antique cookbooks

I think these cookbooks can be categorized as antiques. Left to right in the photo above they were published in 1922, 1936, and 1913.

They are an education in and of themselves, as well as being their own kind of time capsule. But these cookbooks, like their vintage mid-century cousins are terrific because they give you a lot of basic techniques and recipes that are overlooked in modern cookbooks in favor of photographs and pizazz.

They are also interesting little history lessons. Next time you see old cookbooks at a rummage sale or wherever, take a look through them– you might be surprised and have fun. Not everything is on the Internet as far as recipes go.

Sometimes it is fun being a bookworm 😊

not telling you who to vote for, but who NOT to vote for

People always ask “Who is State Rep Kristine Howard?”

Good question because really nobody knows. She has been the singularly most INVISIBLE state representative I’ve ever heard of since I first had the right to vote. Considering I’m in my 50s, I have been voting quite a while.

I literally remember when the committee people were coming around when Kristine Howard was running the first time.

I had not seen anything about her, hadn’t seen her physically anywhere, had not even seen photos of her anywhere at that point. NOTHING. She was just a name. The response I got was stunning and it was from her own party “No one really knows. No one has really seen her.” (and that message was delivered with an apologetic shrug.)

The sole image anyone had seen of her at that point is the photo on the left at the opening of this post. Only as we later found out she looks more like the photo on the right.

Even candidates I have not liked over the years got out there to shake hands and meet people and go to one bad chicken dinner after the other.

Last time we were supposed to vote for Kristine Howard just because she wasn’t Duane Milne. This time because she’s not Ginny Kerslake or Wendy Graham Leland. (I will note both of these ladies are out there, involved in the community, and care and have been that way long before deciding to run for office.)

Yet NO ONE knows Kristine Howard still. Is she the most closely guarded secret in Harrisburg or what? Kristine Howard seems to send out the occasional puff piece to let people know she’s around or she voted as she was told, only she’s not around is she? Try being one of her constituents and getting her to respond to you. Try getting anyone in her office to respond to you.

In my humble opinion, Kristine Howard does not show up for residents and constituents. This summer residents affected detrimentally and dangerously by pipelines begged her to come tour their neighborhoods with them. They got no response.

But when Governor Tom Wolf showed up for an insider’s tour basically with the pipeline company inside the fences of the pipeline that have eaten up people’s properties and lives and neighborhoods this summer, there she was for photo ops posing with Wolf and Carolyn Comitta only like magic those photos have all seemed to have disappeared as bad optics are wont to do? (if anyone has copies of those photos that DID exist I would love to see one again wouldn’t you?)

There was also in the summer of 2019 a very important public meeting held at Immaculata that affected her constituents in East Whiteland Township. The issue? Traffic circles, eminent domain, and PennDOT. She sent a staffer who stayed maybe half an hour, and the meeting was more than two hours long. Kristine Howard should have been there herself, could have been there herself, chose NOT to be there. 

The residents of the 167th Legislative District deserve someone who shows up for them, interacts with them, responds to their concerns. Kristine Howard is sort of being seen now because she’s being primaried. That is so insulting to constituents.

Think of politics in terms of fashion. Kristine Howard and Harrisburg need a makeover. I think the Harrisburg makeover is time better spent.

I can’t tell you who to vote for, but I will tell you who I think you SHOULD NOT vote for, and that’s Kristine Howard. She’s a fashion trend as tragic as hobble skirts, which literally impeded a woman’s ability to walk in the early 20th century.

the end of the ball era?

I have remarked before on what society was in Philadelphia and what wants to be society today and the fact that it all seems to be going kerplunk. Well I think this article that broke news everywhere and I saw first in the Philadelphia Inquier is yet another example.

End of an era? The Academy of Music Anniversary Concert and Ball will go on hiatus.

by Peter Dobrin, Updated: February 14, 2020- 12:06 PM

The Oscar de la Renta and James Galanos gowns can take the year off. White-tie and tails may stay in the garment bag. Next season’s Academy of Music Anniversary Concert and Ball has been canceled, organizers say.

Instead, leaders of the Academy and the Philadelphia Orchestra, which owns the historic venue, will take a year off to rethink the concert and ball. It is not clear when, or if, the ball will be back in the format that made it the city’s premier society event for decades.

