Sunday, September 6, 2009

Easy Skillet Meals

One of the more popular home appliances to hit the American kitchen after the Second World War was the electric skillet. This handy device had a built-in temperature control; no longer did the housewife have to gauge whether her oil was hot enough to fry chicken by tossing in a cube of bread and seeing how quickly it browned. And it was portable, allowing Mom (or Dad) to plug it in and cook on the sideboard or the patio. In the servant-less post-War home, this expanded the range of possibilities not just for family dinners, but for entertaining. And when Teflon™ came into common use in the 60’s, sales of electric skillets must have gotten a big boost.

This cookbook is one of a stack I picked up for future blogation at the Mennonite hospital auxiliary’s thrift shop (all hardcover cookbooks fifty cents; oh joy, oh rapture!). The recipes included are both plain and fancy, and some of them look pretty darn good.

Chili Mac was an easy, kid-friendly, inexpensive meal that cooked everything right in the skillet.

Lamb with Lentils is actually a dish my mother used to make (except that lamb for nine people was expensive so she substituted sausages. I think short ribs would be pretty good with this, too).

You could cook desserts in your electric skillet, even the kind of treat the family normally only enjoyed at the State Fair.

I would run out and buy an electric skillet right now just to make funnel cakes.

But this would not be a mass-market, mid-century American cookbook without at least one truly awful recipe incorporating canned luncheon meat. Spam on rice, anyone?

Please check out my Flickr account for a few more pages of recipes.


Packrat said...

Thanks for the spam recipe. lol Young people often don't have a clue.

Shay, remember that I told you I had so much trouble with my new/newer electric skillets? As I was perusing the Penney's kitchen catalog yesterday, I noticed that there were at least two "heavier duty" (i.e. more expensive)electric skillets available. These would probably work so much better than the light weight ones I have.

Ladytats said...

Hi Shay, love this post about electric skillets. my oven quit years back and I baked bisquits, cornbread and pineapple upside down cake in my electric skillet.
in order to use your electric skillet as an oven you need to raise your item(s) off the bottom on a rack so the heat can circulate. I have the bottom part of a wire basket from a water bath canner that works slick for the rack I also have a rack that came with a deep well cook pot like you would use if making pot roast. hhmm remember stoves with deep well burners? - the original slow cooker

Shay said...

Thanks for the info! I am really tempted to do the consumer research to get one of these.

Rickshaw Rice, to me, is the Ultimate Spam Recipe. Spam, pineapple, frozen peas and dillweed!

How much more nauseating could you get?

Anonymous said...

I've always loved those Better Homes and Garden recipe books.. I have a couple old ones myself and enjoy browsing through them..
I gave my electric skillet to my daughter and she uses it all the time... only a cast iron skillet can make a better pot roast.

Anonymous said...

Rickshaw Rice is pretty good to be honest (I love spam and think I've are it every way from Sunday).

This one gives it an Asian flair by way of Greece.

Shay said...

Ducky, I would have to say that Marco Polo and Genghis Khan would be proud of you.

Rochelle R. said...

My MIL gave me her extra electric skillet recently but I haven't used it yet. I have a lot of the retro BH&G cookbooks but not that one. I'll have to keep my eye out for it.

Amy said...

oh my! Funnily enough in the 1970's when I was growing up we had an electric skillet just like that.