Canoes to Caskets: The History of Death and Dying in Everett

by the Everett Museum curatorial team

Follow this link to listen to our podcast:
Canoes to Caskets: The History of Death and Dying in Everett

There’s something about the shift in the air during the month of October that opens our minds to discussions about mortality. With images of skeletons dancing in store windows and foam tombstones adorning the yards across town, the subject of death–at least in the context of fun and thrill–becomes a little more commonplace. But how do we react when the subject of death and dying comes up in conversation during other months of the year? And more importantly, how has that reaction evolved during the history of mankind? We’ve decided to embrace the spookiness in the air and talk about the evolution of the social perception of mortality and find out how Everett coped with the same difficult subject.

Many of the artifacts actually come into our museum collection as a result of a death. They are heritage or heirloom items from a family member or passed down from a family collection. Often times, after somebody dies, the families go through the estates and have to make the difficult decision about what to do with the important pieces of that person’s life. If the family lacks the resources to care for it, typically they find that a museum is the best choice – knowing it will be cared for, as long as the artifacts meet the mission of the organization.

Scroll down to take a look at some of the artifacts we pulled that reflect death and dying in Everett.

This photograph is example of Native American burial practices. As discussed in the podcast, the traditional practice of above ground burial was placing canoes in trees, but in this photograph, the canoe is up on stilts. According to nps.gov, certain tribes of the Pacific Northwest commonly practiced above-ground burials using trees, scaffolds, canoes, and boxes on stilts, which decayed over time. 

1961.044.009, Burial scaffold, Native American, Reproduction, 5″ x 8″, original photograph taken in ca. 1884, silver gelatin print

When Queen Victoria’s husband Prince Albert died in 1861, the queen mourned his death for the rest of her life, sparking a change in how society mourned, as well. Along with elaborate funerals, it also became popular to wear mourning clothing for an extended period of time. We have many pieces of mourning clothing in our collection. This piece is a black jacket or bodice with puff sleeves, ca. late 1800s. It is made from crepe overlaid with lace. This is the type of clothing that would be worn in the first and second stages of mourning, with pops of muted colors, like blues and grays, added in the final stage.

Not only was mourning expressed in clothing, but Victorians also made jewelry and art from the hair of the recently deceased. We have multiple pieces in our collection that reflect this very practice including many pieces of jewelry. This piece, is made almost entirely of human hair, interwoven with beads and decorated with ribbon. This piece is encased an oval frame and the hair woven into decorative flowers. Interestingly, with proper care, hair remains quite stable, and the quality and detail of the work most likely looks just as good as when it was created.

The Port of Everett donated a large collection of casket making tools and templates from the Cascade Casket Company, all found at the Collins Building by Port workers, before the building was torn down. Among these artifacts are wooden drawers, crate tops, hand drawings, edging samples, paper and metal templates for wood details, woodworking tools, and one large iron eye hook. The templates and edging samples were used to create the different shapes and edging styles on the caskets themselves.

2015.006.001, .002, .009, .033, .087, .090, .104, Multiple pieces from the Cascade Casket Company, Collins Buildings, ca. 1950s, wood, metal, paper

Among the scale models in our collection is a model of the Collins Building itself. This is a 1/8th scale model build by modeler Robyn Boyd and donated by him & his wife Marilyn Boyd in early 2016. This model provides a great example of what the building looked like and you can envision it sitting along the port in downtown Everett.

2016.002.001, 1/8 scale model of Collins Building, multiple materials, donated by Robyn & Marilyn Boyd

We couldn’t do these types of projects with help from historians past. Please check out the list below to browse our list of sources for this project. We’d like to give a shoutout to Lisa Labovitch of the Northwest Room at the Everett Public Library for her time during our research. Lisa is incredibly knowledgeable and the Northwest Room is an invaluable resource for the community.

Additionally, the Solie Funeral Home holds a recurring event called Death Cafe, where citizens can come in and chat with staff there about everything death and dying. Their website states that the mission of this event is to “increase awareness of death with a view to helping people make the most of their finite lives.”  This is a great opportunity to have a candid discussion about mortality.

Lastly, we’d like to thank the UK-based band The Whiskey Rebellion for allowing us to use their music. The album featured in our podcast discusses the themes of mortality and is, in their words, “a jaunty, fun look at embracing the final veil, and making the most of what you have before it’s over.” We couldn’t agree more.

We hope you’ve enjoyed Canoes to Caskets and that you’ve learned a little something about this cool city. Don’t forget to check out our partners, and as always, feel free to reach out for anything and everything Everett.

Contributors:

Chase Dermott, Writer, Researcher, and Narrator
Heather Schaub, Producer
Elaine Carter, Researcher

Sources:

Everett’s Evergreen Cemetery: A Brief History by Patrick Hall

The Graveyard to Graveyard Tour Guide hosted by Tom & Cindy Smith and Bill & Karen Read, courtesy of the Northwest Room, Everett Public Library

History of Snohomish County Washington, Volume 1 by William Whitfield

Evergreen Cemetery, 2011 Draft by David Dilgard, courtesy of the Northwest Room, Everett Public Library

Port of Everett – Collins Casket Co./Cascade Casket Co./North Coast Casket Co.

Historic Everett – Challacombe & Fickel Funeral Home

Everett Public Library – Evergreen Cemetery

US Gen Web Archives, cemeteries of Snohomish County

Chirouse, Father Eugene Casimir (1821-1892), by Margaret Riddle

Collins Building (North Coast Casket Company), Everett, by Margaret Riddle

The History of Death and Burial Customs, by Kimberly Powell

Death and Mourning Practices in the Victorian Age, by Marilyn A. Mendoza, Ph.D.

