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The Austerity Kitchen
By Christine Baumgarthuber
Where the alimentary is elementary.
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It Ought to Be Called Vice Cream

Hellers Guide for Ice Cream Makers 2

The scoop on how a familiar frozen treat once got respectable folk all hot under the collar

Summer has arrived in Maine and I’ve dug out my ice cream maker.

This ice cream maker was a gift. And like many gifts, it’s also somewhat of a curse. It coaxes me into making ice cream every two or three days. This means I must also eat a pint of ice cream every two or three days. I try to make my ice cream healthier than usual, using stevia instead of sugar and coconut milk instead of cream. Still, it feels like an almost criminal indulgence.

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The Eructator of Ice Cream

The Ice Cream Trade Journal

“And they would go across the Square to the cool depth of the drugstore, stand before the onyx splendor of the fountain, under the revolving wooden fans, and drink chill gaseous beverages, limeade so cold it made the head ache, or foaming ice-cream soda, which returned sharp delicious belches down his tender nostrils.” –Thomas Wolfe, Look Homeward, Angel (1929)

Breakfast in Bedlam

Asylum inmates of yesteryear were none too crazy about the food served them

American Journal of Psychiatry 1917 2

What did the insane eat? In Bram Stoker’s Dracula we find the lunatic Renfield dining on flies and spiders. Ken Kesey describes attendants bringing “identical trays of muddy-looking food” to asylum patients in his One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. And in her memoir of her time in a psychiatric ward, Girl, Interrupted, Susanna Kaysen recalls “cutting old tough beef with a plastic knife, then scooping it onto a plastic fork.”

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Digestive Track

A Marriage for Love3

“A travelling incarceration. Immobile inside the train, seeing immobile things slip by. What is happening? Nothing is moving inside or outside the train.

“The unchanging traveller is pigeonholed, numbered, and regulated in the grid of the railway car, which is a perfect actualization of the rational utopia. Control and food move from pigeonhole to pigeonhole: ‘Tickets, please …’ ‘Sandwiches? Beer? Coffee? …’ Only the restrooms offer an escape from the closed system. They are a lovers’ phantasm, a way out for the ill, an escapade for children (‘Wee-wee!’) — a little space of irrationality, like love affairs and sewers in the Utopias of earlier times.”–Michel de Certeau, The Practice of Everyday Life (1980)

A Short History of the Dining Room (Part 2)

The turn of the last century saw the dining room go from a haven in a heartless world to a fueling station for factory work

A Collection of Designs for Household Furniture 3

To read part 1, click here.

One summer day in 1894 Walter Post took out a line of credit.

The Northern Pacific railroad clerk wanted to spruce up the six-room house he shared with his young wife, Ulilla (neé Carl and known fondly as “Lillie”). To Schuneman and Evans, the department store extending him the loan, he pledged repayment in 60 days’ time.

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