Thursday, July 31, 2008
Anyway, here once again are 2 competing ads for Mayonnaise and Miracle Whip.
The Miracle Whip ad doesn't really display any recipes, other than literally using it as a salad dressing. But that's okay, since I like mayonnaise better anyway. And in the mayonnaise ad, we are offered recipes for three common yet uniquely prepared dishes. The 1957 housewife could choose from Sauced Summer Squash, Shrimp Tomato Salad, and Stuffed Peppers. The last of those three is the one I will be discussing later.
But where exactly would a cook of the time be preparing our meal? Well, perhaps in a house like this one:
Pretty colorful, isn't it? This issue is full of photos for inexpensive houses, and the picture above is typical of what you'll see. (Notice that the walls can be painted in any color!) The kitchen of this house is a cool turquoise, as seen in the other photo. Unfortunately not scanned is the pink and red living/dining room and the red and black bedroom.
Finally, the summer hostess needs something to wear. This June issue was a "picnic" issue, so the fashion spread features "easy to make, exciting to wear fun clothes for lazy summer days or cool evenings when you're a guest at a cook-out on the patio or hostess at a barbecue in your own backyard." The dress here is the one I was partial to - I think it's really cute, and I only wish it was in color so I could see the grape, green and black stripes together. For just 50 cents you could send for the pattern, which would require 2 3/4 yards of fabric for a size 14. Speaking of sizes, they have really changed if the sizing chart here is any indication. Tiny measurements (31" bust, 24" waist, 33" hip) are a size 10. For comparison, I checked the sizing charts at Victoria's Secret, and that was a size 2!
Anyway, back to the food. I'm posting the recipe for the Hellmann's Mayonnaise stuffed peppers, only because it is a recipe I am so familiar with and have made so often, though never in this way. In fact, the recipe honestly does not sound good at all. It is so truly different from anything I've ever seen, though, that I couldn't possibly let it go without a mention. And perhaps it tastes much better than it looks in print! I don't think this is one of the recipes I'll ever try to find that out about. Nevertheless, if you want to try, here is the recipe.
Stuffed Peppers - 1957
Mix 1/3 cup Real Mayonnaise, 1 1/2 cups drained kernel corn, 1 3-oz can mushrooms, drained, 6 slices of bread, cubed, chopped onion, salt, pepper. Fill 6 parboiled pepper halves. Top with 1/3 cup dry bread crumbs mixed with 1 tablespoon Real Mayonnaise. Bake 30 minutes at 350 degrees. Serves 6.
I probably won't be posting for a few days. We are going to visit my hometown, in western Pennsylvania, where my family still lives. My mother has already promised me a vintage cookbook and a magazine from the 1940's that she found, so hopefully when I do get back I'll have lots of new things to post! See you then...
Monday, July 28, 2008
These four cards were attached inside the June, 1968 issue of Family Circle magazine. They were advertisements for Mazola oil, Skippy peanut butter, and Karo corn syrup, and each card features a simple recipe using one or more of those ingredients.
Sunday, July 27, 2008
One thing I noticed a great deal of in this magazine is a deep respect for housework. Women are shown in a variety of poses in the midst of all sorts of domestic tasks. And advertisers have definitely capitalized on this idea; ads are full of reminders that women's work around the house requires as much strength and is as legitimate a job as any man's. Notice in the ad below, (which happens to feature another illustration that I love), that this idea is what the marketers of Sun-Maid Raisins is referring to.
Of course, at the same time, it is impossible not to notice the somewhat patronizing language. House work requires energy, the ad says, but that comes at the expense of the "youthfulness and color from scores of pretty cheeks." And the end of all of these energy-requiring chores was the approval of the husband and the family. See the ad to the right for Knox gelatin. It is difficult to read without magnifying it, but one paragraph reads:
"'Will it please the man of the house?' is always the question in a woman's mind when she makes a salad. All doubts are removed, however, when she makes Perfection Salad for the household.'"
It seems that, like so many other aspects of life both today and in the past, women's work in the early 1920's is a complex subject and every one of us would probably have differing opinions on much of it. Still, it doesn't take away my enjoyment of the beauty of these ads and articles and recipes when they are admired at face value; and still, when I walk in the door after one more stressful day at the office, the world that the magazines portray of the everyday life of decades ago still seems a more relaxing and peaceful one. In my heart I know that is not the case, but it is nice to sometimes escape there anyway!
