Thursday, December 19, 2013

A Galaxy of Holiday LIghts in Largo, Florida

Every year the Pinellas County Botanical Gardens in Largo, Florida, is turned into a wonderland of Holiday lights. Bus tours bring people from far and wide, residents of the area wait for this event and make sure the dates are circled on the calender.

Our very close friends traveled from another county to join us for a quick, all American supper. Nathan's All beef hot dogs, in bakery baked buns, buttered on both sides and roasted in an old fashioned iron skillet. Home made french fries , and salad. Nathan's are the best, in my  humble opinion, no preservatives, or extra added ugly things.Gluten free for those who require that listing .The bottom line is this, they are just darned good, as every New Yorker will tell you. We bundled up and layered up, gloves and all because it was more than a little chilly. We hopped in the car, drove a short distance  and here the evening begins. 
This is the walk way into the Botanical Garden. In the daytime water and tropical flora and fauna are visible.As we walked forward,  We were met with a fairyland of color. Remember this is a huge facility with

acres and acres of tropical's, animals and some of the most beautiful plants species you will see anywhere.,  The well established Master Gardeners program provides not only an education, but constant care of the plants and the gardens. There are separate gardens in different areas. You could visit this place many times and not see it all. Adjoining this area is the County Agricultural center. If you have a problem plant or need a plant to be identified, or care advice, the professionals on staff are very helpful, and if they can't find the answer right away, you can be assured they will find the answer before you leave the facility.

As we walked along we entered what is normally the rose garden, and the wedding garden.

This year they have included a lot of entertainment that is appropriate. Folk singers, stationed in different areas, and a very talented Juggler.  The children were fascinated with his performance. This year the Gingerbread lane was introduced, along with Santa and Mrs. Santa. The line was very long for the wait to sit on Santa's knee, but we did take this picture, of Gingerbread figures and lollypops.There was also a train,

  but so much to see, Flamingos, birds and butterflies and of course this fellow.
When we reached the open pavilion we found the Dance club of Largo dancing to big band music. Young and old alike were really showing the rest of us how to stay fit and young.  Our dear friends  who were once great dancers took to the floor for a little whirl. Mr. Dude and I stayed on the sidelines for that one.
And here are some of the club members dancing. Doesn't that look like fun?

. The beautiful water spout, where we had sat and rested, just a week ago, looked glorious in its splendor of color.
The full moon was shining on us all this evening. We met some wonderful people, there were a lot of oohing and aahing, Mr. Dude took many more pictures, we came prepared to enjoy and enjoy we did.  I have tried to show a few interesting things, but if you are in this area, it would be worth seeing. I believe it will be closing after January 1, but you can check the dates by logging on to the Pinellas County Botanical website to see their full schedule. This site and Heritage Village which adjoin each other are two of the Jewels of this county.

We were very tired at this point, we had walked, lingered, and walked some more and now  it was time to go home, put the coffee on  and have dessert ( YumYum, Lemon Pie). A good time was had by all.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Rush! Rush! Rush! Its that time of Year -----Santa is Coming!

I know that every Mother, every Grandmother and all other Sundry relatives are desperately trying to cram into every day, all the things, we have all forgotten. My time management was poor this year and before I knew it that wonderful Yule Tide season is almost at my door step. Have I finished everything I wanted to---NO! Have I decorated the way I usually do---NO!  Do I feel guilty about that---NO!

I had planned a different type of Saturday, but when I saw that a valiant and old orchid plant had fallen over from the wind last night, my attention was diverted .  This is how this root -bound little darling looked,
This plant is 10 years old, loves to be pot bound, but this is just  a little much!  I did not want to disturb the very healthy roots too much, so soaked the root base in a pail of water for 15 minutes. If there were any dead roots or bugs living in there I would soon know about it. It also enables me to plant more easily. There are clay orchid pots that I like to use. They have side slits for drainage and aeration. Most orchids enjoy being  cramped so the next size up should only have 1/2 to 1 inch all around the outer edge.  This plant will not have to be re-potted again for a long time.  I use a combination of small foam peanuts( not the plastic ones) and tiny lava rock in the base of the pot to enhance drainage , then "special orchid Mix" which I have soaked. This usually is a combination of perlite, bark and charcoal.  I use a plant clamp to steady the orchid in the pot and voila!  It is ready to continue living a full life and bring enjoyment.  There are many types of Orchids and some need different combinations of plant material. If you are really interested in these wonderful plants visit a local Orchid club or grower. You will come away with a wealth of information and probably be addicted for life!

