Saturday, July 23rd, 2005

Virtual 40’s-70’s Party

After completing the book meme that was going around a while ago, Deepfry (from Yum!) and I discovered we both share a love for collecting cookbooks from the 40’s-70’s. We started talking and decided to co-host a virtual party…

If you’d like to participate, here’s the deal:

1. Either host a real party (we’re hosting ours on August 13th) and have your guests bring dishes from the 40’s-70’s OR if you don’t want to host a party, just make a dish from the 40’s-70’s.

2. Photograph your food.

3. Post the photo(s) on your blog by August 15th and email the link to me or Deepfry. If you’re really feeling into it, please also post the recipe and/or a picture of the cookbook you used. If you don’t have a blog but would like to participate, just email us the information and we’ll post it.

Here is some inspiration:

Hope you can join the party!

Update: Don’t forget about the accompanying Does My Blog Look Tacky in This? contest

41 Responses to “Virtual 40’s-70’s Party”

  1. Time to blow the dust of the old fondue pot, I guess.

  2. Dr. Biggles says:

    Yuck. I collect those books as well, love them dearly. But when I sit down to go through them and find something to cook, I just can’t believe what people were eating back then. What was supposed to be fancy party food I wouldn’t feed to my parakeet. Time to go a hunting for cream of shrimp soup!

  3. megwoo says:

    Cream of shrimp soup? That either sounds really good or really scary.

    I’m thinking about doing an aspic…

  4. kevin says:


    Notice the presence of both cream and shrimp: http://seriouslygood.kdweeks.com/2004/10/shrimp-bisque.html

    I think I’ll dig up something from Aromas and Flavors (1958) by Alice B. Toklas.

  5. Dr. Biggles says:

    No, I will not be cooking from the 1960s Campbell’s soup cookbook. I just can’t do it. Sorry, maybe I should do something from the Reynolds Wrap Cookbook from the same era? It’s scary.
    I found one cookbook, from about a hundred years ago and found something I’m attempting today. We’ll see how that turns out, I’m distracted at the moment and that don’t lend well to good images.
    The book is kinda interesting, was not available in stores. From a salesperson or publisher directly. They offered a penny per word if you submitted something worth printing. The printing and cover are not that high of quality, so I’m figuring it was a semi-mass market deal. It seemed to gear itself towards young wives who were just starting out. The first half of the book went in to detail about how to keep a home, family and budget. What chores needed doing at what time and how to do them. It unstructs on shopping for food each day and how to manage your menus throughout the week. THEN, it went in to basic recipes that would get you started and take you from the daily grind, to parties to anything else you needed to do to be a successful wife and homemaker. I think one of the things that makes my skin crawl is that the women had NO identity. I have a handful (big handful) of cookbooks from this era and NOT ONE woman used their name, not even their first name. In every instance it’s, Mrs. Grumpy Fatbutt or whomever. Nobody knows. An important bit of history.


  6. kevin says:


    “No, I will not be cooking from the 1960s Campbell’s soup cookbook”

    I’ve got that book.


  7. Hey, this is going to be fun, all you doubting Thomases (or Biggleses) out there! :-)

    Biggles, I have a book like that, that was my Mom’s. They were used as promos for the “new bride”. Hers was from her wedding photographer but I think that furniture stores or maybe appliance centers also handed them out.

    I’m planning on checking mine out for some inspriration – or I might just go back to one of the early Better Homes and Gardens or Betty Crocker cookbooks!

    ~ B

  8. Dr. Biggles says:

    Heh, I think a lot of people have that Cambell’s soup cookbook. Do you have any of the Cutco cookbooks? Those are pretty cool too, nice illustrations of meat.
    I’ve also got a stack of hard back Frugal Gourmet books I could use here. Just for the FREAK factor, ya know.
    Another cool book, Let’s Cook It Right by Adelle Davis. She’s very cheeky and writes very well. Not only do you get the recipes, but you get her view on how to get it right, the finer points. A book that was very ahead of it’s time for 1947. Although this copy I have was reissued in 1962.


  9. megwoo says:

    Your shrimp bisque sounds divine! I want to try that recipe out. Let me know what you pick out from “Aromas and Flavors”. I don’t own that cookbook, so I’m curious. Is that the one that contains the famous recipe for hashish fudge?

  10. megwoo says:

    Biggles, please, please, please cook something from the Reynolds Wrap Cookbook. That would be hilarious.

    How did your recipe turn out? What were you making?
    I have a similar cookbook (or maybe it’s worse) that’s written for Asian women who are working as cooks and maids in American households. It goes over stuff like how to dust and how to turn on the oven and then has a section of scary sounding recipes. It is gross to think about how subservient women were back then, but it’s also refreshing to realize just how far we’ve come in a relatively short period of time.

  11. melissa says:

    Those sites are hilarious! Though I’m afraid I’ll never be able to look at my own dinner creations without wondering if someone else would describe them as “tumor-studded bruise cake” or “chopped-off alien fetus pods”. Oh my god, I can’t stop laughing!

