Note: This is a re-blog as I wrote this in 2012 when nobody was really reading my blog (lol). It was such a fun post I wanted to share it again -Liz
Long time ago I was given a 1950s Hardcover Betty Crocker cookbook as a gift and I have found it extremely interesting. Not only is it a cookbook with pictures of food it also is a history book, manners book, time management book and how to take care of your husband and kids book. It was really a one stop shop for a 50s housewife to learn a high level overview of not only how to be the perfect wife but also the perfect host.
So with that said I thought as recent newlywed that I would jump back into this book and see what I might learn on how to make my household the perfect harmony of food and love in a world where I cannot cook very well.
Here are some tips I picked up:
- “Dress up your food for eye appeal for its the finish that counts”: Well that sure is a relief because I’m not the greatest cook so if I can make a tomato flower and put it on top of my not so well cooked casserole and that is all that counts..I’m golden in the eyes of my husband!
- “Measure exactly as a druggist follows a doctor’s prescription!”: Apparently two minutes measuring carefully may save you hours of grief. Really?? No pinch here and pinch there as my mom always said? But my mom’s foods always turned out to be amazing, how can that be? I must remember this rule and stop listening to what my mom said because Betty knows better ;).
- “Meal Planning has 5 steps”:
A) Appropriateness-Make sure you meal fits “the situation”, “the occasion” and “the family needs”. One of the comments was that the wife cooks dinner for her young son and his needs and without cooking a separate meal she dresses up the meal for grownup tastes. And this is when kraft dinner and hotdogs was born my friends!
B) Appearance-Prepare, Serve & Present each food attractively for greater appetite appeal. So basically cover up the burnt spots with the pretty tomato flowers I recently made….on it!
C) Satisfaction-Good cooking & seasoning; Right combination of food; Follow tested recipes carefully: And here is the poem that goes with it:
****”Something soft and something crisp should always go together, And something hot with something cold No matter what the weather; Something bland needs the complement Of something with tang and nip. Follow these rules and all your meals Will have taste appeal and zip.”****
D) Nutrition-Serve a wide variety of foods; Balance meals by including foods from the 7 basic groups; Breakfast should give about 1/3 of the day’s food supply. I got this! 7 basic groups and a wide variety of foods easily go into my blender and become my breakfast for the day. I don’t think Betty meant all at once but I’m an overachiever at times.
E) Cost-A food budget will help you; Buy the basic food needs for the family first; Buy less of the more expensive foods and more of the less expensive foods; Grow your own fruits & Veggies if possible.Wise words and words that easily apply to today’s world. My husband and I have a balcony and have grown our own veggies. Now maybe it was only enough for one salad but we saved $3 that week just enough to be put towards one Starbucks coffee.
- Answers to questions on types of service (really there are TYPES??): yes there are types!
A) English or Family Service-Food is served by the host or hostess from trays on the table (like many of us still eat today).
B) Russian Service-Formal service by the staff of the house. The host and hostess have no part in the serving.
C) Compromise or Mixed Service-Mains are served at the table while the rest of the dinner (soup, salad etc.) are brought from the kitchen by the help.
WAIT! Where is “Sit at the TV and eat”? Oh yes it is there under “Be flexible with mealtime locations”. Ahhhh…that is more my husband and I right now in our busy lives.
So what have I learned from this short lesson? I have learned that I love many things about the 50s but some of its ways of doing things in the kitchen don’t exactly work for me in my modern iPhone living world. I love my microwave and my husband being the cook and not worrying about what side my fork goes when I sit down to eat. I will tell you though, that I 100% LOVE the idea of garnishing everything I make and will be taking that lesson into the kitchen with me.
Last note, I did enjoy reading this cookbook and there were so many more fun tips and trick that I would love to share with you lovely readers in another post sometime soon. So stay tuned for some more helpful tips from Miss Betty Crocker.