Saturday, November 28, 2009

24Th Annual Open House Railroad Club

The 24th annual open house of the Del Mar Va Model Railroad Club opened today.

Free admission - free parking

Today it is open from 11 AM to 5 PM, Tomorrow on Sunday it is open 12 PM to 5 PM
It will be opened December 5th and 6th, January 9th and 10th and January 16th and 17th.

The DelMarVa Model Railroad Club is located in Downtown Delmar at 103 State Street on the second floor of Camelot Hall

1953 Laconia Industries ad

Friday, November 27, 2009

Black Friday and Football

Well my wife and two daughters left last night about 10 PM for the Tanger outlets in Rehoboth Beach. They came back home this morning about 10 AM. Twelve hours of shopping just dazzles my male mind and to think they asked if I wanted to go with them before they left for Rehoboth. My mind may be failing rapidly but it hasn't gotten to that point yet. My Black Friday shopping consisted of running over to Bryan and Brittingham Hardware for a part to repair a lamp. The whole buying trip took ten minutes from leaving the house to returning back in the house.

As everyone in Delmar knows tonight is a Delmar Laurel Football game. My crew were dressed in orange and blue when they left a few minutes ago to head north to Laurel. They did seem a tad bit testy for lack of sleep but they are one of a number of vehicles heading north from Delmar. There should be a few thousand there tonight. Me? Sit on a cold ass metal bleacher to watch 15 seconds of game time and 5 minutes of huddle and regrouping time - no way.

Speaking of Football rivalry, Thanksgiving north of us in the Lehigh Valley and northwest New Jersey means the Phillipsburg NJ Stateliners and the Easton PA Red Rovers played football again, as they have done for 103 years. Before a crowd of 14,500 Easton beat Phillipsburg with a 26-10 for their fourth straight win.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving Day Morning

Ah Yes Thanksgiving Morning at Howard's. Both daughters made it home yesterday.

Baking and cooking started last night and this morning it continues.

All this mother-daughter bonding in the kitchen

Yes a little retro Good Housekeeping moment

My wife is busy in the kitchen and has been so from the time she got off work last night on into the wee hours of the morning - but the daughters are a sleep and I don't expect to see them until noon. They did do a little baking last night - in between playing computer games and talking to their friends. Sounds like all sons and daughters that are single and come home for Thanksgiving.

In spite of thinking I had rounded up all the dust bunnies and did a euthanasia on them I am presently looking at one that has escaped or multiplied and is nesting in the corner of the ceiling.

The daughter that goes to college must not have done laundry for the last two weeks as when she unloaded her car most of the load was dirty clothes.

Well a few more of these and the morning may improve.

Tune in later for Thanksgiving updates

Green Beans and The Green Bean Casserole

A tip of the hat to Fallston Almanac of American History for directing me to the Slate post on green beans at Thanksgiving Time and that mushroom-soup-green-beans-French-onions de rigeur of Thanksgiving meals - the green bean casserole.

Our ancestors started eating green beans on Thanksgiving because it's possible to stuff them in an airtight container and forget about them until the apocalypse.

My guess is that we've got the Campbell Soup Company to thank for the limp bean's promotion from occasional guest to bona fide Thanksgiving mainstay. As is fairly well-known, the Campbell test kitchen (under the leadership of Dorcas Reilly) invented the green bean casserole in 1955. This near-instant meal consists of Campbell's cream of mushroom soup, fried onions, and—of course—canned green beans. Although Campbell did not initially market the recipe as a holiday special per se, it became one by the 1960s. Now we can't get rid of it. This Thanksgiving, the soup giant estimates that 20 percent to 30 percent of American families will prepare the green bean casserole.

Joe Muir - Baseball player and Md. State Police Officer

Joseph Allen Muir Pitcher for the Pittsburgh Pirates. He was born on Nov. 26, 1922, in Oriole, Md. At 29 he quit baseball and joined the Maryland State Police. Apparently the state police would not accept new recruits over the age of 30, so Muir had to make the decision at that point. He retired in 1970 and passed away on June 25, 1980. He is buried in his hometown of Oriole, Maryland on the Eastern Shore.

See A Perspective from Scorchy Tawes with John Somers for some more stories of Joe Muir and smith island baseball.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

What's For Thanksgiving?

Break the mold people - don't do the traditional turkey - go for something that is a challenge - like spam

Not only cheaper but sized so you will not have a lot of leftovers.

Beats plucking a turkey for Obama's Thanksgiving supper - and you thought that turkey was going to Disneyland - I bet you think the economy is improving too because you read that in the news also.

