Monday, October 31, 2011

Piccadilly Circus Fish n' Chips

 Happy Halloween everyone!

My uncle was once married to an English lady, so I have some English cousins.  Their Grandfather, as it turns out, used to sell Fish n' Chips before the war in the 1930's.  I once asked him to share his recipe with me but even in his old age he kept the recipe close to his chest.  I loved him anyway, he was a right old English gentleman and veteran of the war in North Africa.  He passed away 7 years ago but before he did he instructed my aunt to pass on the recipe.  So needless to say I was very happy to finally discover what his secret was all these years ago.

1930's Fish and Chips

1.5-2lbs firm white fish Cod works best) cut into manageable pieces

1 1/4C Flour, sifted
1tsp Salt
1 Egg Yolk (reserve egg white)
1 1/4C Newcastle Brown Ale (a little less than 1 bottle)
1T Oil

1C Flour, sifted
1/2tsp salt
1/2tsp pepper
1/8tsp each Onion Powder, Garlic Powder and Sweet Paprika

Tartar Sauce
1/4C Mayonaise
2T Sweet Pickle Relish
2tsp Lemon Juice
1/8tsp Paprika

Instructions:  Get your oil going early as it takes a long time to get it hot.  You'll be deep frying, use whatever method suits you, we have a pot with a wire basket.  Don't fill the pot more than halfway with oil or it will overflow the pot.  You want the oil to be 375°, you can use any oil you wish but Peanut or Canola have the highest smoke points and are more suited to high temperature deep frying.  While the oil is slowly heating mix together the batter ingredients and set aside for 30 minutes to rise.  Whisk or sift together the coating in a separate bowl.  Take the reserved egg white and whisk until you have stiff peaks, fold it into the batter until blended.  Take a jelly roll pan and line it with newspaper or paper bags and turn your oven on to 250°.  Fry your chips first, if you're using fresh potatoes then wash and dry them, cut into wedges and deep fry until golden brown.  dump them onto the paper lined jelly roll pan and place in oven to keep warm.  Let your oil recover temperature back to 375° between batches.  Make sure you fish is dry then coat it with the flour mixture before dipping into the batter.  Gently place in oil and fry until golden brown.  When one side is done turn the fish over to cook the other side.  Drain and place in over with fries until all pieces are done. Serve with tartar sauce and malt vinegar.

Unfortunately I didn't have any newspapers laying around to wrap the fish and chips in when I took the picture. Don't worry about lead in newspaper ink, it's been removed since the late 70's and all newsprint inks today are soy based and totally harmless. And yes I'm being very specific about using Newcastle as that is what the recipe calls for.  If you try using Guiness or any dark beer it will come out too dark after cooking, likewise if you go cheap and use Miller or Budwiser expect a crappy tasting end result.  Newscastle is available for around $6.99/6pk here in Florida and I'm pretty sure you can get it just about anywhere.  In a pinch you can substitute Bass ale or any English style brown ale.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

The Pain of Pyrene

1920 Pyrene Fire Extinguishers

It's Saturday, time to kick back, relax and take some time away from chasing down vintage recipes and advertisements.  Since I'm in such a goofy mood (too many Newcastle Ales will do that to you) I decided to be silly today.  No, really silly, like this ad.  Look at this ad and you can easily imagine the conversation... "See here Margaret, I could just go over there and lend the fire brigade a hand with my Pyrene fire extinguisher, it wouldn't take but a moment."  Alright, so that's not really the conversation, the ad is a bit more boring and dry in it's text.  The husband is quoting that he can sleep well in a Pullman Berth knowing the family has a Pyrene fire extinguisher at home.  I suppose the risk of fire in the home was ever present back then (this ad is from 1920) because most homes were not electrified yet and used a combination of city gas and kerosene lamps to light the home.

So what is a Pyrene Fire Extinguisher you ask?  Well you've come to the right place if you want to learn all about early 20th Century firefighting techniques.  Of course the oldest type of fire extinguisher is the big brass and copper "Soda Water" types, these have been around since the early 1800's at least.  Pyrene came around in 1910 and made use of Carbon Tetrachloride to fight fires by smothering them.  Fantastic, we can either burn to death or choke on a cloud of noxious chemical fumes, what were they thinking?  CT was the favorite of fire companies until 1950 when it was pulled from the market.

