Sour Cream Apple Pie

November 12, 2008

For the sake of Autumn and the fact that I enjoy pie here’s a random apple pie recipe I had on hand. This is a single crust pie (crust only on the bottom) with a crisp as a top layer.

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 4 cups peeled, cored, and sliced apples
  • 9-inch pastry shell

Crumb topping:

  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup butter

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 F. In a large bowl sift together flour, salt, and sugar. Add in egg, sour cream, vanilla, and nutmeg. Beat into a smooth, thin batter and stir in the apples. Pour the mixture into the pastry shell and bake for 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350 F and bake for 30 minutes.

While the pie bakes, prepare the crumb topping. In a small bowl cut the sugar, flour, and cinnamon into the butter. Sprinkle over pie and increase the oven temperature once again to 400 F. Bake about 10 minutes or until golden brown.

What with assorted food related holidays coming up, here’s some advice I have about making a good pie crust.

  1. For a flakier pie crust chill the bowl and pastry cutter before using them with the ingredients. A good pie crust is mixed by hand with as little contact as possible. A cold pie crust makes a better texture.
  2. Substitute cold milk for water in your favourite crust recipe. The crust will brown evenly.
  3. If you’re making your own pie crust, double or triple it and freeze the extra. To do this, shape the dough into a ball and wrap it in plastic. Thaw at room temperature before unwrapping and rolling. (make your own crust with the above recipe and be ready for Thanksgiving!)
  4. Use up left over pastry scraps with this awesome recipe: Reroll the dough, spread with butter and sprinkle with a mixture made from equal parts brown sugar, granulated sugar and cinnamon. Cut into squares and roll into little tubes. Bake for 10 minutes at about 350 F.

Go make you some damn pie, now.

GODEY’S LADY’S BOOK
Philadelphia, November 1850

In the spirit of the post-election world, here is a piece from Goedy’s Lady’s Book on based  on an election. The way they speak is funny, I know.

BEFORE AND AFTER THE NEXT ELECTION;

OR, THE HISTORY OF PATRICK MURPHY’S RETURN TO HIS POLITICAL FRIENDS, AND FINAL ABANDONMENT OF HIS PARTY IN DISGUST.

BY T. S. ARTHUR.

It was near the close of a sultry day in August, and a poor, toil-worn Irishman “might have been seen” wearily wending his way upwards towards the summit of a house, with a hod of bricks upon his shoulder.

“Bad ‘cess till Musther R-!” fell, half angrily, from the Irishman’s lips, as he gained the elevation he was seeking, and deposited his load upon the scaffold. “Bad ‘cess till Musther R-!” he repeated. “If it hadn’t been for him I’d still be houldering my good siteation in P-‘s store, instead of being kilt to death wid this hod-carrying.”

And then Mister Patrick Murphy, for it was that independent citizen, shouldered his empty hod, and commenced retracing his steps down the ladder for another installment of building materials. Just as he reached the ground, a voice, whose tones were instantly recognized, said, with animation-

“Why, Mr. Murphy! Is this you? How are you, my old friend and fellow-citizen? How are you?”

And Mr. R-, the very man Patrick had been thinking about, stood smiling, with extended hand, before him.

To be thus addressed by a “gentleman” was more than the long-nursed anger of Murphy could withstand, and it melted away into good nature, like frost-work in the morning sunshine.

“How are yees, Musther R-?” he returned, as he let the candidate take his hand and shake it heartily.

“Oh, bright as a May morning!” said R-, still holding the Irishman by the hand. “But how are you getting on now, Mr. Murphy?”

“Bad enough, and plaze y’r honor,” replied Patrick.

“Ah, I’m sorry for that. Have you been unfortunate?”

” ‘Dade, thin, and have I. That ‘lection business kilt me dead.”

“How so, Mr. Murphy? We were beaten, it is true; but how did it affect you personally?”

“Mr. P- turned me off for going to the polls on ‘lection day and it’s been hard times wid me iver since, I can tell yees.”

“Turned you off, Mr. Murphy, for voting your sentiments as an American citizen!” exclaimed R-, in well-feigned astonishment.

