In a Nutshell on Throwback Thursday

The Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death, Dioramas, Frances Glessner Lee

Photographed by Corinne Botz

Master criminal investigator, Frances Glessner Lee, was a wealthy grandmother, who founded the Department of Legal Medicine at Harvard in 1936 and was later appointed captain in the New Hampshire police.

The Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death are a series of nineteen (twenty were originally constructed) intricately designed dollhouse-style dioramas created by Frances Glessner Lee, a pioneer in forensic science. The dioramas are detailed representations of death scenes that are composites of actual court cases, created by Glessner Lee on a 1-inch to 1 foot (1:12) scale.

The Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death, Dioramas, Frances Glessner Lee

Image source: 99percentinvisible

Glessner Lee called them the Nutshell Studies because the purpose of a forensic investigation is said to be to “convict the guilty, clear the innocent, and find the truth in a nutshell.” Students were instructed to study the scenes methodically—Glessner Lee suggested moving the eyes in a clockwise spiral—and draw conclusions from the visual evidence.


Moroccan Lamb Tagine by the Barefoot Contessa on Food Porn Friday

Ina Garten, Barefoot Contessa, Women's History Month, Food Porn Friday

Photo: Quentin Bacon

On Food Porn Friday in celebration of National Women’s History Month, we are featuring the host of the TV program Barefoot Contessa viewed on the Food Network. Ina Rosenberg Garten was one of two children born to Charles H. Rosenberg, a surgeon specializing in otolaryngology, and his wife, Florence.

Garten had no formal training and began to cultivate her culinary abilities by studying the volumes of Julia Child’s seminal cookbook, Mastering the Art of French Cooking. Many never knew she was a former staff member of the White House Office of management n Budget. In school, she showed an aptitude for science and is known to use such a scientific mindset while experimenting with her recipes. She later relied on intuition and feedback from customers and friends in order to refine her recipes. She was primarily mentored by Eli Zabar (owner of Eli’s Manhattan and Eli’s Breads) and food connoisseur Martha Stewart.

Today, we are featuring a recipe for one of Ina’s delectable dishes, Moroccan Lamb Tagine. It’s obvious she loves cooking for her husband Jeffrey and hosting dinner parties at her home in The Hamptons.

Moroccan Lamb Tagine

  • Good olive oil
  • 6 small frenched lamb shanks (5 to 6 pounds total)
  • 3 cups chopped yellow onions (2 large onions)
  • 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
  • 1½ teaspoons chili powder
  • 1½ teaspoons ground turmeric
  • 1½ teaspoons ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1 (4-inch) cinnamon stick
  • 1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes, such as San Marzano
  • 2 cups good chicken stock, preferably homemade
  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 4 (½-inch-thick) slices of lime
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound Yukon Gold potatoes, unpeeled and 1-inch-diced
  • 1 pound butternut squash, peeled and 1-inch-diced
  • ½ pound sweet potatoes, unpeeled and 1-inch-diced
  • Steamed Couscous (see recipe), for serving
Barefoot Contessa, Cooking, Women's History Month

Image source: Ina Garten, Barefoot Contessa

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.

Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a very large (12- to 13-inch) pot or Dutch oven, such as Le Creuset. Pat the lamb shanks dry with paper towels. In batches, add the lamb shanks to the pot and cook over medium heat for 3 minutes on each side, until they are nicely browned. Transfer to a plate and brown the remaining shanks, adding a little more oil, if necessary. Transfer all the shanks to the plate and set aside.

Add the onions and cook over medium-low heat for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, adding more oil, if necessary. Add the garlic and ginger and cook for just 30 seconds. Add the chili powder, turmeric, cumin, cardamom, and cinnamon and cook for one minute. Stir in the tomatoes and their liquid, the chicken stock, brown sugar, lime, 1 tablespoon salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper. Add the potatoes, butternut squash, and sweet potatoes and bring to a boil. Place the lamb shanks in the pot, spooning some of the sauce and vegetables over the shanks. (They will not be completely submerged.) Cover the pot and bake for 3 hours, until the lamb shanks are very tender. Serve hot with steamed couscous.

Steamed Couscous (Serves 6)

  • 4 tablespoons (½ stick) unsalted butter
  • 2 cups chopped yellow onions (2 onions)
  • 3 cups good chicken stock, preferably homemade
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups couscous (12 ounces)

Melt the butter in a large saucepan. Add the onions and cook over medium heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until tender but not browned. Add the chicken stock, 1½ teaspoons salt, and ½ teaspoon pepper and bring to a full boil. Stir in the couscous, turn off the heat, cover, and allow to steam for 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork and serve hot.

