Sunday, February 1, 2015

Kisses for All

by Connie Cortright

Valentines Day is coming soon, so what better way to start the month of February than lots of kisses - of course this is the chocolate kind, which has been around for more than one hundred years. Some things haven't changed since our parents/grandparents were children.

One thing that hasn't changed is the love of chocolate. Since chocolate was first sold in the 1600s, it's been a favorite for every sweet tooth - at least, for women. Milton S. Hershey used this universal love for chocolate when he started his candy company in the late 1800s in Pennsylvania. Not surprisingly, his company grew and expanded very quickly.

Hershey first became famous for chocolate powder to flavor baked items and milk. The chocolate bar was sold nationally and even shipped overseas to the Doughboys during World War I.

The Hershey Kiss has been around since 1907, but back then the kisses were hand-wrapped in foil paper. How did the workers not get their fingers all full of chocolate, wrapping them one at a time? The mechanization invented by 1921 made it possible for the chocolate candies to be wrapped automatically so more could be produced for the growing demand. No one is sure where the name for the Kiss came from, but it is thought to originate from the sound made by the machine making the chocolate morsels.

The 20s brought other Hershey candies on the market also. Mr. Goodbar was first introduced in 1925 and chocolate chips in 1928. That made it possible for Ruth Graves Wakefield to invent the Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe in 1930. She didn't waste any time coming up with that marvelous recipe to use Hershey's new chocolate chips. That was a winning combination for sure.

Another thing that Hershey introduced into the American home was chocolate syrup. Of course, people had tasted chocolate syrup in ice cream parlors when it was drizzled over banana splits or added to a glass of soda water to make chocolate sodas, but no one could purchase it in a store until 1926.

After that time everyone could enjoy it at home by stirring the syrup into their milk or adding it to a bowl of ice cream.

It's interesting to think that we share something so tasty with people who lived back then- a Hershey kiss or Mr. Goodbar made the same way we do today. Makes the long forgotten days seem like they aren't so long ago.

Milton Hershey should be considered an American hero for making it possible to bring chocolate to the masses as readily as it is available to us today. Hats off to Mr. Hershey!

Information taken from The Hershey Company and Wikipedia

For more historical tidbits check out my blog Through the Milk Door

Friday, January 30, 2015

Snow Days by Peggy Bennitt







SNOW DAYS
What A Difference A Day Makes!
by Peggy Bennitt

An icy snowstorm hit Michigan early on a Thursday morning, leaving a beautiful crystalline surface that glittered like diamonds, but was as treacherous as a Siren in Homer’s OdysseyOur driveway was a sea of black ice and area roads reflected this condition over and over again. Schools cancelled classes, and some businesses delayed opening until later in the morning. My husband, who works in the Detroit area, opted to work from home, and our grandchildren opted to spend their Snow Day at Grandma’s house. What a great way to spend a snowy day!

When our Grands spend a day with us, they inevitably bring enough projects, toys, and games for a month—in spite of the fact that the lower level of our home has enough children’s books, crafts, Barbies, Monster trucks, and Hot Wheels to keep an army of youngsters happy for years. They come prepared to make the most of every hour they’re with us. And we love it!

So, while the ice thickened and the fluffy flakes drifted down, our house became a bee hive of activity. Crocodiles and cooking, cards and cars, cinnamon rolls, braided bread for the homeless, and a house that smelled like heaven by the end of the day. I invite you to the pictorial story of how to use a Snow Day to the Nth degree. Welcome to my incredibly special world!







Playing with toys in colored water while sister tries out new recipes and unusual uses for dental floss.

 

Braided bread and the smile of success!

  
Dental floss to cut dough cleanly for cinnamon rolls.

Who knew?











Ready to bake and eat. Yum!









 
 Monster trucks and villains, with card games on the side!


  

 Come and visit us the 30th of every month. You’re always welcome here! 



Thursday, January 29, 2015

The Sixth Scent

While I was in college, something delightful  happened in the perfume industry. Instead of churning out only mature scents like ‘White Shoulders’ or ‘Chanel No. 5’ (were Nos. 1-4 duds? Does anyone know?)  manufacturers put their fragrant heads together and decided to create cheap, playful scents for impoverished youth.

I was delighted one day to find a huge bottle of my favorite strawberry-scented body splash on the clearance rack at Osco. This, I thought, must be what rich people feel like—able to purchase perfume by the gallon!

I splashed it on generously one morning and left the dorm for my 9 a.m. class.
As I hurried down the hall, gently wafting the tantalizing aroma of strawberry in my wake, I was gratified to notice a young man sniff the air appreciatively and hold up his hand to halt his friends.
“Mmmm–“

I held my breath. He was cute. I was available. He continued.

“I smell jello! Hey, I’m hungry! Is the dining hall still open?”

I skipped class to dump the rest of my body splash down the toilet and take my second shower of the morning. Any scent that would drive a young man to look more adoringly at a refrigerator than at me could not be tolerated.

For years after this painful incident I refused to wear any scent whose ingredients could be included in a salad.
But as I’ve aged, I’m realizing that what was painful at nineteen can be beneficial, sensible, and even slightly romantic in grandma-age.

