Sunday, July 31, 2011

Hillbilly Sashimi

Looks yummy, right? Not so fast. 

Can you spot what’s wrong with this picture?

No, it’s not the grotesque silverwear. Whoever prepared this recipe for “Elegantly Stuffed Fish” was so preoccupied with garnishing it perfectly that they forgot to actually cook it. It is also clearly NOT the 3 – 4 lb fish the recipe calls for. 

Sure, it looks nice for the photograph, but the first person who attempts to stick it with a fork better hold that sucker down before it flops off the table and across the floor trying to find the creek it came from, because it's so fresh and raw it's holding its breath and trying not to blink.

Fish & Seafood Cookbook, Brand Name Publishing Corp., 1985

Also from this book: The Heart of Pineapple, Creamed Lobster

Saturday, July 30, 2011

What We Talk About When We Talk About Gelatin

Eventually Laura said “We really should try to eat something.” Terri pushed back her chair and said “I’ll knock something up. I’ll find something” and Laura followed her into the kitchen.
            Mel flinched when the light went on, a slant hitting the wall behind me. The wet patch where the gin had spilled was nearly dry, and he absently smoothed it with his fingers. “Don’t get married,” he said. “Don’t get me wrong; Laura’s a lovely girl. You two look very happy together. But marriage is a bitch.”
            “What else is there?” I asked. There was clattering in the kitchen. They must have found something to make.
            “Just live together, if you must,” he said. He reached for the cigarettes. “I shouldn’t smoke,” he said.
            “Go ahead,” I said and tipped the pack towards him. For a heart surgeon he sure was in bad shape. You’ve never seen a heart surgeon in such bad shape.
            “Better yet, don’t even do that. Just sleep together but keep your own apartments.”
            “I think Laura would like to get married,” I said. Actually I knew she did; we’d discussed it several times. We’d even picked out the location — her father’s place near the beach. It had a big lawn. I didn’t care one way or the other but she was keen.
            Mel rolled his eyes and then closed them, leaning his head back and exhaling smoke. “Let’s play cards,” he said. “I have cards somewhere.” So we played cards, and his mood seemed to improve when he got a straight, and then two pair.

“Ta-da!” Terri said putting the mold on the table. We’d stopped playing cards and Laura had set out plates, spoons.
            It was pink, about six inches high, and quivered slightly as it settled. It looked ominous.
            “Ok, Ok,” Mel said, “What’s all this then? What’s this made of?”
            “It’s called Raspberry Chiffon Royale,” Terri said.
            “What are we supposed to do with it?” Mel asked. Laura stifled a giggle.
            “You’re supposed to eat it,” Terri said. “You can do that, can’t you?”
            “What in God’s name is in it?” Mel said, sitting up in earnest now, peering at it closely. “What are those white bits?”
            “Egg whites,” Terri said. “Don’t be an ass. It’s all we had on hand. It’s delicious, you should try it.”
The mold occupied the same space the ice bucket had been. I’d set it on the floor when they brought it out. Laura had decorated it with some watercress leaves around the edge.
“It looks like something I see in the OR,” Mel said to me, in a whisper, but it wasn’t really a whisper. “It looks like human body fat. It looks like ballistic gelatin.”
Terri had gone back to the kitchen to fetch a cake slice to cut it with. Suddenly Mel got up from his chair and walked over to the door where his coat hung off a hook. He rifled in his pocket and came back. He was holding a gun. A Smith & Wesson. A .38 Special.
“Easy,” I said. “Easy now, Buddy.”
“Don’t worry Honey,” Mel shouted, staring at the glistening pink blob. “I’ve got it.”
And he shot it to death, over and over again.

Salad Cookbook, Family Circle, 1972

Also from this book: Chicken Mousse In Aspic (A Cult Classic)Chicken Indienne, Salmon In A Sauna

Friday, July 29, 2011

They Serve Coke At Parties, Don’t They?

