Thursday, March 17, 2011

Vintage Recipe Thursday: Nasty Jell-O of the Month

In honor of St. Patrick's Day, I present you with Corned Beef Loaf!  This recipe comes from The New Jell-O Book of Surprises, as in "Surprise!  There's Jell-O in your meatloaf!"

Since we can't have corned beef without cabbage--

This recipe is from Today...what salad...what dessert? Jell-O brings dozens of answers... (1928)
Salad Suprême doesn't sound too horrible.  I might be brave enough some day to try it!

Nasty Jell-O of the Month is sponsored by its creator, Emily, whose blog is Livin' Vintage.  Thanks, Emily!

We might as well go whole-hog vintage Irish-American and listen to some Bing Crosby:

And, of course:

Monday, March 14, 2011

Life This Week: March 14, 1938

I really think I need a themesong--anyway it's that time again.  Bringing cheer to your Monday, it's Life This Week:

How about "Five Lively Ways to Serve Doughnuts"?  I haven't had a chance to try them out, but are any of you dear readers brave enough to try doughnuts spread with cheese and toasted under the broiler?

Scary: this issue reproduces drawings from the Austrian Ministry of Defense depicting "what to do when enemy bombers attack you."  It's amazing how far in advance governments were preparing for World War II.  Photos of preparations in London and Berlin are on this page.

Be like Thomas Jefferson!  Buy Heinz pickles!

Next, we have a fun pictorial on Mardi Gras in New Orleans.  Life was invited to the Comus Ball, which had never been photographed for the press before.  I don't know a lot about New Orleans society, but I do know that Comus Ball invitations are collectors' items because they are so fabulous: this link has photographs of the 1924 invitation.

Poor Gargantua!  I'd be mad if I were in a tiny cage, too!

An article about a Mexican art show features several full-color photos and a black-and-white portrait of Diego Rivera and Frieda Kahlo.

From Dr. Macro's High Quality Movie Scans

Eddie Cantor takes Deanna Durbin on a tour of New York- I love that they stopped to have a chocolate soda.*  I have a sneaking suspicion that the world might be a more pleasant place if there were lots of soda fountains!  Netflix didn't have Mad About Music, but I did watch Three Smart Girls, which is available on DVD.  I'm embarrassed to admit it, but I liked this one.  It's basically a prototype for The Parent Trap with a few musical numbers thrown in.  Sounds ghastly, right?  Even with teenage girls (three of them) sobbing all over the place, it's a charming little movie.  Ray Milland is as dashing as ever in a supporting role and Deanna Durbin (in her first feature-length film) plays a scheming fourteen-year-old delightfully.  No, it's no Oscar-contender, but it's solid family-friendly fare that won't be too taxing for the grown-ups.  Definitely recommended for pre-teen girls.  Why didn't I know about it when I was twelve?

Deanna Durbin is way more pleasant than the fascist movement in Belgium (which I didn't even know about) or a depressing article about psychiatric treatment.

Thankfully, we get to end with fluff: an article about "loll[ing] in the West Indian sun between parties" in Jamaica.  If you'd like to see some more resort fashion, BaronessVonVintage has featured several posts on the subject recently.  She has some fantastic photos!


Neither Paul nor I have ever had a chocolate soda, so we had to try one straight away, especially since we have a fabulous soda siphon of our very own.

Chocolate Soda:

3 tablespoons chocolate syrup (I used melted leftover chocolate glaze from my Sachertorte)
1/4 cup milk (if you melt the glaze, add the milk to it in the saucepan, use very low heat)
Vanilla ice cream (we used about 1 1/2 scoops per glass, or about 1/2-2/3 cup)
Chilled seltzer

Mix the chocolate syrup and milk together in the bottom of a pint-sized glass.  Add ice cream, top with seltzer.  Makes one yummy chocolate soda.

Adapted from "Fantastic Old Fashioned Ice Cream Soda."

Friday, March 11, 2011

Dinner and a Movie: All This, and Heaven Too

image from Wikipedia
All This, and Heaven Too is the ultimate melodrama.  It had me hooked.  Set in France during the reign of Louis Philippe, Bette Davis plays a young woman, Henriette Deluzy-Desportes, who is the ideal governess.  Her kindness wins over the Duc de Praslin (Charles Boyer) and his four children, which earns her the animus of the Duchesse (Barbara O'Neil), who will do anything in her power to separate Henriette from the de Praslin family.

