Saturday, November 26, 2016

Recipes from "American Indian Cooking & Herb Lore"

Today I'm presenting a few recipes from American Indian Cooking & Herb Lore, a 32-page staplebound booklet written by J. Ed Sharpe and Thomas B. Underwood and published by Cherokee Publications.

This booklet is copyright 1973 and was first published in 1974. My copy is the fifth printing from 1986. It appears that this book is still in print and is still being sold on souvenir shops, per some online mentions that I came across. Many used copies are available on Amazon, and you can probably get one for a penny (plus shipping) if you keep your eyes peeled.

The front of the booklet includes a dedication to Molly (Runningwolfe) Sequoyah. It states, in part:
"This book has its source in people like Molly Sequoyah. ... She lives in the Big Cove section of the Qualla Boundary in Western North Carolina, and belongs to the Eastern Band of Cherokees. She represents many of the older Indian women in this country who have a rich and interesting background of food and herb gathering, preparation, and use."
A reviewer on Goodreads criticized the booklet a bit, stating: "Although most of these traditional recipes are suppose to have been passed down orally I am curious as to the age of some since I am sure that some of the ingredients weren't truly around when the first Native Americans were cooking. It is kind of like noting Native American cultures based on the introduction of the horse instead of how the tribes were living before that introduction."

But even if these recipes aren't fully authentic and don't date all the way back to the time before the European colonization of North America and the atrocities inflicted upon the indigenous peoples of the Americas, they seem to carry some of the spirit and flavor of Native American cooking.

Cherokee Bean Balls
  • 2 cups brown beans
  • 4 cups cornmeal
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon soda
Boil beans in plain water until tender. Put cornmeal, flour and soda in large mixing bowl. Mix well. Add boiling beans and some of the juice to the cornmeal mixture to form a stiff dough. Roll in balls and drop in pot of boiling water. Let cook for 30 minutes at slow boil. Makes 8 servings.

Apache Acorn Stew
  • 2½ to 3 pounds round steak
  • sweet acorns (enough to make 3/4 cup of acorn flour)
  • salt
  • wooden or plastic bowl
Cut the round steak into small bite-size pieces and cook in about one quart of water. Let it simmer for about three hours or until meat in well done. Salt to taste. Shell the sweet acorns and grind them into very fine flour until you have about 3/4 cup of flour. Strain the broth from the meat (it will be used later). Shred the meat and placing it in a wooden or plastic bowl mix it with the acorn flour (aluminum discolors the flour). Pour the hot broth over the mixture and stir. It is now ready to serve in individual bowls. Often times fry bread is served with this stew. Makes 6 servings.

Indian Chestnut Bread
Peel one pound of chestnuts and scale to take off the inside skin. Add enough cornmeal to hold chestnuts together, mixing chestnuts and cornmeal with boiling water. Wrap in green fodder or green corn shucks, tying each bun securely with white twine. Place in a pot of boiling water and cook until done. Salt when eating if desired. Bean bread can be made the same way, but cook beans until tender before adding cornmeal. No salt should be added before or during cooking or the bread will crumble.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Book cover: "Fangface: A Heap of Trouble" (1979)

Here at the Papergreat World Headquarters, we have a very discriminating process for choosing the book covers that we feature on this blog. You can trust that we will select only the finest, rarest and most beautiful volumes to present to you, the reader...