All The Ships At Sea

Well maybe not all the ships at sea but at least a few. Over at Live Ship Map of Marine you can pull up a map of the port you want or the section of ocean you want and it will display the ships in that area. Different icons shows passenger ships cargo ships, tankers etc.(military ships are not shown) clicking on the icon will produce data about the ship, it's speed and where it is heading. The system makes use of the AIS (Automatic Identification System) which is required for all ships over 299 GT. It is hosted by what seem to Mediterranean marine related companies so it tends more to those flagships. Looking in the Mediterranean there is about 1,300 ships it is tracking. You can look at Baltimore or even the second largest port in Maryland (Salisbury - what a laugh) and see how many ships are in port or those making their way up and down the Delaware Bay.

Proper Upbring - 1850

From the November 1850 issue of Godey's Lady's Book

DIARIES. - Every young lady who aspires to the dignity of having a well-cultivated mind should keep a diary; say from the time she is fifteen till she reaches the regulated age of twenty-five. An earlier attempt would not often be perservered in; and after twenty-five, a woman, if married, will find her duties are calling into requisition all her faculties and attainments; in this will be active, needful improvement, which is far better than speculative goodness.

If any young lady is ambitious of becoming an authoress, let her keep a diary for a year, and she can judge better of the province on which she would enter. Devote one half hour each morning to recording the events of the preceding day, and at the end of the year there will be a large volume - of more value to the writer, probably, than all she could obtain by scribbling for the periodicals during her lifetime. It is not the money we get, but the wisdom we gain, which makes authorship desirable for a woman.

But keeping a diary is very useful to a single lady who has leisure time on her hands. It is the best corrective of that fault of the age, excessive reading without reflection. One may read mechanically, as it were, but not thus heedlessly can she write. The effort to embody her thoughts in language, seize her truant fancies and bind them down on the page before her, while she contemplates their gossamer wings, will compel the young lady to think. And if, at the end of each month, she will carefully read over her diary, faithfully kept, of her actions, thoughts, hopes, and resolutions, she will be sure to correct her own faults; she will become ashamed of wasting her time on trifles; she will find out, and pursue a course of self-training, the only mode of education which makes one really enjoy what is learned.


Red Top Liquors for sale

I was looking at commercial property for sale this morning and I see Red Top Liquors is for sale at $325,000. The sale includes business and real estate. I had made mention of the place back in August.

Monday, November 23, 2009

USDA Seeks Applicants for the USDA/1890 Scholarships

The USDA is reminding High School Seniors and college sophomores and juniors who desire to follow a career in agriculture and public service to apply for their 1890 program . I see where Kimble Brown, Jr, of Delmar Maryland, was selected as a USDA/1890 National Scholar in 2009. USDA selects scholars based on recommendations of participating historically Black 1890 Land-Grant Institutions of which UMES and Delaware State University are part of the 1890 land-grant colleges. USDA/1890 scholarship recipients receive full tuition, fees, books, use of laptop computers and printers, software, employment and employee benefits for each of the four years they pursue a bachelor’s degree. For each year of the scholarship, students receive room and board provided by the partnering institutions. Students are required to work one year at USDA for each year of their scholarship.

High school seniors and rising college sophomores and juniors are encouraged to apply before the Feb. 1, 2010 deadline.

KFC Witness Protection Program

Food Rut - Food Rut

One of the few disadvantages of being retired is, by guilt or general bitching, I end up doing the cooking for the two of us. Combined with some attempt to diet (a four letter word) I have gotten into a food rut of bland, humdrum meals. It seems like I am looking at four choices; beef, chicken, fish or pork. Blah. We have them in rotation each week. Boring. Mired in a food rut, supper is predictable. I know that, as night follows day, it'll be beef on Tuesday and fish on Friday. It is like when I was in military and had a week of eating C-rations. By the third day it didn’t matter what entrĂ©e the can said it was you knew one can was going to taste the same as the next.

Happily there is a beam of sunshine in my future – Thanksgiving – my wife is off work that day and both of my daughters are coming home. They do the cooking on holidays – part of the mother – daughter bonding experience and diets go out the door for holidays.

In this food rut I have been trying to pull up some of the old side dish recipes my grandmother use to cook in order to add some novelty to supper. One is a mashed onions, potato and carrots combination. Now I was not aware it was any kind of a historical recipe and I am sure my grandmother didn’t know it was. It seems that combination is a Dutch recipe called Hutspot. It is served on October 3rd to celebrate the defeat of the Spanish in Leiden (Leyden) Holland in 1574. Well imagine that. It is not a bad combination and I don’t know why I don’t cook it more often. Here is the simple version of it (remember I am trying to cook for two);

½ cup of diced onions
1 and ½ cup of diced Irish potatoes
1 and ½ cup of diced carrots

Throw in a pot, cover with water, boil for a half hour to 45 minutes, drain water, mash all the vegetables, add butter or milk if you want, sprinkle with salt and pepper.

What's For Thanksgiving?

