An authentic historic life

Bruce moved with his spouse Budd "a couple of years ago with their collection of antique wooden looms, spinning wheels, history books, old cooking tools, and Budd's enviable stash of enameled Dansk cookware." They hold fascinating workshops in their new home, and when the writer Amy Thielen visits them she's enjoyed their cauldron of soup, "a mountain of bread from their outdoor wood-fired clay oven," and "homemade pea-pod wine."
  - from the December-January issue of Saveur, "Finland, Minnesota"

After Five Happy Hours Barguide, 1978

It's scary -- or just honest? -- how drunk the people tend to look in these retro alcohol guides!

My super retro book just published!!

My book Lifestyles in Early South Asia: A Sourcebook for Time Travelers has been partially released!!! It was decided that it was so large it would be released in 3 volumes -- I love multiple-volume works myself! It's got lots of ancient menus and even recipes -- though please note there are more recipes in later years, which will be produced and released asap!

Some lovely overnight oats with cardamom

Sweet but unsweetened! Cardamom Overnight Oats

Layer in your overnight cereal container (I love a glass one with a lid) in order (I love to make more than 1; this is just for 1, but easily doubled etc into additional containers):
•    ½ banana, sliced thickly (frozen is fine, perhaps even preferable)
•    ½ cup oats
•    ½ tsp cardamom
•    pinch salt
•    about ¼ cup blueberries (frozen is fine; smallish size is preferable)
•    scant ¾ cup milk
•    if you have them: about 1 tbl dried mulberries
•    about 1 tbl pumpkin seeds
•    about 8 whole toasted almonds

- very adapted from Baked Blueberry Banana Bread
    in Anni Kravi's Porridge
    (She suggests another lovely thing: edible dried flowers over top in the morning!)

A great day in the kitchen!

Today is November 8, which is National Cook Something Bold Day!

Today is possibly also a Festival of the Kitchen in some places in Japan, I read in one old book -- but I have not been able to confirm this festival nor to get details on how it's celebrated. However, what a wonderful idea to have such a festival -- I've put it onto my calendar for next year to dream up suitable ways to celebrate such a holiday for myself. How about a quick spruce-up and getting any new helpful cooking appliances I've been needing?! as well as wonderful food from my "hearth" of course...

Back to Cook Something Bold Day! I'm celebrating with these dishes today:
breakfast: A Persian Porridge, which was amazing (recipe below) (served with cappuccino -- it's also National Cappuccino Day!!)
lunch: I'm going to try an eggplant-mint-yogurt dish from a new-to-me cookbook (also using some frozen charred eggplant I never tried -- for some reason this summer and early fall saw no eggplant in my shops)
dinner: I'm going to do a good chicken curry I've been doing since oh 1996 maybe...

PERSIAN PORRIDGE: Relaxing & Appetizing Aromatherapy in a Bowl!
for 2

This is best set up the night before.

Put into a saucepan the night before and store in the refrigerator:
    1 cup barley flakes (I like what I found at )
    1-1/8 cup water
    1 cup milk
    at least 1 tbl honey
    a few cut-up dried apricots
    a couple cut-up dates
    pinch of salt
    about 1 tbl rosewater (the only safe type I've found is at )

In the morning, simmer until done (about 6 minutes).
Top with
    almonds (nice if you have leftover glazed sliced)

Adapted from Rachel Khoo's Muesli & Granola

A No-Sugar Good Fruit Compote

A lot of retro menus call for this sort of dish, and I've been looking for a recipe we like and have figured out a great version!

Unlike most stewed fruit/fruit compote recipes I've seen, this has no added sugar, but it's actually tastier than any I've tried!
 a useful way to use up apples and/or pears that end up not being as tasty as you'd like; easily doubled etc

Mix in pan and simmer until done (about 20 minutes), stirring every 5 minutes:
½ cup water
2 tbl sherry
¼ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp cardamom
1 apple cut into chunks
1 pear cut into chunks
½ cup dried apricots

Much changed from The Pressured Cook by Lorna Sass

Immunity Soup!

