Monday, July 07, 2008

Mahon's, importers of fine goods and busters of deadly crime syndicates.

MAHON'S Limited
Women and Children
Millinery. Tailoring.
MAHON'S Limited
Halifax Canada
Ok, so I did look up all the stuff for this post like two weeks ago, and then I didn't write it. Now I can't find it so I had to do it all over again. This is part of the reason that the posts are behind a bit. There was relative good amount of stuff.
First off, there does appear to have been a listing for Mahon's on Birmingham and Spring Garden, selling office supplies. However, I can't find them in the phone book. I didn't physically go downtown to look. (I was downtown, I just never went down Spring Garden. Plus I forgot.) So since I can't find a current listing for them I will assume they are closed.
I did find this, which is a cool photo of the ladies who worked for Mahon's some time between 1914 and 1918. They are all dressed up for a concert for the Belgian Relief Fund. According to this page, "Mahon Bros. Limited was founded in 1873 as a dry goods and general notions business. It was located in its early days at 97-103 Barrington Street, at the corner of Prince."
I also discovered, according to that they lost two cases of merchandise when the Parisian went down in the harbour on March 27, 1905.
In 1909, a member of the staff got married, and her wedding made the paper:
Sounds like a nice wedding.
Finally, and my personal favourite, I found this article:
1904 October 7
Early Telephone Scam

Five of the
Family Now Under Arrest
Halifax, N.S. Oct. 3 — For the past three months Halifax
merchants have been victimized by two young girls, Hazel and Irene Gray, aged 18
and 16 respectively, whose home is at Prince's Lodge, by a very ruse. They would
telephone into the city from Bedford or Rockingham to various stores using names
of residents of repute in the vicinity and have goods sent out on the suburban
train and dropped off by the on-train baggage master at Birch Cove or some other
small unstaffed station. Residents of Bedford and vicinity have received bills
which were repudiated and the merchants commenced to think something was
Today Mahon Bros. and G.M. Smith, leading dry goods stores,
received orders for goods to be sent to Birch Cove station, the name of Mrs.
Kerr and Mrs. Gorham being used. The firms had heard rumours of what had
happened to other city firms and before sending the goods consulted the chief of
police, who put Detective Power on the case and he in company with two other
officers went out on the train, bogus parcels being sent along and put off at
the station as directed.
The police then laid in wait and in a short time two girls came
and took the parcels. The police then jumped out, but the girls ran screaming
into the woods and were finally captured, but not without a desperate fight. The
prisoners were brought to the city and locked up. Both are handsome girls and
come of most respectable families.

The arrest on Monday of the two young Gray girls on the
charge of victimizing City merchants, caused a mild sensation yesterday, Oct.
6th, when it became known who the parties were. Several of the merchants who
lost goods held another conference with the police yesterday and as a result
warrants were issued and three more arrests were made. Those who were taken into custody yesterday were Alfred Gray aged 19, Daisy Gray aged 22 and Mabel Gray.
This makes five members of the one family arrested for complicity in the affair.
In addition to the firms previously mentioned as having been
victimized, several other business men called on the police yesterday and
reported that they had lost goods. E. Wright, grocer on Campbell Road recently
received a rush order by telephone for a case of baked beans, the person stating
that a lady intended giving a bean supper to some friends. The goods were sent,
but no money was paid. Maling & Co. on Barrington Street also sent out roast
beef and beefsteak on a telephone order. J.J. O'Brien, hair dresser sent out two
costly pairs of switches. They were taken to the party at Bedford by one of Mr.
O'Brien's staff only to find that the person did not order them and in
consequence they were not delivered. It is thought that a lot of the goods has
been sent out of the City, to another relative of the family.
From information obtained by the police it is alleged that
Alfred carried on operations with the aid of a boat on Bedford Basin, taking
delivery of the goods from his sisters after they removed them from the station
platform, and then taking them to a place of safety. All five persons were
arraigned in Court yesterday afternoon and remanded until Friday morning for
trial before Stipendary Fielding. The prisoners have been released on
[Eastern Chronicle, Friday, 7 October 1904, page 8]

