Wednesday, February 25, 2009

My "Crowning" Achievement...

Have you ever cooked a crown roast of pork?

I'm thrilled to say that is now on my list of achievements, and it was all thanks to my 1950 edition of The Encyclopedic Cook Book.

It came about because we had decided to invite my side of the family for a nice dinner around holiday time. The invitation was gladly accepted and we put the house to rights, decided what to wear, and acquired some extra silverware for the large group. But, what to serve?

Pulling out numerous vintage cookbooks, dear hubby and I browsed for something interesting and festive, yet somewhat traditional. We hit paydirt with The Encyclopedic Cook Book when our gaze fastened upon photos of a fantastic Crown Roast! Pork was chosen rather than lamb, even though both looked equally delicious.

Decision made, we headed out to our local grocery establishments to locate a crown roast of pork. I was so looking forward to making the little paper frills for the ends of the bones, but alas, I was to be disappointed. We only found one store that offered crown roasts of pork, and they used boneless pork loins! Boneless! Where is the crown, I say!

Nevertheless, we purchased a (boneless) crown roast suitable for about 12 people and mentally prepared for our latest adventure in vintage cooking.

It turned out to be a fairly simple item to cook. The recipe was easy to follow. And the fun part was making the stuffing and filling the "crown". The roast recipe suggested apple, raisin, sage, or cornbread stuffing. We chose to make a cornbread stuffing and added dried cranberries to it. I have to say it was the best stuffing I've ever had and went very well with the pork.

The roast managed to be done roasting sooner than we had planned, but luckily, the guests arrived a bit early too. The meal also included real homemade baked beans (from my grandmother's recipe), homemade applesauce (provided by my mom), and steamed green beans. It was a plentiful meal and no one went away hungry. And I can safely say the roast was a great success!

I will admit that I still wish there had been bones to put the pretty paper frills on. Maybe the next time we'll go further afield to find a proper crown roast that looks like a crown ;)

Oh, and here's an interesting blog I recently came across about vintage cookbooks & recipes - take a few moments to check it out: Vintage Cookbooks

Bon appetit!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

On this day four years ago...

...we eloped in Vermont!

The bride wore a 1940s black cocktail dress with red bakelite accents, cherry necklace and bracelet, retro style ghillie-tie black shoes, black chiffon hair ornament, Cherries in the Snow lipstick (Revlon), and discreet fishnet stockings with back seams. The groom wore a late 1950s/early 1960s deep blue suit with a maroon shirt and handkerchief, a 1940s/1950s tie, and vintage wing tip shoes.

The White Rocks Inn had a terrific "Elopement Package" which included everything from bringing in the justice-of-the-peace to cake and champagne to photos. Perhaps the most appealing part of the package (for us) was a chance to ride to dinner in a lovely restaurant in... a 1939 Cadillac Limousine
. A somewhat chilly ride that was worth every second... and after all, it was February in Vermont. The inn was lovely - our room was furnished with a king-sized sleigh bed, had its own bath, and its own old-timey gas fireplace. The rest of the inn was furnished with antiques and antique-style furnishings. The barn where the Cadillac is kept was marvel of vintage architecture. Here's a link to their website - there are quite a few photos of the inn, barn, cottages, and grounds: White Rocks Inn, Wallingford, Vermont

Since we were in Vermont for several days, we had a chance to head over to The Vermont Country Store, purveyors of the practical and hard-to-find. I think the most fun we had there was looking at all the "penny candy" and trying to decide how many Swedish Fish to buy! By the way, The Vermont Country Store is a great place to find vintage-style items, as well as things that went out of production many years ago, but are now being made again for the store.

We had such a wonderful time and truly surprised everyone when we returned home as a married couple. The only people who knew what we were up to were the jeweler we bought our rings from and the innkeepers. After 20 years together, we decided it was time to make it official. And, thank providence, none of the family had a heart attack when we told them after the fact. Hopefully, we'll be able to celebrate an anniversary at White Rocks Inn someday - 'cause it would be fun to return and reminisce.

Well, so long until next time!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

What's on your coffee table?

Here's a fun thing I like to do that you might enjoy too...

