Waxing lyrical about “wax”

The retro, analogue sound of vinyl is back in vogue. According to a recent article in the New York Times, all the major music labels and many of the smaller ones are currently releasing vinyl. There has also been an influx of new pressing plants as most of the major new releases have a vinyl edition. This is a very significant turn of events. So much so, in fact, that a retailer like London Drugs is once again selling vinyl LPs! What’s next? Saturday afternoons spent searching for 45’s and buying malted milks at the lunch counter?

Inside Neptoon Records
Inside Neptoon Records store. Photo: C. Hagemoen

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Polaroid SX-70, part 2

When we last left our Polaroid story it looked liked Edwin Land’s dreams of a utopian world of analogue instant photography was over. With the advancements and popularity of digital cameras, “instant film” cameras (and for that matter film cameras in general) were becoming less popular. In early 2008, Polaroid announced that it would stop producing all types of instant film for Polaroid cameras.

Detail from the exterior of the Gothic-style Holy Rosary Cathedral in Vancouver. Photo: C.Hagemoen
Detail from the exterior of the Gothic-style Holy Rosary Cathedral in Vancouver. Photo: C. Hagemoen

When Polaroid ended instant film production in 2008, The Impossible Project (founded by Florian ‘Doc’ Kaps and André Bosman) picked up where they left off—purchasing the last Polaroid production plant (literally days before it was to be demolished) and the equipment for producing integral instant film. What made this project even more ‘impossible’ was the fact that they had to find new solutions for replacing and upgrading problematic or unavailable components. They decided not to recreate Polaroid film but instead to develop new products with new characteristics.

Don’t undertake a project unless it’s manifestly important and nearly impossible.
– Edwin Land, founder of Polaroid

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Cooking up the past

In an earlier post, on vintage recipe pamphlets, I talked about how the “history and culture of food fascinates me – especially when it is represented visually”. But, what about the recipes themselves? Stripped down to the essentials, they are just a list of ingredients and directions for making something. What do they say about the history and culture of food? And moreover, what does a “gelatin salad” really taste like?

Before the internet and tools like Pinterest, a home cook’s personal recipes were often organized in recipe boxes or files. The recipes were handwritten on small index cards or were clipped from the local newspaper and filed according to subject.  Like family photo albums, recipe boxes represent a microcosm of a family’s social history.

recipe box
My great aunt’s old recipe box. Photo: C. Hagemoen.

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