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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

A GLUTTON for Word Games

 While rummaging through the Game Kit (the same one we used last week), I found a great game with a title appropriate for the week after Thanksgiving: GLUTTON.  Glutton is a simple word game – think Boggle – that only requires the provided word chart, a scrap piece of paper, a writing utensil, and a few spare minutes.

 I love word games!  Scrabble, Boggle, word searches, crossword puzzles…  I live for NPR’s Puzzle Master segment on Sunday mornings.   And, that is why I am ashamed to say that I only came up with 18 food related words in 5 minutes, and I even cheated to get there.  That’s right.  I sheepishly recorded singular and plural forms of the same words whenever an “s” was nearby!  You know, pea becomes peas, and so forth…

So here’s my challenge: try “Glutton” for yourself.   Give yourself a 3- or 5- minute time limit, and let me know how you did.  I’ll post the answer sheet next week for you to check your answers! 

Here’s how you play:
1. Start with any letter in the chart.

2. Try to spell as many words related to food, drink, and seasonings in the allotted time by connecting adjacent letters.  Record your answers to count later.

3. You may move in any direction to connect letters (up, down, side-to-side, or diagonally), and you may repeat any letter as often as you’d like. 

4.  Have fun!  Play with friends if you're competitive, or enjoy the brain-teaser in solitude.

Good luck!

P.S. Be sure to tune in next week for a Christmas-themed ration-era recipe!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Squad Squat: Game Kit for Men and Women in the Service

This week I thought I’d provide you with an idea for some family fun to enjoy this Thanksgiving in the form of a 1940s game.  The game is called Squad Squat.  Beware: it requires quite a feat of flexibility; therefore, I would recommend playing this game before gorging on turkey, mashed potatoes, and stuffing!

This game, and 24 others, came in a package from the Leister Game Co. based in Toledo, Ohio called “Game Kit for Men and Women in the Service”.  It was generously donated to the Memorial’s archives by a local couple a few weeks ago.  While there is no publication date available on the games, based on the attire of those in the illustrations, it may be safely assumed that this set was manufactured sometime in the 1940s.  The great thing about the games in this set is that they require very few materials to play.  Everything that my family used to play was found easily around the house or in a pants pocket.

As a quick aside, the Leister Game Company is still operating today and according to its website, it started in 1933 out of the basement of Reginald S. Leister.  Leister Game Company is best known for its golfer games and novelties, but they do produce other types of games and gags as well ( accessed November 23, 2011).

So, here’s how you play Squad Squat:
  1. Draw or create a line on the floor.
  2. Assign each player a token or game piece.  (We used a penny, dime, paperclip, wood screw, and safety pin).
  3. Taking turns, each player should step up to the line and squat down while reaching his or her arm through his or her legs to place the token as far out from the line as possible.
  4. The person whose token is farthest from the line wins!

My family members were great sports and graciously agreed to demonstrate squad squat to have their slightly awkward and embarrassing poses forever immortalized in the blogosphere.  I don’t know that squad squat will become an annual family tradition, but this year it did provide us with some hilariously awkward family fun.

Step up to the line...

While squatting, reach your arm through your legs...

Place the token as far out from the line as possible.

The person who's token is farthest from the line wins!

Hope you enjoy and have a wonderful Thanksgiving!


Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Spry Honey Rolls

Cover of the Spry Cookbook
This week I experimented with my first ration-era recipe: Honey Rolls.  I found the recipe in the Spry shortening product cookbook, and I must say the results were delicious!  Now, it's true that shortening and other fats (like butter) were rationed, but keep in mind that this from a product cookbook, so every recipe in the pamphlet includes shortening.  Aside from the few tablespoons of shortening, the rest of the recipe is ration stamp friendly!

One of the most delightful things about this recipe was its simplicity.  Prep maybe took 15-20 minutes which included rolling out the biscuit dough, melting the topping, and preheating the oven!  And shortening was the only item called for that I didn't already have stocked in my cabinet.  (On a side note, the Lever Brothers - yes, the soap company - stopped producing Spry shortening sometime in the 1960s, so I just used Crisco instead).

My lovely, floured counter, perfect for rolling out the biscuit dough.

Mmmmm. Hot honey rolls fresh out of the oven!

Here's the finished product!  The taste reminded me of monkey bread.  We'll definitely make these again sometime soon! 

 Here's a copy of the recipe to try on your own: 

And here's the recipe for the dough (baking powder biscuits):

Recipe taken from: What Shall I Cook Today: 124 thrifty, healthful tested recipes.  Lever Brothers Company, Cambridge: Mass. p. 39-40.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Veterans Day

 With a birthday two days before Veterans Day, I believed as a school-aged child that Veterans Day was simply the Federal Government’s way of saying, “Happy Belated Birthday, Megan!”  Belief is maybe an exaggeration, but I did think it was a happy coincidence that my birthday fell so near Veterans Day.  After all, school was closed, and I could enjoy a day of freedom outside the confines of my elementary school prison. 

I don’t think I really came to appreciate the true meaning of Veterans Day until I was in college.  By this time in my life some friends and former classmates had joined the military and were serving in Iraq or Afghanistan.  Somehow knowing a service-person or veteran personally changes one’s perspective of Veteran’s Day.   

One of my favorite things about working for the Memorial is the chance I have to meet veterans and hear their stories.  Most of the veterans I talk with insist that they are not heroes – they say that they were just doing their jobs.  But these so-called -jobs and patriotic duties fulfilled by these men and women have helped preserve freedom across the globe.   

So I would like to encourage you to look at Veterans Day a little differently this year.  Go out of your way to thank a veteran.  Participate in a local Veterans Day parade or ceremony.  Write a letter to a local VFW or American Legion chapter expressing your gratitude…  Whatever you decide to do this Veterans Day, I hope you will take some time to remember that we enjoy freedoms each and every day because others have given up much in service to our country. 

- Megan 

**If you’re in Central Virginia, come out to the D-Day Memorial on Friday for our ceremony at 11am.  It’s a great chance to meet and chat with WWII veterans.  Also, admission is free from 10am – noon!  Visit for more details.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Experiencing History

Last week I attended a documentary premier at Chapel Hill High School in North Carolina. The film, produced by high school students, told the story of the Bedford Boys in a manner that was both emotional and engaging.   

The Bedford Boys - members of Co. A, 116th Infantry Regiment, 29th Division
It was clear that these students had encountered history for themselves and were now sharing that experience with others.  Over the course of a year these students listened to the personal stories of World War II veterans; spoke with people who provided first-hand accounts of life in on the Home Front; walked in France where American soldiers fought for freedom; and memorialized and honored the sacrifice of the WWII generation. 

Those students came face to face with a very personal side of history.

I want to give you a similar opportunity.  We’ll experiment with ration-era recipes to a get a taste of history and share personal perspectives of the war as told by our visitors, volunteers, and artifacts.  And for those in the Central Virginia area, we’ll keep you up to date on special events and programs that will provide creative ways for you to experience WWII history at the National D-Day Memorial.

I hope you enjoy the sentimental journey.

- Megan

P.S. Be sure to read more about the Bedford Boys’ story at the National D-Day Memorial’s website: