Category Archives: Vintage Friday

Vintage recipes, culture, and images.

Secrets of a Rebel Pharaoh

 Thy dawning is beautiful in the horizon of heaven,

O living Aten, beginning of life.

 

Transformation came to ancient Egypt when Pharaoh Akhenaten banished the old gods and established monotheism around 1350 BCE.

  • The priestly caste lost its power and prestige.
  • Thebes and other royal destinations no longer served as the Paris and Riviera of their time.
  • Pharaoh moved the entire court to an obscure northern desert location that he named Akhetaten after his god.
  • There he built a marvelous white and gold city to honor his deity, a sublime entity depicted by the disk of the sun with cascading rays.
  • For a time during his 17 year reign he lived in pleasant circumstances with his beautiful wife Nefertiti and their daughters.
  • The art of the period relaxed into informality and naturalism.
  • Pharaoh wrote exquisite poems to his beloved god, Aten.
  • He offered a new way to his people, and all seemed well.

 

That was only on the surface, of course, and only among Pharaoh’s most loyal family and supporters.

  • Beneath, in the beating heart of long-remembered Egypt, the old gods stirred.
  • The old priestly caste of Amen-Ra connived to reassert its power.
  • The common people of Egypt longed to demonstrate their unfailing devotion to the deities that had served them well for millennia.
  • Never mind this unrelatable, usurper god who appeared distant and unfeeling.
  • Never mind this heretical Pharaoh who had disrupted eons of stability and tradition.
  • Also, with disproportionate emphasis placed on radical change in religion and little on national security, the wolves were at the gate.

 

Egypt was headed for reversal, with the end result a return to the old gods and old beliefs.

  • Pharaoh, his gleaming white and gold city, and his god Aten were scratched off the stones and monuments, covered by the desert sands, and forgotten by history.
  • He remained unknown until the discovery of his long lost city, now called Amarna, in the 1800s.

 

Upon discovery, the modern world became captivated by the Amarna period.

  • Pharaoh and his revolution were admired.
  • Nefertiti became a subject of fascination and awe.
  • The subsequent discovery of Tutankhamen’s tomb shook the world.
  • My favorites Smenkhkare and Meritaten emerged as mysterious figures that scholars fervently seek to pin down.
  • Some scholars, including Freud, theorize that Pharaoh’s beliefs were instilled by the visiting Hebrew Moses.

 

Again, revel in the beauty of Akhenaten’s words:

Thy dawning is  beautiful in the horizon of heaven,

O living Aten, beginning of life.

 

Cheers & Happy Reading!

Flossie Benton Rogers, Conjuring the Magic in Romance

 

 

Mysterious Cave People 40,000 BCE

Spread and Evolution of Denisovans

By John D. Croft [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

One of my favorite books is Clan of the Cave Bear by Jean Auel. Did you read that one? The author’s creation of the Stone Age world mesmerized me. I loved seeing how the Cro-Magnon heroine contrasted with her Neanderthal family.

Recently I came across some information about a little known extinct species of historic humans not of the genetic line of Neanderthals nor our own species of Homo Sapiens. Their remains are found in the Denisova Cave in Siberia, along with the bones of Neanderthals and numerous creatures such as wooly mammoth and a type of zebra-horse. These particular remains are from 40,000 years ago.

Whereas the DNA of many modern humans is around 4% percent Neanderthal due to ancient interbreeding, Denisovan DNA is only found in inhabitants of Oceania—especially Melanesians in Papua New Guinea, Native Americans, and Asians. Denisovan DNA makes up 5% of the first and only 0.2% of the latter two.

The Denisovan discovery occurred in 2008 when a piece of finger bone was found in a lower layer of the cave. A DNA expert familiar with Neanderthals and other ancient species identified it as that of a little girl, but of a heretofore unknown species. Not Neanderthal. Not Homo Sapiens. Can you imagine the excitement of this discovery? It gives me chills. Later, teeth fragments materialized and turned out to be from a different Denisovan than the little girl.

