Wednesday, May 30, 2012

A Singing Cuba Libre


Apparently in 1937 the singing cocktail was all the rage, or perhaps they were just served with all those musical notes hanging in the air over the glass.  Either way it's rather annoying to me, I like my cocktails quiet because once they start singing to me I know I've had one too many.  At least in 1937 Bacardi was still made in Cuba and had yet to become the shadow of it's former self that is the Puerto Rican incarnation available today.  Tropical was all the rage at this time and tropical drinks pairing pineapple juice and rum were just coming into their own.  Cuba itself was a popular destination for travelers as it was just a short plane or boat ride from Miami and Key West.  Of course politically speaking, Cuba was a mess.  Controlled by a dictator propped up by the Mafia and American businesses it reduced Cuba into little more than a colony of the US 90 miles south of Miami.  So it should come as no surprise when Castro came to power.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Fay Wray Wants You to Buy Dole


In 1937 there was a desire for Pineapples.  This is something that has started in the late 1800's with the original plantations being located in the Florida Keys.  By the early 1900's 2 new acquisitions would put paid to the Florida Pineapple, Hawaii and the Philippines.  Dole had previously imported Pineapples from South America but they soon laid out huge plantations in Hawaii fueled by imported Filipino laborers.  Their main competitor, Del Monte, located their plantations in the Bukidnon Province of Mindanao in the Philippines.  With the late 30's came the onset of the Tiki culture and a fascination with anything tropical.  If one had the money you could take a trip to Hawaii, Cuba or even the Philippines for fun in the sun and tropics.  If you didn't have the money for all that you could let a little sunshine into your kitchen with fresh and canned pineapple and pineapple juice.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Wine and Gluten Intolerance


I'm back, it's been a weird week culminating with me finding out that I am gluten intolerant.  They can't say yes or no that I'm Celiac (probably not), but I can't tolerate wheat in my diet.  Goodbye cakes, cookies and bread, it's been a nice relationship but I must adeiu.  Of course this is going to put an interesting crimp on the whole "Vintage Recipe Blog" idea, I am actually rather glad I'm leaving next week to go to Alaska because it will give me plenty of time to think on this whole thing.  I highly reccomend reading a book called "Wheat Belly" it's a great resource on how wheat has been genetically altered (GMO) to the point that our bodies can no longer cope with it.  As he says in the book, "Today's wheat is not the wheat of our grandmothers".

Of course I'm also going to have to say goodbye to beer as well.  This is probably the most lamentable loss, because I like having a beer from time to time.  It will have to be replaced with wine and hard cider.  Interestingly enough we have wine delivery in some places.  One cannot argue with the health benefits of red wine, and heck I like any kind of wine out there.  Wine is actually the oldest alcoholic drink known to man.  The history of wine goes back to neolithic times and while the cloudy wines of that era bear little resemblance to the fine French wines available today, it has been an interesting journey.

So as I bid a not so fond farewell to pasta and beer, I say hello to Eggplant Parmesan and Chianti... and improved health.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

The Jolly Moonlight Dance of the Sandwiches


I didn't get home until about 11 last night then ate a rather tasteless dinner of a Publix Turkey Sub.  Take it from me, spend the extra money and get the Boars Head Sub from Publix it's a much better product for picnic baskets.  So the combination of being up late and eating late took it's toll on me.  You know, when you start getting weird dreams of I dunno, flying cats, talking tomatoes and Deli Meats doing their jolly moonlight dance?  I suppose twice a year during the solstice the luncheon meats sneak out of their deli cases for a fairy romp on the beach.  At the end they transform themselves into not just sandwiches but Sandwi(T)ches! 

Monday, May 7, 2012

Is He Still the Man You Married?


No it's not an ad for marriage counseling... or maybe it is and Post Bran is trying to tell you it can save your marriage through fiber.  This ad borders on the ridiculous as the text wants to blame all the things that happen when you get older on a lack of fiber.  Maybe they were right, even in the 1800's the spa culture thought that most ailments could be cured with a good dose of the salts and an enema.  The popularity of going to spa resorts didn't wane until after WWII.  I digress, we're talking bran here.  I agree, you certainly feel better when you go on the regular, but it seems to me we have taken this thing full circle again back to the old spa mentality.  Instead now we sell people overpriced and utterly useless "Colon Cleansing Diets".  If it's that much of a problem to eat a balanced diet then buy some Benefiber, it's alot cheaper and just as effective.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Pabst-ett Cheese


Now here's a cheese with an interesting history.  With a name like Pabst-ett it obviously had ties to the Pabst brewing company.  With the advent of Prohibition in 1920, the Pabst Brewing Company decided to get into the cheese business.  The dairy itself was located west of Milwaukee and Pabst used the former ice cellars of the brewery to age the cheese.  One of the products they made was Pabst-ett, a processed whey cheese similar to Velveeta but more spreadable.  I think the product was more akin the cheddar cheese spread that comes in the little crocks nowadays than to actual Velveeta.  The cheese business was wildly successful and ultimately brought Pabst and Kraft into confrontation with one another over copyright infringement.  Kraft won the case and gave Pabst a royalty free license to continue making Pabst-ett.  After Prohibition ended in 1933, Pabst sold the cheese business off to Kraft who continued to produce Pabst-ett cheese until at least the late 1940's. 

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Authentic Hungarian Chicken Paprikash


One of the crucial elements of frugal cooking is ethnic recipes.  Many Americans adapted the recipes of Germans, Hungarians, Italians, Russians, etc. to suit their tastes.  These were people who were used to living frugally back in their home countries and Americans learned much from their cooking styles.  It also started the downward decline in the formerly popular "meat and potatoes" type of meals that were prevalent through the boom years of the 1920's.  Hungarian cooking is usually typified by the ubiquitous Goulash, a stew of beef, onion and paprika.  While Goulash is tasty in it's own right I much prefer Paprika Chicken (Paprikash).  Formerly we had been using a mentally recorded recipe passed down from my great grandparents and while it was good, there was something missing.  That something was good quality paprika.  Most paprika sold in the US is of inferior quality, having a dull red color.  True Hungarian paprika is a vibrant red and has an unmistakeable smell similar to fresh red bell peppers.  Getting good Hungarian paprika can be tricky, but not to worry the good Spanish sweet paprika is equal to it.  Check out TJ Maxx, Marshalls or Home Goods for tins of Spanish paprika marked Pimentón Dulce this is the really great sweet Spanish Paprika.  Also you will need some Hot Hungarian Paprika, it doesn't make the dish spicy but it adds a little kick.  Hot Hungarian paprika will be darker in color than the vibrant red of sweet paprika.

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