Friday, January 18, 2019

Kirsten's Homemade Butter

Bringing a taste of frontier life into your own kitchen!

For my next step in my quest to eventually, at some point, make every single recipe in the official American Girl Cook Books and Cooking Studios (at least the historical ones, anyway), I decided to try something out that had caught my eye in Kirsten's cookbook a long, long time ago: homemade butter. It's something we totally take for granted as something we can just go to the store and buy, so seeing it featured in a cookbook is sort of an unusual thing, and it's something I can safely say I've never done before, so I've been eager to give it a shot for a long time. 

Originally, I had planned on it being a good way to kick off the new year, as it only requires one ingredient and equipment I've already got in my kitchen, but then life got in the way in the form of a very delayed flight back home from the holidays, and so I've been fighting burn out pretty hard this month and hoping to get back into the swing of things. Last weekend, I finally buckled up to get my taste of the pioneer life and see just how easy it is to make butter in a jar.

Monday, January 14, 2019

Melody's Triple Chocolate Layer Cake

A cake worth singing about!

One of my early goals when I started this blog was to make human sized replicas of various food items that showed up in the AG character's collections. I've been a little inconsistent in making that happen over the years, but decided to take on an interesting challenge (for me) to kick off the new year. 

I'm very excited to present to you with my version of Melody's birthday cake! Read on to see how I tried to bring this model cake to life.

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Chinese Takeout with Lindsey

A staple of Christmas day plans for generations!

Last year, NPR posted an article discussing the history of different holiday traditions that often go undiscussed: eggnog, jelly donuts for Hanukkah, and, of course, the tradition of Jewish families eating Chinese food on Christmas. Did you know it goes back to at least 1935? 

This year, we decided to pay tribute to that tradition with our own "Jewish Christmas". Read on to find out a little more about this classic holiday treat!

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Nanea's Wartime White Fruitcake

The fruitcake people actually want to eat!

Thanks so much to everyone who entered the giveaway! It was a lot of fun reading about everyone's favorite holiday recipes. And congratulations again to Shannon! I hope you and your dolls enjoy your set of rum balls from Pippaloo. 

Today, we're going to be tackling a classic but controversial holiday treat: fruitcake. When I told people I was going to be giving this a shot, almost everyone's reaction was instinctively very negative. I've met very few people in my life who have genuinely liked fruitcake, or who are even willing to give it a try, although funnily enough my wife fits both categories and was genuinely excited to see how this came out. 

Part of the reason why it's such a hard sell to people is because the perception is that they're very artificial, stale, or just generally old and bad. Countless people have joked about having a crazy great-aunt who gifts everyone the same fruitcake year after year, or using it as a door stopper instead of eating it. I must be crazy for giving this a shot, right? 

Wrong! Spoilers, but this 1940's recipe for fruitcake was a lot tastier than I was expecting. It's also got some really cool history, and I'm very pleased to be sharing it with you guys.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Kit's Raisin Spice Cake

A thrifty way to spread some holiday cheer!

Great Depression holiday recipes are a little hard to come by, and without a waffle iron (or Kit's waffle iron...), I'm kind of out of luck making Kit's signature holiday treat. I'd considered making some of the cookies from her cookie set, but it looks like timing wise, that's going to have to wait until next year thanks to a slightly inconvenient work project. At least I already have an idea for next December! 

What I ended up making instead was an interesting version of a frugal, holiday appropriate cake. It actually reminded me of a better version of a recipe we made a few years ago... and doesn't include any salt pork!

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Maryellen's Rum Balls and a Giveaway Hosted by Pippaloo!

A no bake classic from the mid century!

I'm kicking off the holiday season with a very exciting post, featuring rum balls two ways and a giveaway from one of my favorite doll crafters: Pippaloo! 

Pippaloo makes extremely detailed, perfectly sized custom doll food. After taking a hiatus for a good long while, her shop is back open on Artfire. Her monthly releases are announced on her blog several days in advance of appearing in her shop, and her December Menu should be available at 12:00 noon EST today! You should definitely head over there to check out her work. 

Now that she's back in action, she's planning on doing a spotlight on historical dishes our favorite historical dolls might have enjoyed. After some discussion of what might be best to offer as a giveaway, we chose rum balls as a fittingly quirky look at a popular recipe from the 1950's. The version created by Pippaloo is a perfect replica of the rum balls I made, making them a one of a kind addition to any holiday displays or play. 

Read on to find out more about these yummy treats as well as how to win a set of doll sized set yourself!

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Harvesting History at the Henry Whitfield House

One of the oldest homes in New England!

One of the best things about living in the DC area is that I’m not too far away from where I grew up, making going home for the holidays nice and easy. Jessi and I got to spend our first Thanksgiving together at my parent’s house, doing all the typical Thanksgiving things (including my now traditional Indian pudding!), going Toys for Tots shopping (my favorite holiday tradition!) and stopping by one of the oldest homes in America for their annual post-Thanksgiving event. 

You know, as you do when you’re a historian. Or married to one. 

Accompanying us were Jane Collier, a girl from 1614 Jamestown, Virginia who has appeared on the blog many times before, and Fear Tyler, a new friend from 1692 Salem Village (modern day Danvers), Massachusetts. As American Girl seems to be deviating from making pre-20th Century characters, I’ve started to slowly take matters into my own hands and create a couple from periods of history I find personally interesting that the company is unlikely to cover themselves. As Jane and Fear have strong connections to the early colonization of North America and the crazy Puritans, they seemed like good travel companions to check out a historic house museum that holds a special place in my heart.