Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Easy and Plain

The first of the last two cookbooks in the Mary Lee Taylor saga is Easy Ways To make meals more tempting, also known as Mary Lee Taylor: The Black & White Years. There are a few strange things about this October edition of the newsletter. The black and white photographs and illustrated cover are only slightly disorienting. It's the lack of that expected supplemental '2 or 4 or 6' that contributes to the foreigness of this particular publication! The highlight of the book: If you like a good anthropomorphic character, you'll want to see this adorable bulb with some bright ideas!

Front cover - Mother passes round the tempting Cheese Scallops. Just look at the excitement on her family's faces!

If there's one thing I've learned from cookbooks, it's that men won't eat just anything! You absolutely need to tailor your menu to ensure "'Man' Appeal." Luckily for frazzled cooks, men like Creole Steak (especially when it has a 'heavenly sauce') with Crisp Celery!

Oh dear, that Pumpkin Pie that was previously featured in lush full-color has now been drained of life! The halo of whipped topping can't really make up for our temporary monochromatism.

Now, this is different! Here we have a promising set of Stuffed Hamburgers with sophisticated Radish Roses.

Creamed Peas are lacklustre in black and white. The pasty dome to the right of the peas seems to be the aforementioned Cheese Scallops ('with all the flavor-appeal of a creamy cheese rarebit').

Back cover - Advertisement for Mary Lee Taylor's show and Saturday Night Serenade (with Jessica Dragonette).

Front cover of our final Mary Lee Taylor cookbook, Plain and Party Food for 2 or 4 or 6, a festive and elegant ending to the year. The cover displays the Easy Fruit Cake. Who wouldn't want a slice of that?

The very orderly Meat Balls with Noodles. The sauce is condensed vegetable soup!

Ending our Mary Lee Taylor series on a sweet note.. here are some cookies. Interestingly, there is a 'Creamy Cheese Rarebit' on the menu shown here. I wonder if that's the same as the Cheese Scallops from the last cookbook!

Finally, Fruit Candy. I like the ones that look like little porcupines!

Thank you for looking through my Mary Lee Taylor cookbooks with me! I just wanted to add that I've been working on uploading photos to my Flickr account. I have a lot to add yet, but I have a small amount of advertisements and cookbook graphics there already. Feel free to add me as a contact! Also, I've added some different subscription options to the sidebar on the right. If you happen to try one out and there are any problems, let me know!

Monday, June 25, 2007

Through The Seasons with Mary Lee Taylor

After her fascination with 'better' meals, Mary Lee Taylor concentrated on 'tasty' meals. 'They might not be better, but at least they're edible,' she famously wrote in the forward to her Tasty Meals for 2 or 4 or 6. While there's no telling if such recipes as Pet Succotash (including one wild card ingredient, depending on what sort of pet you owned) and Tasty Pork Loaf are meant to be that, they are indeed in this edition of her newsletter dated October - November 1951 (first issue with a year!).

Front cover of Tasty Meals for 2 or 4 or 6 - What's tastier than Easy Mix Cake, Stuffed Baked Potatoes, and unnamed meat product?

The merriest of Party Peach Pies, and it's extra-easy! The secret your guests will never guess? It's a no-bake pie!

This Corn Bread Ring with Chili is one of the more peculiar (or vile) ringed foods I've seen. While it's supposedly 'So Welcome On Chilly Days,' it doesn't say by whom!

And, another page from the pie scrapbook, the 'good eating' Pumpkin Pie on a seasonable pine green background.

Back cover - An exciting full-color advertisement for three programs, NBC's Saturday night tv show, The All-Star Revue (with Jimmy Durante, Danny Thomas, and Ed Wynn), The PET Milk Radio Program starring Fibber McGee and Molly (and all the Wistful Vista Gang), and Mary Lee Taylor's own Recipes and Stories of the Week. I sure wish I could enjoy those three shows this week!

Front cover of October - November's PET Recipes and Money-Saving Meal Plans for 2 or 4 or 6 - The earlier Pumpkin Pie now graces the cover on a new dish.

These Potato Meat Patties are quite lovely! They go well with 'Big Bowl of Green Salad'!

