Licensed Design Artists: Mary Engelbreit and Susan Branch

©Licensed designs by Mary Engelbreit

Here are two licensed design artists whose work I love.

Their licensed designs are based on their illustration and writing projects sold to product manufacturers. By name, they are Mary Engelbreit and Susan Branch. In fact, you may likely be familiar with their work. If so, that would be from both their prolific past work and present activities as well. As I mentioned, from their start I have loved and continue to love their work.

The First Licensed Design Artist: Mary Engelbreit

These two women are very accomplished brand designers. In fact, they may be the most well known of their kind in the last half century. In other words, both have decades of branded designs to their names.(3)(3A)

Mary Engelbreit on Wikipedia
Mary Engelbreit
©Mary Engelbreit Facebook Page

The Second Licensed Design Artist: Susan Branch

Brand Designers are people who have created visual and/or verbal work that identifies a brand. For example, in the case of these two women, the brand is their own work. For instance, their story may have included luck as well as being in the right place at the right time. Above all, whatever it was, it worked.

Susan Branch on Wikipedia
©Susan Branch on Instagram

What is a licensed or branded design?

A brand is the means by which an entity is recognized across the board. The brand itself can be visual or verbal material. The entity can be a person, product or company as well. In fact, the brand can be the work of the designer him or herself.

In the cases of both Mary Engelbreit and Susan Branch, their design media that lead to their work being licensed was primarily their illustration and writing skills. For example, Mary Engelbreit’s licensed designs include greeting cards, books, and kitchen accessory designs.

Similarly, Susan Branch’s licensed designs actually also includes books, calendars, fabric and wallpaper patterns. In other words, all kinds of kitchen and eating accessories. After all that, Susan is also a cook and recipe writer. Otherwise, their work runs along very similar lines at times. But they still have unique, distinct styles.

NY Coliseum
Opening of the New York

My Story

In addition to admiring their successes, I yearned to become a licensed designer too. Actually, it was during the time I was doing my own illustration work. My work was making personal greeting cards for friends and family. After that, I tried my hand at commercial cards. However brand design was not meant to be for me. In conclusion, I did have the opportunity to have my work published. In fact, I did have a small portion of success at commercially available cards.
My Published Work This is a simple story. It came about as a result of my attending a class in greeting card design at the Parson School of Design in NYC. As a result, the students then received passes to the then famous Gift and Greeting Card Show at the New York Coliseum. It was the only arena of its type in NYC at the time.

branded designers
@Alison Gilbert for Family Line Greeting Cards. Two cards I designed and sold to Family Line Greeting Cards. I met them at the NY Coliseum Gift & Greeting Card Show. Both cards were published and sold in an upscale gift and card shop on the upper East Side of Manhattan.


There I met a company called Family Line Cards. Both of my commercial greeting card sales were through their company. I may not have become a licensed designer. But above all, I did sell two greeting cards design. Therefore I am very proud of my few moments of success.

Susan Branch
@Licensed Designs by Susan Branch


1.Family Line Greeting Cards
2.Susan Branch on Pinterest
2A.Mary Engelbreit on Pinterest
3.Mary Engelbreit on Wikipedia
3A.Susan Branch on Wikipedia
4.Mary Engelbreit on twitter
4A.Dear Susan Branch on Twitter
5.Mary Engelbreit on Instagram
5A.Susan Branch on Instagram
6.Mary Engelbreit on Facebook
6A.Susan Branch Fans Group on Facebook
6B.Friends of Susan Branch on Facebook
7.Mary Engelbreit on Shopify
7A.Susan Branch Blog
7B.Susan Branch Recipes
8.Mary Engelbreit: So Much More Than cute
8A.Jacob K. Javits Convention Center
9.Opening Ceremonies of the New York Coliseum
10.How to Become a Brand Designer in 5 Steps
11.Brand Design Definition (With Importance, Steps and Tips)
12.Definition-Branding Design
13.Mary Engelbreit on Amazon
14.Susan Branch Books on Amazon
15.Licensing Susan Branch artwork
15A.Licensing Mary Engelbreit artwork
15B.Mary Engelbreit: Artist and Entrepreneur

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sometimes you lose

Sometimes You Lose and Sometimes You Win: Crime-Part Two from IMDb
Gerard Butler From

Crime, Part Two

Part Two of these suspenseful crime dramas is ‘Sometimes You Lose and Sometimes You Win: Crime, Part Two’. It focuses on Den of Thieves.

But who or what is actually the ‘den of thieves’? Is it the lawmen or is it the thieves? In my opinion, it isn’t clear cut. This movie focuses mostly on big losses and a lack of good guy/bad guy distinctions. Ultimately, the ending is one huge surprise of ‘sometimes you win’. But I don’t want to get ahead of myself.

Sometimes You Lose
Similar to The Town, there is coincidently quite a bit of violence as well as a loss in the plot. Unfortunately my personal hero, Pablo Schreiber loses his life. Meanwhile, my personal villain, Gerard Butler wins the shootout with Pablo. But at the sametime he wrecks his marriage.

Pablo Schreiber from
Den of Thieves
Once again this brilliantly laid out plan could have been the heist of a lifetime. In the beginning, we are all led to believe that the target an ordinary suburban Los Angeles bank robbery.

Meanwhile the branch of a local Los Angeles bank where the thieves strike happens to have an underground tunnel with access to the Los Angeles Branch of the Federal Reserve Bank building. What a coincidence. Eventually the sheriff and his men discover this. But not before the heist is well under way.

In the meantime, the bank robbers use this detour as a decoy that almost completely fools the Los Angeles Sheriff’s office headed by none other than Gerard Butler.

Winners and Losers
While he and his crew of lawmen may seem to be the winners, Pablo Schreiber’s den of thieves certainly seem to be the losers. But things are not what they seem.

Who’s the Biggest Loser?
Yes, Pablo gets shot down. And yes, Gerard Butler wins the shootout. Meanwhile, Gerard gets served divorce papers. Seen as hero of the law, he is a horrible husband. Even though he is a winner as a lawman, he is a big loser at everything else. He is truly a contradiction in terms of humanity.

O’Shea Jackson Jr. from IMDb
Sometimes You Win
O’Shea Jackson Jr, aka Donnie, ‘the driver’ played by Ice Cube’s real life son is the winner of this mostly losing but also winning plot. Hints of O’Shea’s cleverness pop up along the way. One major clue is the fact that Donnie’s job is at the bar by the crime scene.

Throughout the film, this bartender collects identity tags accidently left by bank employees. At times the viewer does not know if the target for this heist is actually his rather than Pablo’s or his sidekick played by the character, ’50 cents’ aka Curtis James Jackson III.

Who Really Planned the Heist?
At times it is impossible to conclude who really planned this heist, Pablo aka Merrimen or O’Shea aka Donnie. But the winner is clearly Donnie as he packs up the loot in old rubber tires, ships it somewhere and moves onto London to work in a bar across from the diamond exchange. No coincidence there.

1.Pablo Schreiber
2.Gerard Butler
3.O’Shea Jackson Jr.
4.50 Cents
5.Los Angeles Federal Reserve Bank

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Homemade fermented beverages are my favored way to quench my thirst. Although pure water can be very refreshing, there is nothing like drinking a cool sparkling homemade fermented beverage.

Actually the variety is almost unlimited. Fortunately, most of the commercial brands ferment to have minimal (5%) or no alcohol at all for people with sensitivities.


From, The Magic of Fermented Foods and Beverages
My homemade fermented beverages project originated with my love of kombucha. Over the years, I’ve consequently spent a great deal of time learning about fermented drinks in general. Then I discovered on my own how to make delicious flavors.
Although there are many delicious commercial brands of kombucha on the market, making it at home can be lots of fun even if it is time consuming.
Making Homemade Kombucha
Sometimes we don’t have the luxury of fermenting of our kombucha. In that case, commercial kombucha will do nicely. But if time does allow, I think it is worth it to experience homemade fermented beverages.
‘1F’ Kombucha
As I mentioned, fermentation, either ‘1F’ and/or ‘2F’ does take considerable time. Let’s begin. The ‘1F’ process includes boiling and cooling (black or green) tea. Then place it in a glass jar without the tea. Next add the fermenting agent known as a SCOBY.

Cover the glass jar with cheesecloth or a coffee filter secured with a rubber band or string. Once the liquid ferments, remove the SCOBY from the tea. Fermentation can take from a few days to over a week even. The result is a drinkable ‘1F’ Kombucha.
Keep SCOBY Mixture Warm During Fermentation
It is crucial to keep the designated fermenting area and bottle(s) warm. To accomplish this, be sure to cover the container with a heavy material like a sock or even a heating belt specifically designed for this purpose.
2F Kombucha
Once the 1F process is fermented, it is ready is make the kombucha more flavorful. But first be sure to remove the SCOBY from the 1F liquid. Next place the SCOBY in a small amount of the original ‘1F’ liquid in its own jar. Refrigerate it and leave it to rest ready to start another ‘1F’ kombucha. To make the ‘2F’ kombucha with one or more additional flavors, add either juice or tea to the jar that contains the bulk of’1F’ liquid. That may takes days, as well.
Kombucha SCOBY from website
There are so many great recipes for Kombucha available on the Internet. For example, here is one of those recipes. How to Make Kombucha at Home Using a SCOBY.
The ‘Sources & Resources’ section below has a terrific recipe. Many other recipes are on the Internet.


Homemade Fermented limeade with only two ingredients
This thirst quenching homemade fermented beverage is probably the easiest to make. It only requires two ingredients consisting of whey and ‘Simply Lemonade or Limeade’. First make whey with a cheesecloth by straining store bought, full fat probiotic plain yogurt.
Fermenting with Whey
Add about 1/4 cup whey to a bottle of Simply Lemonade or Limeade. Since it is about as pure as squeezing my own juice, it saves me a huge step of not having to squeeze my own citrus. Combine the two ingredients, 1/4 cup whey into a full bottle of juice. Make sure the bottle cover is on tight for fermenting.
Let this two step process sit on the counter maintaining a room temperature of between a minimum of 70 degrees but best closer to 80 degrees for a few days until it gets fermented and fizzy. Then refrigerate it and enjoy. Hint: In colder weather cover bottle in a heavy sock to maintain warm temperature for proper fermenting.


Ginger bug recipe from
Ginger ale involves another two step process similar to the ‘2F’ fermentation process used for making flavored kombucha. In this case, start by making a ginger bug.
homemade ginger ale
Ginger ale recipe from
Combine bug and Liquid Then add it to a liquid specifically prepared for making homemade ginger ale. There is a great photo subtitle link that provides an excellent recipe for both a bug and ginger ale.
Beet Kvass from


Red Beet Kvass Recipes for beet kvass vary depending on your preferred fermenting technique as well as taste (sweet or salty). Here is a recipe that uses salt as its fermenting agent
Sally Fallon Morell highly recommends beet kvass as an excellent nourishing beverage.
To quote her from the website, ‘Beets are sliced and cultured in water with yogurt whey and Celtic sea salt to make this traditional tonic drink.’
Valuable Medicinal Qualities
Sally Fallon Morell describes this drink as being “valuable for its medicinal qualities and as a digestive aid. Beets are just loaded with nutrients. One 4-ounce glass, morning and night, is an excellent blood tonic, promotes regularity, aids digestion, alkalizes the blood, cleanses the liver and is a good treatment for kidney stones and other ailments…”
Sparkling Golden Beet Kvass Made the Traditional Way
from the

Golden beet kvass involves a more complicated recipe, possibly with more powerful results. I have not made this kvass yet. But I will as soon as I purchase some golden beets and fermented rye bread.


a.The Magic of Fermented Foods and Beverages
b.Salty Beet kvass
c.Sweet Beet Kvass
d.Kvass and Kombucha: Gifts From Russia
e.Golden Beet & Turmeric Kvass: A Fermented Home Brew Recipe for a Healthy Probiotic Drink


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In two of my favorite action heist movies, the theme is ‘sometimes you win and sometimes you lose’. As a fan of these venues, The Town and Den of Thieves, I have witnessed examples of both.
Specifically, for the actors in these two films, there are examples of both outcomes. Some are lucky and some are not. But there is plenty of excitement in both. This post illustrates the qualities of The Town. Part Two illustrates Den of Thieves.

The Town

At what price does crime pay but you don’t really win? In this movie, a group of bank robbers from the infamous part of Boston, are turned onto the heist of a lifetime. The plan is to rob Fenway Park where the Boston Red Socks play.

This is a brilliant scheme that could net the thieves a stash for life. In fact, this is a play within a movie since the participants in the robbery have to change disguises several times to carry out the heist.

Ben Affleck from Wikipedia
The only survivor of this caper is the star, Ben Affleck.
In this situation, he escapes with his life but loses ‘the girl’ and just about everything else he’s had.

This includes his family, his friends, his home town, his livelihood. He wins his freedom by escaping into anonymity and the first time he’s ever been out of Boston.

Rebecca Hall from Wikipedia
Rebecca Hall his love interest is a relative newcomer to American film. This depends on how one defines winning and losing.

Actually, both Rebecca and Ben are both winners and losers. To start she survives the bank robbery and wins Ben’s heart. But then she has to let go of him in order to save her own freedom. Similarly he also has to leave her to keep his own freedom.

Blake Lively from Wikipedia
While the other woman in his life, Blake Lively who is much more familiar to moviegoers is clearly not both. She is the loser for several reasons. Ben denies he is the father of her daughter. In fact, his desire is to take Rebecca Hall not Blake with him when he leaves his current life. In addition, Blake is arrested for a car accident while she is on drugs.
sometimes you win
Jeremy Renner from Wikipedia
With the worst luck of all is actor and Ben Affleck’s adopted brother, Jeremy Renner. He played Blake Lively’s brother as well and was intent on remaining Affleck’s brother forever.

When destiny’s hand makes the last move, Jeremy chooses to end his life by an FBI bullet rather than return to prison for the rest of his life. Despite their ‘sometimes you win sometimes you lose’ fates not one of these characters qualifies completely for sometime you win. Jeremy’s character has it the worst of all. He completely losses.

sometimes you win
Fenway Park, Boston MA
Den of Thieves on Yidio
Part Two of this crime scenario featuring ‘Den of Thieves’ is the next blog post in this two-part series.


1.Fenway Park
3.Ben Affleck
4.Rebecca Hall
5.Blake Lively
6.Jeremy Renner


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fermented beverages

Pure Water or Fermented Beverages
Contrary to popular belief, fermented beverages were a source of pleasure even nutrition rather that a sanitary necessities in Medieval Europe going forward.

Middle Age Water Myth

Sources of Water in Cities
It is known that cities even constructed sources for pure water. In fact infrastructures were created to supply clean water to populated areas.

Rural Water Requiring Less Engineering
Where underground water existed naturally, wells provided pure drinking water.
drinking water
Drinking water supplied by wells and transferred in barrels from
Water in Colonial New England (3)

At the beginning of this post documentation of water history relates essentially to European geography and construction. On the other hand, footnote(3) hones in on the relationship of water and the North American city of Boston from 1650-1900. Activities started later in the colonies as well as less frequently. But the need was less urgent.

Preferred Palatable Beverages
But for pleasure, alternative drinking liquids were prefered. In fact, there were many options to choose from. Fermented beverages from distant and recent history are still popular today.


Food and Beverage Hobby As part of my interest in food and beverage history, I like to prepare and drink these beverages. They range from thousands of years old to much more recent concoctions.

Fermentation was the way liquids were converted into nutritious, tasty beverages. Due to chemical reactions with healthy bacteria, many beverages resulted. I would like to spend this blog post writing about some of them.

meadHoney Wine

“The term honey wine is sometimes used as a synonym for mead,[7][8] although wine is typically defined to be the product of fermented grapes or certain other fruits,[9] and some cultures have honey wines that are distinct from mead. The honey wine of Hungary, for example, is the fermentation” of honey-sweetened pomace of grapes or other fruits.[10]

More About Mead
“Mead was produced in ancient times throughout Europe, Africa, and Asia,[11][12][13][14] and has played an important role in the mythology of some peoples. In Norse mythology, for example, the Mead of Poetry, crafted from the blood of Kvasir (a wise being born from the mingled spittle of the Aesir and Vanir deities) would turn anyone who drank it into a poet or scholar.” Quoted from Wikipedia


“Kombucha is thought to have originated in China, where the drink is traditional.[3][4]

By the early 20th century it had spread to Russia, then other parts of Eastern Europe and Germany.[5] Kombucha is now homebrewed globally, and also bottled and sold commercially.[1] The global kombucha market was worth approximately US$1.7 billion as of 2019.[6]

“Kombucha is produced by symbiotic fermentation of sugared tea using a symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast (SCOBY) commonly called a “mother” or “mushroom”. The microbial populations in a SCOBY vary.

The yeast component generally includes Saccharomyces cerevisiae, along with other species; the bacterial component almost always includes Gluconacetobacter xylinus to oxidize yeast-produced alcohols to acetic acid (and other acids).[7]

SCOBY Defined
Although the SCOBY is commonly called “tea fungus” or “mushroom”, it is actually “a symbiotic growth of acetic acid bacteria and osmophilic yeast species in a zoogleal mat [biofilm]”.[1] The living bacteria are said to be probiotic, one of the reasons for the popularity of the drink.[8][9]”Quoted from Wikipedia




(1)Did People Drink Water in the Middle Ages?

(2)What Was the Drink of Choice in Medieval Europe?

(3)New England Water Supplies – A Brief History

fermented beverages

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Food History Through Blog Posts
I am writing a collection of food history blog posts to prepare for a possible book about this topic. Actually, I find the history of food fascinating. In particular, the history of food has far reaching consequences in Colonial America.

Indians assist Pilgrims in first Thanksgiving
The First Thanksgiving, painting by Jean Louis Gerome Ferris, Photography Wikimedia Commons
The Consequences
Actually the consequences reach as far back as the American Revolutionary War fueling and supporting the establishment of a new nation, the United States of America.
In other words, this collection of food history blog posts illustrates the correlation between the establishment of American Colonial food stability and the birth of a new nation. In fact this period covers about 150 years.
Food Abundance Flourishes in the Colonies
The Mt. Vernon kitchen garden, allowing Martha Washington to keep fruits and vegetables on the table year round. From

There are three steps to establishing food stability. This post, summarizes all three. They are listed below.

Illustrated above shows definitively how conducive the colonies were to cultivating produce and food stability. In the early days of emigration to the colonies, the Indians even showed them how to survive their first Thanksgiving. After that, preparation took hold.

Traditional Food Preparation & Preservation: Introduction

Open Hearth Cooking
“Open hearth cooking is the oldest form of indoor cooking. Before cook stoves came into existence, fireplaces were commonly used. A cook knew how to prepare the fire for a day of planned cooking. The cook would rise early in order to start the fire for the entire day’s cooking.”
Open Hearth Cooking-Blennerhassett Kitchen-Fireplace and Utensils from

Original Glass Jar Canning

The glass canning jar method of preservation was invented in 1810, before the Mason glass threading technique invented in 1850. Therefore the original method is considered traditional and pre-industrial. In fact, it was not until 1850 that the canning method we know and use today was invented by William Mason.
What you need to can your berry favorite fruit jelly or jam. Don’t forget the berries. Supplies from internet sites.

Traditional Food Preservation: Churning Cream into Butter

This is a dairy product that was both prepared from cream and preserved preserved from going bad. Using a churn, the lifespan of cream was extended by turning it into butter. That way cream had a much longer shelf like.
The amount of butter one needed would determine the size of the churn. Apparently this churn provided a large amount of butter for its owner.
Antique butter churn with hand
Although preserved foods like jam/jelly and butter may not have been staples for the survival of early colonials, they do display the fascinating direction of food preservation in Colonial America and beyond.