A beautiful green chlorite stone bracelet was also found. Due to its remarkable craftsmanship, it was first thought to be made by more modern humans. In the most exciting portion of this story, that conclusion has now been ruled out. The bracelet was made and worn by a Denisovan. The technology involved in the making of the bracelet included boring stone, drilling with an implement, and grinding. The Denisovans are now considered to have developed to a higher technological level than the Neanderthals or Homo Sapiens of that time. I have to interject here my long held belief, first attained in fourth grade, that humans have populated earth, reached a high level of technology and culture, and then become extinct many times. Are the Denisovans an example of this?

There is also apparently a mysterious Denisovan ring, but details of it have not yet been released. I long to know more about these ancient peoples, don’t you?

Cheers & Happy Reading!
Flossie Benton Rogers, Conjuring the Magic in Romance

Vintage Friday: Cinco de Mayo

Here’s wishing you a festive Cinco de Mayo!


COCKTAILS FOR THE DAY

Watermelon Margarita

Ingredients: 2 ½ cups of fresh watermelon cut into small chunks and with the seeds removed—place in a small baggie and freeze for two hours, 4 ounces tequila, 2 ounces Triple Sec orange liqueur, 3 tablespoons lime juice, lime wedge, coarse salt, fresh watermelon chunks for garnish.

Directions: Use the lime wedge to moisten the rim of a large cocktail glass and tilt the rim into the coarse salt all the way around to coat it.
Place watermelon chunks, tequila, Triple Sec, and lime juice in blender and puree until smooth. Pour into cocktail glass, and garnish with small watermelon chunks loaded onto a fancy toothpick. Sip and enjoy!

Easy as Pie Peach Margarita

Ingredients: Ice, margarita salt, Jose Guervo White Peach Light Margarita

Directions: Moisten rim of cocktail glass and twirl rim in coarse margarita salt. Place ice in glass. Pour White Peach Light Margarita over the rocks. Hop into the pool or sit poolside and sip the heck out of it. It’s even better in the moonlight. Enjoy!

Piña Colada

Ingredients: 2 ounces rum, 2 ounces coconut milk, 2 ounces pineapple juice, a cup of crushed ice or a tall glass of ice cubes.

Directions:
Frozen- Start with a cup of crushed ice in the blender. Add the rum, coconut milk, and pineapple juice. Blend. Pour into a tall glass and bask in the flavor.

On the Rocks- Into a cocktail shaker, pour the rum, coconut milk, and pineapple juice. Shake with vigor. Pour over ice into a tall glass.

Banana Daiquiri

Ingredients: 1 ½ ounce lime juice, 1 ½ ounce light rum, 1 tablespoon triple sec, 1 teaspoon sugar, 1 banana, ice cubes.

Directions: Place ingredients in blender and blend until firm. Pour contents into chilled cocktail glass.

READS FOR THE DAY

Aztec – Gary Jennings 

The Pearl – John Steinbeck 

Seduction of the Minotaur – Anais Nin

 

MUSIC FOR THE DAY – TEXAS TORNADOS

Many thanks to rspaceball for the Texas Tornados on You Tube!

Happy Cinco de Mayo!

Cheers & Happy Reading!
Flossie Benton Rogers, Conjuring the Magic in Romance

 

Vintage Friday: World Book Day

Stories help create a child. THE book that lit the fire on my passion for reading, writing, fairy tales, and mythology is actually a SET of books my parents bought me at age 3—the Young Folks Library. At that time my mother and father worked long hours at their restaurant business, but my paternal grandparents happened to live with us. From these delicious stories of a princess living atop a glass mountain, a girl spitting out diamonds, and a wise woman bestowing a magical invisibility cloak, my Grandmother Flossie read to me every day with dramatic flair.

By my 5th birthday we had lost her. I will always honor her memory and our spirited story times. Thanks to her and this set of books, my imagination, my inner life, and my magic mirror to the mystical were created.

With World Book Day coming soon, do you want to share what book started your passion for reading and writing?

Cheers & Happy Reading!

Flossie Benton Rogers, Conjuring the Magic in Romance

 

Vintage Friday: 17 Fast Facts of 1917

1917

Independence Square NGM-v31-p292

By Ledger Photo Service. [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

What made the news a hundred years ago in 1917? The biggest crises involved World War I. Here’s a quick look at the year.

