Allee Willis’ Kitsch O’ The Day – 1950′s Betty Crocker’s “Dinner for Two” Cookbook

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Featuring 425 “new” recipes plus a special “When-Company-Comes” section, this cookbook, published in 1958 by General Mills, was designed expressly for “brides, business girls, career wives and mothers of married children”. Divided into sections like Regional Meals USA, Pennywise Dinners and What Every Good Cook Knows, as is often the case with vintage cookbooks the quintessentially Atomic 50′s graphics and fonts are even better than the recipes themselves.

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There are also many tips for what to do in the presence of meat and its other food friends. Like when you’re at the market “select canned goods economically.”

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I never realized there was such a distinction between peas. Then again, I’m not much of a cook unless cooking means going online and ordering in. I’m the type to fast forward to “Foreign Lands–Hawaii” where I find this excellent dessert relying solely on colored toothpicks, maraschino cherries, canned pineapple and ice. This degree of culinary skill is right up my allee.

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There’s even a lesson on setting the table correctly as “an atmosphere of charm at mealtime forms the background for fine living.” Look how the career wife, while learning how to give a dinner party for four, sweeps into pose to peer at her table through a microscope making sure no detail is overlooked in planning a buffet to insure that “an atmosphere of informal hospitality prevails.”

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This illustration of a tourist couple taking photos next to whoever the famous Dane is depicted in statue on the rock  makes the Danish Apple Pudding recipe taste even more Danish.

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As an artist, I’m especially drawn to page 169. Not only does all it take to make Croissants is yeast, Bisquick and water but it suggests that you serve Chocolate Eclairs along with them. Better yet, the recipe merely points you in the direction of a box of Betty Crocker Cream Puff Mix and you’re on your own from there.

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Look how interested the potatoes are at how they’re going to be sliced:

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When not looking at the pictures there are wonderful ideas to cook for your +1 like Baked Prune Whip and Unbaked Prune Whip.

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I’m actually having three people over for lunch today and two more over for dinner tonight. One group will be eating Italian and the other Chinese and, despite the fact that Betty Crocker says this cookbook is perfect for “the working girl, active in her career and social life”, I will be spending no time in the kitchen at all.

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Categories: Art, Book, Brands, Food, Kitchen, Kitsch, Kitsch O' The Day

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8 Comments

  • Carrie says:

    I think I have this cookbook…will have to look for it this afternoon. Mine might be a later edition.

  • Allee says:

    Post it at AWMOK.com if so.

  • Carrie says:

    I do have a copy the 1970 edition. Will post it when I get a chance!

  • Allee says:

    Excellent!

  • margaret y. says:

    I have a similar set of cookbooks but they are the Better Homes and Garden ones. I’ve never cooked from them but I read them for laughs. Kitsch galore!

  • Mooshe says:

    I feel like I’ve seen this cookbook in my mom’s collection, but only because those potato eyes are something I could never forget. They’re so dainty! I love these illustrations so so much.

    The idea of a +1 cookbook is exciting, but this is not the one. Prue whip seals that deal. Once I made the grand discovery that if you reduce a cookie recipe to 1/4 cup flour you have the perfect portion of cookies for two… but realistically it’s the perfect portion for just me because I don’t put that kind of effort into dividing fractions if I’m not intending to stuff my face.

  • Allee says:

    I’m with you.

  • john says:

    looking awesome.. book is looking great,,
    :)

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