  • Title: Fangface: A Heap of Trouble
  • Author: Ruby-Spears Productions, Inc.
  • Cover artist: Possibly Tony Tallarico, who did the interior illustrations.
  • Publisher: Cinnamon House (a Division of Charter Communications, which was a Grosset & Dunlap Company). There is also a mention of Tempo Books. It's quite confusing.
  • Cover price: $1.25 (the equivalent of about $4 today)
  • Year: 1979
  • Pages: 96
  • Format: Paperback
  • First sentence: The quiet Midtown University campus was deserted at night.
  • Last sentence: And the whole Fangface gang started to laugh.
  • Random sentence from middle: "Just keep your peepers open and follow me," Puggsy said.
  • Back-cover blurb: It's Fangface to the rescue as a mad scientist menaces a college campus with his monster-making ray machine. Join Fangface and his TV friends Biff, Kim and Puggsy as they foil the fiendish Dr. Arnos.
  • From the preface: "For extra fun, color the pictures as you read the book!"
  • Notes: So, Fangface was a short-lived Saturday morning cartoon that originally aired from 1978 to 1980. It was produced by the aforementioned Ruby-Spears Productions, whose biggest claim to fame was Scooby-Doo, and it was very derivative of that iconic cartoon. ... According to Wikipedia, Fangface (later Fangface and Fangpuss) was an odd melting pot of Scooby-Doo, I Was a Teenage Werewolf, Looney Tunes' Tasmanian Devil, and The Bowery Boys.
    It was also slightly progressive for a Saturday morning cartoon, as main characters Biff and Kim were a mixed-race couple. ... The 1996 book Children and Television: A Semiotic Approach, by Robert Hodge and David Tripp, has, somewhat bafflingly, an entire section on Fangface and notes: "Kim, the girl, has a darker-coloured face. It is ambiguous whether she is meant to be black or not, but in every other way she is respectably middle class. ... [T]he relationship between the middle-class Kim and Biff is cool and proper." In all, Hodge and Tripp devote more than two dozen pages to Fangface analysis, which is more absurd than the fact that I'm blogging about it. And they describe the premiere episode, "A Heap of Trouble" (the cartoon, not this novelization), as being "very rich" in meaning. ... I could get a bit more into how Sherman "Fangs" Fangsworth transforms into Fangface and oftens eats his friend Puggsy whole, but let's not do that. Instead, I'll just leave you with this link to Toonzone and some Fangface fan fiction that was posted earlier this year. Shareify it around, if you wish.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Thoughts on newspapers, computers and readers ... from 44 years ago

Hey, I'm on a roll. Here's another striking passage that I came across while sorting through books. (On the heels of Garfield Bromley Oxnam's thoughts in Youth and the New America, posted yesterday.)

These passages are from 1972's Man and the Computer by John G. Kemeny, a mathematician, computer scientist and educator who later went on to chair the President's Commission on the Accident at Three Mile Island.

From Man and the Computer's Chapter 10, titled "Computers in the Home":
One possible use of the home terminal illustrates the wide variety of information retrieval that can be made available in the home.

The New York Times is a magnificent national institution. Yet in many ways it is anachronistic in the computer age. It is too bulky, too impersonal, and often out of date by the time one reads it.

Everyone is familiar with the problem of bulk. Very few of the readers of The New York Times ever read all of the articles in a given issue, even on a weekday. Because of the bulk one often overlooks an important news item, even though the search is helped by an index. And when one finds a particular item, one may have to search through a long story, turning several pages, until one has extracted the details of particular interest to oneself. I have often wished that I could have the option of either having more or less detail. ...

[Also], there is the highly impersonal nature of The New York Times. By "impersonal," I mean that because the Times has to worry about the interests of hundreds of thousands of readers, it does not tailor its new service to my needs. I want to argue that it is entirely feasible today for the Times to provide personalized service for each of its readers. ...

Each reporter would file this stories by typing them directly into a computer terminal. The computer would provide a number of automatic services to make his life easy. It would justify all lines so that they come out roughly of equal length, correct simple spelling errors, and make it easy for him to enter corrections and improvements. ...

The editorial staff would monitor new stories as they were entered into the computer and make policy decisions on which stories to accept and how much detail to retain. The stories would then pass to a group of proofreaders who would make final corrections before each item was officially accepted into the current version of The New York Times. ...

I would expect that once the cost of printing the newspaper is eliminated, the bulk [of news content] could be increased tenfold at a surprisingly small cost. This would require about a million words of computer storage, which is a little over 1 percent of the storage available on the Dartmouth Time-Sharing System. The work of reporters, editors, and proofreaders would be actually simpler than it is today, and much of the remaining staff of a large newspaper would no longer be needed. Therefore the cost of "publishing" a personalized newspaper would be lower than the cost is today.

