Stuffed Pears & French Toast (1930)

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I like to cook, but I don’t often put much effort into breakfast. Usually it’s cereal. But there was one time last summer when I decided to make breakfast for my whole family.

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I chose one of my newer-to-me cookbooks, “New Delineator Recipes” (that I think I actually have two editions of).

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This menu comes from the 1930 edition.

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The menu reads as follows:

Baked Pears

French Toast

Maple Syrup

Coffee

Milk

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The stuffed pears recipe was in the dessert section and I thought Dessert for breakfast?! Sign me up!

Stuffed Baked Pears

Pare and core large pears and stuff with seeded dates, raisins or chopped nuts with some tart marmalade or shredded coconut. Place close together in a baking-dish, cover bottom of pan with water and bake slowly until tender.

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To make it a little easier on myself, I simply halved the pears and filled the core with ginger peach jam and chopped peanuts.

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French Toast

12 slices of bread 1/2 inch thick

3 eggs

2 cups milk

1/2 teaspoon salt

Powdered sugar

Beat the eggs, add the milk and salt. Dip slices of bread into this mixture and saute’ in a little hot fat until a delicate brown. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve hot.

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The pears didn’t take too long to bake – but I don’t remember exactly how long they were in the oven.

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Even a year later, this is my favorite way to eat French toast – with powdered sugar! It’s delicious!

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Some maple syrup and breakfast was complete! We all loved it.

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I’d definitely make this recipe again – especially to try out different combinations of stuffing for the pears! What would you put in the pears?

1930’s Chicken en Casserole (HFF #1)

Something I’ve loved for a very long time is cooking.

Something I’ve loved only slightly less long is historical recipes.

When I started this blog I had it in my head that I would eventually write about food, the (sometimes crazy) recipes I try, and the old cookbooks that I collect. Last year I took some pictures for a couple of blog posts that I never wrote and kept on blogging about sewing. Well, last night I came across the Historical Food Fortnightly which kicked me into gear! I’m sliding in right under the deadline to complete the first challenge.

So without further ado, I present the latest addition to Trumpets & Trimmings: food!


 

The first prompt is “Meat and Potatoes” – “They’re a staple for the tables in the most rustic cottages as well as the fanciest banquet tables – and it’s also an idiom meaning a staple or the most basic parts of something. Make a historic “meat-and-potatoes” recipe – however you interpret it.”

I chose to interpret it quite literally – selecting a recipe that had meat and potatoes in it. Looking in my freezer at the end of the week, my only meat option was chicken so chicken it was!

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The recipe I chose comes from “Cookery for Today” which was published by Butterick Publishing Company in 1932.

 

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Chicken en Casserole

1 chicken

Butter, salad oil, or other fat

1 pint (2 cups) rich brown stock

12 button mushrooms

12 potato balls

1 carrot, sliced

6 small onions

salt, pepper, paprika

Wash the chicken and cut it up. Sauté the pieces in a little fat until well browned on all sides. Place in a greased casserole, add brown stock, cover and cook in a slow to moderate oven (350 F°.) for an hour.

When the chicken has been cooking for an hour, sauté the carrot slices, the potato balls, the onions and the mushrooms in a little fat, stirring them lightly around until they are well browned. Put these with the chicken in the casserole, season with salt, pepper and paprika, add more salt if needed, cover and cook for three-fourths of an hour, then remove the cover and allow the chicken to brown before serving.

The first derivation from the recipe was the fact that I didn’t have a whole chicken to cut up. I used frozen chicken breasts which I defrosted in the microwave – certainly not a 1932 technique. Second, I only had rather large onions so I ended up using three and cut them into large chunks. Plus I didn’t have a large frypan (it had to be thrown away recently) so I was stuck with a small sauté pan which meant that I had to cook things in rounds.

As for the potato balls? I had heard of them before but had no idea how to make them so I looked back a few pages to the potato section and based them off a recipe there called “Potato Drops.”

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Potato Drops

2 cups mashed potatoes (without any milk)

2 eggs

salt and pepper

Mix the potato and the beaten eggs. Drop the mixture from a spoon into the hot fat and fry until a golden brown, the drain on brown paper and serve with a garnish of parsley. If the spoon is dipped in boiling water after every using, each drop will retain the shape of the spoon.

I used six smallish potatoes, thinking that I could get at least 2 balls out of each one, two eggs, and salt and pepper. I formed them with an ice cream scoop, frying them in butter. The pan heated too quickly and they started to burn so I didn’t cook them in the oil as long as I could have so later on they started to lose their shape.

In the end, though, the dish came together quite nicely! The chicken was very flavorful and the vegetables tasted good. The potatoes were amazing – definitely my favorite part. I thought they were going to taste plain or dry but I think that cooking them in the broth in the pan gave them such great flavor.

A note about time – I cooked the chicken in the oven for about 40 minutes instead of an hour and the whole casserole was in there for more like 20 minutes instead of 45 at the end. The smaller pieces of chicken cooked faster than the recipe intended. I will say that I started to run out of time about halfway though (multiple batches in small pans) so the vegetables could have stood to be cooked longer. The carrots were still a bit crunchy which actually tasted pretty good.

The Challenge: Meat and Potatoes
The Recipe: Chicken en Casserole from “Cookery for Today”
The Date/Year and Region: 1932, American
How Did You Make It: Brown the chicken then continue cooking in the oven. Halfway through brown the vegetables and potato balls. Add to casserole dish and continue baking.
Time to Complete: 2 hours
Total Cost: Chicken ($5), vegetables and potatoes (~$1) so about $6 overall.
How Successful Was It?: Tasted great! I could have cooked the veggies more.
How Accurate Is It?: I’d say 60%. I made a few modifications to the ingredients because of what I had available on short notice and I cooked it using modern tools and conveniences (microwave, timer, etc).

