Monday, October 19, 2020

Same As It Ever Was

 If I can't dress Goth in October, when can I?!

Still experiencing a serious lack of imagination with outfits, but without the pressure of posting to Instagram, I'm reverting to my tendency to wear black day after day. 

The ease of matching clothes to black is awfully appealing. It is also providing an opportunity to showcase some accessories that would otherwise get lost in the noise. 
Do you have any idea how hard it is to photograph the back of your head? Seriously! I made several attempts and unfortunately, this was the best of the lot. The clip is rhinestone and enamel. I think it came from Bloomingdale's in Chestnut Hill, MA-so early 90s. I'm glad I had such good taste when I was young, because I'd never spend that kind of money on a hair clip today. 

 Photographing the details on this magnificent frock coat is no simple task either. It is so much better in person. Tell you what-after Coronavirus, you're all invited over. We'll have a party, and I'll wear the coat, then you can see all the ruffles, crepe and rosettes in person. Is it a date?

But you get the idea. Anyway, dressing for myself rather than Instagram has been a nice break. 
Occasionally (about once a week) I take my hair out of the old lady bun, and give it a "wash" with conditioner.  I'll wear it down on wash day, then back it goes into the bun or combs. In other exciting news, I have one very prominent grey hair in my right eyebrow. I've named it, Lester. No reason really, it just seems like a Lester to me. I'm not going to pluck it, but I'm sure eventually it will fall out. Look, don't judge-corona  isolation is taking a toll on everyone, albeit in different ways. Some people bake banana bread, I name the grey hair in my eyebrow. 
This black outfit consists of a sweater and skirt I bought new in the early 90s. The sweater has silver yarn flecked through it. Wish I'd bought a few at the time-I really like it. 
Mornings are now cool enough to require a jacket. 

I've been doing a bit of a stock-up knowing things might be unpredictable here for a bit (corona, the political situation, weather, etc.). Look what I found...
Royal Crown soda! When we visited Chicago a few years ago, Danny wanted to know why all the restaurants served, "Weird Coke." As he pointed out, "You can go anywhere in the world and get a Coke with your meal, except Chicago-and probably North Korea. Everywhere else has Coke."  Yeah, RC is definitely different from Coke, and we don't typically see it in Nebraska. I wonder if the supply chains are messed up or something? Anyway, I was excited to buy a case even though I'm not much of a soft drink person. I could kill for a case of Canfield's chocolate soda though. That stuff is amazing. 

The India Mart had Poha. I'd heard rumours that many of the imports were getting hard to find, but they had an ample supply. I bought two bags. I use it to make an egg dish that's a cross between a pancake and a frittata. Mr. Eat the Blog likes it just cooked like porridge. I don't know what to do with thin poha, so I don't buy it. I also scored a giant bag of dried, whole green peas, which are virtually impossible to find in most supermarkets. Split peas are dead common, though only in yellow. There will be peas porridge this winter!

They also had coriander, pictured here being refreshed in a bowl of ice water. For some reason, fresh coriander/cilantro has also been difficult to find lately. 
This dish of spiced lamb mince cooked with chopped walnuts definitely needed the coriander. The sauce is tahini with soy yoghurt. I'm going to try making this one again with vegan mince-it seems like the sort of thing that would adapt well. Ground lamb and walnuts doesn't make for an attractive dish though, does it? 

Here's something BAYBEEEEE!
I was going through my old, non-cookery blog from 2003-2006, and came across some wonderful photos I am now going to bore you with😁. Let's take a trip down memory lane...
Can you believe he is almost 16?! The green waistcoat and shorts were made in 1960 for my husband by his gran. I never knew the woman, but she knit beautifully. We had a box of baby clothes and blankets she made. That green lamp in the background was my childhood lamp, purchased at the now defunct Haeger Pottery factory in Macomb, Illinois . I picked it out when we moved house in the 70s  and I went from having an orange bedroom to a green one. Now it is in Dan's room. 
Baby's first Halloween, Daddy-O. The bongo drums are made from formula cannisters. Dan needed the medical formula that cost a fortune but wasn't covered by insurance (even though medically necessary). American healthcare is such a damn mess. Anyway, homemade costume because all our money was going into Neocate. If memory serves, 4 cannisters cost $122.00  where regular formula would have been about $40.00
He still likes zwieback. Who doesn't? I really ought to bake some. That high chair was wood, and stupidly heavy. I broke a toe running into it.  We gave it to someone else when we finished with it, warning them of the danger. It was very sturdy though-never worried about it tipping over. 

