Talking Flowers

Talking Flowers

People had a “flower language” over 150 years ago. They gave each other bouquets of talking flowers that said a lot without speaking out loud. You could do that, too or use flower names as code language in notes or emails.

Following is a list of commonly used flowers and what the message was from each beautiful flower.

Talking Flowers

  • Amaryllis: “You’re beautiful, but I’m shy.”
  • Apple blossom: “I like you best.”
  • Camellia: “Thank you!”
  • Carnation: “I love you truly.”
  • White Chrysanthemum: “This is the truth.”
  • Four Leaf Clover: “Be mine.”
  • Red Daisy: “You’re beautiful even if you don’t know it.”
  • Wild Daisy: “I’ll think about it.”
  • Dandelion: “I’m flirting with you!”
  • Fern: “You are fascinating and sincere.”
  • Holly: “Did you forget me?”
  • Iris: “I’ve got a message for you.”
  • Ivy: “I’ll be true to you.”
  • Lily of the Valley: “I’m happy again!”
  • Oak Leaves: “We will be brave!”
  • Parsley: “I feel silly.”
  • Purple Pansy: “I’m thinking about you.”
  • Red Rose: “I love you.”
  • White Rose: “I won’t tell.”
  • Sweet Pea: “Let’s get together.”
  • Violet: “I’m your faithful friend.”
  • Zinnia: “I’m sad since you went away.”

You may also enjoy:

School Luncheons 1905

School Luncheons 1905

Looking back in time can be both fun and fascinating! I’ve been doing a lot of that lately going through recipe booklets and cookbooks from my grandmother’s vast collection.

Being a personal passion, I couldn’t just allow these books to sit and get older and more yellowed without trying to digitize them, a project I’ve been and will continue to work on.

With that said, today I’m introducing “School Luncheons Cookbook Vintage 1905 by Armour and Company”.

School Luncheons 1905
School Luncheons 1905

A Peak Inside

The School Luncheons Problem

Excerpt from page 3…

“The school luncheon is a problem, and only the house mother can solve it by giving the subject careful attention daily.”

“Proper food must be supplied the growing boys and girls, or they will become stunted, not only physically, but mentally.”

“If it is possible a child should come home for the noonday meal. A bowl of hot broth should be in readiness, with a plate of crackers or toast, a baked apple with cream and some cookies. This makes a wholesome and satisfying lunch. The child will go back to school refreshed by the brisk walk.”

The Week-About System

Excerpt from page 6…

“If several children eat together, the luncheon may be packed in a hamper basket. It is quite an idea for one mother to prepare luncheons for one week for a neighbor’s children besides her own. This week-about system relieves the mother and gives the children variety.”

“Folding drinking cups or small tumblers should be given each child; the water question is just as important as food. It is far safer to have a small flask of pure water in the luncheon box than to allow promiscuous drinking from tin cups provided in the schools and the use of city water, unless one is absolutely sure that the water supply is pure.”

Motherly Love Notes

Excerpt from page 9…

“One mother used to occassionally put a little note like this in the luncheon box:”

“My Dear M—-:”
“Mother knows the lessons are unusually hard today, but do your best and when you come home there will be a surprise for you. Lovingly, Mother.”

“This takes only a moment, and is a source of inspiration and encouragement to the child. The ‘surprise’ may be some wished-for object, a guest invited to supper, a trip to the city or matinee tickets.”

Motherly Love Notes
Motherly Love Notes

School Luncheons: The Costs Back Then

Excerpt from page 20…

“Sufficient and nutritious luncheons can be furnished to the pupils of a large school for from three to five cents each, but from our present knowledge, it would require about a ten-cent luncheon to satisfy the taste of the American scholar.”

Ah..the good ‘ol days!

Summer Time

Summer Time

Summer time came way too late in my neck of the woods this year. It’s been an odd year weather-wise and personally, as well as across my country, a bit of a bitter-sweet time of life.

