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Showing posts from August, 2020

Menu Monday: Delmonicos, November 17, 1917

Delmonicos is one of the oldest and most famous American restaurants, opened in 1827 in New York City. This is what was available for dinner on Saturday, November 17, 1917. Notice the text in red on the left side of the menu... meatless Tuesdays and Wheatless Wednesdays were instituted to help with the war effort. Thankfully, this wasn't a Tuesday night. I think I'd have the consomme to start, then the rib of prime beef with au jus, asperges [asparagus] Oyster Bay, tomato salad, and for dessert the compote de poire (pear compote) and cafe (coffee). Comment below to let me know what you'd order.

Then and Now: the Field's Corner Delicatessen

1514a Dorchester Avenue, Dorchester, Massachusetts was the address of the Field's Corner Delicatessen, which my paternal grandfather owned and ran from the 1930s until his death in 1956. The top picture (colorized) was taken in the early 1940s, and the second was captured from Google Earth, taken in 2019. It's a Chinese restaurant now... and I noticed that the address has changed slightly... in the first photo, the address is 1514a, but in the recent one, the address is now 1512a.  If I'm ever able to visit Dorchester, I'll have to visit. 

Menu Monday: The Profile House, July 31, 1866

 If you were in the the White Mountains of New Hampshire in the mid to late 19th century and needed a place to stay, you might want to check into The Profile House , a grand hotel that existed there for seventy years, from 1853 to 1923, named for a rock formation called "The Old Man of the Mountain" because its shape looked like the face of an elderly man.  If you were checked in on July 31, 1866, here's what would be on offer for dinner: What would you order? I might go for the mint soup, the salmon with mashed potatoes and string beans, and raspberry pie and coffee for dessert. 

"Most people died in their 40s!"

Once again, I came across someone saying that people back in previous centuries “didn't live past 40." Supposedly a history teacher, of all thing, too -- no wonder our kids don't know anything.    This woman's misunderstanding of average life expectancy, however, is a common one: that a people in a particular time/place having an average life expectancy of X means that most didn't survive past X.  But no. “Average life expectancy" is an average - that is, a column of numbers added up and divided by the number of numbers added. This is also called the mean. It's not the median (number in the middle of an ascending column of numbers) or the mode (most frequently occurring number in a list).    Average life expectancy for most was pretty low throughout most of modern history; from 1860 to 1880, the ALE in the U.S. was 39, and rose steadily from the late 19th century to now. Today, it's 78, double what it was in 1880. Now, from my having done genealogy f