cooking · recipes · Retro Cookbooks


Rather than spend an overdue post trying to catching with the missing days of my 100 days challenge, I thought I’d distract you by talking about my most recent obsession, cookbooks.

I love cookbooks.  I’m not much of a cook nor am I any sort of foodie, but I really love reading cookbooks, specifically those published before 1970.  They just tickle me to no end.  I love the hostess tips, the fancy layouts and some of the really odd recipes.  Recently, I acquired 2 really wonderful cookbooks and I’d like to offer my observations of one now.

This lovely book, “Betty Crocker’s Hostess Cookbook”, was published in 1967.  I picked it up for a bit more than the suggested price of $1.95 listed on the cover.  It’s in absolutely wonderful condition and is still pretty easy to find.

The book opens with a ‘Handbook for the Hostess’, a short chapter providing one with all the tools necessary to successfully entertain one’s guests.  The chapter guides the would-be hostess in how to choose the type of party to throw, inviting guests, decorating, choosing a menu, party activities and ‘special circumstances’ such as a ‘two-by-four’ party’ or ‘what to do with children’.  I’m going to share a sections from the ‘hostess on her own’ situation.

“Ask whichever of your men guests you know the best–your beau, your brother-in-law, the husband of. your best friend–to act as bartender.  Most men enjoy this role, but may hesitate to assume it without a specific go-ahead from you.  If you have to leave the room, ask the woman guest you know best to take over such hostessly duties as door-answering, introductions and peanut-passing.”

Peanut passing.  Heavens!  What would Emily Post say!

Let’s take a look at some of the potential treats our hostess might provide.    

This is one heck of a spread.  Of course, I’m not sure Ms. Crocker would encourage our budding hostess to make all of these.  There would be no time for primping!  

Let’s identify our treats, shall we?  Starting at the upper left corner and moving from left to right on each row we have:  Quick Lorraine Tarts; the obligatory cheese ball; (no recipe needed for that one, just a lot of sticks and a bed of lettuce(?); Mushrooms Royale;  Rumaki; Bambinos; Toasted Onion Canapé; Parmesan Glazed Walnuts; Cheese Strips, Pennies and Penny Surprises; Sesame Seed Squares; Guacamole; Dipsy Devil; Trio-Cheese Balls; Frosted Pate; Lobster Fondue Dip; Polynesian Shrimp Dip; and, rounding it all off, a Caviar Buffet.  Woof!  I’m exhausted just looking at that list!

In the interest of experimentation, I think I’ll make the Mushrooms Royale this weekend.  I’ll share my results.

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