For What It's Worth

Thursday, February 2, 2023

Vintage cookbooks Part 2 - the personal touches...

Last year, I wrote a post about several vintage cookbooks that I found at Powell's Used Bookstore. 

I had meant to follow it up with the newspaper clippings that the previous owner had tucked in her Better Homes and Gardens 1965 edition.

I got such a kick at seeing the ads (all from the 1965 San Francisco Examiner newspaper), and what recipes were trendy at the time and the cost of things. The original book owner was also a member of Weight Watchers and had a lot of meeting notes and recipes - "for ladies" lol

In these clippings, you can find recipes for  Gourmet Halibut Mousse with grapefruit and avocado, Corn Custard, and for a special "gala occasion" there's Breast of Chicken Pergourdine - boned chicken breast rolled in chicken liver stuffing. Yum

There's Mrs. Robert Preston's Black-Eyed Beef and Husk Salad, which won the National Cooking Contest search for Australia's *The Great Australian Dish*.  Black-Eyed Beef is filet of beef - stuffed with prunes and bacon, dotted with butter, baked then brushed with an egg yolk, wrapped in puff pastry then baked again. The Husk Salad is sliced ham, pineapple, tomato and croutons.

There's a hearty salad recipe of strips of bologna, cheddar cheese tossed in a green salad - "the family will eat it all up."!

The recipe for beef stew called Carbonnade a la Flamande, described as a Belgium peasant dish, sounds good and I think I'm going to give a try. It's basically, chuck roast cut into 1/2 inch thick slices (not cubes) then arranged side by side with onions, broth, beer, veggies and herbs then baked at 300 for several hours. It sounds really easy and delicious. 

The ads are hilarious. You can see the evolution of cooking (& the women's social revolution) happening at this point. There are more processed foods to add to fresh food for busier lifestyles and working women. 

~ Spray starch - for the woman who doesn't really have time to iron!

~ Post Toast'em Pop-Ups please try us and we'll give you .50. In cash!

Trivia - Post invented the mylar bags to keep moist food fresh but weren't able to ramp up production before Kellogg's snuck in and beat them to the punch with Pop Tarts. Post finally rolled out Country Squares but they never took off, so they rebranded as Toast'em Pop Ups and were willing to give you .50 in cash to give them a try.

Then we have the personal notes, mostly from Weight Watchers...It cost $2 a week and they had very strict rules of attendance and weigh ins. And you mustn't lose your original handout (pic below) You will NOT get another!!

Per usual in the 60's - there is lots of gelatin lol and we were starting the anti sugar trend with the *pink stuff* and liquid no-calorie sweetener. Diet soda, cottage cheese, skim milk (powdered) and fish were popular as diet foods.

My favorite thing about finding this particular cookbook was that it was so personal. With all the clippings, WW handouts and handwritten notes/recipes, I feel like I made a friend. 

I don't know her name but I think of her as Jane lol

I know she made a lot of friends at WW and loved recipes that had baked vs fried versions. She like baked hamburgers. She also really enjoyed the summer popsicle recipes. And I think she liked to entertain. She clipped a lot of fancy recipes and had a note to make sourdough bread. Or maybe, like me, she just thought they looked good and then got lazy and never made any of it lol

It also makes me wonder what Jane's later years were like. Was she still married? Did she move from San Francisco to the Portland area where I found this book - or were the books passed on to family and they no longer wanted them? Did they love Jane and cherish the personal touches, at least for awhile?

Finding this cookbook has sort of kicked off the vintage cookbook collector in me. I now spend hours perusing the cookbook section at Powell's looking for books with inscriptions or clippings/handwritten notes. My cutoff is $10 to buy it though unless I think I will actually use the book. 

I am really not a collector so this a weird development! Honestly, I think it's because I'm getting old(er) myself and maybe becoming a touch sentimental. Again, weird...I'm a very unsentimental kind of person lol.

Let me know if you collect anything or think I'm getting weird in my old age 🤣

Monday, January 30, 2023

Monday Musings...Life, Reading & Watching


Life: Nothing really exciting for last week. Still no movement on the insurance issue - but I have to give it 7-10 days before I can yell again lol Still nothing about replacing our dented refrigerator door either - there is no one from LG in our area available at the moment but they're trying to get a third party person. 

On a good note - I'm still plugging along reading, visiting blogs and I drafted FOUR posts this past week! WHO AM I? 

I have an EKG next week. I'm a bit nervous (about the results - not getting the EKG) and need to make a point of signing on to my Calm app. I do the Winnie-the-Pooh meditation series with Tamara Levitt lol (here's the link if you use The Calm app) I had high blood pressure for the first time in my life at my last Dr visit and need to chill out. 

On that note, the sun finally came out on Sunday. It's been months since we had a full day of sun. Winters are rough on me and I can't even tell you how much it gave me a mental boost.

I'm still listening to Partners in Crime by Alisha Rai, finishing up Heartstopper Volume #4 by Alice Oseman , and started Chick Magnet by Emma Barry. - I adored Barry's Fly Me to the Moon - race to space romance series. Her books are always super romantic and smart, and I know that she raises chickens herself. I saw it was on Kindle Unlimited so I downloaded. Really cute start so *fingers crossed* it continues. 