Victorian Era Mourning Period Rituals, Clothes to Wear

Victorians Made Jewelry Out of Human Hair by Rose Eveleth, Smithsonian.com

Burial Customs and Cemeteries in American History, National Park Service


EMOH@HOME – FOOD & DRINK

If there’s one thing that motivates me, it’s food. Needless to say, when we were invited to set up a booth at the Maker’s Market during Everett’s Food Truck Festival, we were pumped. Not only is this a great opportunity to reach out to people, but we get to be around food for hours this weekend. HOURS.

You might be wondering what a museum could possibly do at a food truck festival. It’s a legitimate question. We wondered the same thing and took to the archives looking for inspiration. It didn’t take long before a glorious piece of Everett’s past presented itself.

Ding, ding, ding!

A menu! Everett has food! And throughout its history, Everett has been home to hundreds of restaurants, cafes, bakeries, pubs, saloons, and diners! Inspired by the low menu prices and the clever items on the menu, we dug into the archives looking for more of Everett’s delicious past.

After pulling the rest of our artifacts and photographs for the exhibit, we decided to look into the Gaffney’s Cafe menu a little more to get a picture of the restaurant business in early Everett. Gaffney’s Cafe was owned by James C. Gaffney and was located at 1507 Hewitt Ave, where the Everpark Garage sits today. James Gaffney first appears in the Polk directories in 1911 as a cook. He continues in this line of work for the next 8 years or so, working at Weiser’s Cafe for part of that time. Around 1919, James becomes the owner and manager of Union Cafe, located at 1507 Hewitt Ave. Union Cafe eventually becomes Gaffney’s Cafe and runs until about 1932 when it disappears from the directory. 

Now, of course I couldn’t just stop there. What would be the fun of learning about the restaurant business without getting a little taste of it ourselves? And what better way to do that then to try it at home! I turn my attention to the breakfast menu to see if there’s anything I have a chance of recreating.

I don’t know what I’m in the mood for…

Bingo. Poached eggs.

I have only made poached eggs before in one of those microwave things. You know what I’m talking about, right? Break the eggs into each little cup, close the lid, microwave until it starts to explode and hope for the best? I’m assuming this is not how James Gaffney made poached eggs and since I’ve never made them the traditional way, naturally I’ll be trying it for the first time in front of an audience. Perfect.

I needed some sides to go with my eggs so I decided to recreate the homemade sausage and sliced peaches on the menu. I also noticed an ad in the back of the menu that tells us that Gaffney’s only served Bargreen’s Coffee. This could not be any more perfect; we’re only a few blocks from Bargreen’s!

My next step was to find recipes for our menu items because I’m not a good cook. Luckily, we have many cookbooks in the archives that are full of recipes with vague directions and weird ingredients. This is the fun part.

Carefully looking through dozens of cookbooks is no easy feat, especially when many of them lack reference pages and none of them are digitized. Eventually I found poached eggs in The Home Queen Cook Book. This copy of the cookbook was published in 1901 and is a glorious treasure trove of recipes. There must be over a thousand recipes in this thing.

The Home Queen Cook Book, published 1901
T H I C C
I don’t have a “saucer.”

I found a recipe for sausage cakes in The Household Searchlight Recipe Book published in 1935. 

The Household Searchlight Recipe Book, 1935

The vague “any other desired seasonings” part of the instructions could have been disastrous here, but I did some searching online to find a nice spice combo and added the ingredients to my list.

“any other desire seasonings” lol

Now that I had all my ingredients listed, it was time to shop. I dropped by Bargreen’s Coffee Co. for a pound of golden drip. Bargreen’s is an Everett institution. Established in 1898 by Sam Bargreen, this local coffee haven is still family owned and operated, and their service is as good as their coffee.

I walked into Bargreen’s seeking something that would complement our breakfast and asked the helpful barista for a pound of whole beans that was closest to the “golden drip” advertised in our menu. She disappeared behind a curtain and reappeared with this gloriousness:

Vintage bag, y’all!

The polka dots, the font, gah! Inside this rad vintage bag was a fresh pound of Good Morning Blend which smelled as good as it sounds. Heck yes. Bargreen’s truly went above and beyond to make this breakfast special.

I continued on to Sno-Isle Food Co-op where I picked up fresh peaches, a pound of locally made ground pork, and some spices from the bulk section. All in a day’s work. 

I woke up Saturday morning knowing it was coffee and breakfast time. Naturally my first concern was the coffee.

YUSSSS

I ground the beans to a good drip size and started the pot. Next I mixed the spices with the ground pork from Jack Mountain Meats to get our sausage going.

The meat you can’t beat.

 I created eight small sausage cakes as the recipe suggested and heated the pan.

I feel like this is a fairly intuitive recipe…

I filled a second pan with water and a small bowl to start the poached eggs. At this point, I was thinking my eggs were going to stick to the tiny bowl, but the recipe doesn’t say to grease it, so I just had to hope it wouldn’t.

With the sausages simmering in the skillet, I monitored the water, waiting for it to be hot but not boiling. Do they mean simmering? Is it supposed to just be steaming? I had no idea, so I decided to wait for it to start steaming and dropped the egg into the saucer as soon as I started to see bubbles. I had no idea if this was right but I was already committed. I dropped an egg in the tiny bowl, expecting it to turn white right away like a normal fried egg. Nope.

FAIL

I panicked a little, thinking I definitely put the egg in too early and this is going to be a disaster. I watched while the jiggly raw egg in a bowl rattled around in the pan, slowly turning white and eventually cooking all the way through.

I DID IT!

While the egg was making its painfully slow transition from raw to cooked, I washed and sliced the peaches.

Millions of peaches, peaches for me.

