Mimsy Were the Borogoves

The permanent ruling class, the post-democratic class, is beginning to teach the people a very troubling lesson, which is that no matter how you vote, nothing’s going to change. And once you start telling people that, there really isn’t anything left between there and revolution. You’re basically telling them that their grievances can’t be accommodated within the respectable political systems and structures of the land. — Mark Steyn (SteynPost #26: Post-Democracy and the Populists)

Texas 2023 legislative priorities—Wednesday, March 15th, 2023
Texas Elections and Power: ASCII art of Texas with the phrase “ELECTION INTEGRITY” and “RELIABLE POWER”.; elections; Texas; energy policy

Election integrity and reliable power are critical.

The legislature is in session; they are only in session once every two years. It’s getting past time for them to hear from us about what matters to Texans. My understanding is that all bills that will be submitted have been submitted. But there are a lot of them, covering most of the important issues in Texas today, so your representatives still need to hear from you.

I wrote these as separate letters; I don’t trust the ability of staffers to summarize a multi-topic letter.

Obviously, there are a lot of important issues today. Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick released a list of thirty priority bills and those are just his “top” priorities. These are mine, and I’ve distilled them down to four, plus one that is less a matter of policy than of justice.

Election integrity

Election integrity is critical. Texas’s elections must be secure and accurate. The failures we saw in Harris County last year are frightening, and we must ensure that debacles such as happened in Maricopa County do not happen in Texas.

Restore felony penalties and enact civil penalties for election code violations; violations need to be able to be enforced by any Texas jurisdiction in which they happened, by affected voters, and by the Attorney General. Restore the ability of the Texas Attorney General to fight election fraud.

Mango macadamia pie for π day—Wednesday, March 8th, 2023
Cream-kist Mango Pie: Mrs. Jack Bether’s cream-kist peach pie from the 1972 Southern Living Pies and Pastries Cookbook.; Southern Living; pie; mangos

Next week is π day. Since Pi Day is always a week before the end of winter, why not celebrate the coming spring with a very Hawaiian pie? This year’s featured pie comes via the 1972 Pies and Pastries Cookbook of the Southern Living Cookbook Library. The original, a peach pie with an almond topping, was contributed to Southern Living by “Mrs. Jack Bether, Lancaster, South Carolina”.

I often find that replacing peaches with mango makes a dessert even better, and with no other changes. I’ve had this pie on my “try soon” list ever since I saw it while compiling the Southern Living Missing Index. So when I found myself with a couple of mangos about to go bad and an open bag of macadamia nuts I wanted to use up, I decided to try this recipe replacing both the peaches and the almonds, with mangos and macadamias.

Because mangos are bigger than peaches, you’ll probably have some mango left over. This is not a problem: just eat it (as Weird Al might say). All you need is enough fruit to solidly cover the bottom of the pie shell.

This is really an amazing pie. The cream surrounding the fruit forms a creamy filling beneath the fruit, and a crusty golden top above the fruit and around the chopped nuts. I’m sure it’s great with peaches and almonds as well. As I write this, however, mangos are on sale, so check your local grocery.

For that matter, I expect it’s great with any pie-friendly fruit.

A pie like this also deserves a great crust. I chose to make a beer crust, from Eddie Doucette’s Oktoberfest recipes, as presented in Tempt Them with Tastier Foods. Tempt Them is an upcoming collection of Eddie Doucette’s recipes, mostly from the IGA advertisements he appeared in. It also contains several recipes from his various “cooking can be fun” presentations.

You heard it here first!

An age of miracles—Wednesday, March 1st, 2023

“…a society that has just risen above the hand-to-mouth of no-extra-capital needs the essentials. It is only those who are rich who want the cute little thing that’s completely uneeded but makes you feel happy. They’re the only ones willing to pay for it.

“If you’ve ever bought something because you heard about it and you thought ‘oh, that’s cool’ or because you were browsing booths at a county fair (or a science fiction con) and found…. a cute box, or a pretty necklace, much more expensive than something that would fulfill the same function but mass produced? And you bought it? Congratulations. You’re as rich as Lords and Ladies in the regency.

“If you make a living of your crafts, your bespoke clothing, your writing, your non-essential good that enhances people’s lives?

“Congratulations. No matter if that life isn’t the thing that an Earl’s son would be happy with but just ‘average’ middle class living? Congratulations. You live in the richest society the world has ever seen. And this is why you’re allowed to ‘follow your passion’ or whatever it is, and do your thing and sell it for enough to live off of.”

We live in an age of miracles built on a foundation of reason and faith, and there are those who wish to throw them all away because miracles frighten and confuse them.

