I mean, Albuquerque.
(Fans of the Owl Cafe and the Owlburger will understand.)
Is that a great photo, or what?
I mean, Albuquerque.
(Fans of the Owl Cafe and the Owlburger will understand.)
Is that a great photo, or what?
Happy to see this au courant plug for the digital collections at the New York Public Library. History teachers, culinary teachers, take note!
Want to see what New York’s hotels and restaurants served for Thanksgiving in the past? A few dozen menus offer interesting insights, as NYPL plugged on their Twitter feed.
The image featured in the Tweet is the cover of an 1899 menu from Sturtevant House, “a popular hotel on Broadway and 29th Street that opened in 1871.” The hotel closed circa 1903. But in 1899, you could get a fantastic meal for $0.75 on Thanksgiving day, featuring clams and oysters still abundant in New York waters, a traditional turkey dinner, and fare we regard as more exotic today, such as a turtle soup, “Terrapin à l’ Américaine.” Some of the menu would be difficult to replicate today, simply because local sources have been developed or polluted out of existence.
One CPI calculator notes that $0.75 in 1899 would cost us $22.75 today. Looking at the menu, I think that’s a great bargain. I’ll wager you can’t match that menu in New York City today for less than $80 a plate. Sometimes the cost of living calculations fall way short of reality.
Lots of historical comment in 2018 about how Thanksgiving is a created tradition, with roots that go back only a few centuries at most. It’s a tradition created without real roots in religion or ancient cultures, almost unique to post-Columbus Americas.
So the collection of menus offers the birth of tradition. Should humans survive for another thousand years on this planet, historians will be able to see the steps by which this tradition was created.
The menu from Eaton’s (restaurant?) in 1937 looks just like what our school history books in the 1950s and 1960s called the “traditional” Thanksgiving meal, turkey, stuffing, cranberry dish of some sort, potatoes, gravy, and pumpkin pie. Some traditions are delicious enough to stick around.
Who created that menu?
$1.00 for a complete turkey dinner? That was 1937, and the U.S. was still in the Great Depression. The inflation calculator at Saving.org says that same meal would cost you $17.61 in 2018 — about the cost of a buffet at a Golden Corral in Texas. Not cheap, but not very expensive, either.
In 2018 there is an Eaton Place Hotel at 220 Central Park South, a swanky neighborhood. Was that where the restaurant was?
Teachers, how can you use these historic menu images in your classroom discussions, to help students understand and maybe appreciate history?
It’s a commercial and wag-created day of note, National Coffee Day. It’s not declared by Congress in a memorial resolution, nor honored by the President with a proclamation.
Doesn’t mean we can’t have fun
September 29 is National Coffee Day, or in many corners of the internet, #NationalCoffeeDay.
A few Twitterized thoughts.
Driving between Duncanville, Texas, and Appleton, Wisconsin, on one of those “visit the kid at college” trips, we encountered this truck. Despite its hopeful sign, it really carried gasoline, sort of a visual pun on coffee, I suppose.
We collect coffee mugs — not always consciously. They add up. There’s a story behind each mug pictured.
The nice oak racks were handcrafted by Kathryn’s father, Ken Knowles. Two of the racks hold 23 mugs, and a third holds 20. We also have a high shelf that holds the overflow mugs, including the seasonal favorites that get rotated in at appropriate times, like the Dracula and witch mugs for Halloween.
I used to be a tea guy. Off at college I didn’t take much pleasure in the cup o’ joe offered by the Huddle or Student Union at at the University of Utah (though I drank my share). Teas other than Lipton started showing up in small shops, Celestial Seasonings started up and took off. I had a variety of tea infusers, and cleaning the smaller tea paraphernalia was always easier than keeping up with a coffee pot or a Mr. Coffee with two years of rancid coffee oils built up on parts of the device.
Out in New York with the L. A. Jonas Foundation’s Camp Rising Sun (CRS), I ran into Greg Marley from Albuquerque (yeah, the irony), and we swapped methods and stories of brewing teas way out in the Southwestern deserts, where local “weeds” offered a variety of great things to supplement teas. They don’t call that plant “Mormon tea” without reason, you know? At CRS I often partook of Mama Glenn’s stout percolated brews, for the incredible caffeine jolts they offered. Mama Glenn always used sweetened condensed milk to lighten it, and if you tried it black, you understood why.
I’ve driven the length and width of the nation, had coffee over campfires, in diners and luxury hotels, in every state except Maine, North Dakota, Alaska and Hawaii. I’ve awakened to those tiny cups of dark, heavy Scandinavian brews in Denmark and Sweden; spent most of a week with English breakfast coffees and that infernal heated milk they lighten with. Tried some thick muds in Monterrey and Nogales, Mexico, and had pretty good cups from Vancouver to Toronto — coffee is almost always better in the mountains, by the way.
Tea still catches my fancy often, especially if I don’t want caffeine. But coffee is my drink of choice.
I was fortunate enough to get a trip to Seattle in the near-early days of the rise of the Northwest coffee culture that gave rise to Starbucks. In town for the Computer-Aided Manufacturing – International (CAM-I) convention (does the group still exist?), corporate consultant extraordinaire Roger Beynon and I sampled coffee all over town, and I knew things were looking up.
