Monday, May 18, 2009

A warm spring evening on the porch

So, since I spent all of yesterday afternoon and evening at mom's house going through cookbooks (here is only about a third of 'em)...
... This evening after work I settled into a chair on my porch to dig a little deeper into my "new" collection. How many of you remember the Better Homes and Gardens cookbooks? It seemed like EVERYONE had them in the 1970's. Well, I now have 10 of my very own:

I remember these as always being a part of mom's collection, and as I thumbed through them, I understood why I couldn't think of a time they weren't there. The "newest" is copyrighted 1976, when I was only 8, and the oldest? Well, it is dated 1963... long before I was even thought of.
Just for fun, lets take a look inside:
Birthdays and family Celebrations (1963) - We start out with Children's parties! Here are some of their ideas: Pirate Party (still a good choice!), Giant-Land dinner party (guests are seated at doll sized tables, wear doll sized party hats, and are served thimble-sized hamburgers on tiny biscuits, thumb sized scoops of ice cream - made with a melon baller - and inch-square bits of cake), Circus Party where every one shows up in costume of their fav circus performer (gotta have balloons and a clown for this one!), and... this one is GREAT! A cartoon character party! Ok, so we still have those... but NOT the characters they suggest: Donald Duck, Dagwood, or Wimpy (you absolutely must serve burgers at that party)!
Flip a few pages... ahhh, cakes! Normal white, chocolate, lemon... wait a sec.... What's that one? A Cape Canaveral decorated cake??!! Of course the birthday boy has to "count down" before blowing out the "spaceship" candle. No Space Shuttles back in 1963!
Having a teen party (or wingding-- their word, not mine)? Submarine sandwiches, potato chips, popcorn, and Soda-Fountain style drinks or sundaes. Yep, here are some true "soda-fountain" recipes. I'm gonna have to try a few of these this summer!
The next half of the book is dedicated to holiday entertaining... New years is an indoor burger BBQ and make your own ice cream sundae buffet. Valentine's Day is lots of strange pink molded gelatin stuff, and one cool idea- using a cookie cutter, cut a heart out of the center of a slice of white bread and a slice of wheat bread. Make the bottom half of a sandwich on a whole slice of bread, top with one of the breads with the center removed, fill center heart with cut-out from other bread type. Easy, but not too "cheesy"! Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas are all varieties of traditional fare, with a few really odd side dishes. Halloween has the standard treat ideas, but the big difference is these home made sweets are what is handed out to the Trick-or-Treaters! Times sure have changed over the past 46 years... and not always in a good way.
The final few pages are devoted to ideas for Bridal and Baby showers, and the last page is something we don't see much of anymore... an Open House party. I remember my parents having these when I was little. I wonder why they have fallen "out of favor"?
I think there should be more house parties (aka Open houses) where adults can get together and meet one another in a casual, fun atmosphere. Maybe we would know our neighbors once again?
Anyone else think we should bring them back?
And...finally, the evening is getting too dark to read. I put the books down and enjoy the last bit of twilight while the lights of Helena begin to twinkle in the distance. A few more days in the 80's and the snow will be gone from the Elkhorn Mountains... there off in the distance beyond town.
The evening breeze is still a bit chilly, so I gather up my books and bid you all a good night.

1 comment:

Chief Rock Chef said...

I think we have a couple of these books too! I love reading cookery books, especially old ones. I rarely follow recipies to the letter but take inspiration from them and do something similar.

I love the giant party idea! A friend and I recently discussed the idea of a Zombie party, but that got pretty gross :-)