Category: miscellany

“A little party never killed nobody…” (whoa- I’m married!)

Marilla + Jason | Pixel Perfect Photography | New York City Hall wedding #bridesinblack #offbeatbrides

Union by Robert Fulghum


Holy crap. Yes, we’re married. I’m a Mrs.

First kiss as a married couple! | A New York City Hall wedding (Photo by Janai McNeil of Pixel Perfect Photography) #bridesinblack #offbeatbrides #nycbrides

We finally did it. After almost 12 years together, knowing each other for almost 15 and with  almost 2 of those years being engaged, we tied the knot/jumped the broom/took the plunge/bought the cow/hooked up the ball & chain/got hitched on Friday, April 3, 2015. And what a beautiful day it was.

Not so much weather wise. It was definitely still a mixture of “March” & early April (April showers & all that) in New York City weather time. And so it was rainy, but not heavy, just an annoying off-and-on drizzle that made NYC look even moodier than usual. It was gray, but it wasn’t even that cold (around 60° F), despite getting snow less than 2 weeks before. I didn’t so much mind the weather, to tell the truth. No one did. I actually quite liked it.

Dancing in the streets | A New York City Hall wedding (Photo by Janai McNeil of Pixel Perfect Photography) #bridesinblack #offbeatbrides #nycbrides

We planned this wedding in roughly 2 1/2 months. A little less. That’s it. Granted; I had already bought my dress a year before and we basically knew exactly what we wanted. But after I was so sick in December & hospitalized for two days, I realized we were stupid to wait any more. I mean, why? Add to that the deaths of the two NYPD police officers on December 20th, combined with the fact that the doctor told us about a patient with what I was close to- a thyroid storm- going into cardiac arrest and being resuscitated, I thought, WE ARE STUPID FOR WAITING. Why the hell didn’t we just do it right after we got engaged? No clue.

But we did it.

And we did it our way. Click on through to read EVERYTHING! And I do mean everything, so be prepared- there are a LOT of pictures here… A LOT. So here goes: my big fat wedding post!

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Wow, its been a while.

I knew it was a long time since I last posted, but seeing the date on that last post… wow. It really has been a long time!

I wanted to write up a quick post (or not so quick) to explain my absence in a bit more length. I think it’s important to do so because, well, maybe one of you feels the way I felt and maybe I can help you. No, this will never turn into a “health” blog, ever. I just wanted to give a little background on what happened to me.

I had been feeling really lousy in September 2014. I went through a two-week period of nausea/vomiting and lethargy. Being that I am stubborn I did not seek medical attention and assumed it was some kind of flu/stomach bug/virus/etc. October was better, I was applying for some side jobs and second jobs (graphic design being my first). I was still very tired, though, and couldn’t even get up the energy to make everything anything I wanted to make or post more on the blog. Halloween was great, albeit quiet since Jay worked and I was still feeling meh.

By November, I was feeling tired ALL the time. That feeling progressed into feeling exhausted all the time. I was also getting hot flashes, or rather, I couldn’t tolerate the heat in the house or in stores. I was constantly lowering the heat and Jay would come home and freeze (it’s NY, in late November). I had just started a new job and tried to write everything off as holiday or new job stress. Around the middle of November, my legs started to feel weak. I couldn’t go up and down the stairs as fast as usual, they ached and my calf muscles felt tight. Almost as if I couldn’t stretch out fully. This, too, got worse. Add to that everyone telling me I was losing weight- which I didn’t see. My dad (ex-NYC EMS) told me I was a classic case of hyperthyroidism. This didn’t seem urgent to me, so again I just dealt with it.

When December rolled around, I was pretty much acting as if I was a 90-year old woman. Jay insisted I go to the doctor, but I had just switched and my new doctor couldn’t see me until February. So off to urgent care I went. And at urgent care, they gave me an EKG and wouldn’t touch me. They told me to go immediately to the hospital. My heart rate was 160.

IV line in my arm at the hospital.

And so to the hospital I went, unfortunately.

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A day at the Queens County Farm Museum.

Queens County Farm Museum!

