The Further Wackadoodle Adventures of 1956 Mom

Dear Readers, here are some more tips from the pages of this 1956 Betty Crocker Cookbook (see earlier tips here) that I got at — guess where? That’s right! The thrift store!

Anyway, I noticed when compiling these tips that the “tip section” is prefaced by this cheerful poem written to inspire 1956 Mom to keep working like a dog no matter what!

If you’re tired from overwork,

Household chores you’re bound to shirk

Read these pointers tried and true

And discover what to do

–1956 Edition of Betty Crocker’s Picture Cook Book

As you can see, comfortable clothing for 1956 Mom consisted of a pencil skirt, and apron tied tight enough to cut off circulation to the kidneys and shoes that one’s heel didn’t fit into.

Which was a big improvement over the comfortable clothes Betty Crocker suggested for 1955 Mom which was a sturdy pair cactus needle pedal pushers, a cardigan sweater woven entirely of straw and wooden clogs.

Oh that Betty! She knew 1956 Mom needed to conserve her energy so that she could keep working from the crack of dawn to the stroke of midnight and what better way than to alternate sitting and standing!

If you look closely at the big roller that 1956 mom is operating, it looks as though she may have inadvertently flattened her right arm! 1956 Mom is still smiling though because she got to be sitting down while she was doing it!

Frankly, when giving this tip, Betty Crocker seemed to be slacking off a bit by leaving off both the illustration and the punctuation –but hey, maybe she was trying to get 1956 Mom to use her own imagination for once.

Well, at least Betty managed to assign “head work” for 1956 Mom while 1956 Mom keeps her hands busy dusting, sweeping and washing! For instance, 1956 Mom can be planning family recreation or planning the garden or planning how she will run away from home and never ever come back.

As you can see in this tip, Betty Crocker is pointing out to 1956 Mom that with a little planning and organizing, she can train her family to help with different jobs.

Young children can clear the table or, perhaps, get a job in the textile mill down the street for 12 hours a day; while the older ones can cook or, perhaps, plow the fields and chop wood til the sun goes down because Betty Crocker knows that chances are the Child Protective Services of 1956 will more than likely never know.

That Betty has a heart as big as all get out! Just when 1956 Mom cannot wash one more dish or vacuum one more floor or think up one more plan for her family’s recreation, Betty Crocker has suggested that 1956 Mom actually sit down and close her eyes and just relax her muscles!

That’s right 1956 Mom. Betty Crocker says it’s OK to let your arms, hands and head fall limp. There now. Don’t you feel better now 1956 Mom? . . . .1956 Mom? . . .   1956 Mom answer Betty!  . . .

Hmm . . . apparently 1956 Mom is too tired to revive just yet — but rest assured Betty Crocker will keep trying . . . for there are so many more household chores still to be done!

And for crying out loud, she hasn’t even started the cooking yet!

Until next time . . . I love you just as much as Betty Crocker does

Daylight Savings Barbecue

Daylight savings time has arrived which means  it’s time to clean off the outdoor grill and start looking around the house for something to throw on the Barb-y and while you’re at it maybe find a clean shirt for Ken.

"Mmmmm . . . is that charcoal briquettes I smell Ken?" "No my pants are on fire."

Ah! There’s nothing like the aroma of charcoal briquettes and lighter fluid to make your mouth water for a big, fat juicy filet Mignon (which, by the way, is French for “to hell with cholesterol”).

In my house, nothing can put a stop to the pre-dinner moaning faster than the announcement of barbecue.  This is because my family prefers food that has been over-cooked in the Great Outdoors to food that has been over-cooked in the Great Indoors.

I don’t want to brag, but I have this natural ability for broiling, roasting and frying everything to a crisp.  I believe cooking should be a devil-may-care endeavor, and the fact that my electric frying pan is jammed at 525 degrees is nothing to get all hot under the collar about.

"Oh goody! Supper's ready!"

My family takes my laid-back approach to cooking lying down because that is usually how they end up after eating the meals I fix.

"I think there was something wrong with that souffle." "THAT was a souffle?"

But when they occasionally rebel and complain about supper being singed beyond recognition, I simply tell them it’s Cajun Style.  “They’re blackened pancakes,” I’ll explain, “the most often requested meal at Mardi Gras.”  They pretend to buy this explanation even though I’d be willing to bet they would buy no such thing at Mardi Gras.

"No thanks, I had 'em for lunch."

Actually I have a lot of little fibs I use to cover my trail of cooking smoke.  For instance, last night on a whim, I decided to fix chicken Kiev as I had some extra Kiev lying around.

Unfortunately, right in the midst of my Kiev culinary conniption fit, I got a phone call and I was amazed how quickly my supper transformed itself from Chicken Kiev to Chicken Chernobyl.

So it’s little wonder that my family was positively giddy when my husband unwrapped his birthday present.  It was a box containing 5,167 shiny new pieces which, when properly assembled, would become a deluxe barbecue, and it meant that somebody else (like Bill, himself) would be doing the cooking.

“ASSEMBLES IN MINUTES” was emblazoned on the side of the box and since there was a whole hour before supper, my husband got right down to the task of assembly by carefully reading all 158 pages of instructions then meticulously laying out thousands of parts labeled with every letter in the alphabet and then some.

"What the ?"

We all hummed Happy Birthday and watched in hungry anticipation as my husband (a mechanical engineer) struggled to fit Piece A into its corresponding Slot VII.  He admitted defeat only after the batteries in the flashlight went dead.

We ended up eating Bill’s birthday dinner at 11 p.m.  While we were waiting for the steaks to finish broiling in the Great Indoors, we amused ourselves by making up jokes about how many mechanical engineers it would take to put together a barbecue.

When we finally heard the familiar buzz of the smoke detector, we were jubilant.  It meant we could finally sit down and enjoy the delights of broiled filet mignon steaks cooked to perfection in the style most often requested at Mardi Gras.

Mardi (blackened) Gras (pancakes)

Until next time . . . I love you