Home / 2010 / March

4 Fun Flea Market Finds

If fifteen people share this post on Twitter, I will post two recipes, one from each book, for you all to enjoy. You’ll really get more than that, because I want to share the three pages of biscuit recipes from America’s Cook Book. I’ll share Cheese Nippies (eat like popcorn!) from The Big Spread. If you share the post, use the hashtag #LAMcooking or include @xgravity23 so I can count how many times it has been shared.

Oooh, did I have fun today! Sarah and I were downtown hanging out / working at MudHouse with Nigel and Nigel (they’re married—read their story here and here). Then we went to Red Velvet Art because I love love love Elsie‘s art and inspiration and wanted to finally see it in person. What a treat! We got all inspired and decided to spend some time seeing what we could find at a flea market.

I found two World War II / early Cold War cookbooks. I picked up America’s Cook Book (with washable cover!) because it’s old, from 1945, and presents recipes along with3 or 4, sometimes 10 or 12, modifications, like a basic biscuit recipe, then mods for nut biscuits, orange tea biscuits, or cheese biscuits (p 114).

Plus, the introduction to this third wartime edition is an excellent little piece of writing. Here is the first paragraph and part of the second.

Introduction to the Third Edition by Mrs. William Brown Meloney

The kitchens of America have gone to War. Today every homemaker is drafted and the kitchen apron is her uniform. In small towns, in big cities and on farms, American women are standing up to daily battles as momentous as those on the military fronts–the battle of supply and demand, of food values against food shortage, of flavor versus monotony. And, like our boys in blue and brown, housewives must expect much hardship and little glory. Yet on their smallest decisions hang tremendous results. The struggle in the kitchen will decide not only the health and morale of the home front but the conservation of our nation’s food supply. Women are hastening or retarding our final Victory. The hand the cuts the ration coupon may win the War.

Fortunately the American housewife has many friendly allies. In no other country has the art of cookery and the science of food values been so carefully studied and so clearly explained to the public as in America.

How could I not pick this up?

The Big Spread: The Encyclopedia of Hors D’Oeuvers and Canapes, from 1953, is small—3×5 index card size—with a comb binding and tabs denoting the fun section titles, like Decorative Edibles and Spear-Its.

I love the unique format, love the graphics, love the sans-serif font. Check out this classy 1950s guy nomming on a delectable Spear-It.

I can’t wait to make some of these tasty-sounding dishes!

If fifteen people share this post on Twitter, I will post two recipes, one from each book, for all of you to enjoy. You’ll really get more than that, because I am going to share the three pages of biscuit recipes from America’s Cook Book. I’ll share Cheese Nippies (eat like popcorn!) from The Big Spread. If you share the post, use the hashtag #LAMcooking or include @xgravity23 so I can count how many times it has been shared.

I love playing cards, and I collect unique Bicycle desk, so when I saw a red and green Bicycle Christmas tin filled with a red and green deck, I had to pick it up. I don’t think these are vintage—my guess is that they are from some time in the 1990s or early 2000s—but both decks have all 52 cards plus jokers, and the back of the cards and the tin liner has a festive star print.

My last fun find is a wooden owl napkin / salt and pepper shakers holder. I fell in love with cute, stylized owls because of Hootsuite, my Twitter client of choice and all of their cute owl graphics like El Hoot-o, Link Bandito, which I just found today, and their main Hootsuite owl. WhenI found this cute and functional trivet owl at Grandma and Poppy’s, and Poppy gave it to me, we decided that we would decorate our kitchen with owls. The owl trivet has nested above our stove, where it is in reach when I need it.

Today, Sarah spotted this wooden owl napkin holder at the flea market. It has round hollows on each end for what I am sure were originally adorable matching salt and pepper shakers, long lost now unfortunately. In the Mueller household, this napkin holder will corral important mail before it gets filed, reducing countertop clutter.

Have an adorable Saturday, and don’t forget to tweet a link to this post (use #lamcooking or @xgravity23 in your tweet).

Book Challenge Update: 6 Down, 18 to Go

The 24 in 20-10 Book Challenge is going well! Right now, I’m reading Der Vorleser, Catch-22, and I’ll start Dancing on My Ashes (and here) tomorrow, hopefully with the workbook. (I’m reading three right now mostly because Der Vorleser will take me longer since it’s in German. I don’t want to get behind.) Here’s my latest update.

The Help by Kathryn Stockett

I remember the day in American History when I learned what American settlers did to the Native Americans, the sick I felt in my stomach. I remember the day that an 8th-grade Beth, Danica, and Linden recorded a documentary / play about Dachau for the History Day competition, how it really hit me what the Nazis did to the Jews, the homosexuals, the gypsies, the list goes on.

But understanding slavery, the Antebellum South, black struggles in the 20th century, civil rights 60s, even the racism still strong in my lifetime, it did not happen in a flash like those other times. We still sugar coat it. But white people have pretended for years that we were better than black people because of our skin color. That one obvious difference made our ancestors feel like black people were not as smart, carried diseases, were not real humans. White people today still use that pigmentation as an excuse for prejudice.

This saddens me to the point of tears. If you choose to hate someone because their skin color is different from yours, you might as well hate someone who’s eye color is different from yours. The difference is about as significant.