  • Under President Woodrow Wilson the United States entered WWI against Germany and its allies.
  • National Geographic published a stirring photo of thousands of Americans pledging their support to the President and American flag by resolution in Philadelphia.
  • The United States implemented the military draft for WWI.
  • The U.S. Naval Base in Norfolk, Virginia was commissioned.
  • John F. Kennedy, 35th President of the United States, was born.
  • The United States bought the Virgin Islands (then known as the Danish West Indies) for $25 million in gold.
  • Thousands of African Americans participated in a Silent March for civil rights organized by the NAACP down Fifth Avenue in New York City.
  • Germany carried out the deadliest of its many air raids on London.
  • The British royal family changed their name from the Germanic name Saxe-Coburg-Gotha to Windsor.
    Mata Hari 13

    Mata Hari. See page for author [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

  • German spy Mata Hari was executed by firing squad.
  • Sun Yat-Sen came into power in China.
  • Bolsheviks Vladimir Lenin, Joseph Stalin, and Leon Trotsky seized power in Russia.
  • In New York City 20,000 women marched in support of the right to vote.
  • During a food crisis 400 women with babies stormed New York City Hall demanding action about the drastically rising cost of food. As an example, breakfast for four had doubled from 49 cents to $1.02.
  • Price of a loaf of bread averaged 9 cents; price of a postage stamp rose to 3 cents.
    Juan Carreno de Miranda 022

    Juan Carreño de Miranda [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

  • The 18th amendment was passed, prohibiting alcohol.
  • The Virgin Mary appeared to a number of children in Fatima, Portugal.

What do you think of these fast facts of 1917? What would you like and dislike about living a hundred years ago in the so-called good ole days?

More: https://2001-2009.state.gov/r/pa/ho/time/wwi/107293.htm

https://www.nwhm.org/blog/foodiefriday-the-food-riot-of-1917/

Cheers & Happy Reading!

Flossie Benton Rogers, Conjuring the Magic with Romance

 

Vintage Friday: It’s Your Music 1939

Free Picture: Heart To Heart IllustrationID: 3342193
© Fenias | Dreamstime Stock Photo

Approaching Valentine’s Day we turn to a red hot saxophone number from 1939, Body and Soul, blown the socks off by Coleman Hawkins.  There’s something earthy and smoky about a low toned sax, don’t you think?

I hope you enjoyed our sultry music in homage to Valentines everywhere and  lovers throughout time, Body and Soul.

Cheers & Happy Reading!
Flossie Benton Rogers, Conjuring the Magic in Romance

Vintage Friday: 13 Bullets for The Silent Speaker 1946

NeroWolfe The Silent SpeakerTHE SILENT SPEAKER

Author – Rex Stout
First Published – 1946
Genre – Mystery
Setting – Nero Wolfe’s brownstone and New York City
Protagonists – Nero Wolfe, detective extraordinaire and tender of 10,000 orchids, and Archie Goodwin, gumshoe and Wolfe’s right-hand man.
Murdered Man – Cheney Boone, Director of Price Regulation.
Key Female – Phoebe Gunther, bright, bold, beautiful. As usual, Archie is smitten.
Most Irritating Character – Inspector Ash, Inspector Cramer’s replacement, who puts his hands on Wolfe and gets slapped in return.
Key Helper – The Widow Boone, who sheds some light for Wolfe.
Star of the Book – Fritz, Wolfe’s live-in chef who can cook up a storm even when nervous about murderous goings on and who can find a certain hidden something when Wolfe sets him to the task.
Favorite Walk On Character – Inspector Cramer, who shows he has a grateful, sentimental side.
Fun Tidbit – Reference to old technology — central to the plot is a missing wax cylinder recorded by the murdered man via Dictaphone.
Favorite Lines – “He’s sick.”
                              “With what?”
                              “Sitzenlust. Chronic. The opposite of wanderlust.”

Cheers & Happy Reading!
Flossie Benton Rogers, Conjuring the Magic in Romance

Vintage Friday: Epiphany Cross Dive

The visit of the wise-men

Heinrich Hofmann [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

One of my favorite memories from teaching in Tarpon Springs years ago was the excitement of the boys’ annual dive for the cross as part of the celebration of the Epiphany. The school and community helped support the festivities.