Many people, when they think of New York (especially an “urban” area like Queens), don’t realize that New York used to be full of farms. The entire state, particularly Long Island, was/is fertile farmland. The soil in many areas, particularly the area in Queens I’ll be discussing here, is perfect for farming being that it’s loamy (a balanced mix of sand, silt, clay & soil). That & the fact that the original settlers were Dutch farmers means that NY has a rich agricultural history. During the 1840’s in particular New York, along with Pennsylvania, was a chief wheat-growing state. Betcha didn’t know that!

Large manors emerged during the 18th century, including LivingstonCortlandtPhilipsburg, and Rensselaerswyck.[Note 3] The manors represented more than half of the colony’s undeveloped land. The Province of New York thrived during this time, its economy strengthened by Long Island and Hudson Valley agriculture, in conjunction with trade and artisanal activity at the Port of New York; the colony was a breadbasket and lumberyard for the British sugar colonies in the Caribbean.


New York still has a lot of farms, although now it seems most of them are the smaller scale ones that offer pumpkin or apple picking & hayrides in the fall. There are still tons of apple orchards not to mention full-scale farms upstate. However, you can find some downstate as well, and I’m lucky to have a couple within reasonable driving distance: Crossroads Farm at Grossman’s & the Queens County Farm Museum to name a few.

Queens County Farm Museum.

The Queens County Farm Museum dates back to 1697, & it occupies NY’s largest remaining tract of undisturbed farmland. According to the website:

 The farm encompasses a 47-acre parcel that is the longest continuously farmed site in New York State. The site includes historic farm buildings, a greenhouse complex, livestock, farm vehicles and implements, planting fields, an orchard, and an herb garden.

The farm is owned by the New York City Department of Parks, operated by the Colonial Farmhouse Restoration Society of Bellerose, Inc. and is a member of the Historic House Trust of New York City.

Our farm animals and tranquil agrarian environment provide the opportunity to leave the hectic daily pace behind for an enjoyable visit to a farm without leaving the city.

I had been to the museum quite a few times as a child, mostly for the Christmas events- which are beautiful. But a few weeks back I remembered it, and came by to pick up some farm fresh eggs, but sadly they didn’t have any left by the time I got there (which was about 10:30 a.m.!). Wahhhh. The cashier told me that they sell out super quick. So I decided to come back, and this time take some photos to share with you (however I still wasn’t early enough to get any eggs)! The farm is so beautiful. You may or may not know my obsession with farms & farmland; I know I’m probably not cut out for that life myself… but it’s amazing & intriguing to me. Especially a farm that has a 300+ year history.

The Adriance Farmhouse.

Adriance Farmhouse, Queens County Farm Museum.

The front of the beautiful Adriance Farmhouse, the oldest part of which dates back to 1772. Queens County Farm Museum.

The photos above (and the one just below) are of the Adriance Farmhouse. The farmhouse’s original 3-room structure was built in 1772 by Jacob & Catherine Adriance, with an extension added in around 1855.

In 1772 Jacob and his wife Catherine built the earliest portion of the Adriance farmhouse, which consisted of three modest rooms. Catherine and Jacob had no children and were farming primarily as sustenance farmers to provide food for themselves in conjunction with neighboring farms, some of which were owned by other Adriance family members. When Jacob died in 1797, Hendrick Brinkerhoff, his adopted nephew, bought the farm from Jacob’s executors. Hendrick died in 1806 leaving the farm to his son, Albert Brinkerhoff. Albert’s ownership marked the end of the “Adriance Era” when he sold the farm to its next significant owner, John Bennum, Sr. The Adriance family history on the farm provides us with a profound narrative of the site’s early Dutch beginnings and of farming as a way of life from as early as the seventeenth century.

– source, QCFM

Adriance Farmhouse, Queens County Farm Museum.

The farm changed hands relatively few times in the many years since. John Bennum ended up owning the farm during a rough period; the weather during his ownership was not conducive to a plentiful farm. Two severe droughts, one in 1819 & one in 1822, caused him to eventually sell to Daniel Lent in 1822. However, during his 9-year ownership Mr. Lent also experienced two severe droughts, and not only that but the flood of 1826. He could never quite catch up because of that & the new technology in farm equipment, which proved difficult to afford. Peter Cox was the next owner, and he was lucky to own the farm during a boon of agricultural growth (1833-1892).

