Thursday, December 5, 2013

Visions of Sugarplums

There was a bit of confusion earlier, but my Visions of Sugarplums post is on Lovely. Please go check it out there and please stay tuned for more from The Past on a Plate in the new year.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Vincent Price Cookalong

Come check out what I made for Jenny's Vincent Price cookalong:

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Dinner and a Movie: Cold Comfort Farm

Remember going to the video rental store? Sometimes Blockbuster could come up trumps. I love the convenience of Netflix but sometimes I miss just browsing. Thanks to browsing, I discovered Cold Comfort Farm in the "New Releases" section back in 1996 and rented it because I recognized Kate Beckinsale from Much Ado About Nothing and I already had a penchant for period pieces.

Cold Comfort Farm is a really good example of when a film adaptation works. I actually think I might like the movie better than the book! The most obvious reason why is the cast, which includes Joanna Lumley, Eileen Atkins, Rufus Sewell, Stephen Fry, and Ian McKellen. Cold Comfort Farm is wonderful fun (Joanna Lumley's character Mrs Smiley would tell me to say it's "amusing" instead of "fun") and still makes me laugh after at least a dozen viewings. I never get tired of watching Flora Poste (Kate Beckinsale) attempt to tidy up her appalling country relatives and evade the advances of Mr. Meyerburg (Stephen Fry), the libidinous Lawrentian.

From Cold Comfort to deliciously warm comfort...

This is the old and oversized, warm and extremely cuddly sweater of supper dishes. Isn't there just something supremely satisfying and enveloping about anything au gratin? I like that this recipe has lovely fresh green herbs, which lend a nice freshness.


2 tablespoons butter
1 onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
2 eggs
1 ¼ cups (½ Imperial pint) heavy cream
1 ½ lbs waxy potatoes, peeled and cut into matchsticks
4 oz. hard cheese, grated (I use a mixture of Gruyère and Cheddar.)
1 tablespoon parsley, minced
1 tablespoon chives, minced
2 tablespoons thyme leaves, minced
nutmeg, salt, and pepper

Place a baking sheet in the middle of the oven and preheat to 375º Fahrenheit. Butter a large oval gratin dish and set aside. In a saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and cook until translucent, stirring occasionally and being careful to turn down the heat if the onions threaten to brown. Stir in the minced garlic and cook just until garlic is fragrant and remove pan from the heat.

Beat together the eggs and cream in a very large mixing bowl. Stir in the potatoes, half the cheese, all the herbs, and season with nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Add the onions and garlic and stir to combine. Pour mixture into prepared gratin dish and sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top. Place gratin on top of the baking sheet in the oven and bake for about 50 minutes, or until nicely browned.

Serves 4 to 6

Adapted from “Creamy Potato Gratin with Herbs” in Hilaire Walden, ed., Traditional British Cooking (London: Hermes House, 1997), 166.

Download and print

Cold Comfort Farm photo source

Never miss a post and get exclusive member content (like this Friday's homemade Chinese take-out) by signing up for The Past on a Plate's free weekly newsletter:

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Diana Mosley

Madame Yevonde, The Honourable Mrs Bryan Guinness as Venus (1935)

You may know that Paul and I recently bought a house. During our move, we took a bunch of books over to the used bookstore and I happened to come across a copy of Diana Mosley: A Biography of the Glamorous Mitford Sister Who Became Hitler's Friend and Married the Leader of Britain's Fascists. Even though we were actually at the bookstore to reduce the number of books in our house, I had to have it. I love books about interwar socialites. I am a frivolous person.

I honestly didn't much sympathize with Diana (not just the politics, though goodness knows, those were unsympathetic enough) and none of the Mitfords emerge looking like very nice people. Did you know that Nancy Mitford actually supported Diana's wartime imprisonment? Not very sisterly behavior. However, liking the characters doesn't have to prevent one from liking a book. I really found the whole thing quite fascinating. I know the book is titled Diana Mosley but I could have gobbled up more about Diana's Mitford upbringing and her society role as the wife of Bryan Guinness. See? I definitely like the amusing, frivolous bits.

