Wednesday, December 21, 2016

A Christmas Special!

It's time for a Christmas Special!

Okay, not that kind of special. I mean this kind:

It's the Women's Circle Home Cooking Christmas Special 1978! This was advertised on the back of the December issue I featured a couple weeks ago, but I didn't have to just gaze longingly upon the ad since several Home Cooking issues came in the same baggie-- all for 70 cents! That's less than the original owner paid for just this one magazine. I am quite the smart shopper. (Of course, it helps that I was willing to wait almost 40 years and pick them up at a thrift shop-- not much of an option for somebody who wanted to cook in 1978).

To get in the holiday spirit, I'm going to start with a recipe that just makes me happy (and not weirded out):

My grandma used to occasionally make Church Window Cookies (sans coconut) for Christmas, and I absolutely loved them. I would magically materialize anytime somebody pulled out a bag of those miniature fruit-flavored pastel marshmallows. (The green ones were great to flatten between my thumb and finger and pretend they were crushed flying saucers, and the pink ones could be red blood cells. Yep, I was a weird kid.) Mix those sweet babies with chocolate and pecans and I was ALL IN. I can't believe I completely forgot about these until I came across this recipe. These may fall more into the candy camp than the cookie one, but call them whatever you want. I'll eat 'em if you ditch the coconut.

For those who wanted a more sophisticated dessert, the magazine offers this specialty:

Instant Zabaglione Royale-- for when you want and excuse to add wine to instant pudding mix.

Of course, it's not all desserts. Here's a gourmet side to offer with the fancy zabaglione:

When I see "Gourmet" in these old cookbooks, I automatically assume it means there's a can of cream-of-something soup in the recipe, but I was wrong this time. "Gourmet" in this case means using a jar of Cheez Whiz.

My favorite part of the magazine, though, is a section on some very special food gifts:

They're Gifts for Dieters! You'll note that a lot of these do not look very diet-y (Nutty Coconut Brownies with frosting? Panamanian Coconut Candy?) The note at the top of the first page suggests a need "to match the delicacy to the dieter." The desserts are low sodium (as many desserts are--) and thus, diet! Ta-da! The Panamanian Coconut Candy is also gluten free, proving that gluten free really was a thing before it became a fad.... In any case, the low-sodium offerings are the easy ones.

The prize for the most clearly diet offering goes to the dressing:

Can you imagine the look of joy on someone's face when they get a jar full of pineapple and V8 juices mixed with celery seeds, garlic, and mustard powder? Priceless! It would definitely be worth having the Polaroid ready for that moment.

The prize for the most impractical food gift has to go to this entry:

Don't get me wrong-- I loves me some guacamole (although maybe not with mayonnaise mixed in)-- but it does not make a good gift.

I can just imagine the scene: Grandpa Clarence is quietly trying to open a new pair of slippers and Aunt Shirley rushes in and shoves a bowl full of green mush into his lap, yelling, "Quick! Here's my gift and eat it right this minute before it turns slimy brown! Don't worry-- it's low cholesterol and it it will keep you from eating all that ham, gourmet broccoli, and instant zabaglione royale the rest of us will be enjoying as soon as we're done opening gifts."

Great plan. Really helps with the festive mood.

Here's hoping that if you plan to make food gifts, you are a better planner than good old Aunt Shirl.


  1. HI Poppy!!!
    I see you are still entertaining the blogging world with long ago recipes. Fabulous!!! I LOVE those Women's Circles books. I usually find them with those Work Basket Magazines, lol...

    As you know, I haven't been blogging but, I did do an update to my blog tonight and wanted to drop by to let you know and to wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas!

    It's been wonderful getting to know you through your blog these past years, Poppy. The world has gotten so much smaller since we began our blogging days. I kinda like it:) You stay well my friend and feel free to drop me a line any time. As long as I am still well I will happily reply:) (if you get a chance send me your address, I'd love to send you some duplicate cookbooks I have:) Have a wonderful New Year ahead Poppy. May it be filled with answers to all of your dreams and wishes. A very Happy, Safe and most of all Healthy New Year to You and Yours!!! Louise:)

    1. Thank you! I can't believe I've been at this for over three years now. Thank you for helping me get a start in the blogging community.

      I hope you enjoy your time with family, and I'll miss your posts. I will drop you a line soon, as I'm always happy to see new cookbooks. ;-)

  2. Gourmet Cheez Whiz, say that does sound fancy! Holiday fancy!