This was by far the easiest part of the process and Sno-Isle Food Co-op has the best produce. I approached peach slicing much like avocado slicing. I made a single slice through the vertical midline, rotated the knife around the pit, twisted the two peach halves apart, and removed the pit. Easy peasy.

With the sausages nearly finished, I prepped our plate, poured the coffee (DELICIOUS) and toasted some bread. I’d originally planned to serve two poached eggs over easy, but poaching the egg in the water was torturous and I didn’t want to cook a second one. Also, it totally stuck to the bowl. I called it.

Poached eggs (not over easy because poaching eggs is hard) on toast, homemade sausage cakes, and sliced peaches

Order up! Overall, not a bad try! My family enjoyed their 1920s cafe breakfast and we hope James Gaffney would be proud.

Now that breakfast is over, it’s time to pay up. Our bill total would have been $0.80 when Gaffney’s was up and running, though I’d probably have to offer a discount for refusing to cook a second egg. 

If you’d like to see the Gaffney’s menu in all its glory, visit us on Saturday, August 24th in the Maker’s Market section of the Everett Food Truck Festival! We’ll be there from 12-6pm showing artifacts and photographs of Everett’s delicious food history. 

And as always, tag Everett Museum of History on Facebook and @everettmuseum on Instagram and Twitter if you recreate this spread because we really want to see it. Seriously. And don’t forget to share this gem with your friends so more people can watch us embarrass ourselves for the sake of history.

We want your input!

Follow the link below to fill out a quick survey. Tell us what you want to see in your museum!

Everett Museum of History Interest Survey

Everett Museum’s Coffee with a Curator

Join Everett Museum of History’s curatorial team on June 1st, 11am-1pm at The Loft Coffee Bar for no-host coffee and conversation! Find out what we’re up to and let us know what you would like to see at your museum. Family friendly. We can’t wait to meet you!

aroma-art-beverage-1251175
Photo by rawpixel.com from Pexels

Event Details:

June 1st, 11am-1pm
The Loft Coffee Bar
1309 Hewitt Ave
Everett, WA

 

EMOH@HOME – Home & Hearth

Setting the Scene for Holiday Festivities

by Chase Dermott, Education & Public Programs Manager

It’s the time of year when friends and family gather together for holiday celebrations and no matter how you celebrate, it’s possible that you may host a meal in your home. While many parties will be fairly casual, there’s always the possibility of hosting a sit-down dinner. Now, many people lean towards buffet style dinners (read: me) simply because it’s easier than finding seats for so many people. However, if you’re inspired this season to host a sit-down dinner, boy do I have just the thing for you: doilies!

Let me preface this with how I got this idea in the first place. In our last blog post, I found a wonderful pumpkin pie recipe in Museum volunteer Sherry Steele’s cookbook titled “Any one can Bake,” published by the Royal Baking Powder Company in 1927. While exploring the cookbook, I discovered entire sections of tips on everything from kneading dough to using a table grill. One of these sections contained the holy grail of 1920s table setting guides.


Setting the Table – For Breakfast, Luncheon, Supper, or Informal Dinner

My first thought was how handy this would be for setting the table correctly, but the selling point was that it has doilies. I could not pass up this kind of fun. 

I’ve never purchased doilies before so I wasn’t sure what to expect. I searched at my local thrift stores and did an online search, but my efforts to find a set of doilies that were real cloth, inexpensive, and big enough to hold plates was unsuccessful. Then one night during some late evening Christmas shopping, I happened upon a package of 72 paper doilies with three different sizes for, like, $3. Bingo. Paper doilies: frilly and responsible.

CHECK OUT MAH DOILIES

According to the table setting instructions, you may either use place mats, or “cover table with silence cloth made of felt, heavy flannel, or bound asbestos.” Yeeeaahhh, it’s gonna be a no from me on the asbestos, so I used what I had. The instructions are a little unclear regarding which exact arrangements are used for each type of meal, so I used them all as inspiration while sticking to what I had on hand. Besides, whoever wrote “runners are often used in place of doilies” was no fun. We’re using both. #livedangerously

 I spent about an hour trying to remove the wrinkles from my red tablecloth and plaid runner before giving up and hoping you fine people wouldn’t notice. We do the Christmas thing in our house, but you can change the color scheme up to suit any celebration! The instructions are specific that we should use a white damask tablecloth, but until the Royal Baking Powder Company sends me one, this is what we’re using. 


You can’t tell but it’s totally wrinkly.

With the foundation laid, I followed the place setting guidelines, adding doilies for each guest’s plate and drink, and eventually doilies for each of the serving dishes. I placed napkins on the left and arranged the silverware according to the supper layout: knives to the left of the plate and the fork and spoon to the right. 

I don’t even know this many people.

Not too shabby. I mean, the doilies aren’t exactly my style, but then again I only put a tablecloth on the table once a year, so who am I to give advice about table decor? Mostly, this is where we all dump our stuff on the way in the house, so this is a huge step up.

Now that the table is set and the turkey is in the oven, it’s time for a little holiday bonus. You’ve probably heard carolers sing about it  a hundred times, but how many times have you actually had wassail? My answer is zero. I’ve had zero wassail. Among Sherry Steele’s collection of cookbooks are loose recipes tucked in various places, put there by her mother and grandmother in years past. One of those books happens to hold a single page recipe for wassail, which appears to have been copied from a Betty Crocker Cookbook.

I may be adding alcohol to this

I couldn’t pass this up. The ingredients were easy to gather, all found at my local grocery store. Instead of full sized oranges, I chose these little guys. Honestly, I was really just excited about sticking cloves in them like some fancy-pants hostess.

This is happening.

We will certainly not need a gallon of apple cider, but what Betty Crock wants, Betty Crocker gets. Also, I do not own a punch bowl so this will be interesting.