When things get like this, for me there is nothing better than taking a trip back in time to simpler days, kinder times, and gentler people via a good old-fashioned book.

For my “adventures” this time around, I choose the series of books by “Miss Read”.  I’m currently reading
Village Diary (The Fairacre Series #2).

Miss Read Village Diary Summer Time Ponderings
Miss Read Village Diary

Miss Read (1913-2012) was the pseudonym of Mrs. Dora Saint, a former schoolteacher beloved for her novels of English rural life, especially those set in the fictional villages of Thrush Green and Fairacre.

While reading this evening, a few paragraphs just begged to be shared. These paragraphs share how children amused themselves back in they days of innocence and hard work. How mother nature amused, taught and delighted both child and adult.

I’m going to share those paragraphs in hopes others may enjoy this sweet journey back in time to the goodness of nature.

How lucky country children are in these natural delights that be ready to their hand! Every season and every plant offers changing joys. As they meander along the lane that leads to our school all kinds of natural toys present themselves for their diversion.

The seedpods of stitchwort hang ready for delightful popping between thumb and finger. Later the bladder campion offers a larger, if less crisp, globe to burst. In the autumn, acorns, beechnuts and conkers bedizen their path, with all their manifold possibilities of fun.

In the summer time, there is an assortment of honeys to be sucked from bindweed flowers, held fragile and fragrant to the hungry lips, and the tiny funnels of honeysuckle and clover blossoms to taste.  Outside the Post Office grow three fine lime trees, murmurous with bees on summer afternoons, and these supply wide, soft young leaves in May, which the children spread over their opened mouths and, inhaling sharply, burst with a pleasant and satisfying explosion.

At about the same time of year the young hawthorn leaves are found good to eat. ‘Bread and cheese’ some call them. While the crisp sweet stalks of primroses form another delicacy, with the added delight of the thread like inner stalk which pulls out from the hairier outer sheath.

The summer time brings flower games, the heads and red satin skirts made from the turned-back petals. ‘He loves me, he don’t’ counted solemnly as the daisy petals flutter down, and ‘Bunny’s mouth’ made by pressing the sides of the yellow toadflax flowers which scramble over our chalky Fairacre banks.

And always, whatever the season, there is a flat ribbon of grass blade to be found which, when held between thumbs and blown upon, can emit the most hideous and ear-splitting screech, calculated to fray the nerves of any grownup, and warm the heart of any child within earshot.”

On so on it goes. Imagine living in such times, when nature was all that was needed to amuse and delight. When people treated each other with respect and kindness. When the body was far more than a mere sex object…

It sounds so wonderful.

Rose Symbolism and Rose Petal Tea

Rose Symbolism in Honor of Valentine’s Day

Generation to generation, story tellers have passed on myths and legends regarding Rose symbolism. Since roses are showing up every where, I went and dug up some rose symbolism and history to share. There a bit of this and a bit of that, but for the up-coming Valentine’s Day, it makes for a few conversation starters, if nothing else.


Rose Prose

Roman Rose Symbolism

The rose has been called the flower of love due to its link to the Roman goddess Aphrodite. Aphrodite was the Roman goddess Venus. Romans believed that roses symbolize love, beauty, purity and passion. The Romans were known to use rose petals in their bath water. They also decorated their homes with petals and strew them across the floor at banquets.

Roman legend says that suitors passionately in love pursued a beautiful maiden. She took refuge in the temple of the goddess Diana (the Greek god Venus) who became jealous. When the suitors broke down the temple gates to get near their beloved maiden, Diana turned the maiden into a rose and her suitors into thorns.

Cleopatra was probably the most famous symbol of beauty. It is said that she bathed in ass’s milk to keep her skin youthful.  The cedar wood ship on which she sailed to meet Marc Antony had rose-scented sails. She welcomed him into a bedroom carpeted several inches deep in rose petals!

