Archive for June 2010

You’re a Waldorf Salad!-cole porter   Leave a comment

It’s Friday! Time for the weekend to begin!

I hope you have something interesting planned…..a swanky luau inspired party perhaps?

No?

Perhaps an intimate soiree with just a special someone?  A few records on the turntable and a cold beer sliding down your throat?

Let’s hope you have something inspiring to put on the turntable, unlike this lady who is apparently going to be listening to herself.  Ha!  Hopefully her Living Stereo album does not feature the sound of slurping beer….but I digress…

Perhaps as an alternative you’d like to serve something that has both historical and suave connotations to impress your swell friend or family?

The good ol’ Waldorf Salad has been around since approximately 1893-1896 when it appeared on the menu at the posh New York hotel, the Waldorf Hotel….which later became the Waldorf-Astoria.  The salad has many interpretations, but the original did not include nuts….at least not until somewhere between its invention and the late 1920’s. After that they appear on a regular basis in the salad. One constant ingredient, however is the use of apples.  One of my Better Homes & Gardens from 1961 devotes a large two page spread to the subject of the glorious Waldorf salad, which was enjoying a surge in popularity in that decade. It was served even in school cafeterias…which was where I first, at a very tender age, had my virgin voyage with the stuff.

In case you want to add this mid-century version to your repertoire,  here it is!  I see nuts and sugared grapes!

Did you know that the Waldorf Salad was even immortalized……or at least mentioned in this fun Cole Porter song?  And this version has old time photos to go with the lyrics too!

Yes, “You’re a Waldorf Salad”!

Or at least you know how to  make one from the 60’s now!

Enjoy your Friday and take time to savor your food and loved ones this weekend.

Past the Garden Gate…a few smalls I encountered today.   Leave a comment

I figured today might be a good day for spotting some details, or smalls as I call them, out in the natural world. We had had a bit of rain and things were moist and refreshed.  A light breeze carried the fragrance of the green grass and the dark earth of the nearby woods.  The boughs of the old trees danced occasionally with the leaping and scurrying of the squirrels who make their homes high above my head.

My first stop was over to a grouping of daylilies to see who might be inhabiting them. This is who I found. A very young, very small spider who had set up shop between two of the lily plants. He…or maybe she…was no  more than a quarter inch in body length, and a mere half inch in length if you added in her legs.  I am thinking that perhaps she is a Garden spider, although I have not researched it yet.  Garden spiders are brightly colored and can grow fairly large. They are extremely beneficial, ridding the garden or flower beds of all kinds of pests.  I’m glad to see her, and will take note of her progress and growth.  Here she is. I’ve decided that she will be a she.  After all, Charlotte was a she….right?

Next up were the blossoms of some flowers lining a walk. Looks like someone has been chewing on them a bit.

Water droplets suspended in a small web!

A Hosta leaf holds a  miniature pool of water, and a smaller leaf within.

A wildflower’s delicately slim petals..

A beautiful velvety capped mushroom, reclining in the grass. I wonder who knocked it over? A passing squirrel, deer or raccoon no doubt. It’s fairly large, about four inches in length.

I wanted so badly to touch it, but decided in the end to leave it undisturbed.

It can rest there quietly until it becomes food for animal or insect, and thus returns to the soil.

I hope you will enjoy spotting some “smalls” in your own world today.  They are always there if you take the time to look.

Today is Flag Day   Leave a comment

Today is Flag Day….the day that is set aside in commemoration of the adoption of the flag of the United States by the Second Continental Congress back in 1777, on June 14th of that year. The day is often marked by parades, flag raising ceremonies and of course the singing of patriotic songs. It is a day for reflection of the meaning of our flag and all it represents…we can certainly all use some of that from time to time.

In my old Brownie handbook there is a page specifically devoted to “Flag Manners”.  Take a look.  It annoys me to no end when I see people talking through the Pledge of Allegiance (which seems to be said very rarely these days) or the National Anthem at a baseball game. Why are people so anxious to get to the actual playing of the game that they cannot take a moment to shut their mouths and show a small sign of respect for the country in which they happily live, work and play…and without such freedoms and the sacrifices of others, they might likely not even be at said baseball game?

Please show some respect.  It doesn’t hurt anyone to pause for a brief moment to honor one’s country and flag.

Here is a touching tribute to our flag…a poem called “Ragged Old Flag” performed by the late Johnny Cash.

And this video highlights the beauty of our country…lest we forget…with words spoken by John Wayne..

Finally, and on a lighter note, who can resist the sight of a display of patriotism and glee involving children, bikes, flags and crepe paper?  Here, from 1971…

May you enjoy this Flag Day as much as those bike- riding children!

Even with all of our current problems, it is still a great country.

Happy Fri- DAY-O! Winning Ways With Bananas..or something to that effect.   Leave a comment

I like old cookbooks.

