Pam’s 1955 Trivia Challenge Winners!

Wow, ladies!  I’m impressed that so many of you aced the 1955 Trivia Challenge questions!  In fact, because you did so well, I’m increasing the number of winners to THREE.  I love that you love the 50s as much as I do!

But before I announce my winners, here are the answers:

 

My winners are:

Cherie J

Janice Cole Hopkins

David Bibb

 

Watch for an email from me so that I can mail your prize to you!

(Winners chosen by random.org.  US entries only.)

Play the 1955 Trivia Challenge! ~ Pam Crooks

 

If you joined me on October 13th for my “1955 was a Very Good Year” blog (you can view it HERE), then you’ll know 1955 was not only the year I was born, but it’s also the year in which my newest western sweet romance will be set.  (I’m excited to share more later!)  We had so much fun reminiscing about that era and all the wonderful things we grew up with.  It was a blast!

Here’s the trivia game I promised that day.  Please number your answers.

 

 

To be eligible for the prize, all five answers must be correct.  If there are multiple winners, final winner will be chosen via Random.org.

Winner will receive these festive Christmas bookmarks and a pair of horse notepads.  Have Fun!

1955 Was a Very Good Year ~ by Pam Crooks

Remember the popular song by Frank Sinatra from the 60s, “It Was a Very Good Year”?

When I was seventeen

It was a very good year

It was a very good year for small town girls

And soft summer nights

Well, that song has been going through my mind a lot lately.  In fact, the very good year that I’ve been thinking about is 1955 for 2 reasons.

  1. It was the year I was born.  (Maybe I shouldn’t say that too loudly.)
  2. It’s the year that my newest book will be set.

You see, I’m part of a new series that’s coming up (big announcement later), and the books will be set over a span of more than a century.  I’m looking forward to writing in the 1950s, but it’s not anything I’ve ever done before.  In fact, I’m pretty sure I’ve never even read a romance set in the 1950s.

But I’m looking forward to it. A lot.  And the research has been so fun!  Some things I remember, and others I don’t. (I was very young, you know.)  Since I suspect many of you reading this blog are around my age, I thought it’d be a big trip down memory lane to share some of the uniqueness of the 1950s.

World War II had ended a decade earlier, and the country was flourishing.  Women who had entered the work force during the war remained there, and disposable income was high.  Busy suburban lives required families obtain a second automobile, virtually unheard of at the time.  Convenience items for the home like frozen foods and kitchen appliances were soaring, television was hugely popular, and entertainment was in high demand.

Here’s a little trivia:

The 1955 Studebaker was touted as having America’s newest and smartest two-toning, geared toward a wife’s (or any woman’s) tastes.

Pillsbury Quick Cinnamon Rolls were introduced.

This I do NOT remember.  I guess it’d be handy to know what produce you had on hand, right?

Green Bean casserole was created by the Campbell Soup Company.

The Mickey Mouse Club debuts on ABC.  (My favorite show EVER when I was a kid!)

As you can see, 1955 was a fun year.  Lots happening.  And it makes me even more excited to start my new book.

One more thing I’d like to share with you – an original 1955 Recipe!  It really brought me back when I read that you make this dessert in a ‘refrigerator tray.’  I’m thinking it could be an ice cube tray, too.  My mother used to make a frozen dessert in an ice cube tray – remember when you had to pull up a lever and break the ice, and that you could lift the little ice cube compartment thing right out?

Four-Flavor Freeze

  • 1 1/4 cup finely crushed chocolate cookie crumbs
  • 2 Tb. sugar
  • 1/3 cup melted butter or margarine
  • 1 pint vanilla ice cream
  • 1 cup mashed, ripe bananas
  • 1/2 cup chopped black walnuts
  • 1 Tb. sugar
  • 1 cup heavy cream, whipped
  • 2 – 3 Tb. shaved semisweet chocolate (I used chocolate chips)

Combine cookie crumbs, 2 Tb. sugar, and melted butter.  Press into refrigerator tray and chill.

Break ice cream into chunks: beat till smooth (with electric beater, spoon, or rotary beater).

Quickly fold in bananas and nuts.  Pour into crumb crust and freeze till firm.

Fold 1 Tb. sugar into whipped cream.  Spread on ice cream.

Sprinkle chocolate over whipped cream.  Freeze.

When ready to serve, place tray on warm, damp cloth for a few minutes to loosen crust.

Serves 6.

 

         

As you can see, this is a nice-sized recipe for small families or empty nesters.  The dessert was delicious!  Refreshing with a subtle banana taste.  I highly recommend it!

Be sure to join me on October 24th!  I have a fun 1955 trivia game planned for you.