ICS Comment:In the original newspaper article, the store
names were spelled Mahone Bros. and Mailing & Co. On 1 September 1998, I was
told by Mr. W.J. Phillips, of Halifax, that his recollection is that the correct
spellings are Mahon Bros. and Maling & Co. Bill Phillips grew up in Halifax,
and he has personal memories extending back to the 1930s. The Eastern
Chronicle's typesetters and proofreaders lived in or near New Glasgow, and
likely were not familiar with these Halifax store names; errors in spelling
could easily have occurred. In the above, I have used the spellings suggested by
Bill Phillips.
I took it from Nova Scotia's Electronic Attic, and I took the info from this site:
So Mahon Bros was part of a sting operation that resulted in the apprehesion of two "desperate" criminals. What I find interesting is the naming of a minor in the news report, which never happens these days. I also like how simple the crime is. Can you imagine ordering stuff on credit over the phone, then having it delivered to an unmanned train station for you to pick up? And the arrest caused a "mild sensation"? Wow! Teenagers stealing stuff! Who'da thunk it?
I guess it just goes to show you how much times have changed. We don't trust people enough to leave anything unattended. We can't leave our cars unlocked, and heaven forbid Fedex leave the parcel on the step. I don't know if it is the times, or if it is just because Halifax is so much bigger these days, but it really makes me kinda sad.
***Also, seriously, I don't know why the spaces between my paragraphs on this post keep disappearing. Sorry for the wall of text folks, but I keep editing it and it keeps not happening.***

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Berry Good Stuff.

I broke out the food dehydrator today. There was a good price on strawberries at Avery's farm market, we got 6 quarts and it was about $15. I made 10 jars of jam. I can't wait to see how it turns out. I think it is ok. Luckily, unlike pickles, I won't be waiting weeks and weeks for it to be ready. I can eat toast tomorrow with my very own jam on it! I have a couple cups of mashed berries left over, which I am going to freeze in ice cube trays for use in smoothies etc. I set aside a good size bowl of fresh berries for use with cream. Yummmmmmm..... And all the rest has gone into the dehydrator.

I just got the dehydrator for Christmas, and I haven't used it yet. I was really waiting for this time of year, when all the best stuff goes on sale. My plans for the summer involve dried strawberries and blueberries, dried cherries (maybe, if I can avoid eating them all first) Maybe blueberry syrup, and hopefully some raspberry jam as well. The raspberries and blueberries should be free, providing I can put in the effort to haul myself out to the bush and pick them. Not fun work, but worth it in the end. It is at this time of the year (July - October) I appreciate living in the Maritimes the most. The one thing I really miss from back home this time of the year is the BC Peaches. OMG. There is nothing else like them on earth.


I would also like to mention, I am aware I missed my post for Monday, with the cook book. I havent forgotten. I am going to do two next Monday to make up for it. But seriously. Does anybody even read this? Look at the stat counter on the side. Like 250 people since I started. And I just found out it has been counting me too. Lame. So really, I am not letting anybody down with my slackernly behaviour. (Like how I just made up a word there? Cool, eh!)

Monday, June 23, 2008

Having someone else scrape off your hubby's tread marks... Priceless!

The Cheapest Luxury on Earth

THAT'S what you will say, too, once you try the swift service and dependable work of this up-to-the minute laundry. No luxury of life could be so great and cost so little. As a matter of fact you will really save money in the end. You will not only have more time to yourself, more happiness with your family, but you will look better.

Will You Let

Us Call This



Laundry and Dye Works


Barrington St * Sackville


Have a look here and scroll down to 1921.

I can't figure out what they mean by the address. Do they mean the corner of Barrington and Sackville? Or were there two locations? Either way, these addresses don't exist. Barrington Street starts at 950. Which I can't even find on Google Maps. And I can't really find any history on when the street addresses may have been changed. I know I could go downtown to the library or public archives and research all this but in all honesty, I have a three year old. We need to be realistic here. At some point I may make it down there but as of yet, it isn't quite babysitter worthy. So sorry folks, thats all I have on this one.

Monday, June 16, 2008

It's Jelly Time. (Sorry no peanut butter)

I tried folks, I really really did. But I couldn't find any information on this at all. I Googled everything you see here. I tried the brand, the company, the product, I even typed in the ad word for word. I tried jelly powder, flavorings, etc. This one has beat me. And I am only on the inside of the cover!
So if anybody has any info on Pure Gold Jelly Powder or Flavoring from the Pure Gold Man'f'g Co., please let me know!

Monday, June 09, 2008

Chicken Satay, Potatoes, and Cold Soup

I always wanted to try chicken Satay. I worked at a restaraunt once that had it on the menu, and it looked really really good. But it was like $9 and I didn't get a staff discount on it so it didn't seem worth it for like three measly little bits of chicken on a stick. So I never tried it. Maybe I should have because then I would know what it is supposed to taste like.

I got the recipe from here. The only ingredient I changed was I added some frozen cilantro. I didn't follow the amounts closely. I barbecued the chicken and it was pretty good but I didn't like it with too much sauce. I may have used too much peanut butter. It would have been better thinner. Ian gobbled the sauce like it was going out of style. Weird.

I also got some really good baby Yukon Gold potatoes which I steamed for a bit before sticking them on the bbq in a foil pan with some butter, salt, pepper, and fresh thyme. Best. Potatoes. Ever.

Finally, I made Gazpacho which is absolutely the best on a really hot day. My own recipe which is as follows:

One can diced tomatoes
1 clove garlic, chopped fine
fresh thyme, basil, parsley and oregano. (Dried is fine. Don't make a fuss, it is too hot out. Also, you don't need all of them, just whatever you have. I didn't have any parsley today. Also, my basil was frozen.)
About 1/3 -1/2 of an English cucumber, in cubes
About 1/2 of a pepper (orange is yummy) in bite size pieces
A glub of olive oil
A glub of Balsamic vinegar
A glub is about 1-2 tbsps. Don't worry about being precise here.
Maybe about half a cup or so of V8 or tomato juice, just to make it soupier. Not really necessary, I wouldn't go buy it just for this but if you have it, it's nice.

Just mix it all in a bowl and then put it in the fridge for an hour or two. If you want to get all fancy you could put sour cream on it and some chopped parsley or whatever. Or don't. Anyway, it is like liquid salad and very healthy. Also, as I said before, it tastes phenominal when it is very hot out.


Yarmouth Line

The Land of Evangeline Route
The Shortest and Quickest Route
between points in Nova Scotia, New
Brunswick, Cape Breton, Prince
Edward Island, Newfoundland and
Running time between Yarmouth
and Boston about 17 hours
most satisfactory service throughout the
entire year, its schedules being arranged
to answer the demands of travel at all
For staterooms and other information
apply to J.E. KINNEY, Supt.
Yarmouth N.S.
Boston & Yarmouth Steamship Co. Ltd.

And thus is the first ad in our tour of 1920's Halifax. Honestly, most of these ads are text only and I am too lazy to take pictures so unless it really makes the ad, I don't think I am going to bother. I will try to more or less stick to the text formatting. To some extent.

Boston & Yarmouth Steamship Co. was a subsidiary of Eastern Steamship Lines. That company was later part of Admiral Cruise Line and then later was taken over by Royal Carribean. So in essence, this company sorta still exists. You can see one of B&Y's pamphlets here. This one is from 1919. You can see a current picture here of the Boston Yarmouth building. Scroll to the bottom.

These days, you can't take a ship to or from Boston from anywhere in Nova Scotia. But you can fly from Boston to Halifax in about an hour and a half, and then if you really wanted to go to Yarmouth it is about a three hour drive. So you could round up and give yourself about 5 hours. Not too shabby.

As far as Mr. Kinney goes, (the guy you have to see about the tickets) I did Google that guy as well. It seems he gave a speech!
In the days of the sailing ships / J.E. Kinney. An address given at a mariners'
night entertainment, Zion Baptist Church School Room, Yarmouth, N.S., May
1930. 22 x 28 cm., folded to 22 x 14 cm

I got this info from: and it would appear to be a description of a pamphlet. Of course, we can't know for sure if it is the same dude, but hey. Same name. In Yarmouth. Giving a speech on ships. 10 years later. I would say it is a pretty safe bet.

It also seems likely the guy wrote a book:

J E KINNEY {CA} (?: ? - ?) The Port Of Yarmouth [Canada] And Its Development

But I can't really find out anything about that. And I am not going to Yarmouth to find out. Although I am now insanely curious.

Real cookery going on here, eh? Stay tuned next week when we! Woo Hoo!

Monday, June 02, 2008

New Feature

I am so excited to announce a new feature here at Chop til you Drop. I was down in Value Village today and I got this great cookbook called The Modern Cook Book for Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island. As you can imagine, it is not particularly modern. Here is a link to the closest think I could find:

That book looks exactly the same as mine, other than mine does not have New Brunswick on the cover. It is blank in that spot. So I guess I got the Nova Scotia version. The other difference is that mine has 151 pages. As near as I can gather, the book is probably from the same year, 1920, although there is not a year to be found in the entire book. I have only surmised that based on some of the ads in the book.

The book was "published in co-operation with the various Women's Organizations in Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island". The list of "Women's Organizations Interested" includes the Red Cross, I.O.D.E, various hospitals throughout the two provinces, and the Ladies' Auxiliary of the GWVA (which although we all know still exists, is really hard to find a single website for. In case you are wondering, GWVA stands for Great War Veterans Association, which is what the Legion was before it became the Legion. There is a good story here.)