While working with the plant I check under the leaves for any "creatures" that shouldn't be there. Everyone has their own way of handling this, but I personally clean the leaves with cotton balls saturated with Hydrogen peroxide.It is inexpensive and effectual. If I have used scissors, or other utensils on plants that have a problem, they must be cleaned ( I use a bleach solution), if you don't do this, it is much too easy to transfer " the bad guy Germs" to all of your other plants. I use a slow- release fertilizer designed for Orchids.

I am not a professional grower, I am a hobbyist Gardner who loves almost all plants. In the beginning of my orchid growing, I nearly drove myself crazy, cleaning, and such. I later found, most of the time they all like to be left alone with minimal care. During the many years of my Orchid addiction Mr. Dude and I  housed and worked on almost 300 plants.  That is not physically possible for us today, so we content ourselves with a few old favorites.My best friend, who is equally addicted and has a magic green thumb, and I still continue to look and often "drool with temptation" and yes, we sometimes buy--after all how can you resist the gorgeous bloom of a Cattleya, which is Mr. Dude's favorite. Unfortunately this orchid only blooms once a year--the wait is filled with anxiety.
This is how this Dendrobium Phalaenopis looks in its new pot. Standing tall and looking pretty healthy. We should have nice new blooms next year.  Did a little watering, filled the bird feeders and went inside to have a cup of coffee.

Now to continue with unfinished knitting projects that must be packed and sent this week. There isn't any time left for new projects,
Shhhhh, please don't tell what I an sending to them, just praying the hats will fit, and that everything arrives in time. It is difficult when you are not near the ones you love at this time of year. I think of our service people who are in other lands, defending our way of life and our country while they are sacrificing their own family life. How grateful I am for everyone of them!

Coffee cup is empty and Now I will go back to finishing one of the projects above.  When you are rushing around, and feel frustrated and anxious about what you haven't done, STOP, and visit your garden, do something you love, read a passage of scripture or your favorite book and you will suddenly feel peace and know the real meaning of it all!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

December 8th Sunday in the Park!

In this area of Florida we have a wonderful Botanical Garden, which I have previously  written about and every Christmas they have a light " Bonanza " that boggles the mind.  Mr. Dude and I had made plans to take friends, in the afternoon to an afternoon plant sale and then the night time lighting festivities. My assumption, after hearing an ad on local Television was that this was only a small event---my mistake!!  Sadly my biggest mistake was not taking my camera, and I have been giving my self a mental "shake" ever since!  Must never leave the camera home again, plus I also left my wallet home.  Why not, I didn't need more plants, I said to myself, why be tempted. This was only going to be an introduction to the Gardens, home for dinner and a return for the lights.  Well, it didn't work out that way.

As we walked into the Gardens we all quickly realized that this was a lovely craft, garden and Plant show and there wasn't anything small about it.  The first booth we came to was the wonderful Wool items of Alicia
Chivers. In September of this year I visited her shop and then wrote a blog.  Her partner George Castro was also there and he had brought 2 beautiful brown Alpacas for the public to see.   If you live in this part of Florida her shop is a " must" for the holiday shopper. Socks, blankets, Jackets, shawls, mittens and so much more. The knitter can stand and drool over the alpaca wool and the many wonderful colors. To refresh your memory I will re-introduce you with the pictures below.