Today, roses are used in culinary creations and crafts. Rose essential oil is used in perfumes. The rose is still an essential element in perfumes such as Chanel #5, Arpege, Joy, White Linen, Beautiful, Lauren and Opium.

Rose petals can be used to make elixirs, tinctures and vinegar’s.

Many people swear that rosewater positively alters their mood. It would seem it has the ability to muster an emotional strength from within.

The Complete Book of Roses provides a general history and guide through the complex evolution of roses.

Relish Rosebuds with Rose Petal Tea

1/2 cup black teaUnopen Rose for Rose Symbolism
2 tablespoons organic rosebuds
2 tablespoons hibiscus
2 tablespoons seedless rose hips
1 tablespoon cloves

Place tea in food safe container. Mix in all ingredients and store in
airtight container.

To Brew: Place one teaspoon tea in muslin bag or tea infuser. Fill cup
with one cup boiling water, cover, brew 3 minutes. Remove tea and
serve sweetened with sugar or honey and lemon, if desired.

Aromatherapy effect: roses give feeling of well being and happiness.

See also: Edible Flowers

Secret in Making Light Biscuits

From Calumet Baking Powder: The Secret in Making Light Biscuits, circa 1922

The secret in making light biscuits comes from a cookbook that originally belonged to my grandmother. The cookbook is from 1922 and cost at that time, cost one dollar!

I’ve been going through mountains of old recipe books, pamphlets and hand written notes and find myself fondly remembering some of the dishes, foods and treats I ate as a child.

Biscuits are no exception and no one made them like Grandma! I don’t know for sure if the following recipe is the one she used, but I tried it and they were – literally – mouth watering.

This particular cookbook was created by the manufacturers of Calumet Baking Powder. A screen shot of the books page is below, and the picture of the finished biscuits is also from the cookbook.

The Secret in Making Light Biscuits

Anyone can make good biscuits by following the four principles which govern their production:

  1. Cut in the shortening, as the heat of the hands melts the shortening and more flour gets worked into the dough, toughening it.
  2. Have a very soft dough. Add just enough liquid to combine the flour and dough. Use cold milk or very cold water. Keep dough cool.
  3. Bake in a very hot oven at 450 degrees for about fifteen minutes, depending on size of biscuits.
  4. Use Calumet Baking Powder.

While kneading is good for yeast bread, it will ruin biscuit dough. A stiff baking powder dough kneeded and worked will make poor biscuits, while a soft dough handled lightly will make them tender, light and palatable.

The Biscuit Recipes

Fresh baked biscuits on a plate

Calumet Biscuits Recipe

4 cups flour
4 level teaspoons Calumet Baking Powder
4 level tablespoons butter or lard
1-1/2 cup milk
1 level teaspoon salt

Sift flour once, then measure, add salt and baking powder and sift three times, rub shortening in with fork or spoon, add milk, mix lightly, turn out on a well-floured board and roll or pat one inch thick, cut and bake in a quick oven (450 degrees) fifteen to seventeen minutes.

Twin Biscuits Recipe

Make dough as for Calumet Biscuit. Roll a little less than half an inch in thickness. Brush over with melted butter, and put together in pairs. Bake in quick oven twelve to fifteen minutes at 400 to 450 degrees.

A Screen Shot of the Cookbook Page

(Click to view image at a larger size)

The Secret in Making Light Biscuits
The Secret in Making Light Biscuits

Keep Your Biscuits Fresh

Now that you’ve made these melt-in-your-mouth light biscuits, be sure to keep them fresh while serving! Do so by keeping a piece of blotting paper at the bottom of the container of biscuits. It will keep your biscuits fresh for a longer period of time.

Keep biscuits fresh
Keep Biscuits Fresh

You may also enjoy:

A Mothers Prayer

A Mothers Prayer Written in the 1920’s

How much both mothers and teachers – and teaching – have changed. Not for the better, sad to say. The following poem titled, “A Mother’s Prayer“, touched my heart, as it reminded me of the kind of mother and teacher that was once the norm.

