From Cottage Cheese To Sinful Condiments!

Cottage Cheese Goes With Everything!

Dole Ad

The design of these ads definitely evokes the era, not to mention the exotic food of Middle America, which ended up mixed with pineapple, that exotic fruit from (at that time) Hawaii.

Anyone remember those Jello salads? The lime Jello with pineapple chunks in the top photo reminds me of church potlucks and after-church Sabbath dinners. My mom put diced celery in her lime Jello salad. There might also have been whipped cream cheese in the center of the mold….

The pineapple rings topping the cottage cheese in the lower photo brings back other memories–cottage cheese was a staple food during my childhood. We ate cottage cheese with lots of different cooked or canned fruits, including cooked prunes! Another favorite of my mother’s was pineapple and cream cheese sandwiches–that would be diced pineapple mixed into cream cheese to make a sandwich spread. I guess it was the Midwest’s answer to the tea sandwich and was considered a bit festive, so good for picnics or a Sunday supper with a guests!

Here’s an ad from an earlier decade which may help explain why cottage cheese was so popular (and maybe especially with us largely vegetarian Seventh-day Adventists):

"Eat More Cottage Cheese...You'll Need Le...

“Eat More Cottage Cheese…You’ll Need Less Meat…A Postal Card Will Bring Recipes…Cottage Cheese or Meat^ Ask… – NARA – 512542 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Cakes–the Devil’s Food!

Cakes from 1950

Cakes from 1950

The yellow cake with the chocolate frosting looks like it could have been the one on the Duncan Hines cake mix box. The devil’s food cake above it would be a slightly racy choice in our circles, just because the name had the word “devil” in it. We took the devil very seriously, so one didn’t say that word lightly.

Cakes were big at Adventist potlucks or dinners with company too, usually homemade. Sometimes we’d save time and make a cake from a mix for a birthday party. I made a lot of cakes or both kinds with my mom growing up, along with Christmas cookies and pies. I’m glad I did, because I learned the basics of baking, like how to get pie dough the right texture, how to make meringue, and how to butter and flour a pan. I teach my own kids the same skills when I bake (which isn’t very often). Baking is still pretty low-tech–at least the way I do it!

One of the fanciest cakes we ever made when I was a kid was a Lady Baltimore. It was the vision of my best friend’s older brother. He was interested in fine food even though he was a thirteen-year-old boy in a small-town in the late 60s. He also started a temporary fad for fresh mint tea at our house, which was an unheard of concoction. (Do I even need to add that he was gay and ended up in New York?)

Those Evil Condiments!

This ad shows a condiment that we never dreamed of using when I was a kid:

Tabasco ad

Tabasco ad


Now add the bacon to the illicit hot-pepper condiment, and you have something no Adventist of our acquaintance would have dreamed of touching! Following Ellen G. White’s Counsels on Diet and Health, we avoided spicy food and black pepper because they were evil stimulants which aroused the ‘animal nature,’ and that was very bad. So no pepper, mustard, or hot sauce in our house! Bacon–being pork and so unclean–was beyond unthinkable, an unpardonable sin.

Even though I don’t eat Jello or cottage cheese anymore, I do like the graphics, the colors, and the typography of ads from that time, though the food in the photos looks just a little too real!


In The Kitchen

Here is a view of Mt. San Bernardino, framed by a triangle of window in the kitchen. It was just after Christmas when the snow level was unusually
low–an inspiring view to wake up to.


This is a view over the vintage, Colonial-style maple table I grew up with. The copper, farm-style fixture is also the original. I had it reworked by Hye Lighting, a great lighting and lighting repair store in Tarzana.


This is a print I really like, though it was packed away in the guest house throughout my childhood. I never remember seeing it until I cleaned out the house and guest house.


My theory–or maybe it’s more a fantasy–is that it belonged to my father’s side of the family, the Owens, and was perhaps one of the few things they kept when they sold Shady Lane Ranch in Holt County, Nebraska and moved their belongings to Loma Linda, California by truck and trailer in the early 50s.

I’m not even sure if it’s a print or a watercolor! If anyone can tell from this photo, let me know!


Two ‘Mod’ Coffee Cups

One of the nice sets of original dishes I still have is called Fairwood Flare (made in the late 50s and early 60s by Schönwald, a German company). We hardly ever used the plates, because my mom was saving them for company or for “someday.” The set is still in great shape.

I love the mod orange and yellow design now and find it very fresh. I have probably 6 of the dinner plates–I forgot to count–and the bread and butter plates.

Here’s a link to a vintage Fairwood Flare ad on ebay. I learned from the ad that they were marketing Fairwood Flare as a mix-and-match set, and now I realize that I also have the tall, slim pitcher you see in the ad–though ours is yellow! So yellow must have been another of the colors they made. Perhaps they introduced it after 1959, the year this ad was run.