OK, I saw the photo of the ferret on Tumblr,  and it reminded me of Dan. He eventually grew into that green robe, and then out of it. We still have it for when he becomes a parent, or gets a ferret, or whatever.

Cold and flu season is here! Dan was always an, "I'll do it myself" kind of guy. Did you get a flu jab yet? You really should. Most years I don't bother, but this year I did. 
Yeah, the kids will hate you ...but make them get one anyway. That was a posed photo, by the way. I love the look of outrage!

What have we here? 
Yes, he had a play kitchen, and yes he is fattening up the rubber duck. When we moved, we donated the kitchen to the homeless shelter in Lincoln. We didn't think they'd want it, but sadly they house a lot of families with children. Like the high chair, it was a sturdy, wooden thing. And big! I don't know what we were thinking, but he did grow up to be a good cook, so perhaps it inspired him. Sometimes my pots and pans would go missing and I'd have to search through the play fridge and oven looking for them so I could cook dinner. I'd sometimes find rotting apples in there as well😔
His hair hasn't been this short in over a decade. He's growing some serious facial hair now, and by the end of lockdown he's going to look like Fidel Castro. He'd better not start smoking cigars.  He can be as Communist as he likes, but no smoking! 

I'll probably spam you with more photos as I go through them because he's my baby boy, even if he's now 200 lbs. of corn-fed Nebraskan. It really is a pity he doesn't play football (American football) because he'd be one hell of a linebacker. Or a bouncer. He's got a world of opportunities open to him built like that. 

Speaking of corn-fed, "Hi" *waves*. 
Well what do you know? Another black outfit. This one with a giant skirt with velvet trim and a velvet jacket with scalloped edging. How original. 
Apologies for the crappy photos. The indoor light this time of year is tricky. 

Well if you liked that black outfit, hold onto your hat because here comes another...
Ah yes, I'd forgotten how difficult photographing stripes can be. 

The puckered fabric is strange-sort of like a polyester seersucker. There's a matching skirt as well, but wearing the pieces together is slightly migraine inducing. 

How about a bit of green with the black? I've had this 80s St. John coat (part of a trouser suit) for years but it doesn't get worn much. 

I like the cut, though I could do without the big shoulder pads. Still, it is a beautifully made knit piece that deserves to be worn once in a while. 
I kept it simple beneath with a black poloneck and a velvet skirt. 
There's a better look at that elaborate necklace. 

Finally, a too-big dress and knit waistcoat that sort of work anyway. Ignore the lack of makeup.

 I haven't put on the heat inside yet. The wall thermostat is reading 70 but only because it is next to the kitchen and I've been baking. The rest of the house is much colder. My bedroom faces north and last night was 59 degrees. I mean, that's what wool blankets and a hot water bottle are for, but it still takes some getting used to each year when the mercury drops. Dan's room is over the kitchen and faces south, so it stays much warmer. By the week's end we are expecting overnight temperatures in the 20s, so I will reluctantly need to light the furnace. Our house isn't drafty like the farm was, so it does tend to have smaller heating bills. Still, I hate to run the heat unless I absolutely must. 

We're now two weeks before the US election, so I'm isolating at home to stay healthy for working the polls. Not that I'd want to go out now anyway-the cases are soaring seemingly out of control. In the middle of this, we get an email from Dan's journalism instructor letting us know that the annual group visit to the local pumpkin patch is still on. Yes, it is outdoors, but in a town with no mask mandate, a cluster of cases stemming from a 200 person party that infected half the school district, and...well, why would you want to expose kids to this?! I get that people desire normality, but for the love of god, these aren't normal times and wandering a corn maze with a bunch of teenagers just seems...unnecessary. He didn't want to go anyway (Dan grew up in the country, he doesn't need hay rides through a pumpkin patch for fun). I did like that because of safety concerns, they aren't going to be providing food for the bonfire- but encourage students to bring their own sausages...and sticks. 

Since people are hell-bent on doing Halloween, I bought several mini-cans of assorted soda pop to put out on a table in front of the house. I figured it is easy enough for parents to wipe down, and not a concern for most food allergies. Kids won't need to come to the door, or stick their hands in a big bowl of candy. Most years we only get the children from next door and down the street. I expect much the same here. For our own celebration, I will be baking the yearly Barmbracks. I'll probably go ahead and bake a parkin for bonfire night as well, but it is best made at least a week in advance. I'm probably not making an Election Day Cake, but here's the recipe if you feel inspired to make this historical bit of Americana. 

