Monday, July 20, 2009

Taking a bite out of history

One of the stranger things that I like to do is cook things in a traditional manner. What I mean is historical recipes that might use techniques and ingredients we would now find tiresome and antiquated. This extends to other areas such as clothing, making household items and so on. I find it to be interesting and more importantly it's a way to really get in touch with history. I personally am more interested in the way things were for the average person than I am in big events. It gives you a sense of how things have changed and an appreciation for how people of that period felt about the big events... In short it gives you perspective.

So, when I read my kids Little House on the Prairie I got this book:

And when I could I cooked what we were reading about. Some things I ended up liking and I do them seasonally now. Crab-apple jelly for instance. But we don't always like them. Well, to be honest our processed food taste means we often will find these simpler foods strange and we won't like them. But, it is fun to try them anyway and really get a sense of what life was like for the people making them.

I also like quilting using the more traditional patterns and methods. I have even pieced by hand, and it turned out pretty nice. And you may know that I like knitting, and crochet... I have even tried my hand at tatting (making lace), but I never caught on!LOL

So, I'm sure someday I will find my way to a volunteer job at a living history museum... Maybe I'll be one of those crazy volunteers you see on PBS or TLC when they challenge people to live like people in a given period of history. I would love it!!!LOL But for now I'm off to make a recipe from the book I got at the Living History Farm in Iowa... Maybe brown bread in a coffee can???

Sunday, July 12, 2009

2009 Ramadan Craft (gift box)

I like to do a craft every year and post a tutorial for Ramadan. Last year I missed it, this year I wanted to be early so you can do one if you like the idea, insha'Allah. So here it is:

You will need:

Glue, paintbrush, paper mache or cardboard box, duct tape (craft colored type) and tissue paper.

First, mix your glue with an equal amount of hot water to thin it out.

Then have some fun tearing the tissue paper into little squares (maybe 1 inch???).

Then brush the glue onto the surface of your box.

Now lay the tissue paper into the glue. Once you do the whole thing, give it a coat of the glue over the entire surface. You may want to do that part for the younger ones because the tissue paper can get too wet and move if you brush hard. Let it dry for a few hours after this step.

Take your box and draw a template. Then use the size to create a design for the top of your box.

Here you can see mine, a crescent and a star.

Now take that design and cut it out of your gold foil (or whatever contrasting color you like). Then use your thin glue to paste it onto the lid and give it a little top coat when you are finished.

Next, take the duct tape and cover the edge as shown.

Fold the edges of the tape to cover the rim of the box. I did this to protect the decorative finish from the opening and closing of the lid.

Repeat the process with the rim of the lid.

On the inside lid paste a printed message explaining the box and its contents to the recipient. Mine says:

"Right now Muslims all over the world are celebrating the month of Ramadan. You may know that it is a time of fasting from sunrise to sunset and a special chance for us to grow in our faith. What you may not know is that it is also a time for sharing food and company with our family and friends. Our family would like to share a small gift with you and we hope that you will enjoy it. These cookies are called kahk, and are a special treat shared by Egyptian families during the month of Ramadan.

Peace and blessings to you and your loved ones."

This is the finished box, and as you may have guessed by the inside of the lid we plan to use it as a container for cookies to be given to friends. Be sure to line the box with something if you fill it with food, oil from the food could damage it.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

We are on the road right now. On an RV trip to be specific (which is another post entirely)and we made our way from WY to Niagra Falls and are now going back and hitting some things we wanted to see. I personally have always wanted to see what a city filled with Muslims would be like... So we made our way towards Dearborn, MI. We shopped, we ate and I marveled at the microchasm (no spell check right now so please forgive the spelling) of Islam in America.

We have had trouble with the generator, discovered that RV parks cost more than bidding for hotels on Priceline and were shocked at the behavior of mass amounts of Arabs (they all park on the freeway to watch fireworks ya'll!!!)... And we had a good time.

Niagra Falls was nice, but bring your passport because the Canadian side is the best.

Check out The Henry Ford Museum if you are ever in Dearborn... I liked it, and even if DH says I like all museums (which is true) I swear this one was nice.

We also checked out the living history farm near Des Moine, Iowa. The kids milked a cow, which of course happened around some live illustrations of farming in early America... But who's gonna remember that with all the cow milking???

Anyway, that's where I am... We are headed home and will arrive Wednesday??? Insha'allah.