Sharon Lynne Fisher (slf) Tue 30 Nov 10 10:14
Heh. I had a similar experience with sewing in home ec. For the final exam, we had a written component and a practical component. For the written component, I got an A. But the practical one, I literally did backwards and upside down, and scorched it in the process. Got a D on that part.
Gail (gail) Tue 30 Nov 10 10:51
Oh wow. I was a sewing failure in 8th grade too! My worst grade ever, in any level of schooling. I took the dress home over the weekend, pulled stitches, got some help from my grandma in redoing the zipper, and still got a D+ on the project. I was humbled. Before that I thought I was above average at anything I tried hard at. Food was easy, clothes were hard! (I think you might guess that by looking at my body type and fashion sense today, for that matter.) When I worked in theater I got pretty good at designing and sewing impromptu inexpensive costumes when I had to, so I finally got the satisfaction of going back and reclaiming that skill.
Lisa Harris (lrph) Tue 30 Nov 10 15:16
I was fortunate to have no sewing class requirement. Tomorrow is the first night of Chanukah. In my family, we spent the Sunday of the 8 day holiday at Grandma Fritzie and Grandpa Sol's. Fritzie would invite all the family, plus a few family friends. There were crispy latkes, savory brisket with loads of onions, kasha varnishkas, and Fritzies famous sweet and sour tongue. Now, you have to be related to me to love the sweet and sour tongue. Fritzie was many things, but a good cook wasn't one of them. She cooked with love and we ate with love. The gift opening was chaotic, with all of the kids opening presents simultaneously. It wasn't until all of the wrapping paper was thrown away that we had a chance to look over each others piles of stuff. My cousins and I would put the tape recorder under the table and press record. At the end of the evening we would play back and hear all the silliness that had ensued. Simple. And wonderful.
Gail Williams (gail) Tue 30 Nov 10 15:41
Sweet and sour tongue? Was that with Chinese sweet & sour sauce? (I have always found the Chinese take-out Jewish celebration connection charming, but that is one I've never heard of!)
Ed Ward (captward) Wed 1 Dec 10 01:51
No, there's a whole Eastern European sweet-sour tradition. I encountered it in Bavaria with Kalbslunge in Süss-sauer, calves' lungs in sweet-sour sauce. One spoonful only, and as disgusting as you might think. However, it might be a way of covering up strong flavors such as offal frequently has. I'm a tongue fan, so I'm kind of curious about this.
Lisa Harris (lrph) Wed 1 Dec 10 07:07
If I can scare up Fritzie's recipe, I'll post it. I truly loved this as a child, but every person who ever ate it (that was not a blood relative) thought it was gross.
Ed Ward (captward) Thu 2 Dec 10 02:17
I'm not saying that everyone who follows the tradition does it well, of course.
Gail Williams (gail) Thu 2 Dec 10 11:04
Happy Chanukah folks. I grew up in a secular Christmas tree family, one of those "who took the Christ out of Christmas? We certainly did" households. So it was not until I was in college that my roomates and I started to celebrate a not so religious but very warm and familial version of Chanukah/Hanukkah - the holiday so nice they spelled it twice. Candle lighting each evening! How sweet it is at the dark days of the year. Dreidels baffled me, but the holiday food and the menorah candles were awesome. With my goyishe background, I am timid about presenting my adapted Jewish cooking ideas, but I will confess now. I love playing with sweet pasta dishes. I'd never call my blueberry whole-wheat lasagna a Hanukkah Noodle Kugel, but that was where the idea was born. Pasta is so much easier than piecrust, and has so much possibility!
. (wickett) Fri 3 Dec 10 16:57
Fie on that Home Econ teacher, peoples!
the secret agenda of rabbits (cjp) Mon 6 Dec 10 11:32
Truly. I've been trying to find a way to adequately express my feelings wrt that teacher, but so far am at a loss. My own home ec teacher was a slob who also taught us grooming, so I loved my mother's reaction when she finally met her at parents' night. "You weren't lying," was she said. That sweet and sour tongue sounds pretty good, too.
Gail Williams (gail) Mon 6 Dec 10 15:05
Based on that sweet and sour tongue post and a conversation with a friend, I'm now also interested in something called Sweet and Sour Red Cabbage Soup as an Eastern European winter dish. I did find a recipe from a google search, and that looked like a very interesting old fashioned soup, with red cabbage, apples, raisins, brown sugar and vinegar and more. (What range of ingredients did people have in Eastern Europe in the winter a century ago, anyway?) I'd love to hear more about how the tongue is sweetened and soured, too.
