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more entertaining recipes from days of yore

May 25, 2011

Since I was all excited about orange soda chicken yesterday, I decided to make good on my promise to share a recipe or two from the General Foods Cookbook my mom gave me a while back. The book, published in 1959, is what I imagine all stereotypes about 1950s housewives are based on.

This illustration, from page 48, depicts a housewife wielding a pistol, wrangling the foods to make sure they are all brought to table simultaneously AND at the peak of perfection.

While containing hundreds of recipes, the book is also filled with sage advice and anecdotes:

“Chicken left from a large roast or fricassee can turn up later creamed, in a jellied loaf, or in a chef’s salad.” -45

“The two main requirements for a card-party luncheon are good food and prompt service. The real feature of the day is cards, and card-players don’t like to dawdle.” -159

“The familiar at-home coffee routine–one day at your house, another day at a neighbor’s–is informal, strictly come-as-you-are. Nobody worries if you don’t take off your head-scarf–they know your hair is up in pin-curls, because theirs is, too.” -196

“Maybe the skipper’s more interested in the sign that says GAS & OIL, or the sighting of a friendly boat…but to the cook, the magic word is ICE. And the second magic word is ICE PICK. Be sure you have one–a lovely, strong, rustproof one.” -317

And of course, I can’t leave you without a recipe! Here’s one to share with your guests at the next dinner party you host:


1 package lemon-flavored gelatin

1/4 tsp. of salt

1 cup hot water

1 cup cold water

2 tsp. vinegar

1 cup diced unpeeled red apples

1/4 cut chopped walnuts

3/4 cup diced celery, seasoned with 1/4 tsp. salt

Dissolve gelatin and salt in hot water. Add cold water and vinegar. Chill until slightly thickened. Then fold in apples, walnuts, and celery. Pour into individual molds. Chill until firm. Unmold on crisp lettuce. Serve with mayonnaise and balls of cream cheese, if desired. Makes 6 servings. -pg. 31

Switching topics.

Dreams: last night there was fast-rising sand on a dune, and we just had to escape and find drinking water! Luckily, right behind the giant dune was a stone building with a natural spring underneath it. The only problem: fast-rising spring water! Floods everywhere.

Then, I was in some kind of floating aircraft, and it was my job to shoot down the hot air balloon Newt Gingrich was flying in. Whoever I was working for did NOT want him to get the presidential nomination. I shot the balloon and Newt slowly fizzled back down to Earth. For the record: I don’t know anything about Newt Gingrich, his politics, or hot air balloons.

One Comment leave one →
  1. May 27, 2011 1:47 am

    Oh my gosh, so funny! I love old recipes and I will read old cookbooks like they are novels. I have two pages from my Mom’s old Betty Crocker cookbook framed in my kitchen. They show a housewife doing different “housewife things’ and have little tips on them, like “think of interesting things throughout your day to relay during dinnertime”, or “alternate standing-up tasks with sitting-down tasks throughout your day”. Love that shit.

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