Friday, November 4, 2011

Family Recipe Friday - Boiled Dinner

It's kind of funny. When I was a kid, I wasn't a big fan of the baked ham dinner. Sure, it was okay and I'd eat it with minimal fuss, but it was not my favorite meal. Still, I looked forward to it because of what would inevitably follow: boiled dinner. 

Ah, boiled dinner, how can I put something so ethereally delicious into words? Imagine all the best parts of Irish fare--meat, potatoes, carrots, cabbage--simmering on the stove all afternoon. Fragrances mingling. Flavors marrying. (Are you with me on this one?) Whether it was prepared in my grandmother's kitchen or my mother's, it was a giant pot of awesome sauce. (Did I mention that I've been a vegetarian for several years? Writing this is unmitigated torture.)

Okay, since you're probably now at your breaking point, dying to know how to make this yourself, I'll get on with it.

Boiled Dinner


  • Leftover baked ham (or corned beef), still on the bone
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 head of cabbage, quartered
  • Several white potatoes (yes, "several"), halved
  • A bunch of carrots, sliced about 1-inch thick
  • Salt and pepper to taste
I know you're in awe of all these really precise and helpful units of measurement, right? Admittedly, this is what you might call a go-with-the-flow-and-trust-your-instincts kind of recipe. Believe me, I'd provide the metric conversion of "several" and "bunch" if I could, but it's a little outside my realm of expertise.


  • Combine all of the above mentioned ingredients in a large pot
  • Add enough water to cover the vegetables
  • Bring to a boil
  • Reduce heat and simmer until the vegetables are tender, frequently ladling the juices over the meat while cooking
And that's it. It's not elaborate or complicated--just homey and delicious. So, set aside your measuring cups just this once and tap into your adventurous side. This dinner is worth it. (Really, I promise.)

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Tombstone Tuesday - Colonel John Buttrick

After a longer than intended hiatus, the Pid Was Her Name blog is back--and just in time for Tombstone Tuesday!

Today's featured marker is that of Colonel John Buttrick (d. 1791) of Concord, Massachusetts. Okay, he's not my ancestor, but is a major player in American history--specifically the start of the American Revolution on 19 April 1775.

It was on his property that the provincials gathered that fateful day, awaiting reinforcements from neighboring towns. From that vantage point, they watched and waited as the Redcoats stood at the North Bridge.

And when the men of Concord and their neighbors marched toward the bridge in spite of warning shots, it was John Buttrick who called out an order, reportedly saying, "Fire, fellow soldiers, for God's sake, fire."

Colonel Buttrick is laid to rest in the Old Hill Burying Ground above Monument Square in Concord.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

International Museum Day - Shelburne Museum

Today is International Museum Day and, as a lover of cultural heritage institutions, I can't help but reminisce about a museum that has some meaning to my family history pursuits.

My grandfather was not a regular museum-goer. He was an outdoorsy fellow who liked walking through the woods, working with his hands, and tending to the family's substantial plot of land. The idea of being cooped up inside a building looking at art and bric-a-brac didn't really appeal to him. 

There was one museum, however, that we visited when I was a child that he seemed to genuinely appreciate. And it means even more to me now because of his fondness for it.

The Shelburne Museum, located near Lake Champlain in Shelburne, VT, is not a typical museum. It boasts "39 exhibition buildings, 25 of which are historic" on the property, so there is much to see--both indoors and outdoors. My grandfather especially loved the barns on-site and the antique tools and farm equipment. As he looked at the collections, he reflected nostalgically on the good ol' days when farms flourished and peppered the countryside. 

And there was something for everyone there. We kiddos were crazy about the steamboat Ticonderoga. (It seemed so opulent and impressive, especially compared to the unadorned and utilitarian ferry we had taken en route to the museum). We were also drawn to the collection of toys and dolls. (We were children, after all, so that was inevitable).

I have returned to the Shelburne Museum on more than one occasion as an adult and have found something new to appreciate each time. But, above all else, it's the fact that my sweet grandfather once enjoyed the site so much that will keep me going back for years to come.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Be an Eco-Friendly Researcher in Celebration of Earth Day

So many of us diligently sort and recycle our glass and plastic, take re-usable bags to the supermarket, and make an effort to purchase recycled paper products all in an effort to benefit our planet. But do we always apply those earth-loving principles to our work? How many times have we printed off more pages than we really need? How often have we innocently tossed a spent ink cartridge in the trash without a second thought?

In honor of Earth Day, I have composed a list of simple eco-friendly practices that we researchers can easily implement.

1. The next time you head to the local library to pick up your hefty stack of inter-library loan items or other requested books, bring a tote bag with you. That way you can politely decline the plastic bag they may have otherwise given you at check-out.

2. When printing drafts at home, print on both sides of the page or on the back of previously-used paper. (Unless I am submitting a piece or printing an especially important item, I always print on scrap pages).

3. Save and re-use your print cards. Many libraries and research centers require patrons to use plastic print cards to make photocopies or computer print-outs. Rather than tossing the card at the end of the day, save it for your next visit to that repository. In many--if not most--cases, you can add value to a previously-purchased card.

4. Recycle your ink and toner cartridges. You can drop these off at office and electronics stores, such as Best Buy or Staples.

5. Take notes and save website information electronically when conducting online research. There are many services that make this simple, including Diigo and Evernote (among others).

6. Think about fuel efficiency when traveling to repositories and conferences. You can improve your gas mileage by keeping your tires inflated, regularly changing your oil, and scheduling routine maintenance. 

7. Better yet, walk or use public transportation when traveling to a research site whenever feasible.

These changes are easy to put into practice and none of them will break the bank--in fact, most will save you money. We spend a lot of time digging into the past, but we shouldn't forget about the future. Happy Earth Day!