December 27, 2014

Kisses from a Concentration Camp: Historical Food Fortnightly WWII Recipe

Recipe from Terezin Concentration Camp

In 1969, Anny Stern got a call from a stranger. They told her that they had a package for her from her mother, Mina Patcher. Anny who now lived in Manhattan hadn't seen her mother in many years. In fact, her mother had been dead since 1944.

Due to rising political and social pressure, Anny left Czechoslovakia with her son and met her husband in Palestine in 1939. Her mother refused to leave. She was old, and told her daughter that no one would hurt an elderly lady. Mina was sent to Theresienstadt, a concentration camp near Prague.

Theresienstadt was unique. It was a ghetto, a labor camp, and a transit camp. It was a hub where people were sent to mask transportation to death camps in the East. It was originally advertised as a "spa town" but was the place where well-known Jewish people were sent to prevent public suspicion.

Famous artists, war heroes, writers, professors, musicians were sent to Theresienstadt and were allowed to keep up a rich cultural, albeit extremely censored, cultural life. Painters painted commissioned German art during the day and personal art in secret. The people schooled their children although it was illegal. Mina, an art historian, gave lectures. 

It is extraordinary the resolve these people had to do anything.  Jews in ghettos were allowed an average of 184 calories a day mostly in the form of watery soup. More food was reserved for laborers. People in the camp reported that the elderly would eat potato peels that were thrown in the street as well as weeds. It was in these conditions that 70 year old Mina and her friends wrote a collection of recipes.

Many wonder why anyone who didn't have food would bother writing down recipes. It was a distraction from reality as well as a memory of what once was. More importantly, it was a form of defiance. In the face of the systematic annihilation of their culture, these women did their part to make sure their contributions and their culture would survive. It was the hope that these foods would be on tables once again.

Of the 140,000 Jews sent to Theresienstadt, about 90,000 were sent to death camps and 33,000 died in Theresienstadt  including 90% of the children who were there. (USHMM) Mina died in the camp but entrusted her book and some photos to another inmate with the promise that he would get it to her daughter. The package traveled from family to family for 25 years until it reached Anny. It's unknown whether the carriers knew the story or what was in the package.

WWII Recipe

Historical Food Fortnightly

The Challenge: Sacred or Profane. This recipe is a little bit of both. Many people do not like the idea of recreating these dishes. According to New York Magazine, the director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center said that the publication of this collection was "sick" although it did not seem as though it was explained to him as a primary source document. Also 35 publishers turned the manuscript down. Personally, as a cook, if I spent my last days writing down recipes it would be because I wanted the dishes to survive into the future. It is my goal to help these recipes survive and the memory of those who wrote them. 

The Recipe:

Kisses from In Memory's Kitchen: A Legacy from the Women of Terezin

The Date/Year and Region: 1940s Czechoslovakia/ Europe

How Did You Make It:


- 3 Cups Flour (and extra)
- 2 Cups Rolled Oats
- 1 Cup Sugar
- 1 Cup Milk
- 1 Egg
- 1 Tablespoon Margarine
- 2 Tablespoons Baking Powder
- Jam for filling

Instructions: Mix flour, oats, sugar, and baking powder in mixing bowl. Add milk, egg, and margarine, mix until well combined. Add flour until it forms a dough that doesn't stick to your hands. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place one inch balls of dough on a cookie sheet and press your thumb into the center. Fill the indentations with jam and bake for 12-14 minutes. The tops stay very pale. 

Time to Complete: About 1 hour.

Total Cost: I had all of the ingredients.

In Memory's Kitchen

How Successful Was It?: Tasted good. The dough part did not flatten as much as I thought. It had a very white color, even when it was fully baked. If I was to make it again, I would try using 2 cups of flour as per the original recipe but half the milk.

How Accurate Is It? No substitutions.

Tooze, J. Adam. The Wages of Destruction: The Making and Breaking of the Nazi Economy. New York: Viking, 2007.

"Theresienstadt." United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. June 20, 2014. Accessed December 27, 2014.

