So what does this have to do with vintage cookbooks? Well, I just picked up "Metropolitan Cook Book" (a pamphlet put out by the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company in June 1959) mostly because the whimsy of the pictures made me think of my sister.
We'll need some fanfare to start our tour:
How about an all-food band? I never knew pears could play trumpets or that a partially peeled potato could strike me as being scantily clad, but there we have it.
Some of the food seems eerily happy or excited about the prospect of being eaten:
The cake is so delicious that it can't resist tasting itself, and the carrots, tomatoes, and other veggies are beaming as they line up for a dunk in the soup.
Other foods are less sold on the idea of being consumed, though:
The eggs have mixed emotions:
One egg seems really pissed off at the big egg for hatching. Maybe he thinks hatching is a bit inappropriate in the view of women and children. (At least, I assume that is what the hat-wearing egg with her passel of tiny eggs is meant to represent.... I'm not quite sure how we have a mommy egg with baby eggs, but I guess I have to take this world on its own terms.) That egg between angry egg and hatching egg breaks the fourth wall by returning the viewer's gaze. He seems a bit worried about what we're thinking of all of this, perhaps concerned that we will guess his secret identity. I stared at him for a few minutes, and I think I figured it out. I'm pretty sure he's Jason from Home Movies. What do you think?
The egg family isn't the only unusual family. In its own way, this one makes more sense:
The parental cake is having trouble keeping those leap-frogging little cupcakes in line. Maybe the cake should have thought of the realities of parenthood before anybody pulled out the muffin tins....
I wanted to make sure you had at least a few recipes to go with the pictures. If you need some lunch ideas, how about a nice peanut butter and deviled ham sandwich? Cottage cheese with watercress and mayo?
The picture, as far as I can tell, has nothing to do with any of the suggested sandwiches. It also doesn't have much of a sense of scale. It looks as if a grape tomato is exasperated to find itself in a sandwich consisting of half a fish that has not been cleaned (scales, bones, and all!), a teeny weeny strip of bacon, a miniature pickle, a fried hummingbird egg, and maybe a couple of saltine crackers, along with a small patch of aquarium gravel and a berry still on its stem. That will be one memorable sandwich!
This picture probably reminds me the most of my sister's sense of humor:
And to cap it all off, some rolls that have yeast in their pockets AND they're happy to see you:
Know what I mean? Wink, wink. Nudge, nudge. Say no more.