So here's the nit I have to pick: Jan Dalley (the author of Diana Mosley) keeps describing Oswald Mosley's Valentino-esque looks. As if! If we're going to go around comparing him to film stars, Mosley is a total Fairbanks dead-ringer:
Left: Douglas Fairbanks / Right: Oswald Mosley

Aside from the facial features, the only other things the two had in common were fencing skills and marriages to blonde English socialites. Fairbanks's last wife was Sylvia Ashley, who had been married to Anthony Ashley-Cooper. She later married Clark Gable.


I chose this recipe because it seems like just the sort of thing one might be served at a country house--it would look much grander if the fish still had their heads. Being landlocked, we take what we can get.

This is a quite simple (and quick) way to cook fish. Be sure to get trout that still has its skin--the flour coating makes it crisp and delicious--which helps keep the flesh moist.

Buttered Trout

2 trout, cleaned and gutted
2 tablespoons flour
salt and pepper
pinch of dry mustard
2 tablespoons butter
juice of 1/2 lemon

Sprinkle the trout (inside and outside) with a generous amount of salt. Cover and place in the refrigerator for an hour.

Mix the flour, salt, pepper, nutmeg, and mustard together in a shallow dish. Set aside. Wipe the interior and exterior of the trout well with a damp paper towel.

Dredge the trout in the seasoned flour and then fry in a large skillet in which the butter has been melted over medium-high heat. Cook the fish about 5 minutes per side, turning down the heat if the butter starts burning. The fish is ready as soon as the interior becomes opaque.

Place the cooked fish on warmed plates and pour the lemon juice into the hot pan. Stir into the butter and pour over the fish. Serve immediately with boiled potatoes and a green vegetable.

Serves 2

Adapted from Favourite New Forest Recipes.

Download and print

Never miss a post and get exclusive member content by signing up for The Past on a Plate's free weekly newsletter:

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Katharine Hepburn's Super-Amazing Brownies

I love Katharine Hepburn's brownie recipe. I tried a KH brownie for the first time a few years ago at the café at Watermark Books and keep an eye out for them every time I'm there. I finally decided to make some at home. I've been meaning to share my Katharine Hepburn brownies since this summer when I took them to an Occupy Wichita meeting and pot-luck dinner* (where they were gobbled) but hadn't gotten around to it until I was reminded by Jenny and her KH brownies post. Frankly, they're too good to waste on strangers. Keep them all to yourself. They're crisp on top and ridiculously gooey in the middle. It's how brownies are supposed to be, otherwise you've just got chocolate cake on the one hand or fudge on the other. I've made a slight alteration from Miss Hepburn's original recipe and subbed sprouted whole-wheat flour for the all-purpose. It's only 1/4 cup so you'd never notice, but I figure it makes them much healthier. Right? Am I right?

Katharine Hepburn's Brownies

¼ lb unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup granulated sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
2 eggs, at room temperature, beaten
1 cup walnuts, chopped
¼ cup finely-milled sprouted-wheat flour

Preheat oven to 325˚ Fahrenheit. Grease an 8” x 8” pan, line with parchment paper, and then grease the parchment, as well. Set aside.

In a heavy-bottomed 2-quart saucepan over low heat, melt together the butter and chocolate, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. As soon as most of the chocolate is melted, remove from the heat and continue stirring while the remaining chocolate melts.

Stir in the vanilla, sugar, and salt. Beat in the eggs then stir in the walnuts and then the flour. Pour into the prepared pan and even out with the back of the spoon. Bake about 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Cool brownies, in pan, on a cooling rack then cut into 9 squares. Enjoy!

Adapted from Saveur magazine's recipe.

Download and print

Movie poster from Wikipedia

So, while the brownies were in the oven, I had a chain thought to "I should really watch The Lion in Winter one more time before I decide whether to sell it back to the used book store." So, I watched it. I have to say that it's really not the greatest movie ever. I haven't taken it to the used book store, but I probably should go ahead and do that. Thing is, the movie always seems like a good idea but then I watch it and think, "why did I just bother to sit through that?" Now you know I love Katharine Hepburn, but there it is. The movie has its moments, but I really enjoyed the play more. (I had a friend in high school who played Prince John in the production, so I'm sure that made it more fun, too.)

