Wednesday, February 3, 2016

February After Five

It's the beginning of the month, so that means it's time for a few February suggestions from Glamour Magazine's New After Five Cookbook (1963)!

So what could our working girl and her husband or companion expect to try this month?

On some Tuesday night, they could have Cheese & Eggs Italian, a fancy way of saying eggs cooked in casserole dishes under a thin layer of ketchup. The Italian-ness of topping eggs with ketchup and Cheddar cheese is an open question, but apparently using olive oil (rather than butter) to grease the dishes is all that's  necessary for this to claim the title.

The dubiously-Italian dinner gets topped off with a mashup of an American classic dessert and a playground/ nursing home staple: apple tapioca! Why turn that can of sliced apples into a pie (or for speed, a crisp or cobbler) when it can be heated up under a package of instant tapioca?

On a Wednesday, the two might eat up a melange of leftovers:

The Beef Bouillon Melange is actually a mix of three soups: a leftover mix of canned tomato and black bean soups from the previous day's dinner and bouillon to thin it out today.

The Oriental Omelet really goes for broke with leftovers, incorporating leftover flounder from Monday (because who doesn't want two-day-old fish mixed into eggs?), leftover rice and peas from Tuesday, AND leftover spinach from Sunday. This unholy mix is "Oriental" because it has rice and a whole teaspoon of soy sauce!

A better Wednesday night might bring this:

The chicken livers are all fancy because they are "en brochette" (on skewers) with bacon, and the canned mushrooms are fancy because they're sauteed in a pan with a little butter and sherry! Plus the French dressing has some Gorgonzola cheese crumbled in it and the canned cherries are set on fire! That is one classy Wednesday night!

Friday could be seafood night:

Cod Lyonnaise w. Vegetables is another name that tries to make dinner sound more exciting than it really is: frozen fish heated with canned veggies. The Maryland Salad (mayo with chopped olives and parsley over greens) and pineapple sponge (canned pineapple on sponge cake shells) seem easy enough, but the thing that really gets me is the Southern Biscuits. Apparently to make refrigerated biscuits "southern," one just has to "tuck a pinch of grated lemon or orange peel into each." So simple! And southern cooks make it sound as if biscuits are such a big deal!

Lessons from February's menus:

1. February meals start with canned soups or broths. (I'm starting to wonder if the book's author had stock in Campbell's!)
2. Canned vegetables are terrific if you just saute them in a little butter.
3. You can add an adjective like "Italian" or "Lyonnaise" to pretty much any menu item to make it seem fancier. It doesn't really matter whether the description is accurate.
4. Hot tapioca makes a unique dessert topper.
5. Say that you're serving something "en brochette" if you want to draw attention away from what kind of food it actually is....


  1. It's bad enough February is not one of my favorite months anyway Poppy. I'm not inclined to try any one of these meals now or ever! As it is, ketchup is not one f my favorite condiments and on eggs, well, NEVER!

    Friday's meal is the worse. Gee, I wonder why there's a check by the Pineapple Sponge? Perhaps its because it is the most salvageable?

    Thanks for sharing, Poppy...

    1. My dad always put ketchup on eggs and I couldn't even look at his plate. Ugh!

      I suspect the person who owned this book tried at least some of the recipes because various ones do have checkmarks next to them, but I wish they'd actually written some notes! I'd like to know what they thought...

  2. The sparse Soviet looking drawings are making me feel depressed

    1. This definitely is not a book with lavish illustrations!