Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Yeah.... let's just focus on the guac

I've often mentioned that I'm glad to be looking at books from older times rather than living in those older times. The casual racism and sexism can come through loud and clear. Given recent events, though, it's hard to feel too smugly superior looking at this 1958 cookbook (though mine is the 1963 printing) from the year 2015:

The Women's Auxiliary to the Ocean View Memorial Hospital in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, thought it was a great idea to have the stereotypical Mammy serving up turkey on their cookbook cover. Because of course they would.

The book is packed with titles like "Plantation Soup" and "Jefferson Davis Pie," just in case the antebellum longing wasn't palpable enough.

Of course, the editors might argue that their racism was equal opportunity:

They were perfectly happy to include these caricatures with the recipe for "Chinese Chop Suey" (which at least is stir-fried rather than pressure cooked and has soy sauce and Chinese [bead] molasses rather than cottage cheese and sour cream)...

...and they thought it was a fine idea to represent chili sauce with these sombrero-clad Mexicans resting in the shade of some cacti.

Of course, the defense that they turned all kinds of groups into stereotypes would fall as flat as a glass of Coke left in the sun on the front porch all day. In the immortal words of Batman, "That's not helping."

It seems sizable segments the Carolinas have not progressed nearly as much as one would hope in the 50+ years since this book was printed.

There are plenty of weird recipes and oddly charming and/or puzzling pictures once one can get past the outright offensive ones, so entries from this book will show up again.

For now, though, I will leave you with one related to an entirely different (and much more lighthearted) current controversy: guacamole.

There are certainly no peas in this recipe, but I'm pretty sure purists would not be so excited about this guac being a cream-cheese-based dip! Those touting the "healthy fat" in avocados would be horrified as well, since this version is loaded with dairy fat.

It sounds pretty delicious to me. Avocado, cream cheese, hot sauce, lime juice. What's not to like? I'll be offended by the rest of the book and give this recipe a pass.

Happy Cookbook Wednesday! Thanks again to Modern Day Ozzie and Harriet for hosting.


  1. The chop suey recipe looks like a pretty good pan of stir fry, and I love Mrs. Cameron's 1930s lettering.

    1. The recipes are all hand-lettered. It's interesting to go through and look at all the styles.