All This, and Heaven Too is available on DVD.


Braised Ham Slices with Pineapple
Buttered Rice
Stewed Tomatoes
Carrot Salad
As promised, here's the first ham leftovers post.  I don't have a PDF for this menu, because nothing really needs a recipe.  The recipe for the tomatoes is on my Life this Week post for February 14th.

For the carrot salad, combine 1 cup grated carrots with an 8 oz. can of crushed pineapple (drained), 1/4 cup of pecans and 2 tablespoons mayonnaise.  Stir well, cover and refrigerate.  Makes enough for two.  I was seriously concerned while I was making this.  I thought, "Maybe someone should stop me," but it's actually really yummy.  Paul liked it too, in case you need reassuring. 

All you do for the ham is put a large skillet on high heat, throw in the ham slices and pineapple and pour over some pineapple juice (I used about 1/2 cup).  Heat the ham and the pineapple rings while you boil off the pineapple juice.  Be sure to move the ham and pineapple rings around so they don't get stuck.

For the rice, just make it according to the directions on the package and add butter and salt to taste.

That's it!

All recipes are adapted from Martha Meade, Modern Meal Maker (San Francisco: Sperry Flour Company, 1935).

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Vintage Recipe Thursday: Dessert and a Movie

The yummy Orange Butter Cookie recipe comes from Modern Meal Maker (1935).

I like cookies that I don't have to roll out and cut.  Call me lazy, but I prefer not to have to clean flour and cookie dough off the counter!  These slice and bake cookies are crisp and citrus-y.  Best of all, it's easy to only bake a few at a time and put the rest of the dough into the freezer for next time.

Orange Butter Cookies are to be served with chocolate pudding for a wonderful flavor combination!

Orange Butter Cookies

1 cup unsalted butter, softened
½ cup granulated sugar
2 eggs (one separated)
1 small naval orange
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
pinch of salt
½ cup sliced almonds

In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter then add the sugar and cream again. Beat in one whole egg and one egg yolk. (Reserve the extra egg white for later.) Zest the orange and mix into the batter.

Mix in one cup of the flour, then add 1 tablespoon of juice from the orange. Mix in the second cup of flour, along with the baking powder and salt. Add more orange juice to work the flour into the rest of the dough. Add just enough for the dough to come together. It will be stiff. (If you add too much liquid, the cookies will be too cake-like.)

Using parchment or wax paper, form the dough into a 2”-diameter roll that is about 6” long. Chill for at least one hour. If you’re not using that day, place roll of dough into a freezer bag and freeze. You can also make just a few cookies at a time and return the rest of the dough to the freezer. To bake from frozen, just follow the instructions below.

Preheat oven to 350˚ Fahrenheit. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper or non-stick silicon mats. You will need one cookie sheet for every six cookies. (I usually only bake six at a time.)

Slice dough from roll into 1/8” rounds and arrange on the cookie sheet, making sure to leave room for dough to spread. Brush tops of cookies with egg white and top with almond slices. When the oven comes up to temperature, bake for about 10 to 15 minutes or until browning around the edges. Cool for a couple of minutes on the baking sheet and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Yields 4 dozen cookies

Adapted from Martha Meade, “Orange Butter Cookies” in Modern Meal Maker (San Francisco: Sperry Flour Company, 1935), 118.

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Chocolate Pudding

¼ cup + 2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
¼ teaspoon salt
1 egg (or 2 egg yolks)
1/3 cup (2 ounces) high-quality semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 cups milk
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 ½ teaspoons high-quality vanilla

In a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan, stir together the sugar, cornstarch, salt and egg (or two egg yolks, both work). Place over low heat and stir in the chocolate chips.

As the chocolate chips start to melt, gradually add the milk, stirring constantly. Keep stirring until mixture boils then allow to boil for 1 minute.

Remove from heat and stir in the butter and vanilla. I’ve specified high-quality chocolate and vanilla because they will have a great effect on the finished product.

Divide between six sherbet glasses or other containers, cover with plastic wrap and chill until cold.

Serves 6

Adapted from “Chocolate Pudding” in Betty Crocker’s Picture Cookbook (Minneapolis: Macmillan and General Mills, 1950), 219.

