I didn't have an actual Strawberry Shortcake doll when I was a kid. My sister had both the regular Strawberry Shortcake and the "Dancin'" version. I liked Blueberry Muffin better. Anyone who can wear an enormous blue hat that is at least as heavy as her own head and drag around a pet mouse named Cheesecake has to have guts. You know her life is not going to be as easy as it is for the girl with the fluffy pink hat and matching cat. It's not blueberry season yet, though, so we're going the easy route with Strawberry Saturday.
I couldn't find much that is particularly disgusting. These are strawberries, after all! Even in the '50s, nobody wanted to mix strawberries with cheddar cheese and mustard to use as a hot dog relish or make a strawberry-and-cream-of-chicken soup casserole topped with crushed potato chips. I did find some recipes that are slightly more daring than strawberry shortcake, though.
If you like strawberry jam with a bit more of a bite to it, 1936's The Household Searchlight Recipe Book offers this suggestion:
(Note that Mrs. Emma Garibaldi listed HER OWN first name, too! This isn't from Mrs. Arthur Garibaldi. She would have understood Blueberry Muffin's charm.)
If you like to take WAAAAY longer than usual to make strawberry preserves, with the added thrill of knowing that your work is likely to start molding in the process, this recipe from The American Woman's Cook Book (ed Ruth Berolzheimer, 1942) might be better:
What fun-- cooking, then dragging the preserves in and outdoors every day for three or four days-- and if the run of sunny days stops, you have to finish cooking them the conventional way anyway! I was wondering why anyone would bother with all this, but then I remembered that houses didn't have air conditioning back then and it all made sense.
In the opposite extreme on the difficulty-of-assembling scale is a "recipe" from 1966's Favorite Recipes of Home Economics Teachers: Vegetables Including Fruits:
Dump together thawed strawberries and a box of vanilla wafer cookies (crumbled if you feel ambitious, but whole is fine if crushing them would be too much work) and throw in the fridge for a few hours. Dessert is done.
The Art of American Indian Cooking (Yeffe Kimball and Jean Anderson, 1965) recommends a combination that might sound a bit weird but is probably really good:
I'll admit that I was initially kind of hoping there would be some sweet corn mixed in with the strawberry part, but it's just straight-up sliced strawberries and sugar. The corn is in the sweet cornbread topping. I'll bet this would be good with corn in both places-- especially if strawberries and sweet corn were actually in season at the same time, which, sadly, doesn't happen.
The weirdest recipe is from Helen Brown's West Coast Cook Book (1952);
Strawberry-Almond Fritters roll strawberries in apricot jam, almonds, egg, and cracker crumbs before a brief session in the deep fryer and a sprinkle of powdered sugar. They sound like fair food from an alternate dimension where you might also order a "corn dog" that replaces the hot dog with a nice piece of salmon.
Happy Strawberry Saturday! Now get started on some strawberry preserves. If you're lucky, they might be ready by Cookbook Wednesday.