My best friend and I ambled along and we came to the Orchid booth of an old Friend, and mentor. When I first began to collect and cultivate orchids, Mr. Dude and I joined several clubs and one night heard an excellent speaker with great knowledge. Michael and Paula Polen own a family business in St. Petersburg Florida. If you are new to Orchid raising or what to buy beautiful Orchids and supplies Art Stone Orchids is one I can recommend. Michael Polen is always willing to share his vast knowledge and is very patient with you while doing it. I remember asking him some very basic questions, and he never made me feel less than adequate.  I didn't buy any Orchids this day, but I did buy a beautiful Christmas Cactus that I needed, doesn't everyone have to have one of those?  My dear friend bought two plants,  I was tempted but I need to visit him for some Orchid potting materials. I know that I will also find a plant that I can't live without.

Now, isn't that a pretty one--when all those wonderful buds open up it will be a stunner!

As many of my friends know, I am a collector of rabbits, I no longer have real ones, so those that I have collected over the years are everywhere. One of the first large rabbits was purchased for me by Mr. Dude from the Polens at Art Stone and that was a long time ago.
Now isn't he cute, He stands pretty tall and is very heavy, made of cement. This year he had a good scrub down and now looks as good as new.  I am also going to show you another one of my favorites.

This is Benjamin and he feeds some of my birds while standing tall.

 In the event you would like to visit this shop yourself, here is his business card information.

 We chatted for awhile and then wandered off to see a number of other craft and plant exhibits. We saw
hand made organic dog biscuits, glass garden objects, bird feeders, jewelry and some very interesting plants.
I questioned one grower and although he does not have an open shop he does have a blogspot which should give you his schedule.What I found so interesting were the unusual and interesting tropicals that he was displaying.Here is his blogspot:

It was getting late in the afternoon at this point and we had decided to leave, when we came to Mr Stan the "Honey" Man. I have been looking for raw honey for awhile and this is a very knowledgeable man when it comes to honey. Representing a honey co-op he travels to several local shows and markets in this area.. The honey is wonderful. He has blends for every season and even has black honey, which will be my next purchase. It tastes almost like Molasses.  I could not resist a purchase here , thank heavens Mr. Dude was ready to put his hand in his pocket, remember, I left my handbag at home-( hmm, I must remember that for the next time)-We tasted several blends, but finally decided that for our needs the Fall blend would be best.

We sat for awhile and watched the fountains in this peaceful place, the weather was superb and we all had thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. We decided to come home for dinner and visit the light display another time. We were all a little tired, and it was time for dinner and relaxation.

Meatloaf, Mashed potatoes and gravy, candied glazed carrots, string beans and salad. Pumpkin pie, with lots of whipped cream and of course a cuppa of  good coffee.  We sat, talked and talked, as we say in Swedish-prata, prata, prata.  It turned out to be a delightful day spent with old, dear, dear friends. How much better could that be?

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Where has Happened to Civility?

I have had this on my mind for awhile and today at the risk of not being politically correct I am going to exercise one of my 1st amendment rights, a little free speech. Last week-end Mr. Dude and I spent a wonderful afternoon with loving, polite, gracious people.  Today I was reminded, that isn't how it always works in today's world.

In most dictionaries  the synonyms for civility are: courtesy, politeness , consideration, good manners and respect.  Respect, such a small word that means so much. Esteem, honor, regard, admiration, reverence, just to name a few. 

When I did not move my car fast enough, after the light changed, the man in the car behind me ( who was old enough to know better) Honked his horn and gave me a salute that had nothing to do with the flag! I was suddenly reminded of the erosion of civility in America. Is rude and disrespectful  behavior to others becoming our new norm?

Dr. P.M. Forni, a professor at John Hopkins University co- founded the John's Hopkins Civility project in 1997 and has written several excellent books on the subject. One which we should all read is, " The Civility Solution, What to Do when People are Rude". The instant response, for some, to rudeness is not Civility which only increases the Heat level!  The old adage of Honey instead Lemon--hmmm.

The subject has now become so involved and complex that Anger Management is prescribed routinely along with medications in the hope that these things will alter behavior. Is it so difficult to comprehend and understand that to choose civility in life as a response, means we are participating in a social network exchange that will enhance our lives and the lives of others? The response we receive from others for this simple behavior will bring peace and harmony to our lives and the lives of those around us.