For more on this great recipe and other entertaining ideas, click here to check out the world of Ina Garten, the Barefoot Contessa, as we celebrate Women’s History Month!

Celebrating Florence Mills, Cabaret Singer and Dancer during National Women’s History Month

National Women's History Month, Baby Florence, Florence Mills

Image source: New York Amsterdam News

In celebration of the art of song and dance, today we feature Florence Mills during National Women’s History Month.

Florence Mills (January 25, 1896 – November 1, 1927), born Florence Winfrey was an African-American cabaret singer, dancer, and comedian known for her effervescent stage presence and delicate voice. She was a daughter of formerly enslaved parents, Nellie (Simon) and John Winfrey in Washington, D.C.

She became an entertainer as a young child, and was billed as “Baby Florence.” She worked in vaudeville and joined a touring company at eight years old before authorities found out she was underage. In 1910 Mills would form another vaudeville act—the Mills Sisters—with her siblings Olivia and Maude. Her major breakthrough happened in 1921 when she appeared in the Off-Broadway musical Shuffle Along. The following year, she appeared on Broadway in Plantation Revue, and later the song “I’m a Little Blackbird Looking for a Bluebird” from Blackbirds became her trademark. 

Florence Mills, National Women's History Month, Baby Florence

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Mills later met and wed Ulysses S. Thompson, from the troupe the Tennessee Ten, in 1923. She earned a reputation for her wondrous high-pitched voice, unique dance movements, and comedic timing. This allowed her to become an unparalleled force during the Harlem Renaissance. She died in New York City on November 1, 1927 from appendicitis.

We recognize and salute Florence Mills and her amazing, although short-lived vaudeville career, during #NationalWomensHistoryMonth.

A Strong Woman is a Gift to the World

Women's History Month, Strong Women

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“A strong woman is one who feels deeply and loves fiercely. Her tears flow as abundantly as her laughter. A strong woman is both soft and powerful, she is both practical and spiritual. A strong woman in her essence is a gift to the world.”


Susan B. Anthony, Crusader for the Woman Suffrage Movement

Susan B. Anthony, National Women's History Month, Women's Rights

Image source: Biography Online

As we continue celebrating National Women’s History Month, we peek into the life of Susan B. Anthony.
I distrust those people who know so well what God wants them to do, because I notice it always coincides with their own desires. -Susan B. Anthony

Susan Brownell Anthony (February 15, 1820 – March 13, 1906) was an American pioneer crusader for the woman suffrage movement and president (1892-1900) of the National American Woman Suffrage Association. Born into a politically active Quaker family committed to social equality, she collected anti-slavery petitions at the age of 17. They worked to end slavery (the Abolitionist Movement) and were also part of the temperance movement, which wanted the production and sale of alcohol limited or stopped completely. Anthony was denied a chance to speak at a temperance convention because she was a woman.

Susan B. Anthony, Dollar Currency, National Women's History Month

Image source: Encyclopedia Britannica

Along with activist Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony founded the National Woman Suffrage Association in 1869. She realized that no one would take women in politics seriously unless they had the right to vote. It wasn’t until 14 years after her death in 1920, that the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, giving all adult women the right to vote, was passed.In recognition of her dedication and hard work, the U.S. Treasury Department put Anthony’s portrait on one dollar coins in 1979, making her the first woman to be so honored.

Dancing with Rita Moreno, First Latina to Win EGOT

Rita Moreno, National Women's History Month, EGOT

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Today we are celebrating a multi-talented performer who rose above the limitations of Hollywood typecasting to build a career spanning more than six decades. Rita Moreno, born Rosita Dolores Alverío is the first Latina to win an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar and a Tony Award (EGOT). She was born in Humacao, Puerto Rico, and one of her best-known iconic roles was playing Anita in West Side Story.

During a time when decent roles were not created for ethnic actors and actresses, Moreno had to play roles in movies that she considered degrading. Among the better pictures she appeared in was the 1952 classic Singin’ in the Rain and The King and I (1956).

Moreno married Leonard Gordon, a cardiologist who was also her manager. They have one daughter, Fernanda Luisa Fisher, and two grandsons, Justin and Cameron Fisher. Leonard died on June 30, 2010.

Rita Moreno, National Women's History Month

Image source: Muppet Wiki – Fandom

Moreno won a 1972 Grammy Award for her contribution to the soundtrack album for The Electric Company, following three years later with a Tony Award as Best Featured Actress in a Musical for “The Ritz” (a role she would reprise in the 1976 film version, The Ritz). She then won Emmy Awards for The Muppet Show (1976) and The Rockford Files (1974).

She has continued to work steadily on screen (both large and small) and on stage, solidifying her reputation as a national treasure. In June 2004 Moreno received the Presidential Medal of Freedom presented by President George W. Bush.

In celebration of National Women’s History Month, we are shining the spotlight on Rita Moreno, a true multi-talented pioneer in movies, television, and theater.


Ratatouille by Cooking Pioneer Julia Child during National Women’s History Month

Julia Child, National Women's History Month, Food Porn Friday

Image source: Quote Hamster

Bon appetit! That was the famous teaser line by the beloved, most widely recognized female American chef who revolutionized American cuisine on her show, The French Chef. Julia Child left an indelible mark on her audience and the food world through her broadcasts on the PBS network. She taught her faithful viewers how easy and enjoyable cooking could be.

Julia Child (August 15, 1912 – August 13, 2004) was born Julia Carolyn McWillams in Pasadena, California, to John and Julia McWilliams. Julia began to study cooking in Beverly Hills, California. She married Paul Cushing Child in September 1946 who introduced her to cooking. 

She decided she wanted to learn about French cooking and, after studying the language, she enrolled at the famous Cordon Bleu cooking school. With two fellow students, Simone Beck and Louisette Bertholle, she formed a cooking school called L’Ecole des Trois Gourmandes (School of the Three Gourmets). In 1963, after appearing on a television panel show, Child began a weekly half-hour cooking program called The French Chef. Her work was recognized with a Peabody Award in 1965 and an Emmy Award in 1966.

Today we are featuring a delicious recipe for Ratatouille by famed chef, Julia Child. Bon Appetit!

Julia Child’s Ratatouille

Julia Child, French Food, Ratatouille

Image source:


  • Eggplant: 1 lb.
  •  Zucchini or summer squash: 1 lb.
  •  Olive oil: 4-6 Tbsp. (divided)
  • Salt: 1 tsp.
  • Mashed garlic: 2 cloves
  • Yellow onions: About 1 1/2 cups or 1/2 lb. (thinly sliced)
  • Salt & Pepper: to taste
  • Green peppers: 2 (about 1 cup, sliced)
  • Minced parsley: 3 Tbsp.
  • Red tomatoes: 1 lb. (Make sure they are ripe, firm, seeded, peeled, and juiced!)
  • Note: If you are using canned tomatoes, you will need about 1 1/2 cups.


  • Peel and cut the eggplant. Make sure you cut eggplant into lengthwise slices that are about 1-inch wide, 3-inch long, and 3/8-inch thick. Scrub the summer squash and cut into pieces the same size as eggplant. Take a bowl and put the vegetables into it. Toss the vegetables with one teaspoon salt.
    Julia Child, National Women's History Month, Food Porn Friday

    Image source: Cooking Channel

    Set them aside for 30 minutes. Drain every slice and dry with a towel.

  • Take a skillet and put four tablespoons of olive oil into it. Sauté the summer squash and eggplant, one layer at a time, for about one minute until the vegetables are slightly browned. Take them out into a dish.
  • Cook pepper and onions in the same skillet. Add a couple of tablespoons of olive oil if needed. Cook the vegetables for 10 minutes until they are tender. Add the garlic and season the mixture with salt and pepper.
  • Take the tomatoes and slice its pulp into 3/8-inch strips. Layer the tomatoes over pepper and onions, and season them with salt and pepper. Cover the skillet and let the vegetables cook for about 5 minutes on a low heat until the tomatoes start to render their juice. Check the seasoning and raise the heat. Boil the vegetables in the tomato juice until the juice evaporates entirely.
  • Take a casserole, about 2½-inch deep, and put 1/3 of the tomato mixture into it. Sprinkle the freshly minced parsley over tomatoes. Next, arrange half of the summer squash and eggplant on top. Layer the remaining tomatoes and parsley. Put the remaining summer squash and eggplant, and finish off with the rest of tomatoes and parsley.
  • Cover the casserole and put it on a low heat. Let everything simmer for about 10 minutes. Check it after 10 minutes, and season it if necessary. Raise the heat a little and cook everything for 15 minutes uncovered. Cook until all the juices evaporate. Be very careful about the heat. Avoid the vegetables getting scorch at the bottom of casserole.

Take it out, and serve!

Celebrating Chef Julia Child on #FoodPornFriday during #NationalWomensHistoryMonth!