Environmental Eleanor

The Lion in Winter (1968 film)
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Loved the stark look of the film adaptation.

Little did I know that while watching Katherine Hepburn in “The Lion of Winter”, portray Eleanor of Aquitaine, I was seeing the story of my children’s greatest grandmother. If the family histories recorded at ancestry.com are to be believed, their family links all the way back to the Grandmother of England.

I suppose there are truly thousands of descendants by now, so we’ll work our way slowly back up the line with the magnifying glasses to inspect a little more closely at those little waving green leaves on the family tree at ancestry.com.

Looking back at my posts on the environment, you might get the impression that we’re some sort of urban hippy wannabe’s, well then I guess you’d be right. We do have worms in the backyard making good earth for the garden, or should I say Yarden? We planted edible shrubs in the front yard. We’re not going to be eating the azaleas, we planted blueberry bushes. We were pleased to find out our neighbors had some already and more neighbors are interested in growing tomatoes and fig trees.

We Interrupt this blog… Part 2. Cool Beans.

December rolled along and we bounced through the holidays. Holiday visits, chorus events, vacationing with family. What happened in January was really, what rocked the boat most. Red1 became a blogger herself and I started actually getting real web work.

Betty and mother, Julia Kiene. 1939.

Red1 was at her grandfather’s house looking through the cook books her great great grandmother wrote. My daughter’s GGGrandmother is Julia Wolcott Kiene.

Ms. Kiene wrote several cook books for Westinghouse in the 1950’s and according to the Amazon reviews, they are very much loved but out of print. Red1 said how much she’d like to try some of the recipes and her mother suggested that she write about her experiences and “blog her way through the cook book” like the Julie did with the Julia Childs book. We’ve been learning a lot more about Juila Kiene and will definitely be sharing some more terrific stories. Not everyone’s great great grandmother was photographed and written about in Life magazine.

One of her books, The Step-by-Step Cook Book for Girls and Boys, was written specifically for children and has stories mentioning Red1’s grandfather and great uncle. They helped test many of the recipes. This was the book for her.

Castroville's nickname celebrates its status a...Image via Wikipedia

So we talked about her project, explained the Julie/Julia project and movie and set out to make a plan. Red1 pulled out her Girl Scout calendar and started writing page numbers of recipes on the weekends. We plotted out a good bit of the year. I was really impressed and we started cooking. GroovyArtichokes.com was born. We plan, cook, eat and talk about the experience. We are recording the interviews and turning those into brief posts that explore the differences in the way people cooked in the 1950’s and now. One of the observations: Sometimes she would say, let something thaw for several hours before you start. Red1 explains that now we can defrost things in the microwave oven.

There’s a cute story about the name of the site, http://GroovyArtichokes.com. Mrs. SFDaddy and I met in art school about the time, when saying “cool beans” became popular. Translation: “that’s cool.” She got really sick of hearing it and started adding “and groovy artichoke hearts” when ever anyone said, “cool beans.” I always thought she was quoting a movie, but I should have known better. She isn’t one to quote movies, that was more of a trait my other friends and I shared. After several Google searches, I said to her, “You must have made that up.” She about hit me.

So, basically the thing that has kept me from posting and nurturing this site were a few other sites. Now that I have a couple more plates to spin, I have to learn to keep them all from wobbling around.

These are good problems to have. I’m thankful. Cool Beans.


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First Things, Second.

Today we’re launching GroovyArtichokes.com and we’re really excited about it.

Bette and her mother, Julia Kiene, 1939.
Bette and her mother, Julia Kiene, 1939.

We, are Julia and Bryan. Bryan’s the dad and Julia’s the kid. Julia is the Great Great Granddaughter of Julia (Wolcott) Kiene who wrote many cookbooks for Westinghouse in the 1950’s. Julia recently discovered that when her grandfather was about her age, he helped his grandmother test the recipes for her cookbooks. One of these books in particular, The Step-by-Step Cook Book for Girls and Boys, excited us most. Julia immediately wanted to try some of the recipes and her mother said, “Well, if you’re going to do that, you might as well blog about it.”

So here we are. Blog first, cook second.