TGHP, Day 3: The Golden Age of Hot Dogs

Please forgive my lateness on this post. I was headachy and feeling yuck last night, and everything I wrote reeked of hot dog water and self pity.

Apparently you couldn’t swing a cat in a mid20th century cookbook without either hitting a gelatin mold recipe or a recipe involving hot dogs.

From the Good Housekeeping ‘Keep Cool Cookbook’, published in 1967, came yesterday’s lunch.

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It’s obviously a loafy thing, and we all know how I love loafy things.

I couldn’t see that photo and just pass it by, you know? It’s too full of hot dog and loafiness. It’s the year 1967 itself, mixed into a pan and baked lovingly for 35 minutes.

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See? Easy, especially if you decide that the gravy is an “over my dead, cholesterol riddled body” accompaniment and don’t make it.

So yes, I made it bright and early in the morning, so I wouldn’t get lost in my cleaning fume high and forget.

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There’s a bottle of 2008 Albarino with it, because 1) I am a lady of class and distinction, and 2) what else would you have with hotdog loaf thing?

Unfortunately, it was stone cold and full of semi-congealed hot dog grease by the time that Johnny Rotten was due home for lunch. I wasn’t ready to throw in the towel on it, despite his desperate hopes that I would, so I cut off a generous slice, and grilled it with a bit of butter in a pan like I would a grilled cheese sandwich, and hoped for the best.

He tentatively, gingerly cut off a piece, and put it in his mouth like he was expecting it to bite him back.

“This.”, he said, then paused.

“Ahuh? This what?”, I encouraged.

“This is actually really good. It’s like a corn dog, but the crispy grilled outside makes it better than a regular corndog! You should make this again!”

I couldn’t believe that I didn’t notice that before. Cornbread plus hot dog equals corndog, no matter how you make it or what you call it. This frankfurter loaf is the perfect food for people who love corndogs but are irrationally afraid of food on sticks, who really love loaf pans, or maybe live in an area where sticks are hard to find or something.

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Someone should tell this guy that he can just use his loaf pan, instead of going out to look for sticks on the frozen tundra.

Final judgment: Frankfurter loaf was a success. Not just an “It’s okay for a vintage recipe” success, but a “nom, this is good, you should make this again” success. Would recommend.

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An Urgent Public Service Announcement, Part Two

Dear Internet,

Do you remember when I snarked at all of you about violas and voilas not being the same thing? Okay. Good. I don’t mean to be that guy but may I please talk to you for a moment about aww and awe?

See, the following photo deserves an ‘aww’, because it is cute. You can use ‘Aww’ for cute.

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Aww, cute puppies!

You can also use ‘aww’ when something is sad. It’s a bit different, but I have faith that you will understand the context, and will aww appropriately.

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Awww, sad clown.

This next one is a bit harder.

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Awww, cute! Awww, sad! ALL OF THE AWW!

Then, there’s ‘awe’. ‘Awe’ doesn’t have any place with any of these pictures, because it isn’t a socially accepted noise for when you think something is touching, cute or sad. Awe is a real word, with a real definition, in real dictionaries! Really!

Awe is defined as

n.

1. A mixed emotion of reverence, respect, dread, and wonder inspired by authority, genius, great beauty, sublimity, or might: We felt awe when contemplating the works of Bach. The observers were in awe of the destructive power of the new weapon.
2. Archaic

a. The power to inspire dread.
b. Dread.
I get that the clown above might qualify as an ‘awe’ under the archaic definition. I did feel a bit of dread, but it wasn’t really because of mightiness or sublimity. It was more just… well, clowns. You know.
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Awe. Not aww, unless it has puppies.
You guys, I know I have my grammatical issues. I abuse commas harshly and without a shred of remorse. My sentences run on and on and on and on. I need help with these issues. I’m not perfect.  But, from one imperfect English user to another, could we all please try to get better?

TGHP Day 2: I can file 90% of Today under F for Fail, or for Just Being the Facts of Life.

Today was a blur of a doodoo storm (Oh, language, Amy!)  and Im still pretty busy so rather than give a play by play, I’ll be hitting the highs and lows like a soprano and a baritone singing an offkey duet while accompanied by a chorus of fighting cats who may or may not be in heat.

The Bad:

-I scalded my right hand last night, and while it’s not a Very Awfully Terribly Grievous Injury, it affected my everything today because I was trying to protect it. I was trying to do everything left handed, and I have discovered that my left hand serves no purposes other than making me look reasonably symmetrical and being a place to put rings and bracelets. If you ever asked yourself, “Can Amy do anything at all with her non dominant hand?”, you now have an answer, and that answer is a hearty, bitter laugh right in your face for ever wondering something so ridiculously impossible.

-50’s pop music is terrible. I forced myself to listen today, and despite my saintlike patience and endurance of bad situations,  I just couldn’t take more than 90 mins. Do you know why the bad guys in horror movies always go after the lovestruck, swoony, smitten teenagers in those cheesy flicks? It’s probably because the bad guy was forced to listen to Dion and the Belmonts song “A Teenager in Love” on repeat and is trying to remove any inspiration for more songs along this vein. I get you, Movie Bad Guy. I totally get you.

dionHe knows what he did. But, alas, his self-reflection comes too late and we all have to live with the consequences.

– I tried to freshen up before Johnny Rotten got home for lunch with a lovely smelling spritz of the period-appropriate perfume White Shoulders. While the intention was good, my co-ordination with my left hand was not, and I sprayed myself directly in the mouth, leaving a tuberose and gardenia taste for hours.

whiteshouldersSmells like coziness and romance. Tastes like burning and sadness.

-An electrical outlet decided to go out with a literal bang and puff of smoke, so most of the things I had planned for today were put on hold while I investigated whether my house was actively in a state of burning down, and then waiting for an electrician. Not to worry though– all’s well, and it was a quick, inexpensive repair by a licensed professional.

Okay, enough of that. No one likes  a Debbie Downer, so here we go with the good.

– Johnny Rotten is the happiest person in the world with this housewife project, because he gets lunch. Seriously, that’s pretty much it.  If I had known it was this easy to make him so happy, I’d have done it years ago. Im not much of a lunch eater, myself, so I didn’t put a ton of priority on it. That’s not to say I was awful and actively prevented him from eating lunch, but it was hit or miss. Today, I made him a chicken salad sandwich from the leftover party loaf chicken salad mix, and he was THRILLED. I didn’t take a photo to show you, because I’m still pretty astounded that chicken salad sandwiches are that exciting to anyone. If I’m wrong, and you cannot live another day without seeing what he had for lunch, please let me know in the comments, then maybe seek help for your unhealthy interest in other people’s lunches, okay?

-I got my super awesome apron in the mail today, and it fits like a dream! It’s impossible not to be happy while I’m wearing it.

apronI’m too busy making squealy girl noises to properly caption this photo of my apron.

And speaking of little things, do you guys remember the monkeywood/podwood/acacia snacky-serving bowl things I got at the thrift store a few days ago? I didn’t take before photos, but they were incredibly grimy and scratched up. For 99 cents, they were worth trying to clean up, but I wouldn’t have paid much more for them, given the condition.

After using my new best friend Murphy Oil Soap and then butcher block conditioner, look!!

20140107_185437Gleamy!

So, today. It’s been a day. But, as a wise housemother once said to me, “You take the good. You take the bad. You take them both. And there you have, the facts of life.”

Wise words indeed.

TGHP, day 1: I knew it was going to be a good day when I confused David Lee Roth with Bing Crosby and then confused a sandwich with a cake.

The Good Housewife Project started today with the cat scratching at the bedroom door, me getting up to let him in and then back out again, looking at the time, and then shrieking at Johnny Rotten that his alarm didn’t go off and that he needed to get up Right Now or he’d be late for work. On the bright side, there was no time to chat or to even consider making breakfast, so it was a lot less awkward than it could’ve been, given the hard line he’s taken against both breakfast and talking in the morning.

After he left, I set about my task of making my home a clean, pleasant place to be– but first, I put on some period appropriate music and got myself presentable.

First song up?

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Yes. Bing Crosby, singing “Just a Gigolo”. Let that sink in for a minute. Not David Lee Roth as one would assume, but Bing Crosby. That Bing Crosby.

My mind was blown, and I was pretty sure it was a sign of a good day ahead, because c’mon. Bing. Crosby. Singing. Just. A. Gigolo. Here, seriously… go listen. I’ll wait(Fixed so it’ll open in a new tab. Now you can listen while you read! ~A)

I don’t even know what to say.But, you’re totally welcome for that. Kinda makes you want to light a fire, dim the lights, pour a glass of good wine, and hire a male companion for the night, doesn’t it? No? Just me? Okay. Anyway….

Most of my day was pretty uneventful.I cleaned like I was a prideful housewife and that my most judgmental acquaintances were coming over for a game of bridge and some finger sandwiches. I got my apron filthy. I baked a loaf of bread, made lunch, got compliments from the spouse on not looking like a hobo, did dish after dish after dish, and by mid-afternoon, I looked like this.

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Raise one eyebrow if you are under duress, ma’am.

I wasn’t done yet though, as dinner still needed to be made. What to have, what to have? I checked out party food, because today is the first day of TGHP. I settled on something ominously called “party loaf”. I like loaf things. I like parties. How could it possibly go wrong?

I guess I need to explain what “party loaf” actually is. It’s a sandwich, or actually, a bunch of sandwiches, that are dressed up to look like a cake. Please don’t ask me why, because I can’t even begin to guess at ‘party loaf’ logic. It’s one of those things that just is.

Betty Crocker’s version looks like this:

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That’s… kind of pretty-or-something, right? Vaguely celebratory? Festiveish?

Mine turned out like this:

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So yeah. Apparently, I’m not a prodigy at decorating sandwiches to look like cake. But, I spent hours on it, and I even made a weird olive and pimento flower as a decoration (because that seems like it’s totally appropriate in a situation like this, of course). Were midcentury meals really as garnish happy as I suspect? All Im seeing is olive slice this and radish rose that when I look up recipes. Im not sure if it’s really offputting or if I’m just jealous of their mad garnishing skills.

As it turns out though, the party loaf was pretty good. Batman grinned through a mouthful and gave me two thumbs up.Johnny Rotten was a harder sell, and went from, “Well, I don’t hate it” to “this is actually pretty good! I was expecting it to be so much worse! ” in a matter of a few bites. Success, I think? What they don’t know, in approving of this recipe, that they have opened the door for far more out there recipes. Poor family.

Now, I’m relaxing. Honestly, truly, I have not sat down almost all day. I took a few breaks here and there, but I have been so incredibly busy in doing things in a far more purposeful way. When I cleaned today, I did not wipe a few things, get on facebook, wipe something else, play with the dog, rinse my rag, read cracked, and so on. I cleaned without distraction, and got so much done. I’m exhausted and sore, but the fam is happy and my house is starting to look great. Feels good, y’all.

Murphy’s Oil Soap, or, Hey, Does This Smell Like Church to You?

While The Good Housewife Project doesn’t actually start until Monday, I had some time today, and since I have company coming at the end of the month, I’d better get to cleaning when and where I can. I’m not going wild though– the experiment hasn’t started, and no one is making breakfast for anyone yet. That’d just be craaaaaaazy.

It strikes me that housewives of olden days seemed to be able to make whites whiter, brights brighter, wood surfaces gleam and floors sparkle in a way that I have never figured out. Maybe it’s that those homemakers just had better cleaning and laundry products than I do, because it’s not at all that they worked a whole lot harder than I do at homemaking. Just kidding, they totally worked harder. But, since I have acquired some retro cleaning products, let’s give them a try anyway, shall we?

First up in this series is Murphy’s Oil Soap. I think I got mine at Target, but I’m sure it’s available pretty much in every cleaning aisle, everywhere.

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Murphy’s AND a gold flecked formica backsplash in one photo? All I need is a healthy phobia of communism, and I’d swear I’ve invented time travel.

I’d never, to my knowledge, used Murphy Oil Soap. I knew it existed of course, but I always figured that it was for people who actually cared about the gleaminess of their wood furnishings.

I opened the bottle carefully. Because I sort of paid attention in Mr. S’s high school chemistry class, I knew better than to stick my nose over the bottle and breathe in deeply, and wafted the scent towards my delicate little nose instead.

The scent was sort of…. lemony? Ish? I couldn’t really place where I had smelled this particular smell before, but I knew that I had.