1950 Cherry Pudding Dessert—Wednesday, February 22nd, 2023
Cherry Cream: Cherry Cream from the 1950 calendar of Hope Lutheran Church of Milwaukee, Wisconsin.; cherries; pudding

For February’s 1950 calendar recipe, I had planned to choose the Shrimp Spaghetti. But I found myself in a hurry and wanting something sweet, and realized that the Cherry Cream would give me an excuse to also make my favorite vanilla pudding. I still intend to try the Shrimp Spaghetti. It’s just such a Deplorable Gourmet combination of ingredients. But it’ll have to wait until later.

The Cherry Cream recipe calls for a package of vanilla pudding; if I’m reading it right, it assumes that you’re mixing the two cups of milk in the ingredient list with a package of powder. The milk isn’t called for anywhere else, and it’s listed after the “1 package prepared vanilla pudding”. The recipe then later refers to the prepared pudding as “custard” if I’m reading it right.

My favorite quick vanilla pudding recipe uses 2-½ cups of milk, so that’s what I used for the “custard” of this cherry pudding.

I’m not sure what the recipe list means by “cherries”. I’m assuming some sort of canned or preserved cherries, because the second item in the ingredient list is a cup of cherry juice. I’m guessing that the juice comes from the can or jar of cherries. I chose to use maraschino cherries, because I have a giant jar of them in the back of my fridge. I suspect that maraschino cherries are sweeter than what they meant, so I cut back on the sugar, from ¾ cup to about ⅓ cup. I probably could have cut back further, or even completely.

I also increased the lemon juice by half, to a full tablespoon. Partly to offset the sweetness, but also because I had a bowl of leftover lemon juice in the fridge and it turned out to be exactly a tablespoon. There didn’t seem much point in leaving a teaspoon of lemon juice in the fridge.

And as is often the case, I doubled the amount of almond extract in the cherry part of the mix, because I pulled the fact of almond extract from the instructions, and the amount from the ingredient list. Recipes that sum ingredients which get used in multiple parts of the instructions often cause me to mistakenly add the full amount from the list rather than the partial amount from the instructions. It doesn’t seem to have hurt it, probably, again, because the maraschino cherry juice is very sweet.

This is more of an idea than a recipe in any case, the idea being, taking some pudding and some fruit and layer them. To add to that idea, I also added whipped cream on top. If I were to do it again, I think I’d plan ahead of time to add some crunch to it: toasted nuts, or a crushed cookie layer on the bottom. Or some homemade granola on top. It was very good with banana oatmeal cookies, and they’re not even crunchy.

Our Cybernetic Future 2023: Entropy in Action—Wednesday, February 15th, 2023
Keyser Söze: Entropy doesn’t exist: “The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world that entropy doesn’t exist.”; Kevin Spacey; entropy

When I was growing up, a standard response taught by parents to young children was “sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me.”

I doubt parents still teach that. There are a lot of assumptions in that advice that are no longer safe, notably that it won’t be taken as a challenge. The assumption then was that verbal exchanges remained verbal exchanges. Nowadays the assumption is that knifing a fellow student in the back is merely standard schoolyard play.

That was seriously said by the West Side Left, back in 2021.

Teenagers have been having fights including fights involving knives for eons. We do not need police to address these situations by showing up to the scene & using a weapon against one of the teenagers.

Their logic in letting kids knife kids would be perfectly understandable to Norbert Wiener. Yes, young teenagers have engaged in deadly fights for eons. It was hard work bringing our culture out of the barbarism of child violence. But there is a growing contingent today that doesn’t just want to ignore that without work we get barbarism, they welcome the slide backward into barbarism, even to the point of supporting kids knifing kids.

Without work, entropy always wins.

In part one, I highlighted John G. Kemeny’s argument that the proper relationship between man and machine in the age of the computer is a collaborative one with man in control. In part two I examined Vannevar Bush’s prescient vision of a networked future in which scientific discoveries would be readily available to all, ensuring that science and technology would always advance to the benefit of mankind rather than being lost in dusty libraries. And in part three I added Norbert Wiener’s warnings that entropy applies to communications—especially networked communications—just as it applies to physics.

What can we learn from these three visionaries more than half a century on?

January birthday veal from 1950—Wednesday, February 8th, 2023
Veal steak roll: Veal Steak Roll, from the 1950 Hope Lutheran (Chicago) recipe calendar.; ham; food history; vintage cookbooks; veal

In A 1950 recipe calendar for 2023 I wrote that “I’m looking forward to trying a new recipe from this calendar each month come January.”

As New Year resolutions go, that’s not a difficult one. A little expensive. For January’s recipe, it came down to the Birthday White Cake or the Veal Steak Rolls; The cake looks very good, but I was already making a lot of baked goods from the El Molino Best cookbook, so I went with the Veal rolls.

Veal is not cheap nowadays, so I made a half recipe. A little under a pound of veal cutlets was about twelve dollars. January is a birthday month according to the calendar, and birthdays demand a special meal. A special meal justifies a little added cost.