We got everything mixed together quickly and put the pot on the stove. Once it was boiling, it filled the kitchen with the yummiest, spiced apple smell ever. Highly recommended.

Steamy.

After lowering the temperature, we started sticking cloves in the oranges. This was definitely the fun part. Even the kids enjoyed it.

Look how pretty!

I strained the wassail and put it in the Crock-Pot to stay warm until later. Slow cookers weren’t invented until the 1940s, but I needed my stove top for the rest of the meal so I cheated. 

With everything set, dinner was served. Everything looked wonderful on our fancy table and I was pleased with how it all turned out. However, in the future, I think I will opt for placemats with less…. doily-ness.

*angel chorus*

After dinner, it was time for some warm beverages and a crackling fire! I transferred our wassail to the mixing punch bowl and plopped those oranges in there giddily. I also added a cinnamon stick to each cup because I do what I want.

Wassailing like champions.

The wassail was delicious, rave reviews all around! Try adding some brown sugar bourbon or rum, if you like that sort of thing (spoiler alert: it’s good).

What I’d keep: the wassail was perfect, and the table looked really pretty, but…

What I’d change: …I would not put doilies on my table.

Cost: Paper doilies were $3 (and you’ll have, like 60 left over, yaaaaay!) and the ingredients for the wassail were about $10 if you have the spices already.

Happy holidays from our table to yours! If you decide to decorate your holiday table with doilies, PLEASE tag Everett Museum of History on Facebook and @everettmuseum on Instagram and Twitter because we really want to see it. Seriously. And don’t forget to share this gem with your friends so more people can watch us embarrass ourselves for the sake of history.

EMOH@HOME – FOOD & DRINK

Scotch Spice Cake

This is gonna be short and sweet. Literally.

It’s #MusCake day all over the interwebs and if there’s one thing we love around here, it’s cake. And Instagram challenges. You can imagine my excitement when we got to put the two together!

Given that it’s the holiday season, I dug into the archives to looking for something full of desserts. I was not disappointed.

Pillsbury’s Dessert Cook Book, published 1970.

I decided on a Scotch Spice Cake because it sounded festive.

Yum.

The selling point of this cake was the fact that it has oatmeal in it. This would be a first for me. Let’s be honest, it pretty much sounds like breakfast, right? Oatmeal, raisins, nuts… it’s breakfast cake. I mean, any cake is a breakfast cake if you want it to be, but still.

Given that the recipe comes from the Pillsbury cook book, I opted to buy the brand name flour to be as close to the original as possible. The only other ingredients I didn’t have on hand were the raisins, nuts, and evaporated milk, so this was an easy and inexpensive shopping trip. Oh, and Cool Whip because… well, you never need a reason for Cool Whip.

We set to work measuring and mixing our ingredients.

The evaporated milk was way more orange in person.

We mixed the oatmeal and evaporated milk with the boiling water and set it aside, then started on the large mixing bowl. The moment I added the shortening to the pile of dry ingredients, I suddenly remembered that my electric mixer attachments broke while I was making cookies on Thanksgiving (rest in peace, old friends). All I had left was a single whisk attachment, which did not work for me on Thanksgiving, leaving me to mix sticky cookie batter by hand.

Photo courtesy of my 11 year old.

Thankfully, the whisk attachment worked just fine for this recipe. After finishing up the dry ingredients, we added the oatmeal mixture to it and got to work on the raisins and nuts.

Look at my fancy swirl, y’all!

I used Pam spray to “grease” the cake pan because I only had enough shortening for the cake itself. It worked just fine.

We’re ready.

The recipe calls for 45-50 minutes so I started with 45. After the timer went off, I gave it another 5 minutes for good measure. Voila!

We gave it a sprinkle of powdered sugar and it was ready to go! The pieces didn’t exactly cut nicely, but that could probably be fixed by letting it cool all the way first. And of course like the gluttons we are, we gave it the appropriate amount of Cool Whip.

I went easy on the Cool Whip, actually.

This cake is delicious. It’s incredibly moist with amazing flavor. Everyone loved it and the kids plan on eating the last two pieces for breakfast tomorrow. Told you it was breakfast cake.

What I’d keep: I’d keep the base cake recipe and experiment with different additions, like dates and cranberries. Also, I’d like to try them as muffins!

What I’d change: I would lose the nuts, personally. I’m not a huge fan to begin with, and while they don’t ruin the cake for me, they don’t add anything either. 

Cost: Eh, most of this is probably already in your pantry. A few bucks for some raisins and nuts and you’re good to go! 

If you decide to give this recipe a go, be sure to post all about it and tag us on social media with #emohathome. We’d love to see it! And don’t forget to share with your friends so more people can watch us embarrass ourselves for the sake of history.

EMOH@HOME – Food & Drink

Pumpkin Pie

by Chase Dermott, Education & Public Programs Manager

When I first considered a Thanksgiving blog post, I dreamed of an entire feast gleaned from historical cookbooks. Then I came to my senses. It took a little soul searching to realize I don’t have an entire meal in me (unless I’m ordering it from a menu), so instead of torturing myself, I set out to find the most perfect Thanksgiving dessert.

I found this pumpkin pie recipe in Any one can Bake, a Royal Baking Powder Company cookbook published in 1927, on loan to us from Museum volunteer Sherry Steele. My kids giggled at the title because “not everyone can bake, MOM.” I think they meant me.

Let’s do this.

Let me begin by addressing the most distressing part of the filling: stewed pumpkin. While roasting pumpkins doesn’t make me nervous, I’m definitely a little wary of the results and how they will translate to pumpkin pie filling. I did a little light reading and found that people are split over whether to use fresh pumpkin or canned. Some say the flavor of the fresh is better, but the texture of the canned is worth the sacrifice. A little research reveals that Libby didn’t come out with canned pumpkin until in 1929 so it looks like my method has been chosen for me.  