Like the Raisin Chiffon Pie that looked like Tuna Casserole, this Tamale Casserole looks like a cheesecake. It definitely looks like some kind of dessert.

Royal Custards fit for a king! Would the Royals be concerned with 'low-cost dinners,' though?

Friday, June 22, 2007

Summertime Simplicity for 2 or 4 or 6

Today's set of Mary Lee Taylor cookbooks include the classics 30 Ideas for Better Food and Summertime Recipes (both for 2 or 4 or 6, of course). They are dated June - July and July - August, respectively.

Front cover of 30 Ideas for Better Food for 2 or 4 or 6 - The first time Mary Lee Taylor has quantified the recipes in the title of a book.

Another picture from the pie scrapbook, this is the Coconut Custard (as part of the Not Much Fuss But Oh! What Food! menu).

This Chocolate Peppermint Dessert reminds me of a medieval cathedral. Note the cakey spires and the peppermint frieze.

The shiniest Vanilla Ice Cream with Chocolate Sauce you'll ever see!

Front cover of Summertime Recipes for 2 or 4 or 6 - This dish of Snowball Puddings might be wishful thinking during the days of interminable heat and humidity.

Ribbon Salad - The ideal union between hard cooked egg and tomato aspic! The menu promises nourishment, but it doesn't mention if the salad is as refreshing as it looks.

Chocolate Ice Cream on an eye-catching turquoise background.

And, finally, this is the Summer Casserole. The cheesy toast points on the top do give it a sunny appearance, but I can't believe that this is the meal that is described as 'refreshing'!

Come back soon for MLT books!

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Make It Better!

The next two Mary Lee Taylor books emphasize how positively better everything will be if you take some of her hints. The books are Better Food and Making Good Meals Better (for 2 or 4 or 6). Both of these booklets are springtime editions (March - April and April - June, respectively) and feature large amounts of pink on their covers.

Front cover of Better Food for 2 or 4 or 6 - This ham (Stuffed Ham Slices) is pretty impressive. What I thought was gristle and fat is actually an apple/raisin mixture! The platter also contains food for the mauve bunnies. And, for the first time, we get a glimpse of Mary Lee Taylor on the cover!

When you first spy this gelatinous ring, you know this will be a good recipe. BUT, when you discover that the ring is 'Deviled,' then it becomes perfectly clear that this is a better recipe. Try the Deviled Salad Ring (possibly containing Macaroni Salad). Bonus: click on the picture for a recipe for Molasses Milk Drink!

This is a Chocolate Cream Pie. Posting random pictures of old desserts reminds me of the Simpsons episode where Mrs. Skinner shows Bart her cake scrapbook.

Front cover of Making Good Meals Better for 2 or 4 or 6 - Mmm, Cranberry Corn Mousse with Ketchup Glaze!

Truly ingenious - Macaroni In Ham Jackets. Fine for Easter - Or any day!

A beautiful jade green background... and Easy Icebox Rolls

Sego Fried Chicken, Creamed Peas, and very carefully positioned Carrot Curls are a dinner that is sure to please!

Finish it off with this pretty pink Banana Orange Dessert

Stay tuned for another set of Mary Lee Taylor books!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Good Things To Eat (for 2 or 4 or 6)

According to a hand-scrawled notation on the front cover of Good Things to Eat For 2 or 4 or 6, the second cookbook in our Mary Lee Taylor series, it should have actually been entitled, 'Very Good Things to Eat..' The big question is whether the original owner intended to describe the Spring Meat Stew on the cover or the cookbook itself as 'Very Good.' This '2 or 4 or 6' is definitely from March - April, but there is no way to determine the year. You would think Mary Lee Taylor would use a standard dating system for all her books/newsletters!

Front cover - This is one of the more exciting covers. The miniature family strolls toward the gigantic platter of Spring Meat Stew. Meanwhile, in the bottom left corner, a dish of red gelatinous stuff watches on. The scripted 'Very Good' completes the satisfying scene. An interesting note about the stew: on the recipe page, it says that it 'tastes even better than it looks.'

This beaut is called the Jiffy Casserole. It's basically a fish casserole topped with potato chips.

