Monday, August 31, 2009

"If you have a husband who likes to cook..."

"Pamper him! Encourage him! You are lucky indeed, even though you find yourself only a fetch-and-carry handmaiden while his genius glows."

So says the cookbook Dishes Men Like, which we found on an excursion to the Washington Antiques Fair yesterday. Publication date: 1952. Surprised? I thought not.

The text continues:

"But men are wise, not one in a thousand really wants to take over the job....So, what do we do? It goes without saying that most women choose dishes men like. And men have quite definite likes and dislikes about food. For instance, they like Lea & Perrins, the Original Worcestershire Sauce."

Yes, this fabulous little tome features 52 pages of recipes, all of which use Worcestershire Sauce in some way, from the basic--"Deviled Crackers," in which you cream a half cup of butter with a teaspoon of Worcestershire, spread it on some saltines, and bake the for five minutes--to the fancy, like "Chicken Livers and Mushrooms on Toast."

Speaking of mushrooms, we also picked up this cookbook, put out by the makers of B in B mushrooms, the cover of which would seem to suggest that mushrooms are cannibalistic. "Turkey Wiggle," anyone?

Personally, I think both the men and the mushrooms should clear out of the kitchen and make way for the adorable penguin chef who not only cooks, but serves.

The corporate cookbooks from the 50s and 60s stand in stark contrast to this final one we found, published by the West Penn Power Company in 1943, that extols the virtues of growing and preserving your own food. This one folds out and the whole center spread explains the proper canning methods for fruit, tomatoes, "non-acidic vegetables," and meat.

That's been on my mind lately, since every so often I'll make a giant batch of tomato sauce and can it. Several of the jars I put up last time went bad, though they seemed to be sealed. When I made some a few weeks ago, I just decided to freeze it instead (yo, penguin: a little help here!). But now that I have what looks to be a fairly definitive (if 76-year-old) guide, maybe I can figure out what went wrong.

Not bad for a dollar.


Erica said...

That mushroom chef is scary for reasons I can't quite figure out.

Michael said...

This hubby who cooks won't even let his partner be a "fetch-and-carry handmaiden" (though I do like that tag)--Don is mostly banished from the kitchen except for opening the wine.

As for the making-your-own-food book, that was a big trend in wartime, though I wonder with the recent scare literature about the food we eat (the latest being the movie Food Inc.), maybe that kind of book will be making a comeback. You're ahead of the curve!

Rosemary said...

Erica, it's the cannibalism. And the fact that he has those wispy little non-arms and who-knows-what below his stem-neck.

And Mike, I'd rather open the wine than be a "fetch-and-carry handmaiden" any day.

Ken said...

Penguin chef looks like the cooks they had during the slavery era.