Transit Tuesday: New York Penn Station

New York Penn Station, thy name is Melancholy. More than one website chronicles the beauty lost that was Penn Station, so I’ll skip the details about McKim, Mead, and White, Jane Jacobs, and Madison Square Garden. But every time I … Continue reading

Museum Monday – The Empire Ranch Foundation, Sonoita, AZ

  My great uncle started a cattle ranch near Sonoita, Arizona in 1952. Sonoita isn’t a town with one traffic light; it’s a town with no traffic lights. It’s located at the crossroads of AZ Routes 82 and 83  in … Continue reading

Transit Tuesday : Hurray for the Streetcars of Toronto

  During a short business trip to Toronto, I had the pleasure of getting around town on their streetcar system. Unlike American streetcar systems destroyed by the National City Lines/General Motors streetcar conspiracy, Toronto’s streetcar system is intact due to … Continue reading

Digging Up My Ancestors

Yes, literally. After the application of  trowels, sticks, and small brushes, out of the ground came the fragments of people with whom I share DNA. It’s a long story, so I’ll offer snippets of the story over a few non-consecutive … Continue reading

Wanderlust Wednesday: Philadelphia

Philadelphia – it’s not all founding fathers and liberty bells. I went to Philly as an adult for the first time in 2008. Gilded Age progress hangs in the air, the 19th century railroad baron, the masonry curlicue. I find … Continue reading

Road Trip: The Lincoln Highway

In May of 2005, my friend Mrs G. (back then, Miss C.) and I struck out on a road trip: seven days, seven states, and 2100 miles. Our goal was to do as much of the Lincoln Highway in the … Continue reading

Apple of My Eye: Red Apple Rest

  A photo moment for the wayside respite that was the Red Apple Rest, on Route 17 in Southfields, New York. I stopped there in October of 2007, on my way to an outing at Storm King. It was one … Continue reading

Wanderlust Wednesday: It All Began in Rome

International travel was not a priority when I was a child. There were visits to battlefields in Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Virginia, trips to see family in Maine, and a bunch of back and forth drives when we moved to Wisconsin. … Continue reading

Transit Tuesday: Good news in Washington DC. Streetcars are back, Baby

Streetcar service ended in Washington DC on January 28, 1962. But the nation’s capital is bringing them back, starting with two lines serving H Street/Benning Road and Anacostia in 2013, and extending to 8 lines in all. Go here to … Continue reading

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Welcome to The Still Room.

Barbara Fritchie Restaurant, Frederick MD, RL Fifield photo, 2009.

Conjuring the appearance of a 17th or 18th century Still Room yields a beautiful bounty of preserved foods for the grimness of winter, as well titillating sweetmeats. Here, harvests of the better months are sugared and salted, turning them into something more robust and intense. Fruits suspended in sugar, candies, a good tonic for darkening hair, and many a stringent spiced pickle issued forth from the Still Room. We might even get a little tipsy on quince brandy.

To make a fine Bitter.

Take an ounce of the finest Jesuit powder, half a quarter of an ounce of snake-root powder, half a quarter of an ounce of salt of wormwood, half a quarter of saffron, half a quarter of cochineal, put it into a quart of the best brandy, and let it stand twenty-four hours; every now and then shaking the bottle.

The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Easy, Hannah Glasse, 1805 Alexandria VA, edition.

Lest you think this is a food preservation or home remedy blog, let me clarify my purpose. My Still Room is for the percolation of past thoughts, wants, and the daily coincidence in the street. I’m pulling these stories into the Still Room for preservation and sharing with my friends. So my earthenware crocks are labeled many a different thing. I’m a Museum Collections Manager in a New York area museum, so museums and collections care will be widely talked about. Some other topics dear to my heart are historic preservation, transit, food and foodways, textiles and costume, women’s history and reproductive rights, general social history, indentured and enslaved servants, road trips, living history, and genealogy. A bit of original fiction and poetry might trickle in from time to time. I live a liberal arts life.

One note: still rooms of the past served as workshops for home remedy making. While  canning, domestic history, and agricultural history are certainly my thing, homeopathy and home remedies certainly are not. Many people over the centuries have struggled to bring us the wonder that is science – if you are sick, please see a medical doctor. If you want to read about some slices of life, stick with The Still Room.

Perhaps you’ll find a little of this and that to catch your fancy in this blog. Not everyone is a fan of pickles or cares for raisin wine, but perhaps a little from this jug or that pot will suit. I hope to hear your ideas. Don’t forget a caraway comfit on your way out.