Sunday, September 26, 2010

SS - Grand Central Terminal Oyster Bar, New York

The Grand Central Oyster Bar & Restaurant is a famous New York landmark located on the lower level of Grand Central Terminal. The restaurant specializes in seafood and has been in business since 1913. The architecture of the restaurant features vaulted and tiled ceilings. Apparently not much has changed over the years, although the restaurant was renovated following a 1997 fire. The restaurant is still popular, but judging by the number of negative reviews online, the food and service are not as good as they once were.

The 2010 Grand Central Oyster Frenzy was held yesterday, September 25. This event featured cooking demonstrations, a Professional Shucking Championship, and a Slurp Off (oyster eating contest). The 2007 Oyster Frenzy is shown in the video below.

The artwork on this postcard is by George Shellhase. His humorous illustrations appeared in many magazines. Shellhase had a free-flowing style that was largely self-taught. His art was characterized by "sensitive pencil lines and luminous washes of watercolor." Some of his illustrations for an article about clambakes can be seen in a July 1948 issue of Ford Times. (The Ford Times issue that is online also has some recipes from famous restaurants.)

Shellhase lived in Connecticut for many years and moved to Florida in the early 1960s. His 1988 obituary in the Sun Sentinel has a quote about his philosophy : "Love the great beauties of nature. ... Experiment with enthusiasm the infinite variety of nature's designs and forms. Love humanity and interpret at your best the many events that unfold before your eyes each day."

Smorgasbord Sundays (SS)
restaurant and food postcards

Friday, September 24, 2010

PFF - Western Washington Fair, Puyallop

The Western Washington Fair, more commonly known as the Puyallup Fair, was first held in 1900. It started out small and has grown much larger over the years. It ranks as one of the ten largest fairs in the world. The fair is located south of Seattle and east of Tacoma and runs annually for 17 days in September. The Puyallup Fair dates for 2010 are September 10-26.

These same two postcards are shown and described on the Roller Coasters of the Pacific Northwest website. The first picture shows the wooden roller coaster ride, Giant Ferris Wheel, Octopus, Fly-O-Plane, kiddie rides, Flyers, and some independent attractions.The second midway picture shows the wooden Coaster Thrill Ride, the Old Mill ride, Whip, Caterpillar, and the Fun House. These were permanent rides built around 1936. All of these rides except the Coaster Thrill Ride were destroyed by fire in 1970. A three-year roller coaster reconstruction project began in 2009.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

VTT - Apple Jars & Apple Butter

Fall is a time for apples. I collect apple things, so today I am showing some of my apple thingies.

Above is a postcard that has a recipe for apple butter on the back. The postcard is part of a series of postcards with recipes from the Pennsylvania Dutch Country (©1981).

Below are two of my apple butter/jam/jelly jars. I have seven different apple condiment jars. I am not sure they are all vintage, though they do all look vintage. These two have Lefton labels on the bottom and are made in Japan. Lefton imported most of their products from Japan until the mid-1970s. Some of the jars, including these, have notches cut in the lid for a small spoon or spreader. Similar jars were made in the shape of other fruits.

Here is the recipe for Apple Butter that is printed on the back of the postcard:


2 quarts of cider
3-1/2 lbs. of cooking apples
3 cups sugar
2 teaspoons each ground allspice — cloves
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt

Boil cider for 15 minutes. Add sliced apples and cook until soft. Force through a sieve to remove skins and seeds. Return to kettle — add spices, sugar and salt. Cook slowly until thick and smooth, stirring to prevent scorching. Pour into jars or crock. Makes about 4 pints.

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Sunday, September 19, 2010

SS - Café Du Monde, New Orleans, Louisiana

The Café Du Monde calls itself the "Original French Market Coffee Stand." It was established in 1862 in the French Market of New Orleans. They used to advertise coffee and doughnuts. The postcard calls them Hot French doughnuts. Now they use the French name "beignets."

According to the Café Du Monde website, beignets are fried fritters that were brought to Louisiana by the Acadians. The beignet served today is "a square piece of dough, fried and covered with powdered sugar." The Café serves beignets in orders of three and also sells a beignet mix to make your own. Coffee is served either black or Au Lait (mixed half and half with hot milk).

Smorgasbord Sundays (SS)
restaurant and food postcards

Thursday, September 16, 2010

PFF - Hartman Furniture and Carpet Company

Hartman Furniture and Carpet Co. was a Chicago company in business during the early 1900's. They used the bride and groom and bird theme and the "feather the nest" slogan on some other advertising postcards also. Even the back of the postcard has bird nest imagery.

The back also has something I didn't notice until I scanned it. Look closely at that heavy blue line under the Post Card heading. The blue line hides the words "NOTHING BUT ADDRESS ON THIS SIDE." That would have been true before messages were allowed on the back and the back was divided into spaces for the address and a message. Divided backs were first allowed on March 1, 1907.

