Monday, June 19, 2017

Maryellen's Chocolate Cake with Coke

Straight out of 1952!

Now don’t get me wrong, I like Coke just as much as the next person, but I’d never thought to put it in a cake before starting to do research for recipes for this blog. Recipes for cakes using soda as an ingredient are more common than you might think, and this southern favorite is an interesting ancestor of those cakes we've been enjoying, especially since the 1990's. Known as Cola Cake, Chocolate Coca-Cola Cake, or basically any variation thereof, it's a solid chocolate cake with a unique ingredient.

Note that you don’t need to use brand name Coca-Cola for this recipe: Coke is the general term for soft drinks in different parts of the south, and any kind of cola beverage will do fine.

Also, it comes with a pretty weird frosting, that I still haven’t decided if I like or not. Maybe you guys will be able to help me make up my mind about it!

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Felicity Attends Revolutionary War Weekend at Mount Vernon

A weekend you won't want to miss!

Last month, two of my friends and I packed up and drove to Mount Vernon for Revolutionary War Weekend! It's a two day long event with reenactors (American and British), historically inspired vendors, special exhibits, and a battle reenactment. Mount Vernon is always worth a visit, but I'm especially excited to share a few photos of our time there last month.

(Unfortunately, one of the reasons this post has taken me a long time to write is I'm so fed up of using my phone to take pictures! But fortunately I am in possession of a new camera, and hopefully will get to break that out soon. Please bear with these less than ideal photos!)

An extra treat was getting to meet some representatives from the brand new Museum oft the American Revolution! Got any ideas about what they might have brought with them to show visitors?

Monday, May 8, 2017

Molly's Honey Cookies for VE Day

Help the war effort with this clever sugar substitute!

Happy VE Day everyone! In keeping with tradition, I've decided to fire up my oven and throw together a mini VE Day bash, this time with a couple of my friends from grad school. We're going to watch the new documentary Five Came Back on Netflix, which I've heard good things about. I've read the book it's based on, and I enjoyed that quite a lot, so hopefully it's good!

To give some authentic 1940's flair to our get together, I turned to a cookbook I've been dying to try out.

Monday, May 1, 2017

Maryland Beaten Biscuits with Caroline

Proof that historical bakers didn't mess around!

You know who has two thumbs and is glad the semester's over? This gal. I've still got a busy summer ahead of me, but with most of my final papers and projects behind me, I decided today was as good a day as any to start getting back in the kitchen, this time with a pretty unusual historic recipe from my new neighboring state of Maryland.

Like some recipes I've tackled in the past, I decided to give this one a shot out of curiosity more than anything else because it involves a pretty unique preparation technique. Any guesses what it might be?

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Felicity Visits Mount Vernon

Paying a visit to George and Martha!

So, a lot's been going on in the world of American Girl. As I'm sure most of you know, our girl Felicity is back out of the archives and sporting a super pretty new meet outfit! This is exciting to me not only as a Felicity fan, but also because my own Felicity has been in need of a wig transplant for quite some time. A few weeks ago, I bit the bullet, got a new Felicity, and swapped her wig for my Felicity's beat up one, just in time for a field trip to Monticello. I was really excited to take pictures of my old friend all refreshed and sporting her awesome new dress on a gorgeous day at a gorgeous presidential mansion, but then I realized I'm actually one field trip behind when it comes to colonial homes.

(Also, in case you were wondering, BeFelicity was given a new wig of her own. Maybe she'll eventually make appearances around these parts.)

Back in September, I headed out to Mount Vernon with my friends Elizabeth and Jenna with Felicity in tow as usual. We got to eat at a historically inspired restaurant, explore the house and grounds, and meet an old friend of Felicity's. Any guesses on who it might be?

Monday, February 20, 2017

Addy's Field Trip: Happy Birthday Frederick Douglass!

Looking pretty good for a 199 year old man!

Well, I'm part of the way through semester two, Jessi has gone home (we got engaged!!) and the weather has been crazy nice here for the last few days. That means I've been on the look out for fun new places to visit and things to do, and thanks to my friend Ama, I've got a little field trip post for you guys!

February 20th might be President's Day this year, but it was also the birthday of one of the most important figures in the Abolitionist and early Civil Rights movements: Frederick Douglass! To celebrate, the Frederick Douglass House held a variety of events at the house itself and the Anacostia Art Center to tell people about Douglass's life and the world he lived in. My friend Ama heard about the events, and invited our friend Jenna, Addy and I to come along with her. Read on to find out more!

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Australia Day with Florence

Sharing some of Florence's favorites with you!

Hi everybody! Remember me? Semester two has been off to a good, but busy start, and certain goings on in the world has sort of made things feel like a garbage fire, but I am still around!

Sort of. One of the other reasons why I've been so busy is that my girlfriend has been visiting from Australia for the month! It's been a lot of fun, but it's meant I haven't had a lot of time to do any cooking or blogging. I've got a ton of posts I've been sitting on, I really should just take a weekend to get them all finished and queued up for posting!

But Jessi surprised me this Thursday by treating me to some Australian favorites for Australia Day! Florence, the Florrie Girl I picked up on our trip to Melbourne, was happy to show them off for all of you!

Australia Day - January 26th - commemorates the arrival of the First Fleet, meaning the first Europeans to settle the continent, which happened in 1788. It's since become a celebration of Australian history, culture, families and diversity, and has come under criticism by Aborigines the same way Native Americans critique Thanksgiving and Columbus Day.

Jessi made lamb chops, broccolini and potatoes for dinner. Lamb is a very popular protein in Australia because convicts could work off their sentences and then become land owners. The plots they received were not big enough to raise cattle, but sheep require less resources, so sheep products like lamb and mutton were and still are very popular in Australia. It's one of the country's largest food exports, and the meat she picked up at the grocery store is actually from Australia!

For dessert, she made lamingtons, which are delightful. You might remember the one I had at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra! It's essentially a sponge cake with chocolate sauce and shredded coconut over the top. Our shredded coconut is a little too big to look like a traditional lamington, but I don't have a food processor, so we had to make do. Believe me, they were still tasty!

And that is how we spent Australia Day! Hopefully next year I can do something a little more intense for you guys. Maybe I'll try my hand at making my own lamingtons... they are really tasty, after all.

Hope you had a happy Australia Day!