Random Thoughts

What do you clip?

... going through a box of newspaper clippings and what I found.

by Eleanor Jenkins

I am not sure what other people do when they can’t sleep, but recently I decided to go through a file drawer to see what I had put in there that I haven’t looked at for several years.

Well it was hundreds of newspaper clippings. I often clip recipes from magazines and newspapers with the good intention of trying them, and gardening tips to beautify the yard. But several years later, alas and alack, my family has never had the pleasure of these delicious food substances that were suggested nor has there been much change in my gardens.

But then, I found an old shoe box with clippings that my mother had saved from newspapers in the ‘40’s and early ‘50’s. There were a few recipes, but the majority of her clippings were the daily patterns and needlework that were published in the local daily paper. Each clipping included the address where you could write to the newspaper to order them. They could be patterns for aprons, dresses, shawls to be crocheted, hats to be knitted and many decorative iron on patches. My mother probably had good intentions of sewing these items, but I dont recall ever seeing them. The papers were yellowed with age, the newspaper that they were clipped from has since folded but the dress styles are returning -- wonder where I could find those patterns now if I were so inclined to sew.

My mother’s collection included a pattern for a 40 inch high Santa to be made out of panelboard; dress patterns (long out of fashion), a cunning cotton tail set for the baby, budget saver separates, and beautiful aprons. Another thing she clipped were the daily poems that were published in the newspaper. Little sentimental things that are probably now in a book somewhere, but who will read them? Some clippings were as small as a three or four line fact. “Atco defeated Ashland, 3 to 2 Friday night.” Flip side says “Michigan is the nation’s seventh largest producer of chemicals. More than 32,000 men and women are employed by chemical firms in the state”. I have no idea what year this was and why it was clipped.

Did you know that the standardization of men's clothing sizes resulted in mass production of uniforms during the civil war? Now if Mom hadn’t clipped that bit of information, the “now” generation might have never known.

Did  you know that the first steamboat to actually operate was the invention of John Fitch. It reached a speed of eight miles per hour and it was propelled by giant oars connected to the engine. The year 1786.

Did you know that the word gold came from the dutch language? A clipping of two lines tells me that “The felt tents of the Mongol tribes of Asia are called yurts.” I recently saw a  yurt made of canvas that was in  my friend’s back yard two stories high complete with indoor plumbing to be used as a guest house when the grandchildren come to visit. A little fancier than those felt tents I am sure.

Mom also collected recipes, one published February, 1955, was for Butterscotch Brownies. Last Thursday, February 16, 2006 our local newspaper had a recipe for white brownies. It was identical to the recipe from 50 years ago. I will have to clip that one.

I do clip recipes. Interesting chocolate goodies cakes, cookies, puddings, candy all within reach of preparing in the average kitchen. With all of these recipes in folders, looking for the one to try usually takes several hours of going through reams of paper to find what I should try today. I probably will never use most of these recipes but I just can’t throw them away someone may want to try them some day. Who knows.

There are three of my favorites that I do use. The chocolate easter eggs and the fondant for them. A delicious three layer chocolate cake which makes a nice two layer plus a eight cupcakes, if you don’t want a three layer cake and an excellent recipe for Chicken Kiev. The others go back in the bin.

Last December when I was planning to bake cookies with my grandsons, besides going through all of those clippings, I went through a dozen cookbooks and magazines to come up with the few recipes that we used. I still went by the old standbys and only tried one new one. Tomorrow’s paper will have a food section. I wonder what recipe I will clip this time. As Scarlet O’hara used to say,”there is always tomorrow.”


December 1, 2006


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