You Will Need:

Yeast Dough:

1 cup diced, peeled raw potato
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons butter
1 cake yeast (I used 2 1/4 teaspoons granulated dissolved in 1/4 cup of the warm potato water)
1 large egg
3-4 cups plain flour


3/4 cup very soft butter
1 large egg
1 1/4 cups light brown sugar
1/2 cup brandy
1 cup raisins or sultanas
1 cup candied fruit
1 cup plain flour
1 1/2 teaspoons mixed spice

Cook the potato in water to cover until tender. Mash, and set aside. Pour scalded milk over butter in a large bowl and add sugar and salt. Stir until butter is melted. Meanwhile, proof the yeast if using granulated in 1/4 cup potato water. Then, stir into milk mixture. Add the mashed potato and then the egg. Add flour a cup at a time until you have a soft, but workable dough. Place in a buttered bowl, cover and let rise until doubled.

Punch down the dough and work in the butter in pieces. Add the eggs, brown sugar, and brandy. Coat the raisins and fruits with flour and add to the dough. Add remaining flour and mixed spice. Work very well so that dough is not streaky (it will be a mess, but stick with it (sorry, I just seem to be full of these tonight). Turn into a well-buttered 10 inch tube pan. Bake at 325 degrees F. for about 1 hour, or until cake is baked through inside. Cool in pan ten minutes, then finish cooling on a rack. When completely cool, frost with buttermilk frosting below.

Buttermilk Icing

1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 teaspoon bicarb
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract or 1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
1/2 cup butter

Combine all, cook over medium heat in a medium saucepan until it reaches 230 degrees F. on a candy thermometer. Remove from heat and let stand 5 minutes. With a hand mixer, beat until icing begins to thicken. Spread quickly on cake.

Here's the barmbrack recipe:

If you add charms, I suggest poking them into the loaf after baking, and wrapping them in parchment so no one chokes on a coin.

You Will Need:

3/4 cup raisins
3/4 cup sultanas
3/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup candied pineapple (or cherries)
Grated zest of an orange-or lemon
1 cup strong, hot black tea
1/4 cup spirits (I used some really strong cherry brandy)
1 large egg, slightly beaten
1 3/4 cup self-rising flour
1 1/4 cups brown sugar
1 teaspoon mixed spice, or an aproximation of mixed spice

In a large bowl, combine everything except the eggs and dry ingredients. Let soak a few hours, or overnight. Add the egg, sugar, and flour. Don't overmix-just stir until everything is wet and combined.

I lined a loaf pan with parchment which made my life much easier. If you don't have parchment, grease and flour the pan generously.

Pour the batter into a large loaf pan and bake at 350 degrees F. for about an hour and a half-but start testing at an hour. The cake may seem dry as it cools, but it will soften up over a couple days. To store, wrap tightly in wax paper and cling film. 

And the parkin-which I will be making with dairy-free ingredients, but here's the basic recipe:

You Will Need:

1 cup butter
1 1/4 cups dark brown sugar
2 ounces dark molasses
7 ounces golden syrup (or corn syrup if you can't find golden)
3/4 cup rolled oats (not quick)
1 3/4 cup plain flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
4 teaspoons ground ginger
1/4 cup finely chopped crystalised ginger
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon mixed spice
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons milk

Line a 9x13 inch pan with parchment.

Preheat oven to 275 degrees F.

In a saucepan, melt the butter, sugar, molasses, and golden syrup over medium heat until combined. Don't let it boil or you will have candy-and a mess. In a large bowl, mix the dry ingredients together. Add the melted butter/sugar mixture and mix well. Add the eggs slowly, and beat in with a wooden spoon. Add the milk and give it all a final mix. Tip the batter into the prepared pan. Place it on a baking sheet (this has a tendency to spill over, and you don't want to clean sugar syrup out of your oven). Bake about 1 hour, but as long as 1 1/2. You want the parkin to be dark brown, and the top should be set, but it will still seem soft. The middle will sink when removed from the oven-that's normal. Cool in the tin. When cool, wrap tightly in wax paper, and then in foil. Store tightly wrapped for 5-7 days before serving so it will acquire the sticky, heavy candy-like texture.