I have had very little success with pie, so my first thought was that I could probably get away with pre-made pie crust, since the challenge of this recipe lies in making the filling from scratch. Then I saw this on the same page as the pie recipe…

I no longer make the rules.

I can’t even pretend I didn’t see it. Looks like this entire pie will be a labor of love. And lard.

The first step was finding pie pumpkins. As lovely as it would have been to reuse the wonderful haunted walking tour pumpkins donated by Sno-Isle Food Co-op, they weren’t the right type. I found pie pumpkins at a grocery store near me and bought three just in case, knowing I’d probably have extra.

Oh my gourd.

Pastry flour was next on my list but the grocery store didn’t have any. Instead, I opted for bread flour as noted in the pie crust recipe, with the intention of replacing two tablespoons of flour with one tablespoon of cornstarch,

Back in the kitchen, our first step in preparation is to make my kids roll their eyes ALLLLLLLL the way back in their heads by playing my favorite Christmas carol of all time, AGAIN.

I began the pumpkin roasting operation by searching for a roasted pumpkin recipe to get the correct temperature and bake time. To prep them, I split them in half, cleaned out the seeds, gave the fleshy part a light coating of oil, put them split side down on parchment paper, poked them with a knife like they owe me money, and put them in the oven to roast.

It’s like Martha Stewart was here.

With the pumpkin portion well in hand, I started working on the pie crust. I’ve made one (I repeat, one) successful from-scratch pie crust in my life so I’m thinking my chances are pretty bad. I’ve never used lard before so instead of resorting to the shortening I had on hand, I actually purchased some out of sheer curiosity. I mixed and rolled out the dough, putting dots of lard on it before folding it as the recipe instructed.

Dotted lard. There’s something I never thought I’d say.

To be honest, I was a little suspicious of the “dotted lard” thing they told me to do, but I tried to trust the process. Like… I’m not supposed to mix in? It’s just gonna be in the middle when I roll it? Maybe it will harden when it chills, I thought.

Mixing the pie filling was simple. The roasted pumpkin broke down nicely and the filling smelled amazing. The dough was chilling and life was good. In hindsight, I think I got a little cocky bragging on the phone to my husband because the universe decided enough was enough. It was time to roll out the pie crust.

Rolling out a pouch of dough that was essentially filled with lard resulted in what can only be described as “person stepping on a cream-filled donut.” Lard shot out and coated the countertop, covered the rolling pin, and caused the dough to separate and stick to everything it touched. I desperately tried to salvage it as it was, but it wouldn’t come off the counter and it was all piece-y and sticky.

Why tho

I scraped it all off the counter and went to work kneading it into a consistent dough ball, with the help of some more flour. I cleaned everything off, re-coated the surface with a dusting of flour, and successfully rolled the dough out. Wrapping it carefully around the rolling pin, I was able to transfer it easily into the pie pan.

TA-DAAAAAAAAA!

Phew.

I popped the crust in the oven for 5 minutes to prepare it for the filling and turned around the survey the damage. Lard and flour coated every surface of the kitchen, there were lard-covered measuring spoons and cups everywhere, and there were pumpkin seeds on my laptop and the floor. I took a deep breath and thought “It’s okay. The crust is in, what else could go wrong?”

BEEEEP BEEEEP BEEEEP

BEEEEP BEEEEP BEEEEP

BEEEEP BEEEEP BEEEEP

Evidently, my oven does not appreciate 500 degrees AT ALL. Smoked filled the kitchen as the alarm threatened to tell all my neighbors what a terrible cook I am. I managed to get the crust out and quiet the alarm thanks to my mom’s tried and true panicky kitchen towel fanning method. After clearing the smoke, I filled the pie crust with the beautiful filling (which was the only good thing I had left) and put it in the oven at 475 degrees for 15 minutes while I tried to mop up the disaster that was my kitchen.

When timer went off telling me it was time to reduce the temperature, I took the opportunity to check the pie. I noticed that the crust was getting too dark too quickly, so I popped the pie out to put a foil ring around the edge to keep it from browning any further.

BEEEEP BEEEEP BEEEEP

BEEEEP BEEEEP BEEEEP

“MOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOM!”

At this point, both of my children are screaming because they can’t hear Netflix and Perry Como is taunting me with a guy from Tennessee going to Pennsylvania for some homemade pumpkin pie (NOT NOW, PERRY). I get the pie back in the oven with its haphazardly constructed foil ring thinking I’ll just be lucky if this works at all.

45 minutes pass and then the moment of truth. Did it burn to a crisp? Is my oven going to burst into flames the second I open the door? Was it a good idea to leave my parents house and do adult things?

Look at my fancy leaves, y’all!

It’s not the most beautiful pie I’ve ever seen, but the fact that it didn’t bubble over or catch on fire thrills me to my very core.

But is it done in the middle? Does it even taste good? After a quick trip to the store to get whipped cream, we dug in.

We added more whipped cream after this picture, obvi.

Okay, this is the best damned pumpkin pie I’ve ever had in my life. I’ll admit the crust is standard and nothing to write home about, but the filling is a creamy, flavorful delight. The younglings devoured it and requested pie for breakfast the next morning. 10/10 would eat it straight out of the pie pan with a fork.

What I’d keep: The filling was legit. I’d keep everything about it and I’d do it again in a heartbeat.

What I’d change: The crust outcome was not worth the trouble, so I’d use a different recipe next time.

Cost: Pie pumpkins were 3 for $5.00 at Fred Meyer, the lard was $1.00, and everything else was a pantry staple. Not bad!

