel and has steps down to the wine cellar with brick divisions providing storage bins." And if you like me realized I never really knew what a snug was outside of a pub, here are ideas: https://www.houseandgarden.co.uk/gallery/stylish-snug-idea .

Homemade TV Dinners!

September 10 is National TV Dinner Day! Last year I sort-of missed it and really wanted to make my own this year! I ordered trays from https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B012BZDOHC/ that turned out to be perfect for this! Here's my first try:

It was really tasty!! But a bit too much food! I got the ideas from the 1972 edition of the Betty Crocker Do-Ahead Cookbook, pictured here with a Sweet Peas Meals! bit and a menu I made up for us for a little health concern:

BUT so far the only thing I've used from the book are the TV dinners ideas, which basically are to put these in a covered oven-safe divided dish:
MEAT: Always cooked. Either have a very tasty juicy meat (like the leftover sausage patties we had) or have one with a sauce.
VEGETABLES: Use frozen ones, put some butter on top. (We had carrots and green beans plus a marvelous potato latke -- a potato pancake with onion -- we find here sometimes.)
RICE: Use instant/Minute rice in the proportions of 3 tbl rice to 1/4 cup water plus some salt, pepper, and if you'd like a flavoring like a bit of curry powder. (We had instant brown which I hadn't actually frozen, but I think that was ideal because it takes longer to cook and this way it was perfect.)

To cook: 450 in a convection oven for about 25 minutes (in a normal oven same if you only have 1 tray, otherwise maybe 5 more minutes).

Of course my favorite part of TV dinners was always the desserts!! For any that need a crust to get crispy near the end, the tops of these pans would not work really because you'd need to uncover a bit, though I guess you could put the crusty food in a corner and turn the pan's lid to the side?

In this age of microwaves, though, I wondered, how in the world did my mom keep us kids from burning ourselves on the pans on the rare days she served TV dinners?! I've asked her...

A fabulous source of templates for your menus!

and other wonderful planning fun! I learned about it through the extremely generous www.printablesandinspirations.com -- she also pointed me to thehungryjpeg.com for fun art, though I have not tried it yet.

The source of templates is www.canva.com/templates -- you can sign up for free, though there is a premium service available as well.

Mulberry and Almond Muesli

Toast in a big skillet until starting to get golden (along with any below seeds or nuts that haven't already been toasted):
   1-1/2 cups barley flakes (I like these, which I found at www.vitacost.com/shiloh-farms-organic-barley-flakes :)

   1/2 cup quinoa flakes

Add when completely cool:
   1/4 cup pumpkin seeds, toasted, preferably sprouted
   heaping tablespoon sucanat or brown sugar
   1/2 cup dried mulberries (I like these, also found at www.vitacost.com/sunfood-raw-organic-white-mulberries :)
   1/4 cup almonds, toasted, left whole
   heaping tablespoon powdered milk
   plus a little salt if your almonds and/or seeds were not salted already

Very adapted from Gluten-Free Muesli in Rachel Khoo's great Muesli & Granola book

Trader Joe Eggs!

Trader Joe Eggs!

Can easily be doubled etc.

Scramble in olive oil mixture of
2 eggs
splash milk
up to 1 oz Trader Joe's Unexpected Cheddar
handful arugula, cut up (Trader Joe's is the freshest)
(note no salt nor pepper)

Top with
    Trader Joe's dukkah

Changed a lot from the March 2018 delicious. magazine's recipe for Watercress Eggs