With regards to the advertisements, I will quote the introduction from page seven:

"The Publishers of the Modern Cook Book for Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island
cannot help but feel highly gratified with the reception which the idea of this
work has met, both from the women's organizations interested in the sale and on
the part of the thrifty housewife who appears to welcome the opportunity of an
exchange of tried and tested recipes with neighbors in her own town and with
women in other parts of Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island. We believe the
recipes found within the coves of this book will be found practical and
economical and are guaranteed to be the best of their kind."
and from page 9:


When the idea of a Modern Cook Book to be issued in aid of the various
hospitals and women's organizations throughout Nova Scotia and Prince Edward
Island was proposed it seemed a hopeless task to meet all expenses in connection
with the preparation and printing of the book, and also to leave any substantial
amount for the use of the various philanthropic causes to which this work is
dedicated. Through willing co-operation of practically all Nova Scotia and
Prince Edward Island firs of importance, however, it has been found possible to
defray the printing cost through advertising, and a very gret debt is due all
taking space in this book. We ask all of those using the book that they study
the advertisements believing that thye will find suggestions of value in the
advertising pages as well as those devoted to the recipes.

Believe, me. I will be studying the advertisements.

So basically my plan is to do a regular feature here, The Modern Cookbook Mondays. I chose Monday because I like alliteration. What I plan on doing is to have a look at the ads in the book, several of which are for Knox Gelatine. I will provide witty commentary and have a look into the companies to see if they still exist. I will also attempt to recreate some of the recipes, and if possible look into the ladies who provided them. I am hoping to go cover to cover on this. I don't have a scanner, so I will try to take pictures with my camera that don't suck, and post them along with the feature. But I can't guarantee any quality.

I will also try to keep up with my (admittedly scarce) normal posting. I am not going to try and post more or anything, since I mostly keep this for myself as a kind of online cook book. But maybe this will make it worth looking at for other people.

So why am I doing this? Well, I think because I really like to feel a connection with Women who have gone before. Women who knit socks, not because they wanted to, but because they had to. Women with hard hands from scrubbing laundry. Women who had ten kids, six of whom did not make it to age five. The women for whom this book was written were living in quite the age, they lived in a time populated both by horses and by cars, by hand-delivered letters and telephones, they could make their own soap or buy their own bread, they bought goods from the farmer and brand name items from all over the world. They had electricity. But they didn't depend on it. They had just lived through a war that made what we go through when we send our boys overseas seem very pale in comparison. They could finally vote, (and show their ankles in public). These were are grandmothers and great grandmothers, who really did the work. I feel in touch with these ladies every time I knead bread or knit socks. I look at how these women did things and feel grateful for so many things we take for granted these days and can't live without. Not just the fancy stuff like computers, cell phones, and microwaves. But also the basic "essentials". A heated house. Reliable electricity. A stove that doesn't burn wood to bake with. A washer and dryer. Birth control.

I know some of these recipes and ads are going to be wierd and ridiculous in this day and age, but I think the contrast might help bring into focus how lucky we are to live in the 2000's, and not the 20's.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

While we are on the subject of Lemons...

I made lemonade for Ian's birthday party. It is super good. I wanted to share. I know I am not big on the amounts for stuff so I have to apologize for that, but I really think all .06518 people who read this per month should try it out.

Step One: Go to the store and buy some lemons. You need at least 6.
Step Two: Wash your lemons with soap. They come from a foreign country and who knows what has been sprayed on it.
Step Three: Grate the rind of one or two of the lemons into a jug. Or use a lemon zester. Whatever.
Step Four: Juice those lemons! I have a really cheap plastic citrus juicer that I love, but you can use your fancy electric model, or just a fork works good. Try not to get any seeds in. But that is nigh impossible.
Step Five: Add about half the amount of sugar as you have in lemon juice. You usually need more, but it is easier to add more sugar than to take some out.
Here is the part where I begin Taste Testing for Quality Control:
Step Six: Add water. Start with about twice as much water as you have in lemon juice/sugar. Then stir it up good and have a small taste. Too tart? Add more sugar. Too strong? Add more water. Keep going until you have it slightly stronger than you want, and then chuck in some ice cubes. If you want to be all decorative, you can garnish with some thin slices of lemon.
Step Seven: Drink the delicious nectar of the Gods. (Vodka optional)

(There was no vodka in Ian's lemonade.)
(Nor mine. Alas)