You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll recoil in confusion and horror. That’s right: I’ve got pictures of more stuff from my mom’s place!
Russian nesting dolls. The shifty-looking one on the left is the only one I remember from my childhood; the other two were more recent acquisitions. I’m not sure if that means they were purchased more recently or if she inherited them from some of her relatives. This is worth a follow-up investigation. Oh, and D. tells me that if I’m into Russian nesting dolls that I need to see The Man Who Knew Too Little, since one of those dolls ties into the plot. Unfortunately it’s not available in our library system or on Netflix streaming, but I will do my best to track down a copy.
If you’re too old or too young, you’ll look at this and say, “What the hell is that thing?” But if you’re the right age, you’ll recognize this doohickey as a spindle adapter so that you could play your 45 RPM records (which contained one song on each side) on your record player. When I was going through my mother’s CD collection to look for music for her memorial service, this was stuck behind some CDs. This tiny object fills me with immeasurable nostalgia.
This was in a box of photos that belonged to my great aunt (you’ll see some of those in a moment). This appears to be a handmade Latvian book. It’s very fragile, and held together with duct tape (the librarian in me is crying inside).
Here are some of the photos that were in that box. I can identify a few of the people in these photos (my great aunt and my maternal grandparents) but everyone else is pretty much a mystery to me. I’m just fascinated by them in a “time capsule” kind of way.
Club Room shirt label. This inspired me to look up what “single needle” means. Apparently, it means a lot in tailoring circles!
Hidden cookbooks. I thought we’d found all the books in the apartment, but today I discovered these in a lower kitchen cabinet (I had to sit on the floor to take this picture) where they’d been shelved behind canned goods for the last several decades. Get ready for some highlights …
St Bartholomew’s Church cookbook – Holiday Recipes (c. 1958). I like old church cookbooks because they’re entertaining and quaint, and because they sometimes have recipes I actually want to make (my chicken noodle casserole is just one example). But what makes me nuts about these old quaint books is that they list the married women under their husband’s entire names. Maybe there were Gertrudes and Hazels and Mabels writing these recipes, but we’ll never know because they’re all listed as “Mrs. Cecil Morgan” and “Mrs. Thorvald A Bjerg.” (Um … seriously? THORVALD???) The only females who have their first names listed are the ones who go by “Miss,” which leaves us to wonder whether or not they were old spinsters … oh, and there are a few recipes in here by men (who got to keep their names) and little Constance Buchanan, age 10.
Indian Cooking For Pleasure (1970). I haven’t checked out these recipes yet, but I definitely will because I love Indian food. That being said, I have issues with the title (would we be cooking for another reason?) as well as some of the cover photography. Some of those pictures look kind of terrifying in a Gallery of Regrettable Food kind of way.
Sharp Carousel Microwave Cookbook (1983). Hoo-Boy. Where to start with the scary stuff? There’s a warning right inside the front cover saying, “Do not attempt to operate this oven with the door open since open-door operation can result in harmful exposure to microwave energy” … which served to remind me that open-door operation was once even POSSIBLE. There are multiple references to using aluminum foil for “shielding” purposes while cooking. Recipes for making roasts (ROASTS???) in a microwave oven [OMG, if you tried to cook a prime rib roast in a microwave I would hit you repeatedly for wasting good money and good food]. Plus lots of recipes for ridiculously simple things like “Muffins From a Mix” and “Irish Coffee” [1. mix coffee, whiskey and sugar in a large mug or cup. 2. Microwave at HIGH (100%) until hot, 1 1/2 to 2 minutes. Top with whipped cream.]
Hey, look! I have a clay pot cookbook! This is Romertopf Cooking is Fun (1971) and it seems that this is the book my mother got with her clay pot, which I have now inherited. I’ve just started looking through this book, and I’ve now learned several important things, like how you’re supposed to soak the pot in water before every use and how it’s actually an ORIGINAL ANCIENT STYLE ROMAN CASSEROLE. No, seriously, that’s how they wrote it. Like they just decided to start yelling at you mid-sentence. It’s also odd because it’s an ancient Roman design, but it was made in West Germany (!) and it was primarily used by American hippie-types in the 1970’s. Anyway, I was looking for stuff to cook during my week off, so this is a sign that I’m going to try some clay pot cooking!
Many of you have already seen my earlier “Uncovering the Past” posts, but in case you’d like to revisit those posts and see the other cool and unusual stuff I’ve unearthed in my mother’s apartment over the last few months, here are links to the earlier posts: