Elegant Survival

Stylish Living on a Shoestring
Since 2006

M-J's Miscellany

Real vs Fake

Posted on December 23, 2016 at 1:35 PM

Above: Fake sour cream by Lucerne, a brand offered at Safeway that lists ten ingredients including corn starch, is topped by real sour cream from Wal-Mart's Great Value, which has but two components: cultured cream and enzyme. The product from the bottom container ruined my beef stroganoff, until I added some from the top one (a traditional, rich sour cream), which swiftly rectified the situation and saved the dish. Sort of like a bit of real news forwarded by Julian Assange seems to have saved the USA from doom. ©M-Jeanne


When it comes to food, "Real vs Fake" is not subjective. Unfortunately, the same can no longer be said about "news". Real news versus "fake news" now ostensibly constitutes propaganda that the ruling elite want you to believe, in order to counteract truths that have been disclosed about themselves and their dastardly deeds. The irony is that those same parties have been lying to us in earnest for, it turns out, decades--especially the last ten years. The real fake news is that which the major media outlets spew, all of whom have been propping up a globalist fraud for eight years and trying hard to replace him with an evil female clone who would continue the criminality and preserve his destructive legacy. They remind me of a man from Morocco who opened a "French" restaurant near a major university in New Jersey circa 1990. He presented me with a dessert menu and I ordered mousse au chocolat--chocolate mousse. Acting as waiter, the same fellow brought me a piece of white-frosted carrot cake decorated with a charming little orange carrot. I told him it was beautiful, but that I had ordered mousse au chocolat. The faux Frenchman insisted that what he had given me WAS mousse au chocolat. I pointed out the evidence and even showed the fellow that the thing had carrot bits in it. Eventually, I gave up on the endeavor and thereafter referred to the place and others like it as "Poubelle (garbage can) Cuisine". In the same way, I have for more than a decade rejected as trash the news "reported" by outlets such as the New York Times, The Daily News, USA Today, CBS News, CNN and anything with the letters NBC in its name. You must admit that my "fake news" analogy is a lot more palatable than that ignominiously uttered by the current Pope last week.


@M-Jeanne de Mesterton de St. A; December 11th, 2016

M-J's Simple Pain de Mie Recipe

Posted on July 3, 2016 at 10:35 AM
Making two 13" pain de mie loaves takes the same amount of effort and oven-energy as one 13" loaf--and, given the versatility of this delicious bread, you will be glad to have an extra one at hand in the freezer.I have simplified the ingredients and method for making this French bread, which was Julia Child's stand-by loaf making for canapés, breakfast toast, and sandwiches. My version of the classic bread recipe appears below. ~~M-J
  • Two Pain de Mie Loaves
  • 1 1/2 cups of lukewarm milk or buttermilk
  • 1 tablespoon of granulated yeast
  • 4 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 cup of lukewarm water
  • 7 cups of white flour (unbleached "white" flour is ideal), plus another, separate cup for possible use during kneading process--different conditions may require more flour--so you need to have a total of 8 cups of flour
  • 1 tablespoon of salt
  • 1.5 standard sticks of butter, sliced into about ten or twelve pieces to more easily incorporate it into dough-mixture 

  • YOU WILL NEED TWO 13"-long Pullman pans, also known as a pain de mie pans. These specially-constructed pans with lids are non-stick; they will not need to be greased (click here for my source). 
  • M-J's Notes
  • Pain de Mie simply means, directly translated from the French, "Bread of the Center", because it is not supposed to have a deeply browned exterior or a pronounced crust. In fact, if you see a recipe for pain de mie that instructs you to pull the lid off during baking to 'brown the top", ignore that suggestion. If you prefer a crust, just leave the lid off during baking and you will have what is simply called a sandwich loaf. One of the beauties of an authentic pain de mie is that, when using this bread for canapés or tea sandwiches, there is no dark crust that needs to be removed, which is a tedious and sometimes problematic process. This doesn't mean that the edges cannot be trimmed if you wish. Pain de mie also makes perfect grilled cheese sandwiches, croques monsieurs, and panini.

M-J's Pain de Mie Method

  1. Combine all of the ingredients, beginning with the lukewarm  milk, yeast and sugar, gradually adding flour, salt and butter;  knead this mixture to form a smooth, soft dough. I always use a standing mixer with a dough-hook attached, but it's not necessary. Kneading is good exercise.
  2. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured or greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and allow to rise for at least one hour or until doubled in bulk. In cooler kitchens, this may take an hour and a half.
  3. Punch-down the dough, divide in half, transfer it to a flour-dusted counter, shape it into two 13" rolls, and fit them into the Pullman pans--each of these dough-rolls should leave room in the pan to rise until triple in bulk. Cover the pans with plastic wrap, and allow the dough to rise to within an inch of the tops of the pans, 45 minutes to 1 hour. (The dough will likely rise a further inch in the oven. Do not worry that it will touch the lid of your Pullman pans, because the heat of baking and the nonstick quality of these vessels will prevent the top crust from sticking, as you will discover when sliding the lids off after baking.) Preheat your oven to 350°F.
  4. Remove the plastic, and place the Pullman pan covers on the pans. Bake the bread for 50 minutes. Remove your pans from the oven, let cool for ten minutes, then slide-off the lids. Turn the two loaves out of their pans onto a rack and allow them to cool completely before slicing or storing. These pain de mie loaves freeze well.
  5. ©M-J de Mesterton

Elegant Dressing for Travel

Posted on June 20, 2016 at 10:50 PM


How to Be the Best-Dressed Woman Anywhere was a Pamphlet Offered by the News, Now Known as the New York Daily News.