This is for sale online

See, Carbon Tetrachloride has 2 nasty side effects, the first being that is poisonous when inhaled, but the second is more insidious and was discovered later when they started marketing these "Fire Grenades" I have pictured here.  The grenade was hurled at the base of the fire thereby choking it out, but if the fire was hot enough it would convert the CT into Phosgene Gas.  Yeah go Google that one and discover that Phosgene was a popular compound used by the German army in The Great War (WWI) as a chemical warfare agent.  Nasty stuff really as it turns your lungs to green goop and then you vomit them up before dieing.
Red Comet Fire Grenade

So, where was I?  Ah yes, CT Pyrene fire extinguishers, not the more brilliant idea but I'm sure that they prevented some fires in the 40 some odd years that it was used as a fire suppressant.  You can still find these old extinguishers online and the fire grenades show up from time to time as well.  Handle them with caution as exposure to Carbon Tetrachloride affects the Liver and Kidneys leading to Cancer and failure of said organs.  As an interesting side note, a 2008 study found that cleaning agents containing bleach have an unsafe amount of Carbon Tetrachloride in them due to the bleach reacting with soap in the cleansers.  Want to know a safer and more environmentally safe way of cleaning your home?  Read my Sunday article to find out!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Ad: National Premuim Beer

1950 National Premium

Maryland used to be known as the "Land of gracious living", a tagline used extensively by National Premium brewing company.  I remember when the National Premium brewery was still in operation down on Hollins Ferry Rd. It was always a treat to drive by an take in the heady smell of the grains being cooked into the wort.  National Premium had 3 brand in order of quality, National Premium Beer, National Bohemian and Colt 45.

For anyone today Colt 45 is no stranger.  It's ubiquitous use in the rap industry has earned it a place on the "do not drink" list, which since it's malt liquor I wouldnt' touch it anyhow.  National Premium Beer dissapeared from the shelves after Carling bought them out in the 1980's.  As far as I know, Carling still makes Colt 45 but the rights and recipes for National Premium and National Bohemian were solt to Pabst in the early 2000's and Pabst has been making National Bohemian for the Baltimore, Maryland market ever since.

National Bohemian (known affectionately as Natty Boh to Baltomoreans) was really a working mans beer back when I was a kid.  We have pictures of my grandfather slipping me a sip of his Boh when I was 5 years old, used to drive mom crazy doing that but what fun.  The Boh made by Pabst is a shadowy ghost of what Boh used to taste like.  It's still cheap, but with that cheapness comes a distinct lack of taste.  I don't know if my taste memory is screwed up over the years or what happened but we lose so much in the haste towards progress.  Here in Jacksonville the local brand was always "Jax, The beer of friendship".  It's another that has been lost to time although I know a local consortium of microbreweries was trying to get the factory up and running again, only time will tell if they are successful.  As for National Premium, look for it's return soon in the Baltimore market as someone managed to get Pabst to give up the recipe and the rights.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Ad: Listerine Tooth Powder

Suddenly now I understand, this is why kids fear to brush their teeth to this day.  Soap in the toothpaste!  But here we have Listerine selling us their revolutionary new soapless tooth powder.  "Omitting soap permits the use of cleansers 100% costlier... more effective."  Wait, what?  You know I think even the ad designer was having issues with trying to market this product.  Maybe he liked the soap in his tooth power, the world will never know.  At any rate you can only imagine how vile the stuff must have tasted.  I know when I was younger mom would make me brush with baking soda once a week.  I effing hated it and wanted to shove the toothbrush up somewhere unfriendly so I can only imagine how even this stuff must have tasted and it was soapless.

The ad further takes us down the merry path of of introducing a friendly new ingredient.  Dear God in heaven!  I've been waiting for this because I've been scared of those unfriendly ingredients for years.  So what is this ingredient you ask?  I'm going to guess Fluoride because the ad never tells us.  It's a trade secret and loose lips sink ships don't ya know?  They certainly packaged it into a bargain can, one that lasted the user for 3 whole months.  I don't know why they bothered so much, most people back then lost their teeth early.  Both my mom's parents had dentures by the time they were 19 and it wasn't from lack of brushing... or maybe it was who knows?

I still can't get over the whole soap thing in the tooth powder.  Maybe I should just wet my brush and give it a few swipes over the bar of lifebuoy before attending to the old choppers?  Of course I think Ralphie would have a few words to say to that... "Oh Fudge!"

