25 July 2012

To pickle CUCUMBERS fliced

To pickle CUCUMBERS fliced

Pare thirty large cucumbers, flice them to a pewter difh, take fix onions, flice and row on them fome falt, fo cover them and then ftand to drain twenty four hours; take your pickle of white wine vinegar, nutmeg, pepper, cloves and mace, boil the spices in the pickle, drain the liquor clean from the cucumbers, put them into a deep pot, pour the liquor upon them boiling hot, and cover them very clofe; when they are cold drain the liquor from them, give it another boil, and when it is cold, pour it on them again; fo keep them for ufe.

Moxon, Elizabeth, English Housewifery Exemplified, 1764

 Thanks to the unexpected bounty of 20 pounds of organic-practice-grown cucumbers from a fellow homeschooling mom, I had the opportunity to make pickles, as well as use cucumbers for snacks and sandwiches.

The first batch I made was a childhood favorite: Bread and Butter pickles, which I made using a recipe from Ball’s Blue Book Guide of Preserving. The second batch was Kosher Dills from the Rodale Garden Book Preserving Summer’s Bounty.

But the third batch?

I wanted to do something completely different.

A fan of period cookbooks, one of my favorite finds was Elizabeth Moxon’s English Housewifery Exemplified which was first published in 1764. The recipes are simple well written, so I thought I would try one. The above recipe seemed to fit the bill. However, there were a few details missing: exact amounts.

 Vinegar only is used, but how much vinegar is not specified. Nor is the amount of the spices. The only fixed amounts are those for the onions and cucumbers. Looking at other recipes, especially that for Bread and Butter which included sliced cucumbers, there were similarities, such as a certain amount of spices per jar. Since I didn’t have a deep pot in which to store the cucumbers, I decided to use the method of cold pack pickles, and since I used only vinegar, I would only have to process them for ten minutes in a boiling-water bath.

The logistics were challenging, as I had only two large burners on which to both boil the vinegar and boil the water to sterilize the jars, as well as a spice cabinet that could have been better organized and better stocked (on the ever-growing to-do list).

Four to six weeks to wait…

I look forward to tasting the results!

17 July 2012

The Bra or Who Knew Its History Could Be So Exciting??!!

During the day, I received an exciting post on the costume list to which I belong: "Interesting Underwear Find". The link brought me to this article which detailed a "discovery of 15th century undergarments in Austria" in the Daily Mail

"Fascinating", I think, as an amateur costume history buff who was introduced to the world of period clothing by Hilary Derby, the costume designer during the 1984 season at the Theatre at Monmouth (can you imagine: one of the costumer's took out Patterns of Fashion I, Englishwoman's Dress and their Construction 1660-1860 and made a reproduction of the dress Martha Washington wore to the inauguration to wear to one of the opening nights).

But it was to grow more fascinating still. 

Many of the costumers who belong to the loop began to write in, complaining that the pictures provided in the Daily Mail did not accurately provide a full image of the piece found--that it could have been, in fact, a portion of a bodice that did no longer existed. 

And, some people wrote in, the garments described as underpants in the American lingo, could have been worn by both men as well as women.

Next, someone posted a link to this article:   "Bras in the 15th century? A Preliminary Report" by Beatrix Nutz. 

The end result? Who knows? 

Messages are still coming in...

Who knew  the history of bras could be so exciting?

09 July 2012


When scanning through the instant view options on Netflix, my husband and I came across a show called "Burn Notice". The premise and preview looked intriguing: a secret agent who works for the CIA got a burn notice in the middle of negotiating with some Nigerian "wannabe gangster". He not only has to escape that very frightening scenario with his life, but also figure out why he is no longer considered a viable agent by the government.

The main character was amusing, and the action sequences good, but the one thing that jarred with me were the constant shots and even some close-ups of women in bikinis. The constant objectifying of women were off-putting. 

For whom is this series intended? Only the male 20s set? What about females who enjoy action, intrigue, and mystery?

Enquiring minds want to know...