What is it with kid’s parties? Why must adults insist on creating terrifying tableaux of life inside the ruined mind of a PCP addict? In what possible realm of sanity does this “good time” exist? Where on earth does one find a red imitation Christmas Tree and what is it doing here? Can someone please stop that innocent child from licking the LSD lollipop? How did they get all those balloons to float at various heights like that? How many years of intensive therapy will that girl in the blue box costume require to heal her of her demons? Who the hell is responsible for Chuck E. Cheese and how did associating a giant rat with both children and food become so successful? Shouldn’t we teach children to stay away from giant rats and men dressed in rat costumes seeking to “entertain” them? How much sugar is enough sugar? Is that cake made out of shaving foam? Isn’t Willy Wonka a suspicious sounding name? Given that a “willy” is another name for “penis”? How was Crisco involved in the production of these food items? Can I go home now? Please?

Crisco Presents Favorite Family Foods, The Procter & Gamble Company, 1973

Also from this book: Sausage Breakfast Bake With Crisco, An Eye For An Eye

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Finding Mr. Goodbar

 It was only when Percy Spencer put his hand in the pocket of his white lab coat that he got a nasty surprise. He’d been tinkering away with a magnetron he’d been building for a super new radar and lost track of time, as one does. Luckily, he’d stopped off to buy a Mr. Goodbar (his favorite) on his way to work, and couldn’t wait to eat it.

But alas! All he found was a puddle of melted chocolate goo mixed in with the foil and wrapper. He pulled his hand away sharply and thought (as all the very best inventors do) “well gosh darn, how’d that happen?” — or in modern parlance, “WTF?” — because after all, he’d left school and apprenticed himself in a mill at the age of 12.

But he was still hungry, so he commanded an assistant to fetch corn kernels instead (as one does), spread them out on the table, and watched. Sure enough, within a minute, there was popcorn everywhere, just everywhere. Percy said to himself “well whaddya know?” — or in modern parlance, “Holy Crap!”  and decided to repeat the experiment with an egg.

Let’s just say it was an explosive confirmation of his suspicion that the microwaves from his machine were responsible. Let’s just say there wasn’t egg on his face when he approached his bosses with the news. It was 1945, and Raytheon, the company in question, wanted to transition their wartime manufacture of radars into something less … impractical for home use … so they gave Percy the go-ahead to develop his invention and before they knew it, out popped US patent 2,495,429 — or in modern parlance, “Cha-Ching!”

While the wife of Raytheon’s CEO used the original “Radarange” oven (six feet tall and weighing 600 lbs) in her kitchen for 30 years, everyone else eventually climbed on board the microwave bandwagon with increasingly smaller (and significantly less powerful) models; today, an estimated 90% of American homes have one.

You and I might think microwave ovens are easy to use; you just hit the timer and Start. It dings when it’s done. But back when housewives got giddy at the thought of zapping rather than cooking food, they were very complicated machines that required manuals to operate. Many of these books and brochures included a completely unnecessary section explaining the science behind the magic, as well as strict instructions on what sort of pots to use and what NOT to microwave.

Which brings us to the introduction to JCPenney’s Microwave Cookbook. It’s strange, but among the hundreds of recipes there isn’t one for hyperbole, because that’s what it serves up best. Or in modern parlance, "LOL!"

Microwave Cookbook, JCPenney

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The Pooh Cook Book

Every now and then a perfectly good and decent cook book comes along with a very unfortunate title. Hopefully, the illustration on the cover will give you some idea what kind of Pooh this refers to (the bear kind) before you run screaming to your congressman about standards and censorship.

The title is actually rather genius, because as any parent of a 6 year-old knows, the excretory arts are a subject of unending interest and delight. Getting a little boy to help Mommy in the kitchen will be a breeze if she utilizes this book, especially if she pretends to be supercool and suggests they make something from the Book of Farts, say — which any child will scoff at as silly talk. Then she can deliver the gold: "You're right, Dear; how about we use The Pooh Cook Book instead?...."

The Pooh Cook Book, 1969

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Mystery Meat

 Curiously, the publishers of The Leisure Living Guide to Slow Cooking have failed to identify any of the photos in their book. The pictures do not even correspond with the recipes on the opposing pages. This one, for example, faces a recipe for Knockwurst and Cabbage and one for Ham and Corn Casserole, both of which it most certainly is not a depiction.