Until then, I’d love to know if you have read a romance set in the 1950s before?

What is your favorite 1950s memory?

 

Sasquatch – Legend, Hoax, or Something More? by Pam Crooks

Last month, we enjoyed a family vacation at the breathtakingly beautiful Ponca State Park in northeast Nebraska.  The park, and the nearby town of its namesake, are named for the Native American tribe who once claimed the land.  While traveling along the Missouri, Lewis and Clark passed right through, and the National Park Service has since designated this state park as part of the Lewis and Clark Historical Trail.

Even though it’s only two hours from where I live, except for one family member, none of us had ever been there.  The get-away promised to be relaxing, and with ten grandkids in tow, family-friendly.

Since we were only going to be there for a few days, the #SelfieSasquatchChallenge soon became a priority.  Once a week, park rangers move a seven-foot tall Sasquatch figure to different locations throughout the park’s trails.  The fun is to find him, take a selfie of you and your group (if you’re in one) and post the photo on their State Park Facebook page.

My husband hamming it up with Sasquatch.

We were up for the challenge, I tell you!  My three sons-in-law found Sasquatch first while mountain-biking, and the news upon their return was so exciting!  It wasn’t long before we hit the trail to find him, too – and of course, take a photo of him.  I have to admit, seeing that hulking figure against a tree shrouded in shadows on a heavily wooded trail was startling!  Even though I knew Sasquatch was just there for fun, well, he’s not something one normally sees while hiking.

Sasquatch’s fame comes through in many names – Bigfoot, Yeti, the Abominable Snowman, Sokqueatl, or Sesquac, as spoken by Native American tribes in the Pacific Northwest, but whatever name you give him, his name will mean “wild man.”

Sometimes depicted as covered in black, dark brown, reddish brown, or even white hair, he is ape-like with feet believed to be two feet long.  Hulking, with no neck, eyes that glow red or yellow, too.  Some describe him as much as eight feet tall, others even ten.  Supposedly, he makes hair-raising sounds like howls, screams, grunts, or roars.  Still, others claim the sounds are simply mis-interpreted and actually made by animals such as owl, wolf, fox, or coyote.

A US Navy cryptologic linguist, Scott Nelson, said of audio recordings from the early 1970s that “It is definitely a language, it is definitely not human in origin, and it could not have been faked.”

In another report of Sasquatch’s realism, the owner of the Bigfoot Discovery Museum in northern California claims to have smelled the beast, saying, “Imagine a skunk that had rolled around in dead animals and had hung around the garbage pits.”

Others, however, have completely different theories.  Scientists and non-believer professionals claim the Sasquatch sightings are simply large bears, hermits or feral humans living in the wilderness.

And then there was the group of researchers in Washington State who used 200 pounds of plaster to take impressions, ultimately named the Skookum Cast, which is 3 1/2 feet wide and 5 feet tall. As quoted from an article written by Kelly Milner Halls, Rick Spears, and Roxyanne Young, “A Bigfoot by Any Other Name,”

“Measurements of the imprints indicated that whatever creature made this impression was 40 to 50 percent larger than a 6-foot-tall human being. When the cast was cleaned, hair samples were extracted. All of them turned out to belong to deer, elk, coyote, and bear—all but one. One hair had unique primate (ape) characteristics. Dr. Henner Fahrenback, a biomedical research scientist from Beaverton, Oregon, has labeled it “Sasquatch.”

So there you go.

What do you think?  Are you a believer or a non-believer?  Is Sasquatch real or a hoax?

And that question reminds of UFOs and how the Pentagon has been holding historic hearings on supposed sightings of UFOs just this spring.  Sure makes you wonder, doesn’t it?

What about UFOs?  Are they real or a hoax, too?

Samoas, Trefoils, Do-Si-Dos – Oh, my! by Pam Crooks

Okay. I admit Girl Scout cookies don’t evoke an image of a hunky cowboy or anything much western, except, well, cowboys love to eat the cookies, too, don’t they?

As a grandmother and aunt of Brownies and Girl Scouts throughout the years, I’ve done my share of supporting their cookie sales, and I look forward to them every spring.  This year, with two granddaughters selling, my haul was twice as big as a normal year.  And at $5 a box, I don’t eat them as fast as I’d like.  I stored most of the boxes in my freezer to ration out as I wanted them, and when we opened up our cabin at the lake, I brought several boxes to keep out there, too.  In fact, I just had a couple of Thin Mints at lunch yesterday.

Nom, nom, nom.