I really like how the flavors layered in this, making for a delicious soup from the first day. I used a variety of DIY and premade ingredients, as you'll see; note that you have to start at least a day before you want to eat it if you're using my idea of cooking your beans yourself – in which case you'll end up with a lovely lot of extra beans to use in other recipes. (Note: If you don't have an electric pressure cooker, just adapt to a big pot.)

Cover with 3" of water in your electric pressure cooker container and leave covered with a plate or lid overnight:
         about 1 pound dried chickpeas/garbanzo beans

The next day, say at lunchtime if you're home (at least an hour or two before you need to start the actual soup), drain the beans.
Cover them in the same container with
         about 1.5" of water
         about 1 tbl olive oil
         a big bunch of fresh sage leaves, torn up if they're big
         a few cloves of garlic, at least some minced, all peeled
         (NO salt yet)
Cook in an electric pressure cooker (in an Instant Pot at High pressure, set for 17 minutes). Turn off after the timer goes off. Let sit until pressure goes down (note that often takes 45 minutes for me with these).
         about 1 tsp salt.
You'll only need 2 cups of the cooked beans, in about 1/3 or ½ cup of their broth, for the soup; put them in the refrigerator if it will be a while until you need them and package up the rest for the fridge and/or freezer for whatever you want to use them for.

About 1 or more hours before you want to eat the soup:
Saute in 2 tbl olive oil in a big soup pot
         12 oz frozen seasoning blend (e.g. onions, celery, sweet peppers; or you may prefer one with carrots instead of sweet peppers; also, you can use up to 16 oz)
Add soonish
         about 10 big garlic cloves, minced
Then add and continue to saute about 5 minutes
         12 to 16 oz cleaned sliced Portabello mushrooms with D (for immunity)
         your 2 cups of cooked chickpeas with about 1/3-1/2 cup broth
         1 lb boneless skinless chicken cut up into medium chunks
Stir in
         2 liters normal Pacific Chicken Stock (including salt)
         a generous amount of dried thyme
         6 bay leaves
         about ¾ tsp chili flakes
Simmer until chicken is done, about 20 minutes (test a big piece with a thermometer for 165).
Meanwhile sort through/clean your kale.

         12 oz curly kale, already cleaned and cut up
Cook until pretty done, about 10 minutes.

Taste. Add salt as needed.

Enjoy right away, with a nice whole grain roll to round off the meal, and freeze leftovers for when you or a loved one needs some extra immunity!

Wishing you and yours a very healthy season!

Very adapted from the same-name recipe in the January-February 2017 issue of Cooking Light magazine.

A Delicious Easy Sardine Salad

for 2

Mix together in a wide shallow bowl:
    about 3 green onions, thickly sliced
    2 big garlic cloves, minced
    about 2 or 3 tbl raisins
    5 or 6 black olives cut in half
    about 1 tbl capers
    soft bread/roll torn up into rather large pieces
    the oil from the below sardines

Place over top (it's ok if they don't come out perfectly)
    sardines that were packed in olive oil for 2 (2 small tins)

Sprinkle with
    about 3 tbl chopped parsley
    black pepper

We made a nice dinner of this plus a green salad plus some seasonal hot vegetables.

I think this would also be good with canned salmon for another easy dinner...

I was inspired to make this by some of the ingredients listed for Sardine Gratin in Jacqueline Clark and Joanna Farrow's Essential Mediterranean.

Super Tasty Coconuty Stovetop Toasty Muesli

In a large skillet, toast the following until beginning to turn golden (check the next lists in case you need to toast other items now; also don't toast any of these yet that you buy already toasted; these are what I usually buy raw/untoasted and prefer well toasted):
    ½ cup "big" coconut flakes
    ¼ cup whole wheat flour
    ½ cup pecans
    ¼ cup sesame seeds

Add the following and continue to toast until to your liking:
    4 cups old-fashioned oats
    1 tbl olive oil
    1 tbl honey
    ½ cup pumpkin seeds
Turn off heat and stir in, then let cool and then store:
    ½ cup wheat germ
    ½ cup powdered milk
    a bit of salt if nothing above was already salted

Much adapted from Athlon's Slow Cooker Fall Baking's Honey-Coconut Granola. I'm actually using this "book" more in hot weather, when I don't want to turn on a big oven, and the recipes are fine for that -- but this particular recipe I found more to my liking (and needs, since the original called for a lot of honey) on the stovetop.