I am reminded of our duty and responsibilities of parenting and how complacent some of us have become.  How many times have I heard a parent of teenagers say, ", Well things have changed since your time as a teen". Some things have changed but simple respect and good manners toward others should not be some of them. We have a new scourge of destruction in our system now, called "Bullying". This technical internet world has not made us nicer people, it seems to have given some, the license to treat each other in terrible almost socially psychotic behavior. How does this happen?

Lack of manners is not confined just to the young. In our First Amendment rights included in our US Constitution, is our right of peaceable assembly without interference and the right of free speech. The display of disruption at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, when the invited Police Commissioner of New York, Raymond Kelly was not allowed to deliver his address, was a violation of his rights. It was not a peaceable demonstration, it was disrespectful and a host of other things. It is everyone's right to disagree with laws or policies, but there is a way to address this and this was not the way. It was a sad display and not just disrespectful of Mr. Kelly, but disrespectful of an honored institution of learning. Mr.. Dude, who is a 3rd generation graduate of Brown was appalled and saddened by this behavior.

Regardless of your opinion of Mr. Kelly's policies, he has a resume that none of the students have yet to achieve and for this he deserves respect!. He is a Vietnam vet, He has spent 43 years of his life in public service, has several college degrees, including NYU, St. John's Law and Harvard, plus many honorary degrees. Say what you will, but NYC is now a safer place since his tour as commissioner.  If the protestors and bothered to listen they might have learned that after 9-11 he created the 1st counter Terrorism bureau in any municipal Police dept in the country by stationing NYPD Detectives in foreign countries. I know that the objection to the law of search in NY is supposed to be about racial profiling, strange that the statistics have shown that the very people who have been saved from the horror of shootings have been the people in the most disadvantaged communities.The parents who were proud of their adult children's behavior have forgotten the rules of civility, respect and good manners.

This incident prompted Brown University President, Christina Paxton to issue this statement" "The conduct of disruptive members of the audience is indefensible and an affront to civil democratic society and to the Universities core values of dialog and the free exchange of views"   Mr. Dude and I are grateful for this statement.

When George Washington was a school boy he wrote in a paper 111 points of Civility. # 1 was Respect!
# 111 was, " labor to keep alive in your breast that little spark of celestial fire called, Conscience !

I am not asking you to agree with me about this issue, but please give me the respect to voice my opinion, just as I would respect your right to disagree.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Neighborhood Kindness and Sharing

In these times of uncertainty  and often strife and worry, it is a wonderful feeling to know that there is an oasis of kindness and love in our small neighborhood. I believe it was 7 years ago that my neighbor and her husband decided to host a meal of celebration. It was a fairly small gathering then. Neighborhood friends, church friends, family and home school friends. One meal became 2 and now I think there are 4. All ages are invited, which I can attest to--we are Grandparents and we have a lot of company.

I met these wonderful people through my son and daughter-in law and count that as an added blessing to our life. Our first introduction was a Morning Brunch, in the "Grand Dining room"! I was asked to bring a breakfast dish that was a favorite. I made a casserole of Bacon, Eggs, and home fries that went over pretty well and when asked, I supplied the recipe.  The "Grand Dining room" was their 2 car driveway!

This past Monday we attended the annual Thanksgiving Dinner celebration! Greeting us, as we arrived, was
 these charming fellows!  You can see , in the background, that a crowd is gathering.  Some of us had not seen each other since the last gathering. A lot of conversation and catching up to do.

Once gathered, at this point there were at least 40 adults and countless children of every age, Our host lead us in a prayer of blessing.
The fellowship that is shared by so many people, and finding new friendships helps to give us a better understanding of people from all walks of life when we are joined together in this spiritual circle.  What a great start to the day! 

Every pot luck dish that appearing was fodder for conversation, "Hmm, that looks interesting, wonder who made that?", "Oh, my, try this, it is delicious", I heard that often.  The hostess and Host supplied the Turkey and ham--all side dishes came from the guests. Just a few to list were, salads, mashed potatoes, corn puddings, stuffing, cranberry sauce, muffins, gravy, green bean casserole, and do not forget Yams and glazed carrots.  We couldn't get a good picture of the buffet table because, it was crowded from the first Moment. "ladies first"
The term " Groaning Board" was certainly appropriate.  There were tables set for those of us who wanted table seating and then there were those who preferred picnic style under the shade of the tree. I am afraid that some of us might have wanted to join them, but knew that once down, probably would never be able to get up!!! It is those old knees that tell us that, but these young ladies did not have any problems at all.