(By the way, the ad to the left is for yeast, and is also the ad that the quote in this blog's heading comes from.)
In closing, I'd like to comment on the recipes featured in this article. I was actually quite fond of these recipes after I read through them; they sound like they would be delicious and hearty, and not very difficult to make. The article they are taken from is full of recipes that are either quick to make or can be prepared ahead of time, so that the woman can actually have some time of her own to go out with friends or to play a game of cards. "Even cooks have a day off a week," the article points out. Below I have typed one of the recipes that appear at the top of this post. I hope you get to try it!
Cut in dice four large cold boiled (sweet) potatoes. In frying pan put six tablespoons butter or pork fat. When hot add potato, sprinkle with one and one-half teaspoons salt, a few grains pepper, and two tablespoons brown sugar. Mix well and cook until heated through, stirring occasionally, letting cubes brown slightly. Turn into hot vegetable dish.
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
Before I get to the recipe, I wanted to share with you some of the things I found the most interesting in the magazine. Above, you will see a colorful illustration of Parisian fashion for the spring and summer of 1870. In a later section of this May issue, the reader is told:
"As we said, in our last number, long dresses are never seen on the street; but many of the street costumes are made with what is called a court-train, (not very long, however,) which is made to loop up in an artistic way for out-of-doors, and can be dropped in the house, thus making the one dress answer admirably for two occasions."
And short dresses were not at all what we think of today. In the figure above, dresses 1, 2, and 5 were described as being short dresses.
"The falling coiffures, which have succeeded the raised ones of last winter, greatly change the aspect of many faces: regular and well characterized beauties have gained by the change, but the saucy-looking, irregular types have lost. These last acquired an air of gracefulness and youth by having the hair turned up to the top of the head instead of covering the neck. We would, therefore, advise ladies of this latter class to moderate the depth of their chignons. Fashion is not immutable."
Finally, here is a page of the typical advertisements of the time. I really couldn't find any food ads to show, but to the left is a pretty good assortment of odds and ends from the end of the magazine.
And now, since this is a vintage food blog after all, here come the recipes! I was very surprised to see that they don't seem that difficult after all. Well, with an exception - the recipe for Brighton pudding says to beat the sugar and eggs for twenty minutes! I think I'll pass.
The recipe that stands out as appearing rather doable, to me, is the Wrexham Gingerbread. Because there are no exact measurements, but you are using equal amounts of all the ingredients, it seems you can easily tailor the recipe to your needs. I have typed up the recipe below:
Equal quantities of flour, butter, molasses, and loaf-sugar; the butter, sugar, and molasses to be made hot; then mix in, by degrees, the flour, the rind of a lemon, and ginger to your taste; drop it on buttered tins, leaving a space between, and bake it in a rather quick oven. Take it off with a knife, and to make a variety, roll some over a stick when warm, to look like wafers.
If you'd rather see the recipes for yourself, just click below. Enjoy!
Sunday, July 20, 2008
I really liked this page from the May 1978 issue of Family Circle magazine. Besides being cute and full of color, the page actually has some practical, easy-sounding recipes. There are a few I wouldn't mind trying. In fact, I think I'll do the "souped-up chicken" this week! You can click the photo to see a larger version, but I'll also include the recipe below. (However, the magazine page has quite a few other recipes on it that you might find interesting.)
Maybe I'll have more success with this one...
Souped-up Chicken - 1978
Brown a 2 1/2 pound cut-up chicken in 3 tablespoons oil in a large skillet; then remove chicken to a 2-quart casserole. In fat remaining in skillet, saute 1 large onion, chopped. Spoon over chicken along with 1 can condensed vegetable beef soup, 1/2 cup water and 1/2 teaspoon crumbled leaf thyme. Cover and bake in a moderate oven (350 degrees F) for 30 minutes or until tender. Makes 6 servings.
Thursday, July 17, 2008
The rather unappealing looking blob in the photo above is my latest attempt, and subsequent failure, in re-creating a vintage recipe from my magazines. This one came from an article in the October 1949 issue of Woman's Day magazine. (By the way, according to a very interesting book I'm reading titled Women's Periodicals in the United States, Woman's Day magazine was sold in A&P markets only, until 1958. If you can get your hands on a used copy of the book, which is what I did, I highly recommend it!)
