Sunday, April 3, 2011

The Hostess With The Mostest

I returned from the Mennonite thrift shop with (among other things*) a 1970 copy of Betty Crocker’s Dinner Parties, a lovely nostalgic wallow in the days when entertaining guests called for the kind of advance logistical planning normally associated with invasions. Here is a fairly simple one, targeting the busy homemaker or working wife who needed to feed guests with a minimal amount of cooking. Note that they even provide a timeline and a market list. The cookbook authors call it “Deli Dinner in Disguise.”


Barbecued Deli Chicken
Hot Spiced Fruit ‘n Melon
Onion Rolls
Garden Patch Coleslaw
Wine with Cheese and Crackers
Demitasse with Chocolate Mints.

Market List:

1 can (17 oz) fruit for salad
1 jar (10 oz) watermelon pickles
1 bottle dessert wine
Instant espresso
Onion rolls
4 oz each Gourmandise and blue cheese
8 oz round Gouda cheese
1 pkg (10 oz) frozen peas
Chocolate mints
2 ready to serve barbecued chickens
1 pt coleslaw


20 minutes before serving:
Place chicken in oven
Set table
Arrange cheese tray

10 minutes before:
Slice and wrap rolls, heat
Prepare Hot Spiced Fruit ‘n Melon
Make Garden Patch Coleslaw

Garden Patch Coleslaw

1 package frozen green peas
2 T bottled Italian salad dressing
1 pint coleslaw (from delicatessen)

Place frozen peas in colander or sieve; run cold water over peas just until thawed, about ½ minute. Drain peas; place in bowl. Drizzle salad dressing over peas and toss until coated. Place coleslaw in serving dish, making a large indentation in center. Pour peas in center of coleslaw. 4 servings.

Hot Spiced Fruit ‘N Melon

1 can fruits for salad
1 jar watermelon pickles
¼ t. allspice

Combine fruits for salad (with syrup), pickles (with syrup) and allspice in saucepan; heat to boiling, stirring occasionally. Serve hot. 4 servings.

(*a wonderfully kitschy pottery planter, a Gunne Sax jacket, and a 1954 paperback western with a cheesy cover that’s going to wind up on this blog, too).


Packrat said...

That menu is hysterical. Logistical planning is correct. 1970 Detroit (lived there then) it might have worked. 1970 where my grandparents lived - no way. They'd have had to drive at least an hour one way to find a store that *might* have sold some of those items.

panavia999 said...

Cooksbooks have *always* been more about fantasy entertaining than the real thing. That's why I stick to my Fanny Farmer and Sunset books which aim for practicality.

Sam said...

How kitschy a planter? Elephant shaped? Blue swans? What?????

Shay said...

Sam - a white Persian cat carrying a kitten in her mouth.