Download and print

Image from Wikipedia
In Too Many Husbands, Henry and Vicky Lowndes (Melvyn Douglas and Jean Arthur) learn that Vicky's presumed-dead first husband (Fred MacMurray) is still very much alive.  Yes, it is pretty much the same plot as My Favorite Wife, released later the same year. Although My Favorite Wife is better known, I prefer Too Many Husbands. It's more grown up. In My Favorite Wife, it is very clear from the beginning of the film that (spoiler alert!) Irene Dunne's character is destined to end up with Cary Grant--after all, his new wife is awful.  What I like about Too Many Husbands is that Vicky Lowndes (Jean Arthur) was capable of picking two great guys to marry.  Although Fred MacMurray is the first husband (and billed before Melvyn Douglas), the script isn't prejudiced in his favor.  Neither MacMurray nor Douglas turn out to be secretly horrible by the end of the film to provide a neat and clean ending.  There aren't many films out there like this one.  I definitely recommend it.

Too Many Husbands is available on DVD.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Life this Week: March 7, 1938

It's time for Life this Week!  In this edition, I'll explore the March 7, 1938 issue of Life magazine, available online at Google Books.

This issue contains an interesting profile on Neville Chamberlain and Anthony Eden, along with the rest of the British cabinet ministers.  What's to be done about Germany and Italy?

Seems some Americans have always had trouble understanding what makes someone a Nazi: American fascists in New Jersey "hail George Washington as first fascist."

"Beautiful" Paul McNutt, the "Adonis of the Wabash," was campaigning for the 1940 Democratic nomination in 1938.  Life reports, political campaigns were seldom "launched with such fanfare so far in advance."

On a much lighter note, Life traveled to Palm Beach with "New York's prettiest models" for fashion and frolicking.

Claudette Colbert: "...I'm convinced my throat is safest with Luckies."

Movie of the Week: The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (Norman Taurog, 1938)

I didn't really want to watch this movie at first, but I quickly warmed up to it.  It's a charming adaptation of Mark Twain's novel.  The humor is done really well and I can't understand why it's not on DVD!  You can watch it on YouTube, however:

Look at what you could get for $30 in 1938!  This is from the Spring 1938 Sears and Roebuck catalog at

O.K.--I have to admit it's been "one of those months" so far.  More recipes coming soon, I promise!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Dinner and a Movie: Love Before Breakfast

Fair-use image from Wikipedia
This movie isn't much to write home about plot-wise, but it is an oh-so-stylish mid-thirties romantic comedy, so I think it's worth watching.  Plus, Carole Lombard is such fun.  (That black eye is from a bar brawl, by the way.)  The clothes are fabulous, there's a super-cute pekingese and a very deco nightclub with seating that revolves around the dance floor.  Oh, and there's a yacht party--pure depression-era escapism.

More photos from Love Before Breakfast at this website.
Carole Lombard photo on Flapper Girl

I don't know if I've sung the praises of ham before, but I think it's one of the most wondrous foods on the face of the planet.  It's so versatile and it's tasty, too!  I like to buy a huge ham, because I get the most milage out of it.  This recipe will bake the entire ham.  Stay tuned for leftovers recipes.

Baked Virginia Ham
Boiled Parsley Potatoes
Sautéed Mushrooms
Iceberg Lettuce with Grecian Dressing

A few tips for this menu:

  • Use the pineapple juice from a can of pineapple rings.  We'll use those later.
  • The salad dressing can be made up to a few days in advance.
  • Start on the potatoes when the ham has about half an hour remaining.  Start the mushrooms last.

Roast Virginia Ham

10-12 lb ham
1 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon mustard powder
3 tablespoons (approx.) pineapple juice
Whole cloves, as needed

Preheat oven to 325˚ Fahrenheit. Place the ham in a large roasting pan or in a large Dutch oven. Bake for 3 hours and 15 minutes. Meanwhile, make a paste of the brown sugar, mustard and pineapple juice. Set aside.

When only 45 minutes remain, take the ham out of the oven, remove the rind (if necessary) and score the fat. Spread the ham with the paste and poke the cloves into the ham. Return to the oven to finish baking.

If you’ve purchased a pre-cooked ham, check the package directions for reheating, but glaze with brown sugar paste for last 45 minutes of cooking, as above.

