Fall Food is Coming!

 

Fall Food is Coming!  I need a megaphone so I can run up and down the street letting everyone know – Fall Food is Coming!

sweater

(Photo credit: saxarocks)

It was 56 degrees this morning – time to pull out the woolen sweaters.  Yes, I do live in the South and 56 is chilly. Perhaps a heavy sweater is a bit too dramatic; a long sleeve shirt will work.  I would say layered but it warms up pretty quickly so a long sleeve shirt that you can roll up the sleeves would be best; then you don’t have to carry that 2nd piece of clothing around with you.

Food – This Blog is Supposed to Be About Food Not Fashion

But clothing is not what this blog is about – it’s about food – random thoughts about food.   Let me random you this – roast with potatoes, carrots, onions and fragrant spices.  Soup:  soup sounds good too.  With Christmas trees already in some stores it’s probably too late to be thinking harvest treats like popcorn balls and caramel apples but they are on my mind right now.  It feels good to stand in the kitchen look out the window and anticipate the fall colors soon to arrive on the trees.  It’s also good to contemplate the end of mowing the lawn for the year.

The Book of Ecclesiastes comes to mind – and with that Pete Seeger.  To everything there is a season.  After the long hot summer we’ve had this upcoming season with its earthy scents like pumpkin and sage is overdue.  I’m taking a deep breath here in anticipation of smells to come.

Yes today is random day.  I’m leafing through cookbooks searching for fall inspiration and yes it is more fun to look at cookbooks and then use the internet to find variations on an interesting recipe.

An Old Fall Food Favorite

Here’s an old favorite I need to mix up and enjoy while I read.

Russian Tea – for relaxing and sharing with friends

russian tea mix

(Photo credit: heatherknitz)

1 Cup Sugar

1/2 Cup Instant Tea

1 pkg lemonade mix (my original recipe called for Wyler’s – I’m sure Kool-Aid would work just as well)

1 small jar Tang or 1/3 of a 27 oz. jar)

1 tsp. ground cinnamon

½ tsp. ground cloves

As you have surmised this recipe makes more than 1 teacup full and needs to be stored in a jar with a tight-fitting lid.  Back in the day, the 70’s, it was popular to make this mix up and put in mason jars to use as gifts.  Humm – I wonder if anyone does that anymore. FYI: You would need about 2 tsp. for a single cup of tea.

Almost Twin Breads

Oddly in my recipe card file book I have Pumpkin Bread and Zucchini Bread stored in the same slot.  After reading them I can see why.  They are virtually the same recipe except for the summer vegetable zucchini or the fall/winter pumpkin.  The summer squash treat gets vanilla while the dark delicious gourd version has nutmeg, cloves and cinnamon.  Interesting?  I wonder if I realized that when I put the recipes away or if I had just run out of spaces.

All that aside I’ll be camping this weekend so anticipate a few rounds of S-mores before crawling into the sleeping bag.  Life is good – even if a bit random today.

English: A S'mores made with a half a Hershey'...

Will life be less random next week?  I don’t know.  If you’d like to know sign up on the right to receive an email when new thoughts will be  posted.

 


The Unknown Food Server

 

The idea hit like a bolt of lightning: I was the unknown food server.  It started with an urgent plea from the local band boosters for help in the concession stand.  Why not?  Another notch in the belt of things I have never done before.  I checked with the granddaughter who goes to the football games to ask what was I thought a simple question “what do the folk in the concession stand wear?  Team colors, shirts with the school’s mascot? Shorts or jeans?

Body Parts – I’m Now Just Body Parts

The reply came swiftly from the child that can take an hour to decide which the perfect color of blue is before purchasing jeans.  “I don’t know.”

Hand

(Photo credit: yorkville)

She didn’t know!  How many nachos has she bought from that concession stand in the last 2 years?  Then the bolt out of the blue hit my brain:  To the fashion conscious granddaughter concession workers were merely hands –hands that took money and doled out food.  I was basically going to be “body parts” and nothing more.  Perhaps I should wear a Vampire costume.  Vampires are really hot now and maybe somebody would notice me.  Not likely; all the folks in line want is food and drink served quickly so they can get back to cheering the home team to victory (or not).