Epiphany, also known as Three Kings Day, is a Christian holiday representing the time when Jesus manifested himself to the Three Wise Men or Magi. It is a vitally important celebration in the Greek Orthodox Church and marks the end of the Christmas holy days. Following the service of the Divine Liturgy, the clergy, congregation, and people at large form the Procession of the Cross down to a body of water, such as river, lake, or springs. As the focal point of the ceremony, the holy official blesses the water by casting the gold cross into it. The boys then dive for the cross and the one lucky enough to retrieve it brings it back to the holy official to receive his blessing.

Here is a wonderful clip from the Florida Memory project of an even older time period, the 1960s, when Governor Bryant was a featured guest. You can see how the solemn Epiphany ceremony is followed by an evening of dancing and folk music.

Cheers & Happy Reading!
Flossie Benton Rogers, Conjuring the Magic in Romance

Vintage Friday: Don’t Miss These Christmas Movies

BlueTree046 (5)CHRISTMAS MOVIES

Oh yes, and the more heartwarming the better! My list of must sees does contain a couple of classics, but not the iconic It’s a Wonderful Life and Miracle on 34th Street. I love those two movies, but everybody knows about them, right? Here I’m pointing out some less acclaimed but still entertaining and worthwhile Christmas movies.

An American Christmas Carol starring Henry Winkler is Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol updated and set in the depression era. It made me think deeply and emotionally about the legacy we leave behind us when we depart from earth. It points out how where we are in life is based on the choice we make during each fertile moment. Our decisions either take us toward love and humanity or in a darker direction. Henry Winkler is amazing, and the scene that sticks in my mind is where he cries from his deepest despair, “I’m willing to make a change.”

A Christmas Wish stars Kristy Swanson as Martha Evans, a destitute mother of three small children. Deserted by her good for nothing husband, she sets off in search of a job, landing in a small snowy town and offered a waitressing gig in a run down cafe by the heart of gold owner, played by the exquisite Tess Harper. I love Tess Harper. The vulnerable and endearing little boy, Miles, is not biologically Martha’s but was born of the good for nothing.  K.C. Clyde and Edward Hermann are also engaging in supporting roles, as are the two little girls. Kristy Swanson is nothing short of amazing in this movie. Her wardrobe, including a sturdy woolen coat, is one befitting a woman with no money living in a town full of snowbanks, rather than the usual designer jacket that we are supposed to believe actually keeps a body warm. This is now one of my very favorite Christmas movies. It shows real life and has real heart, plus homemade root beer.

The Christmas List starring Mimi Rogers, Rob Stewart, and Stella Stevens is a fun romantic movie where the girl gets the guy and the ex gets a lap full of ice cream. The main character’s name is Melody Parris, befitting a woman known as “the nose” and able to differentiate among chic perfumes while blindfolded. The little boy whose mother passed away adds a down to earth element. My favorite part is where Melody wishes for, and gets, a pair of fuzzy pink slippers.

goodThe Nine Lives of Christmas on Hallmark stars Brandon Routh and Kimberley Sustad. One thing I really appreciate about the Hallmark Christmas movies is that actors in a supporting role today are likely to be in a starring role in a couple of years. Kimberley Sustad made an elegant sister for Arielle Kebbel in 2012’s A Bride for Christmas. In Nine Lives she comes across as more faceted and human, and fascinating to watch. She does a lot with her facial expressions and huge dark eyes. Brandon Routh who played in Superman Returns has a peppery voice that I find utterly irresistible. The other stars of the movie are two cats, one fluffy and one orange tabby. Marigold twitched her ears at them.

A Very Merry Mix Up on Hallmark starring Alicia Witt and Mark Wiebe startled me with a big surprise about halfway through, and I’m not giving away the spoiler. Suffice to say it’s one of those things where you lament, “Dang, why didn’t I think of that?”