I don’t know that veal cutlets are the same as the “veal steaks” called for in the recipe, but it was either cutlets or ground veal. Veal doesn’t seem to be as popular as it once was, either.

I don’t have garlic salt on hand, so I seasoned the veal with salt, pepper, and crushed garlic.

The recipe makes the interesting assumption that 2 pounds of veal steaks is the same number of pieces as a half pound of sliced ham. I didn’t think to measure it, but that seems about right. My just-under-a-pound of veal cutlets meant four cutlets; four slices of the sliced ham that I bought for this recipe (and for sandwiches from El Molino whole wheat bread) seems likely to have been about a quarter pound, perhaps a little less.

Had I gotten a full pound, that would have meant another cutlet. My guess is that the recipe is meant to produce ten, or maybe twelve, rolls.

A home-cooking handful from Eddie Doucette—Wednesday, February 1st, 2023

View application.

Fascinating and easy recipes from a pioneering television show!

These sheets (PDF File, 2.9 MB) were advertised on eBay as recipes from a 1960s Chicago restaurant, Eddie Doucette’s Pancake Plantation. The note said that the typewritten sheets had belonged to their aunt.

I wasn’t interested in recipes from a Chicago restaurant I’d never been to, so I posted it to a vintage recipe group thinking someone else might be. But the title of the sheet didn’t sound like a restaurant to me. Instead of just Eddie Doucette, I did a search on the full title, and discovered a very obscure Chicago cooking show, Home Cooking that aired in the fifties.

That sounded a lot more interesting. At $2 including postage, I decided it would be worth at least a blog post.

After I received them and looked at them, I asked the seller if they knew how their aunt acquired them, or why she’d typed them up?

Our aunt… had many recipes from Chicago area restaurants from back in the day. Also many recipes from different radio and tv programs. She was an adventurous cook!

So this does indeed sound like a viewer who typed up recipes from a television show they enjoyed. It’s a show that few people seem to remember today. The number of hits on my Internet search for it while writing this brought up all of three hits, one from a 1954 newspaper and one from someone posting old TV schedules. I was able to find a handful more results by rewording the search terms, but there’s literally nothing about anybody talking about the show. All the hits are from contemporary newspapers—mostly TV guide-style listings—and media clippings about upcoming series to watch out for.

Eddie Doucette’s “Home Cooking” episode guide—Wednesday, February 1st, 2023

While searching for an episode of Eddie Doucette’s “Home Cooking” 1954-55 television show, I also kept a list of what episodes I found. As you can see, there are a few missing. If you have TV Guides from the missing weeks, scans or photos of the 1:00 PM slot for Monday through Friday will be greatly appreciated!

Monday, August 30Eddie Doucette returns to his post as mentor, with easily followed recipes. Eddie considers costs as well as glamor, and uses clever touches to meals. Today: Chicken that’s different; peach meringue torte.
Tuesday, August 31Eddie Doucette with easily prepared meals. Today: Ham steak gourmet; green peas Bayou; berry mush.
Wednesday, September 1Pie crust tips; mystery pie.
Thursday, September 2Fillet of sole Jeanine; fruit Carnival.
Friday, September 3Breast of lamb pinwheels; baked meringue spicecake.
Monday, September 13Eddie Doucette prepares “Elmer’s circus cake with carousel frosting.”
Tuesday, September 14Eddie Doucette with baked onions Bordelaise and Lyannaise potatoes.
Wednesday, September 15Eddie Doucette prepares chicken tamale pie as today’s recipe.
Thursday, September 16Eddie Doucette prepares California guest cake; fluffy orange frosting.
Friday, September 17Italian pizza pie is chef Doucette’s treat.
Monday, September 20Eddie Doucette offers recipes for steak strips with soybean sauce, Chinese style, and fluffy rice.
Tuesday, September 21Succotash souffle, deviled tomatoes, Midwest Style, are Eddie Doucette’s offerings.
Wednesday, September 22Eddie Doucette prepares candelabra cake and marshmallow frosting.
Thursday, September 23Lobster curry and Risotta ring are on the Doucette menu today.
Friday, September 24Eddie Doucette prepares sauteed chicken and Bourguignonne.
Monday, September 27Chef Eddie Doucette with pork chops topper; one-meal-casserole.
Tuesday, September 28Eddie Doucette with chocolate angel pie.
Wednesday, September 29No show listed.
Thursday, September 30No show blurb.
Friday, October 1No show listed.
Monday, October 4Chef Eddie Doucette prepares ham loaf with horseradish, scalloped potatoes.
Tuesday, October 5“Apricot Braid.” Eddie Doucette.
Wednesday, October 6Showman-cook Doucette with his specialty, “Bubble and Squeak with Wow Wow Sauce.”
Thursday, October 7Eddie Doucette prepares country style omelet and popovers.
Friday, October 8No show listed.
Monday, October 11Eddie Doucette prepares wine peach pudding pie as today’s treat.

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