Monday, August 24, 2009

Tax Lot Photographs

If you're a fan of "old new york," you might get a kick out of the City's "tax lot photographs," which are now are now available for sale. For $80 total, you can have a black and white 8x10 of your building of choice taken around 1940 ($35) and a color 8x10 taken in the mid-80s ($45). There is also mention of being able to view low-res images of the Manhattan collection for free if you make a visit to the archives.

From the site:

Between 1939 and 1941, and again in the mid-1980s, the city photographed every house and building in the five boroughs. Photographic prints of these unique images are now available for purchase.

Link: Tax Lot Photographs

The Municipal Archives is located at:
31 Chambers Street, Room 103 · New York, NY 10007
Open to the public Monday through Thursday 9 AM to 4:30 PM, Friday 9 AM to 1 PM

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Measure Twice, Prep Once

The other night I was sitting with my father, and gleaning a few cooking tips. While there have been a few dishes which he'll never live down (my sisters will jump at the chance to discuss the peanut-butter pork chop incident), he's a great cook who makes flavorful meals -- and that man can make a buck stretch. Dad always had dinner ready for the 6 of us, and even if guests were there, we somehow all got fed.

That evening's advice was about how he saves time in the kitchen. I never realized what a feat it was to be able to scale a dinner up or down with little or no notice. His secret? Keep a cache of cooked, chopped food in the freezer. He always makes sure there's at least 40 (cooked) meatballs in the freezer at any time. He makes sure there's a Tupperware of cooked, sliced sausage ready to drop in a bubbling sauce. While we were there, he was freezing a large batch of pesto he'd made, ready to spoon out a portion just enough to flavor a dish. Your cooking style would dictate what you might keep in the freezer, but you'd be surprised how well homemade food keeps in the freezer.

We could not operate on such a small budget if not for our freezer. We always have packages of ground meat or chicken breast at the ready. Dad's freezer tip is a good way to cut some serious time off of making dinner, and having just the right amount of food available to you when you need it. If you're going to make meatballs, make twice as many. If you're going to make a red sauce, make twice (or three times) as much. The additional clean-up and prep time is negligible, but the time savings at the dinner hour is substantial. This was the kind of handy money- and time-saving-tip that we can put right to use.

Trent (the simple dollar) has some similarly themed advice. Read more about "Eating What You Have on Hand" over at his site.