Archive for the 'links' Category

Starting from Scratch

Do you think I can survive for one week on only foods that I hunt, forage or find?

Let me remind you that I happen to live on a fourth floor walk up in Queens.

Let’s find out together: I’ve volunteered to become part of a project called Starting from Scratch.  Along with four other family groups, I’m going to attempt to be entirely self-sufficient for one solid week in July.

Following along as we prepare ourselves at

Read through my game plan (and give me some feedback) here.

You Have Scurvy!

I just learned about 826 National, a non-profit tutoring center founded, in part, by Dave Eggers. The first center opened in San Francisco:

When they looked into the building they wanted to use at 826 Valencia Street, the landlord was open to the idea of a tutoring center, but he told Dave that the address was zoned for retail. They had no choice, the landlord said: at the front of the building, they had to sell something. (”

Their solution? Open a (beautifully designed) nonsense store.

To raise funds, inspire creativity, and advertise our programs to the local community, most of our centers include a street-front retail store filled with unusual products, entertaining signage, and, of course, our books for sale. San Francisco’s pirate supply store sells glass eyes and one-of-a-kind peglegs, 826NYC’s Superhero Supply Company offers custom-fit capes, Seattle’s Greenwood Space Travel Supply Company sells all your space commuting appurtenances, 826michigan’s Liberty Street Robot Supply & Repair Shop specializes in must-have mechanical conveniences, while 826LA features a time travel store, there’s a secret agent supply store in Chicago, and the Cryptozoology shop in Boston is now open! (826 National)”

Below, some of the products sold at The Pirate Supply Store in San Fran, via I think my favorite is the pine needle tea because of its obscurity, and that it is a factual 19th century remedy for scurvy. Pine needles, especially white pine, are high in vitamin C.
I plan on visiting the Cryptzoology store in Boston this fall.
(Thanks for the tip, Doan!)

The First Stop for All You Historic Baking Needs

Eva forwarded me a link to an amazing site, Deborah’s Pantry. This site is seriously the go-to for all your hard to fine 18th and 19th century culinary needs.

Items I want particularly excited about:
Nutmegs with the mace still on it!! I have been trying to explain to people what this looks like for years.
Loaf Sugar: “Sugar was purchased in tall conical loaves. Pieces were cut from them with special sugar-cutting implements. Well-to-do households bought whole sugar loaves, but smaller quantities could be purchased from the apothecaries (originally sugar was treated as a spice), and later from apothecaries and grocers. Loaf sugar is suitable for use in cooking and baking without being clarified further (boiled to remove scum).”
Seeing these loafs was also great, because it answered my questions about how refined baking sugar was; the answer is very. These loaves are quite white. And the best part? She makes them herself:

“Sugar Loaves may not be available for immediate shipment: Deborah refines the sugar properly and makes the loaves herself using 18th-century techniques, and the curing process is very time-consuming.”

Deborah also carries two types of historic leavening, Saleratus, a 19th Century leavening; and Pearlash, appropriate for the 18th century. When I do my historic baking, I substitute Baking Powder with no adverse side affects, and will probably continue to do so. But it’s nice to know the real stuff is out there.

And she’s having a sale in August!

Deborah Peterson’s Pantry