Monthly Archive for August, 2010

Established Eateries: Eddie’s Sweet Shop

Eddie’s Sweet Shop, in Forest Hills, Queens.

A couple weeks ago, I joined friends for a summer drive to Eddie’s Sweet Shop in Queens.  This soda fountain and ice cream haven hasn’t changed much since the turn of the century.  I read about it in a neat little book called The Historic Shops and Restaurants of New York; all the quotes in this post are pulled from this book.

The candy counter.  The interior of Eddie’s is “…preserved in near perfect turn-of-the-century condition.”

“The refrigerator is Frigidaire’s first electric mode, some 75 years old…”  A vintage canister filled with malt sits on top.

“Nine original wood-topped revolving stools still face the mahogany counter with its cool-to-the-touch white marble top.”  The surface of the stool has been worn smooth by the seats of many pants.

“They…serve only homemade ice cream, sherbert, syrups, and freshly whipped cream, all prepared on the premises.”  I had a chocolate malt, and a strawberry soda, made with syrup and seltzer.  Next time, I think I’ll get an ice cream float!

Upcoming Events: So Many Great Things to Do this Fall!

I’ve been busy preparing for a bevy of wonderful events!  Take a look at the schedule:

Thursday, September 9, through Monday, November 29
Exhibition: “Memento Mori:” The Birth & Resurrection of Postmortem Photography
The Merchant’s House Museum,  29 East Fourth Street, New York, NY

In collaboration with the Burns Archive & featuring artists Joel-Peter Witkin, Hal Hirshorn, Marian St. Laurent, & Sarah Lohman. Trace the evolution of postmortem photography in America through eerily beautiful 19th-century daguerreotypes and prints from the Burns Archive collection as well as modern art inspired by the iconography of these historic images. Then stage your own “postmortem” photograph in our reproduction coffin.

For this exhibition, I’ll be curating “senses”:  the sounds, smells, and tastes associated with Victorian mourning customs.

Price: Included with regular admission to the Museum.


Saturday, September 18th 6pm – 2am
The Last Supper Festival
3rd Ward, 195 Morgan Ave, Brookyln, NY

The Last Supper is a multimedia, project-based collaborative festival that addresses the act of consumption. Viewing the creative process as a cyclical, communally interactive conversation between media, it is a non-profit benefit for artists and the Food Bank for NYC. The Last Supper is a curated, indoor-outdoor salon of ideas occurring in Brooklyn during the crux of seasonal change from Summer to Fall.

In this event, I’ll be featuring a set of jewelry crafted from raw seafood.  Models will wear the pieces at the event, and photographs will be on display as well.  Take a look at a few of my past seafood jewelry pieces here,  and read more about the event on the Last Supper webpage here.


Saturday, September 25th, 6pm-7:30pm
Seneca Village Reenactment
Central Park, New York, NY

To build Central Park, the city had to disband Seneca Village, a squatter’s town far north of the city limits comprised of African Americans and Irish immigrants.  The village was in existence until the late 1850s and was a thriving community for those that were considered to be on the fringes of society.  This 90-minutes tour will teach you what it took to survive in rural Manhattan, and I’ll be doing a presentation on foodways.


Saturday, October 2nd, 5pm-12am
The New York 19th Century Pub Crawl

Join us to tour some of New York’s oldest bars and most notorious dens of vice!  This fall’s tour will have a whiskey theme, featuring free sips of single malt scotch and custom-made 19th-century whiskey cocktails.   But never fear, beer drinkers: We’re going to make a stop at Pete’s Tavern for some of their famous 1864 Original Ale.  Stay tuned for more information, including exclusive drink specials. Free to attend, drinks are additional.


Thursday, October 14th, 6pm-9pm
Bread & Beer:  A New Amsterdam Tasting Menu
The Old Stone House,
5th Ave. at 3rd St., Brooklyn NY

Featuring a five-course tasting menu, this event will explore two foods the Dutch made extremely well: Bread and Beer.  Looking at recipes from New Amsterdam, I’ll be preparing fresh baked bread, including buttery, lemony holiday rolls and wholesome barley waffles; as well as sweets like spicy Deventer cake and caraway and orange cookies.  Beer will brewed by the gents at Brouwerij Lane, using 18th and early 19th recipes as inspiration.  Try a sip of beer made from fresh ginger, spruce limbs, or maybe even beef. $45, tickets available soon.


Wednesday, October 20th, 6pm-8pm
What Dickens Drank
Part of You can’t get there from here but you can get here from there
apexart, 291 Church Street, New York, NY

Like any good tourist, when Charles Dickens visited America in 1842, he sampled the local food and drink.  Of American bars, he said:  “…The stranger is intiaited into the mysteries of Gin-sling, Cocktail, Sangaree, Mint Julep, Sherry-cobbler, Timber Doodle and other rare drinks.”
So what did a Cocktail taste like in 1842?  For one evening, we will be tourists in time and mix up these antique potations.  During this history lesson in flavor, guests will not only sip early American cocktails, but also learn how to make them.  Join us as we bring these drinks to life from the pages of Dicken’s book and from the archives of historic gastronomy. Free.

The Gallery: Bacon Pancakes? Yes, Please!

Food Party via Retrospace. Dated January14th, 1961.

I don’t know if there’s something wrong with me, but I would definitely eat these.  Maybe I’ll make them…

Cocktail Hour: Cherry Bounce

My dear friend Eva has always wanted to taste Cherry Bounce, an infusion of dark, ripe cherries in bourbon.  Well Eva: this post is for you.

I had to commission my friend Mike in Cleveland to make the Bounce.  It involved fermeting things in jugs in dark cool places for months at a time. I live in a Tenement with two roommates. It’s not the ideal brewing environment.  Mike has a normal person house and is also an avid brewer.

Below is Mike’s account of Bounce creation; it will take about 3 months to infuse, so we’ll do a tasting around Christmastime.  The results will be a mystery until then!

Cherry Bounce

Adapted by Mike from Directions for Cookery By Eliza Leslie
Philadelphia: E.L. Carey & Hart, 1840.

  • 1 lb of Sweet Cherries (I used Bing)
  • 1 lb of Sour Cherries (I grabbed what they had, Pie cherries don’t come so easy to the local mega mart)
  • ½ lb of Brown Sugar (It’s closer to the old refined sugar than white sugar, and I like molasses)
  • 1.135 L of Bourbon Whisky (I had a 750 bottle of Wild Turkey 101, we needed to add 385 mL of filtered Cleveland tap water to make volume.)

I weighed out the cherries with my digital scale; hand pitted them and crushed them into the jar one by one. My mortar and pestle was far too small for all those pits, so I put them in a sandwich bag and used my meat tenderizer to crack them open (Pro tip: If you pit and crush cherries by hand, don’t wear a white shirt and use an apron). I got about 70% of them well shattered and the rest should at least be cracked.

Cracking the pits.

I added 385ml of water from a filtered tap source.

I next weighed out 8 oz. of brown sugar and mixed it with the cherries.

I added the bottle of Wild Turkey, sealed the lid, and wiped down the outside of the jar.

The jar sits in my basement near my lagering fridge and will be agitated daily throughout August.

I expect to yield approximately 2 pints at 70° proof.


Do you have a challenge for the blog?  A recipe you’ve always been curious about? A food you want to subject me to? A mystery to solve? Leave your requests in the comments on this post!

Crooky Prongs and Little Pickey

Illustration by Zachariah Durr. Buy this drawing on Etsy here.

I’ve been doing a little research on early American taverns, and early American tavern food.  While reading Taverns & Travelers: Inns of the Early Midwest (yes, this is what I like to do in my free time) I came across a passage that made me bust out laughing in the middle of the New York Public Library reading room.  The room is giant and silent, so it was embarrassing.  But worth it.  Read on.

“Featherstonhaugh found the most primitive table service at an Arkansas tavern, operated by a lady whom he called a ‘she-Caliban.’  The colored servant, Nisby, had set the table, attempting to make the best of a poor situation.  When landlady Caliban inspected the result she raised her voice in apparent indignation, demanding where poor Nisby had placed the ‘new forks.’

‘I ha-ant put not forks nowhar,’ said Nisby in seeming desperation, ‘I never seen no forks but them as what’s on the table; thar’s Stump Handle, Crooky Prongs, Horny, Big Pewter, and Little Pickey, and that’s jist what ther is, and I expec they are all thar to speak for themselves.’  It was apparent that the dialogue about the new forks was entirely for the benefit of the guests.

Stump handle ‘consisted of one prong of an old fork’ with one end ‘stuck into a stump piece of wood.’  Crooky Prongs ‘was curled over on each side,’ and more adapted to catching codfish than for eating purposes.  Horny was a sort of imitation of a fork’ made out of cow’s horn.  Big Pewter was merely ‘the handle of a spoon with the bowl broken off.’  Little Pickey looked ‘like a cobbler’s awl fastened in a thick piece of wood.”

And don’t forget, this illustration is available on the brand new Four Pounds Flour Etsy page!

