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! 
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)