A reader sitting in his home could dial into his computer network and ask for his personalized New York Times. The computer would have on file those general topics which the user normally reads. ... After the reader has seen as much of the story as he wished, the computer, upon a signal, would automatically proceed to his next request, until he has seen everything he is interested in. ... In half an hour he would conclude a highly enjoyable and profitable personalized session with The New York Times. ...

If a particular story is of long-range interest to him, he could have it typed out on his terminal or stored in his own personal file in the computer's memory for future retrieval. And he would have all these services available in his own home.

It may be objected that while this scheme sounds great from the reader's point of view, it would bankrupt the Times, which depends on its advertising revenue. But this need not be the case. The computer network would charge the user for various services and could pay a royalty to the Times for each access by a user. Given that the cost of production of the newspaper is reduced, and the cost of printing and distribution is eliminated, the Times may make a profit on "sales" alone. Nor is it necessary to eliminate all advertising. Classified ads could be well indexed and made available to any user who desired to see them. If that did not suffice, the newspaper retrieval program could be so written that between frames it presented ads. However, I would then hope that by paying an extra fee I would have the option of eliminating all advertisements.

I make this suggestion freely available to The New York Times.
It's interesting to see some of the areas in which Kemeny was prescient about how we would eventually consume the news on a digital platform. He even touches on digital advertising and the idea of paying extra for a "no-ads experience." In some areas, he missed the mark a little, but still had intriguing predictions, especially given how many decades he was removed from this transition.

I also find it fascinating that he's essentially proposing the idea of micropayments (which he terms royalties) as a revenue model for online newspapers. The general sense now is that micropayments won't work and won't "save journalism," but — as with so many other bungled aspects of the newspaper industry's transition to digital — I wonder if they might have been part of the solution if they had been embedded in online readers' expectations from Day One.

Vintage postcard of peaceful Irish cottage with goats

American readers, I hope you're enjoying your Thanksgiving.

This undated real photo postcard of an Irish cottage was published by a company named Renaud, which was based in the Manchester, England, suburb of Chorlton-cum-Hardy.1 It looks like a cozy-enough home. A beautiful spot to live from spring through autumn and then — with some logs, wool blankets, hay for the goats and books — a place to hole up in the winter. It could use a little bit of work, but that's true of most dwellings.

This card fits in nicely with these previous posts:

1. Here's a bit of history about that curious name from Wikipedia:
"Chorlton probably means Ceolfrith's farm or settlement from the Old English personal name and tūn, an enclosure, farmstead or village. Hardy is derived from a personal name, Hearda, and ēg, Anglian for island or dry ground in a well-watered land. It has alternatively been suggested that Hardy may mean 'by the woods', in reference to the ancient forest of Arden Wood that grew on both sides of the River Mersey in the area. ... The ancient hamlets of Chorlton and Hardy, separated by the Chorlton Brook, together with Martledge and Barlow Moor, did not come under the combined name of Chorlton-cum-Hardy (cum is Latin for "with") until the 18th century."

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Thoughts on America, race and religion ... from 88 years ago

Sorting through some books, I came across this passage from 1928's Youth and the New America, by social activist and Methodist preacher Garfield Bromley Oxnam. Setting aside some of the unfortunately dated language and focusing on the spirit of Oxnam's message, it's interesting to juxtapose (1) that this was written nearly nine decades ago with (2) where we stand in America today, on so many fronts.

There are some Americans who think of the racial problem in terms of the Negro or the Oriental, but the racial question is infinitely larger than that. Of it H.G. Wells declares: "I am convinced myself that there is no more evil thing in this present world than race prejudice; none at all. I write deliberately — it is the worst single thing in life now. It justifies and holds together more baseness, cruelty, and abomination than any other sort of error in the world." The yellow races, the brown, the black, the red, are rapidly coming to self-consciousness. Approximately a third of the world population is white, nearly a third is yellow, and a little more than a third is black or brown. This means that there are two colored persons for every white person. The question we face this hour is whether or not, in the light of Christ's teachings which reveal a common Father and declare that all are brothers, we can work out this racial problem in conference and good-will, removing thus the danger of conflict.

