Saturday, April 5, 2008

Blast from the Past

It’s funny how quickly things add up. I began to realize last night that I was being overrun by books. There are knitting books and then there are other books. While one can’t have too many knitting books, it is possible to become overrun by other books. So this morning I began going through stacks and piles and bookcases and ended up with more than 11 carrier bags full of books to take to the used book store for trade in!

About a year ago I came across an old magazine series called “Needlecraft.” I’m sure others have come across it as well since I’ve been able to find them in a variety of places. I've been collecting them ever since. I found a whole load of them today (although I only got one) and found this recipe in it:

Potato Chocolate Cake
“This cake does not get dry right away like the usual dark chocolate cake, but will keep deliciously moist for a week at least. Cream together two cupfuls of sugar and one cupful of butter, or other shortening. Then add two-thirds of a cupful of melted unsweetened chocolate and one cupful of warm mashed potatoes. Beat until smooth. Now add two well beaten eggs, one cupful of milk and two and one half cupfuls of pastry-flour sifted with two teaspoonfuls of baking-powder. If you want this cake extra rich add one cupful of chopped nut-meats.”

Am I crazy but does this not sound good? I’m thinking that for the pastry-flour I could use the flour designed for bread machines. Something on one of Alton Brown’s programs the other day makes me think this would be the right element. I’m less confident about the potatoes but stranger things have worked.

If I can make it to the store to get the chocolate tomorrow I’m going to try it out.

Apart from the knit and crochet patterns, I love the ads in these magazines – I have issues from 1911 through to about 1939, not all but some – as well as some of the articles. For instance, I have one issue from July of 1930 with an article about the new rise of Germany with a focus of the hand crafts. It had been 12 years since the “war to end wars” had ended. I’m sure even at this point a positive article about Germany was not very popular. Everything sounds so innocuous but they had no way of knowing that in just 3 short years Hitler would come to power and the new “Germany at work” would once again attack Europe. I found this entire issue very poignant.

Here are a few samples from this issue and one from the March 1921 issue (click on the image to see it larger):

I love this ad! Sorry some of it’s cut off but my scanner couldn’t accommodate the size of the magazine. The headline reads, “Not one out of ten escapes this social fault.” What social fault, you ask? Have a look at the top right hand corner of the picture. “Jimmy’s Dad has halitosis,” evidently. Them there’s fightin’ words, if I ever heard them!! I just love the expressions on the boys’ faces!

Here are some Armenian crochet edgings from the 1930 issue:

Here’s the cover of the 1930 issue:

And a pattern from the March 1921 issue:


part 2:

And a view of the height of 1921 fashion!

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