Monday, December 31, 2012

New Year, New Kitchen

Well, it only seems new. That's because Paul and I took everything out of the cabinets, bought some bins and reorganized. I'm awfully proud of it and I thought our ideas might help others with "problem" pantries. We rent, so it's not like we can remodel but we can rearrange. Our cabinets are so deep that it makes it really difficult to see what all we have (I had two bottles of molasses and two bottles of Karo syrup--I would just buy more because I didn't know what there was), so I decided to put everything in "media storage" bins. Welcome to a tour of my "new" kitchen!


Thursday, December 20, 2012

Dinner and a Movie: The Love Parade (1929)



I love early talkies. It's so amazing to get to see and hear the 1920s at the same time. I'm always blown away by that particular decade, because it, at once, seems so terribly modern and quaintly old-fashioned. Filmed in 1929, The Love Parade was director Ernst Lubitsch's first talkie, Jeanette MacDonald's first-ever film and (according to IMDb) the first movie musical to incorporate the songs into the storyline. The direction is top-notch, the sound is clear (it was all dubbed in post-production) and the cast is fantastic. Besides Jeanette MacDonald and Maurice Chevalier, there are roles for Eugene Pallette, music-hall veteran Lupino Lane (who would later introduce the world to "The Lambeth Walk") and former vaudevillian Lillian Roth. If you're a fan of 20s clothes, you'll want to check this one out. Jeanette MacDonald has a doozy of a wardrobe. The songs aren't really anything to write home about, but The Love Parade is such fun I don't think you'll mind. It had me hooked from the very beginning:

Thursday, December 13, 2012

St. Lucia Blog Procession 2012


Heather at Audrey Eclectic (that's her work above) is hosting a St. Lucia Blog Procession today to celebrate St. Lucia Day, which happens every December 13th. Before we switched to the Gregorian calendar, the feast of St. Lucia coincided with the winter solstice.* The holiday is a celebration of the return of light after months of short days and darkness.

There's a town just north of us that does a Swedish Lucia Fest every year. Paul and I visited in 2010 and there's more about our visit at this previous post. I still haven't managed to make it back to Lindsborg to photograph the awesome taxidermy.

Heather made the traditional St. Lucia buns last year, so I thought I'd provide a couple of other Swedish recipes you can use this holiday season. They're both terribly yummy and can be scaled up for a party.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

A Cake for "Bright Young Things"


If I had to pick one cake to represent England's carefree youth of the 20s and 30s, I'd have to choose a Fuller's Walnut Cake. It's mentioned in both Evelyn Waugh's Brideshead Revisited and Nancy Mitford's Love in a Cold Climate. That's a good enough pedigree for me! Turns out the original Fuller's Walnut Cake was two layers with buttercream between them, but the recipe I found was for a single layer cake. I'll definitely have to try it again. However, if you want something smaller and simpler than a layer cake, this recipe will work out just fine. It's subtly walnutty, not too sweet and delicious with a cup of tea and should definitely be eaten while curled up with an excellent book or DVD set. What an excellent way to spend Christmas vacation!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Vintage Movie, Vintage Recipe--It's Visions of Sugarplums!



If you're like I am and you get tired of all the "Christmas miracle" holiday movies, may I suggest Bachelor Mother?

Polly Parrish (Ginger Rogers) is a seasonal employee at Merlin's department store, wondering where she's going to find a job after Christmas. Due to an enormous misunderstanding, her boss David Merlin (David Niven) believes Polly is an unwed mother and can be convinced not to give up her baby if only she has permanent employment. While Polly gets to keep her job she also ends up responsible for a baby that isn't hers! It's really only a holiday movie in the sense that it's set around the holidays and it's more about the time between Christmas and the New Year than about Christmas itself (although it does start on Christmas Eve), but don't let that stop you. I don't think there are enough post-Christmas movies anyway. Bachelor Mother is available on DVD and will be on TCM December 20th at 10:15 pm (CST).