 

ONE HUNDRED YEARS AGO (can you believe it’s been that long?) five years after the Girls Scouts were organized in 1917, one of the directors printed a sugar cookie recipe in the group’s magazine, and councils across the country used the cookies as a fundraiser.  The girls baked them with their mothers, packaged them in wax paper bags sealed with a sticker, and sold them door-to-door.  The idea grew in popularity, until 1934, the first batch of Girl Scout cookies were made by a commercial baker.

Once World War 2 hit, shortages of butter, flour, and sugar forced the girls to sell calendars instead, but by war’s end, the cookie sales resumed big time.  By 1948, 125 licensed bakers were baking up the treats.  In 1951, there were three main varieties – Sandwich, Shortbread, and Chocolate Mints (now known as Thin Mints).

As the decades rolled by, the cookies flourished in scope.  Packaging became more uniform.  More varieties were developed–some tossed aside, some kept. Eventually, those 125 bakers were whittled down to just two today, Little Brownie Baker and ABC Baker.  Though the pair used the same recipes, they named the cookies differently. Even the infamous and most popular Thin Mints began as Cooky-Mints, which changed to Chocolate Mint, then to Thin Mint, then to Cookie Mint to Chocolate Mint to Thin Mints to Thin Mint and finally, back to the plural Thin Mints.  🙂

Depending on where your cookies are sold, here are the differences in names.

 

I had no idea.  Never heard of a Trefoil.  Or a Samoa.  They were always Caramel DeLites and Shortbreads to us.

What’s your favorite Girl Scout Cookie?  Were you ever a Girl Scout?  Do you have good (or bad) memories of selling cookies – or anything – door-to-door?

On the “Fringes” of History ~ Pam Crooks

Back in August of 2015, I announced that Petticoats & Pistols had opened up an official Pinterest account.  Pinterest was just gaining traction as a site featuring all kinds of fun pictures that one would pin to these strange things called ‘boards.’ It also turned into a valuable tool for businesses to market their goods, a big reason why we jumped on board (pardon the pun), too. Since then, we’ve grown to 164,200 views a month.

That’s right.  Our pins are viewed 164,200 times a month.

Pretty incredible, right?

Through the years, we’ve amassed more than 1,800 pins on 42 different boards that highlight not only each filly and an assortment of her books, but . . .

  • Recipes
  • Hunky Cowboys
  • Favorite Western Movies
  • Vintage Clothing
  • Wild West Weapons
  • Western Lawmen
  • Old-Time Medicine
  • Texas History
  • Turquoise and Silver Baubles
  • Windows
  • Cowboy Country Christmas
  • And more.

As I was drooling–um, I mean scrolling–through the boards, I was struck by several really cool western outfits decorated with really cool fringe.

Did you know fringe has been around since 3000 BC, was first discovered in Mesopotamia which is now modern-day Iraq, and was used on shawls and skirts and eventually the entire garment, and that depending on the fabric the fringe was made from denoted one’s class in society?

I didn’t.

Not surprisingly, linen and cotton fringe were worn by the lower classes, and silk fringe by the wealthy.  And . . . fringe was so important and carefully unique, it was actually used as a signature when pressed into clay business ‘contracts.’

Who knew?

Fast forward lots of years, and the Native Americans used fringe as a way to repel rainwater, forcing it to drip down the tassels and off their bodies.  We all know they wore leather, which took tons of time and effort to tan and prepare for wearing.  They refrained from trimming seams in their garments, which would be wasteful after all that work, and thus using fringe solved the waste problem.

Not long after, the 1920s hit, and who doesn’t love a flapper swirling and swinging fringe when she danced?

And then came the 60’s.

Elvis and Priscilla

Now, modern day western wear is adorned with fringe.  Here’s a few straight from our “Western Duds” Pinterest board.

Check out our boards on Pinterest for all things western!  https://www.pinterest.com/thefillies/_saved/ 

Moda Luxe Fringe Purse - Brown , Women's Brown Faux leather fabric lined purse Zipper closure Interior zipper and two pouch pockets Removable shoulder strap Dimensions: 11 1/2(L) x 14 1/2(H). Shell: Polyurethane/Leather. Lining: Polyester. Do not wash. Luggage & Bags

Back when I was twelve or so, I bought a faux suede purse that had a good 12 inches of fringe at the bottom very similar to this one.  I remember vividly coming home and showing my Italian immigrant grandparents (we were visiting them at the time).  As I pulled it from the sack with a great deal of pride, triumph, and flourish, neither of them said a word.  I could hear a pin drop, it was so quiet.  I can only assume their silence meant my prized purse was definitely not their style.

Did you wear fringe? Did you have a favorite garment or accessory with fringe?