The last private owner of the farm was Daniel Stattel (1892-1926). The Stattel family invested a lot in the farm, both financially & agriculturally. They installed the windmill (seen in the top farmhouse photo) as well. The Stattel family descendants are still involved with the farm today, providing rich oral history & background for the museum.

In the 1920’s Pauline Reisman, a real estate investor, bought it and promptly sold it to New York State for use by Creedmoor State Hospital. New York State purchased the farm in 1926 for Creedmoor State Hospital to use for rehabilitation of patients, growing fruits and vegetables for the kitchen at the hospital, and for growing ornamental plants and shrubs for the Creedmoor campus.

The Greenhouse at the Queens County Farm Museum.

As the website says:

With the exception of the farmhouse, Creedmoor demolished all the buildings on the farm, replacing them with buildings that met their needs. Though historic structures were lost, other types of historic structures were created that have in fact presented a beneficial opportunity to the Farm Museum. Buildings constructed immediately prior to the Second World War are rarely preserved in favor of colonial or Victorian era structures, but we have been given a unique opportunity to present institutional farm buildings from the 1930s that are truly unique. As the museum continues to meet its interpretive objectives, these buildings will provide the backdrop for our unique story: farming, horticulture, and the lives of the patients and staff of Creedmoor at the farm in the 1930s.

Thankfully, in the decades after, the farm was saved from what most likely would’ve been certain demolition.

Today the Queens County Farm Museum is a New York City Landmark and on the National Register of Historic Places. Museum founder and president, James A. Trent, and New York State senator Frank Padavan spared the farm from development. Senator Padavan wrote the legislation that transferred ownership from the state to the New York City Department of Parks and protected the site from development for future generations. With all the present buildings restored, the master plan for the museum is being steadily pursued. The museum provides a broad spectrum of educational programs, public events, services, and general visiting more than 500,000 people each year. The Farm Museum is the highest attended cultural attraction in Queens County. We look forward to completing our interpretation and providing valuable services to our audience.

Herb garden at the Adriance Farmhouse, Queens County Farm Museum.

The Children's Garden at the Queens County Farm Museum.

The farm has beautiful grounds. I mean, it’s massive. Much larger than it appears when you walk in. The gardens include greenhouses, crops, planting fields, animals & a petting zoo for children, not to mention the above “Children’s Garden,” where kids can use their senses to see the differences between different plants. For example, in the ‘taste’ section, there’s mint & in the ‘smell’ section, there’s lemon balm & dill. It’s awesome that you can let the kids eat & smell & touch things there, knowing it’s all safe & that they’re learning something. Specifically, where the food they eat comes from & how it grows.

The scenery is so beautiful & serene, you totally forget that you’re in a fairly urban area.

Beautiful scenery at the Queens County Farm Museum.

They sell their fresh produce & eggs at the Union Square Greenmarket as well as on premises, which I didn’t know! So if you frequent the Greenmarket, be sure to look for them. The eggs sell out CRAZY quick at the farm, though, so if you want them you have to get there a half hour before the market starts, at about 11:30 a.m., any day from Wed. – Sun. I’ve been three times & missed out on the eggs ALL THREE TIMES. So trust me, I know.

They sell flowers as well as herbs. As a matter of fact, they grow all varieties of plants & herbs & sell them in the greenhouse. I know I saw Ground Cherries for sale, as well as seeing all the usual herbs; basil, rosemary, dill, etc. You can buy them as plants or you can buy fresh cut herbs at the farm stand.

Inside the greenhouse at the Queens County Farm Museum.

Plants for sale at the Queens County Farm Museum.

Seasonal plants for sale at the greenhouse of the Queens County Farm Museum.

Sometimes, as you’re walking around you forget it’s not just a farm museum, but a working farm. Meaning there are tons of animals on the farm. Horses, goats, sheep… including these guys who rather liked me.

Hi there!

Bock bock!

Which way?