Perhaps this has something to do with where they got their photos. Of those with a credit, half are courtesy of Planters Peanut Oil and half  The Pan American Coffee Bureau. None of the recipes contain either peanut oil or coffee.

It seems the generic foods photos were chosen to display the charming garnishes that accompany each dish. This hunk of mystery meat (is it still raw?) shares space with a fruit plate of grapes, strawberries and kumquats. After all, nothing makes fruit more appealing than when it has been smeared with meaty grease. Or blood.

Today’s food photography is designed to bring out the particular nature of the food; the tiny beads of caramelized sugar on the powdery surface of a meringue for example, shot in clear light with a really good lens, much of the meringue a blur — because the important part of the appeal is the suggestion of the explosion of flavor in those polished beads, and the crunch they offer against the pillowy melty softness of the fragile meringue shell. That’s all the photo needs to capture.

In MCMLXXV (which someone — we suggest the librarian — has helpfully deciphered in miniscule pencil as 1975) however, things were different. The important part was to shoot the food in an idealized serving setting. Thus each dish is served on the best or most modern china, on tables laid with cloth, extravagant silverware, cocktails, vases of flowers, and often, dessert and condiments too. These pictures sell the idea of glamorized hostessing rather than actual food.

Hence photographs of unidentified meat in promotional shots for an after-dinner beverage or cooking oil.

What any of this has to do with “Leisure Living” is anybody’s guess. One would assume this would call for fast food, not slow cooking.

The Leisure Living Guide to Slow Cooking, Books For Leisure Living, Inc., 1975

Monday, July 25, 2011

For Men Only

 So let’s get this straight: first of all this cookbook has the temerity to suggest that men exercise their occasional desire to “take his turn in the kitchen” so infrequently as to require “failure-proof” recipes that can be prepared “with minimum of time spent in the kitchen.”

Then, the recipe they provide “For Men Only” — Roasted Coconut Chips — demands the use of tools such as an ice pick, hammer, and rasp. This is just the sort of cooking project the man they envision loves: a hard object that needs to be penetrated to extract the guts so that it (the “meat”) can be subjected to fire.

Ladies: we all know what happens, don’t we? Shards of coconut shell will be sprayed in all directions; a butter knife will meet its end attempting to scrape out the stubborn coconut flesh, and once he’s put it in the oven (lit by you) and poured himself a congratulatory martini — and drunk it — and watched a bit of the game — and darling, can you smell something burning?

As a side note, check out the ass on Pepé Le Pew there, with his chef’s toque.

American Oriental Foods, Book Production Industries, Inc., 1961

Also from this book: Murder on the Orient Express

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Cheesy Nuts

 If you attend a party this hostess is throwing, and have an allergy to nuts, you’re shit out of luck.

Nothing says “Spread the germs I care” more than food that has required much handling. If you’re too busy to make this yourself, perhaps you could rope the children in to do it for you: just give each toddler a lump of cheese and a box of nuts and tell them to cram as much in as possible. You could even offer prizes as an incentive: Best Porcupine or Best Tree, for example. Or Most Likely to Succeed.

Hors d’Oeuvre’s, Lane Publishing Co., 1976

Also from this book: Eggs, A Sticky Situation

Saturday, July 23, 2011


 This is not, as one would assume, a page illustrating something delicious to serve your guests should you hold a patio party. It is a cautionary tale demonstrating the dangers of putting your pickled vegetables out on the table a tad too early.

Sometimes a busy hostess has other things to do like drinking cocktails, so in the interests of preparedness, she clips the checkered tablecloth to the table, sets out her best glassware, and hurries back to the liquor cabinet.

Over the next couple of days, rainwater fills the bowls, and insects engage in the magnificent cycle of life that has allowed them to flourish for millennia. Here, you can clearly see the eggs that have been laid among the beans and carrots. Worms have infiltrated the jar of mushrooms and and can be spied curled around them.

By the time the guests arrive, the larva will have grown to enormous proportions and demolished the cherry tomatoes. Never fear; a bowl of dipping sauce can be utilized to make them more palatable.