Vintage Tools for a Day in the Kitchen by Pam Crooks

As I wrote in my blog last month, the heroine in my newest release, CHRISTIANA, is a pastry chef, a skill she learned in France, which compelled my visit to a French patisserie.  For research, you know.  Ha!  Inside, the chef (named Ed) offered amazing pastries that you would not find in a fried donut shop, let me tell you.

I promised a few more pictures:

 

 

A fruit tart – oh, my goodness.  The crust was made from vanilla wafers ground so perfectly fine, they were almost like a powder.  On Ed’s only day off, he goes to select food markets to buy his fruits, taking the time to smell each one before buying.  This tart was filled with a vanilla and orange zest custard.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mille feuille- means “thousand sheets” in French and is composed of three layers of puff pastry filled with creamy vanilla cream and topped with chocolate and vanilla icing.  The high-quality dark chocolate is hand-swirled with a toothpick.  This pastry is comparable to a “Napolean.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

Macarons (not to be confused with macaroons which are made of coconut). They were so beautiful in color, I had to buy one of each! The first thing I noticed (and didn’t expect) was that there was no crunch of the lemon macaron I chose. That’s because of the absence of sugar. What I got was a soft, chewy cookie that burst with the flavor of the lemon.  Fantastic!

 

 

 

The perfection and skill required to make these French pastries not only made me suspect that some things never change (as in how they were made in the 19th century when CHRISTIANA was set) but also made me curious what other kind of utensils cooks and bakers used in the past.

I found some unusual ones.  Try to guess what they are used for!

Number One

Number Two

 

Number Three

Number Four

Number Five

Number Six

Number Seven

Guess all seven correctly, and I’ll give away an ebook copy of CHRISTIANA.  If there are multiple winners, I’ll draw one winner from the pool of those who guessed them all correctly.  

Watch for my post tonight!

 

Sweet Historical Western Romance (Love Train Series Book 1)

When her mother is taken to jail, Christiana Turcotte loses the happiness of her childhood. By the time she’s a grown woman, she’s determined to escape the scandals in her past and live a respectable life. First, though, she must return for the diamond ring she’d hidden that terrible day.

As a rifleman for Union Pacific, Holt Maddock’s job is to protect the train from outlaws. But he’s been riding the rails too long, and it’s time to settle down. Only one thing stands in his way. The elusive beauty traveling on his train and the diamond ring she’s determined to keep.

Holt’s plans for the reward money threatens to destroy her dreams. Will stolen diamonds destroy their love, too?

Sweet Romance.

#kindleunlimited

BUY on Amazon

 

Pam’s Winner!

Many thanks to everyone for chatting with me about their favorite ethnic cuisine – and French pastries!

 

My winner is:

 

Lori Smanski

 

I’ll message you so I can send you an ebook copy of CHRISTIANA, the first book of the new Love Train series.

Amazon

(Winner chosen by Random.org)

Don’t forget – tomorrow (Friday), Book #2 of the Love Train series will be released!  

HENLEY

by Shanna Hatfield!

 

AMAZON

My Visit to the Grand Patisserie! By Pam Crooks

When I happened to notice this little shop tucked in the corner of a plaza on a busy main street I take almost daily, I thought “What the heck is a patisserie?”

My first thought was that it had something to do with ‘rotisserie’. They sound alike, right? But my friend, Google, set me straight. A patisserie is a French bakery (could also be used for an Italian or even Belgian bakery) that specializes in pastry.

I can’t say for sure, but perhaps it was a subconscious inspiration for my newest release and the launch book for Love Train, the new sweet historical western romance series, CHRISTIANA. After a traumatic childhood, Christiana goes to France to learn how to become a pastry chef so that she may lead a respectable and independent life once her mother gets out of jail.

One of Christiana’s specialties is making chocolate truffles and croissants. We’ve all heard of those, right? But another of her specialties is pain au chocolat.

Pan oh sho-coh-la.

Google helped me out with that one, too, and the pastry becomes a focal point in my book.  So it wasn’t long before I wanted to move beyond a YouTube video to learn how to make pain au chocolat.

I wanted to see and TASTE one, too.

A-ha! The Grand Patisserie.

My husband and I stopped by for a lesson in French pastries, and oh, my, the owner, simply called “Ed,” was a master of the subject. He is, of course, a pastry chef who learned to bake at the age of eleven, and yes, he did study in Paris! He left a six-figure job at a major financial company here in Omaha to follow his dream of opening his own little bakery so he could make French pastries every day and present our city with a rare and lovely cultural experience.

No fried donuts in his shop. No sirree. Instead, two simple display cases feature an array of perfectly baked and arranged desserts that made my eyes pop and my sugar addiction kick into overdrive.

