August 23, 2014 archive

On This Day In History August 23

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

This is your morning Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future.

Find the past “On This Day in History” here.

August 23 is the 235th day of the year (236th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 130 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1902, pioneering cookbook author Fannie Farmer, who changed the way Americans prepare food by advocating the use of standardized measurements in recipes, opens Miss Farmer’s School of Cookery in Boston. In addition to teaching women about cooking, Farmer later educated medical professionals about the importance of proper nutrition for the sick.

Farmer was born March 23, 1857, and raised near Boston, Massachusetts. Her family believed in education for women and Farmer attended Medford High School; however, as a teenager she suffered a paralytic stroke that turned her into a homebound invalid for a period of years. As a result, she was unable to complete high school or attend college and her illness left her with a permanent limp. When she was in her early 30s, Farmer attended the Boston Cooking School. Founded in 1879, the school promoted a scientific approach to food preparation and trained women to become cooking teachers at a time when their employment opportunities were limited. Farmer graduated from the program in 1889 and in 1891 became the school’s principal. In 1896, she published her first cookbook, The Boston Cooking School Cookbook, which included a wide range of straightforward recipes along with information on cooking and sanitation techniques, household management and nutrition. Farmer’s book became a bestseller and revolutionized American cooking through its use of precise measurements, a novel culinary concept at the time.

Cookbook fame

Fannie published her most well-known work, The Boston Cooking-School Cook Book, in 1896. Her cookbook introduced the concept of using standardized measuring spoons and cups, as well as level measurement. A follow-up to an earlier version called Mrs. Lincoln’s Boston Cook Book, published by Mary J. Lincoln in 1884, the book under Farmer’s direction eventually contained 1,849 recipes, from milk toast to Zigaras à la Russe. Farmer also included essays on housekeeping, cleaning, canning and drying fruits and vegetables, and nutritional information.

The book’s publisher (Little, Brown & Company) did not predict good sales and limited the first edition to 3,000 copies, published at the author’s expense. The book was so popular in America, so thorough, and so comprehensive that cooks would refer to later editions simply as the “Fannie Farmer cookbook”, and it is still available in print over 100 years later.

Farmer provided scientific explanations of the chemical processes that occur in food during cooking, and also helped to standardize the system of measurements used in cooking in the USA. Before the Cookbook’s publication, other American recipes frequently called for amounts such as “a piece of butter the size of an egg” or “a teacup of milk.” Farmer’s systematic discussion of measurement – “A cupful is measured level … A tablespoonful is measured level. A teaspoonful is measured level.” – led to her being named “the mother of level measurements.”

I still have my copy.

Late Night Karaoke

The Breakfast Club (Analyze This)

breakfast beers photo breakfastbeers.jpgModern music, at least in the classical sense, covers the period from 1890 to 1930 and is a reaction against the previous Romantic movement that is generally considered to have lasted for the 95 years from 1815 to 1910.

The Romantic movement was a rebellion against the stylized rationality of the Enlightenment and sought to emphasize Nature, the past (particularly the Middle Ages), the mystic and supernatural, and Nationalism.

Modernism on the other hand celebrated the accomplishments of science and industry and encouraged experimentalism with the elements of music including tonality, rhythm, melody, and harmony.  As a result is sounded very strange and novel to audiences at the time and generated quite a bit of controversy-

Those kids today, they don’t listen to real music.  It’s nothing but noise.

The 3 composers most commonly associated with  the rise of Modernism are Gustav Mahler, Richard Strauss and Claude Debussey.

Mahler was much more famous as a conductor than a composer and was not exactly considered prolific which is probably just as well as his works were not very popular.  He paid the bills and made his reputation on wildly successful stagings of popular Operas and Symphonies by the late Romantics, eventually ending his career in New York as the conductor of the Metropolitan Opera, the New York Symphony Orchestra, and the New York Philharmonic.

The piece I’ve chosen today, the Eighth Symphony, has kind of a weird history.  Just before it’s debut Mahler discovered his wife Alma, was having an affair with Walter Gropius.  Mahler was kind of upset and went to Sigmund Freud for analysis.  Alma agreed to stay but continued her affair with Gropius.  Still, this symphony is dedicated to her.  Mahler died the next year.

This particular performance is the Vienna Philharmonic conducted by Leonard Bernstein.

Obligatories, News, and Blogs below.

Random Japan

 photo 2014-08-21_213830_zps9c0e3325.jpg

 Start a horticultural revolution with gourds in the shape of Mao Zedong and more!

   Master Blaster

China certainly knows how to have fun with their vegetation. If they’re not putting panties on peaches, they’re growing gourds in the shape of various religious and political figures.

China has a long history of making art and figures out of gourds and more recently the process has been simplified so that any Joe Schmoe can make his own Jesus squash or garden full of dangling Mao Zedongs. All it takes are some molds and a good ol’ green thumb.

“I just let go of the balloon I’ve been holding for so long, called ‘hope'”

 photo Riley_zpsbe607007.jpgRiley Matthew Moscatel came out as transgender in 11th grade English class at Bucks County Technical High School this past spring.  From all reports, his transition had gone well at school.

Everyone supported him.  Everyone loved Riley.  He was everyone’s best friend.

–Kate Cimino, a friend

Other friends noted that Riley suffered from depression in the past but appeared to have improved.  But, they say, he had become increasingly uncomfortable with his body.

Riley uploaded a message to his Instagram account on Monday.

My mirror reflects Jessica, my heart and mind say Riley … You see me as the happiest person in school, I’m a prisoner of my own body …

Police have recovered surveillance video that shows Riley stepping in front of an Amtrak train early Monday afternoon near his home in Bristol.