“We are going to take this pause and evaluate,” said Academy chair Caroline B. “Cackie” Rogers. “Our net and our gross have been going down, and ticket sales have gone down a bit, and costs, like everything else, have gone up.”

Also, Academy and orchestra leaders are aware of how philanthropic priorities have shifted toward social causes over pure arts and culture.

“The younger generation tends to be sticking a little bit more close to home in the suburbs and supporting their children’s school, which is fabulous, and supporting their community and hospital,” Rogers says. “So we have to make people understand what we are. The Academy is above all a community gathering place, a community center. We support education. And somehow we need to get this message out in a stronger format.”

Rogers said that a working committee would begin considering the ball’s future at a meeting in March. At this point, she said, she cannot say whether Philadelphia will see another Academy Ball.

I think this is indeed quite possibly the end of The Academy Ball. People have changed and the grande dames of society are growing older and so many have passed away. Truthfully there is my generation as one of the last generations to just remember what it was like, but real society doesn’t truly exist anymore in Philadelphia does it? (And many can plunk hats and fascinators on their carefully and not so carefully coiffed heads but does it make them society or just wannabes?)

Philadelphia Inquirer, 1970s – what the society page looked like

I remember when I noticed that Opening Night for the Philadelphia Orchestra was getting too “corporate” in nature. I remember when people started bringing in drinks in plastic cups into the boxes and the seats and that was never done before. When there was intermission, you mingled in the hallways of the Academy of Music and you got drinks from the bar but you didn’t bring things into the theater space like you were at a movie theater.

The world continued to change. Society reporters began to fade away, retire, move, die. Society photos changed to and suddenly it was acceptable to shove your way into a photo or say you wanted to be in a photo, versus waiting to be asked. And everything, even if it wasn’t, was suddenly called a “ball”.

I grew up with my parents attending the Academy Ball, and for a bunch of years my mother was on the committees. It has been too long to remember if it was for the program book committee , invitation committee, or whatever. But what I do remember is all the bustle surrounding my mother and her friends finding their perfect gowns and getting ready for the big event. I liked that part of it a lot. Visits to Nan Duskin, John Wanamaker’s, and elsewhere.

What I also liked is the years they were all in the program book (Academy Ball Book) with their friends. That program book for the Academy of Music Concert and Ball was awesome every year. It was a look book of Philadelphia society and fashion. I loved going through it. Somewhere I have a stack of them from my mother, I went to look for them when I was thinking about this post but I have not unearthed them yet. It was always a really big deal to be invited to be in an Academy Ball Book photo.

There was one year in particular my parents were in it that I remember distinctly. They were photographed in black tie on the steps of City Hall in Philadelphia. My mother had a different haircut for her and I think it was the 70s when she had this haircut, it was sort of pixie like for lack of a better description because my mother has very full hair. But I remember my mother had this amazing ball gown on and it was sweeping over the steps with my father at her side. (I really have to find that photo because it is one of my favorite photos of my parents together.)

Then around 1998, I had my turn to pose in a photograph in the Academy Ball Book. This mother of a friend of mine back then used to buy a page for their business as a donation in the program book. So this one year, I was invited to be in the photo. It was a lot of fun we got our hair done the morning of the shoot and professional make-up and then we went to Ruth’s Chris Steak House in Philadelphia where the shoot location was.

Doing that shoot, is still to this day, hands down one of the most fun things I ever did! (Of course it’s amusing that I am posing with a glass of red wine in my hand because I am very allergic to red wine.) I still have a tiny 3 or 4 inch black-and-white test photo of this shoot in a little frame. My friend and I were temporarily glamorous.

I did not ever actually go to the Academy Ball as an adult because I married later in life and it always has been a very ridiculously expensive ticket prospect if you were single. I did go a couple of times as a kid with my sister to the concerts because my parents wanted us to hear whatever the concert part of the ball was. One of the years was when Pavarotti played the concert of the 118th Academy Ball. I still remember that. My parents had a car and driver and someone who came to escort us down.

We sat stage left up in the second level or third level boxes on that side. I remember peering down and watching Pavarotti sing. It probably should have meant more to me at the time than it did, but I was a kid. However, it was so fun to get all dressed up and then look around the entire inside of the glittering and glowing Academy of Music and see all of the people in their white tie and tails and ballgowns.