Hors d’oeuvres, Lane Publishing Co., 1976

Also from this book: Cheesy Nuts, A Sticky Situation

Friday, July 22, 2011


Back in 1958 when men were men and women slaved over large kettles of chickens stewing in broth and making angel food cake from packaged mix and men were inviting their buddies over for poker and women were dashing out to the store in the snow to buy precooked rice and men were sitting by the fire drinking whiskey and women were baking biscuits and mixing glaze and men were swapping notes on that hot young piece who’s dating Fred and women were baking a strawberry sponge cake because it is the middle of winter and men were lighting cigars and scratching their balls and women were breaking asparagus as far down as they could and men were playing poker and women were riffling through the cupboard to find the monosodium glutamate which is behind the jar of beans in which hides the gun and men were bluffing playfully in the den over who has two pair or even one pair and women were dismantling the cooked chicken and men were raising each other and seeing who was going to win Edgar’s watch and women were up to their elbows in chicken grease and draining asparagus and men were trying to remember how much their own watches were worth and women were putting biscuits in the oven and trying to remember where the bullets were kept and men cheered when Louis won Edgar’s watch that had been given to him by his father-in-law and secretly felt shame for Edgar and his father-in-law and themselves and women put the glazed angel food cake in the freezer for another time and men dealt another hand and women wiped the sweat away and took their aprons off and patted their hair and men poured another round and women undid another few buttons and picked up the tray and knocked and the man-of-the-house said here she is at long last I thought you’d never come and women thought he’s right, Goddamit, I never come.

Good Housekeeping’s Company Meals and Buffets, Consolidated Book Publishers, 1958

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Green Bean Casserole

 America is rightfully known for giving the world many wonderful, life-enhancing consumables. Where would we be without Coca-Cola, for example, or MacDonald’s, or Doritos, or Marshmallow Fluff? OK, I take that back: America has had a severely deleterious effect on global cuisine and health and should be avoided at all costs.

The rest of the world looks quizzically upon some US culinary traditions, which baffles Americans. The inexplicable pairing of peanut butter with jelly (jam), for instance — usually grape or strawberry — is viewed as the de rigueur filling for children’s sandwiches. They are also prone to eating things from sticks; a corndog, for example, is a small highly-processed sausage-like item which has been stuffed on a stick, dipped in a batter and then deep fried. You don’t so much as nibble the top as circumcise it with your teeth. Americans prefer to eat this in public.

Vegetables, which are only eaten on feast days such as Thanksgiving and — that’s it, Thanksgiving — only come in two forms: mashed (potato and yams) and shredded (green beans), the latter swimming in their very own bowl of mushroom soup.

This dish is called Green Bean Casserole, and is depicted in the photograph above. It is served with slices of battered, deep fried onion rings.

Green Bean Casserole

9 oz package frozen French-style green beans
1 can condensed cream of mushroom soup
½ cup French fried onions

Cook beans according to instructions on packet. Drain. Mix with soup. Bake until bubbly. Top with fried onions.

Pillsbury’s Creative Cooking in Minutes: Especially good and easy meals for all occasions, Pillsbury Publications, 1971

Also from this book: A Bird’s Eye View Of Bird’s Eye Peas

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Sweetbreads Niquette

 What is a sweetbread, you ask?

Any of the following: throat, gullet, pancreas, heart, stomach, tongue, cheek, salivary gland and testicles.


Grand Diplôme Cooking Course Volume 13, The Danbury Press, 1971

Also from these books: In Your Face!Your Goose Is CookedVatel’s Haddock Up To HereFrankfurter Salad

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

Monday, July 18, 2011


 Dear People of Nointel, France

Do not be alarmed: that strange rumbling you feel under your feet is not an earthquake. It is merely the old marquis, Louis de Béchamel, turning over in his grave. <<Pourqui?>> you ask?

Look no further than this page from the Tappan Microwave Cooking Guide for your answer. Note that the sauce consists of margarine, nonfat milk powder, flour, and water, which is then fashioned into a stick and frozen, to be reconstituted at a later date for the sake of convenience.

The recipe for Easy Bechamel Sauce is actually a Zen Koan because it complicates what is genuinely easy but wants to persuade you that the added steps will make it easier. This is a paradox that will melt your brain, artfully depicted in the photograph. 