I couldn’t be mad at precious granddaughter though because if I look back into my past I couldn’t tell you who handed out the snacks at Vacation Bible School.  I know where in the church I went to get my cookies and juice and I can tell you the workers wore dresses; probably prints like small flowers.  What I can’t tell you is whether it was my mother, grandmother or their friends who served the snacks. I doubt I could have told you the name of the person as I was being handed the cookie because at that moment what was important was how sugary that large cookie was and hopefully that it wasn’t peanut butter.  I preferred the sugar cookies.

English: This is an image of one of the cookie...

Other Unknown Food Servers

Isn’t that the way?  You can be unknown for so many reasons – especially where food is involved.  Think about it; when the eager server comes to your table and announces his name do you remember it past the main course?  Of course not, unless you have received horrible service and want to complain to management.

And it’s not just the people who hand you the food.  I include as food servers the cashiers at the grocery store.  The issue here is that the good ones move on to better jobs and the remaining ones are too busy talking to their colleagues for you to care about their names.

On the other hand I can tell you the names of waitresses at my regular haunts.  These people see my car parking and have my favorite drink ready as I plop into a set. Not only do I know their names I can discuss their children, aging parents and more.  I buy school fund-raisers from them; they buy Girl Scout cookies from me.  It’s a rather symbiotic relationship.  We both benefit.

A mound of Girl Scout cookies. This mound cont...

It takes a lot of work for a food server to move from unknown status to first name.  Both sides have to work at it.  In all honesty I doubt there will ever be a time when anyone knows my name at the concession stand.  I think I’m now permanently the “I need more fries!” lady.

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To Freeze Food or not to Freeze Food

English: Frozen peas (Pisum sativum). Suomi: J...

I can almost tell you to the day when I discovered the difference in the canned vegetables my mother served us and the frozen peas a neighbor made for dinner.  Why didn’t my mother know about these delectable treats?  Or thinking back, my mother had a garden, why didn’t she grow us some fresh vegetables instead of only flowers?  I don’t know the answer to those questions but I’m learning a lot about how frozen foods came into wide-spread use.  As usual I found a book in the browsing section of the local librarian; they put out such intriguing books.  The book is Birdseye:  The Adventures of a Curious Man.

Although I’m breezing through Birdseye I’m also trying to remain sane while I also slog through The Maltese Falcon.  The problem with The Maltese Falcon is stopping to reflect on how close each scene is to the movie; needless to say it’s very slow going.  Frozen food is so much faster.  I’m almost halfway through the Birdseye book and still no mention of frozen vegetables.  So far I’ve been hunting ticks in the Wild Wild West to help discover the cause of Rocky Mountain spotted fever.  I’ve been to Labrador on a hospital ship.  At one point there was a brief stay at a cooking school. I’ve eaten food out of tin cans, skinned foxes and other furry animals and discovered salted cod doesn’t freeze.  That’s quite a bit for 88 pages.

In the Beginning

Incandescent light bulb (no labels)

Clarence Birdseye was an adventurer and an inventor.   My new friend Clarence was born within a decade of: the invention of the telephone, the phonograph, the first incandescent light bulb, the first automobile that was practical to use, George Eastman’s roll film and camera (say “Cheese”) , even the first capillary feeding fountain pen (be gone inkwells), and don’t forget  cash registers (Cha-Ching).  There was Coca-Cola flowing, washing machines pumping and this surprised me, contact lenses were patented.  Simply put, the close-knit world of everyday citizens was expanding: rapidly expanding.  Clarence Birdseye was willing and ready to help with this widespread expansion.

We’re Never Satisfied

If I read nothing but the preface I would have a thought to ponder for a long long time. It’s human nature to desire what we normally don’t have.  Right now I’m thinking something from a bakery. A tailor’s son wants a factory-made suit the same factory made envy for a boot maker’s child.  Clarence Birdseye grew up as the industrial revolution was gaining speed.  He was pro industry.  Industry could produce items faster and cheaper than mom and pop operations.  Clarence traveled about the world and tasted foods so foreign to the local foods he was used to.  He wanted others to experience the wide range of foods available. We’re all post-industrial babies and love our local markets but if Clarence Birdseye were dropped into today’s society he would not understand the artisanal movement.  Why buy close to home when the world is our home?   Think about that for a while.   I’ve been contemplating that sentence for several days.