But it wasn’t long before I learned that Americans cook with way too much sugar and most countries don’t.  The pastries Ed makes are not of the commercial variety we find in the majority of bakeries, especially in the food giants.  He uses only fresh eggs from a local farmer. He squeezes his own lemons and oranges for their juice.  Vanilla from a vanilla bean instead of a bottle. His tarts vary depending on the sweetest fruits in season. Everything is made fresh, never frozen. Every day brings a different line-up of pastries depending on ingredient availability and his own choices.

I could go on and on, but that would make this blog too long. I’ll share photos of Ed’s luscious French pastries next month, but for now, I’ll share a couple to get your mouth watering.

Ed was generous in giving us samples.  A lemon and caramel macaron, baklava (which I didn’t recognize) and mille feuille, similar to a Napoleon.

 

 

 

And of course, the pain au chocolat. I was delighted to learn that Ed’s pastry was as I described in CHRISTIANA. The croissant dough is light and layered, very buttery, and the small pieces of dark chocolate really make the pain au chocolat pop on the taste buds.

 

 

Forgive me for looking like a drowned rat.  It was super-windy, humid, and misty when we stopped by the Grand Patisserie. But I just had to take a picture with Ed, and he was very happy to let me.

 

 

 

 

 

I’ll stop here and save more pictures for my May blog.  Until then . . .

Have you ever been to a patisserie before?  What is your favorite type of ethnic food?  Do you have a favorite or uncommon ethnic restaurant you frequent?

Let’s chat, and one of you could win an ebook copy of CHRISTIANA.

AMAZON

Love Train Series Page on Amazon

And if you happen to be in Omaha, stop by the Grand Patisserie and see for yourself how wonderful Ed’s French pastries are!   Tell him Pam sent you!

 

 

During Troubled Times, We Need JOKES! by Pam Crooks

The situation in Ukraine is sad and frightening. Images of women in tears break my heart–wives terrified for the husbands they may never see again, mothers worried about how they will feed their babies as they huddle in cold bomb shelters, countless destroyed buildings with smoke curling in the sky from hurled bombs… It’s been depressing and worrisome for everyone.

The war is out of our control. With the exception of prayers, church services, and financial donations, there is nothing we can do but trust world leaders to make the right decisions.  It’s easier to shut off the news than to watch the tragedies, but our worries never go away. Our hearts remain heavy and sad.

JOKES are great mood-lifters. No matter who we are or where we are, they help us feel better.

There are generally five ways to tell a joke:

Little Stories have a longer set-up and are ideal for telling around the campfire, on a road trip, or in a social gathering. Delivery is key – build the suspense! Make your audience wait for the punchline. It’ll be worth the wait.

A man gets his house painted. When the painters are finished, they hand him the bill. He’s surprised to find that they have not charged him for the paint, just for painting.

“You did a great job, but why didn’t you charge me for paint, too?” he asks.

The painter replied, “Don’t worry about the paint, sir. It’s on the house.”

Riddles give you all the clues you need to solve the puzzle. Listen carefully and analyze the words to figure out the answer.

#1. What is often on the ground getting stepped on by others, but you don’t have to wash it because it never gets dirty. In fact, you couldn’t wash it if you tried. 

#2. Laura has four daughters. Each of her daughters has a brother. How many children does Laura have?

(Answers below.)

Puns shift word meanings. They’ll use the same word or words that sound very similar.

Did you hear about the new seafood diet?

Every time you see food, you eat it!

*****

Some guy just threw milk and cheese at me.

How dairy?

 

Tongue Twisters stretch and strengthen your mouth muscles. Actors, teachers, etc., use them to perfect speech and tackle tough pronunciations.  They are often silly and always challenging.

If a dog chews shoes, whose shoes does he choose?

*****

How many berries could a bare berry carry, if a bare berry could carry berries? Well, they can’t carry berries, which could make you very wary, but a bare berry carried is more scary!

Knock-knock jokes are likely the most recognizable joke of all. They became popular in the 1920s and are now told all over the world. Their simple format make them easy to remember.

Knock-knock.

Who’s there?

Thumpin’.

Thumpin’ who?

There’s thumpin’ furry crawling up your back.

*****

Knock-knock.

Who’s there?

Cash.

Cash who?

No, thanks. I want almonds.

 

Are you ready to have some fun?  Tell your own Knock-Knock Joke!

You could win a $5 Amazon gift card!

(I’ll pick three winners.)

 

Ready? Set! LAUGH!

 

 

Riddle Answer: #1-Shadow. #2-Five. Each daughter has the same brother.