On the third Sunday in June, 1927, our homemaker served the following dinner to her hungry brood; cream of potato soup, chicken salad, hot buttered rice, escalloped tomatoes, cucumber salad, spice cake and apple amber.
Lord have mercy.
I can’t imagine eating such a meal on a hot, muggy Sunday afternoon, let alone preparing it in a kitchen with (possibly) a coal-fired stove and no air-conditioning. Paring the menu down a bit – say, to chicken salad, escalloped tomatoes, sliced cucumbers, and apple amber—renders it a lot more appetizing. The chicken salad was simply diced, cooked chicken marinated in French dressing and then mixed with an equal amount of diced celery, served on lettuce and garnished with mayonnaise. The escalloped tomatoes, which were baked with green pepper and onion under a mantle of buttered breadcrumbs, could be prepared early in the morning and re-heated. And the apple amber makes good use of the last of the previous winter’s apples, by now a bit on the withered side no matter how carefully they were stored.
Apple Amber. Cover bottom of baking dish with ¼ inch water. Pare, core and slice thin tart apples. Lay slices in baking dish with sugar sprinkled between the layers. Fill dish to within an inch of the top and finish with a thick sprinkle of sugar and dots of butter. A little cinnamon or nutmeg may be sprinkled over. Bake until apples can be easily pierced with a toothpick. Leave in dish and serve plain or with whipped cream.
(The recipe doesn’t specify, but I hope this would have been served cold).
The menu from 1953 is even worse. Cream of pea soup, stuffed lamb roll, Brabant potatoes (which are a fancy name for hash browns), cauliflower with browned crumbs, watermelon balls and iced tea. I’m afraid the only menu items I could even face on a day like today would be the watermelon balls and the iced tea. 1927 wins again this month.