Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Not so cool after all

You know how cool your family was if you had a microwave in the 1970s, even if the cookbooks for them were dismal? Well, 50 years before that, the coolest families had a different appliance:

Don't beat me up for using "coolest" to refer to the families lucky enough to have Frigidaire Recipes (second edition, 1929). Let the simplicity of the cover calm your nerves.

A refrigerator was a fancy appliance to have, and if the recipes are any guide, dessert was the single most important reason to own one. The book consists mostly of recipes for "frozen creams," mousses, sherbets, ices, parfaits, dessert sauces, and ways to dress up commercial ice cream if one had to resort to buying rather than making it.

The desserts sound pretty good for the most part, unless you're a kid:

Then you get treated to congealed leftover hot cereal with stewed dried fruit or canned fruit dumped on top. It hardly seems fair when the grownups get chocolate Bavarian cream or pistachio mousse.

The book also offers some chilled salads.

Even if you think lamb with oranges and French dressing sounds lovely, I think we can all agree that "cold waste lamb, cubed" is not the most appetizing description. I know it probably simply means "leftover lamb," but it sounds kind of like something the lamb left in the pasture instead.

The slim volume suggests a few chilled cocktail appetizers as well. The section even has an illustration to show off their elegance:

Lovely as it looks, crab flake cocktail is pretty boring-- just canned crab with cocktail sauce in a chilled glass nestled in a bed of ice. The most interesting cocktail did not get a picture:

Raisins soaked in sherry and topped with catsup, lemon juice, and a few chopped almonds! Say what you will, but whatever is served after a raisin cocktail has got to look better by comparison, even if it is cold waste lamb and clumped up cream of wheat.


  1. This reminded me of the reason why jello was such a popular item to bring to church potlucks in those days. It was to show off to everyone that you were rich enough to own a refrigerator. Somehow the jello culture managed to persist, especially in the upper Midwest. Thankfully I have never been witness to the Minnesotan tradition of women competing to see who could layer different flavors of jello the thinnest (I heard about this when I was in college). I hear 1/8 inch is about the thinnest they can go, and the concoctions are truly disgusting because of all the flavors that just should not be mixed... I guess this is another thing we can blame the 1920s for, along with popularity of suntans and women shaving their legs.

    1. At least Jell-O doesn't make flavors like mixed vegetable or tomato anymore. That would make those multilayers even worse...