Anyway, I must get back to the topic, as reluctant as I am to discuss this disappointing dish. It came from an article titled "Prize-Winning Canned Fish Recipes." You may wonder what about that title made me think there was even a possibility the recipe would turn out to be something delicious and exciting, but I was actually going more for thrifty and "already-have-all-the-ingredients-so-no-big-deal-if-it-doesn't-turn-out." And turn out it most certainly did not.
For starters, the recipe said it feeds four, but the portions were very small and not very filling. Next, the patties pretty much fell apart no matter what I tried to do to salvage them. I ended up with the one patty you see and about 10 smaller blobs to go with it. And finally, and this is my fault entirely, but I have never mastered anything even resembling a roux. So for the lemon sauce, no matter how much I stirred, I was never able to get rid of the tiny bits of flour floating through it. (In fact, you can even see them in my photo!) The patties looked so terrible that even my husband, who graciously sampled each of my previous attempts at vintage recipes, did not even touch these and in fact pretended he didn't even know they were there. Not a word was said about them even though I pushed them right to the front of the refrigerator where he would be forced to see them.
So in conclusion, I would not recommend anyone try these. However, as always, I'm glad I did! And this won't discourage me from trying an old recipe again; in fact, I think it's kind of fun. Just in case you're still curious, I have scanned the recipe in below, so just click for a better view. You'll also be treated to the recipe (with accompanying photo) for Mrs. J.M. Severin's Tuna Salad Pie, worth the click in itself!
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
The ad above is from the June, 1968 issue of Family Circle. Who knew you could top a burger so many ways using Hellmann's mayonnaise? But that's not the only thing you can do with mayo. Even though mayo purists (including me!) will tell you that Miracle Whip is not even close to being the same thing, that doesn't mean Miracle Whip is left out where recipes are concerned. Just take a look at this other ad, from the April 1976 Family Circle, where you can learn to make Miracle Meat Rolls!
Monday, July 14, 2008
This ad brings back memories! It's Florence Henderson, of course, in a Wesson ad from the May 1978 issue of Family Circle.
I remember seeing her commercials on TV all the time for this salad oil. And watching the Brady Bunch on a regular basis for years!
If you click on the picture to make it bigger, you'll see that there is a recipe for the salad and dressing shown in the ad, too.
This soup ad is from the May 1954 issue of Gourmet magazine. Compared with many of the other ads for food products I've come across from this time, this soup seems to be a much more sophisticated product. As the text says, it's "fit for royal tastes." Varieties such as Black Bean with Sherry and Crab a la Maryland sound pretty good to me, but again not something I ever recall seeing in a can!
The other ad, this one from the February 1947 issue of Gourmet, reminds us that all of these fabulous choices we have in food today weren't always the case. The ad below for Arnold bread assures the reader that the bread is back to its previous standard of quality from before the war, since plenty of butter, honey, milk, and eggs are now available and used in the baking of this product.
I purchased a set of 4 Gourmet magazines from the 1940's and 1950's. At that time, the covers were all illustrated rather than the photography used today, and the upscale slant of the magazine was very clear. It was actually quite hard to find many ads for food products in these magazines; most of the ads were for wine and liquor as well as New York City restaurants.
Sunday, July 13, 2008
It feels good to be posting again. It was such a stressful, draining week that I didn't even have a chance to post or check out any other blogs; so I'm very grateful for the chance to do that now, on a peaceful Sunday night.
One of the things that always makes me feel calmer and at peace is flipping through an old magazine. For me, the older the better. With very fortuitous timing, I received an 1870 Peterson's magazine that I ordered on Friday afternoon after I walked in the door from work. I finally got a chance to sit down and read it from cover to cover, starting with the fiction and weaving my way through the recipes, household hints, and colorful fashion plates.
It is very easy for me to get lost in nostalgia when reading these vintage writings. For example, I found these recipes in an August 1900 issue of Woman's Home Companion,and immediately I envisioned myself sitting down to a table full of lacy napkins and all the proper silverware, and myself wearing a beautiful flouncy dress. Yet I also know very well that life was not an idyll; at the time these recipes were printed the Philippine-American War was occurring. And on a bit of a pettier note, this was in the middle of a northeast summer which I well know can be very humid and uncomfortable, and there was no air conditioning and surely not as many electric fans in use. So preparing the food and putting those quaint household hints to use were surely often a miserable experience.
Still, these recipes (click the above picture for a bigger, more readable version) are so fascinating to me. For one thing, some of them seem quite exotic - although I know pigeons (squab) are still served in Italy, here in suburban New Jersey they are just not found on a menu. And the scalloped potato dish isn't that different from the recipes I've made myself, but I've never heard of using cucumbers as garnish.
