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Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Planned Overs


 Long before Sandra Lee taught us all how to plate combinations of pre-cooked and pre-packaged foods for the “semi-homemade” touch, and Jamie Oliver’s 30-Minute Meals became the UK’s best selling work of non-fiction ever, Better Homes and Gardens jumped on the time-saving bandwagon by giving us Meals in Minutes. The 1973 book was aimed at women who had previously had the luxury of being able to stay home and cook wholesome meals for her family, but who now had to enter the workforce and so had no time to make dinner.

It was a more innocent time that straddled the two extremes presented by Sandra Lee and Jamie Oliver’s approaches; at one end expediency could be found in a tin-opener, and at the other, all fresh ingredients. In Meals in Minutes, it was still expected that most of what went into a meal was actual food, though helped along by the obligatory cans of condensed soup and whipped topping.

Another approach was to think ahead with “planned overs” like these Meat Loaf Stuffed Tomatoes. Just think how many individual tomatoes you’d have to hollow out to feed everyone, though. And in a tradition that gripped the decade with an iron hand, it was not possible to forego the addition of the decorative processed cheese and sprig of parsley.

Meals in Minutes, Better Homes and Gardens, 1973

Also from this book: Ham Sandwich Deluxe, Pacific Rim Job

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