Then, when ready to eat-hide it, so you can eat it all yourself!

And that's about it from here. Stay safe and healthy. See ya later, aligator. 



Emily said...

Au contraire, black is never boring, especially when you're the stylist! You look fantastic in every outfit.

I lived in Chestnut Hill for about two months in the summer of 1990. I can't recall if I ever went to Bloomie's, but I remember going to Filene's Basement just once and to Faneuil Hall many, many times. I wonder if we ever crossed paths and didn't know it.

Most of my cat's whiskers are white. Once in a while, a black one will grow in, and we lovingly refer to it as "the coveted collector's edition." So you just tell Lester that being different makes him special. : )

After seeing the old photos of Dan, I pictured him in a football uniform and cradling NOT a football but a ferret wearing a green bathrobe. How cute is that?

We got our flu shots at a drive-through clinic set up by Kaiser Permanente in the parking lot of a megaplex. It was quick and efficient and also a brilliant use for the parking lot, which would've been empty all October, since no one's going to the movies any more.

Feel better soon, and thanks again for working at the polls.

bahnwärterin said...

loooove your black outfits! <3 <3 <3
and of cause i´ll come over after C. is wiped from the planet - and i bring you east german cola! would´t it be gorgeous to met with all the girls who help each other with blogging over this strange times.....
sweet baby pictures of dan - now he can carry you around in his arms if nessesary.
i like a cool bedroom - and a big duvet. our kitchen has mostly 17°C - with the heating on - a coal powered tiled oven that heats kitchen, salon and (if i open a lid) my bedroom which doubles as sewing room. high tech ;-D
thanks for the recipes - our winter will come with self isolation again - so baking is a nice thing to do when time gets long.
stay warm and safe and healty! xxxxx

Bibi Maizoon said...

Black is a staple shade in my "western" travel wardrobe - so I love seeing your black ensembles. I have seen that frock coat on the blog before & it is stunning!
I have one gray eyelash, unnamed though.
Awwww, those pics of little Danny are adorbs!
We all got the 'rona at my house. The husband caught it while distributing food donations to the needy. The boys are already over it with only 3 days of mild fever, chills, & bodyaches. I am in week 2 with the damned anosmia that feels like my nose is continuously burning from smoke (as well as mild fever & bodyaches). Only 2 hospitals are testing for the virus in our district of 500,000 people. I'm sure the official case count is incorrectly low because most Nepalis can't afford the $20 testing fee nor would they want to wait in line half a day to while sick get the test. I'm grateful my family has fared so well. I have to say this is NOT like the worst flu I've ever had (I have suffered worse in the US from flus with bodyaches that felt like I was hit by a truck and 103F fever for days) but this virus is just WEIRD. I can breathe just fine, the achiness, fever, and headache is mild enough to be relieved with paracetemol, but losing my sense of smell & the odd taste disturbance with the burning sensation in my sinuses & throat is bizarre. It is kind of like how your nose & throat burn after spending a super smoggy day in the Los Angeles basin or Delhi in wintertime. Ah well, this too shall pass.
Glad all is well with your & yours!

Señora Allnut said...

Dear Goody, black rocks (whatever the season) and you style it fabulously!. Totally agree that dressing in black looks particularly appealing these days. Time to embrace my inner goth too. I still have plenty of black clothes in my wardrobe, as I dressed in black everyday for decades.
Love particularly your coat, the ruffles and rosettes!, and looks fab with those booties!, lovely!
Love your jackets (woww, the striped one is Fab, the suit have to be totally hypnotic!), love your pendants and brooches and accessories, and love all the different textures and interesting shaped pieces, the massive skirt is fab!, and I'm a huge fan of velvet!
Lovely to see these photos of Dan and read your comments!, so funny!, really put a smile on my face!
Thanks for sharing your récipes!, really well explained and useful!

Vix said...

Like you, I'm drawn to black at the moment. You look fantastic in yours and you're right it really does draw attention to your fabulous accessories like that incredible blingy necklace and the bastard massive goldtone pendant.
I've not been on Instagram for ages, I find it overwhelming, like being in a busy pub with loads of people clamouring for attention and someone always trying to flog you something on the way to the loo.
Loved those old photos of Danny, I bet you can't wait until he brings his first love home and you can show off all the albums!
We're having a freakishly warm day today, 17°C - hotter than most of August! xxx

Polyester Princess said...