Actual Béchamel Sauce

Melt knob of butter in a pan. Stir in just enough flour to make a roux, and cook slightly before slowly adding milk. While sauce thickens, stir in additional seasonings (cheese; nutmeg; salt; pepper; etc.) 
Et Voila. 

Tappan Microwave Cooking Guide

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Who’s Afraid of Betty Crocker?

George and Martha are newlyweds negotiating that difficult transition from singlehood to coupledom and things have come to a head. Martha is saddened both by her inability to conceive and frustrated by her impotence in the kitchen. How to cook for two? George drinks too much and expects his young bride to start entertaining guests. The pressure’s too much!

In her desperation, Martha purchases Betty Crocker’s Dinner For Two Cookbook. For a little while, at least, this keeps the demons at bay; every night she and George sit down to dinners like this:

Hearty Ham Steak
Grilled Sweet Potatoes
Peas Almandine in Foil
Corn Muffins from the Grill
Banana Boats

and in time, they settle into a life of stupefying dullness. Every now and then, they even make torrid love after a night out at the cinema — (she pretends George is as handsome as Richard Burton, and he wishes Martha had Liz Taylor’s chutzpah).

Then, one night, during a party, Martha is asked which American woman she most admires, and having no other role models, she answers Betty Crocker. At this, George laughs in her face, saying “You know Betty Crocker doesn’t really exist, right?” Martha didn’t.

All her dreams shattered, she picks up the book to gaze upon Betty’s beatific face on the back. “Haven’t you ever wondered why she’s always in a painting, and not a photograph?” George taunts. “But…but she’s on television!” Martha protests.

“What sort of person actually mistakes fictional characters for real people?” George spits, shaking his head.

“I am George, I am” she replies, throwing the book at him. He catches it, rips off part of the back cover and stuffs it in his mouth. "Yum," he says, "Yum yum yum." 

Selections From Betty Crocker's Dinner For Two Cookbook, Bantam Books, 1982

“The twosome does have special problems, it’s true. But chin up — this book will show you how to tackle them.”

Saturday, July 16, 2011

To Bisque Or Not To Bisque — That Is The Question

Whether tis nobler in the gut to suffer
The shrimp and veg of outrageous soup
Or to take arms against whoever serves it
And by opposing end them. To die, to sleep —
No more —and by a sleep to say we end
The stomachache, and the thousand unnatural shocks
That flesh is heir to. Tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wished. To die, to sleep —
To sleep — perchance to dream; ay, there’s the rub,
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come
When we have shuffled off this dinner date,
Must give us pause. Etc.

Speaking of tragedies, I think we have stumbled upon the weapon Claudius used to knock off poor Hamlet’s Dad: a bowl of Buttermilk-Shrimp Bisque, cooked up, no doubt, by the evil Gertrude.

The eagle-eyed among you will notice from the recipe below that this is not, strictly speaking, a bisque at all. It’s a cheat’s bisque for people so lazy they think an appetizing soup can be made by tossing some raw veg, canned shrimp, and milk in a bowl. They can’t even be bothered to heat it.

It’s a little known fact that Ophelia excused herself from a light lunch with her future mother-in-law to drown herself rather than delve into a serving.

The food stylists at Better Homes and Gardens have helpfully provided two goblets of Chilled Beet Soup poisoned wine to wash it down with.

Next time you want all of your dinner guests to go mad and slay each other in a frenzied bloodbath, serve this.

 Buttermilk-Shrimp Bisque

1 teaspoon onion salt
2 teaspoons prepared mustard
½ teaspoon sugar
½ teaspoon dried dill weed
Dash hot sauce
4 cups buttermilk
1 can small shrimp
½ cup chopped green pepper
1 small cucumber
½ cup chopped celery
 1 jar diced pimento

In bowl, mix onion salt, mustard, sugar, dill weed and hot sauce. 
Stir in buttermilk, shrimp, cucumber, green pepper, celery and pimento. 
Cover, chill.

Soups & Stews Cook Book, Better Homes and Gardens, 1978

Friday, July 15, 2011

Vive La Cuisine Franglais!