With the set, I found just a single coffee cup and saucer. This was odd since my parents, being Seventh-day Adventists, didn’t even drink coffee. I’m guessing my mom bought one “just for looks.” When I found the cup, I was enchanted, because it’s the perfect size for what I call the “short, but meaningful” French-press coffee that I (long an ex-Adventist) make.

Maybe my mom had visions of drinking Postum, which we considered ‘vegetarian’ coffee, since it was “a cereal beverage.” Or maybe she imagined drinking decaf Sanka (considered a little edgy for Adventists to drink, back in the ’60s) as she sat in the living room with its white Italian silk drapes and reproduction Louis XV furniture.

Here is the cup we had

Flare cup

Flare cup

I decided it would be great to have another one for my husband, so I got on the internet and found an Etsy shop called Molly’s Ridge, and the owner Carolyn Michael had some of the cups. I bought one and received it right away (from Quebec!) in perfect condition. Here is the shop and a listing for a few more of the cups:

Now I have two perfect coffee cups to match my mod Flare plates and will enjoy having my short latte out of one when we’re in Redlands!

Two cups--Flare by Fairwood

Two cups–Flare by Fairwood

Happy Thanksgiving From Tiger Tail Terrace!

We’re spending our first Thanksgiving here in Redlands since my parents passed away and I finished redoing the house. We have my husband Nabil’s parents with us, and also our good friends Dominique and Terence from Portland. They’re soaking up all the Southern California sunshine they can before returning to Oregon.

We pretty much did nothing but cook and wash dishes from about 7 a.m. until about 8 p.m., when we finally finished our dessert, a Rustic Apple Tarte (recipe from Bon Appetit, Dec. 2001 issue).

Whew! Remind me to spend Thanksgiving in Hawaii next year and have Thanksgiving dinner at the lovely Sheraton Moana Surfrider in Waikiki!

Since it’s only Thanksgiving for another five minutes, I’ll close with a few photos from a lovely day.


Some fixings for the big dinner


Barely sunrise and already cooking!


The beautiful centerpiece my in-laws brought


The Rustic Apple Tarte–with vanilla bean, star anise, cinnamon stick, and cloves


My son, Justin, and his grandpa. I love these round, autumn-leaf placemats I found at Bed, Bath, and Beyond

More 60s-era pieces

Another view of the kitchen windows, with original copper light fixture I had rebuilt.

I’ve always loved the diamond pane windows, as well as the Dutch door leading into the kitchen. That door is divided in half so that the top half can be opened while the bottom half stays closed. (I’ll take a photo of it next time I’m out at the house.) I especially loved that  door because it reminded me of stall doors in a barn–a storybook ranch style barn, that is–and was one horse-crazy girl (still am).

Does anyone remember the TV show “Mr. Ed”? In my memory, Mr. Ed’s barn was in the storybook ranch style, but I can’t remember what the house looked like. I’ll have to look up an old episode to see if it was a storybook ranch too!

Chickens from the Midden

When I went through the things my parents had acquired, accumulated, and saved for the 40 years they lived on Tiger Tail Terrace, it was like starting an archaeological dig. I knew I would find lots of old bank statements, receipts, newspapers, old Christmas cards, unused gift boxes, and ten pairs of the same beige turtleneck. Also jar lids, Tupperware, church magazines, and hand-embroidered linens.

What I didn’t expect were coming across things like my gay uncle’s heartbreaking journals from high school and college (late 1930s and early 40s), a couple of cheesecake photos of my mom from the 50s, and my Grandma Owen’s autograph books from the 1880s. Those were especially meaningful things I stumbled upon that had been hidden for decades.

Other things I discovered were more, well, wacky or tacky–like the eight different pairs of ceramic chickens, the ten salt-and-pepper shaker sets, pinned Vogue patterns only half cut out, and several pairs of deteriorating, clear plastic rain boots. I thought this pair of ceramic chickens and another white Leghorn hen-and-rooster pair were worth saving, as representative of a collection I don’t think it was ever intended to be a “collection,” but something representing the real-time accretion of artifacts around two lives.

So here are two chickens from the midden.

Mine is Circa 1958!


I found a 1958 Cosco ad for sale on Ebay showing this exact stool: 1958 Vintage COSCO Step Stool Table Chairs Xmas Ad | eBay


Now there’s this reproduction from Target (also at Walmart, etc.):

Cosco Retro Chair with Step Stool – Yellow : Target

The bad news is that, according to the reviews, the quality of materials and step mechanism isn’t nearly as good as the original!