Thursday, April 30, 2015

Caroline's Fresh Strawberry Tart

Kicking off spring with a fruit that's technically  in season in June, but hush. No one has to know.

Spring is finally here!! Unfortunately, in my neck of the woods, it means that we might have a day of freezing rain and flurries followed by a day that's in the upper seventies and beautiful, followed by another early morning frost and just dear god, it never ends! Just like most years, I'm assuming we're very quickly going to be moving on to hot, muggy summer, so it's time to make the best of the cooler warm weather while we've got it.

I've been trying to find some good spring and summery recipes to feature on the blog, and stumbled upon this one thanks to, a great website with a lot of fun information about the popular author and the world she lived in. I'm actually not a fan - although I can't say I wouldn't be either, I've just somehow never read any of her books and only seen a movie adaptation or two - but I do really like this website. It has a great selection of historical and historically inspired recipes that are either mentioned in Austen's works, personal correspondence, or were otherwise popular while she was alive. As Caroline tends to be popular with collectors for her wardrobe's Regency look, it seemed only natural to come here to find something to try out!

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Kit's Anzac Biscuits

Another treat that was enjoyed by soldiers, and will be enjoyed by you!

Question: Gwen, what on earth is an Anzac biscuit?

Answer: a tasty cookie popular in Australia and New Zealand with a lot of history that has become kind of near and dear to me, mostly thanks to two things - Australian television and more importantly my awesome girlfriend, who has been getting me overly emotionally invested in Australian history and culture for the last couple months.

April 25th is Anzac Day, a national day of remembrance celebrated in Australia and New Zealand to honor all Australians and New Zealanders who have died in the service of their countries and continue to serve. This year, it's especially significant because it marks the 100th anniversary of the landings at Gallipoli during World War I. After hearing how seriously people take this holiday and the history behind it, even after so much time's gone by, I knew I couldn't pass up the opportunity to share the history and significance of this day and these biscuits with all of you.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Molly's Vitality Meat Loaf

Which, shockingly, does not photograph well, but it tastes good!

When I was a kid, I really didn't like meatloaf. Something about it just doesn't sound appetizing at all, and on the rare occasion my mom would make it, I'd choke it down only with the help of lots and lots of that magic condiment that my uncle's family says makes bad food taste good, and good food taste great.

I'm talking about ketchup, of course! What else? And while it's easy to say that this post is brought to you by my new appreciation for meatloaf as a grown up and my ever present enthusiasm for World War II era everything, there's actually another reason I decided to do a feature on what might be the best vessel for enjoying some sweet, tomato-y sauce.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Addy's White Almond Cake

Featuring a favorite president's favorite cake!

Today is the 150th anniversary of the end of the Civil War. Can you believe that? I sure can't, which I know sounds pretty silly, but considering how much time I spend researching and reading about different periods in American history, it's pretty startling to think just how far away some of those times actually are, even if the issues then are still present now, albeit in different ways. Overall, I've been pretty disappointed in how little attention this anniversary - and the anniversaries of all the major points in the war - have gotten from the press and seemingly anyone but the institutions that already celebrate the history, like the National Parks Service or the Smithsonian, so I've been planning on doing something in honor of today for a long, long time. Pretty much since I came up with the idea for this blog!

Today also marks Addy Walker's 160th birthday! In Addy's stories, Addy and her family aren't certain of what day she was actually born. Slaves weren't allowed to celebrate birthdays the same way a free person would, so while they knew she was an early spring baby, the actual date was unknown. In Happy Birthday, Addy! Addy is encouraged to pick a day to be her birthday, and when news comes of the surrender at Appomattox Courthouse, Addy chooses that day: April 9th, making her birthday April 9th, 1855.

So, I got to thinking. What would be a good enough recipe to highlight both Addy's birthday and the end of the most costly conflict in American history?

The answer could only be Abraham Lincoln's favorite cake.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Rebecca's Charoset

A tasty, sweet fruit and nut spread that's perfect for Passover!

I've been sitting on this recipe for a long time. A year, actually! Last spring I just didn't do much at all for the blog. I wanted to, but I just couldn't work up the motivation for it, so a lot of ideas got tabled, and some of them got forgotten about entirely. This one, however, did not, because it definitely sounded intriguing, easy and tasty, which is a pretty winning combination and a great way to keep me thinking about it a year down the line.

This year, Passover begins at sundown today, April 3 and ends the evening of April 11. For those not in the know, Passover is a festival celebrating the liberation of the Jews from slavery in Egypt. Because they fled Egypt so quickly, the story goes that the Jews didn't even have time to wait for bread dough to rise, so eating unleavened bread - known as matzo or matzah - has become one of the best known culinary and cultural traditions associated with the holiday. While this recipe does involve matzo, it's not going to be what we're focusing on. Instead, we're going to be talking about charoset!