I find myself being drawn to black too, lately, but I'm trying not to give in to it too much as I know I feel better wearing colour. I actually appreciate the Instagram incentive to get dressed up, especially on days when I'm feeling a bit down and want to crawl back under the duvet.
I must say, you actually suit black, and your outfits prove black isn't in the least boring. Yes to the date with the coat, by the way :-)
Thank you for cheering me up with the Danny as a baby photos. What a trip down memory lane that must have been for you! xxx

Vronni's Style Meanderings said...

Well, you have some amazing black garments! Loved the frock coat and the asymmetrical knit top, the fab jacket with ruffles, the black and white jacket...ooh I loved it all! Black sure does make the jewellery pop.

Danny was so cute! I hope he's not cringing at being the focus of your blog post but I guess he doesn't know?? Don't worry I won't tell him! Isn't the facial hair acquisition strange? Isaiah who will be 16 in January; has had facial hair since he was 12. I've often wondered if he got teased at school about it; but he has never said and now his form have caught up with him!

I love Parkin and may have a go at this recipe; I think I have everything needed in my baking cupboard. If I do will anyone else eat it is my dilemma; as I end up eating most of what I's no wonder I no longer have a waist!

Good luck with your polling duties; I've been asked to do the local elections next May - already!

Take care and stay safe,

Vronni's Style Meanderings said...

PS - I have lots of Lesters which is why I get mine tinted every 6 weeks....

Goody said...

I worked at Filene's (not in the basement) and Jordan Marsh. I didn't move there until '92 though. I had my own business, but those retail jobs kept me in generous employee discounts! I always loved department store, but I also understand why they've died off. Different era, for sure.

Thank you. I told Dan he can get a motorcycle with a sidecar for me! He isn't keen for some reason.
We are forecast snow for Sunday-I'm ready.

Oh no!!! That's crappy that you all got it. I'm relieved to hear it isn't horrible for you, but still-what a lousy thing to be dealing with. I hope your anosmia is temporary, and that everyone is back to good health soon. This is such a strange disease, with a million symptoms and ways of presenting. Thinking of you and sending healing, healthy vibes.

Thank you! I'm trying to stay positive (as much as possible) with posts and I figured babies and food are always safe blogging subjects. Take care.

That's the most accurate description of Instagram I've ever heard.
Danny has already made sure we know he will *never* bring home a date. Can't say I blame him. I wonder, is it the bawdy jokes, the bad language, or the complete lack of filters that he's embarrassed about?

You have such great outfits it would be criminal not to share them! I can understand where it would be a motivation too.
I still cannot believe he's going to be 16...because I haven't aged a day ;)

Strangely enough, no one was excited when I started growing facial hair in menopause!!! Guess it is only a milestone for boys.
He doesn't read my blog. I'm lucky if I can get him to sit in the same room as me.
The parkin recipe is good-just be aware it will sink a bit in the centre.

Beth Waltz said...

The black frock coat fascinates me with its flourishes and flounces (imagined for I cannot see them clearly). Those rosettes! I recall being puzzled by similar decorative doodads on Jacqueline Kennedy's wedding dress: when were they fashionable? Were they a motif particular to a particular design house?

Goody said...

I'm not sure who started the rosettes. I've seen them on Civil War era clothing though, so it has been around for some time. I suspect some thrifty seamstress had some trimmings that she didn't want to waste, and it ended up roses. Crochet rose patterns were popular in the same era.

I do love a good 3D effect on clothing.

Miss Magpie said...

Loving all the black especially the first very gothic coat and the black and white striped one. We will be hiding inside with the lights off for Halloween I think. I'm not happy to have kids round as things stand right now.

Propagatrix said...

My Lesters have been with me for quite some time. My first grey hair showed up on the morning of my first wedding, when I was twenty-three. Should have figured it for an omen.

I love your black outfits, and I would kill for a case of Canfield's diet cherry chocolate fudge soda right now.

When the 'Rona is over, we are SO getting together. The halfway point between Oakland and Omaha seems to be Lyman, Wyoming (pop. 2,115). There's a mining museum and an agricultural farm. No idea about thrifting, though.

Goody said...

@Miss Magpie
Thank you.
Hiding in the dark sounds like a good plan. In general.

Okay, Lyman it is! I rather like Wyoming, but I'm such a whore for Cowboy culture ;)