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Category Archives: food

Finally – I have my food processor again!

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food processorPlease ignore the nearly dead plants.  And the bottle of hootch.  Which is amazing and made locally by people I know.  Click on the picture for a link to their page.

Yup, it’s true.  I bought this pretty lady the January before the fire.  It’s taken over 1 1/2 years to get to a point of replacing it.  Why?  Because it’s stinking expensive!  (And, we bought the first one with a gift card earned via credit card points earned with work travel … so really pretty much free.)

If you are anything like my husband, you would like to be able to buy things made in AMERICA and not in places like say, China.  Not that there is anything wrong with China per se BUT – first – we’d like to have our own country actually employ people and support those people as they make real things.  Second – China is rather like the Wild West – few regulations and lots of cutting corners and who knows all what…  Stuff is made in China because their production costs are cheaper (and they’re likely cheaper for a reason – it’s just not as good).

But, I DARE you to find a food processor or nearly anything else NOT made in China or another Asian country.  First – there are no food processors made in the United States.  Second, I’m totally happy with supporting higher standards and pay of employees of the nice folks in Europe.

So what did I get?  A Magimix!  This lady, she’s speaks French!  And comes with a 30 year warranty.  And is crazy awesome and I missed her greatly and even looking back half way wished I had packed her into the car, too.

Because… I was wanting to buy her again 2 months ago!  But, for whatever reason, there were NO MORE in the US.  And the snooty store William Sonoma is the only retailer of Magimix and so I was just out of luck.  Now, there’s a long story to go with the purchasing saga of this little machine that I won’t bore you with but… do yourself a favor.  Don’t buy via Williams Sonoma over the phone or on their website.  They are lousy.  As in not emailing receipts, computers not accepting orders, store managers on the phone not even having a clue as to one of their higher priced items… blah.  (But, if you do, sign up for their emails – you get free shipping and 10% off your first order, and with these prices, you’ll need the discount.)  (And, I should say, that for all of my drama they finally gave me a 25% discount – doesn’t make me much happier but it I’ll take it.)   If you do need to buy this machine (and really, it’s totally fab) then go to a real store if you can.  Just saying.

Anyways. … I made dinner last night using cabbage.  A real cabbage not a bag of pre-shredded cabbage bits.  And I made crinkle cut carrot slices (I decided to go for it and got the extra blade pack while I was at it) and I have a LONG list of stuff to make in it!  Not to mention – baby food!

I’m just thrilled with my new machine, less than happy with the purchasing experience, and happy to be able to really cook again…

Which leads me to a post in a couple of days.  A new vintage recipe from my new vintage cookbook.  I’m SO excited.  I can’t wait to share!

Happy Wednesday!

Modern Grocery Stores

Grocery stores back when Gram was my age… any idea what they were like?  Neither did I until I heard a story on NPR yesterday about the grocery store chain, A&P, and how they changed grocery stores in this county.

In doing some research for this post, I (as always with this blog) learned a few new things!

1916 - the first Piggly Wiggly Store

The first “self service” grocery store didn’t open until 1916  (the same year as Gram’s Cookbook was written) in Memphis, TN and was the Piggly Wiggly.  Before this great innovation in shopping?  You gave your shopping list to a clerk and they put it all in your bag or basket or… no wandering aisles, no impulse ice cream purchases, no shopping carts…

1909 Dry Goods Store in Vancouver, WA

But, as Gram didn’t live in Memphis, she no doubt still used an old fashioned “dry goods” store, which sold dry things – beans, fabric, coffee…. The meat, milk, veggies were either produced by the family or bought from the butcher shop, the bakery…

Despite the innovations of the Piggly Wiggly, it wasn’t until the A&P amped up their efforts did we enter a more familiar grocery store.  The Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company, as it was originally known,  changed things by doing a new idea – dramatically cutting prices and only stocking items that sold quickly.  Remind you of any other store?  Yup, this is the Walmart model long before Walmart!  In fact, there were similar concerns about A&P running out small shops, much the same way that Walmart is talked about today.

1936 from the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum

There’s so much to read about this and if you’re interested in what it was like 100 years ago…

NPR has a great article on How A&P Changed the Way We Shopped.

Another NPR article about how A&P changed modern shopping.

(Both of the above links have some really cool old pictures, too.)

And then, the book behind the NPR interviews…The Great A&P and the Struggle for Small Business in America by Marc Levinson.  It’s not out yet, but you can pre-order it from Amazon.

Isn’t it interesting to see how different things were back then?   Things certainly changed a lot during the 20th century!

Historic Foods

Since starting the Gram’s Cookbook series, I have entered an area that I’d never been interested in before – historic recipes.  I started the Gram’s thing because she was my Gram and I loved her and this newly found book was a window into her life that I’d never seen before.

However, in digging further into this, and in meeting new blog friends, I’ve discovered a few other folks and articles who are also interested in old recipes.

The New York Times has an article this week about the Puritans and their foods.  The talk about a book, The Taste of America, which was originally published in 1977  but has recently been re-published with updates.  Definitely going on my birthday wish list!

Then, there is the Williamsburg Cookbook, which looks like such fun!  It has updated recipes of foods found in colonial times… and I really want to see this one too!

Fannie’s Last Supper, of the Fannie Farmers Cookbook fame, is a PBS show (aired in 2010) and book.  On the website for the show, they have a page full of recipes from the book.  The Brain Balls are perhaps not my thing, but I am intrigued by the Prune Pudding.  In fact, I think that I’ll try this next week and give a post on how it turns out.

Masterpiece Theatre: The Secret Life of Mrs. Beeton, is a movie based on the life of the author of the first modern cookbook.  Available on Netflix DVD service (sadly, not streaming on demand) I look forward to getting a chance to watching this!

The blog, The Kitchn, has a post from a few years ago about the 5 most favorite old timey kitchen tools.  I really covet an egg beater I have to say!

So, I hope that you enjoy a few of these links… I thought I’d rather share than try to remember and post all of this later.  Do you know of any other fun books or websites for vintage recipes?  I’d love to learn about them if you do!

Happy Friday…

From Scratch School Lunches

Image by Rusinow, USDA, December 1941

School lunches in recent decades have become pretty disgusting.  Processed foods that aren’t even cooked at the school but instead bought from 3rd parties and brought in and only heated at the school kitchens.

Thank heavens there is change on the wind!  Read this great article from the NY Times about how schools in Colorado are making the switch back to from scratch meals and the challenges faced by the schools (that you might not think about – I know I didn’t!)…