If this pie graces your table this Thanksgiving, be sure to post all about it and tag us on social media with #emohathome. We’d love to see it! And don’t forget to share this gem with your friends so more people can watch us embarrass ourselves for the sake of history.

emoh@home – Food & Drink

Peanut Butter Cookies

by Melissa Slager, Guest Contributor

Peanut butter cookies are made of peanut butter. But what are little girls made of? Sugar and spice and everything…

“Hee, hee,” giggled Little Sister. “I burped on it.”

Right.

OK, so the old rhyme may not fit anymore. But since it’s in the dedication of “Fun with Cooking: Easy Recipes for Beginners” by Mae Blacker Freeman, it’s where we’ll start today for this episode of emoh@home.

My older daughter wanted to volunteer with the Everett Museum of History. Our first assignment? Recreate the recipe for “Peanut Butter Cookies” from this 1947 cookbook.  Museum volunteer Sherry Steele graciously loaned the cookbook to the Museum, noting the cookie recipe was one of her favorites.

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A classic.

*sigh* Well. It’s a tough assignment. But we can do it – you know, in the name of history.

My history-buff daughter, who took the lead, was excited for the assignment.

“It is very historical,” she noted, eying the recipe pages. “I think it was done in the early 1900s … judging by the black and white pictures, and the pages are a bit yellowed, and the girl on the front cover.” (And, yes, she considers 1947 to be part of the early 1900s.)

True to the era, this cookbook has a particular audience in mind.

As the introduction puts it: A girl who makes the things in this book, following carefully all instructions, gains enough experience to go on to more complicated dishes.

But the recipes are good for all young cooks. So we donned aprons (part of the instructions, you know) and got started.

We first assembled our ingredients. We decided to recreate some of the cookbook’s how-to photos, which feature a 10-year-old Pennsylvania girl.

There was a lot of product placement back then. All familiar names: Morton’s salt, Calumet baking powder, Arm & Hammer baking soda. We did some product placement of our own, sharing the cookbook’s taste in salt at least. Otherwise, we’re more the type to grab whatever’s in the WinCo bulk bins (seriously, so much cheaper).

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It used to be Kroger brand baking powder. Now… who knows.

But we were more deliberate with the peanut butter. It’s the key ingredient, after all. In the spirit of things, we sought peanut butter that looked old — not past its best-by date, mind you, but, like, vintage old… Eyeing the options in Winco, we settled on Adams peanut butter. We later discovered that Adams Peanut Butter Company was started in 1916 by Rex F. Adams, a Tacoma football coach. Well, hi-de-ho, that’s killer-diller!

After measuring out the peanut butter, the girls decided to lick the spoon. Obviously.

Not being nut-butter girls, typically, I was surprised by the smiles.

“It tastes like ballgame peanut butter peanut shells,” Big Sister said.

Is that a good thing?

“Uh-huh. They taste really good.”

So good, in fact, she decides to go with the handwritten note in the cookbook and add more peanut butter.

The recipe’s directions are well-written. For the most part, the girls don’t have a problem following them on their own.

cookbook-egg

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It was a close call.

Until it got to the part about sifting the dry ingredients onto a piece of wax paper.

“What does ‘sift’ mean?”

I know enough about baking to know the recipe envisioned using an actual sifter, a metal contraption common to the 1940s kitchen. We do not own one. (Is a sifter still a part of the modern kitchen?) But in a similar situation some years ago, I read that using a fork accomplishes roughly the same goal. So we did that. Since the wax paper was already out, they mixed everything directly on the paper. In hindsight, that was fairly silly. But oh well. Little Sister carefully folded the paper and poured in the dry ingredients while Big Sister whirled the wooden spoon.

The directions note at this step: You will have to use your muscles as this is a fairly hard mixture.

No kidding.

“It makes me pant,” Big Sister said. “Baking is now a new sport!”

“Can I do it? I’m strong!” Little Sister chimed in.

No chance.

Turns out it wasn’t even as stiff as it was supposed to be. (Remember that added peanut butter?) Big Sister’s first attempt to roll a spoonful of batter more closely resembled a Frisbee than a beach ball.

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Totally like the cookbook photo. OK, maybe not.

No problem. The handy handwritten note at the bottom of the page just says to add more flour.

Scoop, scoop. Scoop again. “That looks about right,” she said.

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(There’s no measuring happening here.)

She didn’t really follow the whole “peaks” forming part. But close enough. The dough rolled right up.

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Take two… Success! (Or close enough anyway.)

After a while, the girls seemed to get bored rolling dough balls, even though the recipe *only makes 24 cookies*… So we end up with a range of cookie balls, from golf ball size to softball size. Hmm…

I think they were eager to get to the fork part: Make a criss-cross pattern by pressing with a fork. Indeed, they spent a lot of time on this part. Some cookies were fork-tonged flat against the cookie sheet, in fact. Hmm…

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It’s like criss-cross and you don’t stop. No, really, you can stop now.

Final step: Bake for 12 minutes in a medium oven, 375 degrees.

Oh, right… Apparently, we are the reason modern recipe writers now put “Preheat oven to…” for Step 1. The wait for cookies would be a bit longer as we waited for the slowpoke oven to warm up. I looked around at piles of dirty baking implements. “What can we do while we wait…?” *hint, hint*

“Umm… Lick batter?” Big Sister guessed.

Sold.

“Who wants to lick the spoon?” she asked.

I literally started jumping up and down. (I am not ashamed.) “Oo! Me! Me! I helped! I helped! Well, sort of…”

Big Sister handed the spoon to Little Sister. “She helped more.”

It’s true.

After helping our baker-in-chief with the hot scary oven, we waited for the last “ding” of the timer…

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Nailed it. No, seriously, it’s hard as nails…

The mismatched size of cookies made for some uneven baking. The thin ones burnt to a crisp. As final proof, one fell off the spatula on its way to the cooling rack and shattered like china.