A group of boys played ball, conversations flowed, and friendships renewed. The group continues to grow.
The mail lady came ti deliver the mail and she was given a plate of lunch, Other neighbors shared their driveways for cars, and didn't mind kids running and chasing the balls. People walking by were asked, " would you like to join us, there's plenty"?  Mr. Dude and I feel so special to have been invited to be part of this, and I am convinced that if more neighborhoods participated in this type of thing, there would be more understanding and more caring and love to share. This is an amazing couple with children of their own who have made it their mission to bring people together in fellowship. Yes it is work, but I am gratified in the results. We all go home, with wonderful memories and look forward to the next time.  Cindy our Hostess always sends us home with a little bag of pleasure. Mine had chocolate, yummy!

.Yesterday I received our invitation for the Christmas eve Morning brunch. I am already thinking of what I will be bringing. The only thing that will be missing will be my own children and Grandchildren, but I know that there will be hugs and love from those around us, and another celebration will begin.  Yes, this is a busy time of year, and most of us can't afford to have 40 people for breakfast, but when you share the way this is accomplished think of the gift you can bring to so many in this season.!  At the end of the day, it isn't the materials possessions that will matter, it will be the gift of love, friendship, kindness  and helpfulness that we share with others. Truly what life is all about--try it, you will like it!

Monday, November 18, 2013

ALDI and I

Quite a few years ago now I met Aldi in Europe! What a fun time that was, but the memories faded when I returned to the U.S. Then one day I read in my local paper that Aldi was coming to my area and we would meet again.
I know, you thought I had a secret admirer, but the truth of the matter is that I have become an admirer of Aldi. We have quite a few very good Grocery stores in our area, some better than others. All known for quality. Albrect Discount or Aldi as we know it, actually has two divisions. Aldi Nord and Aldi Sud. In the United States Aldi Nord operates as Trader Joe's and Aldi Sud operates as Aldi.

The two Albrect brothers, Karl and Theo were no strangers to the grocery business when they began this billion dollar business. They both had worked in their Mothers' small grocery store in Essen Germany which she started in 1913 and it is still a working store.. They were and are a force in the grocery business throughout Europe and Scandinavia.

In 1979 they brought Aldi to the US . The first stores were in Idaho and now there are over 1200 stores in 32 states, with more coming every day. Their highly efficient and cost savings way of doing business enables them to bring groceries to the public that compete  with  the price points of other stores, and in these times of economic stress, everyone is looking for their ability to lower their grocery bills.

When this store first came to town, many of the customers were unfamiliar with the 25 Cents system, but this was not unknown to us and made a lot of sense.  You insert a quarter in the slot of the first cart in line, this unlocks it and you begin your trek of shopping with your list in hand. The carts are kept clean, they are not found wandering all over the highway and parking lot and it keeps the cost down.  I have been told that a lost cart costs several hundred dollars, which when taken home by someone, replacement costs are reflected  in the product lines. Like it or not, someone has to pay for them. With this system, you are essentially renting the cart and you will receive your 25 cents when you return the cart.  This unknown customer above is getting her cart .

You enter the outer and then the inner doors. This is designed to keep the cold out in the winter and the heat out in the summer. Each store is identical in its design, making it easy to find things. I have never been bold enough to ask this of any of the cashiers, but I have been told that in the US they have lower staff levels and usually start them at a higher rate of pay.  I am not sure whether the staff would agree with that, but that's the gossip. Many of the products have their own brand names and at certain times of the year they have many German delicacies.  We do have many Winter European visitors in this area and it is not unusual to hear other languages being spoken. Their dark rye bread and mustard's are a big favorite, but you cannot get them all year. They are the largest supplier of  wine in Germany and now I am seeing a very nice selection of wines in the local store. I have yet to try them, but I had a conversation with a delightful customer just the other day, who said they are lovely table wines. This same customer was standing in front of the display below, enthusiastically remarking on the price and quality of this product.