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Recipe: Spry Spicy Apple Pie

Rustic Apple Pie

I've been fooling around with a vintage Apple Pie Recipe for a long time now and finally nailed it the other day.  This recipe is from the Spry Cookbook "What Shall We Cook Today?" although it has been modified slightly so that it will turn out better.  I don't know if apples are just different from what you used to be able to get (This is what dad tells me and he's 66), but I've never been able to make a proper apple pie from a vintage recipe.  They always come out runny and not cooked enough.  So here's the recipe:

Monday, October 24, 2011

New Format

I've given it a great deal of thought over the past week and decided on some changes to the blog, certain tweeks to make it more professional.  Starting the coming Saturday the changes will be:

A new weekly format for articles, I have shelving the Blogger's Helpdesk for right now because it just doesn't fit in with the theme of my blog.  Also I will no longer be participating in Sunday Stealing as meme's again are just not a good fit for the blog.  Wednesday however I will continue with last week's trial of Wordless Wednesday.  I can still fit it in with the food theme and it was a good hit with readers.

I apologize to all my Entrecard droppers if I'm not returning the favor as much as I was.  Entrecard has been having constant issues lately and I was getting sick of being frustrated.  I will try my best, within the limitations of time and availability, to return all cards dropped on me.  My blog is also now in the "History" section and is 3rd place, excellent!

Also you will notice at the bottom of posts I now have buttons for Twitter, Stumbleupon and Facebook.  I'll be adding others as well as I just didn't feel the buttons supplied by blogspot were making full use of the social media networks to promote my blog.  We're well on the way to 3,000 pageviews this month (October) which is spectacular for a blog that's only 2 months old.

Ad: Botot & Co.

1929 Botot

I usually shy away from collecting vintage French Ads because of this.  Nothing says WTF like a creepy pilgrim trying to sell you toothpaste and mouthwash.  It's hard enough to get kids to brush their teeth without scaring the hell out of them.  Since this ad is from the late 1920's and well after the ban on Absinthe production in France I can't blame over consumption of the liquor on the apparent psychotic episode that the artist was having when he drew this ad.  Even more surprising is that Botot approved the ad.  After looking at this ad I can see why the pilgrims were kicked out of Europe an came to America, they were seriously creepy.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Sunday Stealing: The Questions Galore Meme Pt. 3

Today we ripped off a blogger named Jenni from the blog Juniper's Jungle. It's long, so we will do it in parts. She states that she found this meme Budgies blog. But, it was probably stolen there as well. So, of course, that will be as far as we go. Tracing back our theft's thieves might take some time. Take the time to comment on other player's posts. It's a great way to make new friends! Link back to us at Sunday Stealing!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Ad & Cocktail: Kinsey Gin & The Martini

1947 Kinsey Gin

This 1947 ad asks "Are you in the middle on the Martini question?"  It sounds like a political debate, between right and left.  Martinis were the drink of choice in the 40's and 50's and it was sometime in the 1960's when the move was on away from a gin base to a vodka martini, brought on no doubt by the popularity of Mr. James Bond.  This ad gives us 3 ways to make a martini:

Sherry Martini

1 Part Dry Sherry
3 Parts Gin

4-to-1 Martini

1 Part Dry Vermouth
4 Parts Gin

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Ad: Quaker Puffed Cereals

1928 Quaker Puffed Cereals

Where do I begin with this ad?  In my searches around ebay and the internet I find gems such as these that just prove advertisers are insane.  We have an Alice in Wonderland theme but the premise of Alice in Wonderland must have changed since 1928.  Take the March Hare on the right, he's not just crazy, he's pissed!  I guess I would be too if I had to serve these rich little snot-rag brats their puffed rice and puffed wheat.  As a matter of fact Jr. on the left looks quite stuffed and puffed himself.  Notice how his head is tilted back, arms bracing himself on the chair?  Yes it's quite clear that another country is about to be heard from as Jr. lets off yet another stentorian belch after having consumed all the puffed grains the mad hatter could furnish him. 

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Wordless Wednesday, Oct. 19th

What could be better than a fresh baked loaf of white bread?

