Wanderlust Wednesday – What I Did with Spare Time in Ohio

Last Tuesday, I was somewhere in eastern Ohio. I had access to a car, and nothing to do for eight hours. You got it – it was Lincoln Highway time. When I last traveled this portion of the Lincoln in … Continue reading

Transportation Tuesday: The Bridges of Cleveland

  There’s a reason they call it the City of Bridges. The winding Cuyahoga River hems in the island on which Cleveland was founded. As the industrial mecca grew, so did the need to feed the city with rails and … Continue reading

Transit Tuesday – Central Railroad of New Jersey’s Communipaw Terminal

Staring out over New York Harbor, the Central Railroad of New Jersey’s (CRRNJ) Communipaw Terminal was an early and major powerhouse of New York City transportation and where two thirds of immigrants landed after their stop at Ellis Island. The CRRNJ … Continue reading

Wanderlust Wednesday – Albuquerque

I had been warned that Albuquerque wasn’t much. Last week, I attended the American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works annual meeting. Much of my time there was observing the southwest-flavored interior of the Albuquerque Convention Center, with … Continue reading

Transit Tuesday – In Praise of PATH

Who cares about the PATH? That’s Port Authority Trans Hudson trains to those of you not from the area. And I do. Dr. V and I got acquainted with the PATH route from 33rd St. to Hoboken thanks to our … Continue reading

Transit Tuesday: The Train Station

Bumping around the Internet, I came upon this group of images of North American train stations. Some I recognized, while others were from towns I have never considered. As I looked at the first photos, more photos kept loading, until … Continue reading

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

Railroads: What’s Your Sign?

Cafe Witteveen (run by friend Jeremy W.) featured a website dedicated to the insignias of railroads long gone by. Honoring my Maryland roots, here’s a Baltimore & Ohio insignia from 1945: This reminded me of a job Walker Evans did in … Continue reading

Trainscribbling – Moving and Writing.

When I leave the city, it’s either on a plane or a train. On a plane, you have little sense of forward travel once you’ve reached cruising altitude. Everyone channels sardine-ism for a number of hours, and the landscape below … 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.