There is a school of amateur anthropologists in America who, in flaming scareheads, picture the rise of the colored races and the eventual extermination of the white peoples. They have gone so far as to insist upon the supremacy of a small section of the white race, and to urge its development for the purpose of assuring its rule of the world. They insist upon "Nordic race superiority." This school is supposed of men whom President Glenn Frank, of the University of Wisconsin, sarcastically calls "facile journalistic camp followers" of the real scientists, and are not to be taken seriously by any student. In the approach to the racial problem the young American must turn to the responsible inquirers in the field and beware of these pseudo-sociologists. By what scientific evidence do you justify the assumption that you belong to the superior group?

... Is not the place to attack the race problem right at home, first by studying our own minds, uprooting prejudice, and seeking to develop the attitude necessary to cooperation? And then, is it not the duty of young Americans, Christians, to work out practical steps whereby understanding may grow, contacts of friendship increase, and the fine art of living together emerge?

Cool illustrations: The New Human Interest Library (Part 7)

With this installment of illustrations from 1929's The New Human Interest Library, we enter the section of the book titled "The Do-It-Yourself Book (Elementary Projects)," which kicks off with a chapter called "Drawing Made Easy." These first four illustrations are by the wonderfully named Cobb Shinn. His full name was Conrad (Cobb) X. Shinn, and he lived from 1887 to 1951. According to askART, Shinn was primarily known as a postcard artist. He was a native of Indiana who worked as a camouflage artist during World War I. He was known for "humorous postcards, in particular a series called 'Whazzer Mazzer,' which featured well-known Indianapolis landmarks, but drawn in a distorted way, as they might appear to drunks."

Extensive information about Shinn can be found at a 2010 post on the ephemera blog "Tattered and Lost." There, you can find out about his work with Ford Motor Company, his illustrations for Little Black Sambo, his work as a pioneer with "clip art" and photographs of a turtle drinking milk.

In these illustrations from The New Human Interest Library, Shinn shows how to draw Jack-In-The-Pulpits, dandelions, carnations and rose buds.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Our scary world in Tweets

Important news and insights are flying past so fast these days...

Full Arnade Twitter essay starting with the above Tweet:
"1. About the "I talked to my cab/uber driver" thing some journalists still amazingly do without irony. It is so so lazy and so so clueless. 2. Imagine pro athlete bragging about climbing the stairs to their home as their workout for the day! I mean. Talking to people is your gig! 3. I been doing this journalism thing for about 2 yrs. One of biggest disappointment is how afraid many journalists are of the different. 4. Different places. Different people. Different views. If you are worried to go into a "rough" hood (many are). Rethink what that means. 5. There many curious, open, extrovert journalist. They are often limited by budgets & by what editors want. Which is now data data data. 6. There is also a culture of journalism that often discourages meeting others. Media travels in a media bubble of Marriotts and Starbucks. 7. Write it off as a cheap gimmick, but I really have learned more hanging in sad McDonald's and per hour motels than in any other places. 8. I would love to see more journalist talk about their bus driver. Or better yet the other people on their bus or at their bus stop. 9. A cab or uber is a luxury in the world I spend my time in as a journalist. Unless it is a hack cab. Or is because so so many DUIs. 10. So. Please stop the I talked to my cab driver thing. I mean. Geez. It really really really really really shouldn't have to be said."

