Friday, December 30, 2011

This Year's Model

Before it's out with the cold and in with the new, here's a look at Elizabeth Beveridge's pick of the coolest fridges on the runway. Me, I prefer the Philco, but they weren't featured in this show.

[From Woman's Home Companion, May 1947]

Curly Wurly wishes you and your family a happy holiday season and a happy and healthy 1948!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Profiteroles of the Rich and Famous

Dahlings, you have to try my A&P Lavish Lamb Dinner!

What is it, you ask? It's a banquet fit for a queen. Lamb shanks encrusted with nature's ruby red and amber jewels. Oui, glistening apricots topped with the finest wild cherries from Maraschino! A chorus line of truffled potatoes flanked by pencil-thin asparagus and daubed with the most decadent of hollandaise sauces to make your mouth water! Notice how the quaint Alpine daisies playfully dot the table while luscious strawberries and creme dance with a salad made of a gelatine so wobbly you might wonder if it's had as much champagne as you have! This grand extravaganza is garnished only by the duskiest radish roses with a never fading blush!

And where did my luncheon come from? Why, from a smart little bistro downtown. I think it's called the A&P. It stands for Aristocratic and Palatable.

[featured advertisement from the March 1947 Woman's Home Companion]

Friday, November 18, 2011

Meet Me In My Dressing Room

Before there was MTV's Cribs, there was Woman's Home Companion's March 1947 issue. The magazine featured a rare behind-the-scenes glimpse at celebrity dressing rooms. Can it be that these meticulously decorated dressing rooms were the standard? Two of my favorite spaces belonged to co-stars Margaret O'Brien and Judy Garland. Margaret O'Brien's area looks more like a dollhouse or a whimsical play area with its carousel motif. Judy's is characteristically stylish. Look at how the bright colors of the sophisticated settee complement her lovely red locks! And does she really have time to page through her library while on the job?

In other news, head over to my other blog for a chance to win $500 worth of handpicked (by me) books from my favorite publisher, Chronicle Books. This year, Chronicle Books has extended their Happy Haul-idays contest to include a charitable element, so not only will one lucky blogger (and one of the blog's lucky readers) win a matching set of books, but Chronicle will donate $500 worth of books to a charity of the winner's choice. If you're interested in seeing the books I chose and entering to win my selection, comment on the linked post. And, if you're a blogger, you may want to enter the competition yourself!

Saturday, October 08, 2011

They Came From Beyond The Garden

Four Sure Tricks In A Suit by Lucie Lyons for Woman's Home Companion masquerades as a blouse pattern article, but the models'-heads-swapped-for-flower-pots look seems like a mad doctor's dream. Despite its January 1947 publication date, I think it was published a few months too late. It should have been the spotlight of their Halloween issue as a collection of disturbing floral costumes to scare young trick or treaters.

Bewitched by this creepy-crawly idea? Not only could these sketches be inspiration for striking costumes, but you could also populate your porch or front yard with freaky flower people decorations. Create a bevy of Burtonesque figures to hold your candy bowls or even dangle fake cobwebs and insects (or even more macabre accoutrements) from their wormlike fingers. All you'd have to do is acquire mannequins or dress forms, remove heads, and attach flower pots filled with various blooms. The more unassuming the bloom, the creepier the effect.

I do believe the model is holding a dead bird

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Bring Back My Bonnets To Me, To Me

The Hats Came Back! Elizabeth Ambrose, Woman's Home Companion fashion editor, introduced the newest hat styles of the day in the April 1947 issue of the magazine. Here are four of the newest looks that you're sure to see donning some of the loveliest heads. And, if you're looking to dress your own naked head, be sure to ask for these styles by name!

Pilgrim's Progress - With an eye-catching velveteen train of crackly autumnal foliage

Wing Tip - Let everyone know you're 'here' with this delicate dove attention-getter!

The After-Storm Stroll - Sailor hats are never more charming than after a jaunt through some debris!

After-Dinner Mint - This hat lends a zing of freshness to your ensemble

Monday, July 04, 2011

Swimming With The Fishes

Woman's Home Companion had fish on the brain in September 1947. There were two eager fishmen vying for your attention that month, both presenting themselves in alluring treatments sure to please the pickiest eaters.

Long before Discovery Channel exposed viewers to the elements in Deadliest Catch, Deep-Sea Dave, the long-suffering famous Davis Bros. mascot, was living it. Dave agreed to represent Coddies, the fish cakes with 'oceans of flavor,' in exchange for his own life. While we'll never really know how many of his friends and family may have had their fates sealed in aluminum with labels promising 'broiled thrills,' we do know that the cods (and the mackerels) were on Dave's side when he was let off the hook that lucky day. Either that or he had some chum over at the Tupman Thurlow Company, distributor and 'Sole Selling Agents' of Davis Bros. seafoods. 'Sole Selling Agents'? I wonder if they were affiliated with B. Azlebub (of "B. Dazzled with B. Azlebub" fame) deviled seafood?