Monday, November 26, 2012

Sink me! -- The Scarlet Pimpernel, Blenheim Palace and a Treat for "That Sinking Feeling"

Last month, Paul and I spent a couple of weeks in England and, despite having no internet access, we had a great time. I mention the internet, because I had essentially done zero planning and was going to do it all on the fly with satellite internet. This way, we were flexible and didn't have to lug around any guide books. Surprise! Our phones didn't work (if only we'd had the iPhone 4S...) and there was no way to get a data plan for a smart phone there without paying for a year in advance. So, we relied on our wits, a London street atlas and an England road map purchased in Windsor (more about that in an upcoming post).

We spent a few days in the Wiltshire countryside and I had to go to Blenheim Palace, which wasn't too far away in neighboring Oxfordshire. Yes, I've watched all twelve episodes of The First Churchills, but really I grew up with a Baroque-obsessed architect for a father. I spent weekends when I was small looking through coffee-table books bigger than I was with fantastic photographs of houses like Blenheim, Castle Howard, Versailles and Vaux-le-Vicomte. (Still haven't been to Castle Howard...)

Blenheim Palace is, of course, beautiful but is also fantastically well-kept. (Poor Versailles and Vaux-le-Vicomte were a bit shabby when I saw them in 2006.) I took a lot of photos; the best are below. We had lovely weather for our trip--right until we started to head back to the car park. The sky opened up and it started hailing. Good thing we'd already gotten in the habit of wearing our raincoats every day, no matter what.

(click to enlarge)

Friday, October 12, 2012

Dinner and a Movie: The Postman Always Rings Twice

photos from Doctor Macro

This week, I'm bringing you more from Woman's Home Companion. The "Picture of the Month" (see below) is The Postman Always Rings Twice and there's a Lux ad featuring Lana Turner, as well. Based on James M. Cain's book, the film stars Ms. Turner and John Garfield as lovers who decide to get a pesky husband out of the way. Despite some sanitation for the censors, The Postman Always Rings Twice is pretty faithful to its source material. I enjoyed the book more (maybe because I read it first) but that doesn't mean the film isn't worth watching. It's really well done and thoroughly enjoyable, especially if you like 40s fashion and/or film noir. This was a great movie to watch en famille at my house, because Paul's really only interested in watching 40s films if they're "noir" or have lots of airplanes in them. He likes Casablanca, too, but I think that's just his soft spot showing.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Homemade Oatmeal Raisin Bread and 1946 Fashions


Generally, I make sourdough bread for breakfast to eat with a cup of yogurt or a couple of fried eggs and maybe some bacon or sausage. It's delicious but sometimes it's nice to change things up a bit. This Oatmeal Raisin Bread recipe is from the same magazine as the pork stew in my last post. I changed things up a bit to use my discarded sourdough starter (totally not required, see the "about ingredients" section). Despite some molasses and sugar in the recipe, this oatmeal raisin bread isn't overly sweet. It's perfect for breakfast (or tea) with a slathering of golden yellow, just slightly salty pasture butter.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Dinner and a Movie: Spellbound


For my version of this classic recipe, I used pork ribs instead of pork stew meat so that I could infuse the stew with all the fantastic minerals and gelatin/collagen from the bones. It's an easy switch that will add so much nutrition to your dinner. In "traditional foods" cookbooks, bone broths are typically cooked for hours and hours to get all the nutrients out of the bones. I found that just cooking this stew until the meat fell off the bones (about 2 1/2 hours) still gave me a huge amount of natural gelatin in the final product. (You'll notice that your leftovers will become the consistency of aspic.) It's worth it to hunt around for some really high quality pork. Keep an eye out for products that are Certified Humane or find local farmers who treat their pigs well. Happy pigs = tasty, nutritious pork.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Lughnasadh Blueberry Sourdough Waffles

Blueberry Sourdough Waffles accompanied by lovely humanely-raised pork breakfast links 
and a stack of books from a recent trip to the recycling center