Lisa Harris (lrph) Mon 6 Dec 10 16:00
I've put in a request for the recipe. I'm not sure it's still around, but we'll see. Growing up the child of Jewish people, I never had a Christmas tree. Go figure. Anyway, the first year Ken and I were together we had a tree trimming party. According to Ken, this was the easiest way to get lots of new and interesting Christmas tree ornaments. And he was right! We had about a dozen and a half people come. We served chili and corn bread and egg nog. We had lights and tinsel and popcorn to string. Our guests brought us beautiful ornaments: some purchased, a few hand made, and one a hand-me-down from their own collection. My favorite part of each Christmas season is taking out the ornaments and remembering that first one together as we hang the ornaments from that party.
Lisa Harris (lrph) Tue 7 Dec 10 04:08
Grandma's recipe for sweet and sour tongue, via Mom: In a little oil, saute a medium sized onion chopped up. Pour in canned tomato sauce (15 oz) and a handful of yellow raisins and a bit of lemon juice. (It's possible that extra water was added to this, we're really not sure). In it, simmer sliced tongue (already cooked from the deli, sliced 1/8 - 1/4 inch thick). Cook until it's heated all the way through. Now, according to Mom, if you look up a real recipe it will have more sour than this sweet recipe.
Cynthia Dyer-Bennet (peoples) Tue 7 Dec 10 06:58
That recipe reminds me of a similar one for sweet & sour cabbage rolls a friend once gave me. It seems too simple, yet it works really well. > favorite part of each Christmas season is taking out the ornaments ... Oh, I share that sentiment, Lisa. Our Christmas tree decorations have been collected over many years and I love unwrapping each one and recalling where we got them. When I first moved in with my husband-to-be 27 years ago, I brought a big box of tree ornaments into the relationship. They were all hand-painted over baked molded dough made of salt and flour, which was a popular medium for Christmas tree ornaments back then, before extruded resin ornaments showed up on the market. We stored them in a box in the garage. Which suffered water incursion after a particularly nasty storm. Which caused all the salt & flour ornaments in the cardboard box on the garage floor to soak up all the storm water and swell into weird, bloated and unrecognizable lumps of soggy salty dough flecked with bits of festive colored paint. I was so sad to lose my ornament collection, but it gave us the opportunity build a new collection gathered together. So when we unwrap each ornament, we have a shared memory of its origin.
Sharon Lynne Fisher (slf) Tue 7 Dec 10 08:40
aww. In 1984, I was living with someone and we had a living room with a tall ceiling, so we got a massive tree. It was gorgeous. And then we thought about ornaments, and we each had the same feeling -- that we wanted the ornaments we had as kids, and nothing else would feel right. So we had just the tree, by itself. Since I've moved to Idaho, I've encountered vintage ornaments a number of times in garage sales, most impressively at an estate sale where I got a big carton of them for like $4. I also, now, have the vintage ornaments I had as a child, as well as the ice ball lights; in addition, I picked up a whole lot of ice balls on eBay a few years back. So I have the tree I remember from the 1960s.
. (wickett) Tue 7 Dec 10 10:11
The year before the firestorm, my mother and I spent hours decorating our tree, taking out each handmade ornament or gift from around the world, telling its story and placing it on the tree. All smoke and ash now, of course. This year we're having a tree, only the second time is nineteen years. Acquisition and trimming party tomorrow evening. Ornaments may be sparse. That's okay as the previous collection developed slowly over the course of a century and we want only storied ornaments. We have little glÃ¶g cup ornaments from Sweden and hand-blown glass balls my husband bought at an art fair in Michigan, and a small collection of handmade ornaments, including a gilded walnut painted by my friend when she was five-years old, given to me by a friend's mother right after the firestorm. She knew what my heart craved. I remember making those baked flour and water ornaments, Cynthia, when I was a wee bairn. Fun! Did you and your husband make more?
Paolo (pdeep) Fri 10 Dec 10 06:42
Killing a young tree to celebrate the New Year. I've always thought it a very strange way to have fun.
the secret agenda of rabbits (cjp) Sun 12 Dec 10 12:08
From what I understand, the tree isn't killed, just sawed off with enough branches at the base so that a new tree will grow. Some of our neighbors would buy potted trees and then of course plant them in the yard. Pretty impressive forests on a suburban lawn after a while!
Kathy (kathbran) Mon 13 Dec 10 12:50
(Sorry I'm a bit late, but I have to tell you I must have had Cynthia's home ec teacher's doppelganger in 8th grade because I sewed a pair of fitted, topstitched western-style pants for my sewing project and got a low grade because she said I had had my mother make it.)
Sharon Lynne Fisher (slf) Mon 13 Dec 10 12:59
(I judged the K-4th grade Chamber of Commerce Christmas essays this year, and one kid I marked down for having his or her speech all neatly typed out, using words I don't expect kids of that level to use. Instead, the winner was the kid who wrote their own essay in big loopy printing.)
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