It served five adults and got excellent reviews from all. So, first challenge completed right in the nick of time! As of right now my goal is to complete all of them so back to the kitchen I go!

 

Ginger Rogers Skirt (HSM #12)

I spent a lot of time contemplating this challenge, debating what I should make for the topic this month: redo.

For the first half of December it was looking like I might not be able to squeeze in another project between birthday and Christmas presents but my crazy schedule finally calmed down this last week and I was really able to dive into a project.

For this month I chose to redo one of the garments I made earlier in the year: a 1930’s skirt that I made for Challenge #2 (Blue). Part of my decision was based on the fact that I’d had plans to make the pattern again for a while but a large deciding factor was my desire to see how much I’d improved my sewing skills since February.

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I used McCall’s 6993, view B. The fabric came from my stash — I’d originally picked it up at a secondhand store so I’m unsure of the fiber content.

I used quite a few techniques that I’d practiced over the course of the year, including drafting (to make the waist fit better), lining, and fabric-covered buttons, paying special attention to the work I was doing.

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I hemmed it while watching Top Hat, which was the perfect movie to go along with the skirt and gave the it its name.

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This is how I wore it today; I ran outside when I got home from work so I could have my sister snap some pictures of me before the sun set completely. The shoes were new (and matched the blue stripes perfectly!) which wasn’t the best decision to wear for my shift. Eight hours of standing = sad feet.

Looking back at the skirt I made in February I am very happy with how my sewing has improved in 2015.

For one, the top-stitching along the top is much neater. Plus I paid careful attention to how the pattern on the fabric laid and tried to match the stripes better than I had the checkers.

Next, I lined the skirt and sewed the facing down with bias tape to make a neat seam. On the blue skirt I left the facing loose, overlocking the edges (which ran into some issues when I took out the pockets and 8 extra inches — there are some holes in it now). The loose one now seems fiddly and hard to wear.

Finally, I paid extra attention to how I hemmed the skirt this time (not pictured). Last time I turned it under twice and sewed a straight stitch. This time I used bias tape (like at the waist) which presented a much neater finish.

So, all in all, I would call my last project of 2015 a major success! I ended up with a skirt I am happy to wear (it’s really warm!) and am proud of. I can really see how much I improved my skills this year which is really the purpose of what I’m doing!

The Challenge: Redo (HSM #12)

Fabric: Tan and blue striped fabric, black for lining

Pattern: McCall’s 6993

Year: 1933

Notions: Blue bias tape, off-white thread, black thread, buttons

How historically accurate is it? More than the last one!

Hours to complete: ~8 hours.

First worn: Today (December 31 — it’s not yet 2016 here, no matter what the date of this post says!)

Total Cost: Basically $0 since everything was from my stash. Thinking back to when I bought the materials, it probably comes in between $7 and $10.

1930’s Skirt – (HSM #2)

The 1930’s have never been my forte, fashion-wise. While I’ve admired that period of history for other reasons, I’d always been under the impression that the long, slim lines would look silly on me.

But when I saw this new pattern on sale at Joann’s for $1, I couldn’t pass it up. At the very least, I could give the fashions a real chance before making up my mind.



Since the prompt for this month was ‘blue,’ I pulled out a length of plaid fabric from my stash and started sewing up option B, without the belt. The pattern itself was really straightforward and easy to put together. There are seven gores; one of which I cut on the bias.

I ran in to two problems during the construction:

1. The fabric was too stretchy. It’s not really a stretchy fabric in and of itself, but when the pieces were put together, it was too big and just slipped right off my waist. I’d cut my regular size but had to take 8 inches out of the waist.


2. Pockets. Enough said.

I don’t know why I thought pockets would be a good thing to add to the skirt, but I did. And, boy, was it ever a bad idea.

As flat as I could get the pockets to lay.

In the picture above, the skirt is finished except for hemming. I tried it on only to find that the pockets gaped, pulled, wrinkled, and looked just plain awful. So I quickly cut them out and sewed the slits closed.

Today was tank-top weather!

The skirt lays infinitely better with the pockets taken out. I slipped my Oxford heels on this morning to take a few pictures of the finished product and was entirely pleased with how it turned out. I hadn’t expected the skirt to flatter me, but I find that my opinion of 30’s fashions has changed dramatically!


I like how the front gore looks cut on the bias, but I could have done a better job matching the stripes through the rest of the skirt. The seams around the back don’t look too bad, but, looking at it again, I think I should have matched the patterns.

Well, there’s always next time.

The Challenge: Blue (HSM #2)

Fabric: Blue/black plaid (with a very subtle pink stripe running through)

Pattern: McCa;;’s M6993

Notions: Navy thread and zipper. Black hook-and-bar.

How historically accurate is it? I can’t really say. I know that plaid was popular during the 30’s, as was cutting on the bias. But, I know the fabric content isn’t accurate and I don’t know about my techniques. I would guess somewhere around 60-70%?

Hours to complete: Probably about 5-6. I would have saved myself a lot of extra time if I hadn’t wasted time with those stupid pockets.

First worn: Today to take some pictures. I’m planning on actually wearing it on Monday, though.

Total cost: I bought the fabric so long ago, I don’t remember its cost. I tend to buy fabric that it around $3/yard and I used about 2 yards. So my guess would be about $6. I had the notions already and I’d bought them at such a low price that they wouldn’t even add another dollar onto the total.