I like them for the unmistakable soft focus illustrations that appear in many of the pre-World War Two volumes, and the often kitschily garish color photographs that show up in many 50’s and 60’s tomes. I also like them for the sometimes outlandish….err…creative…dishes they promote.  Especially if they are written to promote a certain product.

It just so happens that I own a very small booklet that was published in 1929 written for the homemaker to extend her creativity with bananas.    Hey! Culinary creativity, you wiseacres!  (As my dad would have said)

Our mainstream love affair with the banana seems to have occurred sometime around the late 1870’s when its availability became more widespread. By the early part of the 20th century, bananas were a big business.  As sometimes happens with some big businesses, there were also, at times, questionable episodes associated with the business of producing bananas.  I suspect that the average American homemaker would have not been aware of such things…especially back in the 1920’s.  Bananas were a popular commodity, and the occasional shortages in availability may have led to this song, written by Frank Silver and Irving Cohn, and released in 1923

At any rate, this particular little booklet was urging the queen of the kitchen to utilize the banana in all manner of possible ways, and reminding her that since they are covered by their peel….“Bananas come to you in Nature’s sealed packages”….and are therefore pure and sterile.  Whether these recipes caught on, I certainly don’t know…some of them look downright strange and unappetizing.  But then again, that’s part of their charm for me!  So bad, they’re good….and good for a laugh and a smile on this Friday.   Take a look….

Whether the point was flavor or just being creative, I don’t know.  First impressions would lean heavily on the side of creativity being the predominant goal here.  But what do I know!  Maybe it’s a good way to get little Billy to eat his potassium, B6 and Vitamin C…..make it look like a carnival of delights!

This one, I think I will rather not comment on, except to say that it might be well received at a ladies’ luncheon!

This one I might actually try….at least it has possibilities.

But I doubt this one will make it to my table….however “enticing”  the illustration….

Believe me, there are more.  But I will leave them for another discussion later.  No doubt these need time to sink in. Time to digest.

And because it’s Friday…………I must leave you with this.

I present to you….

The Breakdancing Bananas.

Enjoy your DAY-O!

Mid-Century Ceramic Elf Joins the Crew!   Leave a comment

My collection of kitschy ceramic chickens were cackling with glee on top of my refrigerator a few days ago at the sight of the latest addition to my world of kitchen kitsch, namely a polka-dotted mid-century elf, complete with violin and woodland log.  The poor character was sitting forlornly in the corner of a wooden box at an outdoor flea market/garage sale…hardly a fate fitting for a little guy who had probably at one time graced a shelf in someone’s kitchen back in the days of Perry Como and Mitch Miller.  A sticker denoting 3 dollars as his going price, which given his six inch height…one of the larger elves I’d come across, seemed fairly reasonable.

Still, I hesitated.

Did I really need to spend the 3 dollars?  I went home without him.

I thought about him for the next three hours.

Having a weakness for vintage kitsch of all types, I was having a tug of war in my mind between wanting to save that 3 dollars and wanting to preserve a piece of kitschy history.

Guess what won?

Here he is.  The chickens can go ahead and laugh at him, but personally I think he’s extremely cute…in a kitschy sort of way, of course.

Here he is on the porch…in all his polka-dotted glory…

However, he really wanted to be outside in a more dignified setting….so I complied with his request. Gotta make the new guy feel at home, after all.

I think it was his goofy smile and green eyes that got me.  That, and the fact that he can play the violin…or at least fakes it well.

Or  maybe it was the small gold heart on his chest, which I discovered upon closer inspection.

Let the chickens laugh. I think he is sweet.  Dorky pointed ears and all.

And I hope he brings a smile to your face on this Monday in June.

As someone before me enjoyed him, so will I give him a place of honor on my windowsill where he will again be appreciated.

Enjoy your day!

June Means Roses   Leave a comment

If you go out early on a June morning, take a moment to notice the quiet beauty of your natural surroundings. This time of year is so uplifting and full of promise as the blooming  flowers and the natural world in general provide a soothing balm for the soul . It will start your day off on a much more positive note, and if it becomes habit to give thanks for each new morning and the marvelous design of things that were created by means other than human hands, so much the better.

This morning I’m looking at roses in my flower beds before I start a busy day.

Heavenly, fruit filled fragrance and a whorl of delicate paper-thin petals form an abstract world in miniature.

It is truly amazing to me …

That even with all of mankind’s foibles and sometimes careless disrespect for the magnificent work of the Creator..

We are still provided, year after year…without fail….

…the promise of beautiful flowers…incredible design….and the realization that each day is an opportunity to start fresh.

Enjoy this day and delight in something you see today that is a part of the natural world around you.

Each day is indeed the opportunity for a fresh start.

Posted June 4, 2010 by freshairfour in Flowers, Garden Flowers, Nature, Summer

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