The emphasis is on simplicity and modesty of dress with an eye to packing lightly, as well as on respecting local traditions in foreign countries. Bare arms, shorts and short skirts are not welcome in primarily Muslim locations; shoes must not be worn in mosques; large silk scarves can enhance a plain and versatile frock, while allowing one to cover her head in a church or other religious environment. In this pamphlet, there is advice on what to pack that is still timely; wearing gloves and hats is not outdated by rather extremely practical and healthy while on a trip or going out in one's hometown. Click on my images to attain maximum size for ease of reading these fine old pages. ~~M-J

See M-J's Anecdote at the Bottom of these Instructive Images


A personal note on dressing appropriately for particular locales: many years ago as I was driving coast-to-coast, I stopped at an ostrich ranch in Wyoming that offered horseback riding. Because I had packed my English riding clothes and helmet, I wore them. As I walked into their tack shack/watering hole, a little old man looked up at me quizzically and asked, rather shakily, "What ARE you, MA-AM?" Which reminded me of the following scene from Roger Moore's James Bond flick, "Live and Let Die"--watch it till the end, when Sheriff J. W. Pepper looks at Englishman James Bond and asks a similar question in his inimitable style.  Sheriff J.W. Pepper and James Bond

Of course, I explained that I was wearing English riding tack. Mr Little Old Man still looked a bit puzzled, having had no exposure to that sort of thing in the Wild West, but he did stop trembling. Important to wear what is appropriate for the area that you are visiting. I know there will always be boorish, insensitive louts who never consider others, like the time I visited a centuries-old monastery in Cyprus and actually witnessed a shirtless tourist wearing nothing but "Speedo" swim-trunks below his bulging midsection. Come to think of it, that's a situation that also calls to mind "Live and Let Die"! ©M-J de Mesterton, 2016

Easter Scene by M-J de Mesterton

Posted on March 27, 2016 at 11:50 PM

Wishing You a Blessed Easter, Elegant Survival Readers

Photo Copyright M-J de Mesterton 2012

Elegant Image by M-J de Mesterton

Posted on March 13, 2016 at 11:25 AM

Elegant Still Life Photography by Fine Artist M-J de Mesterton

Elegant Pineapple Cake

Posted on December 28, 2015 at 11:35 AM
White or vanilla cake mix is prepared then poured over butter, brown sugar and pineapple rings in an oval Le Creuset baking-dish, and baked at 350° for forty-five minutes.  After fifteen minutes of cooling, an oval platter is placed on top of the pineapple upside-down cake, then turned over and the cake is elegantly inverted to reveal the delicious topping. The pineapple creates steam that makes the cake rise a little higher than usual, and imparts a lovely texture to this classic American dessert. ©M-J de Mesterton Click Here to Read M-J's Main Website, Elegant Survival

Eat Spicy Food, Live Longer

Posted on August 13, 2015 at 4:50 PM

Divinity in the Details

Posted on July 2, 2015 at 5:40 PM

"To be really great in little things, to be truly noble and heroic in the insipid details of everyday life, is a virtue so rare as to be worthy of canonization."

Harriet Beecher Stowe


M-J's Elegant Macrobiotic Dish

Posted on May 22, 2015 at 3:40 PM

Shredded apple and Romaine lettuce adorn a bed of cool brown rice. Please visit Elegant Cook by M-J de Mesterton for this and other elegant macrobiotic recipes.

Pasta Papillon

Posted on March 22, 2015 at 8:40 PM

Home-Made Pasta all'Uovo is Shaped into Bow-Ties and Dried
Egg Pasta Cooks in Five Minutes or Less, Saving Gas and Electricity

Fine English Hairbrush

Posted on March 6, 2015 at 9:35 AM

This elegant hairbrush by Kent is the ideal grooming tool for fine or thinning hair.~~M-J de M.

Tea Talk

Posted on March 3, 2015 at 10:30 AM

Tea Gatherings, Explained 

("High Tea" is a Workman's Supper, NOT a Formal Tea as per the Common Misinterpretation of the Term)


Afternoon Tea, Explained ("High Tea" is Merely a Workman's Supper)

 Hosting a Tea Party; Formal Tea; the True Definition of "High Tea" is "Workingman's Supper"

Reine de Saba

Posted on February 15, 2015 at 4:35 PM

I made this classic Reine de Saba (Queen of Sheba) cake using Julia Child's recipe, which I found in The French Chef Cookbook, page 285. I believe it is also somewhere on the web. It's a good dessert for those who love almond cake with chocolate icing.