Jessie Field Shambaugh
Jessie Field Shambaugh

Dear Father, Thou who hast given me the great gift of mother-love, help me to show that love every day in a gentle voice, tender, skillful hands and a brave spirit.

Save me from nervous hurry and worry, from nagging, from short-sightedness and from dimness of vision that I may tuck my children in bed at night with a serene light still shining in my eyes.

Grant to me an understanding heart that I may always prove worthy of the trust of my children for I long to have them turn to me with their mistakes and failures as well as their achievements and successes.

Work within me, Thou who has made the rich colors of autumn and the tender skies of spring, that I may see beauty and make it a part of my home. Teach me Thy way of gladness, for I would ever keep a merry heart, a keen zest for the new and untried and pure fun in the give and take of every day companionship.

Dear Father of All, may the love, the patience, the understanding, the beauty and the gladness of my home reach out to other homes and so help to bring in Thy Kingdom on earth. Amen.

-Written by Jessie Field Shambaugh, 1920s

About Jessie Field Shambaugh, Author of A Mothers Prayer

The Goldenrod School
The Goldenrod School Jessie Field Shambaugh taught in.


Jessie Field Shambaugh, the author of A Mothers Prayer, was a teacher who inspired rural children.

Jessie Field graduated from Tabor College in 1903, and began teaching at Goldenrod School in Fremont Township, Page County. There she organized the boys’ and girls’ clubs that became the models for the 4-H Club movement in the United States. Read more from The University of Iowa.

Here’s a scanned image of the prayer from a publication I found it in. Click on it for a larger view.

A Mothers Prayer
A Mother’s Prayer

Magic Mayonnaise Recipe

Magic mayonnaise recipe – once pegged as marvelous Magic Mayonnaise!

Back in the 1930’s, Eagle Brand Sweetened Condensed Milk became a common staple in a housewives kitchen. One of those housewives was my Grandma. She actually made this mayonnaise herself and said she felt like she was cheating. It was too easy!

I found the recipe tucked away in my “Grandma’s Recipes” file and hoped others might enjoy it. I do believe the recipe originally came from Eagle Brand. It was printed in a booklet that came out in the 1930’s. The booklet is called:


Healthy foods with bottle

Magic Mayonnaise Recipe

1/4 cup vinegar or lemon juice
1/4 cup salad oil or melted butter
2/3 cup Eagle Brand Sweetened Condensed Milk
1 egg yolk
1/2 teaspoon salt
Few grains cayenne
1 teaspoon dry mustard

Place ingredients in a pint jar in the order listed. Fasten top on jar tightly and shake vigorously for two minutes. The mixture will blend perfectly.

If thicker consistency is desired, place jar in refrigerator to chill before serving.

Note: This mayonnaise my also be made by stirring ingredients together in a bowl.

Recipe makes 1-1/4 cup magic mayonnaise.

To Double the Magic Mayonnaise Recipe

The recipe may be doubled by using one whole egg in place of the egg yolk and doubling all other ingredients. This will make 2-1/2 cups magic mayonnaise.

The mayonnaise recipe given above will carry an additional cup of oil if this flavor is particularly liked. The vinegar may also be increased by up to 1/2 cup.

Women sharing magic mayonnaise recipe
Image from a 1930s publication.


“Women everywhere are amazed when they see this magic for the first time. In a few minutes, the most “difficult” salad dressing is made!”

The Hamburger is 110 Years Old

Did you know the popular hamburger is over 110 years old!?

Perhaps not the most useful fact, but the history of the hamburger is quite interesting! The hamburger may have come from unremarkable beginnings, but it has risen to an icon of American cuisine.

A hamburger

While there is some debate over the origin of America’s Favorite Sandwich, most food historians agree that the hamburger made its official debut at the St. Louis World’s Fair in 1904.

