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November, 2013:

Manhattan Flower Shop – Tiemann Cleaners – Harlem, NYC – Uptown Correspondent, Iman R. Abdulfattah

© Iman R. Abdulfattah

© Iman R. Abdulfattah

© Iman R. Abdulfattah

Apollo Theatre Sign – Hotel Theresa – Harlem, NYC – Uptown Correspondent, Iman R. Abdulfattah

© Iman R. Abdulfattah

….the Apollo probably exerted a greater influence upon popular culture than any other entertainment venue in the world. For blacks it was the most important cultural institution–not just the greatest black theatre, but a special place to come of age emotionally, professionally, socially, and politically. Ted Fox, “Showtime at the Apollo

Hotel Theresa: the Waldorf of Harlem – Trivia-

Fidel Castro and his staff came to New York in 1960 when he was to address the United Nations.  They first checked in to the Shelburne Hotel at Lexington Avenue and 37th Street but moved to the Hotel Theresa when the Shelburne demanded $10,000 for alleged damage that included cooking chickens in their rooms.  The Theresa was the beneficiary of the worldwide publicity when Nikita Khrushchev, the premier of the Soviet Union; Jawaharlal Nehru, the prime minister of India; and Malcom X, all visited Castro there.  Castro’s entourage rented eighty rooms for a total of $800 per day. – Famous Hotels dot org

Barrington Hall Soluble Coffee Tin Filled with WWII Philadelphia Minted 1944 Coins from The Netherlands

© Frank H. Jump

Tonight we went to my mother’s house to help her organize her linen closet and drawers in her kitchen and we found this tin that belonged to my grandfather, Frans Ludwig Broekveldt, II.

Atlantic Monthly – Vol. 123 – Jan – June 1919 – CLICK FOR LARGER IMAGE


Baker and Company produced a soluble coffee labeled as Barrington Hall. During World War II, the United States government took over Baker and Company to produce K rations for Allied Troops. – Treasure Trove -The National Museum of Military History (NMMH) Diekirch

Soluble Coffee and Products a Staple After War PRODUCTION capacity has been tripled by- producers of soluble coffee and  General Foods and Barrington-Hall are expected to compete for the soluble coffee and soluble coffee products business American Institute of Food Distribution., 1944 – Weekly Digest – Volume 33 – Page 25

We opened the tin, and to our surprise found these shiny silver coins from WWII Netherlands © Frank H. Jump

The coins bearing the fourth portrait of Wilhelmina, from 1922 to 1945, were downgraded to 0.720 silver, which lowered their weight to 9.9g. Three different privy marks were issued: a seahorse from 1922 to 1931, grapes from 1938 to 1940 and an acorn from 1941 to 1945. During the Nazi German occupation of the Netherlands, no guilder coins were issued of the zinc coins circualted by the Nazis, but Dutch guilder coins were struck in the United States. In 1943 they were struck at theDenver Mint in Colorado and in 1944 at the Philadelphia Mint in Pennsylvania and the San Francisco Mint in California. In 1945, 25,375,000 were issued in Philadelphia. – Wikipedia

Dutch 10 cent & 25 cent pieces from 1944 that were minted in Philadelphia during WWII © Frank H. Jump

The History & Fate of Margarine – Vintage Dutch Margarine Ad, Rotterdam 1893

How will the new FDA trans fat ban impact the 144 year old margarine industry?

Vintage Dutch Margarine Ad from 1893, Rotterdam – Wikipedia Commons

According to that inimitable news agency FOX NEWS, the five top foods that will be affected are:

  • Microwave popcorn
  • Cookies and crackers
  • Refrigerated dough and pie crust
  • Coffee creamers
  • & Margarines!

Now granted, I’ve always hated margarine since I was a very young child when my Oma used to roll out the Blue Band Margarine (Unilever) for our breakfast sandwich, which the Dutch call a boterham (which literally means butter-ham and whose etymology is still unknown according to a Dutch Wikipedia article, with original spellings being boteram or boterram). Even after spreading the oleo over the milky white slice of Dutch bread and slathering it with chocolate sprinkles, hagelslag (colored sugar crystals), powdered cheese, or muisjes (which literally means ‘little mice,’ and are identical to the delicious multicolored sugar-coated anise seed sprinkles that Americans are accustomed to scooping up on their way out of Indian restaurants as an after-dinner condiment) – I still wasn’t having it. Dutch butter is so delicious, I couldn’t understand why my grandmother still used margarine.

In retrospect, I realize that during WWII, there weren’t any available dairy products, let alone any available food. My mother and her family literally starved during the last winter of the German occupation of Amsterdam in 1944, surviving solely on tulip bulbs dug up from neighboring frozen gardens and rotting potato peels rummaged from garbage pails. After the blockades were lifted during the Liberation by the Canadians and British troops, margarine became wildly popular in the Netherlands because it was cheaper than butter and already had been part of the Dutch menu for over 60 years.

Margarine was invented in France when in 1869, Emperor Louis Napoleon III offered a reward to anyone who could develop a cheaper version of butter to be rationed to the military and also sold to the lower classes. The result was oleomargarine (which was mostly made of hydrogenated animal fat), an invention of French chemist Hippolyte Mège-Mouriès who after two years of failed marketing in France sold his patent to the Dutch company Jurgens, which since has also been engulfed by Unilever. In the article Labour Relations in the Dutch Margarine Industry 1870-1954,  Marlou Schrover explains the following about the burgeoning margarine industry:

Wars on the continent made transport difficult, and between 1865 and 1870 a cattle-plague in England diminished home production. The demand remained high and prices soared. A whole market for cheap butter threatened to be lost. Dutch traders sought for a cheap alternative to butter. This brought forth a new product, a mixture of purified fat, flavouring and colouring, which was marketed as butter until governments forbade this and enforced the name ‘margarine.’

