Saturday, July 23, 2016


It's been a little quiet around here - not because I don't have anything to write about. I get ideas for my blog all the time and in the most inconvenient places like while driving the car or in the shower or in the middle of our homeschooling time.

This summer has been a little busy. We've been keeping up on doing some half-time school of studying the 50 states. (We've been so laid back about it, we might need to finish the other half of the states next summer!) But the biggest reason for my little unintended hiatus is because I'm expecting a baby late this winter (hooray for surprise babies!), and I've just been flat out exhausted! Morning sickness has been manageable, but it still takes a bit out of me. I'm getting a lot less done than I'd hoped with all my extra time with half-time school, but that's just the way it is.

I'm hoping to get back into the swing of things on here. As soon as my nose and stomach aren't sending me on a roller coaster, I can get back to ration cooking and posting about sewing projects and museums!

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Historical Recipe: French Pan Cakes

French Pan Cakes

I wanted pancakes the other night for dinner, so I turned to my historical cookbooks. I have had a dickens of a time finding a pancake recipe that doesn't fall flat. (Seriously, it doesn't matter if the recipe says they're the "fluffiest ever!", they just aren't for me. Arg.)

So, instead of trying a ration recipe, I decided to try something from my 1937 Mirro Cook Book. I found a recipe for French Pan Cakes! These looked very similar to the batter recipe for the good waffles using the egg whites whipped separately. Have you ever tried waffles made that way? My friend Loris introduced the recipe to me for a waffle night our families had together. We made them using our vintage waffle irons. It was fun! And they were amazingly fluffy and incredible tasting. Mmm!

Anyway, this recipe required the yolks to be added to the batter and the egg whites beat separately, then folded in to make extra fluffy cakes. I was surprised it called for three eggs. It made the batter extra yellow, especially considering our chickens' eggs are almost orange in color. Surprisingly, it didn't make them taste eggy like German pancakes.

I tried a pan cake fresh off the grill (of course!), and it was awesome! I like my pancakes on the salty side, and these were perfect. The recipe instructs for you to spread them with jam or butter and sugar, then roll them up like a jelly roll and serve them as a luncheon dessert. Never mind serving pancakes as a dessert, but serving dessert at lunch! Ha!

I wasn't sure about the whole rolling up the cake thing. It didn't stay rolled very well, and I wonder if I needed to make them bigger and spread out the batter more on the griddle? I don't know. I just intended to make them like pancakes and serve them like pancakes with syrup, so I just made a couple like they suggested and used butter with cinnamon sugar. It was yummy! Really, it's hard to go wrong with pancakes. :-)

In the end, I served the French Pan Cakes with some mixed berries I cooked down, some Grade B maple syrup, and some sausages. It made for a very nice dinner!

If you're looking for a great pancake recipe, this is definitely one to try. The egg whites is an extra step, but it's totally worth it!

You can see how fluffy the batter is from the egg whites!

They looked nice and fat on the griddle!

Lovely golden pan cakes!
(They make me think of Rama and the Tigers. Have you ever read that children's story?)
I doubled the recipe, but I don't think I needed to.
The recipe makes a lot!

Sunday, July 3, 2016

My Thoughts on Sewing

Sewing Fisherman's Wife, 1890
by Anna Ancher

I may have mentioned here before that sewing is difficult for me. Not the actual sewing itself, per se, but the act of sewing. There are so many little things that add up to SEWING, that many times I find it overwhelming: the sewing machine to set up, a space to be cleared in my tiny sewing nook, patterns to lay and cut, fabric to mark, instructions to be deciphered, and then the sewing. And then, of course, there's the time. And the energy. So many things work against me in my endeavor to sew something that many times I am conquered.

And yet I don't give up. Things may languish for some time before I work myself up to sewing again, but they wait patiently. The ones I sew for don't wait, for they grow like crazy - and that is part of the challenge!

I've often wondered why I sew in the first place. I think in some ways it was one of those things that I thought, "I could do that," and so I did it. That's the way it was with making quilts. I am not a quilter, and yet I've made a few quilts. (I even have one partially made, still in a box from when my husband and I were engaged over 10 years ago!)

It is when I finally make the time, brush away any excuses or other things begging for my attention, and start to sew, that I remember. Sewing soothes me. I find I can think more clearly, more slowly, more honestly. It is an age-old act of creation. Machine sewing is a wonderful modern marvel, but hand sewing is what really grounds me.

In a world that is so fast-paced, always reaching and yearning for the new, taking part in an old, slower craft, puts modernity in its place. It has nothing on the generations of a craft that has provided so much for so many. It has no claim on the centuries of drudgery, of necessity, but also of the artistry and the beauty that we still marvel at today.

While the things I sew may not be all that wonderful, they never existed before I created them, and that is an accomplishment! It is easy to compare and wish our talents were that of so-and-so, but I wish we wouldn't do that. I wish that I didn't do that! With each step of the process, I am learning and my talent is progressing, however slowly. And that is how I have to sew. In painstaking steps. Many times I have to break them up over days or even weeks. Pattern cutting one day, marking another, sewing the next, and finishing yet another.

And so, I partake in the act of sewing. It's hard, and challenging, and frustrating, but wonderful and satisfying. I hope to sew my entire life. I hope to teach my children the honor and usefulness and the heritage of sewing. For it is one that is gratefully alive and strong, even in these modern times. It is one positive thing humans will never be able to do without, and that is my favorite historical heritage of all.