Monday, March 22, 2010

Reminiscing: Party Cookbook

Another offering from Sue's collection, Jim Beard's Party Cookbook. Jim captures the 1950s perfectly in twelve pages--the look, the food, and the attitude.

One of the best things about this cookbook is the illustrations. I really think that Hanna-Barbera used these illustrations to draw The Jetsons ten years after the cookbook was published. That lady on the right looks a lot like Jane Jetson.

Any ideas about what is happening on the left with those two guys? The one looks like Mr. Spacely.

Most of the recipes in this book seem harmless, but I have to comment on the "Onion Rings." The book has this to say about them: "These are monotonous to make, but they're well worth the trouble. The mind of man has never devised a better hors d'oeuvre."

I was with Mr. Beard at first, when I thought they were traditional onion rings. They aren't. These are slices of onion placed between thin circles of bread slathered with mayonnaise, pressed together, with the edges rolled in mayonnaise and chopped parsley. I can imagine how pleasant that party would be--a bunch of people with raw onion breath (and possibly onion gas also). Ick.

I'm impressed by how inclusive these people are. They even invited some conjoined twins to the party. These guys know how to step up the wardrobe for a festive occasion, too, by wearing red pants and coordinating jackets.

Anyone know what a "Visiting Fireman" dinner is? What's happening with the lady on the left? Did some errant meat get stuck on her pearls? Is the other lady refusing the main course? Why is there only one glass of wine on the table?

Don't forget about children's parties. Back in the 1950s, there was no Chuck E. Cheese, so people had to have parties in their own homes. This was actually better for the parents, who were able to drink cocktails, which they cannot do at Chuck E. Cheese unless they bring their own water bottle of vodka. Anyway, while the other adults are passed out in the living room, Jane Jetson helps Elroy blow out the candles and cut birthday cake for his friends. Two of them can barely contain their excitement for the hamburger-themed cake eating that is about to commence. They've fed all of the string beans to the dog, so they're still hungry.

"...tonight we gonna party like it's 1955..."

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