Production of margarine was first taken up on an industrial scale by the two biggest Dutch butter traders: Jurgens and Van den Bergh. Jurgens and Van den Bergh merged in 1927 forming the Margarine Unie. Two years later, this firm, the world’s largest margarine producer, combined with the world’s largest soap producer, the British Lever Brothers, to form Unilever.

And according to the article on oleomargarine in Wikipedia, in that same year a German pharmacist from Cologne named Benedict Klein  “founded the first margarine factory Benedict Klein Margarinewerke, producing the brands Overstolz and Botteram.”Botteram? Perhaps this is from where the Dutch name for sandwich originates! It would make sense since often names of products we use get their monikers from their branding, as in Scotch tape or Bandaids.

The problem with margarine, which since 1950 no longer contains hydrogenated animal fat but almost strictly uses hydrogenated vegetable oils, is the hydrogenation process – which produces trans fat as a by-product. During the hydrogenation process, unsaturated oils which are normally liquid at room temperature have hydrogen passed through it in the presence of a “nickel catalyst,” which saturates the oil molecules with hydrogen causing their melting point to rise, thus hardening them so they don’t melt at room temperature. Today precious metals like palladium, platinum and rhodium are used as a catalyst instead of non-precious nickel which requires higher temperatures for the process to occur. The absence of a catalyst would require temperatures of 480°C / 900°F for hydrogenation to occur. The precious metal catalysts require lower temperatures and less energy.

The problem with this process are the by-product molecules that are produced. Not all of the molecules are fully saturated  and are incompletely hydrogenated. The cis versions of these molecules are found in nature and are easily handled by the human’s metabolically – but the trans versions of these incompletely hydrogenated molecules, which are mirror images of the natural molecules, are potentially dangerous to humans and are implicated in cardiovascular disease and higher risks of heart attacks. Metabolic disease expert Dr. Henry Pownall states that “artificial trans fatty acids are no longer needed in advanced technological societies.” In an online article New FDA Proposal Trying to Eliminate Trans Fat published by Science Daily on November 11, 2013, it was reported that according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, “reducing trans fat consumption by avoiding artificial trans fats could prevent 10,000-20,000 heart attacks and 3,000-7,000 coronary heart disease deaths each year in the United States.” Margarine consumption, as well as many other foods that contain trans fats from donuts to artificial creamers, are the culprits of poor lipid levels in the blood and obesity. Trans fats are poisons and removing them from our diets will be a step towards a healthier society, although it wouldn’t eliminate them totally since trans fats are also found in nature in animal fats – especially when they are heated.

So where does this leave the margarine industry?  Many brands of oleo spreads have been vegan alternatives for a few decades,  such as products like I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter, Promise, and Earth Balance, which purport to have zero grams of trans fat, yet have between 3.5 to 4.5 grams of saturated fat – the same amount as butter! Julia Child NEVER used margarine and it is no mystery as to why the nascent margarine industry failed miserably in France. Butter is better. Sorry Oma, give me that rich yellow and creamy Dutch cows butter, of course, in moderation. Even ants don’t eat margarine!


Found at Imgur Gallery


Uptown Correspondent – Iman R. Abdulfattah – Minton’s Playhouse – Up At Minton’s, Romare Bearden – Harlem, NYC

© Iman R. Abdulfattah

This old dive in Harlem has been shuttered for about as long as it had been open. Yet Minton’s Playhouse will always be known as the cradle of bebop, where the likes of Dizzy Gillespie, Thelonious Monk and Charlie Parker jammed into the night….Efforts to revive Minton’s Playhouse, on West 118th Street in Harlem, have sputtered throughout the years. – from Hoping a Good Meal Revives a Harlem Jazz Spot  By Kia Gregory for The New York Times, Published: January 6, 2013

Up At Minton’s (1980) taken by Iman R. Abdulfattah @ Flomenhaft Gallery

Romare Bearden (September 2, 1911 – March 12, 1988) was an African-American artist and writer. He worked in several media including cartoons, oils, collage. Born in Charlotte, North Carolina, Bearden moved to New York City at a very young age and went on to graduate from NYU in 1935.Wikipedia

There is lilt
A language of darkness
Darkness known
Darkness sharpened at Minton’s
Darkness lightened at the Cotton Club
Sent flying from Abyssinian Baptist
To the Apollo.

– Excerpt taken from Walter Dean Myer’s epic poem, Harlem (Caldecott Honor Book) 1997, beautifully illustrated by his son Christopher Myers.

Divine Wood Furniture & Bedding Mascot – Port Richmond, SI

© Frank H. Jump

Featured Guest – Ekaterina Markova – Transgender Day of Remembrance – Washington Square, NYC

November 20, 2013 – CLICK FOR LARGER IMAGE © Ekaterina Markova

Featured Guest – Fabio Aiosa – Transgender Day of Remembrance – Washington Square Park – November 20, 2013 – Islan Nettles (Murdered @ 21yo)

Islan Nettles, Age 21 – Cause of Death: Blunt Force- Harlem, NYC © Fabio Aiosa

Today, November 20th is Transgender Day of Remembrance. It is a day the LGBTQ community remembers the people who were violently taken from us in acts of hatred. These are only a few of the hundreds of people murdered this year alone, and many more will remain unnamed and unknown.

Tile Heritage Foundation | E-Newsletter – Autumn 2013 | Spring Lake Plaques Preserved

Woolworth’s – Port Richmond, SI

© Frank H. Jump

Makes you kinda wanna rip that Family Dollar banner down, eh?