A Delicious Creamy Chicken & Mushroom Dinner

Start cooking, preferably in a rice cooker,
    farro (easiest if 10-minute/parboiled type)

At some point, make an arugula salad topped with your favorite mustardy vinaigrette (olive oil, vinegar, mustard, salt and pepper); make about 3 tbl extra of the vinaigrette. Even better if you add chiffonade of radicchio to the salad.

(If you don't have toasted walnuts, do that in the below skillet and set aside.)

Saute in a large skillet with 1/2 tbl butter and 1-1/2 tbl olive oil,
for a few minutes,
    ½ a medium mild onion.
Add and saute, covered, until liquid is coming out
    a package cleaned sliced baby bella mushrooms.
Push the mushrooms to one side. Place on top of them
    about 3 dried figs, chopped, or even better if fresh
Add and cook, covered, until registers 165 F on a thermometer
    up to 1 lb chicken tenders (thin, cut, boneless, skinless for 4)
    salt and pepper (don't oversalt; you'll be adding salty cheeses)
    a splash of water
Add and cover and keep on low heat for up to a couple minutes
    1 oz blue cheese, crumbled
    3 oz feta cheese, chopped
Uncover, top with your extra vinaigrette.
Turn off heat and top with
    a small handful chopped toasted walnuts if you have them

Serve the salad as the side. Place the other vegetables and the jus over the farro, and the chicken there too or on the side, as you wish.

Very changed from the Salad of Fig-Stuffed Chicken with Blue Cheese in Anne Willan's 1995 In & Out of the Kitchen in Fifteen Minutes or Less, a wonderful source!

Time in the kitchen

How true what Jeremy Rock Smith points out in the current Maranda Pleasant's Origin magazine in his article "The Yoga of Cooking":
If you can make a meal in 20 minutes, but it takes you 3 hours to clean up, that doesn't count as time-saving...
I was also interested in what the fantastic Alice Hart says in her wonderful The New Vegetarian (which is, in case you were wondering, an entirely new book, not a repeat of her also-wonderful Vegetarian), that very few people can really really plan a week's or more worth of marvelous meals very well. In other words, if you have the time, it's certainly not bad just to relax and plan and source fewer meals at a time! I had to do that in Manhattan, because I couldn't carry home a zillion bags from the shop, even though it was just downstairs. Besides, it was so easy to stop into the wonderful shop, which was not only next to my apartment building but to my subway and bus stops, and of course I got fresher produce in the house that way.

Mr. Smith in the same article also speaks of how it's wise to adjust the way you eat to how you're feeling, which of course can vary day to day -- another reason not to plan and source all at once, unless of course you want or need to do so....

By the way, Ms. Pleasant's magazines have the most beautiful food photography and kindest writers! who stand up so strongly for what is right. Here's the one I mention above: .

and some that show off the food even more, :

and :

One-Stage Cookery, c1960

Featuring a margarine they claimed mixed nicely....I'm only seeing it mentioned in UK sites. Some sample recipes can be found at the nice site of .

A Fabulous Summer Tomato Vegetarian Main Dish

This was my first meal ever mostly from my own garden! It was so easy and so delicious!

enough for 1 to 2 people; easily doubled

Do to your own taste of course...

Place in glass bowl and toss
    about 3 plum tomatoes cut into wedges and/or cherry tomatoes
    1 large garlic clove, minced
    4 mint branches' leaves, chopped if large
    4 branches of parsley, chopped with their non-thick stems
    a small handful of baby mesclun
    about ½ cup or bit more of black beans cooked
    generous olive oil
    big pinch chipotle chili flakes
    generous black pepper
You can set it aside for a while at this point if you need to.
When ready to serve, stir through
    a big handful shelled pistachios, roasted and salted.
Taste; add salt if required (my pistachios were quite salty already).
Top with
    a generous scoop of creamy ricotta cheese.
Serve with a favorite bread.