Hartman had a large catalog as well as a number of stores. According to this ad from a 1913 Popular Mechanics magazine, they were the "Largest, oldest and best known home furnishing concern in the world." They were established in 1855 and had 22 stores in 1913.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

VTT - Crazy Quilt Made From Vintage Neckties

The first picture is a postcard showing a detail of an old crazy quilt that was photographed during the Blue Ridge Parkway Folklife Project in 1978. The project was conducted by the American Folklife Center, in cooperation with the National Park Service.

In 1985, I read the book Crazy Quilts by Penny McMorris and was inspired to make my own crazy quilt using neckties. At that time it was possible to find many fancy wide ties for cheap prices in thrift stores. Many of the ties of the 1970s were wide and had fancy woven patterns that reminded me of the fancy fabrics and embroidery used during the crazy quilt craze (about 1880 to 1910).

My quilt is made from polyester ties which I found more satisfactory than silk because they were easily washed. I took the ties apart and placed batches of them in a zippered pillow case to wash them in a washing machine. After pressing, the ties were ready to use.

The quilt is approximately 60" X 74". It is made up or twenty 13-1/2" squares. Each patchwork square was made on a muslin backing. The patches were machine stitched in place. After the first patch, each additional patch was added by placing it against the previous patch with right sides together. A seam was sewn through both patches and the backing, then the new patch was flipped right side up and pressed.

Solid color ties were used for the border. Simple embroidery stitches were used between the individual patches and between squares. Embroidery floss was used within the squares. Number 5 pearl cotton was used between the squares and on the border. The quilt backing is a forest green flannel sheet. The top and the back are tied together with pearl cotton every 6-3/4", with the ties showing only on the back.

The book Crazy Quilts by Penny McMorris was published in 1984. It is probably the most interesting books on quilts I have seen, and I recommend it to anyone interested in reading about or making a crazy quilt.

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Sunday, September 12, 2010

SS - Bungalow Cafe, Dearborn, Michigan

The Bungalow Cafe in Dearborn, Michigan was established in 1925. They were still in business in 1959 when they were listed in Duncan Hines Adventures in Good Eating. The listing showed the address as 2211 Michigan Ave., not 22117. Here is information from the listing:
Main dining room seats 90. Congenial atmosphere and interior has a garden decor with lots of green plants and garden scenes. Spec.: Deep dish chicken pie, home baked pies, homemade ice cream.

Smorgasbord Sundays (SS)
restaurant and food postcards

Friday, September 10, 2010

PFF - National Stadium & Aquatics Center, Beijing

This lovely postcard from China was waiting for me when I got home today. Although I am not usually interested in stamps, I think the ones on this card are unusually pretty.The card show the National Stadium and Aquatics Center which were built for the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing.

The stadium is nicknamed the Bird's Nest because of its appearance. The design was actually based on a study of Chinese ceramics. The steel beams were originally meant to hide supports for a retractable roof, but the retractable roof was omitted from the final design. The Aquatics Center is nicknamed the Water Cube because of its shape (actually a cuboid, or rectangular box).

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

VTT - Concerning Cats

I don't know the story about the "Nicko" cat postcard. There is no message on the back. I am guessing that Nicko probably was a champion, and that Mrs. Annie M. Trapp of Topeka was a breeder of pedigreed Angora cats. The postcard has an undivided back. It probably was made just a few years after the Concerning Cats book by Helen M. Winslow was published in 1900.

I had never seen cats called "geldings" before, but geldings are mentioned in the book as well as on the postcard. It is interesting to read about cats and their owners from more than a hundred years ago. The book has a number illustrations of named cats, but the illustrations don't always seem to coordinate with the text.

In the first chapter, the author wrote about her cat named Pretty Lady. Pretty Lady had a total of 93 kittens, but was never allowed to keep more than one at a time. At the end of the book, in the Appendix, there is information about the "population control" practices of the time.

Young male cats, if desired as pets, should be castrated or gelded, an operation that may be performed by any veterinary, or a man who understands it.…

The process of spaying female cats should never be undertaken by any but an experienced veterinary surgeon, and even then there is much risk attending the operation, especially with Angoras and high-bred cats.

If people would not allow the mother cat to keep so many kittens, the problem of disposing of the extra cats afterward would be much less formidable.…It is perfectly easy to dispose of new-born kittens...I let the mother keep one, and select a male for that purpose. The others I immediately do up in a soft old rag, with a piece of brick or stone, and deposit them them in a pail of warm (not hot) water.…In this way the over-supply of cats can be kept down.…The Pretty Lady was always satisfied when, having her second batch of spring or summer kittens, we took them all away and substituted an older one, provided he had not outgrown the natural taste for lacteal food.

I haven't finished reading the book yet. Concerning Cats is in the public domain and is available on the internet both as an etext and an audio recording. The internet versions are missing the last several chapters and an Appendix that are in my book.

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