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Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Rhode Island Fish Chowder

Hello, everyone!
I apologize for neglecting this blog again--
have I mentioned how stressful this semester has been?
... last one as an undergraduate, and taking 18 credits
has become a little overwhelming for me! Even my 
Spring break was spent mostly reading class material
(and getting laryngitis!)... So, as you can see, I am beat.
But, to be honest, what really keeps me going is the fact
that I'll be graduating in a couple of months. Oh! and on 
the ferry to beautiful Martha's Vineyard in June...
so all will be just fine, I think ♥

Anywho, in New England news, I found
a delicious traditional recipe that I've
been dying to share with you all...

Rhode Island Fish Chowder!
(can't you just eat that name?)

The recipes to follow (I've added a cracker recipe
in order to compliment your soup!) are from
the 1920s and 30s, and have surely maintained
their stomach-appeal throughout the years...


Afternoon Tea Cracker
(Boston Cooking School Cook Book, 1936 Edition)

Sift and mix dry ingredients:

 1 cup bread flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
Cut butter in with pastry blender or tips of fingers
½ cup butter
Add milk to make stiff dough
3 Tablespoons milk

“Toss on floured board, and pat and roll ¼ inch thick. Shape with round cutter dipped in flour, arrange on buttered cooky sheet, and bake 10 minutes in hot oven (400 degrees). Split while hot, return to oven, and bake until a golden brown. These crackers will keep for weeks without crumbling.”

Rhode Island Fish Chowder
(Boston Cooking School Magazine, Nov. 1920)

"In the bottom of an iron kettle fry five or six slices of fat salt pork, cut into small pieces, until it is crisp and brown. Cut up four pounds of either fresh codfish or sea bass into two-inch cubes, put into the kettle and cover with thin-sliced streaky bacon. Over this place a layer of onions, also very thin-sliced, and handful of chopped parsley, and a pinch of summer savory. Next put on a layer of Boston crackers, split and soaked in warm water until soft but not broken.

Proceed by repeating these layers until all the fish is used; the crackers for the top layer should be' thickly buttered. Add cold water to cover, and cook gently for one hour. If the water boils away so that the top crackers get dry, add boiling water. Remove the solid parts of the chowder carefully with a skimmer into the serving dish, and thicken the liquid in the pot with two tablespoonfuls of flour and two of butter, rubbed together. Let boil up once and pour over chowder. Serve with sliced lemons, pickles and stewed tomatoes."

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  A taste of New England in your very own kitchen!
... I like the sound of that.

Monday, March 7, 2011


"Sometimes I go away by myself, up the hill, far enough from Stillmeadow so that I only see the slope of the roof almost lambent with sunset. Holly may come along with me, for she does not disturb the aloneness.
From the upper abandoned orchard the yard is partly visible, dotted comfortably with cockers and cats. If there are guests or children at home, and there usually are, the sound of their voices comes dreamily from the open space where the lawn furniture is.
Somewhere, someone is forever pounding a typewriter, the sound of the typewriter never ceases at Stillmeadow.
There it all is below me, this little world within a world, and I sit down on a warm gray ledge upholstered with feathery lichens and think about it in relation to the rest of the world.
The terrible suffering that man is undergoing all over the earth is like a tidal wave to overwhelm civilization. If we think of this, what can we find in the whole round turning earth to make any life good?
The intolerance sickens the soul. Race again race, caste against caste-- by what dreadful arrogance could I believe myself better than another woman because my skin is pale?
But here in the country we may establish one small territory dedicated to love instead of hate, and possibly that is why we were born. And just possibly when all men have homes, hate will diminish all over the world.
Looking down on Stillmeadow I see the years that have gone, and the mark of them is a good and kindly mark, for the trees have grown, and the lilacs are spreading graciously. When Nature devastates the whole yard full of old and lovely apple trees, she begins new life the next season with young maples, and that year the mallows are as big as full moons.
If I were a wise woman, I should understand many things about life which I do not now understand. Maybe I would know why there is so much evil walking the highways, why men must suffer, why the governments operate like kaleidoscopes instead of like good blueprints for living, why gentle people must die too soon.
I think about all these things, up in the old orchard with Holly's muzzle soft in my  hand. And about the first people who owned Stillmeadow's forty acres more or less. What dreams they had of a fair world with liberty and justice for all.
And suddenly I know. I know there is a dream that will not die, and that Stillmeadow, in a small and quiet way, is an affirmation of that dream."

- Gladys Taber

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