“Yis, it’s just that, Musther R-,” said Murphy, with much feeling. Already the hope of making capital for future interest out of that circumstance was beginning to form itself in his mind.

“Vile proscription! Thus it is that these nabobs of our land seek, as in the old country, to bind the free consciences of the people, and to trample on their political rights. You felt this in Ireland, Mr. Murphy; and it was to escape such tyranny that you left the beautiful home of your fathers and came to happy America. Shall the heel of the oppressor be on your neck here also? Spirit of liberty, forbid it! Mr. Murphy, we must break down this league of the rich against the poor. We can do it, and we will. What greater glory can any man desire than to be known as the friend of the people?”

“Nabobs!” responded Patrick, indignantly, taking the cue. “Yis! Vile, oppressing nabobs! If I had my will o’ thim!”

And the Irishman clenched his fist.

“This is rather a hard kind of a business, Mr. Murphy,” said R-, changing the subject. “A man like you ought to be doing something better than carrying bricks up a ladder.”

” ‘Dade, and he ought, Musther R-.”

“Come round to my house to-night, Mr. Murphy. I’d like to have some talk with you.”

“Yees lives in the same place?”

“Oh yes. Come about nine o’clock. I will be disengaged then.”

“I’ll be there to the minute, Musther R-.”

“Very well. And now good day. I rather think we’ll find you some better work to do than this.”

All the Irishman’s indignation towards R-, so long cherished, was gone. His next trip up the ladder was accomplished in half the time occupied in the last ascent; and when he came down again, it was “on the run.”

Precisely at nine o’clock, dressed in his Sunday suit, which was not one of particular elegance, Patrick was at Mr. R-‘s beautiful residence. He rung the bell, and, almost instantly, the door was opened – not by a servant, but by R- himself.

“Ah, you’re the man after all, Mr. Murphy; punctual to the minute!” said he, grasping the Irishman’s hand. “Come in, my good fellow. Come in,” and he almost dragged him into the house.

In a room in the third story, to which Murphy was conducted, two or three men were found sitting at a table, on which were decanters and glasses.

“Mr. Murphy, gentlemen.”

Thus the Irishman was announced in a manner the most courteous.

“Ah, how are you my honest friend? How are you? Happy, indeed, to see you!”

Such were the words of welcome that greeted his appearance.

“Take a chair, Mr. Murphy,” said R-, and he handed the Irishman to a seat, with an air of deference and courtesy that was particularly flattering to the easily duped son of Erin.

“Well, gentlemen,” said R-, after they had all resumed their places at the table and taken a glass round, “this is the Mr. Murphy of whom I was speaking to you; an honest, hard-working man, who has been proscribed for opinion’s sake. No man has labored harder or more efficiently in our cause than he, and it will be a burning disgrace to our party – the party of the people, the sworn advocate of the oppressed and trampled upon – if we let him suffer for his devotion to true principles. This man has a family, sir – a family to whom he is dearly attached, and for whom he’s toiling like a galley slave at the oar. Previous to the last election, he had a good situation and a good salary in the store of P-; but, because he worked in our cause, P- turned him off to starve with his wife and his little ones, for all he cared!”

“Impossible!” exclaimed the men at the table, lifting their hands in astonishment. “To think that such a spirit exists in our country!”

“A spirit,” resumed Mr. R-, “that, if not checked, will prostrate our liberties beneath the iron heel of oppression. What is a poor man in the eyes of one like P-? Of less value than his horse! And he is but the type of his party.”

To this there was a warm response from all present.

“And now, Mr. Murphy,” resumed R-, addressing the Irishman, “the time has come when another strong effort must be made to break through the party lines that have been drawn by these poor-oppressing, blood-sucking aristocrats! At the last campaign, we drove them back, and came near routing them, horse, foot, and dragoons. This time, if we unite all our forces, victory is certain; and you know, my honest friend, that to the victors belong the spoils. No man did better service to the good cause at the last election than you, Mr. Murphy; and, now that the tug of war is about to come again, your bleeding country calls upon you, and asks for aid. Shall she call in vain? No; not when her voice reaches the ears of Mr. Patrick Murphy, the man who has felt the crushing weight of oppression. What say you, Mr. Murphy? Are you with us again?”