All that to say that The Help is an excellent book. I felt the pain of the house help and hated the arrogant, simple-minded, racist white women. It’s honest, heart-breaking, and inspiring.

Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris

Let’s shift gears.

This was a nice, easy, quick read, and I enjoyed it. Keep that in mind while you read my criticism. :)

Dead Until Dark makes Twilight look good. As much as I complained about Meyer’s writing, Harris’s is worse.  Here’s my favorite quote.

“JB du Rone[‘s . . .] sleeveless shirt showed muscle definition that might have been chiseled with a—well, with a chisel” (283).

Really? Fire that editor. Teach Harris proofreading. That sentence is perfectly fine in a rough draft; Anne Lamott would agree. But you gotta edit that shit out!

It’s full of illogical shifts. Even after I re-read a confusing paragraph, I still couldn’t figure out the train of thought.

Dead Until Dark is a pretty standard Whodunnit. There’s a crime. First, the evidence points to that character. Then you think it’s that one. Finally, you’re sure it must be that guy. Turns out it was a marginal character you never suspected because it wasn’t foreshadowed at all. Hmm, okay.

There are some sexual encounters in the book, but man, disappointing. I thought the sexual tension in Twilight was better, and as I recall, there is never an actual sex scene in the Twilight Saga, just Bella wanting it and Edward controlling himself. Even on their honeymoon, the sex is never depicted but only referred to. And it still beats Sookie and Bill’s romps in the hay.

I didn’t hate the book, though; I really enjoyed the metaphysical ideas Harris toys with. Sookie, the main character, can read minds, but not every mind is like a newspaper. Sometimes, she just gets flashes or moods or images. I liked this so much because—here goes—I’m exploring some similar concepts in the book I’m working on. There, I said it. It’s still in the “Shitty First Draft” stage though, so don’t start asking for copies quite yet.

Twitter-ready Summary: When you need to escape into an easy drama, pick up Dead Until Dark, but don’t expect Dracula.

Guest Post on The Springfield Foodie Reviewing German Goodies Available at Fine European Market

Yum! I just reviewed a great European market on The Springfield Foodie, called Fine European Market, that offers lots of those German goodies that I’ve been missing, everything from good German chocolate like Kinder and Ritter to freshly baked German bread and Senf in tubes. Go check it out!

How to Make Your Own Delicious and Healthy Hummus [RECIPE]

When I lived with Beth, she often made hummus. I tried it a couple times, and it was tasty! I always wanted to make my own, but you need a food processor. The first thing I made when we finally got one was, of course, hummus.

I never feel guilty when I’m enjoying hummus with some yummy fladenbrot or whole wheat tortilla chips because hummus is a healthy dip. Its base is chickpeas (also know as garbanzo beans) and tahini, instead of cheese, sour cream, or mayo, like many other dips.

I found a recipe that promised to be “perfect,” and it was good, but too nutty and chickpea-y for me. I wanted zip! I kept looking and tried a promising hummus recipe that I found on Great Party Recipes. When I tried it, I knew I had found a classic hummus recipe that had that something extra. I did add a little sambel oelek, but this recipe definitely stands on its own.

Hummus

Used with permission from GreatPartyRecipes.com. Thanks, Liane!

2 c. canned chickpeas (garbanzo beans), liquid reserved (or 1 c. dried chickpeas*, soaked and cooked, liquid reserved)
2/3 c. tahini paste*
5 tbs.olive oil, divided
1/4 c. lemon juice
3 cloves garlic
salt and pepper to taste
1 tbsp. paprika
1 tbs. sambel oelek (available at oriental markets)
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped (optional)

* I prefer to use dried chickpeas. They’re a slight bit cheaper than canned chickpeas, and not too much extra work. You can make your own tahini paste in a food processor or blender by grinding toasted sesame seeds. Toast the sesame seeds over medium heat until golden brown, about 3 minutes. If you buy tahini, make sure to get a good, Persian brand. It should smell nutty and taste rich.

In a food processor, puree the chickpeas, tahini, 3 tablespoons olive oil, lemon juice and garlic until smooth, adding a little of the reserved liquid if the mixture seems too thick; it will be slightly grainy. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a shallow bowl or plate. Combine the paprika and the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil, drizzle the mixture over the top, and garnish with chopped parsley, if desired. Serve with pita bread triangles or breadsticks. Makes about 3 cups.

I always share my hummus with Sarah, because 2 cups prepared chickpeas plus the other ingredients makes more than 4 cups of hummus (it just barely fits in my 4-cup food processor!). I prefer eating hummus with fladenbrot (flatbread), or tortilla chips, but Sarah has some great other ideas that she shared with me.

I’ve found hummus is best served with bread of some sort; as long as it’s warm and sort of crunchy, it’ll do the trick for me. Try toasting a whole wheat bagel and ripping off pieces to dip. Or use a pizza cutter to slice a tortilla into strips, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with a bit of garlic salt, and toast the strips under your oven’s broiler for homemade tortilla chips. (I’ve only ever used traditional tortillas for this, but I’d like to try whole-wheat tortillas soon. I think this would work.) You could do the same with pita bread, too. In a pinch, store-bought pita chips, pretzels, or tortilla chips also work, as do raw vegetables.

Have you found another great hummus recipe or have a great add in for hummus? Share it in the comments!

[image source, thanks to Creative Commons!]