It’s important for us to protect our farmland, and respect it. Farms used to be a common sight in the U.S., now the numbers of farms have dwindled. According to the US EPA, “there are around 2.2 million farms in America, and of the over 313,000,000 people living in the United States, less than 1% of them claim farming as an occupation (and about 2% actually live on farms).” [source] Thanks to a recent boon in organic foods, the amount of farms is slightly increasing & perhaps beginning an upward path, but we have a long way to go. If we expect to fight companies like Monsanto, we need to invest more money in our local farmers. Buying real food. Preserving the heritage & history of our farms.

On that note, if you’d like to donate to the Museum, you don’t have to visit in person. You can do so online! You can “Fund a Farm animal“; they have everything from honeybees & chickens to Cotswold sheep & cows, each one a different donation level. If you’re in the area, you can become a member as well. Membership entitles you to a variety of benefits such as a gift shop discount & free admission to public events. If you live in NYC or the Long Island area, or you’re coming here for a trip, I highly suggest you make a trek out to the farm!

You can see these awesome vintage tractors.

Vintage tractors at the Queens County Farm Museum.

It doesn’t matter when you plan your visit, because there’s always something going on. During the holiday season, they offer beautiful holiday events & crafts for both adults & children. They have hayrides in the fall, and of course the spring & summer is when everything really springs to life. Of course, you can also rent out the farm (or rather, areas of the farm) for weddings, birthdays, etc.

As a matter of fact, the day I went there were not only three children’s birthday parties, complete with cow print tablecloths & farm animal balloons, but there was a wedding! It looked lovely… there was a big outside tent right in the middle of the orchard all done up with tables & rustic centerpieces, and the barn was the scene of the ceremony. I didn’t want to be too intrusive taking photos while the bride & groom were taking theirs, so you can only sort of see the chairs lined up inside the barn.

A wedding at the barn! Queens County Farm Museum.

The museum’s information is as follows:

Queens County Farm Museum
73-50 Little Neck Parkway
Floral Park, New York 11004-1129
(718) 347-3276

The Farm Museum is open year-round, Monday—Friday 10:00 a.m.—5:00 p.m. for outdoor visiting only.

Farmhouse tours are Sat.-Sun. 11:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. (April – November)

Farm stand opened June 12th | Egg sales Wed. – Sun. 12 – 5 p.m.

Internet inspiration: cupcake liner storage.

There are a couple of things I’ve learned over the past few years that I honestly never would have thought of nor realized if it weren’t for this wonderful thing we call the internet. They aren’t really important things, not for the most part, but I thought I’d share them with you just the same.

  • The internet taught me that not everyone who CAN make a website SHOULD. Yellow text is just never acceptable.
  • Pinterest taught me that there are a shit ton of alfredo chicken pasta recipes & enchilada recipes- everyone’s husband LOVES them & all of them are “top rated”! (are they really, though?)
  • Pinterest also taught me most people do not buy Ball® jars to preserve food. Silly me.
  • Facebook has taught me the most unattractive people love to post the most photos of themselves. Usually in “da club.” Usually drinking. Usually wearing inappropriate clothing for their weight/age/etc.
  • Facebook also taught me that people who didn’t like me in HS want to be my friend now, after not seeing or speaking to me for 13 years. Strange isn’t it?
  • Instagram taught me I really, really, really love to see what other people are eating & drinking. Maybe too much.
  • Instagram also taught me that there are chicks who do that “duck face” thing seriously, not joking. Woops.
  • Twitter has taught me that I like people better when they’re limited to only 140 characters.
  • Twitter also taught me that people still prefer to follow rather than lead. (whoa- DEEP THOUGHTS)
  • Blogs taught me that everyone thinks they’re funny, clever, and either a professional photographer, makeup artist or chef.
  • Blogs also taught me that most of them are none of the above.

But one of the most important things I’ve learned- aside from the fact that there are a lot of really cool people out there, who sadly, do not live anywhere near me- is that anything you want to do, or things you’ve never dreamed of doing (particularly involving the re-use of every day household items)… the instructions on how to do these things are all right at your fingertips.

And so I made these.