Edwardian illustration of Eleanor of Aquitaine

I think the real-life Eleanor of Aquitaine was much more interesting than how she's portrayed in The Lion in Winter. I've had a soft spot for her since reading A Proud Taste for Scarlet and Miniver as a pre-teen. If you'd like to know more about Eleanor, she's featured in the first episode of historian Helen Castor's She-Wolves: England's Early Queens, which is a nice rundown of medieval and Tudor political wrangling. I spent so much time studying British politics in school but I still get a kick out of it. I really like watching Parliamentary debates, too, especially when they get all heated and call each other things like "semi-house-trained polecat" and "pig's bladder on the end of a stick." Paul and I call each other those things all the time, typically with English accent and in a public place. Lord knows what the people at the hippie grocery store think of us.

I do love that between Netflix and my Amazon prime account, I can watch pretty much any British comedy or drama I want (just a few months later) but they need to get with it when it comes to educational programming. I'm tired of having to watch Lucy Worsley on YouTube! The last time we were in London we were flipping through channels and there was a guy who was getting paid to go around France and see how things were now compared with the write-up in an old guidebook. That is seriously my kind of television.

*What a disorganized mess! I say "dinner" but it was really just a few slices of watermelon, a very sad crudité platter, and a very very sad antipasti platter, if it could be called that. The contents of the "meat" and "cheese" appeared predominately petroleum-based. We were really only there for a film co-sponsored by the Sierra Club but the video quality was so bad that it gave me a migraine AND there was no air conditioning (it was 95 degrees!). I told Paul when we left that I wasn't surprised that conservatives seem to have the upper hand around here. Maybe it's just that they run the A/C?

Never miss a post and get exclusive member content by signing up for The Past on a Plate's free weekly newsletter:

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Feasts and Festivals: Harvest Home Seedcake

So, we're pretty much moved in to our new house. As I write this, I am waiting on delivery of my refrigerator. The house's previous owner wanted to sell me hers for $750! It was moldy and didn't even fit in the space. We're lucky she didn't expect us to pay separately for the rest of the appliances! Anyway, we've learned very quickly that owning a house is an adventure. Paul and I are still getting everything sorted and decorated, so I hope to show you some photos soon. I did take some time out this weekend to make a seedcake for tea in honor of Harvest Home. Seedcakes were traditional for Harvest Home festivities in Sussex,1 so it seemed like a good idea to try my hand at one. It's my first time to use caraway seeds for something sweet. Paul and I like it, but I don't know if I'd spring it onto unsuspecting guests. (You can definitely just leave out the caraway seeds and you'll have a nice, lightly spicy pound cake.) I have to overcome my taste buds immediately screaming, "rye bread! rye bread!" It's weird but I like it and seed cake goes so well with a cup of tea.

The inspiration for this recipe is from an 18th-century "receipt" in Dorothy Hartley's Food in England.2 It actually called for caraway comfits, which are basically caraway seeds inside a sprinkle. When I read what was involved with making them I said, "screw that!" Thankfully, I also have a copy of Peyton and Byrne British Baking which has a Madeira Cake recipe with optional (uncandied) caraway seeds. The brandy and spices are from the 18th-century version.


6 oz. (¾ cup) very soft butter
6 oz. (¾ cup) turbinado or demerara sugar
3 eggs, at room temperature
½ teaspoon brandy
¼ lb (1 cup) self-raising flour*
¼ lb (1 cup) sprouted whole-wheat flour**
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon caraway seeds

Preheat oven to 335º Fahrenheit. (If you have an older oven, set to 325 and bake a bit longer.) Butter a loaf pan and line with parchment paper. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugar. Beat in eggs one at a time until well-combined. Stir in the brandy and set aside.

In a smaller mixing bowl, stir together the self-raising flour, sprouted flour, cinnamon and cloves. Mix into the butter/sugar mixture a bit at a time, being careful to fully incorporate the flour without over-mixing. Stir in the caraway seeds and spoon batter into prepared loaf pan.

Bake in the middle of the oven about 50 to 55 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool completely in the pan on a wire rack then slice and serve.

8 to 10 slices

Inspired by 1744 seed cake recipe in Dorothy Hartley’s Food in England and adapted from “Madeira Cake” in Peyton and Byrne British Baking.

*Or substitute 1 cup all-purpose flour + 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder + ½ teaspoon salt
**I used King Arthur Flour’s sprouted whole wheat because it’s very finely milled. If you don’t want to bother with it, just use another cup of all-purpose flour.