Today, my shower shelves hold apricot facial scrub, orange sapphire body wash and pomegranate shampoo.

Following the shower I slather on cherry almond lotion, add a spritz of black raspberry vanilla cologne, and top it all off, in the interests of scent-reiteration, with a cherry vanilla lip-gloss.

I descend the stairs and my husband sniffs the air appreciatively.
“Mmmmm. You smell great. Hey, I’m hungry! Let’s go out for breakfast!”

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

It's Cold!

It's Cold! 
by Robin Steinweg





My ear muffs need ear muffs

My mittens need mittens

It’s cold, it’s cold, it’s cold!



My socks I will double

So feet aren’t in trouble

It’s cold, it’s cold, it’s cold!




Blue lips, red nose, numb chin, white toes

Crank up the heat ‘fore I freeze

Long underwear, I’ve got three pair—

Protection from bone-chilling breeze…



Hood up, head down, walk backwards to town

It’s cold, it’s cold, it’s cold! How

many degrees more? Is it going to fall more?

It’s cold, it’s cold, it’s cold!




Six blankets in bed, a hat on my head

Hot coffee, hot cocoa, hot tea

A nice, hot soak, wood fire, wood smoke

Is there any hope for me?



Got boots in my boots and a scarf ‘round my scarf

It’s cold, it’s cold, it’s cold!

If it drops any more—minus three, minus four…



That’s cold, that’s cold,

So cold!

Behold!

It’s cold,

It’s cold!

Brrrrrrr,

Brrrrr,

Brrrr, brrr, brr 

 

Sunday, January 25, 2015

What's For Dinner?

Frozen pizza is a great go-to meal when you’ve endured a frazzled day of work, errands and carpooling—but not if you lived in early nineteenth century England. Dinner wasn’t just a meal. It was an event, especially when combined with a ball. But there were no hot dishes or Jell-O salads on the table. In fact, your appetite might be a little squelched when you find out what might be served . . .

Meat Pies

Who doesn’t like a good chicken potpie? That depends upon your definition of good. Meat pies served in the 1800’s didn’t just have a crust slapped on top. They had an entire bird head and wings sticking out.

Baby Eel Gelatin

What kind of cartoon bubble does that bring up in your mind? If it makes you go, “Eew!” then you’re right on track. Baby eels look like big worms, and you’d see their little eyes staring at you because I’m not talking cherry Jell-O—they’d be served in a clear gelatin. Add a little jiggle to that when the dish was spooned out and you might not be as hungry as you thought.

Golden Sweetmeats

No actual meat involved in this one, but as for the gold, 24 karat baby. Picture a delicious, chocolaty truffle, just the right size to pop into your mouth. Now add in a golden coating—of real gold. I don’t know about you, but personally, I like to wear my jewelry, not eat it.

Oysters on the Half Shell

Okay, so this one isn’t so strange, and is still considered somewhat of a delicacy even today. But it wasn’t for the hero in my new release, BRENTWOOD’S WARD. When Nicholas Brentwood, a street-wise lawman, is faced with a plate of raw oysters in a dining room, surrounded by those who are used to such fare, he’s forced to man-up and let them slide down his throat. It’s a dinner scene he—and the reader—is not likely to forget.

And that’s only one of his adventures . . .

There’s none better than NICHOLAS BRENTWOOD at catching the felons who ravage London’s streets, and there’s nothing he loves more than seeing justice carried out—but this time he’s met his match. Beautiful and beguiling EMILY PAYNE is more treacherous than a city full of miscreants and thugs, for she’s a thief of the highest order…she’s stolen his heart.

As for me, I’m pretty thankful that some of yesteryear’s dishes are no longer in vogue, because I’d much rather sit down to a meal that doesn’t include feathers, heads, or precious metals. I’m sticking to Tater Tot Hot Dish, thank you very much.

Follow Michelle’s adventures at  WRITER OFF THE LEASH or visit michellegriep.com, and don’t forget the usual haunts of Pinterest, Facebook or Twitter.


Saturday, January 24, 2015

Snow Men Picture Puzzle

Up for playing a little game? Find the objects listed below. Since I'm not a professional photographer you may have to click on the picture to enlarge it for a closer look. To amp up your enjoyment. Invite a child to play the game with you. Have fun!



I see twenty-three snowmen, a star topping a tree,
three brooms without witches,
a scarf spelling “BELIEVE”.
Two friendly pets, a gift wrapped in blue
and a plush toy with soft knees and a message for you,



fifteen scarves, one pair of skis
two candles, a cardinal,
and a glossy face missing an edible part.
three green hat bands, (look carefully)
one snowman holding a bright red heart.

A patriotic flag of US fame
Twins with smiles on their mugs,
Some candy canes,

and a lone winged snow-angel bearing my name.




Mary Allen writes from Northern Indiana where she lives with her husband, two dogs and a small, but smiling collection of snowmen, which brighten up her January buffet.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Midwinter

looking out from my front porch

Midwinter

through cold
leafless branches
eyes search for spring

purple crocuses
yellow daffodils
red tulips
occupy dreams



by Lori Lipsky



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