Welcome back! I hope you’ve been well and belated Happy New Year.
One of my childhood fantasies was that one day I would live in a hotel. Everything about the idea seemed glamorous: I’d watched a lot of old movies as a kid, and the hotels and stories within them made a lasting impression on me. That and the memories of my grandmother taking me to the elegant ‘powder room’ at the Waldorf-Astoria. We’d make a quick stop before getting on the subway to go home to Queens after our excursions to Manhattan. Walking through that grand lobby at five-years-old was the stuff of dreams.
Last January, a lifetime later, I moved into an apartment in a former residential hotel in Chicago. Built in 1927 and located on the shores of Lake Michigan, I was over-the-moon about my new digs.
Like an aging Eloise at The Plaza, I now wander the halls finding adventure around every corner (my groceries were delivered to the lobby) meet fascinating people (everyone is coughing and in a mask) and enjoy ordering room service breakfast (Uber Eats just dropped off an Egg McMuffin outside my door).
Truth to tell, I love it here. The quirky, somewhat faded glory of the place has great charm. You can feel the ghosts the minute you enter the lobby, and, of course, there’s my vintage kitchen — the inspiration for this newsletter.
Most of what I wrote about, and baked last year were recipes from the 1920’s and 30’s. I’m adding the 1940’s, 50’s and 60’s to the mix this year so I’ll be bouncing around the decades, as time travelers do.
I thought I’d ease into the New Year with a simple and delicious scone recipe. It’s from one of the vintage Gourmet magazines from the 1940’s and 50’s that I found over the holidays.
Back in the early 1990’s I worked at Gourmet. It was my second job out of cooking school and I couldn’t believe my good luck. Working in the Executive Dining room and learning from the down-to-earth, funny and real-deal talented Chef Sara Moulton Sara’s Weeknight Meals is a memory I treasure.
Here’s what the dough looks like — I just patted it out.
I made 2 large and 6 small scones (I preferred the larger ones) cut them whatever size you like - just watch your time, the smaller ones bake a bit quicker.
You can fold them over like this.
I had them with butter and raspberry jam. They were tender with a crunchy outside — in other words, they were good.
From Jell-O to Frogs’ Legs, Welcome to the 1950’s
The 50’s had a culinary range that could give you whiplash. The era often gets a bad rap, and there were, in fact, some questionable dishes — but that’s certainly not the whole story.
There’s a terrific article by food historian Sarah Wassberg Johnson, Were the 1950’s really a ‘lawless hellscape’ when it came to food?
Click this link to read Sarah’s piece: The Food Historian
Again, Happy New Year and have a great weekend. Enjoy some scones!
Joan Goodrich, Fair Highland Fare, Gourmet, January 1958
Sarah Wassberg Johnson, www.thefoodhistorian.com/links