Monday, May 30, 2016

Addy's Potato Salad

A Memorial Day weekend staple, but perhaps not quite as 1860's as American Girl would have you believe.

Memorial Day weekend means a lot of things to a lot of people: cookouts, trips to the beach, eating out at their favorite fried fish stand, sales, a much needed day off from work, free shipping, parades, and 100% most importantly, honoring those who gave their lives while serving their country. Although I enjoy all of the less serious parts of this holiday, it's the last bit that's got the most weight for me. I spend a lot of time learning about America's military history and honestly know too many sad stories about young men and women (or older men and women) who gave everything to keep their friends, families and country safe. This year, I definitely wanted to take some time to talk about this holiday and why we celebrate it when we celebrate it, because I think the origin story is pretty interesting and not very well known.

Of course, I wasn't going to give you a history lesson without breaking out a dish to try! I bet most of you who had get togethers this weekend had some version of potato salad on your menu, so it seemed like a totally fitting selection. This recipe for potato salad comes directly from Addy's Cook Book, which means you'd think it's verified to be something she and her family definitely would have eaten, right? As it turns out, this might be an example of AG needing to do their homework a little more.

So, what makes this an Addy themed post, and why wouldn't she and her family have actually eaten this version of potato salad in 1865?

Friday, May 27, 2016

Kaya's Fennel and Fig Salad

A tasty but time consuming salad.

Every once and a while, people ask me if I'd ever consider a career in the culinary world after taking such an interest in culinary history and cooking. This post is pretty much proof that I'm not sure I could cut it in a real restaurant setting.

Don't get me wrong, this was very tasty and definitely worth the effort, but, whew. The idea of doing this for hundreds and hundreds of people? No thank you. I just don't have the stamina!

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Kit's Chocolate Chip Cookies

C is for Cookie, and that's definitely good enough for me.

I often claim that one of the desserts I've made for this blog is my new favorite thing, or has been a favorite thing of mine for years, and that's often true. I have a lot of favorite things, as I'm sure we all do, especially when it comes to food.

But I'm pretty sure that if I had to pick one dessert only to eat for the rest of my life, I'd be pretty comfortable picking the chocolate chip cookie. Some people might claim otherwise, but I've never had a bad chocolate chip cookie in my life, no matter where it came from. Sure, there are better ones than others, but a bad one? No way.

So imagine how weird it was for seven year old me to find out that there was once a time before chocolate chip cookies, and it's basically within living memory!

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Julie's Watergate Cake

Served with Cover Up Icing and chock full of nuts!

I've never really been a huge fan of debating or trying to pinpoint the most important moment in history. How is that even something you can quantify? Even if you narrow it down to American history, or recent American history, or American history within the last fifty years, there are so many different candidates for the title that arguing about it has always felt a little pointless and silly to me, like the historian's version of "Could Superman beat Batman in a fight?"

That being said, I don't think anyone could ever question that the Watergate scandal is one of the biggest, most defining moments in American history, especially in terms of the world we live in today. It rocked the nation's trust in the presidency (and politicians in general) and let loose a runaway freight train of journalism and media frenzy that's mutated into the ratings hungry monsters we have to deal with in 2016.

(For the record, while I support what Woodward and Bernstein did, in most cases, I'm not a big fan of the media and what it's turned into.)

So, what does a cake have to do with the biggest scandal in our nation's history?


Bet you didn't see that coming, did you?

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Felicity's Election Cake

A bready cake, or a cakey bread designed to get you out to the polls!

So, for the record, I'm really, really sick of all this election talk.

This recipe has nothing to do with feeling the Bern or he who must not be graced with a name, but it is an interesting piece of American history I'd been totally unaware of until I watched an episode of Food Fact or Fiction? on the Cooking Channel. I'm not sure if it's been picked up for another season or not, but the show would present a piece of food lore and then discuss whether or not it was factually true, and it was interesting enough to watch in reruns if you're ever lucky enough to catch it.

So, what segment inspired this post? Well, did you know people used to use cake to bribe people into coming into town to vote?

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Molly Visits the National WWII Museum and Makes D-Ration Chocolate Bars

Or: Gwen visited the National WWII Museum and Never Wanted to Leave!

Happy VE Day! Have I got a post for you.

Brace yourselves, guys. This is going to be a long one.

I have been impatiently trying to figure out a time to visit the National World War II Museum for a long time. Shocking, right? I figure by now all of you are familiar with my enthusiasm for this chapter in American (and world) history. I'm not really sure how I first found out about the museum, but I've been plotting and planning to make this trip happen for a while, and this past March, I got to make that dream come true! I spent two days there: one with my family, one by myself, and while I'm pretty sure I saw literally every thing there is to see in the museum, I wouldn't have complained if I spent the last day of our trip there as well.

Just like our past trips to places like the FDR Presidential Library in Hyde Park, or John Adams' homes in Quincy, Massachusetts, I thought it would be fun to tell you all about the museum, and feature a recipe that had to do with out trip. I'm going to tell you right up front that this museum totally deserves its spot as one of the best museums in the world, and absolutely has to be a part of any trip to New Orleans you might be making in the future.

Why is it in New Orleans, you might wonder?

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Jane's Pease Pottage & The Great Doll Blog Award

Something to eat when you're singing "it's glory, God and gold and the Virginia Company!"

Four hundred and nine years ago, a group of English settlers ended their long, long journey across the Atlantic ocean and founded the first permanent English settlement in the New World: Jamestown, Virginia. I know I talk about my enthusiasm for World War II all the time, but Jamestown is definitely my second favorite topic to study... closely followed by almost everything else. What can I say, I have a very wide range of interests.

Although I'm sure the members of the Virginia Company were excited to get off their ships and start working on digging for nonexistent mineral riches, they didn't have a lot of options when it came to treating themselves food wise when they began constructing their fort. No cakes, no ice cream, no fancy ribbon cutting ceremonies, probably just a hearty serving of this classic English dish enjoyed - or at least consumed... - by people for centuries.

It might not look like much, but it turns out, this actually isn't that bad. Might not be something I'd like to eat every day, but after months of hardtack and gruel (Pocahontas reference #2), I'd probably be very happy to see it.

But before we get to that, Nonna from Mommy's Doll Club nominated me for The Great Doll Blog Award!