Last weekend, Christopher Kimball, host of Cooks' Country on PBS talked briefly about cookbooks not so cleverly disguised as product promos. I knew that somewhere in the basement pile-o-stuff, I would find a few of these - and I did. The unsophisticated artwork, most done in primary colors, accompany pages of recipes for product related enticements, most of which have gone the way of the dinosaur.
Take this Chiquita Banana recipe booklet for starters. A fun little rebus opens the book, telling me how to determine if my banana is ripe or overripe. Throughout, an adorable banana girl dressed as Carmen Miranda points out items of interest on each page. Maybe we could all try ham and banana rolls in a sharp cheese sauce. Pan fried bananas with hamburger patties and whole carrots, anyone? One yummy recipe follows another, filling all 23 pages. Page twenty-four warns "DON'T SKIP THESE HOW-TO-DO-ITS". Here I learned how to buy a banana, ripen it, flatten, slice mash and generally pulverize the fruit. I also discovered why doctors, children, teens, athletes, slender women and old folks all love bananas. Thank you to the Home Economics Department of the United Fruit Company of New York.
Not much can top a banana, salmon, celery and mayo salad, unless it is something you prepare in your new waterless cookware while wearing an evening gown. Stylish like the model pictured here, this must-have addition to your cookware collection has a low, sleek profile and the phenolic handles and knobs complement the glowing stainless steel finish. It seems a lot can go wrong when cooking in a waterless gadget since the trouble shooting section is longer than the suggested recipes.
These pamphlets will keep you laughing and give you insight into simpler times. One cook writes to Glabber Girl - the Healthy BakingPowder - saying "At first, I was frightened of Glabber Girl but now that I am used to using it, my husband says he likes my biscuits better each day." Hmmmmm
Then there's the 10 Cakes Husbands Like Best cookbook courtesy of Spry shortening. You can bake a Chocolate Rapture Cake or a Hawaiian Lei cake - pun intended I assume. And what loving wife would not want to spend time with her husband after feeding him spicy prune whip cake moistened with 1/2 cup prune juice, packed with chopped prunes and glued together with prune frosting?
My favorite is a collection of postcard size recipes, tied together at the top with yarn. They appear to be Pennsylvania Dutch recipes with hand-written notes alongside most. Schnitz un knepp is some sort of ham, boiled with apples and smothered in dumplings. The sidenote says "When it gives schnitz unknepp we eat and eat till it gets all." At the bottom someone has written "A short prayer and a big sausage" and "Even a bird knows enough to rest after dinner."
What treasures. I wonder what other treasures will be unearthed as I continue my basement rejuvenation project.
Thanks for stopping by.