Super adapted from Burrata with Cherry Tomatoes and Minty Pistachio Pesto in the July-August 2017 issue of JAMIE magazine. They recommend pistachio oil instead – I'm sure that would be amazing! I so highly recommend this magazine to perk up your cooking and meals!

People who are doing something for the planet

Just when I was feeling rather in despair at living in a country that an evil person is trying to direct, including attacking the planet itself, I saw in the current JAMIE magazine an ad for this:

...And many many thanks not only to them, but to the many people I know are doing so much for our planet in my own country as well. 

Vintage kitchen stuff online and THIS WEEKEND!

I'm in the St Louis area this weekend, and discovered a lovely booth at Vintage Bliss Market at West Port Plaza, Maryland Heights, Missouri, running today and tomorrow, June 24 and 25, 2017, whose owner has an Etsy shop!

Her booth was full of things I've always loved, even as a child, like farming magazines my grandpa used to get and story flyers I was given as a child. I found a lovely apron there, and also the coolest cookbook, Lorain Cooking, copyright 1930, from the American Stove Company out of St Louis, featuring recipes that take advantage of their new-fangled oven thermostat, turning temperatures up and down, or trying different temperatures. Nowadays I just see some bread and roasted fowl recipes calling for this approach. How fun! and how appropriate to find in this very area! You can find it online such as at -- I should mention that mine was in much better condition:

Illtud Llyr Dunsford, time-traveling cook

...from Wales. About him in this month's Jamie magazine, to which I just got a long-wanted subscription:
[He] delves into the history books for [food] inspiration. "I'm happiest trawling dusty bookshops..." His cinnamon- and ginger-spiced polony sausage, for example, is based on a 17th-century recipe....

Meal planning "helps" that made planning harder

Today is the last day of a weekly meal-planning service to which I had a year subscription -- I am so relieved it's over at last! Because I bought it, I felt I needed to check out the ideas every week...even though they were repetitive, and only appealed to my tastes about once in the entire year. I would say only subscribe to such a service if absolutely sure it fits your tastes or offers a very easy all-your-money-back guarantee.

Besides, though I'd love to have someone else plan my meals for a change, I have zillions of interesting menu and recipe ideas from sources such as this that I can use.

Yikes, I also have a menu book I finally wrote for myself, which unlike any other plans I've seen has 3! snack ideas a day as well as 3 normal meals for every day of the year, many of them drawing from very old sources and historical anniversaries but also featuring original modern recipes. I'd been looking for such a book for years and like so many of my interests I had to end up doing it myself. If I ever offer it to others, as a result of this disappointing experience, I'll definitely either offer it free or give a no-problems money-back guarantee...because obviously we all have different tastes and very few of us have unlimited budgets.

A retro kitchen tiny command center

Last week I finally found a cookbook holder that worked for me! Now I'm even happier because I discovered it will hold all my recipe/menu/cooking ideas and plans for the day! My refrigerator isn't magnetic, boo, but this is! and it holds all sorts of paper things....I found it at -- the same people make other retro styles and colors, if this one doesn't suit you. (PS It doesn't come with magnets -- this is one I found years ago at a street fair in northern Ohio, made by a fabulous lady couple from Indiana. Note that because the metal holder is embossed, it needs to be a strong magnet.)

What Shall I Cook Today?, c1936

Published by Lever Brothers, makers of Spry shortening. It includes some time-saving ideas (one could substitute olive oil or butter). It also includes some comics, as you can see! same as a similar cookbooklet I posted a while back.

My favorite b & b suite ever

It wasn't just historical-looking, it had a little dining room complete with rustic chandelier! It's in what I think of as southern Indiana, 'way off the highway and down winding country roads, at a place called Artists Colony Inn in Nashville, Indiana, and it's their T.C. Steele "room." Their site is . Um, I should mention I really didn't enjoy the food there, though they were very friendly and nice to me, and I also wasn't able to sleep there because it was so bright -- but it still was an absolutely darling place to stay! I never saw such fun use of a space, and think the idea would be great for a New York-sized apartment (though truth be told this is a bit larger than my first apartment there!).
just as you enter the suite, looking through an interior window and a couple door-sized openings

a glimpse of the "dining room" and the balcony, and also a picture by the artist Steele

the "dining room" with curtains closed

looking from the dining room and toward the 2 bed rooms

Happy vegetarian week!

