Monday, May 28, 2012

Foiling My Way Through the Empty Nest Syndrome

In the animal kingdom, species that build nests often do so only to shelter the eggs that contain their offspring until they hatch...Though humans spend more time with their young than nest-building birds, there comes a time when avian metaphors begin to apply very aptly to children. We often speak of young adults learning to spread their wings and fly; they go off to college or the military, get married or accept a job cross-country. Whatever the child's flight path, parents are left with an empty place in the home, or as it has been dubbed in the vernacular, the empty nest...

Is one ever really prepared for the empty nest syndrome? Take this morning for example. As I strolled around the garden,

I lingered past the baby robins to get a bird's eye view of how our little friends were doing. The pansies, which up until this time were holding up quite nicely, appeared lifeless. I did a quick back step to get another look when suddenly I was flushed with horror, the nest was empty!

Most definitely, not catching a glimpse of our fleeting friends taking their first flight, will never compare to the wave of emotions that flooded my head the day my daughter Michele told me she was moving to Idaho and yet, I do wish I would have had a chance to wave good-bye to the Robins. Marion didn't take it well either. She has been diligently keeping an eye on the nest each morning in hopes of getting a glance of the first flight. I suppose it is best they spread their wings and flew unnoticed...

With a bit of encouragement from Janet at Dying for Chocolate, I thought it might be interesting to share a rather vintage and unusual seasonal cookbook with you. What makes it vintage is the fact that it was published in 1959 by the Kaiser Aluminum and Chemical Company which was established by American industrialist Henry J. Kaiser in 1946.

What makes it unusual is its texture. Barely 9 pages long, both the front and the back of the booklet are as vibrant as a sheet of aluminum foil. Very cool...

Seasonally speaking, the title of this little gem is How To Become A Cookout Champion; Win with these new Bar-B-Tricks. Clever, no? How about this for a barrel of laughs?

It appears the going rate for Siz Instant Charcoal Lighter in 1959 was 89 cents. Expensive as compared to Ember Coal lighter selling for a mere 49 cents.

Here's a cool advertisement for Squirt Soda apparently "Refreshing Thirsty American's Since 1938."

And what kind of seasonal post would this be without a couple of Hamburger Bar-B-Tricks. After all, it is National Hamburger Day! (It is in Chicago anyway, there are many conflicting dates for Hamburger Day:) Presenting...Carnation Bar-B-Burgers.

And for the sprites, Hamburgers-On-A-Stick

Let's toss a contest in for good measure.

Just for the record, and because I simply can't help myself, Aluminum Foil was invented by a man by the name of Charles Martin Hall, who began experimenting with minerals at the age of 12. He was inspired by his chemistry professor, Frank Fanning Jewett, who said the person who discovered an economical way to produce aluminum would become rich. Charles Martin Hall: aluminum’s "boy wonder" did just that. On April 2, 1889, Charles Martin Hall patented an inexpensive method for the production of aluminum. US patent #400666 described as a "process of electro lyzing crude salts of aluminum. As you may have guessed, I did a rather in depth post about Mr. Hall at my other blog, Tasteful Inventions. (which btw is very neglected these days:) I for one can not imagine a world without aluminum foil, especially on Memorial Day!

“And now the Torch and Poppy red
We wear in honor of our dead.
Fear not that ye have died for naught;
We’ll teach the lesson that ye wrought
In Flanders Fields.”
– from “We Shall Keep the Faith,”

Moine Belle Michael

1. Empty Next Syndrome Overview
2. In Flanders Fields

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Grilled Asparagus for Asparagus Day!

Lucky for you, I posted my in depth post about the history of Asparagus waaay back in 2008. That, dear readers, leaves today for actually posting an asparagus recipe that I made all by myself:) Now don't get too excited, it isn't really a recipe. Actually, it's a discovery. In all my years, why oh why I'll never know, it simply never occurred to me that Asparagus take mighty kindly to the grill. Now, I'm sure many of you, if not all of you, are more than aware of this phenomenon. As for me, it was quite the quantum leap into the 21st century!

Okay, enough of the dramatics:) Since today is National Asparagus Day and May just happens to be National Barbecue Month, I say, let's get grilling! The inspiration for my grilled asparagus experience came from this recipe for Grilled Asparagus and Feta Salad that I happened upon while visiting the blog Once Upon A Chef. "I can do that," I thought to myself and Jennifer, the hostess, was pretty specific about the do's and do not's when it comes to grilling asparagus.

Don't use skinny asparagus spears. (skinny ones will burn)
Do drizzle the spears with 2 or 3 tablespoons of olive oil or vegetable oil

The recipe is pretty basic. Take a bunch or two of asparagus, drizzle them with oil, make sure they are thoroughly covered, season and grill. In my case, I used olive oil, a bit of lemon zest, a few sprinkles of balsamic vinegar, a few sprigs of garden fresh Rosemary and Wha La I tossed them on the grill making sure they didn't fall through the grates. While the asparagus were working up to their sizzle I "threw" on a steak that I had marinating in McCormick's Meat Marinade and Coffee. As Marjie says, easy peasy." The grilled asparagus and the steak were both done at the same time. If you want to see an actual recipe, I suggest you pop by Jennifer's. And, if you're just a bit curious about the history of Asparagus, you might want to take a peek at my previous post. I warn you, it's a bit long, but filled with interesting Asparagus tidbits:) I've left additional resources below.