Adapted from Martha Meade, “Roast Virginia Ham” in Modern Meal Maker (San Francisco: Sperry Flour Company, 1935), 66 and “Roasting Cured or Smoked Pork” in Betty Crocker’s Picture Cookbook (Minneapolis: Macmillan and General Mills, 1950), 268.

Boiled Parsley Potatoes

1/2 lb potatoes
1 tablespoon butter
¼ cup minced parsley
salt and pepper

Wash and dry the potatoes, to remove any dirt. Slice each potato in half horizontally and then divide each half into four or six segments, depending on the size of the potato. Fingerling or new potatoes can be left whole.

Place the sliced potatoes into a 2-quart saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil and cook for about 20 minutes, or until potatoes are fork-tender and starting to fall apart. Drain the potatoes.

Melt the butter in the saucepan over low heat, add the drained potatoes and parsley and season to taste with salt and pepper. You can cover the pan and leave it on low heat to keep the potatoes warm while you finish up dinner.

Serves 2


Sautéed Mushrooms

1 tablespoon butter
¼ lb crimini or button mushrooms
1 tablespoon minced parsley
salt and pepper

Melt the butter in a small sauté pan (like an omelet pan) over medium heat until the butter foams. Meanwhile, clean the mushrooms, trim them and cut larger ones in half.

When the foam is starting to subside, add the mushrooms and sauté until softened and brown, about 5 to 8 minutes. Stir in the parsley and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.

Serves 2

Grecian Salad Dressing

1 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon sugar
¼ teaspoon paprika
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon minced chives
1/3 cup lemon juice (about 1 ½ lemons)
1 cup olive oil

Stir together all ingredients except olive oil. Slowly pour the oil over, mixing constantly. Store leftover dressing in a covered container in the fridge. Whisk to re-emulsify.

Yields approximately 1 ½ cups

Adapted from Martha Meade, “Grecian Dressing for Lettuce” in Modern Meal Maker (San Francisco, Sperry Flour Company, 1935), 367.

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Thursday, March 3, 2011

Vintage Recipe Thursday: The New Jell-O Book of Surprises

Goodies from Paramount Antique Mall

Paul and I drove out to Paramount Antique Mall Saturday.  We'd never been there before (we just found out about it).  The place is enormous.  Quite frankly, it was a bit overwhelming and Paul wouldn't buy me a 1930s waffle iron because he said he didn't want to buy an appliance with someone else's 70-year-old waffle crud on it.  Gee whiz.  Anyway, I did find a great scarf for $3.50 (I don't know if it's really vintage or silk, but for $3.50, who cares?), some vintage recipe booklets (of course--how could I resist?) and little Jell-O molds.  There were two women in the booth when Paul and I were digging through the baskets of Jell-O molds to find a matching set (We ended up with 10!) who asked me what I was going to do with them.  "Mold Jell-O..."  I mean, what does one do with a Jell-O mold?  The women looked at me like I was crazy (literally like they were patronizing an insane person--"isn't that cute--she uses Jell-O molds to mold Jell-O; she'll never survive in the real world") and proceeded to tell me about some ghastly craft project involving glitter that renders a vintage Jell-O mold inoperable.  I think I did a fairly good job of hiding my horror.

George Olsen and His Orchestra will make everything better with "Makin' Whoopee!"

It's in the public domain, so you can download it from Internet Archive.

Anyhow, with said Jell-O molds, I made a fabulous recipe from this Jell-O booklet, which was a Christmas gift from my parents.  It's from 1930:

Since I made This Side of Paradise Pudding, I have become (even more) enamored of gelatin.  It is amazing stuff, despite the artificial flavorings.  I am losing my "slow food" street cred!  These Pineapple-Orange Creams are fabulous.  They taste like orange sherbet with pineapple and mandarin oranges.  Yum!

Pineapple Orange Creams

a fun scarf--just in time for warmer weather

I'm sure you'll be seeing recipes from these booklets in the near future!

I realized I haven't posted a drink recipe in a while, so I'll introduce you to one of my favorite tipples--the Gimlet.  All it is is 1 ounce of Rose's lime juice (I want to make homemade some time) and 1 jigger (1.5 ounces) of gin.  That's it!  It looks like antifreeze in its glowing greenness (which the yellow from the lamp neutralized).  I love it.  Unlike the rest of my generation, I'm not a vodka kind of gal.