The Ladies' Tea Guild

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Antique Autos returns to History Park!

Vintage car in the park in 2012.  Photo: Elizabeth Urbach.
Some of my costume group in 2009.
Photo: Elizabeth Urbach
 I've been getting ready for the 14th Annual Antique Auto event at History Park, where the tea guild will be joining me for a picnic tomorrow afternoon.  It's such fun to research recipes and costumes -- because I always want to do something slightly different from what I did last year -- that I often find myself hurrying the morning of the event, and not finishing whatever costume or recipe I'd been working on, and pulling out something wearable from the costume closet, or something ordinary from the pantry, and going with that.  I'm hoping that this year will be different, since -- at the request of one of the guild members -- we are having a potluck picnic, and at least I don't have to make all the sandwiches.  I have decided to bring dessert -- a cake and some strawberries that I got at the farmer's market yesterday -- as well as the iced tea.  Then there's my costume; I could wear the 1920s frock that I've worn before, but I don't have a hat to go with it, or I could wear one of my Edwardian skirts, although I don't really have a good blouse to wear with them, or a proper hat, either -- just a modern straw hat with a ribbon on it.  I have all these plans to make blouses, and even some fabric to do it, and I want to make a tailor-made suit, and - and - and ... 

Anyway, while I decide, and work on my things, here are some suggestions from the readers of the _Woman's Home Companion_ magazine from 1916, so you can put together your own "motor picnic" in the next month or so: 

Monday, September 1, 2014

Historical Food Fortnightly: Challenge #7 -- The Best Thing Since Sliced Bread -- Raspberry Jell from 1945.

Calves' feet boiling for jelly.  Photo: Elizabeth Urbach
Having tried (and failed) to make jelly the old-fashioned way from calves' feet, it was a very quick and easy job to make jelly with packaged gelatine.  The calves' feet need to be cleaned, covered in water and boiled gently for 4 hours, until the meat and cartilage fall off the bones and are dissolved into the broth.  Then the bones and meat chunks and any undissolved cartilage need to be picked out of the broth and the broth needs to cool and settle overnight.  Then the fat that rises to the top of the broth needs to be cleaned off the top, and the sediment that sinks to the bottom needs to be scraped off as well.  The resulting jelly is a transluscent, meaty brown color that needs to be melted again and strained through a jelly bag or a few layers of cheesecloth or wet muslin to remove more sediment.  Then the jelly needs to cool and settle again, and if it's not yet clear and flavor-less, it needs to be melted and run through a jelly bag again.  Once it's clear, only then can you add the flavorings and pour it into a mold and let it set into its finished shape!  That takes at least a day, just to prepare the unflavored gelatine! 

Monday, August 18, 2014

Catching up -- school days begin again!

My mom's empty classroom.  Photo: Elizabeth Urbach.
Hello everyone,

I haven't fallen off the face of the blogosphere, but wow!  It has been a long time since I've posted.  Several things have been going on in the meantime. My mom retired from her kindergarten teaching career and I helped her move out of her classroom; 20+ years in the same classroom = a surprising amount of stuff!  Weeks and countless hours of sorting, packing, throwing away, giving away, and hauling papers, books, DVDs and videos, pictures, posters, activities and worksheets that she used to supplement the curriculum, and all the toys, puzzles, and manipulatives that belong in a kindergarten classroom.

I also spent 6 weeks as a teacher's aide in the same school's summer school program, teaching Medieval
history to a class of mostly 3rd, 4th and 5th graders.  It was a lot of fun!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Historical Food Fortnightly Soups & Sauces Challenge: Caviche.

ingredients for Caviche.  Photo: Elizabeth Urbach.
So, I'm still working on Challenge #1 for the Historical Food Fortnightly: I'm having trouble finding a piece of literature that mentions a specific dish that I have a period recipe for!  There's a lot of general mentions of meals, without saying what dishes or foods make up the meal, or only mentioning foods that don't really require a recipe, like fruit or a glass of wine, or foods that are made exactly the same way today as they were in the period (like tea and coffee).  I've decided on Calf's Foot Jelly, mentioned in one of the earliest novels, in 1807.  I think I ruined it, though, so I'll have to come back to the recipe and post about it later!  In the meantime... 