DIY cupcake liner storage that's display worthy! Made using mason jars & chalkboard paint.My chalkboard-writing skills only apply to larger pieces… obviously…

I have a problem with pretty cupcake liners. I always have, really, but before I baked it wasn’t as big of an issue. Before I baked, I’d see them in a store & say “Oh how cute!” then I’d promptly pass them by and pick up a frozen pizza & a bag of Totino’s pizza rolls. But once I started using them it became a thing. I bought so many I had nowhere to actually put them. For awhile, I had some out on a few cupcake & cake stands, but they were getting dirty & dusty from being in the middle of all that kitchen-witchery. So then I bought plastic shoeboxes at Bed Bath & Beyond. And I filled those up real quick, but they got overloaded and in the process began crinkling & eventually ruining the shape of my beautiful liners. Wahhh.

What’s a girl to do?

(Psst… I’m sharing this with you because if you’re here reading this, you might very well have the same problem.)

So one day I was browsing Pinterest, as one is wont to do, and I happened upon this. Genius. Why didn’t I think of that?

Well actually, I had, but I thought of it using Ball jars; and you see, based on what jars I had at my disposal I realized that regular mouth jars aren’t wide enough, and aside from that… pint jars are a bit too shallow and don’t hold as many as you’d like. But this time it just so happens that when I saw that pin, I had literally just finished cleaning out & de-labeling two 25 oz. Victoria pasta sauce jars. And as I scrubbed them I was wondering what exactly I was going to use them for. I had already made candy jars out of old sauce jars, so I didn’t want to do that again (a girl can only have so many candy jars).

Cupcake liner storage jars!

And so there I am, washing these jars & seeing this pin on Pinterest. And like I said, I had all these pretty liners… all wasted by being hidden away… it just made sense. So I made some cupcake liner storage jars out of ’em! The Victoria jars are the PERFECT SIZE for this. Basically, you need a jar with a mouth opening of around 3″ in order to accommodate the liners comfortably. And it should be a pint & a half at least in order to make it worthwhile- you really can’t fit many in a pint jar. It just so happens the Victoria jars are 6″ high (not including lid) with a 3″ wide mouth. Wide mouth quart-sized Ball or Kerr jars would probably work as well.

The thing with these is that there really isn’t any “tutorial” involved- just get jars that the liners fit into without getting squished, and do whatever you want with them. I painted the lids with black Martha Stewart acrylic chalkboard paint (2 coats), and put chalkboard label stickers on the front. This way, if you wanted to split the liners according to holiday or color, use the labels or chalkboard lids to mark them; i.e. “Christmas”, “pink”, “stripes”, etc. The chalkboard paint comes in just about every color you can imagine, so you can match your appliances, your KitchenAid, your kitchen, you name it.

Done. Counter-ready, aesthetically pleasing cupcake liner storage, at your service!


*And if you wanna make some more “Pinterest Projects”, head on over to and check out my other DIY posts.

American Woman, listen what I say.


If you knew my grandmother Agnes, you knew she was many things. She had many talents. And you could call her many things: funny, smart, feisty, kind, the life of the party, bossy, stubborn… a redhead. But two words that would not be among those above would be ‘cook’ or ‘baker.’ When I was growing up, my grandma was into fashion, not baking cookies. My grandfather, her husband Clarence (a.k.a. Butch), was the chef in the house, but he passed away when I was very small & had been sick for a few years. So sadly, I never got to know him at his best, or see him in action in the kitchen. My mother remembers times when my grandmother was at work & my grandfather was home, and he would make them dinner, and how she loved it. That’s not to say Nana never cooked anything- she did. She had her little tricks & signature dishes: namely a delicious stuffing, macaroni salad with shrimp, roast chicken, and meatloaf. And she loved to entertain.

But my Gramps was the one who came from a family of eaters and cooks. You know that saying “People either eat to live or live to eat”? Well, Nana’s family, when she was growing up, more or less “ate to live” whereas my Gramps’ family “lived to eat.” Don’t get me wrong, my grandmother loved to eat too. But she wasn’t much into the actual making of it. In restaurants or when someone else cooked, sure. But not so much when it was up to her to cook it. She’d just as soon have a sandwich or egg salad, and she’d be just as happy. On the other hand, my grandpa loved him some good food! His family liked to eat, and there were cooks & bakers aplenty. So therefore he learned from his mother to cook and he enjoyed it, and I think I got that “foodie” (horrible word- pardon me) part of me from his side of the family. I mentioned his mother; well Midge (her nickname) was a half German/half Irish woman with a big heart, a kind soul, and a talent for the domestic arts. She crocheted beautiful things, too, and was an expert at tatting, so it wasn’t just a kitchen-related talent. But that’s where she shined.

