Thursday, November 6, 2008

Coalport Teacup & Saucer Trio

I purchased this pretty Coalport teacup and saucer trio in Burford, England in 2004. I looked in shops in every little town we visited and finally settled on this trio on the last day of that two-week trip.

Notice the plate is very small and almost the same size of the saucer. When I questioned a gentleman in a china shop about the size of the tea plate he very adamantly told me in his lovely English accent what I already knew because every English hotel and tearoom I have visited uses this small size plate for afternoon tea. He said, "afternoon tea is not meant to be a meal."

We have, in my opinion, "Americanized" afternoon tea into something very much like a meal and tend to substitute it for lunch. I've seen "afternoon tea" served as early as 11:30 am in some American tearooms. And, while I'm on the subject, American scones are too often like cake and sometimes have icing on top! I sometimes wonder what that nice English gentleman would say of that... But, I think I already know. *smile*

The Dancing "Lady"

I don't watch much TV, but I admit I won't miss an episode of Dancing With the Stars. I always loved dancing TV shows going back to American Bandstand and the days when Nick Clooney (aka George's dad) hosted a TV dance show in Lexington, KY.

GJ and I took dance lessons off and on for several years. I said he was too stiff and had no rhythm, and he said I always tried to lead. I always said somebody had to until the instructor told me the same thing! (Oops!) After managing to dance (using that term loosely) around the floor at a few functions, we gave it up.

So that brings me to Susan Lucci and the current season to Dancing With the Stars. In an earlier life when I watched soap operas, I watched All My Children faithfully. Erica Kane is one of those characters you love and hate and love to hate! A couple of summers ago I found myself standing in line behind Susan Lucci in the ladies room at a Broadway theater in NYC. She is very pretty, very petite and very elegant. She was smiling and friendly to those who approached her. And, she stood in line just like the rest of us. After she departed, the attendant assured us she was always a "lady."

Well, I guess it takes more than being a "lady" to dance well. Her fan base kept her in the competition for seven weeks although she was in the bottom two the past 2 weeks. You gotta admire her for wearing those "interesting" costumes, going back and forth from LA to NYC to work, and hanging in there dancing in front of millions of viewers.

With only one female left in this season's DWTS competition, it will be interesting to see who is eliminated next week or if the last "lady" remains!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Election Night Desserts

I baked two different dessert bars for Election Night. I baked the Symphony Brownies for the chocolate lovers (AJ) and the Butter Pecan Bars are for the non-chocolate lovers (GJ). The photos show the Brownies with the yummy Symphony chocolate bars in the middle.

Symphony Brownies2 boxes Ghirardelli Brownie Mix
3 Large Hershey Symphony Bars (plain or with brickle and almonds)

Spray a 9 x 13 inch baking pan with non stick spray. Preheat oven as directed on brownie mix. Mix one box of brownie mix as directed on the box and spread evenly along bottom of prepared pan. Lay the three chocolate bars on top of the mix so they fit exactly. Prepare the second box of brownie mix as directed on the box and spread over the chocolate bars. Bake as directed by brownie mix plus 10 minutes. Remove from oven and cool before cutting into squares.

Butter Pecan Bars
2 eggs
1 C brown sugar
1 C white sugar
1 ½ stick butter or oleo
1 ¼ C flour
1 C pecans, chopped
1 t vanilla

Beat eggs thoroughly. Mix the rest of the ingredients in the order above. Spread in a greased 9x13 pan. Bake at 350° for 27-30 minutes. (The top will crack.)

I had one of each with a cup of decaffeinated Ceylon. They are both delicious. Like GJ, I am not a chocolate lover so I've had my quota of chocolate for a while!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Another Successful Soccer Season

The Stingrays U-10 Mixed (boys & girls) had a great fall season and finished 10-1-1. Indoor soccer begins this weekend. Soccer has become a year-round sport for AJ and Coach GJ.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

"Stay for Tea" Vintage Cook Book

I was so excited to find this vintage recipe book, "Stay for Tea" in the bottom of a drawer in my Aunt Ida's kitchen! I had never seen or heard of the book before, but it had the word "tea" in the title so that alone made it a keeper for me!
I read through the book looking for a date of when it was printed by The Thoroughbred Press, Lexington, KY and there is none. That company ceased to exist long ago. The book is compiled of "favorite recipes of The Woman's Club of the University of Kentucky for the benefit of the Frances Jewell McVey Memorial Scholarship Fund."
The book has advertisements in the back from several Lexington businesses including some I remember. The phone numbers listed in the ads are for numbers like 3540 or 2127, but no dates. I recall our phone number was 268J around 1958. So that was a clue.
Another clue was listing of sandwich recipes in the front of the book. According to the listing, they are from an article by Mrs. McVey printed in the Lexington Herald on November 30, 1927.
That narrowed my dates down to around 1930 to 1958.
I also knew my aunt moved into her house in 1946 and she didn't have a lot of luxury items to move with her at the time. Internet searches at the time I found the book did not bring up anything.
An interesting article in the The Lexington Herarld-Leader newspaper on Thursday of last week about the value of old cookbooks intrigued me as I have quite a collection from my mother and aunts. So I decided to spend some time searching the net for more information on "Stay for Tea."
BINGO!! This time I learned "Stay for Tea" was printed in 1948. There was only one printing of the book. Mrs. McVey was the second wife of Frank L. McVey, who was president of the University of Kentucky 1917 - 1940. His first wife died during the move to Kentucky. He later married Frances Jewell, Dean of Women at UK. Frances Jewell McVey was extremely well-known for her gracious hospitality as a hostess at Maxwell Place (the president's home). She wrote many published articles on cooking, southern cooking and Kentucky cooking. Several of her recipes are included in this book.
I thought my tea-lover friends might find this one by Mrs. Mc Vey using loose leaf tea interesting:

Maxwell Place Spiced Tea
1/4 lb. Lipton's Orange Pekoe tea
6 cups granulated sugar
6 lemons
6 large oranges
3 sticks cinnamon
2 Tablespoons whole cloves
20 Cups water
Boil water, sugar, lemon, and orange rinds with cloves and cinnamon for 15 minutes. Remove from the stove. Add the tea and let stand three minutes. Strain and dilute two to one. Add lemon and orange juice just before serving. This may be served either hot or cold.

In my opinion, the book is not worth the current Ebay asking price of $42 for the purposes of a recipe book to use for afternoon tea in 2008. If you are into vintage recipe preparation or collecting and you believe it is a fair price, go for it!
In the meantime, I'm very happy with my tea collectible "find."

Note: The article in the Lexington herald-Leader mentioned two websites for searching prices on old cookbooks. Click here for Old Cookbooks and Vintage Cookbook.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

November is National Alzheimer's Disease Month

November is National Alzheimer's Disease Month. I invite you to join me and sign up to become a Champion and be counted in the fight against this horrible disease. My mother was a victim of Alzheimer's Disease who required 24/7 care the last five years of her life. I urge you to participate on behalf of the 5 million Americans living with the disease.
The above photo is one I borrowed from my daughter Melissa, and was taken on Thanksgiving 2005 of my grandson, Peyton, and my mother, lovingly known as Granny to her grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
My mother was never a tea drinker but she always kept a box of Lipton tea bags in her kitchen cabinet just for me!

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