I have compared their private brands to some others, and find that many times they are more health oriented. Some of the Cereals have less sugar, and the cost is usually half of what you would pay in another store. You will not find some of the fancier items, such as Fresh Herbs, and other exotics, but the produce you do find is good quality and they support many local suppliers.  When blueberries were in season the price was so competitive,  women were buying entire flats and returning the next day to do it again. They do follow the seasons and you cannot always get the same item.  Every week there are items on sale.  This week I bought 1lb of butter for 1.29 and since I only use butter I bought a few for the freezer. As you can see, from the picture above, "No Frills", but that coincides with their motto:  "Competitive Advantage Through Efficiency"!

Both of the brothers have gone on to the Grocery store in the sky, but family still control the business including one of the daughters. Aldi is not going away anytime soon and will continue to be a force in the grocery field bringing the right prices to their customer base.

We are at the check out now, and here the cashiers actually make change out of their cash drawer. Remember, Cash or Debit card is  the only form of payment. This was another new way of doing business for some, but evidently it has not hurt business. Some days are very crowded and the parking lot is always full. I chose a later time of day to visit. I did my shopping and Mr. Dude took the pictures. We always try to ask permission of anyone who will be shown or only take the back of  of people, not everyone wants to participate in my ramblings. If you are lucky enough to have either a Trader Joe or an Aldi on your vicinity, stop in you will be glad that you did.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

CookBook Memories and Musings

Recently I found a cook book of interest to me and while I was Listing it in my Etsy Store, SwedishGalsAttic, I opened it to find a notation, "To Ablre from Beatie, Xmas 1935,
with Yuletide Greetings!

This book was the 1934 edition of the Rumford Complete Cookbook by Lily Haxworth Wallace.
The Rumford Chemical Co of Rumford R.I., NO , not a typo, yes a  Chemical company. Remember the Can of Rumford in everyone's closet, I do. They entered the culinary market in 1908 and had a dept of Home economics where the recipes in the original cook book were tested. In 1900 Lily Haxworth Wallace, who was a graduate of the National Training School of Cookery, London, England, emigrated to the U.S. and went to work for Rumford. She became a guru and famous cookbook writer, and author during  the first half of the 20th century in the US.

All of this because I acquired this green cook book with a remembered name!  I am not a collector of cook books, but have a lot of them, only because I love to cook. This sent me scurrying to find some of my own older books to see what I would find inside. I never realized and always took for granted notations I found in my books, which almost always belonged to someone else.

I chose to single out a few things that interested me and why they had invaded my own personal memory bank.  Once I began the journey I found it difficult to stop, one thing would always lead to another.
This tattered copy of Pennsylvania Dutch cooking Mr. Dude and I found in a box of things lovingly left for me to look at by His Aunt Ethel who we all referred to as Tanta.  She had kept and used this book since 1934, when she married a man with a German heritage.  Her sweet note to me says" Read this Book, Cute Illustrations and Explanations" . It is put together with scotch tape and shows its wear, but that doesn't matter to me. What matters, is that every time I read this message in her handwriting, her face appears before me and I remember!