Every year until a few years ago, truthfully I loved looking at the Academy Ball photos. As the crowd changed and a lot of the familiar faces faded away for whatever reason, it became less interesting to me. The past couple of years I have taken a cursory glance every now and again at the photos and there are people in the photos that wouldn’t have even received an invitation years ago, and then there are the people we just weren’t dressed correctly. There are even people with short dresses. This was a real actual ball which meant white tie and tails and ballgowns.

I took a peek at a program book in the last year or so and one of the things that surprised me is there was somebody that was in two photos in the same book. They never used to do that! They never had repeat people in photos in the same book during the same year.

It makes me sad that events like this are becoming nonprofit dinosaurs. But I guess too much is changing in the world around us, and it’s not going to stand still for events like this. So this event will either evolve and change, or remain mothballed. I am thinking mothballed.

But this was a big event for the Academy of Music’s benefit. So it had to give you pause if you think about it as to how they are going to make up the money that needs to be raised. The Academy of Music is a national historic landmark but I’m told it needs work. A lot of the titans of philanthropy that used to support the Academy are dead.

I have to wonder in the age of selfie sticks and Insta stories if there is enough interest to really see the Academy of Music into the future? Do people today really care about the arts in Philadelphia in the region? Or is what they care about more selective, more localized?

Time will tell.

philadelphia: the unexpected city

The other day I wrote about being a little kid in the Society Hill section of Philadelphia. The mid 1960s through to the mid 1970s.

Today I picked up some things from a storage locker sale I had purchased. One thing was a limited edition book published in 1965 when I was a year old. Philadelphia: The Unexpected City by Laurence Lafore and Sara Lee Lippincott. The publisher was Doubleday. It was a copy of the “Philadelphia Edition.”

I don’t think too many people would be as excited to see this book as I was. But it was a book I remember people having in their homes when I was growing up, especially people that lived in Society Hill because there was so much of Society Hill in the book.

And there’s one thing that’s a picture of when they were raising the houses around Front Street to basically put in the highway. And I remember when they were doing all of that because it took a while to build and my mother’s friend Margery Niblock the artist had done a wood cut of it that I have the artist’s proof of.

So again, unless you live there during this time this probably wouldn’t mean anything to you. But it means something to me because there are so many pictures in this book of what Society Hill looks like when people like my parents came in and bought house is dirt cheap and started to restore them.

And the restoration of Society Hill is still a historic preservation triumph even with all of the houses that were in such bad condition they had to be demolished.

I guess that’s why sometimes I wonder why municipalities let people say “Oh we can’t possibly fix this, it has to be taken down!” I look at what happened then when I was a kid, and the technology wasn’t as advanced and so on and so forth, yet the historic preservation actually happened and restoration actually happened.

So I wish people would look at examples like this, and then look more towards preservation where they live. It is possible. Communities just have to want it. And if communities want it, they need to make that known to local government.

People have to realize you can save pieces of the past and people will love them and will live in them.

This section of Philadelphia when I was growing up was a sea of construction and scaffolding. I remember the contrast of going to neighborhoods where other people we knew lived and then coming back to our own. But it was exciting to see. Even then.

Hopefully someday when I am no longer around, someone else will happen upon what is now my copy of this book and love it as much as I do.

dear senator dinniman

Dear Senator Dinniman,

Today I was not expecting to learn that you’ve decided to retire. Truthfully it makes me sad.

Why?

Because you are a rare public servant who has ALWAYS served the public. You have been so good to us no matter what our political affiliation.

You have been our steadfast and stalwart supporter on issues like the pipelines. You also are a big supporter of animal rescue which I am personally appreciative of. You appreciate historic preservation and land preservation. You are the real deal in a time when so many are not.

I know you would not have made this decision lightly, and family must always come first. But you have been so good to us over the years, that even I know as a resident of Chester County not as many years as some, that you treat your constituents like family.

So I just wanted to say most sincerely, thank you for your service. I also hope your wife gets better soon.

For my readers please FOLLOW THIS LINK to read Andy Dinniman’s statement.

keeping it klassy down in d.c.