Thus appealed to, Murphy instantly replied, with enthusiasm-

“Faix and am I. Musther R-! Bad ‘cess till the nabobs! I’ll have it out wid ’em yet.”

“You’ve got the right kind of stuff in you, I see,” remarked one of those present.

“I’m an Irishman,” said Murphy, proudly.

“And an honor both to the country of your birth and the country of your adoption,” responded R-.

By this time, Murphy was fully prepared to enter into the views of the invididual who wanted his “valuable aid” again. Flattered into blindness, he allowed the bit to be once more placed in his mouth, and, bearing on the rein, moved forward to the right or the left, at the will of his drivers. It was demonstrated to him, with the utmost clearness, why the party failed of success at the last campaign, and why it would now be sure to gain the victory. And his reward was to be a clerkship in the post office, at a salary of six hundred a year. Moreover, R- said that he must throw away his hod, and come at once into the service of the party. And, as the laborer was worthy of his hire, it was agreed to pay him one dollar a day until the period of election arrived.

Again was Mr. Murphy a man of consequence in his own eyes. Higher ranged his head, and more stately was his step as he walked homeward from the house of R-. But he was doomed to have his ardor somewhat cooled; for, on announcing what had just happened to his better half, Biddy, that lady became exceedingly indignant, called him a fool, and sundry other names of like character, and vowed that, if he got himself into any more trouble with his politics, she’d “take the childther and lave” him.

On the next morning, Murphy waited on Mr. R- again, according to appointment, when arrangements were made for attending a “harvest home,” to be celebrated at a village in the country which embraced the district in which R- was a candidate for election. There were to be present at this assemblage some of the leading men of the party, with many of whom Murphy had worked side by side in the last campaign, and he was made to believe that his appearance among them would be hailed with the greatest enthusiasm.

“We looked upon you at the last election as one of our best men,” said R- “Already more than a dozen old friends have been inquiring after you. Your appearance, Mr. Murphy, will put new life into our people, for they know you of old.”

R- then placed a five dollar bill in the hands of the Irishman, as the beginning of his pay in the new service, and five more to be used for electioneering purposes among his own countrymen. Particularly was he instructed to see to the naturalization of all those who had been in the country long enough to entitle them to citizenship, and to pay all attendant expenses, if a pledge were given to vote the party ticket.

Again the Irishman began to feel his own importance, and to swell beyond his natural dimensions. It was night before he returned home, and then he was, to use a vulgar, but very expressive word, a little “groggy.” The moment he entered, Biddy said, with some sharpness of voice-

“Patrick, ye convict! And where have ye bin all the day? Musther P- sent for yees this mornin’, and wants to see yees.”

“Bad luck till Musther P-!” returned Murphy. “Bad luck till him, I say!” and he staggered into a seat.

“Are ye crazy, man?” exclaimed Biddy. “No doubt, Musther P- wants yees back agin in his store.”

“Bad ‘cess till him! I’ll niver darken his door agin, the aristorcratic, silk-stocken nabob! Didn’t he torn me aff for votin’ my sentiments as a free American citizen? Didn’t he, I say? Bad luck till him, the spalpeen!”

“Y’r a drunken fool, that’s what ye are!” said Biddy, in wrath uncontrollable. But, knowing how fruitless a discussion would be with her husband while under the influence of liquor, she curbed her anger, and had little more to say during the evening. But, on the next morning, as soon as Patrick was fairly awake, she began-

“Patrick,” said she, “are ye going till see Musther P-?”

“No, faix, and I am not,” replied Patrick. “I’m done wid Mr. P-, kith and kin. Didn’t he turn me aff for votin’ my sentiments? Didn’t he? Ay, fegs! And if iver I darken his door it ‘ll do him good.”

It was all in vain that Biddy argued, scolded, persuaded; her husband was not to be moved from his resolution. There was a better chance before him than any situation in P-‘s store. He was to be a clerk in the post office. That was settled; and, moreover, up to the period of election, was to receive a dollar a day for doing what was equivalent to “just nothing at all, at all.”

