Gyngerbrede!

Screen Shot 2015-12-20 at 9.10.55 AMNo shit y’all. My recent fascination with historical menus and recipes has inspired me to check out (and eat) some pretty tasty stuff. My wife, Coni, and I have come up with a plan to adapt some of these historical recipes for the twenty-first century – with all that that entails – and then share them with all of you. See how cool we are?  We came across this one – Martha Washington’s tried and tested gyngerbrede cake – adapted from The Presidents’ Own White House Cookbook (yes…I know Mrs. W. never lived in the White House – but maybe she stopped by to give the Adamses a house-warming gift). In the spirit of holiday cheer – we pretty much devoured it in very short order. You should give it a go. And not for nothing, but this recipe fits well with your twenty-first century eating habits…if you are following along: this gyngerbrede cake is gluten free and (almost) paleo – depending on your thoughts on molasses.

So make it…take a picture of it…and tweet me the shot with the #harristorian hashtag.

Gyngerbrede

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups almond flour
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 2-3 tsp ground ginger
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 1/2 melted cup coconut oil

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F and grease a 9-by-9 square pan with coconut oil. Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl and mix thoroughly. In a smaller bowl mix wet ingredients until well blended.
  2. Mix wet and dry ingredients until well combined. Transfer mixture to greased pan and bake for 30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  3. OPTIONAL~ While cake is baking make a vanilla sauce to drizzle on top. Gently heat 1 cup coconut milk, 1 tsp vanilla extract and 2 tablespoons maple syrup. Lightly simmer until thickened slightly.

Recipe Notes

2 tsp of ginger will give a subtle flavor. If you like your gyngerbrede more gingery but not smacking you over the head with ginger use up to 3 tsp.

Oh, and I get molasses is not really paleo but it does add a super rich flavor to the cake. If you’re a paleo purist just use all maple syrup.

With compliments,

Keith

 

I’ll Have the Stewed Kidneys and Minced Codfish

FullSizeRenderI have recently developed a fascination for nineteenth-century food and eating: when, where, what…and for reasons I can barely fathom (in some cases), why. I will say this, though some of the menu selections I’ve encountered seem pretty gross and not particularly compatible with my twenty-first century tastes, most of what I see sounds damn tasty. What do you think? Fire off a comment below or TWEET me to let me know.  And be sure to use the hashtag #harristorian.

With compliments,

Keith

Screen Shot 2015-12-17 at 6.30.49 AMFullSizeRender-2FullSizeRender-1Screen Shot 2015-12-17 at 6.33.05 AM

Social Media Firebrands Take Heed

Screen Shot 2015-12-09 at 9.39.25 AMI can’t help but wonder what people think they are doing by going on hysterical rants across the various social media platforms. I am not talking about the occasional humorous meme or the not-so-humorous news story that you wish to share with your friends on your own timelines, I am talking about Internet trolls and their endless stream of ideologically motivated shit-smearing on comment threads – especially Facebook.

If you think that you are somehow participating in the body politic you are either delusional or just confused. Here’s a suggestion (and I speak to all political affiliations here). Instead of ranting from the comfort of your favorite Archie Bunker chair, try to get involved – I mean really involved. If you feel so strongly about your political agenda, volunteer for the candidate who best reflects your personal politics, learn and engage the issues like an adult – with data and reasonable discourse. Because here is what you are otherwise accomplishing: 100% of nothing.

My guess is that you won’t do anything beyond anonymously spewing glazed-over fanatical vitriol. Why? Because you probably don’t have the cajones or the knowledge to rationally debate someone face to face in a productive way and you really have nothing meaningful to add to the conversation anyway. Yet you still won’t SHUT THE FUCK UP,  which means that you are part of the problem. You breed divisiveness and perpetuate ignorance. I think we have had enough of that.

With compliments,

Keith

 

Dickhead Follow Up

Screen Shot 2015-12-08 at 10.24.27 AMHi friends! You might recall a recent post where I offered some results from a social media survey I conducted concerning who among the many was the biggest dickhead in United States history. Many of you who had not participated were pretty surprised that the King Dickhead of America turned out to be George Custer. I feel your pain, what with the competition and all…Custer seems in the ballpark, but a long-shot nonetheless.

