Friday, February 28, 2020

Gabby makes President Obama's Favorite Chili

An unusual but tasty spin on chili!

Our final entry in our Black History Month series comes from the personal archive of the Obamas! To share it with you, I brought out Gabriela McBride, AG's first Black Girl of the Year character. Gabby runs for student body president in her third book, so besides being a modern girl who would have grown up during the Obama administration and probably been incredibly excited to see girls like her living in the White House, she felt like a good fit to share this unique but tasty recipe for one of my personal favorite foods. Read on to see what's for dinner with Barack and Michelle!

Friday, February 21, 2020

Melody's Pecan Pie

Enjoying a classic Civil Rights era treat!

Pecan pies have always been something of a mystery to me, as they're completely not my family's tradition when it comes to baked goods. Admittedly, maybe that shouldn't come as a shock: they are, after all, pretty iconically a southern food, and my family has lived in different parts of New England since they immigrated here. 

But because pecan pie is such a staple of southern comfort food, it shouldn't come as a surprise that it would have been a popular treat among Civil Rights leaders and activists. Soul food was an important part of the movement, as African Americans encouraged members of their community to embrace and celebrate their heritage by cooking things like collared greens. Martin Luther King Jr.'s favorite dessert was reportedly pecan pie, and so it seemed like a perfect choice for our Melody recipe this February. Read on to find out how to make a historic version of the pie in your own kitchen!

Friday, February 14, 2020

Addy's Alphabet Cookies

Bringing the books to life!

I've talked before about how Addy's mom is one of my favorite American Girl characters. Ruth Walker is an extraordinarily brave woman who always seems to make the best of a bad situation in a way I - an eternal worrier and pessimist - really admire. Her embarrassment about not knowing how to read and Addy offering to teach her by shaping dough into letters in their small room over Ford's Dress Shop is one of my favorite scenes in the series, and Ruth tucking specially made cookies that spell "love" in Addy's lunch pail as a treat on the day of her spelling bee is a really sweet (literally and figuratively) end to Addy Learns a Lesson

To recreate this moment, I wanted to find the perfect period recipe, and finally tracked down a good one that's great for leaving creative notes to friends and family. Read on to find out how to make them yourself!

Thursday, February 6, 2020

Cécile's Chicory Coffee

Bringing New Orleans to your kitchen!

Happy Black History Month! Ever since I started the blog, I wanted to try and do a Black History month feature, but AG's less than perfect track record when it comes to spotlighting Black characters meant for a long time, that would mean just Cécile and Addy themed recipes all month. Not a lot of period diversity there. 

After Melody came out, things looked a little better, but the plan still didn't happen for various reasons (namely, grad school), and we're off to a slow start this month for reasons I won't bore you with. But I promise I have a recipe lined up and ready to go for Cécile, Addy, and Melody, plus a surprise character whose tastes are a little more modern. Any guesses as to who it might be? 

Today we're going to be looking at something I've been wanting to feature on the blog for a long time, but wasn't sure I'd be able to get my paws on it without a trip down south or paying ridiculous shipping for something I don't actually like drinking: coffee. More specifically, chicory coffee, a New Orleans specialty that can be hard to find outside of Louisiana. 

The combination of having a coffee drinking wife and stumbling upon the real deal in our very own grocery store meant I could finally justify sharing the interesting history of this regional favorite with all of you. Read on to discover why people decided to pair coffee with this unusual root.

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Felicity's Hot Chocolate, or "The American Nectar"

An adaptation of one of the oldest recorded recipes for hot chocolate!

We've done a lot of talking about hot chocolate on this blog, as well as chocolate in general. I've provided a review of American Heritage chocolate, tried out the official Josefina approved recipe for New Mexican hot chocolate, toasted marshmallows on top of hot chocolate, and even tried out champurrado, a recipe with links to some of the earliest ways human beings have enjoyed chocolate. 

The recipe we're trying out today is one of the recipes featured as part of the Folger Shakespear Library's First Chefs exhibit, which I've also shared with you guys before. All the recipes featured online and as handouts at the exhibit were adapted from historical recipes by Marissa Nicosia, a food historian who experiments with recipes from the 1600's through the 1800's. You can read more about her work on her website Rare Cooking

So, what makes this recipe different from the ones we've tried before?

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Mrs. Ling's Special Ginger Pancakes

A treat straight from Ivy's family cookbook! Sort of...

In Julie's stories, it's mentioned that Mrs. Ling is famous for making ginger pancakes, and often treats Julie to them when she stays over at their house. I've been trying to make more historical recipes mentioned in the books themselves, and decided I needed to give these a whirl. 

There was just one problem: my favorite (and currently only) 1970's cookbook with breakfast recipes in it told me to just make my pancakes with Bisquick, and that wasn't good enough for me. So I had to turn to a slightly unconventional source to find my base recipe for ginger pancakes. Read on to see how Alice's Brady Bunch Cookbook came to my rescue!

Tuesday, December 31, 2019

A Peek into the Pantry on the American Girls Podcast!

Listen to us in the kitchen where the blog first got started!

As many of you probably know by now, Jess, Kirsten and I got to do something very special a few months ago, and I'm so excited to finally get a chance to share it all with you guys!