Four Gardens at Mt. Vernon

The Pilgrims Had No Idea How to Farm Here. Luckily, They Had the Native Americans

Traditional Food Preservation: Glass Jar Canning

Traditional Food Preservation: Churning Cream into Butter

Churning (Butter)

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A Living Healthier Food Plan

Please note: This post has been written as more of a personal diary entry rather than a blog post with details that should apply to anyone else. It is the plan I aim to follow at this point of my life. In other words, it is designed for me by me. It is not a medical or nutritional recommendation for anyone else.


My living healthier food plan is key to a good day. As mentioned in Part One, A Living Healthier Plan my day begins with at least 8 oz of filtered water. Next comes a supplement. Then perhaps some fresh fruit. Finally the morning meal is complete with a full breakfast.
Fruit for Breakfast | The Adventures of an Epic Baker from


It is easier to explain what breakfast is not for me than what is. There are so many for what is healthy. Meanwhile there are very few that are not. So this should be a no brainer. For example, the typical working person’s start to the day is the adrenaline rush of giant coffees and a carbo bomb.
The carbo bomb shown in this shutterstock photo, coffee and empty carb, ‘white food’ calories.
Protein with Breakfast Is Good
Ideally for me a breakfast with some protein is good. Actually, I aim to eat sort of a reverse diet. In fact it is known by the saying, ‘eat breakfast like a king (or queen). Lunch like a prince (or princess). Finally, eat dinner like a pauper’.
living healthier food plan
Image of healthy breakfast from
Protein with Lots of Vegetables at Lunch Is Good
So I try to include a protein at breakfast. Then protein, vegetable and even a healthy carb for lunch. Finally an early dinner and a snack if necessary before bedtime. Even though I don’t follow it exactly, I prefer to eat my big meal closer to the middle of the day or afternoon. In fact, we like this arrangement a lot.
A healthy main meal from
Eating Later in the Day
Another suggestion is to not eat anything after 8 pm at night. Unless I am famished, this is another part of our living healthier food plan. Throughout the day, I include my supplements and am religious about taking certain prescribed medication before bed.
Eggs and Cheese Photography by David Munn from
Snacks Are A Challenge
Finding healthy snacks is a real challenge for us. Therefore, one of the changes I am attempting to make is to stay away from sugary snacks and help Phil (my husband) to do the same.
Nuts and Chocolate
For example, some kind of protein is preferable to a sugary snack. Personally, I love peanuts and pistachio nuts. Phil loves cashew nuts.

Baked Apple Recipe from
Fruit As Well as Vegetables : Fresh, Cooked, or Even Dried
Fresh fruit, fruit cooked without sugar or even dried fruit without chemicals are other options. Even include certain ‘controversial carbs’ like a baked potato (White or sweet). Certain oils and ghee are like the cherry on top of the sundae. Popcorn is a favorite of Phil’s. In addition, dark chocolate made with monk fruit is very satisfying and does not spike blood sugar.
Raw Cheese
Let’s not forget cheese, made from raw milk as much as possible. At times I have eliminated dairy. But since discovering the digestive value of raw milk cheese, I like to include it in my food plan.
Just A Handful Of Nuts May Help Keep Us From Packing On The Pounds As We Age from
I have eaten according to many dietary systems over my life. At different times, different systems have worked best. Therefore I want to record what is the latest find.
This is an ancient system that determines what foods are best to eat according to one’s body type as well as the season. Banyan Botanicals has an excellent test to determine body type and imbalances. Then I can figure out what foods are best for me to eat according to my doshas, any imbalances, and the seasons.
living healthier food plan
Why Is Ayurveda Important? from
This is a fascinating system. It requires an analysis of DNA results from Ancestry or another company. But it is based on chromosomes not geneology. Somehow it works. In fact when I first started following it, I definitely found an increase in my energy level. I have even created a looseleaf binder of the preferred foods in all their categories.
Crack your DNA Code and Unlock a Healthier You from
But as often happens, I have not been diligent about continuing. That is because I like too many foods that are not listed on it. Therefore I tend to fall back into the foods I like. Part of my living healthier food plan is to resume it as much as possible.