 In 1803, the young country of America bought a sizable chuck of land in its backyard from France for the princely sum of $15 million. Everyone was a winner: the United States gained Arkansas, Missouri, Iowa, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Kansas, parts of Minnesota, Texas, New Mexico, Montana, Wyoming, Colorado and Louisiana, most of the Dakotas and the city of New Orleans, thereby doubling its territory and creating the vast breadbasket that would feed the new nation.

In return (in addition to the cash), the master military strategist Napoleon Bonaparte got the satisfaction of creating a potential naval power to rival that of its arch-enemy England. Assuming, that is, those upstart Yanks didn't develop a "special relationship" with the dastardly Limeys. 

That worked out well for France.

A mere 160 years later, Better Homes and Gardens heaped insult upon injury by unleashing one of the most unwittingly offensive cookbooks ever: Meals With a Foreign Flair. In it, all the world’s cultures suffer equally the indignity of culinary stereotyping on a grand scale, including those hapless cooks, the French.

Take, for example, this delightfully futuristic rendering of a classic French dessert: strawberries on sticks poked into a ball of strawberry leaves magically embedded into a bowl of green stuff, or, as we say in Franglais, “Fraises a la mode gros folie et dangereuse aussi.”

The book recommends serving this monstrosity with Demitasse made from mixing “3 tablespoons of instant coffee and 2 cups of boiling water.”

Bon Appétit! (or as we say, “Vas te faire encule!”)

Meals With A Foreign Flair, Better Homes and Gardens, 1963

Also from this book: Bohemian RhapsodySweet-Sour Pork

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Wonderful World of Freezer Living

Home Economics: A Primer

Clarence Birdseye
In 1925 a chap named Clarence Birdseye submitted US Patent #1,773,079; a method for flash freezing foods, and utterly changed the way we eat. He sold his patents and the Birdseye name for $22 million right before the Great Depression hit in 1929 to Goldman Sachs and the Postum Company — which became General Foods Corporation.

In the early 1970s, for reasons known only to a handful of designers who had ingested a batch of really bad acid at a party, home appliances were only available in white (for squares) and avocado (for hipsters). This meant that everywhere you looked you saw a dull green, the kind nature usually reserves for edible items which have gone off and will give you a bad case of e-coli.

These two things found their perfect counterpart in the Sears Company, which produced one of the era’s most bizarre pamphlets: Wonderful World of Freezer Living. Check out the cover, on which the ghostly image of a transparent woman is superimposed upon a cornucopia of pottery and fiber. Her featureless gown looks like alien garb, and her fixed expression does nothing to bring her down to earth.

 Sears marketed their giant freezers by appealing to a housewife’s grasp of economics: instead of storage units, they were “Time Banks” in which you stockpiled leisure time futures. For every pre-packaged meal or ham hock you shoved in there, you received the potential for free time to balance life’s busy account. It’s actually a pretty complex argument that plays hard and fast with the average person’s grasp of the perceived value of opportunity.

“Each time you store food in you Coldspot freezer during the coming months and years, it will be very much like depositing money in your Bank savings account — storing it up toward some special goal. Your Coldspot freezer is a TIME Bank that lets you deposit extra time in the form of future meals prepared on the days you have time to cook, and allows you to withdraw that time later for civic or public service activities, special family outings, shopping trips — or a leisurely weekend without the drudgery of meal preparation. The time you earn by cooking and freezing good meals ahead of time will be yours to use precisely as you wish, whenever you like . . . with no penalty of thrown-together family meals to pay.”

— Jean Shaw, Director, Home Economics Lab, Sears, Roebuck and Company

You can freeze a lot of stuff, as this booklet will tell you. But the one thing you CAN'T freeze (or earn) is time. What the photo does a pretty good job of preserving is a moment in time — when housewives, giddy with freedom threw on floor-length gowns to while away the afternoon in their all-green living rooms.

Notice what’s in that freezer: no home-cooked meals there. Just Banquet TV dinners and massive slabs of raw meat. Even, if you look carefully, frozen peas.

Clarence Birdseye may have given us the freezer aisle, but most of all he was the consummate home economist: he cooked up an awful lot of dough. 

Wonderful World of Freezer Living, Sears and Roebuck Company
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