“New Old Stock” Kitchen Linens Dilemma

It’s been a while since I “raided” my stash of vintage estate kitchen towels that are in new, never used condition, most which still have the original price tags. Because we do our dishes by hand we use about three kitchen towels daily including one that lines our dish drying rack. Some have been in service for many years withstanding weekly laundering. A good old-fashioned kitchen towel will fade gently over years, not two washings like so much of what is sold today, and becomes more soft as time goes on. Then, after their golden years the perfect fading and softness gives way to becoming too thin to be absorbent. At that point they get transitioned into dusting rags or bedding for our degus. Sometimes I’m not sure if one is too special or unique to use, like this circa 1960s kitschy towel with an important message:

Continue reading ““New Old Stock” Kitchen Linens Dilemma”

Food Chat: Julia Child, Calories, Cake, Corn on the Cob

When I post photos and recipes to my blog or Instagram I sometimes receive messages from people wondering how I can eat cake yet maintain my weight. Did you know that beginning in her early forties and through the rest of her life Julia Child counted calories and weighed herself daily? She was an “assiduous calorie counter” which is exactly what I’ve been doing since I turned forty and documented in my vintage diet book American Women Didn’t Get Fat in the 1950s.

”I used to feel that the more I ate at every meal, the healthier I would be,” she (Julia) said. ”But I started putting on weight when I was 42. I weigh myself every morning.”

Her diet includes a lot of fruits and vegetables, few desserts, small portions and six tablespoons each day of fat or oil, including two of saturated fat. ”I like marble steaks, and I like butter,” she said. ”I am very careful to eat two tablespoons of saturated fat a day, with greatest pleasure.”

To me it’s no different than maintaining a budget by spending wisely. When you know you can afford to buy or eat something it can be much more enjoyable! And really, as a former apple orchard boss lady shared with me when I worked at her farm stand in the mid 1980s, it’s always a good day when you can stand up and take nourishment! At the time I didn’t really get it but since then as I’ve grown older I know how deep and true it is. To be well enough to eat and enjoy a nourishing gift as “simple” as a freshly picked apple is a good day! We don’t need apple pie.

Continue reading “Food Chat: Julia Child, Calories, Cake, Corn on the Cob”

Recipe: Yogurt Quiche With Gluten-Free Mashed Potato Crust

For lunch just now I had a slice of quiche showered with fresh black pepper shown above which is leftover from last night’s dinner. I created a Greek yogurt quiche with a mashed potato crust that held up like an actual crust! My recipe is thrifty and simple and I’m happy to share it with you.

Continue reading “Recipe: Yogurt Quiche With Gluten-Free Mashed Potato Crust”

Layer Cake for Breakfast, Controversial Homemakers

January and February are when the sun shines brightest in my kitchen and I create new recipes. As Julia Child said, with cooking you’ve got to have a what-the-hell attitude. I decided that I wanted to make a delicious, healthy breakfast cleverly disguised as a decadent dessert layer cake. Why haven’t I done this sooner, anyway? With organic oats, eggs, Greek yogurt, bananas, dates, a twist of Meyer lemon juice (Wayne’s brother gifts us lemons every year from their tree in California) and a few other secret specifics I did it! It’s light and lovely!

Continue reading “Layer Cake for Breakfast, Controversial Homemakers”

If It’s Home, Make It Homey

I’ve always enjoyed homemaking and I miss writing about it! Even when I was living in the most unlikeliest of places for being a homemaker–a small bedroom in a housing project while growing up, a dorm room, the tiny Vermont house no bigger than a shed I lived in during grad school, it didn’t matter. I’ve always created and managed a budget whether on a piece of scrap paper, spreadsheet or software. I furnished my home with antiques and vintage items bought for a dime or dollars at yard sales. A carpet remnant I bought at an outlet on East 64th street with money I made from pet-sitting and carried home on the Tramway to Roosevelt Island covered ugly black asbestos tiles in my childhood bedroom.

Continue reading “If It’s Home, Make It Homey”

I’m 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? Continue reading “I’m a Homemaker”

Yankee Thrift Explained, The New Yorker, 1961

Take thrift, that presumed state of misery and penny-pinching. Proper Yankee thrift, on the contrary, feels delicious. In my experience there is a kind of nausea that attends too long a time of buying too many clothes for too much money; of paying more for restaurant dinners than they are worth; of disgorging lavish tips for which one is not even thanked (as who doesn’t have to, these days).

Continue reading “Yankee Thrift Explained, The New Yorker, 1961”

Out Picking: Antique Embalming Fluid Crates from Boston!

This past Sunday on the way to church Wayne and I stopped at the flea market, or rather, he sat in the car to read the New Yorker as I made my rounds. I had decided earlier in the week that the antique primitive jelly cupboard that I had repurposed into a shoe closet in my home office is too glorious to not be in my kitchen. I simply needed to find three antique crates that would stack nicely to coordinate with the others I had to take its place.

While I think it’s a sin to pray for material possessions, especially luxury wishes, the flea market fairies with whom I had shared my wishes delivered in a very crafty way!

Continue reading “Out Picking: Antique Embalming Fluid Crates from Boston!”

My Outdated Vintage Eat-In Kitchen

We live in a culture of RENOVATE! UPDATE! BE ON TREND! with the specific dictates changing frequently. We’re confronted with TV shows where a perfectly serviceable kitchen is perceived as some sort of ugly moral failing followed by gleeful smashing it to pieces (instead of salvaging and donating it) to make room for whatever their sponsor/producer/unchecked budget is providing them. Online “influencers” show off their HGTV-worthy homes that are often renovated with a high frequency.  It can be easy to feel like there’s something wrong with good enough if it’s not fashionable.

Continue reading “My Outdated Vintage Eat-In Kitchen”

Recipe: Homemade Heirloom Marinara Sauce

Here’s my first of many batches of homemade sauce using a variety of tomatoes from our garden. There’s something somewhat controversial and extra healthy about it, however: I don’t remove the tomato skins! Most if not all recipes will tell you to remove them, but they break down as they cook so they blend right in with the sauce. More importantly, your body will appreciate it because the skins contain a high concentration of carotenoids and flavonols, both of which are antioxidants.

Continue reading “Recipe: Homemade Heirloom Marinara Sauce”