September 22, 2016

Pasta con Fagioli (Pasta "Fazool") Pasta with Beans Recipe

"Don't be a fool, eat Pasta Fazool"- Gus Van & Joe Schenck (1927)


"Pasta Fazool Recipe" | -1 Box Ditalini Pasta - Olive Oil (enough to coat the bottom of the pan) - 3 1/2 cups/28 ounces of Tomato Sauce of choice* - 1 15.5 ounce can of Navy Beans or Northern Beans  - 1 Small Onion - Salt and Pepper to taste - Grated Parmesan


This recipe was cooked for the Historical Food Fortnightly. A yearly challenge that encourages bloggers to cook a historical food every two weeks. The challenge this time was Ethnic Dishes and I chose to recreate the "Pasta Fazool" of my childhood. This dish was like a warm hug in your belly on chilly nights. My grandmother claimed my mother and her brothers didn't like it as kids but she made it on Fridays because it was cheap, easy and did not have meat in it.

Pasta con Fagioli (Pasta with Beans) has been popular since at least, the 1870s. There are many different recipes for it, some on the soupy side and some on the thicker side. The only real requirement is that the recipe contains both pasta and beans. The term "Pasta Fazool", which is what we always called it in my house, is a relaxed pronunciation of the Neapolitan and Sicilian pronunciation of beans.       

I was torn on this recipe. I wanted to make it the way my grandmother used to when I was a kid. She told me she made it the way that her mother-in-law did but that she had the recipe in a book her mother gave her called The Italian Cookbook (1955.) This book is something special, I've never actually seen it before but it's the kind of cookbook I like to see: brimming with character and frequent use. Some people like their cookbooks squeaky clean with tight spines, but not me. The more newspaper clippings, tears, stains, written annotations, the better. 

However the two recipes didn't match up the way I had hoped. The recipe in the cookbook specified soaking dry beans and making sauce and as much as I wanted to do it that way, it stated in the recipe, I did want to make the equally as authentic Pasta Fazool my grandma made with the time saving elements. 

I stuck with the recipe I had to weasel out of my grandma. (You know how hard it is to get recipes from people who cook, right?) But I will add the ingredients list from the book at the bottom in case anyone wants to try.  

"Pasta Fazool" Recipe | -1 Box Ditalini Pasta - Olive Oil (enough to coat the bottom of the pan) - 3 1/2 cups/28 ounces of Tomato Sauce of choice* - 1 15.5 ounce can of Navy Beans or Northern Beans  - 1 Small Onion - Salt and Pepper to taste - Grated Parmesan



The Challenge: Ethnic Foods (September 9 - September 22) Foodways and cuisine are at the heart of every ethnic group around the world and throughout time. Choose one ethnic group, research their traditional dishes or food, and prepare one as it is traditionally made.

The Recipe:


The Date/Year and Region: 1920s-1950s
Ingredients:



-1 Box Ditalini Pasta
- Olive Oil (enough to coat the bottom of the pan)
- 3 1/2 cups/28 ounces of Tomato Sauce of choice*
- 1 15.5 ounce can of Navy Beans or Northern Beans 
- 1 Small Onion
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- Grated Parmesan

* Alternatively you can make your own sauce with crushed tomatoes, olive oil, oregano, pepper.

How Did You Make It: 


Coat the bottom of a medium size sauce pan, cooking on medium heat. Peel and add the whole onion, cover your pan. Stir the onion around occasionally until the outside of the onion starts to brown. Add the tomato sauce and the beans. Let cook about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Cook and drain the ditalini and return to pot. Stir in the sauce and beans. Remove the onion. Add salt and pepper to taste. If too thick, add water. Top with grated Parmesan.    

Time to Complete:
About 20 minutes.

Total Cost: $7.00

How Successful Was It?: Surprised myself. It didn't look like it should have until everything was combined. Tasted delicious.


How Accurate Is It?: Pretty close to grandma's. I did not eat the onion after I removed it although my grandma said that it was the best part. 


Pasta con Fagioli | -1 Box Ditalini Pasta - Olive Oil (enough to coat the bottom of the pan) - 3 1/2 cups/28 ounces of Tomato Sauce of choice* - 1 15.5 ounce can of Navy Beans or Northern Beans  - 1 Small Onion - Salt and Pepper to taste - Grated Parmesan


Ingredients from The Italian Cookbook

-3 Cups Water
-1 1/4 Cups Navy Beans
-1/2 Teaspoon Salt
-2 Quarts Water
-1 Teaspoon Salt
-2 Cups Ditalini Pasta
-1/4 Cup Sieved Tomatoes
- 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
- 1/4 teaspoon Pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon Oregano
- Grated Parmesan Cheese

September 5, 2016

Civil War Stationary and Envelope Templates


"Good bye my sweet little wife -- write to me often"

-Jedediah Hotchkiss to Sara A. Hotchkiss, August 4, 1861

Some of the most prolific cries in Civil War soldier's letters is "Why don't you write me more?" and "Tell everyone to write me!" Mail delivery was highly anticipated by soldiers who felt left out of the events on the home front. Letters were a huge source of information and the main source of communication back home to the common soldier. It was reported that some regiments were sending out around 600 letters per day.   

I've been meaning to get some reproduction Civil War stationary and envelope templates on here forever and my friend Austin Landis was nice enough to lend me these letters for this post. The letters are from a collection of letters written by a Pennsylvania family writing to each other during the war.

Stationary and envelopes during the Civil War period were beautiful. They typically featured patriotic messages, imagery and political cartoons. It was not uncommon for envelopes to be as decorative as the stationary. Soldiers had the option to write "Soldier's Letter" on the front of their envelope to have the recipient pay for the postage due to the trouble of tracking down stamps and keeping stamps usable in the field. In 1861, the cost of mailing a typical letter was 3 cents if it was travelling under 3,000 miles. In the Confederacy in June 1861, it was 5 cents to mail a letter that was traveling under 500 miles.     


Civil War Era Letter and Envelope Templates for Reenacting | World Turn'd Upside Down
From the private collection of Austin D. Landis


Civil War Era Letter and Envelope Templates for Reenacting | World Turn'd Upside Down
From the private collection of Austin D. Landis


Civil War Era Letter and Envelope Templates for Reenacting | World Turn'd Upside Down
From the private collection of Austin D. Landis





From the Library of Congress


Civil War Letter Templates to Print:





A common size of stationary during the Civil War was 8. 5 x 11 inches folded in half width way. 


Back of the stationery page.

Civil War Era Letter and Envelope Templates for Reenacting | World Turn'd Upside Down

3 x 5.5 inches was a common envelope size. Print this out on heavy paper and use it as a template for tracing out envelopes. Fold along the dotted line. Each envelope fits on an 8.5 x 11 page.

If you right click on the images and "open in a new tab" If you print the images at 100%, they should be the correct size to use.

Click here to see more Civil War Envelopes!