Lammas, Lughnasa, Lughnasadh--whatever you call it* or however you spell it, August 1st is a super-awesome holiday. It's what is referred to as a "first fruits" festival, meaning it kicks off the beginning of the harvest. In some parts of the Britain and Ireland, it's referred to as "Bilberry Day" and marks the first day of bilberry season. I don't have any bilberries, but I do have their American cousin, the blueberry. To incorporate both the wheat harvest aspect of Lughnasadh and Bilberry Day, I've made Blueberry Sourdough Waffles. Yummy yummy yummy.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Dorset Verse and Victuals

Clockwise from top left: The Old Rectory, Winterborne Came / William Barnes / St. Peter's Church, Winterborne Came

William Barnes was born in Dorset in 1801 and worked as both a solicitor's clerk and a schoolmaster before getting his degree from Cambridge in 1851. He served as rector of St. Peter's in Winterborne Came, Dorset, from 1862 to his death in 1886. Barnes was extremely interested in language and published three volumes of poetry written in the local Dorset dialect. This poem comes from an edition of Barnes's poems edited by fellow author and Dorset-dweller Thomas Hardy. I think it's safe to say they both admired milkmaids!

Friday, July 20, 2012

The Wedding of Sir Gawain and Dame Ragnelle

For as long as I can remember, I've loved folk tales, fairy tales, myths and legends. I thought I would share some with you and, naturally, include some recipes as well. Look for more story/recipe combinations in the coming months. What are your favorite folk tales, fairy tales, myths or legends? Tell me in the comments section!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Dunmow Flitch Trials, Part 3: Made in Heaven


Part 1: Introduction
Part 2: July Chicken Casserole 

David Tomlinson and Petula Clark, two Brits who would become much more famous in the 1960s*, star in Made in Heaven (1952). Tomlinson and Clark play a married couple, Basil and Julie Topham, who are in the running to win the Dunmow Flitch. The only obstacles? One sexy Hungarian maid and a missing side of bacon. Made in Heaven isn't a particularly amazing movie, but it's enjoyable enough and has three things going for it:


1. There's a portrayal of the Dunmow Flitch Trials. I wouldn't have known about them otherwise.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

July Chicken Casserole

What are the Dunmow Fitch Trials? Check out yesterday's post!


When that lucky couple wins their flitch of bacon, they'll have half a pig to eat. Might I suggest cooking up this dish? It's chicken braised in a vegetable-filled, bacony broth seasoned with lemon, crème fraîche and a bit of whole-grain mustard. It's divine with herby mashed potatoes and a crisp Chardonnay. You can also add a green salad as a starter.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Feasts and Festivals: Dunmow Flitch Trials



The Dunmow Flitch Trials are this Saturday! Aren't you excited? What? You've never heard of the Dunmow Flitch Trials?! No worries. I hadn't heard of them either until I watched the 1952 film Made in Heaven on Netflix (more on that later this week).

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Meal-making Music: Fleetwood Mac's Rumours


I almost always have NPR or BBC4 on when I wash dishes or sometimes I'll crank up the volume on Hall & Oats or Paul's double-disc Bad Company greatest hits album. Occasionally, I even decide to put on some music while I cook. It definitely makes the process more fun. Of course, it's important to pick music that accompanies whatever it is I'm cooking. Lentils always seem rather 1970s to me, so some vintage vinyl was in order.

Monday, June 25, 2012

If You Can't Stand the Heat, Get Out of the Kitchen

At this very moment, it is 100 degrees here in Wichita (that's 37.8 for my Canadian and overseas readers). It's hot. It's I'm-not-willingly-standing-over-the-stove hot.


I recently tried out this lovely all-in-one-Le Creuset Roast Salmon recipe from BBC Good Food. No slaving over a stove is required. I was able to make each addition, set the oven timer and go back to my reading. You should definitely give it a try while there's still asparagus. The only change I made was to add the basil when I added the cherry tomatoes and I seasoned everything really well with salt and pepper. Oh, and I totally forgot to add the balsamic vinegar, but it still turned out really well. Have yourself a glass of a cool and crisp white wine while you're at it.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Feasts and Festivals: Diamond Jubilee


Not that I need an excuse to get out my commemorative china and bake a cake and drink champagne, but the Diamond Jubilee was just the perfect opportunity to do all three. There were also a lot of photographs of the queen over the years on The Guardian's website, so I thought I would share a couple of my favorites:

 Left: 1968, Right: 1975

Now, on to the cake. I had originally wanted to make a Battenberg, but it makes two cakes (because of the two colors of cake) and let's face it, I'm pretty bad at the whole trimming and reassembling thing. So, I thought I would make a Battenberg-inspired marzipan-wrapped Jubilee Almond Cake. It turned out really well and it was a lot less work! Plus, it's covered in pearl dragées, because (a) they're terribly festive and (b) Queen Elizabeth is rarely photographed without her pearls.*

Friday, May 4, 2012

Life This Week: May 1, 1939


In their fourth movie together, Barbara Stanwyck and Joel McCrea star in Union Pacific, this week's "Movie of the Week." Directed by Cecil B. DeMille, Union Pacific is the story of the building of the transcontinental railroad. Or more specifically, it's about an Irish "end-of-track" postmistress (Barbara Stanwyck), her gambling fiancé (Robert Preston) and the former Union army captain sent to maintain law and order along the line (Joel McCrea). Naturally, what happens is that postmistress Mollie Monahan and Captain Jeff Butler can't seem to stay away from each other. Probably because Joel McCrea has got to be one of the most adorable men ever. 

Monday, April 30, 2012

Feasts and Festivals: Beltane/May Day

If there's a bustle in your hedgerow, don't be alarmed now,/
It's just a spring clean for the May queen.
-Led Zeppelin, "Stairway to Heaven"


Beltane was one of the pre-Christian Quartering Days along with Lughnasadh, Samhain and Imbolc. Unlike the other three celebrations, Beltane wasn't turned into a Christian festival.* However, the beginning of May remained a festival day, shedding its pagan past but retaining the more secular celebration of the end of cold, dreary weather and the coming of summer. I might not have a maypole to dance around, but I'm (flower) crowning myself an unofficial May Queen and having a nice scone to top it off.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Third Annual George Sanders Film Festival

left / top right / bottom right

In case you didn't already know, a new film version of  Guy de Maupassant's Bel-Ami comes out in June. I took this to mean that I should include The Private Affairs of Bel Ami (1947) in this year's film festival. Despite the fact that George Sanders is kind of old to play Georges Duroy ("Bel Ami") and that the ending had to be changed to oblige the censors, The Private Affairs of Bel Ami feels true to the spirit of the original novel. Who on earth, I ask, could possibly play a cad as well as George Sanders? Ann Dvorak (below) is fantastic as Madeleine, Duroy's whip-smart wife and Angela Lansbury (above) is luminous as a slightly-more-innocent-than-in-the-book Clotilde.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Life This Week: April 24, 1939

Dark Victory, starring Bette Davis and George Brent, is the "Movie of the Week." Naturally, Life gives away the ending (you might need a hanky for this one, folks). Thankfully, Dark Victory is an excellent example of melodrama. It seems that they're so easy to do badly!

What is particularly interesting in the Life article, though, is the breakdown of Dark Victory's budget. The entire production cost $800,000. The cost of all the film used was $15,000! Davis and Brent had to split $85,000, which comes out to about $1.3 million in 2010 dollars. I guess they were used to sharing the big bucks--Dark Victory was Bette Davis and George Brent's eighth film together.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Feasts and Festivals: St. George's Day


Here in America, we think of macaroni and cheese (notice the "and") is a very American dish. Like most baked pasta dishes it probably began in Italy--an ancestor recipe appeared as early as the 13th century.1 (But pasta originally came from China! See the problem with tracing a recipe's roots?) By the 14th century, the first (that we know of) macaroni cheese recipe showed up in England in The Forme of Cury.2 So, some form or other of macaroni cheese has been around in England for seven centuries. I feel that makes the dish sufficiently British for St. George's Day! (Also, photographing it with the Queen and Prince Philip can't hurt.)

