Saturday, January 27, 2007

Kraft Hostess Awards

In 1974, Kraft published a book featuring the winning parties from the annual Kraft Hostess Awards. The resulting book is as much party planning guide as it is cookbook, and no doubt it inspired great bashes in the mid-1970s.

1. What exactly were the Kraft Hostess Awards? Click on the picture above for the introduction from the book.

2. A picture of the Kraft National Hostess Award Winner of 1974. If you're looking to 'mix the hard work [of doing the layout and paste-up of your school newspaper] with fun and good food,' you might want to take a look at the menu of the winner's 'Paste-Up Party'!

3. A look at the 'Paste-Up Party' - Note the centerpiece made of newspaper flowers stuck in a typewriter.

4. 'Hang Ten'! This luau dinner party originated in Maryland, a state known for its great surfing. Nondescript squares of... cheese?

5. The 'Come To The Fair' party is a 'remedy for the middle-of-the-year-I'm-tired-of-school blahs,' as you would expect any party with Wiener-Go-Rounds would be. I really just like the plastic dinnerware, though. I especially love the salad server that is like a golden daisy. It's not only stylish, it's also utilitarian!

6. The craziest party of the 1970s was the 'Orchestration' party. Between the striped Harmony Salad and the Classical Casserole, this one had to be a Top Ten hit! More nice maize-colored dinnerware!

7. I didn't know that parties were held for threshing crews, but apparently in Minnesota there was once an 'Enough To Feed A Threshing Crew' party. It sounds pretty fancy with it's Twice-Baked Potatoes, Lawn Croquet, Fancy Lettuce Salad, and Handled Flatware.

8. And here we can confirm the formality of the 'Down On The Farm' soirée!

9. Eureeka, someone threw a 'Gold Rush of '73' party?! Well, how could you not strike it big with tin cups of Sluice Juice and a magestic Vein Of Gold (Baked Alaska)! This is, perhaps, the most creative, and the most unnecessary, party in the book!

10. The 'Annual Hobo Breakfast Gathering' - I think it's really nice that 'hungry-eyed' teenage hobos were thrown a party, but I think it's patronizing to mockingly dress up like the guests of honor in 'grubbies.' Moreover, why is almost half the menu Mexican? In retrospect, I think this is the most offensive party in the book!

11. Here's a photo of some of the hobo breakfast.

12. The 'Huck Finn Adventure Party' boasts the best looking food. The Congealed Salad is tops! This party is guaranteed to last until twilight!

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Better Baking (1952)

Here is another old baking booklet from 1952. Better Baking was put together by the home economics department of Proctor & Gamble's Crisco, a canned vegetable shortening. The front cover shows lushly colored cookies and other baked goods. The insides are filled with charming, though odd, illustrations of women with no facial features, hobos, and anthropomorphic baking implements.

1. Front and back covers

2. Essentials of Better Baking

3. Baking Equipment - This is my favorite drawing from the book.

4. "Two-From-One" Yellow Cake - Odd illustration of a (mostly) bodiless and faceless woman.

5. How Does Your Cake Rate?

6. Cake Problems: Causes and Corrections

7. Pies - Soon to be stolen by this hobo!

8. Another mostly featureless woman peruses the entire collection of "Suggested Baking References for Class Assignments."

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Love Brownies?

Here's a little one-sheet pamphlet from 1952 called Love Brownies? It was sponsored by Baker's Chocolate (General Foods Corp). It has some fun elements: whimsical drawings of people enjoying brownies, more realistic brownie images, and a nice tricolored design.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Children's Space Books

Many great anthropologists, philosophers, and people who study other things are in agreement when they say that three of the highest goals that we as a civilization can achieve are discovery, understanding, and knowledge. It is natural that, after we look at the world around us, we must look up to the heavens and ponder the vast unknown. In 1959, when these two books were published as part of the Golden Library Of Knowledge series, the universe and its bounty were ready to share its mysteries with the people of the Earth, and these books captured the excitement of the time with charming illustrations, novel descriptions of the moon and planets, and the dizzying notion of new possibilities. Of course, in the end, some of the predictions didn't come true and some of the facts are now obsolete, but Space Flight and The Moon remain an interesting slice of life from an era poised to discover the wonders of outer space.

