Monday, November 24, 2008

Croon Another, Crosby

Think that modern internet and texting slang is impenetrable? Well, LWQX*, as they say! The December 1945 issue of Calling All Girls has an equally indecipherable collection of slang and overheard exchanges from classrooms, lunch counters, and soda fountains. Nancy Pepper, with the help of her tireless Hi-Style Scouts, have culled the choicest hip lingo from movies (Pix Trix), the military, and everyday life for all trendsetting linguists out there. And hold on tight for more Van Johnson references than you can shake a stick at!

Think it's all a little silly? Nancy Pepper's column had enough clout to influence the manufacturing of raincoats and belts decorated with 1940s slanguage and, oddly, miniature 'drool cups' to wear on your lapel. Those were the days.

* I'm assuming this is meaningless. Curly Wurly apologizes if it is actually inappropriate.

Calling All Incomplete Girls!

Here is a fantastic exercise by Marguerite Barze from December 1945's Calling All Girls magazine. It's part personality test, part guilt-inducing connect-the-dots! All you have to do is answer a series of thirty questions testing the strength of your character. The accuracy of your end result depends on your honesty! Once you have your responses, shift your attention to the unknown figure on the left. Connect only those lines that correspond with your positive answers. Do not connect the lines that correspond with your nos! When you're done, you will be left with a scientifically proven measurement of your worth as a human being. If you didn't perform so well, you are obligated to have the figure blown up to poster size and attached to your wall as a constant reminder of your shortcomings. (Click image below for full-size)

I wonder why girls' and women's magazines stopped printing games along with their quizzes.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

A Cheese Happening

The title of this article, the last one from the October 1955 Family Circle that I'll be sharing with you, is Snappy snacks with Cheese. If that doesn't sound like a little bit of paradise, I don't know what does! Author Nancy Lynn's all-consuming passion for cheese is like a torch that lights the way from beginning to end. Photographs by Bernard Gray, one of the greatest mid-century food artists.

Deviled Deckers is the height of temptation: melted swiss cheese and deviled ham cubes. Escaping the hellfire for a little slice of bliss. Like most sins, these are great paired with shrimps!

Now, this is a fon-do! Meet the seductively smooth Paprika Rabbit, a heady concoction of process American cheese, bacon bits, and paprika! Spoon it over a double-toasted English muffin, and you've got yourself a dish of molten warmth for a chilly Autumn evening.

While a fine selection of fruit and cheeses is a classy end to any dinner party, it would probably be best not to indicate that this course is actually called Fruit 'n' Cheese. I suppose we should be happy it's not Froot 'n' Cheez, though.

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!?

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Happy Birthday To You!

Join me in wishing a Happy Birthday to Lushie Peach, author of my favorite blog devoted to anthropomorphic edibles, Food With Eyes! I hope your day is extra special!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

I Was A Highlights Kid

If my recent series of Halloween crafts from Highlights for Children brought back some fond memories of enjoying that iconic children's magazine, you might have been a Highlights kid! Now there's a website just for you: the official I Was A Highlights Kid, a collection of readers' reminiscences. There are two outstanding reasons to stop by the site: the 'Are you a Goofus or a Gallant?' quiz and, a dream come true for me, 'Write your own captions for Goofus and Gallant' (.pdfs)! You can also enter to win old back issues of Highlights (if you have a specific issue in mind).

As I was looking around the site, I was reminded of the Timbertoes, a family of wooden figures that tackle many of the same issues as you and me. I don't think I truly appreciated this simplistic yet endearing group when I was young, but, as I was reacquainting myself with Pa, Ma, Tommy, and Mabel (and Spot and Splinter!), I was impressed with John Gee's distinctive style. Get caught up in the juicy drama of the Timbertoes at Highlights' exclusive online archive. The complete back story of Timbertoes writers and illustrators can be found on Wikipedia.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Kitchens of Distinction

In the same October 1955 issue of Family Circle as the featured article, Show house on a tight budget, there was another piece about kitchens that would go splendidly in your mid-century model home! Here is Here is our newest model kitchen by Jessie Bakker.

Feast your eyes on some of these modern amenities that are making their way into many homes across the country! (Click pics for full-size, readable article)

Also, I would like to thank Lidian, of the fabulous Kitchen Retro blog, for awarding me with an I Love Your Blog award!!

Right back at you, Lidian! I'm a new devotee of Lidian's blog, and I can't get enough of it! If you haven't had the pleasure of discovering Kitchen Retro on your own, do yourself a favor and follow this link. I guarantee that you'll be there all night!

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Show Home Showcase of 1955

Show house on a tight budget is an article by Joseph B. Mason published in the October 1955 issue of Family Circle. It showcases the thrifty but gorgeous mid-century modern home design of Tacoma, Washington-based architect, Robert B. Price. Joan Price, his wife, was responsible for the interior decoration. And it was thrifty, indeed. The full price (including furnishings) was $17,500! Don't you wish you lived there?

Let's take a tour! (Click thumbnails for full-size article)