Dated….But Maybe Worth Saving?

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We are having our kitchen renovated, and I now have a better appreciation for all of those horror stories about living without a sink or a stove or a dishwasher. I know these are minor inconveniences compared with what many people in the world deal with everyday, but still….thank goodness it’s summer. We’ve been using plastic utensils and cups (and recycling them of course) and have stacks of paper plates and bowls on our deck.  It’s kind of fun sometimes. Cereal on the deck. Guilt-free subs and pizza (what else can we do!) and a new kitchen on the way.

One benefit of this project has been the purging process.  Why do we still have food from the Reagan Administration?  Have we ever opened this cookbook?  And fun discoveries – like Mary Alden’s Cook Book for Children. I vaguely remember finding it at a yard sale and thinking it was really charming and kind of funny. Here are a few choice sentences from the author’s introductory note:

“You will have a nice surprise for Mother, too. Because you’re going to to know how to keep the kitchen so neat and clean that Mother will never even think you used it.”  I don’t think Mother can be fooled that easily!  The cook book, by the way, was published in 1955. 

As you can imagine, the illustrations feature children who all look like they stepped out of the original Dick and Jane readers. The bread is all white. Shortening is recommended in several of the recipes. The pictures are actually kind of sweet and the directions are so simple that the youngest child could easily follow them. I like how Alden breaks down the steps: The Food You Need, The Tools You Need, What to Do and a few other helpful instructions. In the case of Puffed Eggs with Cheese Sauce, the last instruction is: “serve right away or it will fall.”

The more I look at this book, the more I think it goes in the “save” pile. Perhaps the first meal in our new kitchen will be Snuggled Franks and Cheese followed by Pink Frosting for a Mommy Cake!