©M-J de Mesterton

Elegant Robe

Posted on February 6, 2015 at 12:35 PM

A few years before Facebook, I photographed myself in an elegant robe made of black velvet with white satin trim. It was the sort of thing in which one would not be embarrassed to be seen on an impromptu basis--answering the door to package deliveries, for example. I miss that old robe, but I still have my silk one by Sulka as a consolation.

©M-J de Mesterton 2015


Posted on February 2, 2015 at 12:15 AM

You ought to consider stocking up on ginger this winter; eating it will help reduce the symptoms and duration of rhinovirus and influenza.

©M-J de Mesterton

Lymphatic Health

Posted on November 3, 2014 at 11:20 AM
Epsom Salt, the Elegant, Economical, Classic Bath Additive

After your refreshing, health-promoting soak in the hot bath with Epsom salt (add a cup-full to running water), stand in the tub with the water off, and brush your lymph-node areas (see chart, courtesy of Natural Health School) in a circular motion with this sturdy, elegant brush by Swissco. Then, rinse. Vigorously using a white, crisp, line-dried towel on your clean skin is the ideal spa-like coda to this health-promoting process.

Words to the Wise

Posted on August 9, 2014 at 6:05 PM
Burgeoning Viruses and Plagues are Spreading Thanks to Frequent Flyers, Poor Sanitation, Lax Medical Industry Waste-Disposal and Over-Use of Antibiotics
“Don’t Touch the Walls” 
So goes the admonition about local clinics that have seen ebola patients within Sierra Leone on the African continent. The disease has been known to be extremely contagious for decades, yet some entities would have you believe that it is difficult to contract. (Not airborne? Bodily fluids do exist in the air as infinitesimal particles which are easily inhaled, and once the virus is deposited onto surfaces, it continues to live.) Concurrent with the denials of this hemorrhagic fever's virulence, dire warnings are issued. Confused? Just read the linked article in Telegraph U.K. for a bit of enlightening reality: ARTICLE
Click Here to Read M-J's Main Website, Elegant Survival

Healing Power of Stones

Posted on July 3, 2014 at 6:25 PM

Pierres Précieuses (precious stones) by M-J de Mesterton ©2013,

Oil on Canvas 16" X 20" 

Available at Art Gallery Las Vegas

Amber gemstone is believed to prevent memory-loss, and to help purify the body. Amber also alleviates headaches, bone and heart problems. Amber is known for its stress-relieving and calming properties.

Amethyst gemstone reduces insomnia, arthritis, aids in pain relief, and ameliorates circulatory deficiencies. Amethyst is considered to be the gemstone that promotes meditation, personal peace, balance, courage, and inner strength.

Aquamarine gemstone promotes health in the liver, throat, stomach, jaw, teeth, eyes, and ears. Aquamarine is also known to help relieve fear, calm nerves, and enhance mental clarity.

Citrine gemstone is worn to increase the hearing sense. Citrine also promotes personal success, abundance, and clear thinking.

Garnet gemstone improves the function of the circulatory system, heart, and lungs. Garnet is known to promote feelings of love and romantic intimacy.

Jade is known traditionally in China as "Stone of Heaven". Jade promotes closeness to the spiritual world, encourages creativity, and being near it helps us to remember and interpret our dreams. It is prized as a protective talisman, assuring long life and a peaceful death to its wearer as a powerful healing stone. Jade promotes health of the kidneys and enhances the function of other organs when worn as an amulet. Jade is believed to aid in the acquisition of friendship and luck by repelling negative energy.

Lapis Lazuli gemstone is believed to help alleviate insomnia and depression. Lapis lazuli is also known for promoting creativity, openness, and truthfulness.

Onyx gemstone is associated with the root chakra, thus it brings spiritual inspiration, and supports control over emotions.

Pearl is said to aid purity, charity, integrity, truth, and loyalty in its wearer, and to possess calming properties.

Peridot gemstone heals stress in relationships, mitigates anger and jealousy, and slows aging. The fresh, green peridot promotes abundance and prosperity.

Ruby gemstones soothe and enhance the emotions. Rubies are also known to increase integrity, devotion, and happiness.

Sapphire is the gemstone of creative expression, inner peace and meditation. The sapphire also aids in personal expression and the alleviation of pain.

Topaz gemstone is one of the earth's most powerful rocks. Topaz promotes the balancing of emotions, and provides protection from the greed of others.

©M-J de Mesterton 2014

Jade, Stone of Heaven by M-J de Mesterton ©2009, Oil on Canvas 16" X 20" 

Available at  Art Gallery Las Vegas