Towels Free, Mustaches Extra

Came across this little gem of time-yellowed archival material from 1939 at work today, replicated for your reading pleasure below.  It’s completely irrelevant to what the work project will ultimately be about but made for some fun reading.  I wish I had seen it three years ago for wedding menu inspiration, although I guess if this kind of stuff was still en vogue The Knot would have yet another “to do” (“Write menu poetry liberally speckled with puns and wit and have your calligrapher sketch it on onionskin sheets that white doves will carry in their bedazzled beaks to each and every rehearsal dinner guest! If you want!”) to add to their “Panic Inducing List of Half a Billion Things That We Try to Make Brides Think They Need to Do to Prepare for Their Weddings or ELSE.”

No matter.  I’ve got at least three friends in my back pocket that would appreciate having this style of printed menu when they come over for dinner.  Ok, two friends. Ok, one friend, and my husband. And the friend is my sister.  Also, we won’t be having anything on the menu because it took me so long to make it that we’re eating dry spaghetti and a can of beans from the cabinet.

June 3, 1939

“Think as you munch how hunters tense and grim
Risked everything, risked life, risked limb
To lure the savage olives from their lair
That we might have them on our bill of fare!”
-R. Daughters, B. ED.

“How when I stare upon this small red sea
My thoughts sing me this lyric litany:
How exquisite, ineffable, how super-luscious,
How lovely looks m’lady when she blushes!”
-D. Taylor Coleridge, A.B.

“This of resistance should be the very piece,
One half a pound, no less, immune from grease.
And though we land that fine philosophy:
That in short measure life may perfect be,
Ah, Wilcox! mark you, let there not appear
The faintest vestige of short measure here!”
-E. Dooley & Com., OGPU

“Hats off to him with ringing rhyme
Who raised the spud to heights sublime
Who gave the lowly pomme-de-terre
A fluffy, creamy, regal air.
Greater than Ickes or Jim Farley
He was a real animal rationale.”
-Shea & Labouvie, FAC.

“Dutchmen like their fragrant cheese,
Their foamy beer and skittles.
Lawyers dote on fatted fees
And quick acquittals.
But asparagus and native peas
Are my fondest victuals.”
-E. Solemando, A.B.


“Ice Cream! Did I hear you say?
Then let the horses have their hay,
But tie me, lash me e’re I swoon
To a deep-grooved large-sized spoon!”
-E. Krohn and M. Mahaney, B.S.

“Join in the dancing if you’re able
To leave your plates at the table.”



Baking Amnesia & Jalapeño Cornbread

This baking binge is a little frightening. Usually the mood to heat up the kitchen sets in during the crisper days of fall, yet somehow I’ve found myself at one moment reading a recipe, and at the next watching something delicious-smelling rising and developing a golden brown crust in the oven. Of course, the floury countertops and stubborn bits of dough clinging to bowls, whisks, and wooden spoons soon bring back all that happened in between.

The latest bout of baking amnesia happened when I was looking for a worthy companion to a big pot of pink beans (habichuelas rosadas) that I soaked overnight and then simmered with a bay leaf, onion, carrot, some vegetable stock, and a dusting of cumin, cayenne, chili powder, and coriander. Homemade tortillas came to mind, but that was idea was quickly scrapped when I spotted a recipe on the back of a bag of Arrowhead Mills Organic Yellow Corn Meal.

Forty minutes later – match made in heaven. This quick bread could stand on its own – one slice is a deeply satisfying snack, with its blend of heat from the jalapeños and saltiness from the sharp cheddar. But pair it with beans, chili, soup, an egg, really anything that could benefit from a bit of sopping, and you’ve got yourself a perfect fall meal. So what if it’s still 80 degrees outside?

Jalapeño Cornbread
(recipe from Arrowhead Mills Organic Yellow Corn Meal bag, with some adjustments)

1 cup onion, finely chopped
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup yellow corn meal
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup milk
3 tablespoons vegetable oil or butter
2 tablespoons honey
1 1/4 cup sharp cheddar cheese, grated
2-3 jalapeño peppers, finely chopped (I used 2, but next time may use 3 to make it spicier)

Preheat oven to 400. Prepare an 8×8 pan (or cast iron skillet) using oil or cooking spray.  Saute the chopped onions in the olive oil until just limp, about five minutes.

Combine the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt in a mixing bowl, blending well.

Separately beat together the eggs, milk, honey and oil (or butter).

Add the milk mixture to the dry ingredients and stir until just moistened. Stir in the onions, 1 cup of the cheese, and the jalapeños.

Pour into the prepared pan/skillet and top with the remaining cheese. Bake 20-25 minutes or until crusty brown.