Saturday, May 16, 2009

The Working Girl Must Eat

The title sums up a universal truth. The intro explains, "This business of meal-getting has always seemed like quite a chore even when women stayed at home all day and made it their major occupation. But it becomes much more of a problem with us modern girls. We are emancipated and can "live our own lives"! We are free to work all day in the office, or school, or factory, and then rush home and get our own and possibly our husband's dinners."

Hazel Young's recipe trove included "hints from Italy, from France, from India." She was also broad minded enough to realize that even the most charming hostess will include "foods that our grocer has on his shelves in cans and boxes: gingerbread and biscuit mix, ice creams and puddings, soups and stews, even piecrust, to say nothing of the magic quick frozen vegetables, meats and fish. They are a grand help to one who dashes home after five o'clock to get the dinner."

My book copy includes penciled notations from its owner. She made Hot Biscuits, page 5, on February 2, 1949 and then later noted than in June 1960 she served them with Meatloaf, page 153.

For the Swedish Meat Balls, page 9, she informs herself that, "put through food chopper" is not a necessary step in their preparation.

Yes, light food spatters (ubiquitous in any good cook book) extol its many years of use. Various penciled dates are mostly from the 1940s and 50s. Amazingly from the penciled citations its unnamed owner drew from its pages from Jan 1941 through April 2004's Coconut Kisses.

In Feb 2003 in Baked Apples with Dates, page 193, she notes in her still steady hand that she prefers a preparation, "with Nuts and Raisins and added cinnamon."

I don't eat onions so I tend to shy away from recipes that contain them (or I leave them out). In response to those like me Hazel includes this wry note as part of her menu suggestion 96, page 192-"The person who throws up his hands in horror at an onion won't like this meal but don't discard the menu on that account. You can use this same sausage stuffing in larger ripe tomatoes or green peppers or tiny acorn squash. Fool the onion hater, though, by putting a bit of onion in the dressing."

Hazel saw opportunity in the expansion of women moving beyond the home kitchen. She whipped up a smart cook book targeted to women in a growing demographic. Maybe Hazel made enough on book sales to buy a little lake house. I hope so.

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