I am eager to hear what food plan you follow. Please write your response at the VERY bottom of the page below this “The Alison D. Gilbert Website & Blog Comment Policy”.

We welcome relevant, intelligent, on topic comments. We love to start conversations about shared interests.
Please read our Comment Policy before commenting..


Just A Handful Of Nuts May Help Keep Us From Packing On The Pounds As We Age September
Top Healthy Food | 13 Foods That Are Super Healthy
Banyan Botanicals
Maharishi AyurVeda Products
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Traditional Food Preparation & Preservation: Introduction


Traditional Food Preparation and Preservation existed centuries before the modern conveniences we rely on today. Without even thinking about it, we can take for granted how relatively easy it has become to procure, prepare, and preserve food to support our nation.

Yesterday and Today
Therefore the contrast between that time’s efforts and today’s is what makes this topic so fascinating. In fact, it is most important that we not overlook this information. Here is the reason why.
The four gardens at Mt. Vernon from a-upper garden, b-kitchen garden, c-botanical garden, d-fruit garden and nursery
Food Security
Specifically, it was not that long ago that our survival depended upon local food procurement, its preparation and preservation. Once these essentials were established, a relatively short period of time was needed to fight our mother country and start a nation of our own. In fact this seems to have taken only about 150 years.
Political Independence Follows
Documentation of this is the time of the first settlers, the Pilgrims in 1620 and the Declaration of Independence in 1776. As a result, political history and food stability seem to support each other in fostering our new nation.
Open Hearth Cooking-Blennerhassett Kitchen-Parkersburg WV-Fireplace and Utensils from


Procure, Prepare, Preserve
Long before electricity and then renewable energy were available to power even our simplest daily modern survival needs like refrigeration and freezing, early settler of North America had to make due with comparatively primitive systems to obtain, prepare, and preserve food.
Food Stability
Therefore one can see that even though people made due in this new land, it took a time to stabilize life in the colonies. As a cultural aside, and at the other extreme for those who could afford to do so, the opportunities in the culinary arts grew quite a bit. In fact, both George Washington and Thomas Jefferson had slave chefs who were European trained.


Past Preserved
Some of the traditional ‘three P’ of the food systems do still exist today. Actually they survive both as hobbies and records of history. But it is essential to remember their origins. That is their necessity for survival that could ultimately fuel the colonies to fight for the birth of a new nation.
Experience the beloved tradition, Christmas at Biltmore, when America’s Largest Home®, Antler Hill Village, and the entire estate are at their most enchanting: beautifully bedecked for the holidays.

Fortunately, historical foundations throughout various states have been established so that these methods of traditional food preparation, preservation, and daily life are remembered and even practiced for posterity.

Just to name a few:
Rockhall Museum, Lawrence LI, NY
Bethpage Village Restoration, Bethpage, NY
Mt. Vernon, VA
Williamsburg, VA
Monticello, VA
Blennerhassett Historical Foundation
Biltmore Mansion, Asheville, NC

Procurement included:

Preparation included:
open hearth cooking (fire)
salting and spicing (pickling)
cream churning to make butter and buttermilk
Preservation included:
jar canning
salting and spicing (pickling)
root cellar storage
burying in ground
burying in fat in a barrel
cream churning to make butter and buttermilk


Greenfield Village: Daggett Farm

African American Foodways Cooking Demonstration

Open-Hearth Cookbook: Recapturing the Flavor of Early America

What Is Open Hearth Cooking

George Washington’s Mt. Vernon Kitchen

Four Gardens at Mt. Vernon

Hearth and Home: Women and the Art of Open Hearth Cooking

Vintage jars

List of open-air and living history museums in the United States


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Traditional Food Preservation: Churning Cream into Butter

traditional food preservation

Traditional Food Preservation
One ways to preserve food is to churn cream to make butter. Historically, cream was the perishable food. Churning cream turned it into butter. But time and technology have provided a major change.

Instead of using a machine to churn, the cream was churned by hand. No need to go to the gym when one worked the arms with this traditional task.
Antique butter churn with hand crank-ebay
Traveling Back in Time

Actually, many other traditional food preservation systems existed then as well.
They are options even today although they may not be the most efficient ones.
But for anyone interested in a taste of the past, these options can be like a trip back in time.