I do have to say that I think the spaghetti inside the tomatoes is a really cute idea! I think it would be something different for a summer dinner party, and I can totally see myself giving it a try. If I do, I'll be sure to post the results in my blog!
Monday, July 7, 2008
Fats, oils, and butter have always been an indispensable part of cooking. Even going as far back as medieval recipe books, animal fats were used. So it's not surprising that ads for vegetable oil in vintage magazines are so commonplace. I decided to compare three of these ads from various time periods to see how much had changed from year to year.
The first ad, on the right above, is for Wesson Oil from the November 1924 Good Housekeeping magazine. The text talks about the fact that a housewife would know that Wesson is the best salad oil for dressings, the best shortening for pastries (contrary to the many Crisco ads of the time, of course)... but it is also the choice fat to fry with! It seems the advertiser's fear was that the woman would consider Wesson too good of a fat to use for mere frying, so the ad assures the cook that using Wesson will actually make your fried foods as wholesome as possible. Today it is quite a stretch to view fried foods as wholesome, but at this time the magazine were full of recipes for frying foods.
On the left is another Wesson ad; this one is from the September 1936 issue of Better Homes and Gardens. Again, the use of Wesson Oil as a salad dressing is understood. The bottom of the page features a basic french oil dressing which isn't any different than a basic salad dressing recipe of today. However, this time the ad introduces the use of Wesson oil in cooked vegetables! Here, Wesson is used to promote health and nourishment in combination with hot vegetables.
Finally, below is a Mazola ad from 1968. This time, health is emphasized even more. Now we are beginning to see words like saturated fats and polyunsaturates. And here, the oil comes also in a margarine form. Still, though, the ad boasts of "light, crispy fried foods" and again the tangy salad dressings of the past.
These easy meatloaf recipes come from a Campbell's Soup ad in the November, 1968 issue of Family Circle magazine. The mini meat loaf on top of the spaghetti looks like a cute idea; but the bottom right photo, with bacon and cheese sauce all over the top of a meat loaf ring, is actually pretty disgusting looking.
On the bottom right corner there is an offer to send for a Campbell's "Cooking with Soup" recipe book for 60 cents. I always wish I could still send away for all of these interesting freebees I see in these old magazines!
Friday, July 4, 2008
Pillsbury's Vitos. Ever since I found this ad for the product in the December 1899 issue of Woman's Home Companion, I have been extremely curious as to what the product actually was. The box pictured in this lovely ad simply says "wheat food", which was not enough information for me. So I googled it but can't seem to find much more information. I did find another 1899 ad that says Vitos are a better covering for chicken or fish than bread crumbs are, because it does not get mushy or greasy. And still another ad from this time period suggested using Vitos to make mush.
So from what I can tell, Vitos may be some type of wheat cereal, possibly tiny little kernels like Grape Nuts. If anyone has any idea, I would love to hear. This recipe is one I would love to experiment with and try, and I think I am going to do so although I'll probably need several attempts with several different possible substitutes for the Vitos.
Finally, I was also intrigued when I saw that this is a Fannie Farmer recipe, since her cookbooks are well known to almost anyone with a love of cooking, even today. At the time it seems she was the principal of the Boston Cooking School, and according to Wikipedia, this ad appeared just 3 years after her most well-known work (The Boston Cooking-School Cookbook) was published.
1899 - Vitos Muffins
Mix one cup flour, one-half cup VITOS, two tablespoonfuls sugar, three and one-half teaspoonfuls baking powder, and one-quarter teaspoonful salt. Add one egg well beaten, three-fourths cup of milk, and two tablespoonfuls melted butter. Bake in buttered gem pans twenty to twenty-five minutes.
This is one of the magazines I've recently acquired, and the oldest I've found yet. The recipes were very different from anything I've seen so far, definitely old-fashioned with lots of use of molasses, butter, lard, and deep-frying. It made for some fascinating reading, however! I will share a few of my favorite food-related parts of the magazine with you in the following posts.
Thursday, July 3, 2008
One thing I have noticed as I've flipped through countless magazines from the late 1960's and early 1970's is the emphasis on diets and losing weight. Recipes from throughout these years often focus on low-calorie dishes. However, since many women were working outside of the home during this period, convenience and quickness were also required of a recipe.