For three or four days, Murphy spent his time idling about taverns, and at night going home in a condition that made all Biddy’s attempts to reach his feelings abortive. Then the time for celebrating the “harvest home” came, and he was called for in a carriage by R- and two other members of the party. Such an honor elated him almost out of himself; and even Biddy, who knew that her husband was no uncommon man, began to think him of even greater importance than she had yet imagined.

This “harvest home,” as it was called, was nothing more nor less than a political gathering, for the purpose of gaining party influence. It was held in a certain neighborhood pretty thickly settled with Emerald Islanders, and the particular work Murphy was wanted for on the occasion was to make interest for R- among his countrymen. A bullock was to be roasted, and an entertainment, consisting of an abundance of things eatable and drinkable, provided.

When R- arrived on the ground, accompanied by his willing tool, the latter was introduced, with all formality, to about a dozen substantial leaders of the party, office-expectants, and others personally interested in the approaching election, who treated him with the most marked attention, asked him to drink with them, and talked to him as if he were an individual of the first importance.

“Welcome back among your friends!” said one.

“Ah, my old friend Murphy,” said another, “you are just the man I’ve been wanting to see. How are you? How are you?” And he shook the Irishman’s hand half off.

“Here’s Mr. Murphy again!” exclaimed another. “Why, bless me! I’m as glad to see you as if I’d found a guinea!”

And so the changes were rung, and Murphy believed all he heard was true. In return for the cordial welcome received, and the honor bestowed upon him at this reunion with the party, Murphy went to work in good earnest, cheered on, every now and then, by some one of the leaders, with flattering words of encourgement like the following-

“You’re the man, Mr. Murphy!: Or-

“Ah, my fine fellow! If we had a little army of such as you, we’d sweep the nation!” Or,

“Talk to them, Murphy. That’s you! The best man among us!”

Never did Patrick Murphy work harder at cellar-digging or hod-carrying than on this occasion, in his efforts to make converts to the “cause of the people;” and between arguing, persuading, drinking, quarreling, and such other efforts with his countrymen, he was so much overcome by sundown that his political friends had to send him home to his wife Biddy in a furniture wagon. As he was not in a condition to feel the honor attendant on a ride with R- in his carriage, such an honor was not wasted upon him.

On the next day, Mr. Murphy had a shocking bad headache, and was so sick and so much exhausted that he kept his bed until towards night, when he sallied forth, and took his way to McPhelin’s tavern, where he spent the evening in drinking, talking politics, and “going his death for R-,” whom he did not hesitate to declare. “A jontelman, ivery inch, and a raal friend o’ the hard-workin’ paple!”

About twelve o’clock, he staggered homeward, carrying with him a black eye and sundry bruises from hard fists on other parts of his body; the effects of which he did not get over for a week.

Thus, for a whole month, did Murphy serve the cause of the people, receiving his dollar a day, besides money to use “judiciously,” in treating and in other ways controlling the votes of the “better class of citizens,” whom he was specially chosen to influence. As the election-day approached, he became busier and busier, and finally was placed in charge of a “colony” of drunken vagabonds, who would vote either way for a glass of grog. There were twenty of these, and he had them locked up in the loft of an old warehouse for two or three days, supplying them with as much as they could eat and drink all the time, and generally managing to keep them too drunk to run away, even if they should manage to escape from their prison.

The particular work of Murphy, on the election-day, was to bring to the polls these vagabond voters, and as many others as he could drum up. To this end, he was supplied with a carriage and ten dollars to treat with. Faithfully did he perform his part, even to the injunction of R-

“Mr. Murphy, mind! you must keep sober today.”

“Gloriously” the voting went on from the time the polls opened until their closing at six o’clock.

It was twelve when Patrick Murphy burst into the room where Biddy sat mending the tattered jacket of her eldest hopeful, swinging his cap about his head, and crying-

“We’ve bate! we’ve bate! Biddy, my darling! Hurrah for R- and the cause of the people! Hurrah! Hurrah!”

“Hish! hish! Patrick, now! Ye’el wake the childther, and alarm the whole neighborhood!”

