I read cookbooks with the same enthusiasm that most folks reserve for reading a novels. I adore them! Especially vintage cookbooks.
With pictures. Even better when the pictures are illustrations like those by Anne and Harlow Rockwell in Betty Crocker’s Party Book (first edition, 1960). (Totally-unrelated-to-this-post-trivia: Did you know that Anne and Harlow were husband and wife, and that they illustrated many books together? Their daughter Lizzy Rockwell is also an illustrator. And now back to our programming.)
I must confess, however, that I read many more recipes than I actually cook. It’s like pinning more than actually doing. At least with blogging, I have to DO something to keep it interesting for myself and my readers. By the way, YAY, I love you! Thank you, thank you, thank you for the follows!
With this need to do something in mind, I cracked open the Betty Crocker’s Party Book with the intent to actually plan a menu. Here is what Betty recommends for A Valentine Buffet Supper:
Baked Canadian Ham
Buttered Peas with Mushrooms
Pink Grapefruit-Avocado Salad
Heart-shaped White Coconut Cake
Only recipes for the Heart Croustades and Heart-shaped White Coconut Cake are included in the book.
HEART CROUSTADES (from Betty Crocker’s Party Book, 1960)
Heat oven to 375 degrees (quick mod.). Slice bread 2″ thick. Remove crusts; cut into heart shapes. Cut out center, leaving 1/4″ thick walls on bottom and sides. Brush with melted butter. Bake until golden, 12 to 15 min.
I think it is up to you, home cook, to whip up your best Lobster Newburg recipe and serve it alongside the simple Pink Grapefruit-Avocado Salad. What!?! These are the recipes in which I am most interested. At least the grapefruit are seasonal in February (and the avocados just finished in January). I still have some that are ripening. But does anyone know what makes a ham Canadian?
Since it is 1960, and a General Mills cookbook, the recipe for the Heart-shaped White Coconut Cake is essentially: 1. bake a white cake in a heart-shaped pan; 2. put the cake together with lemon filling; 3. frost with fluffy white canned frosting; 4. sprinkle cake with shredded coconut. Easy peasy, right? Thanks to cake mix, one of the first convenience foods, it can be. Modern convenience was in vogue. It’s no wonder that some of our grandmothers are scratching their heads at our whole-food-ingredients-this and local-seasonal-produce-that food trends today.
Betty also has some recommendations for decorating your table: “If you own a beautiful lace tablecloth, this Valentine buffet dinner is the time to bring it out. Use lace or cut work mats for the smaller dining (card) tables or put them on individual trays. For a larger, more formal party, you may want to use a floor length cloth with a flounce of ruffled net (p. 37) for the buffet table. A washable pink floral design fabric could be used for cloths on the card tables for dining. Pin matching bows of the same floral fabric to corners of the buffet table.” (Betty Crocker’s Party Book, 1960)
Umm, yeah. I’m going to make dinner for my husband this Thursday, because he is taking me out for our REAL Valentine’s Day celebration dinner at Late Harvest Kitchen this weekend. I’m not sure that I will get down with the ruffled net flounces and pink floral bows, but I will definitely take pictures if I do.
Speaking of my husband, I’m going to commit blogger sin #672 and take a moment to brag. Every day from February 1st through today, my darling has surprised me with a Valentine’s Day themed gift. The conversation hearts in this picture? They are actually erasers. I squealed when I found them lying next to the spilled contents of my purse this morning.
Yes, you read that correctly. I had dumped everything out of my purse last night and left it lying on the floor of the foyer, and my husband STILL GAVE ME A PRESENT. I don’t have his grace, but I’m sure glad he does. I might even share these with him (Day 10).