December 18, 2014

Do Good for Others, But Let Them Return the Favor

One of the hardest things to do is to accept help. People think accepting help is showing weakness. Your friend offers to lend you a book or DVD and you refuse, because you don't want to inconvenience her. You refuse your friend's offer to babysit, even if you really would love to go out for the day, because you don't want them to feel put out. You might even secretly feel like you shouldn't need a sitter and should be able to handle it all yourself, baby in tow. 

 Many people are in need but are very reluctant to accept help for fear of feeling needy or a charity case. They feel like failures because they feel they should be able to take care of themselves and their families and hate the feeling of not being able to. Do you accept help willingly?

I never liked the word charity. The word charity implies a one way transaction. A person in good standing gifts something on someone less fortunate. None of us wants to be seen as unfortunate and none of us want people to feel bad for us. 

The word charity does not highlight the other side of the interaction. People love to help. People love to feel helpful and wanted. People want to be able to do the good deeds they feel they should be doing. People also hope that if they needed help that others would do the same for them. It's an exchange of love.

Letting someone help you is letting them show their love for you while you show your love by accepting their gestures.  We have a problem in our society where it is no longer acceptable to accept help. We deny people this love. I am very guilty of this. Should we thank people for letting us help? Possibly.

This is the season of charity and love. Everyone is asking for help and money and all of us are happy to do our part. I don't often ask for money but if you haven't donated to anything this season, there is a group of people that could really use some support. 

 In July, a fire in Washington consumed 275,000 acres of land destroying 357 homes as well as farmland, machines, livestock. Many of these people still don't have homes, or livelihoods. Some are still living in tents. These are real people on very hard times.They did nothing to deserve this and no amount of planning could have prevented it. Help them rebuilt and let them return the love with their Adopt-a-Family Christmas program.

You can read more about the fires and make a donation at the website, Carlton Complex Recovery.

Do good for others this season but remember to let them do good for you as well.

December 10, 2014

Tag, You're It.

I've Been Tagged. World Turn'd Upside Down

Every once in a while the blogosphere goes silent. People are busy, we forget to comment on posts, although we've enjoyed them and we forget that the greatest thing about blogging and the internet is the people we meet. I've done a lot of "things you didn't know about me posts" with a blog of bloggers and find them to be a lot of fun and a great way to connect and get to know each other. 

This is open to everyone whether you're a blogger or a blog reader. The Internet is a big, noisy place. Let's make it smaller! You can answer in the comments, on my facebook page, on your own blog but make sure to leave a link in the comments section.

The Challenge: 

1. Tell us a little about yourself.

I'm a twenty-something girl living in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. I've always wanted to use the term "twenty-something." I have a degree in History and Secondary Education and am the blogger here at World Turn'd Upside Down.  

2. What are your hobbies? Do you have any interests most people don't know about?

I love blogging, history/reenacting and taking photos. I actually have a slight photo taking addiction.   I also have a strange interest in historical court cases and forensics.

3. What is something that is on your bucket list?

I have a lot of weird stuff on my bucket list. Most of it has to do with traditional skills I would like to learn. Alternatively, I wish to travel a lot! At least see most of Europe, Egypt, India.

4. If you could wake up tomorrow and be anywhere in the world (past, present, or future), where would it be and why?

I'd probably have to go to the 1860s just to see what that's like. Being in the business of recreating the 1860s, one really wonders just how different it was. 

5. Are you here for the history, the cooking, or the camaraderie?

I came for the food but stayed for the camaraderie.

6. What are your 3 favorite History/ DIY / Traditional skills/ Reenacting blogs or websites?

There are so many great blogs and things that it's hard to pick just three. 


Ken has the best photos and is doing some really neat things in the Reenacting hobby.


 It's always interesting to see what homesteaders are doing and how people can break the cycle of reliance on big business little by little. 


This is just a fun one to learn about the history of food.

7.  If you could ask any deceased person one thing, who would you ask and what would you ask?

I do not have a good answer for this one but I know some of you will. Whoever I got to talk to I would probably ask them their general advice for life after seeing the whole thing.  

8. What are 3 pieces of fiction that will stay with you forever?

- Harry Potter
- Anne of Green Gables
- Les Miserables

9. What literary  character best represents you at this point in your life?

Jo March

10. You're stranded on a desert island. The boat won't be back for 3 months. A suitcase washes up on shore. What do you hope is in there?

-iPod + Earbuds
-Solar powered charger
-Notebook and a pen
-Cell Phone (Probably pushing my luck.) :P

Please comment and tag everyone! I'd really like to see what you all have to say.

December 2, 2014

Secret Life of Bloggers Blog Party: Post # 30

 I woke up yesterday morning feeling like I swallowed a small porcupine. Hour by hour I felt my body getting heavier and heavier until I was too weak to keep my head propped up. My body gets chills that run up the spine and make me feel like a cat with fur on end. I am sick. Please forgive me for not getting back to emails as quickly as usual and please do not catch this.




This does not look like much but it is the first photo I have taken with the camera obscura that I made myself. Hopefully I'll keep refining the technique.




Taken at the art loop in Wilmington, DE with Barrel of Makers





I have something new that I am looking forward to learning to use, an early 1900s Kodak Brownie box camera.



Finally finished knitting these for myself. It was one of those projects that were so simple almost to be boring.








November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! There is so much to be thankful for. As part of my plan not to work on Thanksgiving I have decided not to write an in depth post today. As usual my Thanksgiving advice is to spend time with family and don't fret. The turkey may catch on fire, the house will never be clean as it should be and the dog is likely to knock the dish of steaming, gloopy mashed potatoes on the floor. 

It's not important. May you all have a night of good company and good conversation! 

I encourage you all to read some of my other posts about Thanksgiving and have a great holiday:

Facts Not Fiction: The First Thanksgiving Celebration

Thanksgiving Letter from an African American Civil War Soldier

November 14, 2014

1856 Cruller Recipe: Historical Food Fortnightly

"Hither came to us in our isolation, the North Star, laden with packages for the brave men, who were far away from home fighting for their country. How we blessed the little hands that shaped the crullers and made the pies and the kind hearts of fair maidens in whom an appreciation of the heroic is never wanting."
-Brown University in the Civil War
1856 Civil War Era Cruller Recipe

The Challenge: "If They’d Had It… November 2 - November 15
Have you ever looked through a cookbook from another era and been surprised at the modern dishes you find? Have you ever been surprised at just how much they differ from their modern counterparts? Recreate a dish which is still around today, even if it may look a little - or a lot - different!"

The Recipe:

The Date/Year and Region:
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA

Although cruller comes from a dutch word, krullen, which means "to curl," crullers have traditions in Dutch, German, Scandinavian, Austrian and Polish foodways. The Dutch and Germans are credited for bringing crullers to the United States. The recipes differ in flavorings and proportions but are still deep fried, twisted stick shaped doughnuts. Crullers were a popular dish on Shrove Tuesday and differ from French Crullers which are made with pate a choux and are circular.   

How Did You Make It:


- About 3 Cups of Flour
- 6 Tablespoons Sugar
-1 Stick Butter
-1 Tablespoon Ground Cinnamon
-2 Tablespoons Brandy
-1 Tablespoon Salaeratus ( 3/4 Tablespoon Baking Soda)


Cream the sugar into the butter. Whisk the eggs in a separate bowl, add the brandy and the cinnamon. Add the egg mixture to the butter mixture and add flour until it forms a dough. Roll the dough out to about 1/2 inch and cut into long strips. Fold each strip over and twist the dough around itself and pinch at the end. Deep fry the crullers in lard. Sprinkle with sugar when cool. 

Time to Complete:
40 minutes.

Total Cost:
I had everything on hand, but the ingredients would cost a few dollars.

How Successful Was It?: 
I had no success with making longer crullers, perhaps if I added more flour they wouldn't have fallen a part so easily. The dough tasted very plain even with the cinnamon. I believe frying them in lard would have added a lot of flavor. If I were to make these again I would cover the crullers in cinnamon and sugar. 

 How Accurate Is It?: I exchanged the brandy for vanilla extract as it's what I has on hand and fried in oil instead of lard (vegetarian.)

1856 Civil War Era Cruller Recipe

November 10, 2014

How to Care for and Repair Vintage and Antique Quilts: Guest Post by Ann Wasserman

I am so excited for this post and to introduce everyone to Ann! Ann has a degree in anthropology and many years of experience working with vintage and antique textiles. She has a wealth of knowledge as can be seen on her blog and website and is so inspirational. Thanks Ann!

Hello! My name is Ann Wasserman. Stephanie Ann has graciously invited me to write a bit about my experience with repairing and caring for antique quilts (30 years). I also have more recently begun repairing vintage clothing (5 years).

Quilts (and clothing) are an important part of this country’s history, and of family histories, too. When you are working on an antique quilt, you are taking stitches in a three-dimensional, historical document. All quilts, not just “museum-quality” quilts, hold valuable information. In a hundred years, there may be only a few quilts from the 1940s left intact. They will be as rare and collectable as quilts from the 1840s, even the plainest ones, are now. A future quilt historian may someday find a great deal of information in your quilt if it is treated kindly now.

Over the years, I have developed three basic "rules" of quilt care:

- Do as little as possible.
- Don’t do anything that can’t be undone.
- Preventative maintenance is the best medicine.

These rules could just as easily apply to any antique or vintage textile items. And really, they are also pretty good to keep in mind with any new heirlooms that you are making or acquiring.

Here are some ways these rules can be put into use:

- Do as little as possible.

- Remember that doing nothing is always an option, especially if you are feeling unsure of techniques.

- Each quilt and its problems are unique and must be carefully considered before you start.

- I avoid inserting my own color and design tastes into the original look. Duplicating the original as closely as possible maintains the vintage ambiance of the quilt.

- There are two very different routes to choose between:

“Restoration” is often referred to as “repair.” A quilt is restored as closely as possible to its original state by replacing or fixing missing or worn fabrics.

Patches on a 1950s-60s Bowtie quilt:

Mending torn edge of a 1940s quilt:

“Conservation”, on the other hand, stabilizes and maintains the current condition of the quilt. The only fabrics added to a quilt are those that give necessary structural support. A pleasing visual presentation takes second place to maintaining the historic information embodied in the quilt.

Applying crepeline silk on a c.1860s Old Italian Block quilt:

1860s Civil War Reenactor Quilt

Don’t do anything that can’t be undone.

- When patching, don't remove the old, worn fabrics. If anyone ever wants to see the original quilt, they would be able to find the original underneath your patching. Also, removing fabrics and cutting threads can cause new problems, such as weakening and skewing the structure, or causing more stitching to unravel.

- Stay away from mending with fusibles. Besides being permanent, some can stiffen the fabric, and longterm effects of the glues are unknown.

- Keep all your knots in the new fabrics you are applying to avoid making knot-size holes in the older fabrics.

Preventative maintenance is the best medicine.

- This includes careful storage, gentle cleaning, and so on. These things are sooooo much easier than sad and difficult repairs down the road.

- Storage: Never in plastic - Never in unheated or damp attics or basements - Use moth and rodent protection.

- Cleaning: Wet wash only when the soil is actually damaging the fabrics or the quilt is too dirty to be bearable - Be very, very careful if you do decide to wash, eg. never agitate in the washer, don't use stain removers - Vacuuming to remove dust is the safest.

- Old fabrics should never be handled as if they were new. Natural fibers are made from plants and animals, from parts of living things. When the fibers are harvested from the plant (vegetable fibers) or animal (protein fibers), they, in essence, have died. They immediately begin to degrade, or decompose. Synthetic fibers seem stronger, but are also susceptible to aging and wear.

Other guidelines:

- A good knowledge of the history of fabric colors and styles helps in finding fabrics for repairs. Some books that I use often are:
-Clues in the Calico, by Barbara Brackman
-Dating Fabrics, books 1 and 2, by Eileen Jahnke Trestain
-Fabric Dating Kit, by Cindy Brick

Also, just browsing through quilt history books and books with vintage photos of all sorts can really hone your eye.

- My favorite source for reproduction fabrics is a shop entitled, most appropriately, Reproduction Fabrics. (This is an unsolicited endorsement. I'm nothing more than a very happy customer.) The owner, Margo, and her staff are super friendly and super helpful and super knowledgeable. They'll send out huge swatches in no time at all, and fill orders just as quickly. The website is sectioned by era, but searches can be done by color as well.

- The sewing needed is relatively simple, i.e. no fancy stitches required. But this is pretty much all handwork, so be prepared for a long-term project. What's nice is that you can relax and take larger stitches (at least, large compared to what quilters usually do). Larger stitches are less likely to pull on and break the weak, old fibers.

- Professional conservators have tons of skills, tools, labs, and information that homesewers do not, myself included. If you have a very valuable, fragile, or historically significant quilt, consult with a conservator.

Here are pix (and links to my blog posts) of a few of the lovelies I've had the pleasure of repairing.

Six-Pointed Stars, part 1 and part 2       

Embroidered Crazy Quilt: Link to post.

Embroidered Crazy Quilt

Friendship Dahlia: Link to post.

Snowflake, part 1 and part 2

I would also like to introduce you to the book I've written that covers all these topics and more.

Thanks to Stephanie Ann for including me in her blog! There are lots more photos and stories on my blog and at my website.

November 3, 2014

Knitted Civil War Era Talma Shawl Cape Pattern

Civil War Shawl Pattern Stephanie Ann Farra
As it is getting colder, I am routinely exploring historical knitting patterns.

Here is a crazy pattern for a Civil War Era Talma. I do not have the patience to start a project with 650 stitches right now but have seen these being worn and they are absolutely beautiful and practical.

I'm slowly modernizing this pattern but will not post it unless I have more experienced eyes look it over. :)

I am currently knitting 1700s fingerless gloves for work and just finished a Monmouth cap. I don't know if this will make the list this year, but one can dream.

This is what I have so far but is just the beginning and very, VERY preliminary. 

Cast on 650 stitches in red.The knit all, purl all knit all, purl all rows should be in red, the rest white.

1,3: Knit all.
2,4: Purl all.
5: K2, YO, K11, sl1, K2TOG, psso (this is the center of each point) *K11, YO, K1, YO, K11, sl1, K2TOG, psso* Repeat ** to end, K2
6: Purl
7: K2, YO, K11, sl1, K2TOG, psso (this is the center of each point) *K10, YO, K1, YO, K11, sl1, K2TOG, psso* Repeat ** to end, K2

Alternate Rows 6 and 7 until row 22.

23: Purl all, k3TOG at center of each "point."
24: Knit all
25: Purl all
26: Knit all

27: K2, YO, K10, sl1, K2TOG, psso (this is the center of each point) *K10, YO, K1, YO, K10, sl1, K2TOG, psso* Repeat ** to end, K2
28: Purl

Alternate Rows 27 and 28 until row 46.

46: Purl all, k3TOG at center of each "point."
47: Knit all
48: Purl all
49: Knit all
50:K2, YO, K91, sl1, K2TOG, psso (this is the center of each point) *K9, YO, K1, YO, K9, sl1, K2TOG, psso* Repeat ** to end, K2

October 25, 2014

Secret Life of Bloggers Blog Party: Post #29

I can't believe October is over already. I thought for sure that September just started. I am not looking forward to the winter. I don't feel like I have a lot to look forward to just yet. The winter always fills itself up though.

I've been enjoying the outdoors but not blogging so much because blogger has been giving me posting issues again. I have a few great posts that I am excited to get out, including a guest post that I am ecstatic to share once all of the html bugs are out of it. I hope everyone is enjoying October and settling down for November. 

Hagley Museum and Library

Hagley Museum and Library. Gunpowder Mill.


Colonial Pennsylvania Plantation

Fall is officially here. It's frosty in the morning and sun beats on you in the afternoon.


Colonial Pennsylvania Plantation



Civil War Reenactor


Colonial Pennsylvania Plantation


Gazela Tall Ship

Andy on Gazela.


I was trying to clean but this knot was way too distracting.


Colonial Pennsylvania Plantation


 I'm learning to work with horses. I've always been generally afraid of them.



 Making candles.



Colonial Cooking



The farmer at work.


Moved manure in the rain.


Rev War Reenactor

Knitting fingerless gloves for work. Winter is coming.


Bushkill Falls

Visited the Pocono Mountains, which are always beautiful.

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