In my last Mary Lee Taylor post, I mentioned that she seems to have a preference for rounded foods. This plate of piping hot Hot Cross Biscuits is no exception! They're part of the 'Something Different And Extra Good' menu!

Vegetarians (but not vegans), if you're looking for something a little different, why not try these Vegetable Cheese Cups? Paired with Creamed Green Beans, they're pure temptation!

Our 'old favorite', (round) Custard Pie. Lovely colors, though.

So, you're having people over, and you want to make a dinner sure to please? Don't leave these Corn Fritters off your menu!

To be honest, I wouldn't eat most of the meals in these cookbooks. But these Stuffed Frankfurters in Creamed Peas are the exception! Curiously, they are a part of a menu called, 'A Meal with 'High Hat' Hot Dogs.' 'High Hat,' indeed!

For Your Baby - It's official, Sego Milk is good for babies. Plus an ad for Mary Lee Taylor's program and Saturday Night Serenade starring Hollace Shaw.

More Mary Lee Taylor Tomorrow!

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Busy-Day Meals (for 2 or 4 or 6)

Last September, I made my inaugural cookbook post about a beloved little book called More Wholesome Food At Lower Cost for 2 and 4 and 6 that I had acquired from my grandmother. For years, I had been captivated and inspired by these comforting graphics from a gentler time. A time when Vegetable Cheese Cups was a plausible dinner option and all good meals were guarded by little ceramic animals.

In my quest to discover how the PET Milk saga turned out, I discovered that the brain behind these '..2 or 4 or 6' cookbooks was the famous radio hostess, Mary Lee Taylor. As soon as I had this information, there I was on eBay with my new search terms! And, to make a long story short, I have a new stack of comforting images to share. It's best to note, with all of these graphics, the soft, almost hand-colored look and the bright hues. It's best, also, to note that vegetables are always better creamed, and most things can be improved with a bit of cheese (or cheese product, if you prefer).

The contents of these new booklets are a little more scant than in my original, but I believe that they were actually something of a newsletter that was distributed bi-monthly. The dating system is a little fuzzy, but I've tried to put them in what I think is their order of publication. This one dates from, I believe, January - March of 1943 (or, at least, a January - March in the 1940s).

Front cover of New Recipes for Busy-Day Meals For 2 or 4 or 6. At first, I was amused at the rooster and hen shakers overlooking the chicken dish. That is, until I realized that the perfectly shaped meal is called Lenten Special (click link for recipe). I guess it's just rice with sauce, actually. It seems almost disappointing once you discover what it actually is.

You'll soon notice that all the foods in this particular edition of '2 or 4 or 6' are round. Here is a Pancakes and Sausage breakfast - A good breakfast for a busy day!

This is Raisin Chiffon Pie. If you would have asked me, I would have guessed Tuna Casserole with olive and pimiento bits for garnish.

One of my favorite concepts: Meat Rolls! This platter of 'em is doused with a generous amount of Tomato Soup.. And if your cook followed the menu plan, you just might get to eat some Combination Salad (I didn't scan the salad recipe, but the ingredient list mentions 'meat drippings')!

Bringing up a Baby? Read about how that 'lovable little rascal' could benefit from PET Milk by clicking on the picture to enlarge. This back cover also includes an advertisement for Mary Lee Taylor's radio show, which featured the Dramatized Story of the Week and the Tested Recipe of the Week!

Stay tuned this week for more in Mary Lee Taylor's amazing series of cookbooks!

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Bananas in 'Latest Style'

Here is a second helping of classic Meloripe Fruit graphics! Tucked in the pages of my last post were two additional pamphlets, ripe with more smiling bananas.

The front and back covers of the first pamphlet, Banana Frozen Desserts. Includes another look at the color chart. Click here to see an enlargement.

The back cover of the second pamphlet, Serve Bananas In 'Latest Style' has a guide to bananas, but its centerpiece is the front cover. See a close-up of the coy bananette here.

From the 'Latest Style' pamphlet, here are some recipes and menu options.. 'all of them delightful'! Includes the favorite, Banana Scallops ('serve as a vegetable'!), and the irresistible Ham Banana Rolls with Cheese Sauce. It's a shame there's no picture! There is a picture of two grinning bananas, though, and they're so cute that here is yet another enlargement!