The successes of Peet’s, and the dramatic spread of Starbucks, put pressure on almost all commercial coffee sellers to step up their games. In most towns in America today, in most supermarkets, you can buy a very good cup of coffee or the beans and accoutrements to brew one on your own.
A couple of years ago son James and his wife Michelle took me to the weekly Friday fest in Louisville, Colorado. We had a grand night listening to the band, whose name I forget, and arguing with a couple of cheeky libertarians posing as the local Republican Party. On the way out, about 10:00 p.m. we stumbled on a woman brewing coffee in a Chemex drip, and giving out samples. What fortune!
The woman was Neige LaRue, proprieter of Snow Street Coffee, a roasting company. The coffee was an Ethiopian bean, Yirga Cheffe. It’s a medium roast, where I usually prefer a darker roast.
But that coffee! It was sweet, hot, aromatic, with only tasty hints of bitterness — struck me at the time as the best cup of coffee I’d ever had. Several pounds later, I think it still holds up, though Ms. LaRue can brew it better in her Chemex than I can in our Melitta (Kathryn’s brewing is better than mine, and I swear we do it exactly the same). In any case, I highly recommend it.
We may rankle at its corporateness, and its ubiquity, but Starbucks still does a good job of brewing a good cup. They’ve also changed how we think of coffee houses in America, and maybe around the world. I’m disappointed they don’t carry music CDs anymore. And I really wish they’d bring back that much maligned bit of putting controversial quotes on their cups. A hundred times I’ve wished I had a thousand of cup #289 in their “The Way I See It” series:
Dutch ovens lined up for duty is a tell that Scouts and Scouters are expected for dinner, aren’t they?
Kathryn isn’t exactly a haus frau, not with all the lawyers she must deal with daily.
Probably more of a comment on her husband. A good friend offered this gift a while back:
We laughed. Then we found, in the box, an accompanying chardonnay glass:
“Hot with complex characteristics.” Still hot after all these years (that many? really?).
Drinking it poses a conundrum: A Trophy Wife ™ really should be taken out on an occasion to drink a wine with a name like that, right? But I’m stingy enough not to want to pay the corkage on a bottle brought in. In no case should this one be drunk with a dinner she’s slaved over for hours.
Maybe it’s time I hit the kitchen. Old Bay crab cakes, maybe? It’s a great wine.
Happy to see Mr. Marley has a video to accompany his book of last year, Chanterelle Dreams, Amanita Nightmares. Marley hasn’t aged much in three decades; think it’s the ‘shrooms?
Vodpod videos no longer available.
From Chelsea Green TV. Chelsea Green publishes Marley’s work.
Marley’s book was a finalist in the culinary history category for the 2011 book awards from the International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP) , and won the 2011 Jane Grigson Award from IACP for distinguished scholarship and depth of research in cookbooks. The award was named in honor of publisher and food author Jane Grigson, who herself published a volume on mushroom cookery.
Greg Marley has a passion for mushrooms that dates to 1971, the year he left his native New Mexico and spent the summer in the verdant woods of central New York. Since then, he has become an avid student and teacher of mycology, as well as a mushroom identification consultant to the Northern New England Poison Control Center and owner of Mushrooms for Health, a company that provides education and products made with Maine medicinal mushrooms. Marley is the author of Mushrooms for Health: Medical Secrets of Northeastern Fungi. He lives and mushrooms in Rockland, Maine.
Greg and I met a couple of summers later, in “the verdant woods of central New York.” We struck it off as two westerners in the usually wet East (though it was very dry that summer). We worked together four summers, tramping the woods, canoeing the Adirondacks around Saranac Lake, singing (we were half of the barbershop quartet in a production of Meredith Willson’s “The Music Man” and joined around campfires on a hundred sparkling occasions), and sampling wild foods, in our work with the Louis August Jonas Foundation.
Nice to see a kid from the neighborhood doing good, and maybe well.
Some images may be shocking to young children. This is information you need to have.
Al Jazeera carried this report, an edited version of a report from Reuters, who somehow got video and interviews from inside North Korea, if we are to grant credence to the report.
In a hospital in Pyongyang, doctors monitor a group of weak infants, some of whom are already showing signs of malnutrition and sickness. They are the most vulnerable members of a population suffering from extreme food shortages.
According to the United Nations, one third of all children under the age of five in North Korea are malnourished, and other countries have become less interested in donating food as the “hermit kingdom” battles efforts to constrain its nuclear program.
The UN World Food Programme says public distributions are running extremely low, and they are only able to help half the people who need aid. Meanwhile, the countries rulers stage outsized military parades, and some wonder whether food donations are being siphoned off to them.
North Korea recently granted a Reuters news crew access to the country, and Al Jazeera’a Khadija Magardie reports on the plight they found.
The longer Reuters report can be viewed here (but I can’t figure out how to embed it at the Bathtub).
Climate-change aggravated severe weather adds to the serious nutrition shortages in North Korea, according to Reuters written reports.
Famine in North Korea is one more vital topic ignored by the presidential and Congressional campaigns, and conservatives in their rush to get Obama out of office.