'Catch of the Day? Why, me, of course!' Mazola Salad Oil also netted a fish pitchman. Here, Mazola's unnamed chef offers up her broiled fish steak and tartar sauce recipes.

Partners in Brine (for closer consideration): It looks like her apron strings are dripping in seawater... or, is it Mazola Salad Oil?

Now, when you see a fish, you won't think anything but 'delish'!!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Stranger In A Strange School

We've all been there at some point in our lives: alone in a new environment with nary a familiar face in sight.

Stranger At School, or The Loneliest Girl In The World, is a Woman's Home Companion pictorial from October 1947. It was photographed by Eileen Darby at the New Rochelle High School in New York. Woman's Home Companion takes us through the first few anxious days in the life of the new girl at school. If you're hoping for a few nuggets of comfort and motherly wisdom of the 'be yourself' variety for making friends and impressing the profs, you might want to steer clear of this list of don'ts and YOU BETTER NOTS lest you should require anti-jitter remedies before the big day.

Remember, your new schoolmates are just as unsure about you as you are about them!

From here on in, the Stranger is known as Smart Teen, but only as long as she keeps herself sleep deprived and spruce. You want your new classmates to think you're a neat package...

But NOT a sloe-eyed siren. Know your limitations. You're only average in the looks department (if you're lucky!), so rather than dressing to impress, you just want to adopt a passable hygiene routine and stick to it.

Once you're on school property, there's no looking back. You're stuck, so you may as well head inside.

No one likes a brown noser. Talk to no one. You're better off being known as the new girl who walks around muttering to herself than someone who attempts to 'just make conversation' with new classmates and teachers.

There is only one thing worse than coming across as a cover girl or a teacher's pet, and that's being a stoopid pill popper. You'll need to sit up front in class during lectures so you can take good notes since you won't earn any cool points by asking questions.

Join activities but don't chummy up to any strangers. They don't like it, and they'll avoid you like the plague. Unless they're too polite to tell you that they're not interested in hearing your life story (with accompanying slide show) during the half hour lunch break.

Once school lets out, don't hang around campus like a stray puppy. Sure, the rest of the school will be cramming into soda fountains, but, remember, you have no friends. And, since it's advised that you talk to no one, you won't be making any anytime soon. Get used to spending your afternoons preparing for another lonely day at school.

Glutton for punishment? The only thing more awkward than Silent New Girl being photographed at school is Silent New Girl sitting alone at the soda fountain while a magazine documents her every move. Remember, you're not there to meet people or attract a boyfriend. Chug down your soda and get out of there and quick! Once you're home you can feel free to be yourself, but wait until that screen door slams shut behind you!

The major lesson to learn is that no one wants to get to know the real you. Not even if you're nice and pretty. But you don't want to be known as the resident handkerchief-head who takes stoopid pills. Leave plenty of time for homework!

The odd thing is Woman's Home Companion never explored the consequences that bringing a major magazine to cover one's first day at school had on this girl's popularity. Forget not bothering the teacher with extra questions or apple polishing; wouldn't it be a bit more annoying to have someone snapping photos over your shoulder all day? And are those resentful, judgmental students who look down their nose at the new girl really unfazed by the journalist following her around to document her every move? I'm sure if she really remained unpopular it would be because of this article!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Fabergé's Follies

If you're like me, you have a refrigerator full of hard boiled eggs and you only want to pickle half of them. If that's the case, maybe you want to decorate the other half for Easter? The practice of dying Easter eggs goes back to Biblical times* when eggs were first anointed with spectacular hues derived from roots, peels, and mashed up plants to match Joseph's dream coat.. and, also, the various miracles of nature. Fabergé was the next artist to find inspiration in the blank canvas of the egg shell. However, he was not the last artist to work with these fragile baubles. That would most surely be Libbie Lovett, internationally renowned egg artisan. Some of Lovett's designs were featured in this article from Woman's Home Companion from March 1948, along with the works of some of her colleagues from the Oviform School of Arts and Crafts. Click on each individual image for a larger size. And, when you're done decorating your eggs, you can enjoy them in cheesy Velveeta bakes and sliced on top of hamburgers.

[* note: I don't know what I'm talking about]

Meet kindly Gran'ma Tippitoe whose head rests gently on one of those ketchup cups you can get from Wendy's. Give her bi-focals, just like your real Gran'ma, and give it to her as an Easter present on Sunday!