“Everyone say goodbye to the cookie,” said Little Sister as she held the dustpan over the garbage can.

“Goodbye, cookie.”

Two seconds later…

“Mom, she hit me with the broom.”

Sugar and spice, people. It’s all sugar and spice here.

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Aw, look. They’re kissing!

On the other end of the cookie spectrum was a gigantic cookie that very nearly baked its way off the cookie sheet.

“You might need the pancake flipper for that one,” Little Sister noted.

“This one is mine,” Big Sister said, a greedy look in her eye.

“We should share it,” Little Sister scolded.

“It is mine,” Big Sister said, ignoring her completely. “All mine!” *evil laughter*

What about the burnt ones?

Big Sister averted her eyes and threw up her palm in disgust. “It’s a disgrace to human-baking-kind.”

But we probably should keep them, I noted. Daddy, the Human Garbage Disposal, will probably eat them. (Postscript: He did.)

All in all, our attempt was less perfect than the cookbook envisioned. Vanilla down! Hair stuck on the butter. Drippy egg white.

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“Eww! Eww! Egg yolk is my weakness,” whined Little Sister.

But we called it a success. The proof was in that peanut buttery taste.

As the girls said, with mouths full: “Can we make them again some time?”

Please, go right ahead.

(A mom could get used to this…)

The final take from Big Sister: “Pretty good.” Her one change would be to add less flour when she added more. The cookies were a bit dry, and that might be why. She said this is a good recipe for kids — “and adults.” She gave it 4-1/2 stars out of 5.

The final take from Little Sister: “Some got burnt, but it worked out good. I enjoyed it, even though she never let me get a chance to stir. It’s a fun recipe.”

The final take from Mom: This is pretty close to two other recipes for peanut butter cookies I have in cookbooks on my shelf (but have never made). Both of those recipes don’t bother with baking powder. One changes the ratio of butter (less) to peanut butter (more), which may be worth trying with this recipe.

What they’d keep:

  • MORE PEANUT BUTTER! The cookbook owner was spot on with those handwritten thoughts.

What they’d change:

  • Find a way to make the cookies all the same size, like with an ice cream scoop. This will prevent fights about who gets what cookie.
  • Be careful not to burn your fingers when you put them in the oven. You might want to ask a grown-up for help.
  • BOYS, YOU CAN DO THIS, TOO!

Things Googled during this episode: Adams peanut butter, 1940s slang, peanut butter ingredients

Cost: A 16-ounce jar of Adams peanut butter will run you about $3.50 to $5.50.

For now, the jury’s still out on which method is better: adding more flour or swapping some butters. Give it a try and let us know what you think.

Ooo… Or maybe I put the girls on that one, too… You know. In the name of science.

_____________________________________________________________

Thank you to Melissa Slager and family for this amazing guest post!

If you decide to try this recipe be sure to post all about it and tag us on social media with #emohathome. We’d love to see it! And don’t forget to share this gem with your friends so more people can watch us embarrass ourselves for the sake of history.

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emoh@home – Food & Drink

Green Olive and Bacon Sandwich

by Chase Dermott, Education & Public Programs Manager

This looks… interesting.

Browsing “Pull Together” for our first ever EMOH@HOME post gave us more than just stuffed tomatoes. 

I’ll be honest, when I saw the title of the recipe I thought it sounded salty and delicious. If you know me at all, you know I salt my salt. Additionally, sandwiches are my second favorite food group (you’ll likely experience my love for potatoes in the future, I’ll just warn you now). Seeing both bacon and green olives in one recipe was intriguing; this sounded like something that pretty much only I would like. That is, until I looked a little closer. Mayonnaise.

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Oy vey.

“Green Olive and Bacon Sandwich

1/2 c. stoned green olives, chopped
1/2 c. chopped fried bacon
1/4 c. mayonnaise

Mix the chopped olives, bacon and mayonnaise; add salt to taste. Butter bread slightly, using either brown or white bread, and spread with the olive mixture.”

To be fair, I don’t hate mayonnaise. I really do like it smeared lightly on bread, creating a tangy moisture barrier and adding a little zest to my sandwiches. However, what I couldn’t fathom is eating 1/4 cup of it in one sitting, let alone in one sandwich. But I knew there would be a time when I’d have to make something that, upon closer inspection, didn’t appeal to me. It’s safe to say we have arrived.

Knowing this recipe was coming, I saved 1/2 cup of chopped bacon from breakfast a few days ago. I already had mayo and sourdough bread in my kitchen, so I picked up some sliced manzanilla olives from the store and I was ready to go.

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Look at that mayo. So innocent. Or so it would seem.

My first step was to pick every piece of stupid pimiento out of the sliced olives. This was time consuming but I wasn’t about to let even one of those slide. Gross. After ridding the olives of every shred of red, I gave them a course chop. 

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Not a pimiento in sight.

The rest of this process was simple. Add all three ingredients, mix together, pile on bread. Now, this is the point where I really started to question my decision. Am I really about to put 1/4 cup of mayo in this? Is it going to distribute itself nicely between the olives and the bacon so I don’t actually have to *feel* it? Grooooossss. I can’t even think about it.

Deep breath. 

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PLOP

Cheese and rice, you guys, look at it. LOOK AT IT.

At this point I think maybe I could just skim a big glob of it off the top and avoid this whole fiasco. “No,” I tell myself. “You can’t change the recipe to suit your taste until after you’ve tried the original.”  

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THERE IS NOT ENOUGH BACON SURFACE AREA FOR ALL THIS MAYO

Duuuuuude. How do you undo this though? Like, how do I get this mayo out? This is it, people. I’ve made my bed and now I have to eat it for lunch.