Leeks make a nice addition and help make macaroni cheese a little more of a spring dish. Use any short pasta you like--I actually used penne, because that's what was available in the bulk section.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Life This Week: April 17, 1939


Really, how could you resist? Dodge City is one of those movies that's so charming and likeable that I forget how ridiculous it really is. It may not be the best film of 1939, but it's certainly one of the most fun.

While delivering cattle and a wagon train of settlers to Dodge City, improbably handsome cowboy Wade Hatton (Errol Flynn) stands up to saloon-owner and all-around baddie Jeff Surrett (Bruce Cabot). The impressed townspeople want Hatton for sheriff. So, Wade and his buddies (Alan Hale and Guinn "Big Boy" Williams) stick around to clean up the town. Keep in mind that this is the film that helps establish all those Western-genre clichés.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Dinner and a Movie: The Hound of the Baskervilles


The Hound of the Baskervilles is particularly appropriate this week, because there's an article about the hound himself in the April 10, 1939 issue of Life magazine (more about the issue at Tuesday's post). To quote Life, "'Chief' [the dog] helps and excellent cast headed by Basil Rathbone to make Conan Doyle's great detective story moderately good movie fare." All of a sudden, Life has high standards? The Hound of the Baskervilles is much more entertaining than Alexander Nevsky and I simply adore Basil Rathbone. He and Jeremy Brett and Benedict Cumberbatch are my favorite Sherlocks. (I can't wait for the next season of Sherlock to air--only one more month!)


Since cauliflowers are in season for another week or so, this is a perfect way to serve them in early spring, when the afternoons are warm and sunny but the evenings still have a bit of a nip to them. The cauliflower and the cheddar are hearty and warming while the crème fraîche adds tang and the scallions bring a bright, green, springtime taste. If you've only had cauliflower on a crudité platter, I urge you to try this recipe. I loathe raw cauliflower, but Crème fraîche Cauliflower Cheese is heaven.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Life This Week: April 10, 1939


Netflix didn't have Ettore Fieramosca, fascist Italy's anti-French propaganda film, so I had settle for just watching Alexander Nevsky, the other armored flick in "The Italians and Russians Do Films of Armored Knights: Both Use History to Warn Their Enemies." Alexander Nevksy is a famous bit of Russian nationalist, anti-German propaganda. It's the story of a 13th-century Russian prince, famous for his defeat of a Swedish invasion, who must rout another invasion attempt, this time by Teutonic knights. Timely and conveniently anti-German and anti-religion (the Germans and the priests throwing babies into a bonfire was actually kind of funny), this film softened Joseph Stalin to director Sergei Eisenstein.


Friday, April 6, 2012

Dinner and a Miniseries: Pride and Prejudice

Chicken and Parsley Pie is the perfect accompaniment to the five-hour extravaganza that is Pride and Prejudice. Both are scrumptious and oh-so-English. I can't believe it's taken me this long to blog about what is one of my absolute favorite movies ever, even though it's really a miniseries. In fact, I think it's better than the book. (Sorry, Jane!) I first discovered Pride and Prejudice a couple of years after it aired. I was in middle school, I didn't have many friends anyway, so seclusion and five hours of Britishness seemed like a good plan for the weekend. I've watched it at least once a year since then and I've owned it on VHS (six of them!) and DVD (only two). That means I've seen Pride and Prejudice at least a dozen times and it never gets old.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Life This Week: April 3, 1939


Can you believe it's April already? Doesn't seem possible! I keep thinking that it can't be spring since we never had our blizzards. Among the weeds in my kitchen garden, I found a couple sprigs of parsley. It never got cold enough to kill them off! As unpleasant as winter can be, it seems wrong to skip it entirely.

