Friday, January 28, 2011 Oleomargarine?

Thinking Cook by F.Cecconi (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

One of the many reasons I enjoy blogging and social media in general is the opportunity it affords me to interact with those interested in Log Cabin Village. This morning I had an interesting e-mail in my inbox from a woman named Kate Anderson. In response to yesterday's broccoli cornbread recipe, she wrote:

"My mother referred to it as "oleo", too - still have recipes of her's that say that. Makes sense, since I think the whole name is oleomargarine. Wonder why we use the longer part?"

Hmmm...I never really thought about that. I just had always figured the nickname was a wartime relic from the 1940s when butter was being carefully rationed. It may very well be, but I never realized "oleomargarine" was oleo/margarine's full name. Through the course of my e-mail exchange with Kate, I discovered a well-vetted Wikipedia article that provides a fascinating history of the buttery spread. For example, did you realize that margarine's roots extend to the early 19th century?

Here, also, is a "margarine timeline." Interestingly enough, this same identical timeline appears on both pro and anti-margarine sites.

Enjoy the linked articles!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

As promised...Iris' broccoli cornbread recipe

Since the above graphic (in Iris' own handwriting) MAY be hard to read, here's a transcription for you...

What you need:
2 boxes Jiffy cornbread mix
4 eggs
1 red onion, chopped
1 1/2 sticks oleo (3/4 c)--for you younger folk, oleo = margarine, if you didn't know
10 oz. frozen chopped broccoli
8 oz. cottage cheese

What you do:
Mix all ingredients except oleo. Melt oleo in a large baking dish (13x9). Mix all together and pour hot oleo into mixture. Pour into pan and bake at 350 degree oven until good and brown. (note: when I {Rena} made the cornbread, it took about 45 min. to an hour. You'll have to keep an eye on it)

This cornbread is amazing. Make it soon, and think of Iris.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Remembering Iris...

What can you say about Iris, a woman who was more a force of nature than a mere human being? Words seem inadequate when we try to describe who she was to the Village. You can boil it down to the hard facts found in her obituary, but that doesn't begin to fully define Iris, a woman who dedicated herself to Log Cabin Village for more than forty years. But she deserves that we try, so here goes nothing.

Iris had a laugh that immediately engaged those around her, both visitors and coworkers. She was pushy...but that kind of grandmotherly pushy that made you know that every action she took was because she loved you. She might have only known you for a moment, but she loved you. Even the numerous Village guests who she gently forced to sign "her book" (our guest register) knew that.

Iris had a way of making everyone who passed through the front gates of the Village feel like they were her special guests, like she'd been waiting all day just for their arrival. She sometimes lacked physical grace (resulting in numerous unfortunate accidents/injuries), but she would take each incident in stride, pushing aside help and taking on life with a fierce determination. Her spiritual grace more than made up for her misteps. She never blamed anyone or grumbled when misfortune struck. And her matter what the circumstance, Iris had a smile on her face that would light up a room.

Did I mention that Iris' broccoli cornbread was legendary? (Recipe coming soon)

We could go on and on for pages, and still the words would be inadequate. She was our teacher. She was our gift shop attendant. She was a seamstress, an embroiderer, a chandler, a weaver, and a bookkeeper. She was a mother and grandmother, even if not by blood. She was the heart of the Village. She was a friend. She was Iris. And we loved her more than we can express.

We miss you, Iris.

The Pickard Cabin's new look!

Pickard interior before

Greetings, friends!

So a while back I mentioned that we had exciting things happening during our winter closure. And then I just left you hanging. What kind of friend leaves Village People hanging?

Well...between the "good busy" of daily Village life and other crazy circumstances, this post just kept getting sidetracked.
But today's the day: the day we let you in on the Pickard changes. Naturally if you've already been out to the site, you've seen what we did. But if you haven't seen it yet, you're in for a treat!

First of all, as with all things Village, this change wouldn't have been possible without a little help from our friends. We received a beautiful maple federal style bed (c. early-mid 1800s) as a donation this fall. We've wanted to put it on exhibit, and we knew the Pickard would be the perfect location for it!

We've also wanted to find a better home for the large floor loom in the Pickard for a while now as well. The loom was beautiful, but it was too late for our time period (it was a 1930s piece) and would not have been a piece found in a one-room cabin (took up too much room). We were recently able to find a better home for it with the Lake Worth Historical Society. They plan to open their new museum soon, and the loom is exhibited there, appropriately in a 1935 rock house.

With the new (old) bed and the large loom out of the way, we were able to convert the Pickard into a more accurate representation of a cabin home, with a sleeping area downstairs, a small reproduction loom that we can demonstrate on, and a woven coverlet on the bed rather than the wall. We have cleaned, removed old, rotting warp, and placed the small artifact loom in storage for now, as it has been on exhibit a number of years. Don't will return again some day.

As you can see, we still have the beautiful 18th century Windsor Chairs and spinning articles on exhibit. We think this new look provides an even more authentic glimpse into 19th c. Texas while affording our historical interpreters more freedom of movement and a variety of crafts to demonstrate.

Pickard interior after

What do you think?