This page of recipes is just one example of the kinds of things you'll find from magazines of these years. For instance, the article suggests that "you can add the flavor of butter without the butter calories simply by shaking on some butter-flavored salt or a few drops of liquid butter flavoring." Sugar substitutes, low-fat cheese, and evaporated skim milk are also commonly called upon to erase some of the sugar and fat that cause weight gain. The taste of the recipes that result may be debatable, but it's fascinating to get a 35-year old view of what healthy eating was.
Apple Pan Dowdy - 1973
8 slices thin-cut diet or protein bread
6 apples, pared, cored, sliced
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
pinch of salt
5 tbsp brown sugar OR sugar substitute to equal 2 tbsp sugar
1/2 cup boiling water
1 tbsp diet margarine
1. Lightly toast bread; trim crusts. Cut each slice diagonally into 2 triangles.
2. Arrange 8 triangles in bottom of an 8-inch, square baking dish. Combine sliced apples, cinnamon, salt, brown sugar and sugar substitute; turn into dish over toast points. Pour boiling water over apples.
3. Spread remaining 8 toast triangles with diet margarine; arrange over apples, margarine side up. Sprinkle with additional cinnamon. Cover with aluminum foil.
4. Bake in hot oven (400 degrees) 30 minutes; remove foil. Bake 20 minutes longer, or until apples are tender and toast is golden brown. Serve slightly warm.
Makes 8 servings at 137 calories each.
This ad comes from the November, 1973 issue of Family Circle. I personally don't remember ever hearing about Sqeez-A-Snak, let alone trying it, but the valve on the side is a little scary to me. Still, the ad looks very 70's to me and I thought it was a great and colorful example of the processed, quick, convenience foods you see advertised so often in magazines from the 1970's.
Tuesday, July 1, 2008
This is the cover of the March 1914 issue of McCall's magazine. I fell in love with the cover art immediately, and her ruffly white blouse and stylish red hat (and his jaunty plaid one!) transported me to a long-ago time of class and fashion.
The articles I found inside were a surprise to me. One female wife and mother spoke of fighting to keep the job she loved, that of a music teacher, even though her husband was firmly against the idea of her working outside the home. There was no happy ending; she kept her job and he reluctantly gave his okay, but in the end she writes, "Am I doing right? I know I am... And yet, deep in my woman's soul, I know I am wounding my man intensely."
I also found silly little stories that showed people have always had a sense of humor and of fun. A cute article about "Tempting the sick child to eat," has the author creating such amusing little gimmicks as a "banana animal" with a tiny hole taken out of it to put jelly in. A big fluted glass holds an ice cream cone, and boiled rice is stuffed inside in place of the ice cream.
I have included a few ads for products you will most likely recognize; just click to enlarge.
So, after finally tearing myself away from reading, I decided to give one of the recipes a try. As I flipped through the magazine, I had constantly seen references to many of the same concerns as today - saving money, eating healthy foods, making delicious dishes that the family will enjoy. So I wanted to choose a recipe that fit into at least one of these categories. In the end, I decided on this "12 cent" cake that I found in an ad for "Wear-Ever Aluminum Utensils". Besides it being so (comparatively, by today's prices) cheap to make, it was extremely simple looking and I didn't have to buy a single ingredient.
Admittedly, I was a bit worried as I looked at the proportions of ingredients. I am used to creaming the sugar and butter together, but this cake only needed a single tablespoon of butter added to the cup of sugar. Then I had to add an entire cup and a half of both flour and milk! Many other recipes for muffins, etc., that I had seen from this time period listed sugar as an optional ingredient, so I was not surprised that it would not be too sweet, but as I stirred and stirred (cursing the lumps that were next to impossible to remove), I began to fear that this would taste like one big milky sponge. There was no temperature indicated, so I baked it at 350 degrees.
Unfortunately, the results were just as bad as I expected. The cake had quite a spongy texture. The best description I can come up with for the taste is raw dough in a cooked form! There were so few ingredients that I was sure I had left nothing out. It definitely is not a taste I have acquired. But for curiousity's sake, I am definitely glad I tried it. (And at least I only wasted 12 cents!) Below is the recipe exactly as it appears in the magazine.
A cake for 12 Cents
Mix 1 cup of sugar and 1 tablespoon butter. Add 1 beaten egg. Then add 1 1/2 cups of milk, 1 1/2 cups flour and 1 teaspoon baking powder. Beat well. Grate lemon or orange in batter. Bake 30 minutes.