When my grandmother first went to their house for dinner, she was amazed. Her Irish mother, mother of seven and herself the daughter of an immigrant Irish housekeeper (who was really a single mother before that term was even a term), never cooked like that. She did the best she could to feed her seven children during the Depression, and she wasn’t exactly interested in that stuff anyway. Julia Child she was not. But my grandpa’s mother Midge was in a better financial situation, really did love to cook, and made all kinds of things from scratch. Cornstarch pudding, Sauerbraten, potato dumplings… you name it, it was on the table at one point or another. My mother says she can still close her eyes and remember the smell that wafted into the hallway of her grandparent’s apartment building when she used to go there for dinner as a child. She said she could smell her grandmother’s cooking right away, as soon as they walked in. In some ways, perhaps, my grandfather’s overabundant love of food, namely sweets, was a contributing factor to him being a diabetic as well.

And let me just say before I go on… I definitely inherited the clothes-horse/fashionista gene from my Nana’s side as well as that food-lover gene.

Anyway, the last Christmas Eve before my Nana passed away, Christmas 2010, in the middle of eating some appetizers she took me aside and said, “OH! I found something, and I want to give it to you.” She motioned for me to follow her into the dining room. She opened up the right-hand drawer of her buffet and took out a book, and handed it to me. It was a 1947 copy of The American Woman’s Cook Book by Ruth Berolzheimer, in almost perfect condition (in a clear plastic red-trimmed book cover- true to form for my Nana, but I took it off for the photos).

I’d vaguely heard of the author, mainly from just searching recipes on the internet, but I wasn’t fully familiar with the book. I was really excited, though, because of a few reasons. One, it was vintage, and I love any and all things vintage… especially the fact that it was a COOKBOOK, which is the second reason why I loved it. She was happy that I liked it, and that I’d use it. I don’t know how often she’d cracked it open in the last 60-something years, but it looked pretty new. She told me to look through it and make her something delicious, and winked.

It saddens me I’ll never have a moment like that again.

It saddens me that I’ll never get a surprise gift from her again, that if I do find a vintage something-or-other of hers, it won’t be her that hands it to me. But as melancholy as those thoughts are, that’s another reason why I love things like this. Not only was it my grandma’s, but it’s a piece of history. And not just her history… but American history.

Ruth Berolzheimer died in 1965 after a long and illustrious career as a “cooking and child welfare expert” (according to her obituary). She was for years the director of the Culinary Arts Institute, and the editor/author of a number of books.

The The American Woman’s Cookbook was originally published in 1939 (or perhaps 1938?) by the directors of the College of Home Economics of Cornell University, under the auspices of the Delineator Institute – and it seems that it was descended from an earlier Delineator Cookbook. The Delineator Cookbook in turn was derived from a fashion magazine called The Delineator, which was originally produced in the 1870’s by the Butterick sewing pattern company.

The book contains over 10,000 recipes, and went to many printings of many editions. From the outset was considered a trustworthy and comprehensive resource, and I was delighted to find that for those of us not lucky enough to own a real copy, there is an online version available via the Internet Archive.

The Old Foodie

I hadn’t actually thought much about it after that until Jay was browsing One Kings Lane a few weeks back and there was a copy from the 1940’s that had been sold for $50.00. I said, “Holy crap I have that book!” and then I realized mine, too, must have been from the 1940’s as well. This week though, fueled by a Mad Men marathon & a yen for all things nostalgic, I finally sat down and looked through the book in detail. It’s amazing, really. First of all, the meals that were eaten back then are so incredibly different than the ones we eat now. When was the last time someone you knew made a cold chicken salad in a mold? Yes, that’s right, chicken plus gelatin. Chilled. In a mold. Like a creamy chicken Jello. Yum. Or when was the last time you went to a luncheon and the hostess served peanut butter, bacon and lettuce sandwiches and coffee jelly? Probably never. Although that coffee jelly does sound good.