It never dawned on me that you can drain an egg before you decorate it. Is that what most people do rather than hard boil? Regardless, this page actually tells you how to 'blow an egg out' by puncturing the shell and letting the 'meat of egg' plop into a bowl.

This ovular menagerie is really quite impressive! Forget 3-D glasses. Drawn feathers and scales on the dyed shells give these critters a textured quality. If your holiday festivities have a patriotic or thrifty theme, try a hot air balloon or piggy bank design!

My favorite set of designs are on this final page. No one will wonder why you choose to pair a performing seal with a radish and a dirigible. They will cheer your meticulous decorative touches and ask you to do their eggs next year. If you're envious of those that can afford real Fabergés, all you need are a few paper doilies and some sequins, "jools," and good conduct stars. Your guests will never know they're not the real thing.

Happy Easter and Passover to all of my readers!

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Pinchpenny Parade

One of the most important lessons in older cookbooks and magazines is that you needn't go hungry just because you're on a budget. Turn to the perennial frugal gourmet, Dorothy Kirk, who gives us Pinchpenny Banquets in the March 1948 Woman's Home Companion.

Comfort food enthusiasts, take note: Savory Tuna-Vegetable Croquettes -- very special with parsley sauce! I'm sure lima beans are the perfect accompaniment.

The onions sell out with this Onion Bean-Bake with Sausage Stuffing. Hey, it still looks better than Roger Daltrey in a tub of Heinz baked beans!

This weekend's special: Tomato Soup with Horseradish Cream; Vegetable Stew with Meat Puffins; and Two-Tone Tapioca Cream is a very Specials dessert

Are you a post-modern casserole cook? Here's a promising one with rice, cheese and asparagus!

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

The Sick-Abed Blues

The April 1948 issue of Woman's Home Companion has a pictorial detailing a day in the life of a young sick-abed. Not a sycophant. A sick-abed. Italicized text is the original caption.

When she loses herself like this in contemplation of a gaudy elephant, you know she's on the mend. Soft stuffed toys are ideal for they're quite safe in bed. [Like daughter, like doll! Both have the bug eyes and Clara Bow mouth; Mother disguises horror with encouraging smile?]

Fine time to learn a new skill. Here Robin practices braiding; doll rests on table made from box covered with oilcloth. Note newspaper 'pocket' tacked to the side. [The yarn-headed doll shares the same big eyed and lipped features from the previous activity! Possibly everything this kid owns has Boop eyes!]

Same box table is fine for paper work. Robin's materials include paper, blunt scissors, crayons, paste. With 'spilly' toys like paste or paint, old shower curtain is fine for protecting bedclothes. [Space ship? Death Star? What do you think?]

Food, though simple, takes account of Robin's taste. Here a circus tent on cereal, folded-napkin hat on milk stimulate appetite. [I know circus tents stimulate my appetite. It looks like Robin hasn't eaten in a week!]

Special sick-abed treat--nail polish just the same as Mother's is applied while Robin watches, breathless and absorbed. [That's just the fumes, which are therapeutic for the sick-abed.]

When Robin is stronger plastic balloons are fun; Mother doesn't let her blow too hard.

Change of scene is like a tonic to a convalescent child. Mrs. Barry totes Robin piggy-back to the living-room couch. [The sick-abed takes to the sky.]

Next time you have to care for a sick-abed, don't let them rely on their electronics for entertainment. Their day will fly by and so will yours!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

I'm Not Being Rude, But...

Simon Cowell stars in The Miracle of the Bells with Frank Sinatra and Valli (detail of movie poster from March 1948 Woman's Home Companion - coincidentally, Fred MacMurray's character is described in the poster as a 'cynic, dreamer, and maker of stars!')

"There was one great part to your movie - it was the end!"

Saturday, February 12, 2011


Chocolate boxes and rose bouquets are the standard go-to gifts for Valentine's Day sweethearts. But, soon those boxes will be littered with crumpled wrappers and the flowers will be wilting in their vases. Why not give her a distinctive gift she can wear all year? No, not jewelry! A hat! Woman's Home Companion (March 1948 issue) has a few styles that will complement any face you could possibly wish to hat.

"The Cat Toy"

My favorite part of the caption is when the flower is described as 'arrogant'. Is that a positive adjective for a hat? Also, I'm wondering why the model is poking herself in the chin like that. Is this her Robert Mitchum impression?

"The Old Man of the Mountain"

If you look closely, she has a little friend on the top of her head. She hears him calling out to her when she's alone.

"The Taco"

This hat is ridiculous, and the model knows it. She's looking at her beau and thinking, 'You just don't get me, do you?'