The Challenge: Soups & Sauces 

The Recipe: "Caviche" from the recently printed excerpts from Recipes from the White Hart Inn by William Verral, originally published in 1759.  The original recipe reads: 

Caviche
Take three Cloves, 7 scruples of Coriander-seeds bruised ginger powder'd and Saffron, of each half a Scruple, three Cloves of Garlick, infuse them in a pint of good white-wine vinegar, and place the bottle in a gentle heat, or in water to warm gradually.  It is to be used, as Catchup, in small quantity as a sauce for cold-meats.


Saturday, June 7, 2014

Surprise: Antiques Roadshow!

Souvenirs of the Antiques Roadshow!
 Photo: Elizabeth Urbach
The book that I brought: souvenir illustrations from the
Panama-Pacific Exposition in 1915 in San Francisco.
Photo: Elizabeth Urbach.
Back in April I found out that the Antiques Roadshow was going to be at the Santa Clara Convention Center, which is less than 20 minutes from my house.  I missed them when they were in my home town a few years ago, because you have to put your name/e-mail address in a drawing on their website before a certain cut-off date, and then check the website after the deadline to see if you were chosen; I didn't find out about it until the date had already passed.  This time, though, I saw their ad after watching the show, put my e-mail address in, and actually got chosen for tickets!  The tickets are free, and each e-mail address chosen gets 2 tickets; each ticket holder gets to bring 2 items to be appraised.  I offered my second ticket to my friend Rose from the costume guild, and we had an exciting, if tiring day today at the Roadshow!

Monday, May 26, 2014

Back from the Land of 10,000 Lakes

My grandma's family home.  Photo: Elizabeth Urbach
We arrived back in California on Saturday afternoon, and went right into Memorial Day, with a block party in my sister's neighborhood, then laundry and re-stocking the fridge today, and I'm still not totally back on California time!  We'll see how that works when I go back to work tomorrow ...

Kitzville School, where my grandma attended.
Photo: Elizabeth Urbach
While I was gone we had a heat wave here in California, and we must have brought some California weather to Minnesota because, apart from a chilly rainy day the first day we were there, it was sunny and really warm the entire time.  Beautiful weather for my grandmother's funeral, which was nice.  Got to take a drive around town with my great uncle seeing a bunch of historic places, which I do remember doing the last time or two we were there when my grandma was alive, but it was different this time.  Before, we were always tagging along on her visit, we were only there to accompany her and make sure she was o.k., and although we were seeing family, we only ever saw them on these types of occasions; she was the one who had a relationship with them, and we were kind of the proverbial "third wheel" in the equation.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Catching up -- I'm so behind!

My grandparents' wedding
portrait from 1945.  Photo:
Elizabeth Urbach.
We've been keeping busy around here lately.  My grandma, who passed away last month, wanted to be buried in her hometown of Hibbing, Minnesota, up near the Canadian border with the U.S., and the weather has finally warmed up enough that they can have her interment.  So, several members of my family will be flying out to Minnesota next week and spending a few days there with the family for my grandma's second funeral and burial.  It will be a lot of flying and driving, and hopefully, a really good experience with the family, since it will also probably be the last time we go out to Minnesota, and maybe the last time we see those relatives in person ...

Now stir the fire, and close the shutters fast,
Let fall the curtains, wheel the sofa round,
And, while the bubbling and loud-hissing urn
Throws up a steamy column, and the cups
That cheer but not inebriate, wait on each,
So let us welcome peaceful evening in.
-- William Cowper (1731-1800)
"The Winter Evening" (Book Four), _The Task_ (1784)