Violent Night ~Peacock Network
 - Not your mothers Saint Nick. This is ultra violent and and it's Santa doing most of the killing's in the spirit of Christmas and for the children lol 
Santa is drunk and disillusioned, but won't let young Trudy fall victim to a team of mercenaries that breaks into her wealthy grandmothers house on Christmas Eve.

Not for the faint of heart, and it can be uneven (plot wise) at times but dare I say? - has a nice message among all the carnage lol

And if you're in the mood for more Christmas in February - we also watched Spirited with Ryan Reynolds and Will Farrell (AppleTV) & Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special (Disney+) back in December and loved both.

If you like musicals (or even if you don't - I do not) give Schmigadoon (AppleTV) a try. I did not expect to enjoy this 1940's musical parody, starring Cicely Strong and Keegan Michael-Key, as much as I did. The (modern day) troubled couple fall into a magical town where everyone dances and tropes abound and try to do everything they can to find a way out.  

That's it for now. I have more posts scheduled for later this week. And for next week. And the week after!!! Gah. Hope I don't burn out and not post again until August lol

How was your week? let me know what you're reading or watching.

Thursday, January 26, 2023

Review: Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin

In this exhilarating novel by the best-selling author of The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry two friends--often in love, but never lovers--come together as creative partners in the world of video game design, where success brings them fame, joy, tragedy, duplicity, and, ultimately, a kind of immortality.

On a bitter-cold day, in the December of his junior year at Harvard, Sam Masur exits a subway car and sees, amid the hordes of people waiting on the platform, Sadie Green. He calls her name. For a moment, she pretends she hasn't heard him, but then, she turns, and a game begins: a legendary collaboration that will launch them to stardom. These friends, intimates since childhood, borrow money, beg favors, and, before even graduating college, they have created their first blockbuster, Ichigo. Overnight, the world is theirs. Not even twenty-five years old, Sam and Sadie are brilliant, successful, and rich, but these qualities won't protect them from their own creative ambitions or the betrayals of their hearts.

Spanning thirty years, from Cambridge, Massachusetts, to Venice Beach, California, and lands in between and far beyond, Gabrielle Zevin's Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow
 is a dazzling and intricately imagined novel that examines the multifarious nature of identity, disability, failure, the redemptive possibilities in play, and above all, our need to connect: to be loved and to love. Yes, it is a love story, but it is not one you have read before. ~ Goodreads

Source: ALC (Advanced Listening Copy) from in exchange for an honest review

Review: I read this book in August of 22' and it left me feeling...discombobulated lol

On one hand, I loved the story of two people (Sam & Sadie) meeting as children as we follow their professional and personal relationship over decades. I also loved the deep dive into the gaming industry in the early 80's - from the design to production of their game (Ichigo) from the ground up to the toxicity towards women in gaming and cultural appropriation. Despite not being into gaming, or knowing much about it, I found it interesting and woven into the story in a seamless way.

However, this book was a big downer most of the time and I'm not a fan of downer books. I like to escape and end the book with a big smile on my face and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow is not that book.

Having said that though, it's such a realistic portrayal of a friendship and life - the ebb and flow that naturally happens. There are very few friendships that are completely drama free for almost 30 years. Sam and Sadie are no exception.

They meet in the children's ward at the hospital where Sam is a patient. Sadie is the only person who seems to be able to get him to talk after a car accident that crushed his foot and leaves him in chronic pain and with painful memories. Their shared love of gaming sets the course for a decades long friendship where they create the game Ichigo, sell it, get rich, but then have a falling out. 

They are never as good apart as they are together though and their mutual friend Marx and, Sadie's then boyfriend, Dov encourage them to join forces again.

Sadie and Sam have such an interesting (platonic) relationship. They can finish each others sentences, create brilliant, beautiful things, pull each other out of moments of despair in ways that no one else can - yet they hurt each other in ways that no one else can too. They also walk away from each other at low points so easily and it's hard to grapple with that as a reader. You want to root for them so badly, but they aren't always people who behave in a way worth rooting for.

Yet...this is being human right? We don't always do the right things and we do let each other down. The (complicated) beauty of this book is how Zevin tears things apart but pieces it all back together again. Not in a neat, wrapped in a bow way - but in a messier, more complicated - this is reality - way. 

While the book is mainly about Sam and Sadie's story, there are several other characters that play prominent, influential roles. 

There were a few things that I didn't love about Zevin's writing - although not explicit - some of the sex(ual) scenes were just plain weird, especially in Sam's case and disturbing with Sadie and Dov, her professor/lover. 

I did appreciate how Sam's disability and chronic pain were addressed. He was not miraculously cured and is shown making needed adaptations (a cane) and having periods of debilitating pain and just begin an ass to everyone because of it - which I think is natural. He is also successful and has relationships (he is bi sexual)/ friendships.

Sadie on the other hand was not handled as well, IMO. From an improper, then abusive relationship that's sort of not romanticized, exactly, but dismissed, to her, I felt, clinical depression that's also not really addressed. 

And there's just a lot of pain. Bad things kept happening. And happening. As much as I laud this book for being realistic, it got draining, but again...I usually read much lighter fare. Your milage may vary.

It' so hard for me to give a clear cut opinion on this book. I loved it, I hated it, it made me sad, made me hopeful....I don't know. I'm still working through it 5 months later so maybe that's all you need to know about it. lol

Ethan over at A Book A Week listed it as one of his favorites for 2022 so check out his review here.