Two descriptions follow this. In fact, they include videos for making butter the traditional way.



Making butter from (perishable) milk/cream-Video One

Making Butter from (milk/cream) Here is another video about making butter the old fashioned way. Making Butter served two traditional purposes. The first is preserving a perishable liquid, cream into a solid, butter. Another is creating a delicious fat that can be flavor other foods. In fact, adding herbs provided extra special flavor.
Traditional Food Preservation
Butter mold making equipment is available at
Butter Decoration
Homemade butter could have two purposes. They were for domestic use while the other was for commercial sale. Although a special design or pattern made it more appealing, branding was the the primary purpose to identity a butter-makers at a local, community market. Think of it as a branding pattern like labels are today(1).

Making butter from (perishable) milk/cream-Video Two

Butter Branding
Modern butter is branded by its packaging. On the other hand tradition butter branding was a pattern applied directly to the block of butter itself. A wooden carved mold was used to create the impression.
Butter branding-individual butter pattern and modern butter label
These topics are part of my Traditional Food Preservation Blog Post Series. Their discussion takes place in past and future preservation posts.
burying in ground
burying in fat in a barrel
root cellar storage
jar canning

(1)Alice Ross Hearth Studios, Workshop at Rock Hall Museum, Long Island NY, Butter decoration/branding explanation

How to Make Butter the Old Fashioned Way

traditional food preservation

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Traditional Food Preservation: Glass Jar Canning

food canning jars history

An original glass jar canning method begins with a story that is 200 years old. The technique was invented in 1810(1). A (competitive?) inspiration by Napoleon Bonaparte began in 1795 also brought results 15 years later with metal cans.(2)

The original glass jar had no thread to grip a metal closure onto it. Required instead was sealing with paraffin wax since the canning system had no other means of closure. The paraffin wax seal could last for up to about six months.

ebay antique food canning jars with paraffin wax for 1810 sealing technique

food-canning-jar-historyauthor’s note related to this post

Actually, about 50 years later in 1858, John L. Mason (of mason-kerr-ball jars) invented a threaded lip jar along with a two piece sealing lid. The result of this invention allowed for a vacuum seal that was essentially sterile. Thus a long lasting storage system became available. Documentation and directions about this is much easier to find in future writings.

Quote from ‘Home Canning with Paraffin Wax’
Paraffin Wax: Short Term Method
As a temporary sealant mentioned above, paraffin was available. But for long term storage, a paraffin seal was not the safest way to seal a jar. Mold could form if the seal was not air tight.

Traditionalists like Homestead Tessie like this old fashioned method. She scrapes mold off the top of jam so as not to waste the entire jar. ‘Waste not, want not’. Traditional canning is part of her intentional homestead lifestyle.

What you need to can your berry favorite fruit jelly or jam. Don’t forget the berries. Supplies from various internet sites.
Dangers Due to heat and cold, expansion and contraction also posed a liability. Lastly, botulism and even death were extreme, out of the ordinary, possibilities. But this wax technique was adopted by Survivalist Preppers for dire circumstances. It is demonstrated in the video below.

Canning Food for Survival with Wax by Paul Helinski

Keeping Traditions
Originally paraffin was the only seal available with jar canning as shown in the video above. It is a system that can be used ‘if the grid goes down’. Once safer methods were available, wax was not necessary. In spite of this, there is more to the story.

Actually, this traditional system is still practiced today. It is demonstrated in the video below. The author also explains why she likes to use it.

Preserving Grape Jam Using Paraffin Wax Keeping Traditions

There are other blog posts in this series that reveal traditional food storage systems. They include:

burying in ground
burying in fat in a barrel
root cellar storage
cream churning to make butter and buttermilk
jar canning

(1)Home Canning with Paraffin Wax

(2)A Brief History of Canning Food

Canning 101: Why You Shouldn’t Can Like Your Grandmother Did

What is modern homesteading?

Jam jar clip art

food canning jars history

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