Sunday, November 16, 2008

Autumn Meat Harvest

Family Circle is the queen of all ladies' magazines for the wide range of topics from high fashion to fine cuisine and from design to hard-hitting pieces on the current events of the day. From October 1955, here is an exposé of the beef industry. All photography is by Bernard Gray (hey, it's not every day that I can actually give the artists credit!)

This set of pictures is like one of those brainteasers where you have to spot the difference between a set of scenes. Same utensils in same spot? Check. Same platter? Check. Same food? A ha! The bottom picture shows the Savory Pot Roast or, should I say, Chargrilled Heart/Liver Hybrid with Roasted Vegetables.

These are the bit parts, the lowly extras, to those strapping dishes of beef encircled by their loving public (the roasted vegetables). The Dutch Slaw, Fan-tans, and Orange Sponge may blend into the background, just an afterthought on your dinner plate, but they surely fill out the gaping plot holes with which a solely meat and vegetable dinner would fall prey.

Ground beef is the charming country cousin of the sleeker beef cutlet. Why, you wouldn't find Mm-m-m meat balls and these adorable Saucy-good twin meat loaves on an uptown table. But don't they seem less affected than the coasters of beef in the first picture?

What makes the Heavenly hamburgers so out-of-this-world? Well, it's a fork food, it's accompanied by cheese topped bread, and it's served on a trivet made from an old milk crate. I'll say that's heavenly!

Tired of beef? Shame on you! Well, I guess you could try pork, the other hearty Autumn meat. But, really, look how much less masculine this menu is! Pork must be what one serves a large party of mere acquaintances. Notice how the flamboyant and frivolous accompaniments are less classic and are all served in ridiculously shaped dishes!

There are a few things that a man can count on: dog is man's best friend, and potato is beef's best friend. Nothing is more tried-and-true than the beef-potato-carrot-tiny pearl onion combo. Here pork shocks with its perversity. Squash rings? Sparkling apple slices!?


Lidian said...

Goodness, those heavenly hamburgers look sort of like meatloaf that has been sliced and renamed...could be I have not had enough coffee though!

They did love their hunks of meat back then didn't they?

I love your commentary, it is quite wonderful.

Shay said...

I don't suppose you could be bribed to give us the orange sponge recipe?

Maria said...

Lidian, all ground beef in these old cookbooks look just like meatloaf! That's not to say it doesn't look good, though! They sure did love their meat! You don't see so many meat spreads these days. Aw, thank you so much!

Shay, I've already put the magazine away, but I'll re-unearth it as soon as I can!