Quick Robin Update

I must say, I am having a ball "playing" with the robins each day. Oh no, Momma Robin is not happy about it and Pappa Robin gets quite perturbed when I interrupt his feedings. As for the baby Robins, they just think I'm bringing them more goodies:) The dominate baby Robin is the one with its mouth open. He, or she, pops its head up as soon as I approach. I have no idea how long it will be before they fly the coup, but I can guarantee, I will be waiting ever so patiently:)

1. Asparagus Day 2008
2. Grilling Asparagus
3. Grilled Asparagus Spears to the Heart
4. Grilled Asparagus with Parsley Sauce
5. Spargel und Schinken!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

I'm back!

Hi everyone!!! Hope you enjoyed these past couple of weeks as much as I have!!! First, let me say, (it's not like I haven't said it a million times before:) how the heck do you do it! I mean really, my daughter's schedule is so busy she barely has time to put a healthy meal on the table no less cook it, photograph it and blog about it too!!!

I normally have a difficult time sleeping anywhere else but home. However, those kids and their schedules, plum wore me out!!! Between dance, tumbling, scouts, softball, baseball and of course school projects, whew! It's hard to fathom that at one time, I pretty much did the same thing plus worked two jobs!!! Did I mention shopping???

I had a wonderful time with the kids and good quality time with my daughter that's all that really matters after all:) I promised myself, and you too, that I wouldn't do too much gushing but I must tell you how proud I am of Tabitha for coming in first in her school's Spelling Bee! She was beaming like a peacock:) And Noah, I'm convinced he's a future Yankee pitcher. Oh, and he has Marine Biologist on his mind as well. I had the honor of being interviewed by Noah for his school project. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to stay long enough to see him in his school play. He landed the part as narrator!!! You see what I mean. Busy schedules cause grandma rambling:)

Proud Speller

Toothless Noah

For those of you wondering how those baby robins are doing, let me tell you, they seem to be doing just fine. Marion tells me they were born on Mother's Day. Just two days before I returned from Idaho. I don't know which delighted me more, the lushness of the garden (it seems it pretty much rained the entire time I was gone) OR the newly hatched baby Robins. I'll just show you the Robins for now, the garden needs a bit of tidying up:)

May 16th

May 17th

May 19th

Will It Hatch?

I realize I'm a bit late in telling you that today is Pick Strawberries Day. Sorry about that:) Can I make up for it with this Strawberry Rhubarb Fizz? Not to worry though. The whole Month of May is National Strawberry Month! In fact, May is also National Asparagus Month too!!! If you follow me on Pinterest, amongst my many boards, I have one for Strawberry Month and Asparagus Month too. Oh okay, I also have one for Barbecue Month and burger Month also celebrated in May!!!

Today, I would also like to share a recipe with you from one of my favorite cookbooks. Its title is Hot Shoppes Cookbook: Sixty Years of American Cookery. I've chosen today to celebrate this book and the Fresh Strawberry Pie recipe because, it was on this day, May 20th, in 1927, that a man by the name of J. Willard Marriott opened his first root beer stand which one day would evolve to become the Marriott International Hotel Chain. (My daughter and I and the kids of course stayed at the Marriott while in Salt Lake City. A girl can't leave Utah without shopping at Ikea after all:)

Here's an article I found online at the The Deseret News- June 14, 1988.

I suppose I'm drawn to cooking books that offer more than delicious recipes. The Hot Shoppes Cookbook is one of those books. I find it to be the kind of cookbook that brings me back to the days of soda fountains and innocence. That's just me:) The book also includes a special introduction by Alice Marriot, wife of J. Willard. She was instrumental in helping the mom and pop business grow into the worldwide corporation it is today. And to think it all started with a couple of root beer stands, frosty mugs of root beers in the summer and hot tamales in the cooler months! It sort of reminds me of a new business venture beginning on Long Island that I read at Culinary Types this morning. I suppose it still takes a dollar and a dream and plenty of hard work to actually live that dream!!!

You see how the picture looks like a vintage snapshot? The entire books is presented in much the same way.
From the introduction by Alice Sheets Marriott:

"...We're also hoping that our book will recreate the atmosphere of the Hot Shoppes and help you recall the meals you've enjoyed with us. And if you've never been to the Hot Shoppes, perhaps we can whet your appetite for these restaurants that have played a part in the lives of so many families.

That's why we've designed the Marriott Hot Shoppes Cookbook to resemble a family album. Our favorite slogan has always been "food for the whole family," and over the years we've delighted in sharing special occasions with the families of both employees and customers..."

I'm delighted to share this excerpt from the Marriott Company Heritage website. Although the file is in PDF format, it is quite fun to read and reminisce:)

I apologize for simply scanning the recipe but if I didn't, I may never get this post up in time. I do, however, want to share Mrs. Marriott's tips for a truly delicious Fresh Strawberry Pie.

The Fresh Strawberry Pie has been as popular as the Apple Pie down through the years. Our original recipe took almost two years to perfect, with a great many testings in the taste kitchen. The recipe we've included here captures the best of that process.

The most important element in getting it right has always been the strawberries; each must be fresh, so check the cap to see that it's green, and make certain that the skin is intact. If the leaves are browning and wilted, or if there's any evidence of mold or other damage to the skin, you should discard it. And after picking your strawberries, be certain to wash them before slicing off their caps. If you was them after slicing off the caps, you run the risk of rinsing sand or straw into their cores.

I hope you all enjoyed Strawberry Picking Day. I do apologize for the tardy post. Perhaps I can make it up to you by letting you know that tomorrow, May 21st, is Strawberries & Cream Day!!! I'll be back on Thursday the 24th just in time for National Asparagus Day and I promise I'll be bright and early. Do I have a treat to share!!!

One more picture of the baby Robins taken today. That's right, they are one week old today!

And of course, one more picture of the kids outside the Marriott on the last day of my visit:(

1. The Spirit To Serve: Marriott's Way
2. Marriott Company Heritage