Blogs I read

Recipes, Diary Reflect Simpler, Authentic Era In U.S.

Quote: Give it Your AllSince I mostly blog about United States history, I read several bloggers who write about Americana and American history, and I’ve always had a preferences for those that delve into topics about everyday life. One blog I really enjoy reading — A Hundred Years Ago — originally began as entries from a diary kept by the blogger’s grandmother. As the site notes,

My grandmother, Helena Muffly, kept a diary from 1911-1914 when she was a teen living on a farm in central Pennsylvania. The original purpose of this blog was to post Grandma’s diary entries, as well as background and contextual information, a hundred year’s to the day after she wrote them.

Once the contents of the diary were explored, the blogger turned her attention to old family recipes — another topic I find interesting.

In her most recent post, the blogger discusses an vintage recipe for Old-fashioned Apple Raisin Stuffing — a tasty alternative to other less sweet stuffing (like my mother’s cornbread stuffing which is my perennial favorite).

As a family historian, one of my regrets center on food. I wished I’d videotaped my grandmothers baking their best recipes (at least in my opinion). For my maternal grandmother, Malinda (Smith) Beaty, that would be her buttermilk biscuits and for my paternal grandmother, Mary (Lewis) Claywell, it would be her cornbread. And, although, not a favorite of mine, I also wish I’d taped Grandma Claywell making watermelon preserves because of its uniqueness.

Many of life’s greatest memories, it seems, occurred at family picnics or around a dinner table. So, if you are looking for an ‘old-time’ recipe A Hundred Years Ago has plenty — everything from Black Walnut Taffy to Creamed Dandelion.

Categories: Blogs I read

3 Quality Blogs You Should Read

One thing about the Web,  you can always find something to read — but unfortunately the quality isn’t always there. Well, here are three quality, enjoyable blogs from different genres. Each publishes at a different frequency, but all offer something of value when they publish.

Useful Historian

As a history enthusiast — I love the blog title — it’s very clever, but more importantly it is indicative of the entries which are well-thought out, helpful and informative. One of my favorite entries is the one about the WWI Museum in Kansas City, Missouri.

I visit historical museums and historical places of interest whenever I travel, but when researching those places, finding quality first-hand, authoritative information can be a challenge. I obviously read  the website of the place I intend to visit — but that is seldom as valuable as reading a review from from someone in the industry who’s been there — which is why I enjoy reviews from the Useful Historian.

Besides offering first-hand accounts of places to visit, the Useful Historian also writes Book Reviews, Today in History posts and practical information about history preservation.

Life in Every Limb

I enjoy blogs where you feel like you know the writer (although you’ve never met) and that is the case with this one. I was initially pulled in by an entry about a cemetery because as an amateur genealogist I have spent a considerable amount of time in graveyards and I find them interesting, intriguing and peaceful.

In Life in Every Limb, entries about cemeteries go well beyond Find-A-Grave’s somewhat journalistic approach (which I also like), and gives you a feeling of actually taking a walk through the cemetery with the writer. The blogger has a great eye for what is interesting and provides lots of quality photographs.

However, if you are not into genealogy and history-type research, the author — a former columnist for a Catholic paper — also writes about life in general in an engaging and thoughtful way.

The Big Can Do

This is the only blog on the list where I personally know the blogger. Polly, the author, and I worked together more than a decade ago as part of a team putting out a high-quality community newspaper. She covered high school sports while I covered the courts. Although, we both have moved on from the news industry, we have stayed involved in writing.

In The Big Can Do, Polly’s witty observations — highlighted by her excellent photography — center around finding the good that exists in every day events.  The entries I enjoy the most are the ones that pull in her family, extended family or friends — capturing those everyday moments we often take for granted.

Polly caps off her observations with a thought-provoking quote for the day.

Categories: American History, Blogs I read | Tags: , ,