Lemon Apron

I love lemons.

So it was only natural that, when I saw this fabric at Joann’s a few years ago, I had to buy it. Since then I’ve debated long and hard about what it should become. Skirt? Dress? Nothing seemed quite right. It was dangerously close to being made into roman blinds for the bathroom at one point but I ended up hanging on to it because it just didn’t fit.

I got to the point where I was tired of having it just sit in my stash, unused. I really wanted to find something to make out of it that I would really love. Enter: Simplicity 1221.

Every time I cook I wear an apron. This did cause a slight problem when the only one I had owned was in the wash so I had the idea to dig out a reproduction 1940’s pattern from my drawer and make another one to join the rotation.

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It didn’t take long to make; only a couple of hours. I think the longest part was picking which bias tape to use to edge it! I had a lot of fun with it and learned a lot about double-fold bias tape which I had actually never used before.

The first time I wore it was on Easter to help make dinner. I was nervous to wear it, scared I would get it really dirty, but I told myself that the apron was made to be used and to just enjoy it.

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It was a lot of fun. Dinner was great and the company was awesome. I wear the apron a lot now and the lemons always make me smile. I’m happy to say it’s still in really good shape, too! Even if it wasn’t, though, I still have enough to make another one should that day ever come.

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One-Egg Cake (HFF #4)

For the fourth prompt for the Historical Food Fortnightly, “Sweets for the Sweet,” I used a very special recipe. “It’s sugar, and maybe spice, and definitely everything nice. Test out a historic recipe for sweets, sweetmeats and candies – but don’t let them spoil your appetite!

The recipe that I chose to make for this challenge – “One-Egg Cake” – comes from one of my grandmother’s cookbooks,”The Household Searchlight Recipe Book that was published by the Household Magazine in 1940.

When I was over at her house one night last month she pulled out her collection of cookbooks and I had a fun evening looking through them with her. This one, she explained, belonged to her mother who bought it from a traveling salesman. My grandmother grew up learning to cook from this book and one of the recipes that she made most often was the “One-Egg Cake.” It was economical and tasted great.

So I snapped a few photos and went home to test it out!

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You can really tell that this was a well-loved page.

One-Egg Cake

2/3 cup sugar

1/4 cup shortening

1/3 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon vanilla flavoring

1 egg

1 1/2 cups flour

1/2 cup milk

2 teaspoons baking-powder

Cream shortening and sugar. Add unbeaten egg. Add flavoring. Beat thoroughly. Sift flour, measure, and sift with salt and baking-powder. Add alternately with milk to creamed shortening and sugar. Pour into well-oiled loaf pan. Bake in moderate oven (375° F.) 35 minutes.

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The cake was super easy to make. It was a pretty thick batter which went nicely into the oven. I will say that baking it in a loaf pan did make it seem more like a quick bread than a cake so I did choose to serve it with some butter.

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It was delicious! Thanks, grandma!

The Challenge: Sweets for the Sweet
The Recipe: One-Egg Cake from The Household Searchlight Recipe Book
The Date/Year and Region: 1940, American
How Did You Make It: Just mix the ingredients together and bake
Time to Complete: An hour or less
Total Cost: Everything form the cupboard. Less expensive for using only one egg!
How Successful Was It?: Quite.
How Accurate Is It?: Pretty high!

Brynt vitkålssoppa (HFF #3)

The third prompt for the Historical Food Fortnightly is “History Detective” and it was quite possibly the one I was most excited for.  “For this challenge, you get to be the detective! Either use clues from multiple recipes to make a composite recipe, or choose a very vague recipe and investigate how it was made.

I live for stuff like this — History? Food? Research? Sign me up!

And I had the perfect cookbook in mind:

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Mat i vardagslag kokbok för skola och hem by Birgit Floderus and Ingrid Ljunggren, translated as Food in Everyday Life: Cookbook for School and Home, was published in 1942 in Sweden. The copy I have – bought at a library book sale for 50¢ – was owned by a woman named Edith Thorsell and was obviously very well loved. Pages are falling out, recipes are written/pasted onto blank spaces, and there are stains marking her favorite recipes. I’ve been wanting to translate it for ages now so this project was as good an excuse as any to get started!

I’m not too far in – still on soups – but it’s been a very fun experience so far. I have absolutely no background with the Swedish language or culture (except having a vague idea that my grandma is full Swedish) so I’ve been relying on google translate and online dictionaries. It’s been challenging but I’ve loved exploring a new part of my ancestry.

The recipe I chose to make is called Brynt vitkålssoppa (Browned cabbage soup).

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Brynt vitkålssoppa. (Browned cabbage soup)

4 hectograms (=400 grams=14 oz) cabbage

1 ½ tbsp. frying fat

½ tbsp. syrup, 15 g

water or salt broth

salt

3 allspice berries

1 hectogram (=100 grams=3.5 oz) pork sausage

Rinse the cabbage and remove dead leaves and the coarsest parts. Cut it into chunks and sear in hot frying fat. When it has a little color add the syrup and brown further. When finished browning, cool it somewhat then dilute with boiling water or broth and season. When the cabbage has boiled for a while, add the rinsed pork sausage and let the soup cook slowly. When the sausage is cooked, cut it into slices and serve in soup.

It’s a very simple soup and was quick and easy to make. I ended up cutting the cabbage into smaller pieces than in the picture above and didn’t have pork sausage in the fridge to use so I substituted pork chops. I also substituted ground allspice for whole berries.

Another note: I had a hard time interpreting what the recipe meant by syrup so I went with Karo syrup. You can see the progress of the cabbage in the pictures above. The first picture is the cabbage right after it went in the pan, the second is it frying in butter, and the third is where I add the Karo syrup. It really made it brown nicely. The last picture is after the water and the meat are added.

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All in all, the soup turned out great. It had a nice, plain flavor that let the cabbage and the pork really stand out. I wouldn’t suggest it if you aren’t a fan of cabbage in the first place (my sister ;D) but I really loved it. I put it next to some homemade french bread and it fed five adults well.

The Challenge: History Detective
The Recipe: Browned Cabbage Soup from “Food in Everyday Life”
The Date/Year and Region: 1942, Sweden
How Did You Make It: Chop cabbage & brown. Add water and then pork.
Time to Complete: Probably about an hour start to finish for the soup.
Total Cost: $2.88 for the pork, about $2 for the cabbage.
How Successful Was It?: Very!
How Accurate Is It?: About 75%? I had to make a few substitutions so…

As a side note: I’d love some feedback on my translating. I feel like I’m doing pretty well but if there are any Swedish speakers out there I would welcome your opinion!