See more about this week at ...

Forgot to mention in my last post with lots of musing on delicious vegetarian recipe sources that France has a new vegetarian magazine! I was lucky to get its premiere issue; this is its 2nd:
available at . Bon appetit!

I'm reading a history of magazines in the UK; so far I haven't found a very old vegetarian periodical...Have any of you run across any?

A realization about tastes

Everyone has different tastes and preferences about food...and I finally realized I was making a mistake not paying attention to my (and my family's) tastes with some of my cookbook choices. I had been looking for more vegetarian options for dinnertime but was having trouble finding many recipes my family or I found tasty, though I'd invested in a lot of vegetarian cookbooks and food magazines.

I finally realized I was choosing very bland American vegetarian cookbooks and magazines almost exclusively, and for no reason whatsoever, because I really dislike that style of food (including its fake Mexican). I never choose such sources for our non-vegetarian dinners -- I always go for main courses full of fresh herbs and fascinating-to-me approaches, and am willing to take more time making a meal that turns out delicious to me. I've said before on this site how recipes that call for, say, 1/4 teaspoon of a dried herb or for watered-down garlic horrify me, though at the same time I am very turned off by a recipe that calls for unnecessary steps as if the cook did not know what they were doing.

For some reason I was only finding such sources, however, until I tacked on gourmet to a search for better ones. I found a couple by actual chefs. The first thing I made was from this cookbook whose author I recognized from her first cookbook which I had long loved:
I made an amazing dinner from it: a beautiful stack of
carrot-green onion-cilantro-ground coriander patties
some browned halloumi cheese
all topped with an extremely tasty lemon dressing,
and served with a whole grain on the side.
She has gorgeous pictures on Instagram: .

I'll also be trying Café Paradiso Seasons: Vegetarian Cooking Season-by-Season from Denis Cotter; you can see some of his recipes at his official site, also finally got a subscription to Jamie magazine -- his are definitely my #1 favorite recipes in the world, and are full of vegetables and include vegetarian...

More recently I also found some promising vegan magazines -- I'm not vegan, but I was looking for delicious vegetarian dinner recipes that did not feature cheese. The promising magazines are from the UK, whose food magazines I have for years found more balanced in their approach to food -- not preachy, but also not saying "here's a whole dinner for very few calories and very few pennies" when of course it was low in calories and didn't cost a huge amount, it had just a few leaves or something, almost no protein, no satisfying grains, etc. I was going to source them from my favorite UK magazine source, , but my local Whole Foods actually had them in stock so I got my copies there. I'll be trying them asap as well...

Now I'm also hoping to find additional vegetarian daily menus I find inspiring even if I don't use them many days -- if I have an addiction, it definitely is to menus! I have collected many historical vegetarian menus...when I try them and like them, I'll share them! (In fairness to USA, I found what I tried in the UK vegetarian cookbook Meat-Free Monday Cookbook bland, though I adore that it has full menus for every week of the year and am keeping it for those, as well as probably trying more recipes...)

Beautifully Eating Beautiful

Wendy Rowe has a beautiful approach of not prescribing in her book Eat Beautiful, as she says in this month's Allure magazine:
It's not a diet. It's not a regimen....People should just take what they want from it. My Date Energy Bites and No-Cook Walnut Brownies are always popular.
I always enjoy old cookbooks for their historical value and just generally being fascinating, but I must admit I get tired of those that push a certain health approach.

Twenty Recipes that Men Like, 1949

I almost didn't post this sexist find, but it's interesting for historical reasons...

Clever Cakes, 1936

I'm assuming the date from the fact it was advertised in October of that year....

Mealtime Magic, 1948

More magic! Complete with ideas for emulating the latest king of England!

Hmm, and also complete with the feet of the king of our kitchen...

 It has lots of ideas that are good for suppers, like other retro cookbooklets!