Here’s something else that I probably should have anticipated, but didn’t: glazed-over fanatical ideologues from both sides of the political spectrum will seize any opportunity to ram their political agenda down your throat. The most heinous offenders, in my best estimation, are unfamiliar with the term “dickhead” (such as, the guy who takes up two parking spaces on street-cleaning day) and didn’t read the post anyway – OR – they are so god-damn angry that their brains are about to hemorrhage and they are thus compelled to denounce ObamaClintonBushTrump with the usual (and let’s face it…pretty useless) zeal of an Internet troll. Either way…chill the fuck out people. These surveys were conducted in the spirit of levity.

With all of that out of the way…here are a few more contenders. I may have to conduct another general survey once these settle in.

Screen Shot 2015-12-08 at 10.46.57 AMCorelius Vanderbilt – being a capitalist business magnate might make you an asshole…but adding “Commodore” to your name for no real reason most certainly catapults you to the front of the dickhead line.

 

Screen Shot 2015-12-08 at 10.49.19 AMRichard M. Nixon – he taped all his Oval Office conversations while he dropped the n-bomb along with a lot of other stupid shit. And anybody known as “Tricky Dick” should be suspect from the start.

 

Screen Shot 2015-12-08 at 10.51.30 AMJoseph McCarthy – are you now or have you ever been a complete dickhead? Yes and yes.

 

 

Screen Shot 2015-12-08 at 10.52.49 AMRoy Cohn – assistant dickhead…see above.

 

 

 

Screen Shot 2015-12-08 at 10.54.29 AMBenedict Arnold – a Revolutionary dickhead…he didn’t play well with others and really craved wealth and social status – so much so that he married into a loyalist family during the war, lived well beyond his means, and sold out the Continental Army.  Get over yourself, dickhead.

 

Well…that should round things out a little, and perhaps inspire further contribution. But please, unless you want to prove to be a dickhead yourself – refrain from the political rants.

With compliments,

Keith

Something is Rotten in the State of Denmark

Screen Shot 2015-12-07 at 10.02.12 AMThis past weekend I saw the film, The Danish Girl. I was sorely disappointed. Now before you blast me for not supporting the transgender community, relax. I do – completely. Something else you might note: 1920s and 30s European history is far from my area of expertise – and thus I am sort of breaking from my usual tack on period pieces concerning American history. But still – since I discuss historically themed movies a lot, I feel I must weigh in on this one.

I went to The Danish Girl expecting to see an engaging drama reflecting on love, courage, and fortitude. But what I got was a very prettily glossed and heavily sanitized story screened with the singular objective (I can’t help but believe) to simplify an individual’s experience for a mainstream audience. The truth is – the historical Lily Elbe (played in the film by Eddie Redmayne) was infinitely more interesting than the film suggests, as were the people with whom she was most closely associated. I do not want to ruin things for you if you have not seen the film (spoilers suck). But I highly recommended you poke about the interwebs and try to get your head around exactly how complicated a person she was. In addition, the long suffering Gerda Wegener (played by Alicia Vickander) could be the subject of a fascinating biopic herself. Seriously – I would see this movie. Of course, the film is based on a novel of the same title, which deserves the lion’s share of culpability for taking liberties with the lives of real people. But still…those who wrote the film adaptation could have tried a little harder.  My best estimation is that the producers rushed to make a film that would fall in step and get on the right side of twenty-first century civil rights and gender identity issues. I do not discredit their intention, I just wish they had given the central characters more life – and essentially empower the real people involved – not the shallow distilled ones.

Not that the film was all bad. Visually, it was gorgeous. The actors, landscapes and city recreations, sets, staging, and costumes all looked fantastic. And, not for nothing, but Redmayne has really mastered the art of the coquettish grin. But in terms of character depth, The Danish Girl was unsatisfying.

If you ask me (people do that from time to time) the best film I have seen that takes on transgender subject matter is Tangerine. This film is wonderful in every respect – but it is much lesser known, shot on a tiny budget with iPhone technology (in my neighborhood, no less!), and starring unknown actors. It really should get the Oscar nod – I’m not kidding.

With compliments,

Keith