Download and print

From Sussex to Wessex... (That's Thomas Hardy's fictional county, which is based on the Saxon kingdom, in case you were wondering.) So why are we talking about Thomas Hardy and Wessex? I actually picked Far from the Madding Crowd to go with this post because an important scene in the book occurs during the Harvest Home celebrations on Bathsheba Everdene's farm. Seemed perfect. Not that I've read Far from the Madding Crowd recently (well, "read," at any rate--actually Nathaniel Parker read it to me while I knitted an Aran sweater for Paul which actually turned out to be way too big, but that's another story) but the 1967 film adaptation of the novel seemed pretty faithful (if not terribly inspired--I LOVED the book and felt the movie was pretty good) except that Julie Christie doesn't look like how I pictured Bathsheba. I'm pretty sure the character is supposed to have really dark hair.3

Julie Christie as Bathsheba Everdene and Alan Bates as Gabriel Oak

Reading Thomas Hardy is great because everything is pretty and bucolic and then it all goes to hell. Far from the Madding Crowd is, thankfully, not nearly as bleak as some of Hardy's other novels, though. I love Hardy because it's like he was writing directly to silly teenage girls. It's totally important to know the warning signs of undesirability in a potential romantic partner. If he's anything like Sergeant Troy, run in the other direction!4 If you haven't read Far from the Madding Crowd (or maybe seen the movie if you've only got three hours to spare), I recommend it. Anyone seen the 90s TV movie? What did you think?

Terence Stamp as Frank Troy and Julie Christie as Bathsheba Everdene

  1. Anna Franklin's Autumn Equinox
  2. Did you happen to see Lucy Worsley's documentary on Food in England? Highly recommended.
  3. P.S. Found this at "Gabriel had reached a pitch of existence he never could have anticipated a short time before. He liked saying "Bathsheba" as a private enjoyment instead of whistling; turned over his taste to black hair, though he had sworn by brown ever since he was a boy..."
  4. However, Sergeant Troy on Midsomer Murders is adorable.

Never miss a post and get exclusive member content by signing up for The Past on a Plate's free weekly newsletter:

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Just a quick note to say...

...I'll be back! The Past on a Plate will start back up this autumn. You may have noticed I've taken some time off from blogging and social networking. I needed to step back and evaluate how all that internet time was affecting me. I've decided to return to blogging and interacting with my blogging buddies because I've really really missed those two things, but I'll do much less on social media than I have at times in the past.

Paul and I are currently in the process of buying a house, which is very exciting and taking up a lot of our free time, but I hope to return to blogging in time for one of my favorite holidays, Harvest Home (September 22nd).*

Other than house-buying, I don't have any other news at the moment. How about you? Tell me what's going on in your world in the comments. Can't wait to hear from you!

*Check out my 2011 Harvest Home post!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Six-Year Itch* and a Brand-New Blog

I've been thinking about this blog a lot lately. I haven't been writing, but I've been thinking. There was a lot of "Why am I doing this?" and "Why don't I enjoy this any more?" I feel bad that I haven't checked other blogs or social-media sites in weeks, even though I consider many of you to be my friends. It was all starting to feel like work--and not the good, fulfilling, energizing kind. I'm feeling hemmed-in and limited and stuck to a computer. Not how I want to feel on a day-to-day basis! I think what's happened is that the premise of this blog has become too limiting. I was a history major in college and I spent most of my money in middle school and high school buying vintage awesomeness at estate sales. However, (like most of you, I imagine) I live in the twenty-first century and I'm OK with that. I have lots of interests, not just food. I do want to keep blogging (and blogging about food) but I'd like the freedom to not just write about old food.

I'm not getting rid of The Past on a Plate and I will continue to post here when it makes sense to do so. I'm currently in the process of creating a new blog, writing a book and developing premium content. It's all in the beginning stages, but I'm very excited about it. I'll be making announcements as I get further along in my work. If you're a subscriber, you'll be sure to get all the info as it's available.

While we're at it, I'd like to send out a HUGE thank you to everyone who filled out my UAP survey so far. If you haven't done so, please take a few minutes and fill it out. It's anonymous and quick and will help me out so much.

*Yes, we're coming up on my six-year blog anniversary. Hard to believe!