Most of the photographs are black and white, save for a few every 50-100 pages or so that are in color.

Check out that stand mixer! And as you can also see above, my copy clearly has the same photographs from the original late 1930’s books; the women’s hair is basically marcelled! Which, on top of making me very excited (I love Marcel waves), also leaves me wondering: were the same photographs kept the same for every copy of this book? Or did they change at any point? I can’t see the 1950’s versions having photos of women with marcelled hair in them… that would be very outdated by then. Not to mention I’m sure cooking techniques & equipment would have drastically changed by then as well. If anyone out there has a later copy, I’d love to know the answers to these questions!

I don’t know the origins of her getting the book. The printing date is 7 years after she was married, but before she moved out of the apartment in the Bronx to her home on Long Island. So it wasn’t a wedding gift or housewarming gift. Perhaps she went and bought it for herself?  I don’t know. I wish I had asked her. I wish I had asked her that night where she got it, but I didn’t. I was more interested in flipping through it and eating, and I was distracted by the excitement of Christmas. It went onto my book shelf and I didn’t take it down again until after she passed away, and then it was only briefly.


The canning & preserving recipes have changed, too. Not a lot, but mainly the methods (they discuss the paraffin wax technique) and timing (and sugar amounts), and the USDA would probably say to be on the safe side they shouldn’t be used. Even the way food was served back then is totally different. Lots of decorations, ruffly lettuce underneath, turnips/tomatoes/cucumbers cut into flowers, etc. Not to mention the food photography! It’s funny that food blogs now have livelier photos and better photographed food. But can you imagine what a big deal cameras were then? Hey food bloggers: think of your Nikon or Canon with the macro lens that you love so dearly. Women back then didn’t have one of those, and if they did, I guarantee you it was nowhere near the kitchen or the food.

Also in this book there are some killer drawings & diagrams, including floor plans for how a kitchen ought to be laid out- taking into consideration the “service entrance.” ‘Cause really, who doesn’t have a service entrance? Oh, and of course how to set up your dinner service, from appetizer to dessert.

;However some things are timeless. All the baked goods: cakes, cookies, desserts, etc. Those are all the same now as they were back then. Maybe there’s more shortening used in the actual cakes than there is butter, but other than that they’re the same. Meringues are the same. Boiled icing is the same. And the cuts of meat; shoulder, rump roast, etc. The butchering process is the same, as are the standards of good quality meat (“Good beef has a fresh red color, a smooth covering of brittle creamy fat and small streaks of fat distributed through the lean”).

I think, actually, this book will be my go-to guide for choosing meats and cutting them since it goes into so much detail. And of course, vegetables are still vegetables. The food pyramid may have changed 100x since this book was printed, but the stress on eating more vegetables and less fats is still the same. The general idea of entertaining is still the same, too, albeit the methods are different (no longer would you read a cookbook that said something along the lines of “Lead your guests out of the dining space into a lounge area… by the time the guests have lit up a cigarette and begun to drink their after- dinner drinks, the dining table should long be forgotten”).

Why are we so quick to assume that the people in the past have nothing in common with us today? Do iPads and smartphones make so much of a difference that people aren’t fundamentally after the same things in life? I don’t think so. We just think our ways are better. I happen to not always agree with that statement. I lean towards being nostalgic for (and often romanticize) times I never even lived in. Which is dangerous, admittedly, because it means that I’m overlooking the reality to only see the “fun things” or the novelty of it. But let’s face it: we all do that. My grandparents and great-grandparents lived through Prohibition, and if they were alive today they’d tell you it wasn’t exactly like Boardwalk Empire.

I can, of course, see the benefits in technology & modernization. A hand mixer is a gift from Zeus & Athena bestowed upon us for convenience & expedience. And these advancements aren’t just in cooking & baking, but everything. My great grandmother’s had their babies at home, no epidurals. Ask most women who have children about that. And laptops? Wow. I couldn’t live without mine, personally. I can’t even remember life with a desktop PC anymore- and that was just a few years ago! I could go on and on… but like I said, I see the benefits of that. And I can understand how much harder life was, even if only because things we take for granted today either took longer or had to be done manually. Isn’t it easier to Google than to find an encyclopedia & look something up? Don’t cell phones make emergencies easier? Isn’t satellite radio way cooler than AM/FM? Yes.