You were about to get a pithy quote from Edgar Allen Poe but I discovered I was mixing up my metaphors.  I was having the raven quote something about pendulums.  It didn’t work for the raven or for me.  As long as I was checking out my nonexistent quote I also picked up the Birdseye book to check a fact.  I discovered in the next paragraph, which since the book was open I took a moment to scan, Clarence started going by the name of Bob.  Bob?  Best guess is that he determined that people found it easier to talk to a Bob than a Clarence.  I’m guessing if he showed up in today’s world our naming habit might throw him for a bigger loop than our post-industrial ways or possibly he would be so intrigued by the variety of names that he would never get to explore our current foods issues.

 The End of the Story is Yet to Come

Apparently I have fields of vegetables and schools of fish to read about before I sleep – even a mountain top in Peru.  First I shall take a break and celebrate with something from the freezer and a slice of artisanal bread and then curl up with both Sam Spade and Bob Birdseye…a kinky combo.

Figure 1 from United States patent #1,773,079 ...

Figure 1 from United States patent #1,773,079 issued to Clarence Birdseye for the production of quick-frozen fish. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So are you an artisanal fan or love the ease of frozen foods?   Your thoughts are welcome.


Food for Those That Labor

Labor Day has come and gone – but there’s still time to celebrate with food from Rosie the Riveter and all those men and women that labored during WWII. Whether she labored in a shipyard or mill Rosie and the men she worked beside most likely took their lunches with them.  I recently found a list of items in a typical 1944 lunchbox.

 WWII We Can Do It poster

  • Meat loaf sandwich – ok
  • Chocolate brownie – ok
  • Spreading cheese and piccalilli sandwich– not ok – especially since I don’t have a clue what a piccalilli is.  Time for a research break…It turns out piccalilli is different depending on where it’s made – from England to across the pond to us it’s changed along the way.  In the Northeast it’s made with sweet red and peppers; like a pickle relish.  So far I’m not impressed.  In the Midwest its chopped gherkins – also known as neon relish – paired with hot dogs.  Since I’m not a sweet pickle fan I’m way past unimpressed.  Maybe it’s because I grew up in the South – we don’t serve piccalilli; we serve chow-chow made from green tomatoes.  No, that statement is wrong because apparently I wasn’t raised far enough “south.” I never had chow-chow.  Bottom line:  I would rather miss a meal than have piccalilli on my sandwich.
  • Sliced ham and egg salad sandwich – ok
  • Cottage cheese and pickle relish – what was the 40’s deal with pickle relishes?
  • Grapes, fig bars – ok
  • Liverwurst sandwich – really?  Really?  Apparently I would have been very hungry in the 40s.
  • If that wasn’t enough the first item on the suggested dinner menu was – Liver Loaf.  Thank you I’ll get my Iron from vitamins.

Different Foods for Different People

I know there are people who enjoy different foods.  I’ve opened a freezer door in Denmark to discover an entire pig’s head just waiting to be boiled and made into head cheese. Each to his or her own.  My Grandpa Harold took white bread piled heated canned baked beans on top and then poured vinegar over it.  Some of you may have just gagged but I still find that delicacy delicious.  Then there was my father’s love of onion sandwiches:  white bread, butter and onion slices.  I didn’t pick up that eating habit but my sister did.  How about Grandma Olie’s breakfast of champions: cereal with coffee poured over it.  Another food treat I have gladly foregone.

The above list was suggested for workers but what about the school children.  I remember school lunches so vile that even now I gag when I recall them but I’ll say one thing for those cafeteria workers:  they actually cooked food.  If the card below is too hard to read – just click on it, you should get a larger image.

Recipe for School lunch 1946

Anything that starts out with 2 ¼ pounds of table fat is going to keep those young bodies doing something.

A Government Food Chart I Can Live With

But all was not bad in the war years.  Stop a minute and get a mental image of our current food triangle pushing the fruits and vegetables to one published during the war.  Pay close attention to Group 7 of the WWII foods that the government advocated we eat each and every day.  Yep Group 7 is my favorite.  There’s a food group I can support.  How about you?  In addition check out the note on the bottom of the chart.  That’s my type of government food chart.

Food Chart WWII

Have odd foods that you love to eat…let us know in the comments section below.