Simple, Spiritual, Outdated Living in a Vintage New England Home on the Southern Coast of Maine

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Vintage 1930s Halloween Party Ideas for the Kiddies

I love Halloween, but not because I wear a costume and go out to party. I adore waiting for the little neighborhood kids to come trick-or-treating because they're so cute. 

One neighborhood boy had his first trick-or-treating experience at my house, and he was invited in to see my vintage decorations and received an extra large chocolate bar. His parents later reported that based upon his first impression he thought he was supposed to walk into everyone's house and receive an extra large treat! This year he'll be by with his little sister, hopefully.

My favorite memory of doling out the goodies is from my 20s. I was living in a tiny house in a crowded neighborhood and I ran out of candy.
Laundry quarters seemed like a decent substitute, so the next set of kids got a quarter each. Immediately upon this discovery one of the boys hollered to anyone listening: "You guys! She's giving out MONEY!" They stormed the joint and my $10 roll was gone in minutes. A cheap price to be the most popular!

Here is a scan from my copy of Children's Party Book: Games...Decorations...Menus and Recipes published in 1935. Because it was published during the Depression, many people didn't have change to spare. Yet, as you can see, there are still creative ways to entertain.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Human DNA in Hot Dogs?! Meat in Vegetarian Hot Dogs?! The Tests Say YES!

On rare occasions I'll eat a turkey hot dog but due to the highly processed nature and weird texture of hot dogs I'm not a fan. (Admittedly I did enjoy them while growing up in NYC.) But after reading the Hot Dog Report from Clear Food it congealed my decision to avoid them.

As unexpected and horrifying it is to know that hot dogs share similarities with Soylent Green, I find it equally abysmal that many vegetarian products contain meat.
  • Substitution: We encountered a surprising number of substitutions or unexpected ingredients. We found evidence of meats not found on labels, an absence of ingredients advertised on labels, and meat in some vegetarian products.
  • Hygienic issues: Clear Food found human DNA in 2% of the samples, and in 2/3rds of the vegetarian samples.
You really don't know what's in highly processed food unless you have your own private lab. Just because something is labelled any number of things including fair trade, vegan or organic doesn't mean it's absent of some unwanted, unexpected and totally gross surprises. Because it's sold at an upscale grocer doesn't mean it's good for you. 

But even so, ew!

Thursday, October 22, 2015

This 1950s GE Fridge With Revolving Shelves Really Takes the Cake!

I would love to have this refrigerator! Presently I'm using a dated (but not cool vintage) model that does the job, but moving things out of the way on the shelves is an issue, especially considering my guinea pigs have their own section! 

Look at how slick this is:

We could all use a little more PRESTO! in our lives. Also, look at the contents!

The stuffed peppers remind me of Dorothy Marr's Stuffed Peppers.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

The "Obesity Paradox" Is Full Of...Funding From Coke

From the July 9, 1955 Saturday Evening Post in my collection
Something I've previously discovered in my research is highlighted in this Vox article: The obesity paradox: Why Coke is promoting a theory that being fat won’t hurt your health.

The major flaw with the research is that the "thin" people considered in the studies compared to the "fat" weren't truly thin. By that I mean for the purpose of the study, important considerations were not factored in. Conveniently so! Some of the thin people were lifetime smokers. Others had been obese or overweight but lost weight due to a serious illness prior to being sampled.

"In other words, if you classify the data properly, the evidence is clear: Obesity has all sorts of negative health effects. There's no paradox here."

Carl Lavie, author of (this is a real book) The Obesity Paradox: When Thinner Means Sicker and Heavier Means Healthier, was compensated by Coca-Cola. "The company paid for Lavie's consulting work, as well as travel and honoraria to lecture on the obesity paradox. It has also funded webinars by him on the subject." 

What's (actually, not so) shocking is how many other people and organizations, including the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health, have been subsidized by Coca-Cola to promote the "obesity paradox." 

I wrote in my book that since the 1950s the American government has softened its position on defining obesity and its causes. Knowing that private industry, specifically Coca-Cola, is funding their research (the Foundation directly funds the NIH), should make us all even more skeptical of what we're being fed.

But really, Coke marketing to the masses is nothing new. Their advertising is highly collectible, with some pieces selling for thousands of dollars at auction. Their magazine ads in the 1950s highlighted beautiful, slim people in glamorous or "all American" settings enjoying the "best." Some of the slickest and most beautiful advertising from Coke, in my opinion, appeared during that time period.

A hard sell of a soft drink? Sure it was! But it wasn't sinister or scandalous.

Coke ads and soda fountains didn't make Americans, on the whole, overweight or obese in the 1950s and earlier.

What I believe is contributing to the obesity epidemic is the marketing of obesity itself.

The shift from "big soda" pushing their product through old-fashioned advertising to promoting the concept, via subsiding junk science, that the impact of over-consumption of sugar and calories on our bodies is benign IS new. It's yet another reason to consider a retro diet that discards the fattening advice of today! 

Sunday, October 11, 2015

The Big Apple

I took a drive to pick some pre-picked apples today and see the foliage.

I discovered a new-to-me "Wolf River" apple variety. The apple in my hand was about five inches in diameter! 

The orchard is a beautiful place to walk and think. Sometimes I prefer to buy the apples from the bins and pick my brain for inspiration in the quiet, natural surroundings.

You can see more pics of the orchard from last year here and here.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

A Vintage Perspective to Put an End to Grey-Shaming Chic

 Beautiful grey haired models from a vintage Helena Rubinstein color rinse ad in my collection

Here's a vintage 1952 perspective on the question of whether or not women should cover up their grey hair from Beauty is Not An Age by Eleanor Arnett Nash. Bolded text is my own emphasis:

The woman with fair hair is apt to slip inconspicuously from blonde to gray. Few people notice the turning color. With the light skin she probably has the change (sic) is generally a becoming one. If it is, she is stupid to resort to dyes. But if she must, please let her be careful. Her hair should be in superb condition or, when the dye is applied, it will be hard and brassy. Or it will resemble straw.

You should be really sure that changing the color of your hair is really becoming to you. If it is, go ahead. But let me advance one idea. Looking younger is not what you should be entirely after. Looking lovelier should be your aim. Youth cannot be recaptured once it is gone. The dried-out semblance of youth is pathetic. The woman who accepts her age swings with it if she makes the grey of her hair exquisite instead of trying to conceal it. Rarely does anyone wonder exactly how old she is. She hasn't called attention to her years by protesting too much.

There really was a time when women weren't expected to cover their grey hair! Today grey-shaming is in full effect (unless you are a celebrity. Even so it's a "trend" and not a true option). If you don't color your hair you are drawing attention to yourself. So if you don't protest too much in an outward form by coloring, covering up and feeling ashamed, then that's the equivalent of letting yourself "go."

I believe that anything beautiful starts with the basic premise of accepting the truth of who we are, including our age. That doesn't mean I am against covering up grey hair! I think it should be a conscious choice and not a shameful cover-up to appease a modern beauty concept which is that it's NOT OK to grow older.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Beautiful Maine Concord Grapes

An old friend stopped by and brought me these gorgeous Concord grapes growing in his yard. I don't recall seeing any recipes in my vintage collection. 

I tasted one and it tasted like eating fresh jam off the vine! I'll be giving some to my guinea pigs, too. 

Do you have any favorite Concord grape recipes?