Hamburger History

Back in the 1880’s, a man named David Fletcher (“Old Dave”), served an unnamed sandwich. It was a simple ground beef patty between two slices of freshly baked bread, spread with a mustard-flavored mayonnaise and topped with sliced onion and cucumber pickles. In 1904, Davis traveled to the St. Louis World’s Fair where he sold this sandwich from “Old Dave’s Hamburger Stand” on the midway.

The name “hamburger steak” had been used in America since the early 1800’s to refer to chopped beef patties cooked in the style of Hamburg, Germany, so the new sandwich became known simply as a “hamburger”.

And  the rest, as the old saying goes, is history! Now generations have enjoyed this humble sandwich in an endless amount of variations.

Quick Burger Cooking Tip

Poke a hole in the middle of the hamburger patties while shaping them. The burgers will cook faster and the holes will disappear when done.

You may also enjoy…

Whole Tomatoes in a Jar

Whole Tomatoes in a Jar Background

When my grandma passed, her cookbook collection and shoe box full of clipped recipes and notes were all given directly to me, as I was the only one in the family left who enjoyed cooking and baking.

In her collection, she also had clips from her mother, my great-grandmother. Some had become so tattered they could barely be read, others were in German and some just had some hand written notes on them. On the recipe I’m about to share, there was a date written above it of November, 1920.  Some notes that could still be read did note dates she tried a recipe and while this is only a guess, I think that is probably the case with the following recipe for storing up tomatoes for the winter.

Okay, enough reminiscing! I’ve typed out the whole tomatoes in a jar recipe and scanned the faded copy into an image, which I did my best to make easy to read – I personally have not tried this method so I can’t speak for or against it; however, I just thought it was fascinating to learn some of the methods used so long ago and felt it was definitely something to share. Hoping you will enjoy, as well!

Whole Tomatoes, for Winter Use

“Fill a large stone jar with ripe, and perfectly sound, whole tomatoes, adding a few cloves and a sprinkling of sugar between each layer. Cover well with one-half cold vinegar and one-half water. Place a piece of thick flannel over the jar, letting it fall well down into the vinegar, then tie down with a cover of brown paper. These will keep all winter, and are not harmed even if the flannel collects mould.”

Whole Tomatoes in a Jar for Winter Use Recipe and Instructions
Whole Tomatoes in a Jar for Winter Use


An 1869 Root Beer Recipe

Root Beer

During the week of May 9th in 1876, the Philadelphia Centennial Exhibition was opened and sassafras flavored Hires Root Beer was introduced to a thirsty nation. Hires became wildly popular. You can read more about both Hires and their success with Root Beer from the Iowa Digital Library, Hires’ Root Beer 1891.

In 1869, the following recipe for home made root beer became widespread and exceedingly popular  – but we don’t know where it originated, unfortunately.

1869 Root Beer Recipe

For each gallon of water take 1/2 ounce each of hops, burdock, yellow dock, sarsaparilla, dandelion and spikenard roots, bruised. Boil about 20 minutes and strain while hot. Add 8 to 10 drops of oils of spruce and sassafras mixed in equal proportions. When cooled to a warm temp, add 2 to 3 tablespoons yeast, molasses, 2/3 pint, or white sugar 1/2 pound. Put the mix in a jar, with a cloth covering it, let it work for 2 to 3 hours, then bottle and set in a cool place.

869 Root Beer Recipe
1869 Root Beer Recipe


The roots of Sassafras can be steeped to make tea and were used in the flavoring of root beer until being banned by the U. S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1960. Subsequently, both Canada and the United States have passed laws against the sale of any consumable products (beverages, foods, cosmetics, health products such as toothpaste, and others) that contain more than specific small amounts of safrole. Most home brewers are now making home made root beers from commercially sold root beer concentrates.

You may also enjoy Making Hires Root Beer.