Happy Anniversary to Me!

anniversarycupweb

Or rather to this blog. And to its faithful readers.

On September 3, 2008, In Our Grandmothers’ Kitchens first appeared on the internet. I thought the blog might serve as my passport to fame.

It hasn’t quite done that …. yet. It has attracted a moderate following, however, and it has given me a forum in which to develop some of my favorite ideas and recipes.

My most popular posts have been the ones about TV and Film History (particularly anything to do with “I Love Lucy”!), followed by those that dwell on two of my favorite foods, rhubarb and asparagus.

A quickly rising post that will probably be number one soon is one I wrote shortly after starting the blog, about the poignant “September Song.” Sometime in the past few months someone inserted a link to this post into the Wikipedia entry for the song … and so people wander over every day to look at it. It doesn’t offer a recipe, but it does offer food for thought.

In the coming year, I hope to use some of my blog posts in my next book. And I hope my audience will continue to grow. Please let me know what you like about the blog, what you don’t like, and what you’d like to see me do!

In case you haven’t been following me from the start, I’m reprinting my very first post here. I hope to make the tasty scones again today—and to contemplate the universe, something we all need to do from time to time.

As I contemplate, I’ll enjoy this (almost) autumnal anniversary. It’s fitting that the Jewish New Year falls in September, a month in which it seems natural to look both backward and forward. Thank you all for reading….

Posted on 3 September 2008:

Apples and the Universe

Photo Courtesy of Susan Hagen

Photo Courtesy of Susan Hagen

If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe.

So said the late astronomer Carl Sagan on the PBS television series Cosmos.

Sagan was one of the great writers of popular science for a reason. He knew how to phrase complicated truths about human existence in down-to-earth ways.

To him, of course, the important noun in his sentence was the universe. To me (because I’m an ordinary person and a cook), it’s the apple pie.

I love to cook—but I can’t imagine how anyone ever invented our most basic recipes: a simple cake, a loaf of bread, a scrambled egg, a pie.

To my mind those breakthroughs are as mystifying as thinking up relativity or quantum theory. I’m glad I don’t have to come up with them myself. I’m content with tweaking traditional folk recipes and asking my neighbors to share the formulas for their own culinary triumphs.

Nevertheless, I do know that very time we cook or bake we’re using science and recreating the universe in numerous ways. Even though I managed to avoid taking chemistry in high school and college, I use its magical processes every day to create meals for family and friends.

When I follow a recipe or consider a specific food, the neurons (or whatever the heck does the work) in my brain conjure up the person who first introduced me to that flavor. And of course when cooking I create something new out of unrelated matter—my own personal big bang.

(I’ve had a few little bangs in the kitchen as well, but that’s another topic.)

Apples are all around us at this time of year, embodying the coming autumn with that season’s key characteristics. They are cool. They are colorful. They are crisp.

Looking down at us from trees or up at us from a basket, they evoke wonder and laughter, just like the universe. They are comforting, nutritious, and versatile—capable of waxing sweet or sour (again like the universe), depending on their use.

My dog finds them on the road and uses them as balls, illustrating gravity (wouldn’t that old apple lover Isaac Newton be proud?) by propelling them down the street and running to retrieve them.

I’ll be posting some apple recipes here as time goes by. Luckily, none of them actually takes 13 billion years to make—unless you, like Sagan, like to consider the very, very big picture.

pensive web

My Apple Scones

This simple recipe never fails to please. I made it almost weekly when I worked as the demo cook at Bloomingdale’s in Tysons Corner, Virginia. It’s also delightful with dried cranberries instead of the apple.

Ingredients:

1/2 cup sugar plus a bit more as needed for sprinkling
2 cups flour
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup (1 stick) sweet butter
2/3 cup cut-up apple (about 1 medium apple—use a bit more if you like)
1 egg
2/3 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla

Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease 2 baking sheets. Combine the sugar, flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Cut in the butter, but be careful not to overmix. Stir the apple pieces into this mixture.

In a separate bowl, combine the egg, buttermilk, and vanilla. Add the apple mixture and blend briefly. Drop the batter in clumps onto the baking sheets. You may either make large scones (you’ll end up with 6 to 8 of them) or smallish ones (12 to 16).

