While the world is abuzz about the Duchess of Sussex “stepping back” from her royal duties (seriously, though, I didn’t see that coming and apparently neither did the Queen!) I’ve stepped back in time and from the fancification of Duchess potatoes with this simple, frugal 1915 recipe found inside a Portland, Maine elementary school book. All that is required to make these tasty little puffs are three ingredients plus salt and pepper for seasoning.
I just love when I find a hidden gem and that’s exactly what happened for our Thanksgiving dinner. A few weeks ago we decided that we wanted to go out to eat since it’s just the two of us this year. All of the local places serving T-Day dinner were charging between $80 – $90 per person plus tip! Spending over $200 to eat in a trendy or upscale restaurant on Thanksgiving in greater Portland is just no! (Portland was named 2018 Restaurant City of the Year by Bon Appetite.) We’re not into trendy places. We wanted something out of the way in the country that was simple, homey, historic, casual and delicious without fine dining pricing. Then I opened up google maps and did a search for places in “the country”. That’s how I found The Buxton Common, “a community gathering space for families, friends, neighbors and guests serving house smoked, rustic country fare in a revitalized 18th century home.” They were offering a Thanksgiving dinner for $32 per person! Sold!
We ran out of fresh picked apples last week so I bought some “local” (New England but not from Maine) “apples” from the grocery. Those mealy imposters were shameful! I was reminded that “local” is often used very liberally to extend to surrounding states hundreds of miles away and does not mean picked yesterday, last week or even in the past month. It’s the same with grocery tomatoes. After I tasted home grown I couldn’t go back to those hard waxy pale orange replicas. Wayne agrees, so it’s for those reasons that we went apple picking this morning in thirty degree weather. It’s the last weekend for picking apples at our favorite orchard, Libby & Son U-Picks, and it turned out to be filled with simple beauty.
Did you know that the impetus for writing American Women Didn’t Get Fat in the 1950s in 2013 was the book French Women Don’t Get Fat? History shows that the American diet offered great examples of how we used to eat and enjoy our food in absence of the obesity epidemic we have today. For a limited time you can read my book American Women Didn’t Get Fat in the 1950s for FREE with Kindle Unlimited.
I’ve kept my weight off since then and I’ve lost much more than weight as a result of changing my diet and mindset to a simpler, more old-fashioned way of eating! Here are a few things I “gave up” when I started moving more and eating healthy foods in moderation:
This simple, wholesome recipe for New England Brown Betty is made with a handful of ingredients and is adapted from my 1936 copy of The Boston Cooking School Cook Book. It’s a good way to make use of stale bread, too, which I happened to have handy. Speaking of handy things, I also made my first-ever batch of 100% hand whipped cream with my new rotary beater! It wasn’t difficult at all!
What a weekend! This is a long post loaded with pics and videos.
Early Saturday morning our first stop on the way to Sunday River for the fall foliage chairlift ride was breakfast at Shipyard Brewhaus in Newry. Wayne ordered the S.O.S. and I ordered the corned beef hash omelette which was delicious.
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!”
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.
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?
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!