1966 - You can get anything you want at Alice's restaurant

Alice's Restaurant
By Arlo Guthrie

This song is called Alice's Restaurant, and it's about Alice, and the
restaurant, but Alice's Restaurant is not the name of the restaurant,
that's just the name of the song, and that's why I called the song Alice's

You can get anything you want at Alice's Restaurant
You can get anything you want at Alice's Restaurant
Walk right in it's around the back
Just a half a mile from the railroad track
You can get anything you want at Alice's Restaurant

Now it all started two Thanksgivings ago, was on - two years ago on
Thanksgiving, when my friend and I went up to visit Alice at the
restaurant, but Alice doesn't live in the restaurant, she lives in the
church nearby the restaurant, in the bell-tower, with her husband Ray and
Fasha the dog. And livin' in the bell tower like that, they got a lot of
room downstairs where the pews used to be in. Havin' all that room,
seein' as how they took out all the pews, they decided that they didn't
have to take out their garbage for a long time.

We got up there, we found all the garbage in there, and we decided it'd be
a friendly gesture for us to take the garbage down to the city dump. ...
continued here

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Hog-Killing 1937


From The Milford Chronicle November 26, 1937

Lower Delaware farmers, with few exceptions, know not the pangs of hunger because they always are able, with any seasonable weather conditions in the spring and summer to produce enough to supply their family needs, provided they are ambitious enough to work and provide for another day, especially the blasting days of winter months.

With the approach of Thanksgiving and the Christmas holidays, it’s again hog-killing time in Sussex County and throughout the Delmarva Peninsula, when they store away for the winter months those famous lower Delaware hams and strings of sausage on poles in the old smoke house for famous breakfasts and dinners. Aged folk say that there is nothing like the old-fashioned smoked or sugar-cured hams, except by those in some section of Virginia.

The sausage goes hand in hand with buckwheat cakes and sugarcane syrup in the morning. Plenty of scrapple is made for winter use too. This is one pork product little known throughout New York state but famous throughout Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland and Delaware.

Hog-killing for a century has been a festive event in the rural sections. For many decades it has been a custom for the neighboring farmers to gather and help each other butcher their porkers. After killed and cleaned the men folks have but little to do with the “hog-work” as it is called other than to clean up and salt and smoke the meat when cooled.

The women folks “try the lard” – that is place the fat in large pots in the barnyard and boil out the grease. This furnishes them with what they term “frying fat” for the winter and it makes their Christmas donuts. During the cold days in January and February the “cracklings” or residue after the grease has been boiled out are used with hominy. The rural folks enjoy this winter meal as well as those living in towns and cities who were raised on farms.

Farmers do not employ modern methods to clean their porkers. They use fodder and butcher knives, clam shells an pieces of tin to “scrape” the bristles off the hogs after they are scalded just as they did many decades ago.

Different ways are used to kill the porkers. Some farmers “stick” them, using a sharp butcher knife: while others first use an axe or shoot them in the head before cutting their throats. Shooting them first is held to be the more humane way.

Hog-killing day on the farm has always meant a frolic.

During the 80’s and 90’s it meant plenty of “applejack”, distilled on many farms throughout the county from the native apples and peaches. They knew how to drink it and keep their wits. Some say that there hardly was an ache in a quart.

Feasting was the order at the noon hour and in the early evening. The freshly-killed porkers were left out to cool and the tenderloins fried for the two meals. With the fresh meat, many of the farmers served a chicken, duck or goose dinner with the fixin’s plenty of cabbage, turnips and pumpkin pies. If mince pies were served they were flavored with brandy. Fifty and sixty years ago they drove to hog-killings in gigs, horse-carts and on horse-back. Now adays they go in automobiles.

However the average Sussex country hog-killings are but little different from wahat they were half century ago, except for the absence of the old-time apple and peach brandy, called by many “apple and peach jack”.

Tipping In Pennsylvania

Over at the blog Table Hopping there is an article about people who were arrested for not tipping. It seems a half dozen students ate at the Lehigh Pub in Bethlehem where the restaurant charged an automatic 18% tip to the tab because they were a "group". They received poor service and refused to pay the tip part of the bill and were arrested. Over at Yelp food reviews that are some comments.

Since I have frequently been treasurer of various groups in which we have had a monthly dinner meeting, if the service (which at best for groups is poor) was even worst than expected I would have a talk with the manager. He or she would usually have the bill reduced due to poor service or poor food before I paid it. This is usually called Service recovery and any restaurant manager worth a crap will do it. I don't know if it came out of the wait staff pocket or the restaurant pocket - it made no difference to me. I don't expect to pay for poor service from restaurants I frequent. So this upcoming season don't let the Holiday good cheer interfere with your common sense. Tip for good service only and don't buy off on that "we are over crowded and understaffed and you are lucky we are waiting on you at all" they like to play this time of year. If they play the understaffed and over crowded card on you remember them in January and put them out of business.

What's For Thanksgiving?

English Grills - 1957