Sprinkle additional sugar on top for added flavor and crunch. Bake for 18 to 25 minutes. Makes 6 to 16 scones, depending on size.

Vintage-Anniversary-Card

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17 Responses to “Happy Anniversary to Me!”

  1. Adelaide says:

    Congratulations! and may you continue blogging for many years to come.

    I enjoy your blog and the recipes and certainly will try this one.

    I also began my blog in Sept. 2008, Sept 30, and have a few posts about apples.

    farm stand
    in each basket of apples
    a pie

    sittling on a log
    only apple munching
    to break the silence

    apple picking
    we find the sweetest
    where the bees are

    Adelaide

  2. tinkyweisblat says:

    Happy anniversary to you, too, Adelaide! I think your poem complements the cosmology of my essay very nicely. Your basket has potential energy….

  3. Susan says:

    Happy Anniversary, Tinky!!!! and In Our Grandmother’s Kitchens!!! The world (and Universe!) is a better tasting place to be because of you. All my love and apples,
    Susan

  4. tinkyweisblat says:

    XOX

  5. Donna says:

    Happy Anniversary Tinky. I look forward to more posts from your kitchen and pics of Ruby and Truffle, too.

  6. Robert says:

    Happy anniversary young lady.

    Never having met or even shared a conversation with you I still feel a part of the New England life which your posts and recipes frequently strengthen throughout the year. Judy would be quite proud of In Our Grandmothers’ Kitchen and the tradition she so much cherished and espoused herself.

    Judy helped ground me a little and helped me remember there smaller and more important things in life as I am one of those minds caught up in the larger picture. My favorite chair is on the moon from where I view our home planet in all its’ splendor and its’, shall I say, horrors. Your apple pie and Sagan’s Universe flow within my blood as easily as the human condition I have followed for millions of years now.

    I easily see why Judy and you were friends. It seems I have transferred onto you the much needed grounding and comfort that comes within the universe found in all things; especially the universe you have created within all your posts. I have kept all your posts from day one when I became aware of how wonderful you are.

    Thank you so very much for being you.

    My signature line, used with family and friends, perhaps, says it all for those with eyes to see clearly. I use it below.

    Within loves shared knowing,

    Robert

  7. Jim says:

    Congratulations indeed! I can’t believe it’s been five years. Your blog–an inimitable voice and great food, and common, sense–is a valued companion. Your joining of your life,with it’s joys and sadnesses over this half decade–and your loves–your mom, cooking, reading, singing, writing, feline companions–is a rich fulcrum and a great lens through which I see your world and mine new with every post. Fondest regards….

    May another couple of decades follow. Keep us posted about the book!

  8. Loyce says:

    Happy Anniversary and keep on smiling, we love you.

    Loyce Cofer, Tyler TX

  9. Margie says:

    So happy to have found your blog a few years ago, Tinky. You’re like sunshine, and your blog reflects your smile….

    Happy five years!

  10. Dian says:

    Congratulations on Five flavorful years, Tinky!

  11. tinkyweisblat says:

    I’m honored by you ALL. Robert, how dear of you to associate me with Judy Russell, who was definitely a spirit to be emulated. Jim, I will for sure keep everyone informed about the book. And Donna, you shall have pet pictures SOON.

  12. Grad says:

    Happy Anniversary, Tinky! Keep the posts coming. (I see you have a tea cup out, but I hope you don’t mind if I fill it with something a little stronger when I raise it for a toast!) P.S. I tried the fried okra. It was a huge hit!

  13. tinkyweisblat says:

    Teacups are ALWAYS supposed to hold different substances. Just tea would be boring. And I’m glad the okra went over well….

  14. Doris Matthews says:

    Hi Tinky, I really do appreciate all the work you do writing up the yummy recipes and sharing them with us. You always seem to provide added information about almost anything which adds to the post. I remain a loyal follower! Keep on keepin’ on, Doris PS I have actually made some of the recipes and they are very well received at our family Sunday dinners.

  15. tinkyweisblat says:

    High praise, indeed. Thank you, Doris!

  16. Faith says:

    Happy Anniversary! I always look forward to both the recipes and the news from you – may you continue to entertain and inform for as long as you wish!

  17. tinkyweisblat says:

    A lovely toast! I think I’ll wish for quite a while….

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