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*quietly sobs*

To dress this nightmare up, I paired the green olive bacon monstrosity with Doritos because I don’t care about historical accuracy anymore. I just need to get through this.

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Doritos, not invented until 1968.

Oh, dear Lorde here we go.

The first bite revealed the crunchiness and I distracted myself by trying to remember if I’ve ever had a crunchy sandwich before (the answer is no). I could taste the olives, as well, but the mayo was instantly overwhelming. The only way to get through this was  with Doritos chasers between each bite.

The second bite was worse than the first. So much mayo, squishing around and obscuring all (okay, both) other flavors. Once again I managed to choke it down and  slam Doritos like it was my job.

Bite three did me in. I was on the brink of an actual gag when I decided that this was not worth it. It was at this point that I cut my losses, got in the car, and went to Taco Bell.

What I’d keep: If you really love olives and bacon, you could probably chop them a little finer and mix them with something else entirely, like cream cheese or something. But seriously, I won’t be trying any other version of this. I’m traumatized.

What I’d change: Lose the mayo. For real. I guess if you love mayo with your whole heart you can go right ahead, but 12/10 would not recommend. 

Cost: If you can snag 1/2 c. of bacon from another morning’s breakfast, you can make this for pretty cheap. Also, don’t forget to factor in the lunch you’ll have to buy after you throw this in the trash where it belongs.

If you decide to try this recipe (I highly recommend you don’t), be sure to post all about it and tag us on social media with #emohathome. We’d love to see it! And don’t forget to share this gem with your friends so more people can watch us embarrass ourselves for the sake of history.

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emoh@home – Food & Drink

Minted Grapefruit-Juice Cocktail

by Chase Dermott, Education & Public Programs Manager

If you’re anything like me, this summer heat has you asking yourself how hungry you really are. Is it worth firing up the oven? Could we just eat sandwiches?

The idea of spending a couple hours in the kitchen during the summer is daunting. So, for this episode I set out to find something refreshing–and wouldn’t you know it, I found a whole cookbook about summer food!

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Good Housekeeping’s Summertime Cook Book, ca. 1958

Tucked in there among the deviled eggs and potato salads was a whole section of fruity, summery drinks. Since the whole idea of this blog is to try new things, I decided to give the Minted Grapefruit-Juice Cocktail a try because I’ve never tried grapefruit or grapefruit juice.

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Minted Grapefruit-Juice Cocktail

Minted Grapefruit-Juice Cocktail

1 1/2 cups of canned, fresh, or frozen grapefruit juice
3/4 cup fresh, canned, or frozen orange juice
1 1/2 tablespoons bottled or fresh lime juice
2 1/2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
3/4 cup chilled ginger ale or sparkling water
1 1/2 teasp. snipped fresh mint

Combine grapefruit juice, orange juice, lime juice, and confectioners’ sugar. Refrigerate. Just before serving, add ginger ale. Pour over 1/4 teasp. chopped mint arranged in each cocktail glass. Makes 6 servings”

The first thing I noticed was all the choices I was given for how to acquire the fruit juice. I figured buying canned or frozen juice would be the easiest, so naturally I decided to squeeze the juice myself because I’m a glutton for punishment. 

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It’s like abstract art.

I’ve juiced lemons before (because whiskey sours) but I’ve never had to extract this much juice from fruit, so I made sure to get extras just in case. I got out my tiny, pathetic little juicer and got to work. 

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We might have a problem…

The grapefruits were bigger than my juicer. It took a lot of careful squeezing and squishing to make sure I didn’t have grapefruit juice running down the sides of this thing. Everything was sticky. Everything.

The oranges and the lime were exponentially easier to juice. It only took two oranges to get the required juice (good thing I bought six, eh?) and I finally had all the juice mixed.

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In a mason jar because I’m so hipster.

Now here’s the part that weirds me out. Every sweet beverage I’ve ever mixed called for granulated sugar or a drink sweetener of some sort. They dissolve, they sweeten, they do the things. However, this recipe calls for confectioners sugar which I associate solely with baking. I had visions of the powdery stuff clumping and ruining my freshly squeezed juice. I decided that I would put the lid on the jar and shake it vigorously to avoid this.

It worked! There was no clumping and the confectioners sugar dissolved nicely in the juice. My husband and I tried a spoonful to make sure this wasn’t some sour abomination before sticking it in the fridge. 

We let our juice get super chilled for several hours while we went to an Everett Aquasox game (because they promised us Robinson Cano would be rehabbing and HE WASN’T).

Arriving home in the evening, it was time to mix our drinks! I put our fresh mint and ice in our glasses, added the juice and Diet Ginger Ale (because calories) and voila!

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It’s like we’re on a beach, except we’re not.

Everyone loved it! And no fruity cocktail is complete without umbrellas, amirite?

Now, full disclosure: it was my intention all along to add my own special ingredient to my beverage after the recipe was complete. 

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Let’s make these interesting…

Heritage Distilling Co’s Blood Orange vodka made a perfect addition to this cocktail. The whole thing was delicious and the effort of squeezing fresh juice was well worth it. I try to stay away from drinks that are super sweet, but the confectioner’s sugar did a great job of offsetting the tart fruit juice. It was just right.

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YAASSSS

Cheers!

What I’d keep: Everything. I didn’t embarrass myself at all this time so I would change NOTHING.

What I’d change: Make it a double?

Cost: Depending on produce prices, it’s fairly inexpensive! The oranges were $1.59/lb, the grapefruits were $1.29/lb, and the lime was $0.50.

If you decide to try this recipe, be sure to post all about it and tag us on social media with #emohathome. We’d love to see it! And don’t forget to share this gem with your friends so more people can watch us embarrass ourselves for the sake of history.

Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat!