Tuesday, December 27, 2011

I love Evidence Explained!

I got a copy of Elizabeth Shown Mills' Evidence Explained this weekend, and sat down to read the introductory material today. I have to say I'm seriously impressed!  When I was writing my dissertation, the APA style guide was neither helpful nor inspirational; in fact, my most common reaction was a desire to find the writers and pummel them with copies of the guide while screaming "would it kill you to add an example of a chart?"  With Evidence Explained, I feel all warm and fuzzy and inspired to go edit all my website citation templates right now.  There are even...gasp...bits of humor present.

My brother thinks it's hilarious that I have a little book on my shelf called Evidence and a big book on my shelf called Evidence Explained.  I just don't know how to, well, explain it to him; you really have to have been there. Of course, he thinks genealogists are nuts anyway, so this is just further...ahem...evidence.

Monday, December 19, 2011

First Female Jury in Kansas

I'm really enjoying the Kansas trivia column in the Wichita Eagle lately...they've run through all the usual stuff and are getting to bits of history I've never seen before.  Today's column is about the first female bailiff in the U.S. and first all-female jury in Kansas, and includes the names of the participants; the bailiff was Eva Rider and the jurors were Hattie Riley Ritcherdson, Maggie Clark, Geneva Selig, Agnes Foulks, Frances Boston, Genevieve Munson, Rachel Stewart, Anna Ruddick, Esther Kirkpatrick, Blanche Cron, Nannie Elson and Clara Willis. Wouldn't it fun if one of these were in your family?

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories: Fruitcake!

Today's prompt for the Geneabloggers is: Fruit Cake – Friend or Foe?

My Dad always liked fruitcake, so for many years I got him one for Christmas; you'd be amazed how many odd mailing lists that gets you on. Me, I always preferred my grandmother's fruitcake cookies, which are fresh and don't have any alcohol.

Grandmother's Fruitcake Cookies

6 tablespoons shortening
1/4 cup sugar
3 1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup walnuts, chopped
2 cups raisins
1/2 cup candied citron
1 cup molasses
1/4 cup sour milk
candied cherries

Plump raisins in hot water.
Cream shortening and sugar.
Sift together flour, salt, soda, nutmeg and cinnamon.
Toss walnuts, raisins and citron in dry ingredients.
Mix molasses and milk.
Add dry ingredients and molasses alternately to creamed mixture.
Shape into logs about 2 inches round and chill.
Preheat oven to 350.
Slice logs about 3/8 inch thick and arrange on baking sheet.
Place 1/2 candied cherry on each cookie.
Bake 10 minutes.

Store in a very airtight container.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Advent Calendar -- Holiday Foods

My grandfather was an owner of the Jo-Mar Dairy in Salina, KS, and one of our family's Christmas food traditions stems from that...sort of.  The dairy used pewter ice cream molds to make colorful holiday treats; vanilla ice cream was molded into holiday shapes and then painted with food coloring. I'm told that they were beautiful, but very labor intensive.  By the time I came along, the dairy no longer sold molded ice cream for the holidays, and my grandfather had brought some of the molds home.

For many years, we tried, and mostly failed, to make molded ice cream at home.  The molds were individual serving sized, so there wasn't a lot of mass to the ice cream, and the difference between too cold to pop out of the mold and to warm to hold the detail was a pretty small temperature band that's hard to find in a kitchen already warm from cooking a holiday dinner.  I'm sure that having small "helpers" added to the challenge, as well!  Still, it felt special to have them, even if they didn't stand up properly or have totally crisp details.

In 2003, we tried again.  Success!

Of course, nowadays, those molds are collectibles and people are warned not to use them for food because of lead concerns.  Pity.