Anyway, it's Life This Week time. This week's issue has several interesting items:

Friday, March 30, 2012

Friday Fun

Sunday at Ciao Domenica tagged me to participate in this questionnaire:

DO YOU HAVE A FAVORITE WRITER AND IF SO WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE BOOK BY THAT WRITER?

Oh, goodness. I really don't know that I do! I read a lot of Charles Dickens, but I don't always like his books (The Old Curiosity Shop and Hard Times are particular un-favorites). I read a lot of Agatha Christie, but I always get mad at her for employing the deus ex machina. I really like Evelyn Waugh, but he can be a bit depressing. I have a lot of favorite books, but not really any single author whose overall writing I really really love.

I do like everything I've read (so far, at least) by Molière and Richard Brinsley Sheridan, so I guess I have a couple of favorite playwrights!

IF THERE WERE FOUR PEOPLE FROM ANY TIME PERIOD YOU COULD INVITE TO DINNER WHO WOULD THEY BE?

I've thought about this for days now and I know I'd like to invite Lucretius and Voltaire. I always have trouble with the next two. "Am I being too pretentious?" I ask myself. "Would that person be entertaining at dinner?" Perhaps I would just like four of my friends? Is that an option?

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Tea Time Treats: Rosemary Cream Scones

"Tea, that vulgar little stimulant we sip to soothe our afternoons."
-Max Fustian, 
smarmy art critic in Margery Allingham's Death of a Ghost

Death of a Ghost begins with a yearly art show in an Anglo-Italian household ("Little Venice"). There's a brutal murder in the dark with a pair of scissors and the matriarch of the family, Belle Lafcadio, calls on amateur sleuth Albert Campion for help.

Many scenes take place around the tea table, so I thought this was the perfect book to accompany Tea Time Treats.* The theme this month was "Scones--Sweet and Savory" so I made them with rosemary to make an Anglo-Italian Tea Time Treat.


Friday, March 23, 2012

Dinner and a Movie: I See a Dark Stranger


St. Patrick's Day is the holiday that keeps on giving. We ended up with a fair amount of leftovers, so what could be better than Corned Beef Hash? I'd never had it before, but Modern Meal Maker suggests making it like potato cakes, so there was no argument here. The scallions in the champ and the saltiness of the corned beef really make this dish. Yum! We ate it two nights in a row with a green salad.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Life This Week: March 20, 1939


This week's "Movie of the Week" is Love Affair. As usual, Life gives away the whole thing. However, you are probably very familiar with the plot already--director Leo McCarey remade Love Affair in 1957, renaming it An Affair to Remember. I've seen the Cary Grant/Deborah Kerr version a few times over the years, but this was my first viewing of Love Affair and I think I like it better. At any rate, I was totally glued to the computer (Love Affair is free at Archive.org.) even though I already knew what was going to happen.

Poster from Doctor Macro

Charles Boyer's character is always going around ordering champagne cocktails with pink champagne. I didn't have any of the pink stuff, but here's my recipe for a champagne cocktail:

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Feasts and Festivals: St. Patrick's Day

Corned Beef and Cabbage, Champ and Soda Bread (and scotch and soda*)

Unlike other Feasts and Festivals, where I usually prepare everything up to a week in advance so I can blog about it (sorry for spoiling the magic), Paul and I had friends over today to share in our St. Patrick's Day celebration, so we actually had our feast on the correct day. Doesn't happen often! We had such a great time--I'm looking forward to next year.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Blanche Fury Tea Break: Staffordshire Fruitcake


Blanche Fury is the story of poor relation Blanche Fullerton (Valerie Hobson) who arrives at Clare Hall to be her young cousin's governess. Blanche quickly attracts the attention of her pupil's father, Laurence Fury (Michael Gough) and the two are soon married. However, Blanche can't keep herself away from Philip Thorn (Stewart Granger), the illegitimate son of the former master of Clare Hall, who will stop at nothing to make that grand estate his own.

