Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Where Are My Vintage Cookbook Fans?

I found this nifty quote on a Facebook Page called Cookbook Love. If you love -- or even hate lol -- vintage cookbooks, you should follow the Page. And the blog too.

From that Page, I found another cool Page, Vintage Recipe Cards, which also has a website. Worthy of following and reading as well.

Anyway,  back to the quote...

I wrote about this a bit at my personal blog before and it's why I've amassed quite a collection! I do share some of the practical things, including recipes, here at Things Your Grandmother Knew; but my main interest is in the cultural stuff. Anyone else collect cookbooks? If so, for the recipes or the culture? Comment here or on my Facebook Page. I really do want to hear from you! Thanks!

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Molded Sugar Cubes

From a 1956 Wilton's molds booklet, details on using candy molds to make fancy sugars for hot and cold beverages. This would be great for teas, wedding & bridal showers, and other fancy events. "Remember," it says, "you can make them in advance and keep them for weeks, ready to use whenever you have guests."

The recipe (from page 3):

Sugar Mix

Sugar Mix is easily prepared by mixing 3 teaspoons of slightly beaten egg white to two cups of sugar and adding color to suit.

Details of how to use the mix in the molds, including swift drying, are below.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Getting Ready To Garden? Simple 25-By-50-Foot Vegetable Garden Plan

From a vintage 4-H vegetable gardening booklet comes this handy little chart on succession planting. While the veggie varieties are suitable to northern climates (specifically Michigan, where it was published) there are sound ideas for the beginning gardener.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Monthly Vintage Macaroon Recipes

In 1952's Aunt Jenny's Old-Fashioned Christmas Cookies & Other All-Time Favorites (a promotional cook booklet featuring Spry shortening) there was a "Macaroon Of The Month Calendar" -- naturally, I had to share it. *wink*

Each recipe begins with this basic recipe for Lever House Macaroons...

And then there's a variation for each month. March's Macaroon Recipe is for Banana Nutties. (There are, of course, options for making them green for Saint Patrick's Day -- sorry I didn't find it earlier!)

Let me know if you make them!

How To Pack Cookies For Mailing

If you're packing cookies to send to those in the military or folks a bit closer to home, there are some great tips in Cookies Galore (from Frances Barton, Consumer Service Department, General Foods Corporation, copyright 1956). While many of these are pretty basic, I found the part about the best cookies to ship helpful.

Monday, March 9, 2015

I Would Vacuum More If My Dogs Did This

They bark & run, but nothing this spectacular! (Via.)

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Hot Under The Collar, Little Woman? Cool Off Freezing Pies

As I said at my other blog, I've been collecting cookbooks and cook booklets primarily for the little cultural asides. One of these examples is 1952's Aunt Jenny's 12 Pies Husbands Like Best Recipe Book, a promotional cook booklet featuring Lever Brothers Spry "Homogenized" pure vegetable shortening). Naturally, the title was reminiscent of the 1950s "little woman cooking for Daddy" phenom, much like the premise of The Way To His Heart.

While equal parts amusing and frustrating, the vintage booklet also provides recipes and facts. The facts that currently catch my fancy revel in the "miracle" of freezing pies. Tips include when to cut steam vents in crusts and thawing pie shells in an oven (as this is before microwave ovens).

Friday, March 6, 2015

Basic Rules For Firebuilding

From Betty Crocker's Outdoor Cook Book (1961), basic rules for fire building on the grill.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Unusual Vintage Pudding Dessert Recipe

We've all heard the expression, "a face for radio," right? Well, what does that say about Radio Pudding?

I'd never heard of such a thing until I paged through a cookbook from the 1930s called Butter-Made Is Better Made. After reading the recipe, I'm pretty sure this is a dessert made for a radio stomach. But you tell me... Does it sound yummy? And if you make it, pretty please tell me!

UPDATE: 1/29/2014 The amazing S.S. tried it and posted a complete review at A Book Of Cookrye. She's got a contest there too, so if you love recipes be sure to enter!

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Making A Folk Art Family Tree

Looking for a special and unique holiday season project that is focused on family history? Something that could also be a centerpiece at holiday meals? Take a look at this antique piece of Victorian Americana: A folk art family tree! 

This is most definitely not your Styrofoam & glitter family tree craft project!

Yes, this rare item is for sale in our Etsy shop; but I mainly post it here as an inspiration. You'll have to make a wooden base (in pyramid style, with flat sides), but the rest is plaster, some frames with family photos, and seashells. (Of course, you could embellish it however you like.) Finding small glass frames, especially those with fancy gold frames or mats, may take a bit of time...

You can search for tintypes and other antique photos with frames; cheaper yet, search for broken cases, like this. You can search for antique metal picture mats. If you're especially crafty, you can probably create something out of metallic gold picture mats. There's also Modern Day Antique, where they make & sell reproduction gold picture case mats (from resin). Prices range from $5 to $25, depending upon size.

