Sunday, September 6, 2009
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.