But on the other hand, these things have complicated life and dumbed people down substantially. I said it once before: smart phones are making people stupid. Basically, people are the same they always have been. Deep down. I think a lot of the priorities have changed, and not for the better. But all the way down in the very core of people… they’re the same they always have been. I just think we ALL need to get back to what’s important, and it certainly isn’t who has the latest trend in technology. And it definitely isn’t who has the biggest car, the nicest house, the most offshore accounts or the most popular blog. Build relationships with your kids and your families. Go outside. Get fresh air. Have a picnic. Or read a vintage cook book. It’ll give you a fresh perspective on things, I promise.

I’m reminded once again of how food can tie together memories & feelings, and how a simple cookbook I forgot I had can make me smile on a day when I needed to.

“Shake it like a Polaroid picture”: Cupcake Rehab got a new look.

In case you haven’t noticed the obvious; things look different around here. I revamped the entire website, from soup to nuts (haha, pun intended). If you’re lost, here’s the rundown: on the main page each polaroid is a blog post. You can access them just by clicking the polaroid or blog title underneath it, and the post will open. To access the main page again, simply click ‘Home’ above or the header image itself, both will bring you back. For anything else, just scroll down. You’ll see the search box, categories, archives and links down at the bottom of the page. The other pages, such as ‘About Me’ and ‘Press’ are still located at the top, just under the header image, like the ‘Home’ button. The categories & links don’t open in a new page, they open directly below the title, then you click the title and they go away again. Easy! The best way to figure it out is just to go around clicking on stuff. If anything looks off or funky, don’t hesitate to shoot me an e-mail. I can’t promise it’ll be fixed, because these things do tend to sometimes look different on various browsers/computers/resolutions/etc, but I’ll try to remedy the issue.

In the meantime, enjoy it. It’s simpler, cleaner, and there’s less information shoved in your face the minute you log on. Coming here and seeing all that text that looked like a novel was kind of overwhelming for some people, it was kind of a person with ADD’s nightmare. Yeah, it’ll take some getting used to for all of us, I’m sure, this blog hasn’t had a complete layout change in a very long time. Probably since 2008. And I didn’t plan on it, but it happened thanks to a stupid mistake I made that was, to use a phrase I hate: a blessing in disguise. I really needed a change, anyway, and I think it’s for the best. But the absolute best part? That it’s all done now so we can all sit back, relax, and take it in. And I can start with new posts!

In addition to all that, I added about a gazillion new links. All of them are “internet friends” of mine from way back when (over 10 years, some of them) who’ve either revived their blogs, started new ones, or were recently re-discovered by me. So if you’re bored with this site (HOW FREAKIN’ DARE YOU), then feel free to sort through my links. I guarantee there’s something for everyone in there, and most of them are run by incredibly cool, incredibly interesting people. When I say “internet friends,” for most of them that’s a poor description implying they’re nothing more than a name on a monitor & that is so not true.

And now for something completely different…


That’s one of my favorite things to use as decoration in the summer. A vintage Ball jar (or a new one), a vase, candle holder or goldfish bowl (or any other interestingly shaped clear glass vessel), half filled with sand and then topped with seashells, starfish and/or filled just with sea glass. You can buy a bag of sand at a toy store, or just bogart some from the beach. Same with the seashells- you can buy them in a craft store or you can just take some home with you from a day at the shore. It’s a fun project to do! Me & my mother made like 60+ of them one year as favors for my aunt’s birthday party, and I have tons of them around here at home. When those come out, I know it’s officially summertime. They look so pretty and they’re outdoor friendly too. You can even add tealights to them. Do you have any summer traditions or decorations that kick off the season? Or any fancy little things you do with seashells? Tell me!

It’s definitely summer, everyone. Get your flip flops and beach towels ready. And don’t forget to enter the Sourpuss Clothing cupcake cookie jar giveaway! It ends midnight EST on June 19th. So go enter! You know you want to.