In any case, once you get the matting and/or frames, you'll need to create photographs in the sizes which will look great in those frames. (Pretty easy with today's scanners, tech, and even image services.) Then you'll need to get glass and/or frames cut to fit too. Now those antique photograph cases don't seem so expensive, do they? *wink*

Of course, you can also just search for some small picture frames that capture the look and feel you want. (Sometimes the dollar stores, the craft stores, and even WalMart have lots of cute little frames -- for cheap. Usually not when I am looking for them lol) Just remember that you want to make sure that they are not too thick, with flat backs (no easels) so that the plaster can hold them; and that they are sealed nicely so the plaster won't damage or distort the images you place inside.

I'm sure this all can sound overwhelming... But once you're done, you'll have a family heirloom piece for sure!

PS Make sure you keep a record of all the family members in the photos and keep it with the family tree. (Perhaps adhere it to the bottom of the piece.) That way future generations will know who is literally on the family tree!

Monday, October 6, 2014

Cleaning Antique Bottles Found In The Dirt

A bookcase toppled in our house *sigh*, so until I get that bookshelf replaced, my scanner remains inaccessible due to stacks of books. But don't worry, I'll get to that scanner yet! Meanwhile...

At that last estate sale I helped my parents with there were a number of old bottles. Old dirty bottles. Even long after the house was built, in the early 1970s, the owners would do some gardening and find old glass bottles in the ground. Apparently, they had built on land that previously had been the old farmhouse dumping ground. Some of these bottles had been in the ground for 100 years! While the family had rescued the bottles from the earth, they had simply put them in the garage or potting shed. As is. Meaning they all needed to be cleaned.

Cleaning the bottles is relatively easy. After all, these were not filled with "unknown gunk", but with dirt. And, sad to say, a number of dead mice. Ack! (One may have been a frog; but I couldn't bear to look at it long enough.)

To safely clean old antique glass and vintage bottles (without paper labels) found in the dirt, here's what you do -- but remember, always handle these old bottles carefully, looking for any chips and cracks in the glass or parts of broken metal lids that could be dangerous.

Step One: Soak them in warm soapy water. Any dish washing detergent will do.

Step Two: Pour the dirty water out of the bottles and rinse them a bit. Use a tweezers to pull out larger chunks of dirt and debris (including the little dead bodies of mice *shiver*) and to pull off any rusty remnants of bottle caps or lids.

You'll probably need to scrub some areas. I recommend using a toothbrush. Not only do the bristles get under edges where bottle caps and other lids were, but it is narrow enough to get inside most of the openings so you can scrub a bit of the inside of the bottles as well. You won't be able to reach all the dirt this way, but some sometimes that loosens enough that soaking a bit longer will get the rest out.

If not, you'll probably need to get a tub full of fresh warm sudsy water and try a new approach.

Step Three: Fill a bottle about half-way full of warm sudsy water. Cover the opening of the bottle with your hand, and shake. The agitation of the water will jar a lot of the dirt loose.

If that doesn't get enough of the dirt out, cut a small piece of Brillo or steel wool scrubbing pad and again, with your hand over the mouth of the bottle, shake. This time, the steel wool does the scrubbing and scraping. You'll need to turn the bottle in different positions to focus the scrubbing on specific areas, but eventually, you'll get all the dirt out.

Step Four: Disinfect the bottles using a mixture of bleach and water (I like to use 1/4 cup of Clorox bleach per one gallon of water). Let the bottles soak in the bleach water for at least five minutes to ensure they are disinfected. Then rinse.

Step Five: Let the bottles dry.

Step Six: Now that the bottles are dry, inspect them. Those that have dangerous chips should be tossed (unless you have another project in mind for those -- more here). But those with brown rust spots, white mineral deposits, etc. can still be saved by using CLR, Calcium, Rust and Lime Remover.

Make a mixture, equal parts water and CLR. Fill a bottle about half way with the liquid mixture and, covering the opening of the bottle with a gloved hand, shake as you did with the water. Tip the bottle as needed so as to ensure that the whole bottle, especially the spotted parts, are covered in the CLR mixture. Using a sponge, apply some of the CLR mixture to the outside of the bottle as well. Feel free to use your old friend, Mr. Toothbrush, to scrub some areas as needed. (Just be sure to properly clean the toothbrush afterwards, so no chemicals remain on it!)

 Rinse thoroughly in cold water after about two minutes.  Reapply and repeat as necessary.  You may also wish to let the bottles dry before trying the mixture again, to see how they really look.

Most of the bottles will be clean enough to display. However, some will be too cloudy, etched, and damaged to be in collectible conditions. Since Halloween is almost here, I turned most of those not-good-enough bottles into spirit bottles!

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