Taking a Day Off

I've been busy with so much lately, especially in dealing with the last few things before my wife has her Visa Interview in Manila on the 3rd of November.  I've also been busy around the house cleaning and tending my vegetable garden, which I will write about on Saturday with pictures.  I've also been saving money through the use of coupons.  No this isn't extreme couponing, which is stupid in my opinion.  Why buy stuff that you're not going to use?  Just so you can have a garage full of more laundry detergent than you'll ever use in a lifetime?  I make my own laundry detergent for the cost of a couple dollars and an hour of my time.  In this sense I only cut coupons on stuff we use. Then it's a waiting game to see if the items go on sale before the coupon expires, which they usually do.  Last time I went to the store, dad and I bought $150 worth of groceries and only paid $66 saving $84 using coupons and sales combined.  This is actually more realistic than the show where you see them buy $1500 in stuff and get PAID $15 in the end.  Pleh, sorry, this doesn't happen in the real world only in the fantasy of TV.  However it is possible to save over 50% on your grocery bill through smart shopping and coupons.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Ad: Grape Nuts

1911 Grape Nuts


The World Wants Brainy Men, so states the headline of this 1911 ad for Grape Nuts Cereal.  What exactly Grape Nuts has to do with brains I can't quite figure out but it probably comes down to fiber.  Back then, every ailment that plagued mankind could be cured with a good dose of fiber and a healthy bowel movement.  It really leads me to believe that people were quite constipated in the old days.  Advertisers spent an inordinate amount of time on various foods that would cure constipation.  I would chalk it up to a higher protein/fat diet coupled with a much higher daily sodium intake than we are used to today.  Since everything was preserved with salt it's conceivable that people used to ingest somewhere around 10g (10,000mg) a day, more than double the US RDA of Sodium today.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Sunday Stealing: The Questions Galore Meme Pt.2

Today we ripped off a blogger named Jenni from the blog Juniper's Jungle. It's long, so we will do it in parts. She states that she found this meme Budgies blog. But, it was probably stolen there as well. So, of course, that will be as far as we go. Tracing back our theft's thieves might take some time. Take the time to comment on other player's posts. It's a great way to make new friends! Link back to us at Sunday Stealing!

The Versatile Blogger Award

Tania B over at Canadian Horseshoes was kind enough to award me The Versatile Blogger Award.  Now how this works is I'm supposed to tell you 7 things about myself then pass the award on to 15 blogs I've newly discovered.  Here goes:

Friday, October 14, 2011

Bellows & Co Ad

1939 Bellows & Co.

Bellows and Co. started importing Whiskey from Scotland in 1839 and this ad was produced in celebration of their 100th anniversary.  I actually grabbed it because I was toying with the idea of using the labels as a background for the blog or the header but I just couldn't get it to work right. So it got resigned to the folder to wait it's turn to be used as an article.  I keep a ready supply of these things on hand.  Actually when I last checked I have 117 vintage ads ready to be made into articles and I usually troll E-bay for more once a week.  Anyhow, I digress, on with the show.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Ad: Libbey's Meats

1944 Libbey's Meats and Regrettable Food

The other day Lidian over on Kitchen Retro featured a 1950's ad about canned peas.  Yes it was a pea parade or a carnival of can o'peas.  I don't know what the fascination was with canned peas after WWII but you certainly find alot of recipes calling for them.  Perhaps there was a bumper crop of peas for a decade after the war and the pea industry was sweating it out, "Man!  We really gotta move these peas!"  The pea pie in this ad really belongs in the gallery of regrettable foods because it just looks disgusting.  Yes kiddies it's pea night!  Mom's going to fill a pie crust with canned peas and well dad won't touch it unless there's meat so we'll add Vienna sausages.  Just to be festive we added a dollop of mashed potatoes... I don't even think I can pluralize that with a straight face.  What is that one new potato mashed and put in the center?

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Recipe: Graham Bread

I've been hunting down vintage recipes for years now, ever since my mother gave me a copy of "The White House Cookbook, 1888" for Christmas.  One of the things I had always come across in bread making is "Graham Bread" which involved the use of Graham Flour.  Interesting stuff and I knew it didn't involve the use of crushed Graham Crackers but I never devoted myself to figuring out the secret to this type of flour until recently. 