Blanche Fury is set near Stafford in Staffordshire. Lucky me, I had a recipe I wanted to try for Staffordshire Fruitcake. The terrible thing is that I had to wait two weeks to try my creation. Cruelty.


Thursday, March 8, 2012

Reading and Recipes: Life and Death of the Wicked Lady Skelton

Yet again at the Wichita recycling center's book section, I found a copy of  Magdalen King-Hall's The Life and Death of the Wicked Lady Skelton, not even knowing it was the source material for the Gainsborough film The Wicked Lady. The book is in really disgusting shape and felt damp the entire time I was reading it (hopefully it hasn't given me some dread mold-borne disease). However, it was free and actually entertaining. How I love going to the recycling center. The Life and Death of the Wicked Lady Skelton is a about a bored 17th-century noblewoman who seeks excitement as a part-time highway(wo)man.  It's a quick read and a lot of fun. Shelve it between Frenchman's Creek and Forever Amber.

So what I really wanted to make was a pigeon pie. It's mentioned several times in the book, along with lots of possets and syllabubs. King-Hall frequently tells her readers what's eaten in a particular scene. As you might guess, I like that about her. It kept me busy making notes the entire time I was reading. Unfortunately, there were no pigeons to be found save for those in my yard and it's illegal to shoot them, although I guess I could have wrung their necks but I'm not quite ready for that. So, I moved on to Plan B--something with rosemary, which is a recurring theme in the novel.


"...rosemary for the bride, rosemary for the corpse, symbol of the unity underlying all life and death" (269).


Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Life This Week: March 6, 1939


Stills from Doctor Macro

This week's "Movie of the Week" is actually a film entitled Café Society, which I can't locate anywhere. No problem--there are several other movies mentioned in this issue. However, the only one that isn't a future "Movie of the Week" is The Little Princess. I'd been avoiding Shirley Temple movies since I subjected myself to The Little Colonel. I don't think The Little Princess was quite as bad as The Little Colonel, although I did fast-forward through the "ballet" and found myself sympathizing with nasty headmistress Miss Minchin. Excepting The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer, I'm refusing to watch any more Shirley Temple movies. Sorry folks, there's an end to it.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Feasts and Festivals: St. David's Day

St. David is the patron saint of Wales. A sixth century Welsh bishop, David founded monasteries and churches in Wales, Southwest England and Brittany. David is believed to have lived 100 years, dying on March 1, 589. David's miracle was spontaneously creating a hill. No, not with buckets of dirt; the earth supposedly rose up under him.1 There is also a legend that David warns the people of Wales when there will be a death in the community through corpse candles (will-o'-the-wisps).2
St. David's Cathedral photo from Wikipedia

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Reading and Recipes: Young Bess and Sausage Sussex Blanket Pudding

Sausage Sussex Blanket Pudding is basically a Jam Roly-Poly  (I need to make one of those!) but with sausage instead of jam. I created this recipe from a suggestion in Florence White's Good Things in England. Originally published in 1932, the subtitle says it all: "Containing Traditional and Regional Recipes suited to Modern Tastes contributed by English Men and Women between 1399 and 1932..."

Monday, February 27, 2012

Life This Week: February 27, 1939


 Publicity photo and still from Doctor Macro

There are a lot of sub-par Westerns. Thankfully, Stagecoach (the "Movie of the Week") isn't one of them. I've now seen it three times and I've enjoyed myself during each viewing. The ensemble cast works well together, the threat of an Indian attack maintains a high level of suspense and then there's the happy ending I wanted. Even if you're not a fan of the Western, give this one a try.

To go with the movie, I made a February menu from Modern Meal Maker (1935). I can just imagine having this for dinner before going to a movie palace for a showing of Stagecoach. It must have seemed like quite an event! I wonder where it played in Wichita. The Orpheum? The Colonial? The Star? The Wichita? The Kansas? How exciting to have so many different theaters!