At the end of each month, I pull a stack of the next month's magazine issues from my vintage magazine collection and display it on the coffee table. There's usually a range of years - anywhere from the 1920s to the 1950s. The great thing about this is that I can browse at my leisure through the magazines looking for recipes, decorating ideas, fashions, hairstyles, or interesting stories that are appropriate to the particular time of year. Why, this past Christmas, I found a fabulous recipe for Cherry Pinwheel Cookies in a December 1958 issue of Household Magazine - and were they a hit!

With Valentine's Day fast approaching, it's a good thing there's no end of recipes for delicious-looking desserts in these vintage February issues. Now if you can get past the love stories and complexion enhancer ads, this Woman's Home Companion from February of 1947 has all sorts of delectable cakes, cookies, cupcakes, and even a Pineapple Cheesecake recipe. Often the recipes are courtesy of an advertiser encouraging you to use their product because it's better than the rest, but in this particular issue there's a "Light and Lovely" 2-page spread with such delights as Quick Silver Cake, Fudge Cake, and Jeweled Cupcakes.

Now, the cake I absolutely must make is this Sweetheart Valentine Cake....

...because I'm pretty sure I'll get the same results as our blonde Valentine's Day heroine here: "I feel a kiss coming on!"

This cake recipe is from a Spry Pure Vegetable Shortening advertisement. Apparently the cake will be lighter and more delicious when you use Spry. Unfortunately, I don't believe it is still available, so it might not turn out the same using a different shortening. Egads! The cake will be heavy as lead and taste like cardboard. Maybe I'd better pass on making this one since I don't have any Spry - so I probably won't feel a kiss coming on ;)

Speaking of whether products available then are still available now...

Here's one you'll recognize: Avon! I find it fascinating to see just how old some companies are. This same Woman's Home Companion issue from 1947 has ads for Windex, Pepto Bismol, Kraft Velveeta, A-1 Steak Sauce, Midol, French's Mustard, Vick's VapoRub, and V-8... to name just a few that still exist today.

And then there are the stories. For a half hour's diversion, you can't beat a short story, novelette, or serial installment from a vintage magazine. In some cases, you'll find a complete novel, as in this 1935 issue of Cosmopolitan.

Oh, and let's not forget the articles - always timely and informative! Interestingly, vintage magazine article topics really don't differ much from the article topics of today's publications. People still have the same basic concerns about such subjects as weight, appearance, parenting, aging, celebrities, and relationships. The philosophy may change from time to time, but I've found that, oftentimes, how we're advised to handle such topics has pretty much come full circle.

Now, see how much fun this can be?! That old-timey stack of magazines on your coffee table or in your magazine rack simply adds to the overall charm of vintage living.

Oh, and do have a Happy Valentine's Day!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

A Kitchen Dream Realized...and a Butter Garage too!

I'm not sure how long ago I decided that my kitchen would someday sport a Red Vintage Refrigerator. Suffice it to say that this dream was realized in 2006. Here's what happened...

A friend of my father had a white 1955 GE refrigerator that had belonged to his mother. He was no longer using it and wanted to get it out of his basement. My dad recalled that I had once mentioned I'd love to have a vintage refrigerator that was red. Well, he saw a golden opportunity here and before you could say "Jack Robinson", the white fridge was on it's way to becoming my dream red fridge.

Father and hubby agreed that a nice red auto paint would do the trick, so my beloved headed to the auto paint store. He chose a lovely Ford red for my GE refrigerator. They proceeded to primer and paint it in my dad's garage after dealing with some minor rust issues and removing the insides. Two weeks later the red refrigerator took its place in my kitchen. Truly a dream come true.

The fridge, while on the verge of modern refrigerator style, is old-timey enough to be recognized by the average person as vintage. And it has some really terrific features, my favorite being the Butter "Garage" with temperature control. If you use real butter, you know that it can be hard to spread when stored in the cold refrigerator. Well, the temperature control on this butter compartment allows the butter to be preserved at a spreadable consistency. Why, it's a marvel of modern innovation that's almost 60 years old!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

By way of introduction...

Miss CherryBubbles Welcomes You to Past Life!

I'll be your tour guide on this journey into the world of vintage living. It's a lifestyle that certainly presents both joys and disappointments... and occasionally a truly bizarre moment. Interesting things happen when you live a past life, so grab a cup of coffee or your favorite cocktail, settle into your barcalounger, and enjoy the ride!