Forbidden Fruit on Friday the 13th

At the express check-out line at Whole Foods this morning I was greeted by the cashier who often checks me out weekly, so to speak. He’s always very jovial, not just to me but everyone, but he said something that startled me!

“You are a great lover.”

What did he just say?! I immediately blushed and said nervously laughing, “What do you mean I’m a great lover!”

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Vintage Recipe: Margaret Chase Smith’s Blueberry Cake

After months of denying rumors that she would seek the top of the Republican ticket or the vice presidential nomination, inspirational Mainer Senator Margaret Chase Smith announced her run for President in January, 1964.

“I have few illusions and no money, but I’m staying for the finish,” she noted, “When people keep telling you, you can’t do a thing, you kind of like to try.”

Although she wasn’t elected, Mrs. Smith was the first woman to have her name put in for nomination for the presidency by a major political party. She also created a winning Maine classic: Margaret Chase Smith’s Blueberry Cake. This delightful recipe is from an undated vintage very well-loved pamphlet in my collection, “Maine Blueberry Recipes…” Seventh Edition, Published by The Maine Department of Agriculture.

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I am a Homemaker

I have many roles in my life, of course, but I see “homemaker” as part of my identity. It’s not a consolation prize or because I’m not empowered. Now when asked about what I do for work, instead of telling people only about my for-profit pursuits as a self-employed person I’m now also sharing that I’m a homemaker. I even added it to my LinkedIn profile! The conversation usually goes something like this:

“I love cooking and cleaning! When Wayne comes home he has a hot, nutritious dinner made from scratch waiting for him on the table.”

I sometimes get a look, so I follow up with: “You know, like June Cleaver.”

“Well as long as it’s a choice,” is a common response, or a variation along the lines of concern that I’m fallen prey to antiquated societal dictates. No. Well yes less the dictates. It is a conscious choice! Is it so odd for a woman to consciously choose to find joy in house work or apartment work, wherever you live work? Does that make one a vapid throwback?

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Mosquitoes and the Magic of Summer

Minutes ago a mosquito followed me into my house and then into my home office. I have been trying to get away from it since it bit me in the neck when I sat down at my desk, at which point I looked in the mirror to see how bad the bite was. Besides its sneaky snack attack it had followed me around the house and in the mirror I could see it was flying up and down around the rest of my neck. Rather than smacking myself while trying to send it onward to its next spiritual station I ran back into my office. Hopefully I’m good for now.

Ever since I wrote my post about it not making economic sense for me to work on a follow-up retro diet book when I admitted to myself (and all of you!) that it would be cost-prohibitive, I’ve been enjoying a sense of relief. I appreciate those of you who commented or emailed to let me know you’d be interested in a fee-based subscription newsletter!

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A Love of Lentils: A Recipe for Freedom

The philosopher Diogenes was sitting on a curbstone, eating bread and lentils for his supper. He was seen by the philosopher Aristippus, who lived comfortably by flattering the king.

Said Aristippus, “If you would learn to be subservient to the king, you would not have to live on lentils.”

Said Diogenes, “Learn to live on lentils, and you will not have to be subservient to the king.”

-Louis Israel Newman

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Garden Update: Chipmunks, Fairy Tale Eggplant & The Seven Dwarfs

Early in July I finally found a charming weathered hand-painted concrete set of the Seven Dwarfs at an antique & collectible shop in Cornish for $45 that costs around $900 new when painted. Those who have been following my blog for a while know I adore vintage kitschy garden statues of animals and gnomes. Since it’s not unusual for people to call me “Snow White” when I tell them about my yard pets I wanted to complete the cast of characters. I also figured they would make terrific props for chipmunk photo sessions. Tailor, however, did not agree! Check out the little linked video for her reaction. A couple of days later, she disappeared!

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Yankee Thrift Is Good Business

Hello everyone! What a lovely summer it has been here in Maine! I hope to share a garden update within the next couple of weeks.

I’m thrilled to announce that I have begun writing a secret book that I think you will enjoy reading once it’s complete! It’s like my fingers are on FIRE* when I sit with my laptop each morning.

Now that I’m embracing writing as a full-time job as a means for an income I have to be business-like in my approach in addition to having enough passion about the material to keep me energized. A nice problem to have is that I have more interesting projects than I do time. I wish to continue blogging here, too, and that is income-free but not without expense. That’s why I apply good old Yankee Thrift to business savvy decision-making!

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Simple Recipe: Patriotic Red or Blue (Berry) Ice Cream

July 4th used to be a frosted holiday for me meaning that it was about consuming artificially colored overly sweetened highly processed “patriotic” red, white and blue cupcakes on display at the grocery bakery. You know the ones of which I speak that seem to be everywhere this time of year? I used to think I was treating myself by eating them even though I felt awful afterward. That’s so yesterday but definitely not eating retro. Now I make ice cream from scratch with wild Maine blueberries or rich red strawberries that we picked locally and pure heavy cream from the local dairy that doesn’t add gums. Here’s my recipe for 1.5 quarts of strawberry or blueberry-infused ice cream:

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A Palate for Plastic? No Way!

Gregory, the Terrible Eater was forced to eat junk which for his family meant literal garbage. It’s a cute 1980s children’s book about choosing healthy eating, but sadly that choice isn’t exactly a reality today. You’ve likely seen some of the heartbreaking images of plastic waste killing marine and wildlife. It shouldn’t be surprising, then, that a recent study reveals humans are ingesting 50,000 particles of microplastic a year and breathing in a similar quantity. We are now involuntary consumers of plastic, literally, and our planet is being consumed by it.  How can we stop this if, as consumers, most everything is made with or comes in plastic?

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Eat Retro: Blessed Be Ugly Food!

It wasn’t until I had immersed myself in Depression-Era and WWI cook books in 2015 that I developed the “courage” to create simple dishes with quality ingredients that fall out of range of preconceived ideas of good taste. Good home cooking to me has evolved to mean honest, sometimes quirky, unpretentious fare that takes the pressure off to audition for a show on the Food Network. This humble dish may not be Instagram-worthy, but so what?! It was a wholesome, healthy, thrifty delicious dinner made from food that in the past would have been discarded.

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