Monday, November 30, 2009

Just *what* is that background pic?

"For nighttime hospitality, and to create a dramatic effect, here's the ultimate of professional ability. Frame your doorway with a pink flocked tree that fits flatly against the house. Wreaths repeat colors used on the tree." -- Better Homes and Gardens 1955 Christmas Ideas, pp. 50-51.

Pink Christmas trees strike me as the ultimate in vintage holiday chic.

Sorry, no, I don't have them in stock. But I do have lots of other great vintage Christmas bargains. Now that you're in the mood, take a look! ... YesterYearsGoodies Shopping Index

Thursday, October 29, 2009

How to Cook a Husband

The most incredible things can be found in turn-of-the-century fundraising cookbooks! I've since discovered versions of this treatise on other blogs and online recipe collections, as well as quoted in a book by Elizabeth Worthington Strong dated 1898, now in public domain. So if this seems 100 years old to you, please bear with me. Indeed, it is at least 100 years old, but it's definitely new to me.

This particular version was printed in the closing pages of the Jackson Circle Cook Book, put together by the grand ladies of the Fountain Street Baptist Church, Grand Rapids, Michigan. Undated -- but printed at a time when a kitchen cabinet, complete with two flour bins, two drawers, and a moulding and cutting board, could be had, according to an advertisement therein, for $3.85. The "recipe" is again unattributed, but, taken in the context of those pre-feminist, extremely chauvinistic times, remains some clever woman's resounding roar, which I echoed when I read it over a century later.

"How to Cook Husbands.

"A good many husbands are utterly spoiled by mismanagement. Some women go about it as if their husbands were bladders, and blow them up.

"Others keep them constantly in hot water; others let them freeze by their carelessness and indifference. Some keep them in a stew by irritating ways and words. Others roast them. Some keep them in pickle all their lives. It cannot be supposed any husband will be tender and good managed in this way. But they are really delicious when properly treated.

"In selecting your husband you should not be guided by the silvery appearance as in buying mackerel, nor by the golden tint, as if you wanted salmon. Be sure to select him yourself, as tastes differ. Do not go to market for him, as the best are always brought to your door.

"It is far better to have none unless you will patiently learn how to cook him. A preserving kettle of the finest porcelain is the best, but if you have nothing but an earthen-ware pipkin, it will do, with care. See that the linen in which you wrap him is nicely washed and mended, with the required number of buttons and strings tightly sewed on. Tie him in the kettle by a strong silk cord called comfort, as the one called duty is apt to be weak. They are apt to fly out of the kettle and be burned and crusty on the edges, since, like crabs and lobsters, you have to cook them alive.

"Make a clear, steady fire out of love, neatness, and cheerfulness. Set him as near this as seems to agree with him. If he sputters and fizzes, do not be anxious; some husbands do this until they are quite done. Add a little sugar in the form of what the confectioners call kisses, but no vinegar or pepper on any account.

"A little spice improves them, but it must be used with judgment. Do not stick any sharp instrument into him to see if he is becoming tender. Stir him gently, watching the while lest he lie to flat and close to the kettle and become useless. You cannot fail to know when he is done.

"If thus treated, you will find him very digestible, agreeing nicely with you and the children, and he will keep as long as you want, unless you become careless and set him in too cold a place."

Monday, September 14, 2009

For the armchair sailor

Just listed today ...

Royce's Sailing Illustrated: "The Beginner's Bible", Patrick M. Royce, Second Edition, 1958, Newport Beach, Calif:Royce Publications, softcover, 4 X 6 X .75, 326 pages, signed by author.

A fabulous find, not only for the sailor, but also for the collector of vintage books related to history, including the history of technical illustration (that long era, so hard to fathom now, before computers made everyone look professional). This little book, designed to fit into the skipper's pocket, has literally hundreds of painstakingly hand-drawn images of all manner of sailboats, each part carefully labeled, as well as an encyclopedia of naval insignia, weather phenomena and instruments, and pretty much every other facet of sailing. Lucky for us, the late Mr Royce "truly was a glutton for punishment" (editor of "Sea & Pacific Motor Boat"), whose 5 years of work on this Sailor's Bible left a lasting legacy to his love of the sport.

This 2nd edition (it's been through at least 8 more and is still in print) is even more of a treasure because Mr Royce signed the dedication page, likely for someone who bought it from him personally as he and his wife pedalled the publication up and down the California coast. And it is in remarkably good shape, considering what a handy little tome it was to have along on the boat. Have a look at the pictures in the item listing at my eCrater store, and "Happy Sailing!".