For a number of years I was very active in Vasa,  a Swedish Organization. There were many other representatives of other Scandinavian Countries  who also belonged to our  Lodge. One day while making Ärtsoppa or Pea Soup as we say in America, in the kitchen for our Club's Thursday ärtsoppa lunch, a lovely and elegant woman, I only knew as Mrs. Olsen came up to me and said I want to give you something. She presented me with her, well worn copy of , "Julejentenes Kokebok" from the Norwegian Lutheran Memorial Church in Chicago, Ill. In the front of this book is the Norwegian Prayer for the dinner table.
The book has been much used and I chuckle a little when I see the notations after some of the recipes, the emphatic GOOD with exclamation point for the waffle recipe by Lillian Erickstein must really be special.  I have not tried that but I have actually used many recipes in this book. The recipes are all very similar to my own background, but the best part is the memory of  the elegant kind woman, with the lovely accent, who was taking the younger member under her wing, and I remember!
 One day while shopping at an estate sale, I saw this poor little book in the trash bin. I did not know what it was because the outside of the book was really a mess, but  out of  respect for the written word, rescued this from the trash bin and asked the person in charge if I could have it. This poor misused little hard cover book, turned out to be " A calendar of Dinners" with 615 recipes by Marion Harris Neil. This was a 1925 copy and was produced By Crisco, a Proctor and Gamble Product.  The first 5 pages were the story of Crisco and its manufacture. Wonderful little tidbits of information on many subjects, Their presentation is sometimes amusing, even though that was not their intention. Their intention was to educate and  reassure the home cook in 1925. This was the 25th edition so I am assuming that this was popular. In any event I had to keep it, and I will always remember how I acquired it.
I have had this little book so many years now, I cannot remember how I acquired it, it has always been a favorite. It is the "Standard Diary Reminder" and the date is 1927. I do know that I have left everything as I found it. Every page is a hand written recipe, all in 1927. I don't know who the owner was, but have imagined many times, who she was--where was she from, did she have children? I am certain she had many friends and she loved to cook. She lists a macaroon recipe by M. Hall, Cora Besson"s Molasses cake, Gussie H's Potato Cake.  Have you ever wondered who these people were and where are their families now? What turns did their lives take? Do the people that came after them still use their recipes? Toward the end of the book the writing changed and it left a question mark in my musing--did someone take over her job of recording, did she ask the contributors to write out their own recipe? Did something happen in her life that made it impossible for her to continue.  The life of this woman was so recorded in every page. This book was started in January 1927.  July 4 1927 Beatrice wrote the last recipe for Cream Filling. This wonderful little documentary of someone's culinary life is kept in a safe spot in my desk. I hope that someday someone will enjoy it as much as I have.

My maternal Grandmother had a great influence in my life. I was the oldest of three children and her first Grandchild , we  spent a lot of time together. She was a great influence in many aspects of my life. A deeply religious woman, she was instrumental in my own religious life. She had been a single mother long before we even heard that term. My Grandfather had been dead before I was born. She owned a very successful restaurant before woman "did things" like that. By the time I came along, she no longer had the restaurant , was semi retired and served lunch to some of her regular customers in her very large dining room. Many times she was just taking care of them with a hot meal.  My job, when I was there, was to know how to set the table properly, and help her serve, then help with the dishes, which I learned had a system to it. No mechanical dish washers in those days!  My Grandmother lived into her 80s, when the years of hard work caught up with her and she went to sit at the feet of her Master and Savior.  In going through her things, I found an interesting book that she used, on a daily basis to document her caning schedule.
This page starts in May of 1942 , but two pages before that was the canning schedule of 1939. Left over Parowax labels by Tavern were still in the book. I knew that she worked very hard and the stove was always on, but as a young child we never really put it all together. She was a wonderful cook, and taught my Mother and my Mother's brother how to cook.They both worked in the restaurant when they were young. They in turn were instrumental in teaching me to love the art of good food. I will be forever grateful for that. Mrs. Roberts was well known in her town, and even at the end of her life, while in the hospital,  was reminding me to deliver an apple pie to a man I had known all my life, who was now a "shut In". Isn't it a wonder how some people are always the :Givers" in life and others do not seem to know how to be?

Evidently Her market, "Foley's Market" who promised prompt Deliveries, would send out a postcard of their weekly or monthly, not sure which, price structure and specials.  Thought you might get a chuckle out of this one--my oh my--how things have changed! Imagine that-- leg of lamb, domestic too, 25 cts a lb. I can't remember when I have been able to afford a leg of lamb these days. 
Thank you for following me through my blog of some of my memories.  I hope that this encourages all of you to take a second look at all of your treasures, and fantasize about the people who once owned that special little book that you now own.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

"Hey Hey What Day is It" The Art of the Ad

How many times have you seen that gangling, uncoordinated camel ask that silly question and laughed out loud when you knew the answer that would be coming? It doesn't become old and that is the genius of good market communication. What does that really mean? It means to persuade, encourage, manipulate and tempt an audience of viewers. The venues have changed, the techniques might have changed, but basically, since the ancient Egyptians carved notices on steel and stone we have been bringing attention to a product line or announcement to our fellow man.