PinktreeA Christmas Carol from 1951 stars Alastair Sim. Here’s a tip of the hat to a Christmas classic. This movie is perfection all the way around, and Sims is mesmerizing as the definitive Ebenezer Scrooge. My favorite scene is where he goes bananas and dances a jig in his room, frightening the housekeeper out of her wits. How he got his limbs to go so akimbo remains a mystery. My bias is that Alastair Sim bears a strong resemblance to my maternal grandfather.

Bell Book & Candle stars Kim Novak and Jimmy Stewart. Witches have Christmas wishes too, and Kim Novak portrays a stunning witch who casts a Christmas love spell with unexpected but delicious consequences.

National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation stars Chevy Chase and Beverly D’Angelo. I couldn’t leave out the Griswolds if I tried, and I don’t want to try. I enjoy the movie too much. Beverly D’Angelo is overly unsung as far as I’m concerned. I loved her work as a wildcat singer in Daddy’s Dyin’…Whose Got the Will? (I also loved the aforementioned Tess Harper in that.) Her vulnerability and comedic talent shine in Lampoon, and Chevy Chase is both hilarious and makes me want to pat him on the head. And let’s not forget the one of a kind Cousin Eddie, despite Randy Quaid’s resentment of the part.

The Christmas Card stars John Newton as a soldier on leave who falls for a good Samaritan woman who sent him a card in support of our troops overseas. She is played by Alice Evans. Ed Asner and Lois Nettleton almost steal the show as her parents, but the leading man and lady do make an allluring pair. Add all the sparkling snow and jingling sleigh rides and this movie is a heartwarming winner.BluetreeCROPPED

There you have a smattering of Christmas movies to brighten the season. So fill your little reindeer goblets with the spiked eggnog, lean close, and whisper me some secrets—what are your favorite Christmas movies?

Cheers & Happy Reading!
Flossie Benton Rogers, Conjuring the Magic in Romance

Vintage Friday: Boston Cream Pie

boston-cream-pieWith my birthday coming up (yikes, way too fast), I thought I’d splurge and focus on my favorite dessert, Boston Cream Pie. The purported history of Boston Cream Pie makes for fascinating reading and includes red herrings such as cream puffs made in Boston and a type of cakey jelly roll. The foreshadowing of Boston Cream Pie appeared when cooks began to make layer cakes and cut them into pie shaped wedges for serving. Jam or jelly became the standard filling for these thin layers of sponge or butter cake. Around 1870 a variation commenced when custard was substituted for the jelly filling. Now we’re getting closer to Boston Cream Pie. Often the layer cakes were topped with sifted confectioner’s sugar and called Washington cakes or Washington pies. The 1950s saw the brilliant addition of chocolate icing. Now we’re talking Boston Cream Pie! Strangely enough, however, even as late as 1959 the Farm Journal’s Country Cookbook listed chocolate icing merely as an alternative for dusting with confectioner’s or powdered sugar. All I can say is WTH–give me chocolate! Here are 4 versions of this delicious beauty. If you make one of these, please send me a picture.

BOSTON CREAM PIEboston-cream-pie-and-me

Cream Filling: 2 large egg yolks, 1 ½ cups milk, 1/3 cup sugar, 2 tablespoons cornstarch, 1/8 teaspoon salt, 2 teaspoons vanilla.

Place yolks in a small bowl and whisk. Stir in the milk. Set aside. In a 2-quart saucepan, stir together the sugar, cornstarch, and salt. Gradually stir egg mixture into sugar mixture. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until it thickens and comes to a boil. Boil one minute, stirring. Remove from heat. Stir in the vanilla. Cover with cling wrap and refrigerate at least 2 hours but no longer than 24.

Cake: 1 ¼ cups plain flour, 1 cup sugar, 1/3 cup softened but not melted butter, ¾ cup milk, 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder, 1 teaspoon vanilla, ½ teaspoon salt, 1 large egg.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Apply baking spray to bottom of 9-inch round cake pan. In large bowl, beat all ingredients with electric mixer until well mixed. Pour batter evenly into pan. Bake 35 minutes until golden brown and center passes toothpick test. Cool pan on a rack for 20 minutes, and then remove cake from pan and again place on rack for about 40 minutes or until completely cooled.

Chocolate Glaze: 3 tablespoons butter, 3 ounces unsweetened baking chocolate, 3 tablespoons hot water, 1 cup powdered sugar, ¾ teaspoon vanilla.