Four Pounds Flour is Now on Etsy!

Have you been enjoying the wonderful illustrations that grace the posts of Four Pounds Flour?  Well, now they can be yours!

The original illustrations are thanks to Four Pounds Flour artists Zachariah Durr, Angela Oster, and Peter Van Hyning.  And all of their past and future illustrations will be available on the new Four Pounds Flour Etsy Page: All the proceeds go to support these artists, to help them keep on keepin’ on!

Head over there today to purchase Angela’s charming pictorial cocktail recipes:

The Whiskey Sour by Angela Oster. Buy on Etsy!
The Manhattan Cocktail by Angela Oster.  Buy on Etsy!

The Sazerac Cocktail by Angela Oster. Buy on Etsy!

History Dish Mondays: Strawberry Cakes

The possible origin point of the strawberry shortcake.

I work on Saturdays and my morning path to mass transit takes me past the Roosevelt Island Greenmarket.  It’s run by a friendly Mennonite family, which is a sight for sore eyes for this Midwestern girl.  And it’s always stocked with the freshest, most delicious produce I have ever had.

Recently, the pints of bright red, sunshine-grown strawberries have been screaming at me to take them home.  So I handed over my dollars and bought them – because I wanted to try this recipe for Strawberry Cakes.

This recipe comes from Eliza Leslie’s 1847 cookbook The Lady’s Receipt Book.  It’s the oldest recipe I’ve found that resembles modern day strawberry shortcake: biscuits layered with mashed strawberries and topped with frosting.

This recipe contains some lovely bits of prose:  “Rub with your hands the butter into the flour, til the whole is crumbled fine…Knead the dough til it quits your hands, and leaves them clean.”  It’s a beautifully written recipe, although the paragraph form renders it a bit impractical.

I was intrigued by how this recipe treated the fresh strawberries: “Have ready a sufficient qauntity of ripe strawberries, mashed and made very sweet with powdered white sugar…the strawberries, not being cooked, will retain all their natural flavor.”

Cutting out the biscuits/cookies.

When I prepped the dough, it came together very quickly; it was easy and kinda fun. But I did notice that there was no leavining in the recipe: no baking power or yeast to make it rise!  After I cut the biscuits and baked them, they came out of the oven looking very much as they had gone in: flat. I was worried they would be too dense and the berry sandwich would not work at all.  I thought that if you tried to take a bite, the berries would moosh out all over.

But here’s where I was surprised:  instead of being rock hard, the biscuits were buttery and crumbly.  Both in taste and texture, they resembled short bread cookies; which makes a lot of sense of of the name “strawberry short cake.”  It’s interesting that we’ve replaced these buttery disks with pound cake, angel food cakes, or a fluffy biscuit.

The cookie crumbled and mixed with the berries and frosting.  I ate my short cake sandwich moments after spreading it with strawberries and frosting it.  I was worried that the strawberry juice would make the cookies mushy and gross.  I was wrong again: when berries soak into the shortbread rounds, it makes for an even happier marriage of fruit and cake.  Try for yourself:

Strawberry Cakes

From The Lady’s Receipt Book by Eliza Leslie Philadelphia: Carey And Hart, 1847.

4 Cups Flour
4 Sticks Butter
2 Large Eggs (or 3 Medium Eggs)
3 Tablespoons White Sugar
Super Fine Sugar (to taste)
1 Pint Strawberries

1. Preheat over to 450 degrees.  Rub butter into the flour with your hands, much as you would when making pie crust, until it crumbles.

2. Beat egg until light in color, then whisk in sugar.

3.  Add egg to butter and flour, and knead with your hands in the bowl.  When the dough forms a ball, remove from bowl and place on a floured surface.  Continue kneading until dough is springy and keeps its shape.  If dough is too dry and crumbly, add a little cold water.

4. Roll out dough on a floured surface into a “rather thick sheet.” I rolled mine about 1/2 inch thick.  Cut with a tumbler or a biscuit cutter dipped in flour.  Place on a butterd, non-stick, or parchment lined baking sheet.

5. Bake for 20 minutes, until golden brown.

6. In the meantime, sort out a few lovely strawberries to adorn the top of the cakes.  Mash the remaining strawberries with super fine sugar to taste.  The amount will very depending on the sweetness of the berries.  I used about a 1/4 cup of sugar.

7. When the shortcakes are cool, split them (I did not do this step, I just made cookie sandwiches) and spread the center with mashed strawberries.  Spread the top and sides with a royal icing. Adorn with a whole, ripe strawberry.

Tumbl with Me!

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