P.S. Come and say hi at!!!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Dinner and a Movie: Experiment Perilous

This fish dish from Mrs Beeton is made just like Wiener Schnitzel and, like Wiener Schnitzel, it's crisp and crunchy on the outside and juice on the inside. It creates a really perfectly-cooked fish. Use it for almost any white fish and serve with buttered potatoes and broccoli.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Life This Week: March 4, 1940 and a Confession

There are a couple of recipes in this issue of Life magazine. The one I decided to try is the Bacardi. Since Paul and I have had some bad luck with liquor lately, we decided to spring for the rum and try something new. You know what? It was dee-licious. Plus, it helps prevent scurvy.

Bacardi ad in Life / my delicious Bacardi cocktails

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Vile Vintage Cocktails

I think I'm pretty lucky in that most of the recipes I try turn out well and I usually end up liking whatever it is (there are definitely exceptions). I keep an open mind and often try things that don't even sound that great, so it's surprising my odds are as good as they are. I do occasionally get repeated "fails" in a row as these three cocktails will show you...

By the way, all three recipes in this post make two drinks and each is shaken over ice, if you're actually tempted to try any of them. If you do, I want to hear all about it.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Life This Week: February 26, 1940

Remember when I made Sausage Cobbler? The recipe was from an ad in this issue of Life. There were so many yummy-sounding recipes to try I couldn't stop at just one. Need an easy weekend breakfast? Love cornbread and maple syrup and sausage links? Thought you would. You should definitely try out this recipe.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

February 1928 Sunday Dinner

You've known me for a while and you know I love an awesomely-illustrated vintage cookbook. Well, The Book of Unusual Cookery is tops. It's got Sunday dinners for every week of the year plus some "fine old time" recipes. Naturally, I couldn't wait to cook something from it. This is one hefty dinner and there's such a lot of tomato. Thankfully, I thought everything was yummy. To make things easier, I just used my usual roast chicken and potatoes recipe. The Tomato Aspic, Pineapple Ice and Prune Cake have to be made in advance and most of the Rice and Tomato Soup can be made early. 

Prune Cake

Monday, February 18, 2013

Life This Week: February 19, 1940

Mae West and W.C. Fields only made one movie together and it was My Little Chickadee, this week's "Movie of the Week" (check out the photos of Mae West's apartment while you're at it), a western penned by Ms. West. Fields wrote some of the dialogue, but the studio gave him equal credit for the script which royally pissed off Mae West. She refused to work with W.C. Fields again.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

North by Northwest Dinner for Two

Cary Grant and Eva Marie Saint star in Alfred Hitchcock's North By Northwest

Happy Valentine's Day! Perhaps you're looking for a romantic dinner for two? Look no further--I've made a menu based on the 20th Century Limited's Dining Car, which was featured in North by Northwest (1959), which would be a pretty good Valentine's Day movie choice, as well. There's train travel and adventure and romance and spies and national parks! What could be better? North by Northwest airs Saturday, February 16th, at 11:00 p.m. CST on TCM. It's also available on DVD.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Calling All Explorers!

Are you ready for an adventure? Embark with me on some culinary time travel. I'm kicking off The Past on a Plate's 1920s Menu Challenge with a week's worth of menus from the March 1927 issue of American Cookery magazine. I'll be cooking every Breakfast, Luncheon and Dinner from the "Seasonable Menus for Week in March" section during the week of Sunday, March 24, 2013, and I would love it above all things if you'd join me, even if only for a meal or two.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Feasts and Festivals: Carnival

In case you didn't know, Shrove Tuesday is next week (the 12th), so Carnival is drawing to a close. Carnival is a series of festivities preceding Lent and usually happens in predominantly-Catholic areas, such as Argentina, where the film Gilda (1946) takes place. Here are Glenn Ford and Rita Hayworth dressed up for the Carnaval de Buenos Aires...

 ...and the two of them in a publicity still (featuring the black dress that's practically as famous as the movie).

These three recipes are from the same year as Gilda--they're adapted from my 1946 edition of The Better Homes and Gardens Cook Book. We had the crab cocktail as an appetizer and then had a steak, baked potato, green salad and buttermilk biscuits.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Forties Fashion and Food: L'Officiel de la mode Février 1940

Tomato Custard with Cheese Sauce

Standing in for Life magazine this week, we have the February 1940 issue of L'Officiel de la mode, which you can view in its entirety at the publisher's website. I've narrowed down a few of my favorite pieces (mostly hats in this issue) to share with you. I think the Alpine Molyneux hat is my absolute favorite--I'm a sucker for anything Tyrolean. Which is your favorite?