Then it hit me, and I bellowed in a ladylike way for Johnny Rotten to come here RIGHT NOW. He came running out of the bedroom, probably thinking that I had injured myself again. He saw me standing there, very uninjured and holding a bottle of cleaner with a confused look on my face.

“Hey, um, does this smell like….church…. to you?”

He stuck his nose over the bottle and breathed in deeply, because he obviously didn’t have Mr. S as a chemistry teacher, and wrinkled his nose.

“Yeah. That’s church. In a bottle. Can I please go now?”

He wandered off, leaving me to my elation and my scrubbing. See, I figure that the ladies in churches probably have many talents, but they seem to be world class pros at two things: potluck food, and cleaning. Finding a church worthy cleaning product was guaranteed to be as good as finding a church fundraiser cookbook. There’s a reason why “Edna Mae’s Perfectly Mediocre Apple Pie” is never featured. It’s always “Edna Mae’s World Famous Apple Pie” or something. It’s all about reputation. Cleaning products should be the same, I reasoned. If it’s good enough for their gleamy needs, it’ll definitely be good enough for me and my dull, fingerprinted wood items.

Holy cow, yeah. After using it,  I’m a believer. It took off all dustiness and fingerprints, and wasn’t strong smelling or harsh on my skin while I was cleaning. Once I finish this bottle, I will be purchasing it again. It’s good stuff, and after getting used to the smell, I quite like it. It’s clean and nostalgic.

Verdict: Murphy’s Oil Soap has been around for more than a century, and for good reason. It’s a winner.

My husband is standing in the way of my wifing

Johnny Rotten’s initial reaction to The Good Housewife Project was dismaying at best.

I announced that I would be getting up in the morning when he does, so that I could make him breakfast. Please note that I have made him breakfast a handful of times over the years, mostly because he was recovering from surgery and needed to have something in his stomach so he didn’t get all pukey from his medication. I’d like to say that I was doing it because I was nice and loving and caring and a Good Housewife, but I’d be painting myself to be far more nice and loving and caring and Good Housewifey than I actually am. Mostly, I did it so that he wouldn’t be hurt and vomiting, because that would be messy and smelly and very unpleasant to clean up.

Anyway, I told him that he was going to be getting breakfast every single morning for the next few weeks.

He looked at me, and a shadow of terror flickered across his face.

“But I don’t eat breakfast”, he said quietly.

“But you will! And I won’t even make it scary. I promise I won’t make you eat a pancake and sausage gelatin mold or anything!” I noticed the terror on his face, and forged ahead bravely. I know he thinks he knows what he likes and wants, but he hasn’t read the books on how a Good Housewife is supposed to please her husband, so his opinion really shouldn’t be taken as some hard and fast rule.

“Um. Yeah. Well, I like just coffee. And quiet. And, lets face it,  you’re pretty grumpy in the morning.”

“I won’t be if Im making softboiled eggs and toast triangles. It will be my pleasure to start cooking at 5 am every day, to ensure you get off to the best start possible!”

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This is not an egg. This is LOVE, simmered gently for exactly 4 minutes.

You’d think he’d believe me. You’d think he would be enticed by softboiled eggs. You’d think. He wasn’t, and he informed me that while I was welcome to get up at an ungodly hour, it was entirely too early to listen to me swear at eggs and make death threats to the toaster.

I didn’t say another word about it, because I was too busy saying a prayer of thanks about not having to get up to make eggs know that a Good Housewife wouldn’t argue over such petty matters, and would choose to respect her husband’s wishes and speak in dulcet tones or something.

 

Supermegadangit

I tried to log into my email account associated with this site for the first time in a while, and Yahoo (I know, I know…) just informed me that something-something-account-may-have-been-compromised-something, and then sent me a questionnaire that was all official sounding and suspiciously like a series of questions the TSA would ask, if I was dealing with physical baggage instead of the emotional baggage I usually deal with here.

Whatever. I was sick of them anyway, so that was just the kick in the butt I needed to officially switch.

You can now send all fan mail, dirty jokes and comic sans chain letters to amyarrtwodeetoo@gmail.com.

If you’ve sent something in the past few weeks and gotten no reply, please send it again to my new address. That’d be downright spiffy of you.