Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Yule be sorry! (No, I'll be sorry that I kept that cheesy-ass title...)

I enjoyed the old Woman's Day from my birthday so much that I tracked down another old issue.

Coming straight at us from December 1975, we have a Woman's Day promising the Best Christmas Ever!

I'm pretty sure my mom had this one because I recognize the candy cane, bell, and star ornaments on the cover. She didn't sew them together into a garland, but kept them as individual ornaments that a certain perpetually-clumsy daughter couldn't break. (I'm serious about perpetually-clumsy, too. I still refuse to buy glass ornaments even as gifts for other people because I know I'll just shatter them-- probably on the way from the checkout counter to the car.)

But you're not here for the crafts-- you're here for the recipes.

If you need to know what a "Busy-Day Dinner" looks like, here's my favorite:

I'm sure Cheese- and Broccoli-Topped French Toast was fine, but when I hear French toast, I think sweet! Telling the kids they're getting French toast for dinner and then presenting them with a plate full of Swiss cheese-topped broccoli is not likely to end well, even if Santa IS watching to find out who's naughty.

My favorite recipes actually came from the ads rather than the articles, though.

Apparently fruitcake was still a popular gift, but '70s homemakers were less and less inclined to make it from scratch. Pillsbury came to the rescue:

Make your fruitcake out of Pillsbury Bread Mix! Somehow, for me this picture is exactly what Christmas in the '70s should be-- mostly faded brown so it looks all natural/ earth mother-y, with hits of red and green from the candied cherries and the scent of real evergreen in the background. The bread's from a mix and the greenery is from the local greenhouse rather than the trees in the yard, but '70s families could play at having a good, old-fashioned Christmas the same way we do.

Pillsbury really wanted into the holiday action. If your family needed a fancy main dish for dinner and the trendy Beef Wellington sounded too expensive and intimidating with its tenderloin that had to be neither over- nor under-cooked, layers of pate and duxelles, and finicky puff pastry, there was always Crescent Ham Wellington. Just heat up a canned ham, cover it with pineapple preserves, and wrap it up in some canned Pillsbury crescent dough. Bake, et voila! Easy and economical Crescent Ham Wellington.

The only thing that could make this ad better would be if we got the recipes for Molded Cranberry-Wine Jell-O salad and Creme de Menthe Pie too.

My favorite recipe, though, is for a very ... unusual... Yule log. If you've always thought of the treat as a sponge cake lavishly coated with chocolaty goodness, you are in for a surprise.

And by surprise, of course, I mean canned pineapple rings, slivered almonds, and candied cherries layered with honey-and-pineapple-juice-laced Miracle Whip and frozen into a solid "log" inside a coffee can. You know-- that kind of Yule log.

Maybe the slivered almonds on the outside make it look a little log-like, but cut into that baby and it has the cheery, eye-searing colors of an edible ugly Christmas sweater.

I can't think of a better holiday gift for you than this bloodshot yellow eye-log, so we're ending on this high note!


  1. I miss leafing through my mom's Woman's Day and Family Circle magazines. (Those two are forever linked in my head, because my mom bought every issue at the supermarket.) That Yule log...just wow. ��

    1. That's funny! They're pretty much the same magazine in my mind too, for the same reason. My mom saved her copies for years and I loved looking through the old ones as a teenager, but she gave them all away when I went away to college. Now I'm buying them back.