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Dinner and a Movie: Flesh and the Devil

Loin of Pork Roasted with Sweet Potatoes, Apples and Squash 
(Salad with French Dressing in the background)

If you follow me on facebook, tumblr or pinterest, you have probably guess that I'm back on a bit of a 1920s kick. I found some fabulous magazines and cookbooks on etsy recently from that decade, so I'm really looking forward to cooking from them. The Sunday lunch above is from the Woman's World Magazine Menu Book from 1928. I have to say it was absolutely divine and went perfectly with one of the best silent films ever, Flesh and the Devil.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Life This Week: January 29, 1940 and February 5, 1940

Chocolate Devil's Food Cake with Almond White Fudge Frosting is deeeelicious. I just had a bit of a problem getting the fudge icing to spread even though I followed the recipe and tried all the tips (like placing it over hot water). I was pretty disappointed mine didn't end up looking like the magazine photo! Since it tasted so yummy, I've included the recipe. I've made fudge frostings before and haven't had any problems. Maybe the house was too cold?  

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Dinner and a Movie: 1930s Hitchcock Triple Feature

TCM is showing The 39 Steps, Sabotage and The Lady Vanishes all in a row on Sunday evening, so I thought I'd talk about each film and make a '30s menu to go with them. I thought Finnan Haddie would be appropriate. This menu is a Sunday-night supper suggestion from my 1936 edition of The Boston Cooking School Cook Book.

Belgian Endive Salad
Epicurean Finnan Haddie
Toasted English Muffins
Devil's Food Cake

 Belgian Endive Salad

Monday, January 21, 2013

Life This Week: January 22, 1940

First up, there's an article about Katharine Hepburn's eccentric family. It's an interesting read if you're a big fan of Ms. Hepburn like I am. The photos are such fun, too. There's also one from The Philadelphia Story, which was on Broadway at the time. The article predicts that if the play becomes a movie, Katharine Hepburn will star in it but won't stay in Hollywood for long. I hope no one placed a bet on that prediction!

Every time I read about the Hepburns, I think I'd like to emulate their wealthy-New-England-liberal home life. I just don't want to have seven children.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

British Film and British Baking: Cast a Dark Shadow and Coffee and Walnut Cake

Coffee and Walnut Cake

In Cast a Dark Shadow (1955), Dirk Bogarde plays a widower with a big problem--his first wife, whom he married (and murdered) for her money, was on the verge of leaving him all her assets but she died before she could sign a new will, leaving everything but the house to a sister in Jamaica. So, Bogarde goes off to Brighton to do some wealthy-widow hunting and catches Margaret Lockwood. In a departure from her usual roles, brassy Margaret Lockwood proves a match for Bogarde when she refuses to give him control over her money. Cast a Dark Shadow isn't available on DVD, so be sure to catch it on TCM this Tuesday.

Delicious Coffee and Walnut Cake, photographed in front of the Houses of Parliament page in This Is London (1959), is just the sort of thing I imagine tea shops in Brighton would have served in 1955.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Life This Week: January 15, 1940

Movie of the Week: Rebecca
I've read the book, watched the movie several times and even seen the two television miniseries and I never get tired of Daphne du Maurier's Rebecca. While it's not totally the same as the book, Alfred Hitchcock's film version much more closely matches the source material than his versions of Jamaica Inn or The Birds. Plus, the casting is spot on. Laurence Olivier is charming yet tortured Maxim de Winter; Joan Fontaine is his adorable and bewildered second wife; George Sanders is oily and sinister Jack Favell; C. Aubrey Smith, Reginald Denny and Nigel Bruce play three examples of English (gentle)manhood and Judith Anderson is menacing and creepy as housekeeper Mrs. Danvers. Just go watch it! You won't be sorry. Rebecca is available on DVD and will be on TCM next Tuesday.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Mandeltaschen and The Merry Widow

Keep pantry and refrigerator always well stocked with the most basic baking ingredients like butter, sugar, eggs, flour, yeast, nuts, chocolate, etc., so you will have everything ready if a rainy, snowy, or stormy day keeps you indoors. The best baking days are thus provided by nature herself.
-Lilly Joss Reich
We've had a good dusting of snow this week, so it's been the perfect time to bake some of these delicious, flaky, almond-y Mandeltaschen. Thanks to my recently reorganized pantry, I had everything on hand.