1. Front cover of Space Flight: The Coming Exploration of the Universe

2. Front cover of The Moon: Our Neighboring World - Purchased at the great McCrory's!

3. Advance Scouts in Space - The picture shows a Vanguard returning to Earth, but the main attraction of this scan is the text describing the Space Age circa 1959. The second and third paragraphs are especially interesting.

4. Title page from Space Flight - The picture shows a string of astronauts emerging from their craft.

5. A close-up of a spaceman's suit and equipment. Unfortunately, modern spacemen have been declawed, I believe. The text on the left describes those traits that are necessary in a spaceman.

6. Construction in Space - The amphibian-like Construction Globes are pretty cute!

7. The Space Station - 'Ground control to Major Tom..' I wonder if this book's illustrator advised the art directors from 2001: A Space Odyssey.

8. A shot of the action

9. A moon observer and other craft

10. Trip to the Moon - Lift-off!

11. Proposed views of a moon inhabited by astronauts

12. A page depicting moon myths from around the world

13. In this picture, a scientist tries to identify a planet. He is pointing out various features on the planet's surface to a large audience of scientists. Unfortunately, you had to buy the next installment of the series to find out if he succeeded in identifying it, and I don't have that book. I suppose we'll never know his findings.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Do It Ahead in 1972!

Betty Crocker's at it again with this guide for busy housewives. Betty Crocker's Do-Ahead Cookbook: Recipes for the Freezer and the Refrigerator is a prime example of her 1970s publications. The book's graphics are not especially dated, but a few managed to catch my eye.

1. Front cover

2. Here is a primer on constructing your own tv dinners. Handy and inventive!

3. Here's a useful chart to better coordinate your freezer dinner.

4. Another take on the Spinach Meat Roll

5. The masterpiece of this book: the Jellied Salmon Loaf. It looks like it could probably break a window.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Family Circle (1977)

Family Circle magazines have always been filled with 'great ideas,' but the January 1977 special edition called 333 Super Cakes & Cookies really takes the cake. Like every Family Circle, it's chock-full of mouthwatering baked goods, but it's the clever decorating and presentations that really makes the pictures a sight to behold!

1. Front cover

2. Colorful Canisters for Keeping or Giving - One of the best pages in the magazine! They actually bothered to import these canisters from England!

3. Circus Cake - I guess this is pretty clever, but the clown faces are kind of creepy.

4. Pumpkin Cake - Is that supposed to be a pilgrim?

5. Shirley Jones advertisement for Sunbeam appliances!

Friday, January 05, 2007

Eat and Stay Slim

With the start of each new year comes the annual torrent of resolutions. The most popular resolutions revolve around health: losing weight, eating more nutritious foods, or exercising. For that reason, now's the perfect time to introduce Better Homes and Gardens' 1968 volume Eat And Stay Slim. It's just the thing to start you on the way to a healthier lifestyle.

1. Front cover - Eat and Stay Slim.. by gnawing on this giant hunk of beef!

2. Strange enough, a mouthless man (who looks a bit like Hunter S. Thompson) battles 'telltale bulge' and eats a candy bar.. all while two fully-faced children torment him at the beach. Hasn't he had a hard enough life, what with lacking a mouth and having a watch carved out of his arm?

3. In this scene, Shirley MacLaine can't zip up her cool paisley dress so she's given a letterman sweater.

4. Here the book shows its recommended exercise regimen.

5. If you lost your rolling pin, you might want to take your tandem bike out for a ride. It doesn't matter whether you sit in the back with your feet up or kill yourself peddling a fully-occupied tandem bicycle up a steep incline by yourself; it's just good exercise!

6. Welcome to Mount Reduction. I wonder how much altitude could have influenced this scene.

7. Don't you just hate Pampered Beef? They always get whatever they want while everyone else has to work for a living!

8. MMM MMM Good! Chilled Beef-A-Mato and Cuke-Buttermilk Soups! Great for parties! Best garnished with daisies!

9. "Iceberg Ring with crisp lettuce in lime-flavored gelatin proudly displays a peak of Tuna Salad -- a refreshing combination." And I'm proud to display this to you!

10. This is actually the picture that persuaded me to buy this book. Why would you try to melt desiccated skin over your asparagus? You have to look at it up close; no cheese has that kind of texture!