Full Arnade Twitter essay starting with the above Tweet:
"1. A small exchange with @zeynep sent me down a wormhole of reading and thinking. I have way overlooked impact of Facebook on voters. 2. I spend most of my time in low income communities. Minority and white. And in those places Facebook dominates as a source of information. 3. Whenever I take a picture of someone, and we exchange info, their first question is a version of, "Are you on Facebook. If so, tag me." 4. I wrote about McDonald's as social centers. Part of reason is free WiFi & part of that appeal is using facebook. 5. This includes people who are homeless, or those moving between rehab, detox, half-way homes, shelters, and/or jail. 6. I have been in drug traps at 2 am, and asked to take a selfie with someone who just shot up, and they then say, "Can I tag you?" 7. For many working poor, Facebook is their news source. And what news and stories they see is now determined by what comes into their feed. 8. We are already a country so very divided. Segregated into camps isolated by geography, class, race, & education. 9. That division will get more pronounced as we start getting different "facts & news" It is moving towards having two separate realities. 10. When you have two realities, compromise becomes impossible. Because when you cannot agree on facts, little else can follow. 11. I mention this too much. But it reminds me of Venezuela & Chavez. A country with massive inequality, two realities, that then fell apart. 12. So add Facebook to the reasons I believe the US is drifting towards behaving like a 3rd world country."

Pleasant days of Middle East travel

Yes, there was once a time was vacationing in the Middle East was safe and realistic and perhaps even encouraged. That hasn't been true for a long time, of course. This postcard is from the same batch that included the postcard from this March post about the Jeita Grotto in Lebanon.

This postcard was mailed to a Martha in the Bronx. There's no date, but I think the year on the postmark is 1970, though I'm not 100% certain.

The jovial note states:
Dear Aunt Martha,
Having a fine time here in Beirut. Doing a lot of siteseeing & visiting many of their friends. Everyone is so nice & we're invited out all the time. We went to the beach, & visited a Casino, went through a cave in the mountains. Helda's husbands parents have a summer house in the mts. overlooking Beirut so we go up often, it's so beautiful. We went shopping downtown, they have a lot of American stuff. Bye for now. Love, Patsy.
While there have been some short periods of relative peace and stability, Beirut hasn't really been a safe destination for tourists since the outbreak of the Lebanese Civil War in 1975, more than four decades ago.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Another book finds its proper home

It has been an outstanding autumn for returning books and ephemera to the families that should rightfully have them. Earlier this month, I told the story of A Little Maid of Massachusetts Colony and its reunion with a woman who penned a short inscription inside many decades ago.

Not long after, I received an email about some law textbooks (and the papers inside) that had belonged to Elbert Nostrand Carvel, who had two stints as the governor of Delaware between 1949 and 1965. I wrote about these Carvel books way back in 2011. So it was a surprise when, 274 weeks after that post, I received this email from a reader named Lisa:
I was browsing on the net today and came across your website. Very interested to read about the items related to Elbert Carvel (my grandfather) — especially the survey from the yearbook. (BTW he married a brunette at the age of 22. During a snowstorm. During Prohibition. Had to use his handkerchief dabbed with spirits from his flask to clear the windscreen and when he arrived his bride-to-be said "Nos! Have you been drinking?!") We have a lot of info about him, but not so much in his early years. Can you tell me about the stuff you have about him?
I only had one of Carvel's textbooks still in my possession — 1914's Handbook of the Law of Municipal Corporations. It was sitting on a shelf alongside some other older books. I had kept this one because it was the volume with all of the old Carvel-related papers inside — study notes, the University of Baltimore class survey that I detailed in 2011 and more. I didn't want to sell or donate a book with that much personal history inside.

Clearly, though I couldn't have known it, I was just waiting for Lisa to get in touch!

And, clearly, this book had to get back into the hands of the Carvel family.

Lisa gave me her address and I shipped the book, with its papers tucked inside. Another happy ending. After it arrived, I received this short note:
The book came on Tuesday! I'm very happy to have it and will be sharing with my siblings at Thanksgiving. Thank you very much! And a little packet is on its way to you.
"Little packet" was quite the understatement! Linda, as an incredibly generous gesture of thanks, sent me a manila envelope filled with amazing ephemera. Look at all of these items! You will surely be reading about these in multiple future Papergreat posts. Thank you, Linda.