In a 1-quart saucepan, melt butter and chocolate over low heat, stirring frequently. When melted, remove from heat. Stir in the confectioner’s sugar, vanilla, and hot water. If needed for thinning, more hot water may be added one teaspoon at a time.

Cut cake in half horizontally, using a long knife and toothpicks as a guide. On cake plate, place bottom layer with cut side up, and spread filling over it. Place top of cake with cut side down. Spread chocolate glaze over top of cake and allow it to drizzle down the sides. Refrigerate at least an hour.

QUICKY BOSTON CREAM PIE

Cream Filling: 1 cup milk, 1 (3.4 ounce) box instant vanilla pudding, 1 ½ cups whipped topping.

Cake: 1 box yellow cake mix and ingredients listed on back of box.

Chocolate Glaze: 1 (1 ounce) square coarsely chopped unsweetened baking chocolate, 1 tablespoon butter, ¾ cup powdered sugar, 2 tablespoons milk (Note: recipe can be doubled if you prefer a thicker glaze).

Preheat oven and prepare cake mix according to package directions. Prepare pans so that cake won’t stick by lining two 9-inch round pans with parchment paper or spraying thoroughly with cooking spray. Bake cake according to package directions, until golden brown and center passes toothpick test. Cool pan on a rack for 20 minutes, and then remove cake from pan and again place on rack for about 40 minutes or until completely cooled.

Beat 1 cup of milk and pudding mix with a whisk or mixer for 2 minutes. Gently fold in whipped cream. Let stand 5 minutes.

On cake plate place one layer and spread pudding mixture over it. Then place the second layer on top.

You will now make the glaze and immediately spread it over the cake. Microwave the chocolate and butter on high for one minute. Stir until chocolate is melted. Add powdered sugar and milk. Mix until smooth. Spread chocolate glaze over top of cake and allow it to drizzle down the sides. Refrigerate at least an hour.

BOSTON CREAM PIE POKE CAKE

Ingredients:
1 box yellow cake mix, 2 (3.4 ounce) boxes instant vanilla pudding mix, 4 cups milk,
1 can chocolate frosting.

Directions:
Make cake according to package instructions. Mix pudding mix with milk, and whisk until lumps are gone, about 2 minutes. While cake is still warm, poke holes in cake using the handle of a wooden spoon. Do not poke the holes all the way through. Pour pudding over cake and gently press as much as possible into the holes. Place in refrigerator to cool. After removing foil from canned frosting, microwave it about 10-15 seconds. Stir. Spread frosting glaze over cake. Cool and enjoy.

BOSTON CREAM PIE COOKIES

Custard Cream: ½ cup sugar divided in half, 2 cups milk, 1 teaspoon vanilla, 4 egg yolks, 6 tablespoons cornstarch.

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine milk and ¼ cup sugar. Bring to a boil and remove from heat. In a medium bowl, whisk egg yolks with ¼ cup sugar and vanilla. Add cornstarch until completely mixed and smooth. Add 1 cup of the hot milk to the yolk mixture and stir well. Pour the yolk mixture back into the saucepan, and whisk continuously over medium heat until mixture thickens. Cool slightly in the pot. Stir and place in a bowl or plastic bag in the refrigerator to cool completely.

Cookies: 1 box yellow cake mix, 2 eggs, ½ cup oil.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix cake mix, eggs and oil. Divide batter into 20 even pieces. Roll into 1-inch balls and place on a parchment lined baking pan. Bake 6-8 minutes or just until done. (Cookies will flatten) Cool completely.

Chocolate Glaze Icing: 4 oz semi-sweet chocolate, ½ cup heavy cream.

Place chocolate chips in a bowl. In a separate glass cup or bowl, heat the heavy cream in the microwave just until boiling. Pour cream over the chocolate chips and stir to melt and combine.

Spread a generous amount of custard cream on each cooled cookie. Dip into the chocolate and place on a platter or tray to set.

Which Boston Cream Pie recipe will you try? Maybe you have your own special recipe.

Cheers & Happy Reading!
Flossie Benton Rogers, Conjuring the Magic in Romance