Monday, June 15, 2009

Summer Bummer

Summer, the bane of my existence, is back. Now, I realize that most normal people adore these sweaty summer months and insist on spending as much time as possible outdoors with the sun beating down on them. Apparently, this is not a new phenomenon. Better Homes and Gardens published a Summer Cook Book by Myrna Johnston in their July 1954 issue for just this sort of summer-loving person. From little vittles of the meat, cheese, and crudité variety to full-blown sandwiches and desserts, Myrna Johnston compiled a menu ideal for any summer get-together, be it a picnic, cook-out, or block party. (Remember, you can always click on these thumbnails for bigger pictures -- in every post!)

On those sweltering evenings when I hear neighbors enjoying their grilled cook-outs, I'll be imaging everyone is really noshing on these two menu items. The Summer Sandwich Loaf takes the perennial favorite one step further and gives it an unexpected seasonal twist (an olive-daisy trim). From the description: 'The pink filling's ham; the other, egg salad. "Frosting" is cream cheese. Men will applaud.' That explains the cheering people I hear at neighborhood get-togethers! This year, when you hear jubilant merrymakers and fireworks in the distance, you can rest assured that they just can't control their excitement for their Summer Sandwich Loaf. Better still is the bulls-eye-inspired Rye-pie Sandwich. This duo is really the only acceptable way to sneak ham, egg, and salmon salads into one menu.

For a spread as modern as your furniture: alternate deviled ham and tomato fillings in a crusty bread (Ham Line-up Loaf), skip the meaty burgers from the grill and heap baked beans in buns (Beanwiches), and set sail with egg salad and black olive boats (Black-eyed Susans). Serve as much as possible in foil cozies. This menu is incredibly versatile: it will go with either your Miles Davis or your Martin Denny album.

Small summer appetites can easily be sated with Ham 'n Eggs, Summer Style (that's rolled ham slices and deviled eggs to you!). As an expert, I have deemed this an impeccable presentation for the Deviled Eggs. Finally, create a platter of fanned-out finger foods, including cheese, cucumbers, beans wrapped in your favored canned smoked luncheon meat, and crunchy vegetable garnishes. These relishes are the epitome of pertness!

Even if you're far from any coast, you can conjure up a beachy scene with starfishesque platters of Ham Mousse, and don't forget to put out some Barbecued Franks with Macaroni-and-Cheese Salad and a plate of your brand smoked luncheon meat (Treet, Prem, etc.)! Looking to create the ultimate summer memory? Golden Liverwurst Balls! Unfortunately, I thought they were marshmallows with toasted coconut. How wrong I was!

Room for dessert? Certainly! You'll make room once you get a look at that Raspberry Sno-Cap Pie, a gelatin pie covered with symmetrical spume and banana slices that seem to evoke the water choreography of Esther Williams.

Even more desserts to whet your appetite! Get a look at the Rainbow Meringue Sundaes, meringues topped with whimsical pastel ices! They're like fairytale crowns or, at least, a carnival on your plate! The Moonlight Cake is far less romantic than its name suggests. '"Moons" are gumdrop candies.' What is the purpose of the comb (or is it a rake?) next to the cake?


Mandy said...

The handle on the "garden patch tray" looks like something molded and is now stuck tight to the top of a plate...

Lidian said...

Maria - I dislike summer also. This is putting it mildly. And feel pretty well out of the mainstream while doing it. Perhaps we could form a Winterphile Club. I like winter and autumn a lot. If we could just skip straight to late October, I'd be extremely pleased.

Those pics are brilliant - absolutely the last thing I'd serve in the summer! Can't you see them sweating on the picnic table? (Like me, only i am not ON the picnic table, but hiding inside with a cold drink)

Beth said...

It's an angel food cake cutter!

~~louise~~ said...

Oh my Maria, I can't believe how awful some of those meals look. I'm glad they got better as I got older. Or did they???

~~louise~~ said...

Hi Maria,
I've decided to throw together a virtual picnic over at my place. Since you and Lidian are opposed to most things having to do with summer:) I thought perhaps, a virtual picnic might just be up your alley (I'm going to invite Lidian after I'm done here:) Anyway, It's a version of the traveling game I'm going on a picnic and I'm bringing... that I played when I was a child. I'm sure you can find some picnic appropriate scanned recipes to digress:) I do hope you will consider although, by no means will I be offended if you can't) Here's the link for consideration. Hope to "see" ya there!

Maria said...

Mandy - I agree the Garden-patch Tray is odd. I even had to examine it before realizing that there was a little handle on the plate!

Lidian - A fellow summer hater! It seems like we are few and far between! I would definitely join a group of winterphiles! Autumn is my favorite, and I kind of wish that October and November were the only two months of the year. Between the meats and the different loaves (and the Beanwiches), it just seems like these foods would weigh you down in the summer. Plus there's the anxiety of leaving heavy and perishable foods out for too long in the heat. How long is too long for Liverwurst Balls?

Beth - The mystery is solved! Thank you for enlightening.. well, me, at least! I might have to buy one now!

Louise - I think they have gotten better (edibly speaking), although the spectacle doesn't exist any more. I don't know if home cooks really did take the effort to create such artistic displays for their food in the 1950s and 60s, but I tend to think that some of the foods in these old books and magazines have more in common with (at least stereotypical) French (or fancier, period) restaurants where food styling is of utmost importance.