I had found many references to Graham flour as just being an old term for Whole Wheat Flour, and that indeed seemed the case if it wasn't for recipes for Whole Wheat Bread sharing space alongside of recipes for Graham Bread.  The breakthrough came rather recently when I discovered a tidbit about the origins of Graham Flour.  Named after a Presbyterian minister who invented it in the 1800's, his belief was whole wheat was vital to health( not so different than now).  Instead of milling the wheat together he separated the Kernel from the Bran and Germ and milled all separately then recombined them to form Graham flour.  You can still buy it if you look around hard enough, Hogson Mills makes it and King Arthur Flour markets it as Pastry Flour but it's a rather expensive affectation for simple bread making.  I found a better substitute was to use King Arthur Flour's White Whole Wheat, the texture is very similar to Graham Flour.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Ad: Swifts Brookfield Butter

1932 Swifts Brookfield Butter

Yesterday we made some 1920's style skillet cornbread, I thought it would be fun to follow it up with a vintage ad for Swifts Butter.  In my searches I come across Swift ads all the time, they were prolific, but most ads deal with their meat products, especially bacon.  Even today you can go into the food store and find Swifts Premium Bacon.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Recipe: Spider Cornbread

I found an old recipe for "Spider Cornbread" when I was looking for vintage recipes for the blog.  No the recipe doesn't call for mashed spiders or cobwebs, instead spider was an old fashioned name for a skillet/frying pan, usually made of cast iron.  Ok so it's skillet cornbread is what we're getting at.  This recipe comes from a 1920 book for teaching young girls how to be proper homemakers. 

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Sunday Stealing: The Questions Galore Meme

Today we ripped off a blogger named Jenni from the blog Juniper's Jungle. It's long, so we will do it in parts. She states that she found this meme Budgies blog. But, it was probably stolen there as well. So, of course, that will be as far as we go. Tracing back our theft's thieves might take some time. Take the time to comment on other player's posts. It's a great way to make new friends! Link back to us at Sunday Stealing!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Happy Birthday to My Wife

Venice and I in 2007

It's birthday time for my wife as she turns 31 today.  It's a shame we are so far away from one another, her in Davao and me in Florida, as I would like nothing more than to be by her side to celebrate this day.  We have been married now for over 4 years and I love her like there is no tomorrow for she is Astrid, the star of my night, helping me navigate the tempestuous seas of life.  Happy Birthday My Love, mahal na mahal kita.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Ad: De Kuyper

1937 De Kuyper

I wonder if De Kuyper was any better back in the 30's than it is now?  I really avoid buying this so called "Schnapps" because it's over sweet garbage that was given a new lease on life when crappy sweet shooters like the buttered pancake became all the rage.  Sorry I'm not really in the mood to write much today, I'm busy trying to get stuff done around the yard so I can get some vegetables in the ground now that the weather is cooler.  One thing I can say about this ad is the bottles were certainly cooler back then.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Recipe: General Tso's Chicken

I promised it and here it is, General Tso's Chicken with the recipe I use to make it.  I cannot take credit for the recipe as it's been floating around the internet for years as the General Tso's Chicken (Modified) Recipe.  It really takes the best elements of the different General Tso recipes and combines them.  The result is something akin to the original incarnation of the recipe that was created around 1973 for a Chinese Restaurant in New York.  It is a non-traditional recipe, meant instead to capture the highlights of Hunan Cooking.  Hunan cooking is inherently spicy and uses fresh ingredients.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Recipe: Kaiserschmarrn

Should I choose Honey or Jam?
As usual when I am trolling the internet looking for new and interesting vintage recipes to try out on the blog I came across something I'd never heard of before, Kaiserschmarrn.  It roughly translates to mean the "Emperor's Pancake" and although the history is fuzzy, it seems to have been created for Emperor Franz Josef of Austria-Hungary around 1900.  I toyed with a couple different recipes for it and was less than impressed with the results and then I decided to do a little fusion between a fluffy pancakes recipe from the 1920's and the best parts of old Kaiserschmarrn recipes.  What I ended up with, I later found out, is close to a 1905 recipe I found after the fact.  Indeed the only difference was using sour cream instead of sour milk.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Sunday Stealing: The Lucky 33 Meme

Today we ripped off a blogger named Cheryl of the blog Mad Baggage. She states that she ripped it off as well, but doesn't say where. But, it was probably stolen there as well. So, of course, that will be as far as we go. Tracing back our theft's thieves might take some time. Take the time to comment on other player's posts. It's a great way to make new friends! Link back to us at Sunday Stealing!

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