  12. megwoo says:

    I don’t have a Cutco cookbook, but it sounds like I need to get one. I do have this really funny cookbook that is all about the “revolutionary” cooking substance (which I can’t remember the name of right now), which was like the first Crisco. Every single recipe is deep fried. Oh yeah.

  13. megwoo says:

    Glad you got a laugh out of them. I think the descriptions are hilarious, but also kind of true. Like, what were they thinking??!!

    Here’s my latest find, described as a collection of “hideously glistening meatage”:

  14. kevin says:

    I was thinking I might start with Tomato Cheese Fondue using Cream of Celery soup.

    I read somewhere that the hash brownie story was apocryphal. Although some of us did try making them back in the 60s.

  15. megwoo says:

    Hey, no using words I have to look up in the dictionary ;)

    Tomato Cheese Fondue sounds yummy; using Cream of Celery soup does not…

  16. eliz says:

    when filling out the cooking meme, i had two flashes of 1940-1970s brilliance:
    1. the fondue pot my neighbor gave to me. he won it somewhere. i’m sure it stinks.
    2. the “pizza cookie” my mom always made for my elementary school teachers as hanukah/christmas presents. what says mid-century middle america more than a massive cookie smothered in marshmallows, chocolate chips and peanuts?

  17. megwoo says:

    Eliz, I was thinking about fondue as well. Can you believe that I’ve never had it? The pizza cookie is awesome. Too cute.

  18. Dr. Biggles says:

    Oh man, I did up the steak recipe from the 1909 cookbook last night. I read the ingredients and thought I had it figured out. Then after I had my meez in place I actually READ the procedure and all the simmering and stuff was just for the SAUCE !!! Turned out to be one of the best things I’ve done in a long time. It disapeared very quickly. I was going to write that up today, but just didn’t get around to it. It doesn’t fit in with your 40s to 50s theme, so I’ll dig out the Reynolds aluminum foil cook book. Heh.

  19. megwoo says:

    Wow. Sounds intense! I can’t wait to read the write up!

  20. cindy says:

    Two words for you ladies: Sandwich Loaf. Get ready! It’s my stepdad’s favorite.

    Also, Megan, not sure if you’ve seen this:

  21. megwoo says:

    Holy crap, that’s freaking FUNNY!! I’m dying to know what the captions say. It’s giving me bad ideas for my dish…

    Can’t wait to read about your Sandwich Loaf!

  22. eliz says:

    can we see the recipe for the sandwich loaf?

  23. cindy says:

    the recipe for sandwich loaf is a closely guarded family secret. and only my stepdad will know if i have truly succeeded at recreating it.

  24. megwoo says:

    Shoot! Well, can’t wait to see it then…

  25. Mrs. D says:

    Oooh, time for me to dust off that 1960’s “Yeast Baking and You!” brochure from Fleishman’s!

  26. megwoo says:

    Mrs. D,
    That title is hilarious!! Can’t wait to read about your dish!

  27. Monkey Gland says:

    Right then, something from “Cooking with Powdered Egg” published by Her Majesty’s Ministry for Food in 1942 it is….

  28. megwoo says:

    Monkey Gland, I love it! Can’t wait to see what you make!

    P.S. I can’t get your website to come up…

  29. eliz says:

    megan, i just changed the co.uk to .com and it worked like a charm.

  30. joey says:

    Hmmm, I have a 1st edition Betty Crocker from the 50’s that may just want to join the party :-)

  31. megwoo says:

    Joey, Yes! Please join the party! Did you also see this? Does My Blog Look Tacky in This?

  32. joey says:

    Hahaha! That’s hilarious! Will try to see if I can whip something up :-)

  33. Howie says:

    I found an Old book of my mother’s – originally published late 1940’s – Marion Brown’s Southern Cooking.
    This bad boy has some SERIOUSLY amazing recipes.

  34. megwoo says:

    Sounds intriguing… I hope you will participate!

  35. violet says:

    this is GREAT. i get to dig up my mum’s old cookbooks from that era. killer.

  36. megwoo says:

    Excellent! I can’t wait to see your post.
    I love your ice cream sandwiches—they look delish!

  37. Summi says:

    I’m enamored by your idea. It vaguely reminds me of a party that a few friends of mine and I threw six or seven years ago. We invited people to make “fool” foods. That is, they seemed like a certain kind of food but were quite another. We dug out old recipes, many from the 60s and 70s, like the Ritz Cracker Mock Apple Pie, which contains no apples but many lemon-soaked crackers mimicking the consistency of apples. And then, there was a pinto bean pie that looked so darn much like it should have been pumpkin pie. When I bit into it, I was semi-disgusted. Mostly because what I expected wasn’t anywhere near the actual taste of the pie.

    Cheers to you!

  38. megwoo says:

    I love the “fool” food idea!! The substitutions people have come up with over the years is pretty amazing—and it’s even more amazing when they actually manage to taste similar!

  39. chris says:

    i am looking for recipes for a 60’s theme dinner party i am really stumped on a main course help!

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