I don’t blog about national politics much. What is the point? They are going to do what they are going to do down in the political swamp. The only way we can control them as Americans is with our vote. And either people aren’t voting or the candidates suck.

Normally I do not watch or listen to most of the remarks made by this President. Today I am. Mostly out of curiosity. What I have discovered is I will go back to not watching or listening to most of the remarks.

I don’t think I’ve ever heard a sitting US President curse on television before. And everyone who disagrees with him is a horrible person. Or “vicious as hell”. But he’s perfect.

The song remains the same every time he opens his mouth except now he’s cursing on television. And nobody’s perfect everybody curses, but should a president really do that on television? And why wasn’t any of it bleeped out by networks? They would bleep it out if it was the Grammys or the Oscars or some thing wouldn’t they?

Let’s talk impeachment. If you’re realistic you knew it would never go anywhere, that it was political posturing. No matter what side of the aisle you sit on with this issue, that is the truth.

The votes were never there pure and simple. So I don’t know why all the excitement over an acquittal because it was never going to happen in the first place by the sheer basic basis of the number of votes for and against.

There is the whole impeachment argument of “well they had to try.” To that I say yes and no. If you know what the outcome will be, why waste time on it? And the Democrats knew how the Republicans will vote so what did all of the breast beating from BOTH sides of the aisle do for all Americans exactly? (Except for providing really funny Saturday Night Live skits, that is.

The night of the State of the Union started with the bad manners of not accepting Nancy Pelosi’s hand when offered.

The President and Pelosi don’t have to like each other but there’s decorum that is supposed to be observed and traditions respected. You know that whole term of worthy or honorable opposition?

Pelosi then compounded the issues by acting like a post- menopausal born again teenager who got dumped by her date before prom when she ripped up the speech on camera.

Apoliticism is apathy or antipathy towards all political affiliations. I now understand why people get there in their heads. I find myself headed there.

Here we have a guy I am supposed to respect and he spends more time on Twitter than I do and I am a blogger who has been on Twitter since 2008. I keep looking to see why perfectly lovely people I know think he’s so wonderful and I still can’t figure it out. Then there are all of the Republicans who think he’s not so wonderful yet they are literally mute.

Regardless of political affiliation we get the country we deserve. And this is why people should pay more attention from the most local of politics through to Washington. If you want better people in office you have to pay attention you can’t just be a sheeple.

We are a nation divided. I am not sure of the entirety of how we got here, but we need to stop it. A virtual Civil War that plays out every day in this country on social media helps no one. And it is perhaps more damaging and more lasting in negativity than the actual Civil War was in the 19th century.

Just my thoughts.

favorite places: dixie picnic in frazer, pa

Hands down one of my favorite places for breakfast and lunch in Chester County is Dixie Picnic in the Lincoln Court Shopping Center on Route 30 in Frazer/Malvern.

I realized that although I have been enjoying the place for years, I have never written about them. Well I need to rectify that.

It’s not fussy, it’s not pretentious, it’s good food, well-prepared, served with a smile. It’s a wonderful scratch kitchen and I love sending people there because they are always so happy that they’ve gone! And now through the website you can even order online to pick up. And they have catering available!

The owners are as lovely as can be, and when we went today for breakfast we could smell the delicious smells of baking bread. (Their sourdough bread is my favorite.)

Today my husband had an omelette which is his usual go to go out to breakfast fare. It arrived the table fluffy and pretty.

He said it was delicious as always!

I tried something different today. I tried their avocado toast. I have had it a bunch of places recently where I wasn’t thrilled with it. It’s a pretty basic thing to make but some people just do too much. Today was perfect.

It arrived on a slice of their lovely sourdough bread and the avocados were just perfectly ripe and slightly smashed with an over easy egg on top. I added a little salt and pepper and some Tabasco sauce and oh my it was awesome! Truthfully it’s the best avocado toast I have had anywhere.

Something else they are known for that I did not have today are the upcakes. Delightfully homemade simply iced cakes in an array of flavors every time you go in the door. Some of my favorites include the carrot cake upcake and the red velvet upcake . And they also have this devil’s food one that has this amazing mocha frosting. And if you’re looking for something that is a lighter and fluffier upcake try the lemon. Upcakes are magically delicious.

Dixie Picnic is a wonderful Chester County business and I hope you give them a try!