The emergence of the the Ad market in America in the 1800s aided the industries manufacturing soaps, pears, and other goods. Cigarettes and tobacco, canned goods and all goods that now were being created in
Standardized sizes and quantities unheard of before. Newspaper, catalogs, magazines and giveaways were part of the campaign to gift the customer for his purchase.. Colonial America only did local ads for goods on hand and at that time a select few, but here, at this time, begins the political ads and requests for military sign up.

This charming little girl is a card 7 x 5 inches, when turned over
has beautiful  lettering and pictures to advertise, l lb packages of Lion Coffee by the Woolson Spice co. Toledo, Ohio. It also cautions you that this will only be available during July and August.

In 1882 the first electric advertising sign was lit in Times Square,
New York City.

The "Give-Aways" came in every form, but always advertising something or someone. In rural and farm areas, the then free, Sears  and Montgomery Ward Catalogues brought the world commerce to tempt with everything from buttons to building kits for houses. Alas, Montgomery Ward is no longer with us!
When you stop to think about it,, the ad market touches every part of our life. Today we are bombarded daily with ads appearing, whether we want them or not, from every media. The internet now ranks above Newspaper ads, and Television entertains us every 15 minutes with up to 6-7 ads per segment. The ads today are quite different than they were when Edward Bernays, who is considered the founder of the modern
Madison Avenue brought his brand of sophistication to the ad market. Today, in may cases, poor taste reigns. Do we really want to know about some inadequacies of the modern male? Do we need to discuss the same issues for our female friends? There are too many more to count here that might be annoying to some. There was an air of elegance in earlier times, that is missing today, but I am told this is progress and some are designed specifically to annoy. Hmmph--well how many of you turn those off?  Of course I love Geico's little green man with the English accent--he shows good taste! He is a gentleman!

The Hoods Co of Lowell, Mass sent this little girl out to advertise their Sarsparilla. The date is 1897 and printed on the back you will get the Astronomical Events for the United States in that year.

Lucy Strike     Kodak     Pond's extract, Hotels,
Piedmont Cigarettes, Wrigley's, Horlicks Malted Milk, shoe ads, cherterfield  and Fatima cigarettes.Don't forget the beer makers who advertised on beautiful trays. Coca Cola did the same. These are just a few , and most are no longer with us.

Growing larger, Dept Stores in major cities also began major campaigns to entice the city buyers. In New York City it was Macy's and Wannamaker, Marshall Field's in Chicago and in Philadelphia it was also Wannamaker. The 1920s were busy and affluent times.
Store ads were designed to bring  those outside the city to come inside and enjoy the same product lines being enjoyed by the city dweller.  Radio was now a new medium to introduce the lucky few who owned one to the marketplace.

1920-30's plastic shoe stretcher  "Fenton last  Saks Fifth Avenue". Given when you purchased a pair of shoes.

These wonderful 6 inch rulers were  given to clients by thankful salespersons, they were designed to fit nicely in a man's shirt pocket. I have many of these and have tried to research the names and companies. Most of the time I am 60 years too late.

In the 1930's food stores, match covers , and  hotels were giving away needle cases or small sewing kits.This is an example from the Jewel stores
The 1960's brought a shift and Madison Ave's styles changed from mass marketing to Target marketing, their term for this was "Creative Revolution". By today's standards I guess we were still pretty tame in our attemps to reach the purse strings.  The value of advertising cannot be measured, we all need it, we all respond to it and I can only wonder what the next step will be.  Mr.Dude and I have collected advertising for some years, mostly in paper or tin form.

This is a large back bar Tray and when you turn it over this is the ad. It was probably given to the owner for selling their beer. The tray dates from the late 1890's.

I hope that you will find advertising as interesting as we do.  It has been fun over the years, and it brings our history alive! Have fun!