Monday, March 08, 2010

Chowder Goes To A Ski Party

Chowder Goes To A Ski Party is a photo pictorial from the January 1948 issue of Woman's Home Companion. In a photographic sitcom style, it details what happens when a group of friends take a trip up to the ski cabin and settle in for an evening of chowder and pancakes after a day out on the slopes. Remember this episode from Happy Days? Remember this episode from The Facts Of Life? Remember this episode from Beverly Hills, 90210? And Sabrina, The Teenage Witch? And Boy Meets World? And That 70's Show? And...?

So, switch off TVLand and Nick At Nite (they don't show any good classic television on there anymore, anyway), and tune into Curly Wurly TV! Important information: The magazine's original captioning is uncredited (and italicized here). The photographs are by Tony Venti. The ski clothes were provided by Horse House, which is still a popular clothing designer. In fact, I believe more than one a-list celebrity was wearing Horse House couture on the red carpet last night (guess who!).

After a day in (or maybe under) the snow, ski enthusiasts clamor for a hot tasty supper that can be served up fast as a jump-turn. With this gang of young-marrieds chowder and dessert pancakes are top choice.

I see, I thought they were a bunch of unchaperoned teenagers gobbling down chowder, but they're marrieds! Whew! This episode went from being rated TV-MA to TV-PG (no V-Chip required)!

"Anybody hungry?" Jack shouts and then gets ready to duck as about-to-starve friends crowd in on him. After a few minutes' quick heating, fish chowder will be ready to serve.

I'm not clear on which one is Chowder. I thought he was the fangy Gene Kelly on the right (also known as 'Jack'). However, Jack seems to be the one hosting the shindig, and the title of the piece is 'Chowder Goes To A Ski Party,' so he must be one of the guests arriving in this picture. I'm banking on the middle guy with the tacky sweater being Chowder. Unfortunately, his identity is never revealed. If only Chowder had a jacket with his nickname embroidered on it or, maybe, a crown à la Jughead to identify him. Note that all the friends must give Jack the secret Chowder handshake before they're allowed into the lodge. Also, do you think that the two blondes are twins???

Jack proves he can too cook! He demonstrates how to make pancakes.

Well, now, I bet we all know a 'Jack': someone who invites you to their chalet under the pretense of a soup-based soiree only to spend the night demanding an audience to gawk at them as they show off making dessert pancakes! It's happened to all of us. What I think happened is that Jack and his sweatered friend (Chowder?) got into a bout of fisticuffs over whether Jack could cook, and Jack quickly threw together an excuse to one-up his chum. Now he's going to drag out this dessert pancake business over the entire evening just to punish his skeptical friend.

This is fast work--pancakes brown just about a minute on one side, then flip over for the other. Betty rolls them up quickly with a couple of forks, tops with spoonfuls of hot fruit sauce.

There's apparently a lot of alcohol in that hot fruit sauce. And Betty's been topping those pancakes off with a heavy hand. Interesting bit of wall art -- I think if you press on it, the panels give way to a secret room that neither the smoke monster from Lost nor vampires can enter.

Chowder is too good to allow anybody extras so last mouthfuls get shared fa'r and squar'.

"Fa'r and squar'"?! No wonder no writer wanted to take credit for this story! Well, the young-marrieds are all thoroughly drunk by this photo, and it's best not to know what's being passed around in the basket. Here: Chowder finally gets some chowder!

"She just married me for my cooking," Jack says modestly as tart-sweet pancakes are gobbled up by admiring gang. This dessert is amateur's delight because it gives the impression of great skill, really is simple, easy. Only joker: making enough to satisfy pleased eaters.

"Only joker," indeed! Ah, clearly this last male party guest is professional tweeter John Mayer, so now we know for sure that Chowder is the other guy. Here, John Mayer takes a break from Twitter to share a laugh over some dessert pancakes.