But Patrick was too intensely delighted at the great result achieved to care for such trifles. Seizing Biddy in his arms, he swung her round as lightly as if she had been a strip of a girl – and Biddy was not a baby in size – repeating the words-

“We’ve bate! We’ve bate, darlint! And now for the swate little corner in the post-office, and silks and satins for Mrs. Murphy! Ha! what do yees think of that, honey? Patrick Murphy knew what he was about!”

But we must leave the reader to imagine the rest of this scene. The party whose cause Patrick had espoused were the victors, sure enough. They had routed their opponents, in the common and expressive phrase used on such occasions, “horse, foot, and dragoons.”

Take Back The Kitchen

November 10, 2008

Okay, this came from an idea me and my mom had. This place will be used for my own homemaking journal, as was popular with victorian women. I think it’s a good idea to keep tips, recipes, and other such things from the eras of homemakers. I have nothing but respect for the Domestic so let’s have a bit of a Victorian history lesson here.

Cult of Domesticity And True Womanhood: A short history

So between 1820 and Civil War Era there was an increase in new businesses and professions creating the American Middle Class. This usually was made up of husbands who were the only breadmakers. This was because the world outside the home was considered harsh where a man had to do what he had to do to succeed. It was considered a world of violence and temptation. Women were considered too wear and delicate for that so they stayed home and took charge of all things related to it.

From all of this arose the new ideas of Womanhood and ideas about the home. This was called the “Cult of Domesticity” and was found in womens magazines, books, news papers and even works of fiction. It put a new light on women’s duties and role in the world as well as recording the virtues of real Womanhood.

The ideas of Womanhood were made of four characteristics any proper young woman should have:

1. Piety: The modern woman of the period was the “new Eve” and she worked with God to bring the would out of sin through her suffering and pure, passionless love. Religion was to keep a woman from a restless mind. Women were considered the handmaidens of God.

2. Purity: Without sexual purity a woman wasn’t a woman. She was a “fallen woman” unfit for company or love. It was cause of much distress to women. There were many journals that gave advice on how to protect women from the “fallen” status. Mrs. Eliza Farrar, who wrote The Young Woman’s Friend wrote such advice as “Sit not with another in a place that is too narrow; read not out of the same book; let not your eagerness to see anything induce you to place your head close to another person’s“. Ridiculous, I know but it helped some women, I guess? Though this caused a purity obsession to the point that it guided how women decorated. Table and chair legs were covered as to guide one from thought of legs. “Limbs” was stead instead of arms and legs, “white meat” instead of chicken breast, male and female authors were kept on separate shelves unless they were married. Stories about storks bringing babies became popular. Isn’t repression fun?

3. Submissiveness: This was most important. Men were supposed to be religious and pure, but it wasn’t expected of them. They were do-ers. Women were to be passive bystanders giving in to fate, duty, men, and God. The fashions of the era added onto that; Corsets that restricted lungs to make her weaker and the weight of her skirts to limit physical mobility. A woman knew her place. She was thought weak and timid and in need of protection. She is a dependent. She needed a man to be firm and full of wisdom and nothing like her expect for tenderness of heart. She was to be in a perpetual state of childhood; innocent and doubtful and in need of guidance.

4. Domesticity: Her place was the home. Housework, neddlework and crafts where approved activities which kept women at home, busy with her wifely duties and childcare. She was to keep the house a cheerful and peaceful place; the opposite of what the world was considered. It was to be a safe haven. What I love about this is Godey’s Ladies Book once said “there is more to be learned about pouring out tea and coffee than most young ladies are willing to believe.” And there really is. This is my favourite of all the requirements of women. I think some of the stuff they did that has long been forgotten is really important. There is a lot we can still use today.

Coming from the aftermath of the feminist movement, I think we’re giving up too much. While we should work, we should make our own, we should never forget the things that make us women. We’re smart, caring, forgiving, passionate, and we can’t let go of any of that. We can be feminist but we can also take back the kitchen. Don’t give up the feminine qualities. Especially in this day and age, we can all benefit from those before us who made do with that they had and could stretch a meal for days.