WWLP Bake: Betty Crocker’s Custard Chiffon Cake

This recipe comes from a joint advertisement for Betty Crocker and Gold Medal Enriched Flour in 1953. The version shown serves as the back cover for the July 1953 issue of Better Homes and Gardens:

Betty Crocker Chiffon Custard Cake

“New! Custard Chiffon Cake//As rich tasting as butter cake…delicate as angel food//Betty Crocker says: ‘Flour is the most important ingredient in any baking'”

Betty Crocker’s Custard Chiffon Cake (Makes 16-20 Servings)

Blend together and then cool:

  •  3/4 cup scalding hot milk
  • 7 egg yolks, slightly beaten

Preheat oven (see pan sizes and temperatures below). Sift an ample amount of GOLD MEDAL FLOUR onto a square of paper

STEP 1….Measure (level measurements throughout) and sift together into  mixing bowl:

  • 2 cups sifted GOLD MEDAL flour (spoon lightly into cup, don’t pack)
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • *3 tsp. baking powder
  • *1 tsp salt

Make a well and add in order:

  • 1/2 cup cooking (salad) oil such as wesson
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • the cooled egg yolk-milk mixture

Beat until smooth with spoon or beat with electric mixer on medium speed for 1 minute.

STEP 2…Measure into large mixing bowl:

  • 1 cup egg whites (7 or 8)
  • 1/2 tsp. cream of tartar

Beat until whites form very stiff peaks by hand or with electric mixer on high speed for 3 to 5 minutes. DO NOT UNDERBEAT. Egg whites are stiff enough when a dry rubber scraper drawn through them leaves a clean path.

STEP 3…Pour batter gradually over beaten egg whites–gently folding with rubber scraper just until blended. DO NOT STIR. Pour into ungreased pan immediately

BakeTube pan, 10×4-in.–325*–55 min. then –350*–10 to 15 minutes…or until top springs back when lightly touched.

Immediately turn pan upside down, placing tube part over neck of funnel or bottle, or resting edges of oblong pan on 2 other pans. Let hang, free of table, until cold. Loosen from sides and tube with spatula. Turn pan over and hit edge sharply on table to loosen. Frost with Fresh Strawberry Icing (recipe below).

Success Tip: Milk must be hot when poured over slightly beaten egg yolks.

*If you use GOLD MEDAL Self-Rising Flour (sold in parts of the South), omit baking powder and salt.

For altitudes over 2500 feet, use baking powder as follows; 2500-4000 ft. 2 1/4 tsp.; 4000-6500 ft. 1 1/2 tsp.; over 6500 ft. 3/4 tsp. Over 3500 ft. increase oven temp. 25* and use minimum baking time.

Fresh Strawberry Icing…Blend until fluffy and good spreading consistency: 6 tbsp. soft shortening, 3 cups sifted confectioner’s sugar, 3 tbsp. crushed fresh or frozen strawberries (including juice). Add additional crushed berries if icing appears to thick.

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Jim Beard’s Basic Equipment for Entertaining 1954

Jim Beard was a well published cookbook author and foods educator during the middle of the 20th century. His recipes focused on real food, and his book Jim Beard’s Complete Cookbook for Entertaining offered complete menus and recipes for any occasion. He claimed that even the most inexperienced housewife or poor cook could handle the recipes in his book if they had the right tools and easy to follow directions; and he even went so far as to list mail order grocers in case readers couldn’t easily find ingredients for their menus. If you had the right equipment and the drive to make exciting meals, you too could throw wonderful parties.

Here are his must haves in the kitchen for effective entertainment:

retro entertaining 2 retro entertaining

  1. Flat Baking Dishes
  2. Baking Sheets
  3. Platters
  4. Knives
  5. Serving Spoons
  6. Omelet Pans
  7. Cocktail Glasses
  8. Wire Whisks
  9. Rotisserie
  10. Pepper Mill
  11. Carving Board
  12. Thermos Coffee Jug
  13. Souffle Dishes
  14. Large Tureen
  15. Charcoal Grill
  16. Tongs
  17. Candle Heater
  18. Odd Serving Dishes and Plates
  19. Electric Skillet
  20. Electric Mixer
  21. Casseroles
  22. Blender
  23. All-Purpose Long Drink Glasses
  24. Roasting Pan with Rack
  25. Glass or Pottery Salad Bowl
  26. Carving Shears
  27. Wooden Spoons
  28. Small Portable Grill
  29. All-Purpose Wine Glass
  30. Aluminum Foil
  31. Electric Glass Hot Tray
  32. Small Mortar and Pestle

Most of these tools are still regularly used, although with the current minimalist trend of younger generations and the general societal trend of Peter Pan Syndrome, I’d argue that a majority of folks who entertain don’t have a lot of these in their kitchen at the ready. I’d have also added “punch bowl” to this list based on the number of punch recipes available for that time.

Marriage Advice for the Mid-Century Man: How to Live with a Woman

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In July of 1953, Collier’s ran an article titled How to Live with a Woman. If at first glance the title alone isn’t enough to ignite fury, then the caption reading

A noted marriage counselor lets the men in on the secret of understanding a woman. If your wife seems to be illogical, there’s a reason–and you can do something about it.

should do the trick. But although this article is dripping with misogynistic anecdotes (from our point of view), the advice really isn’t terrible and can absolutely be applied to contemporary long-term couples of any type, married or not.

So how do you live with a woman? Well, the author of this article, Margaret Blair Johntone used her 18 years of experience as a minister and marriage counselor, along with her 14 years of experience as a wife to explain some common misconceptions and it seems as though it all boils down to communication.

Photograph for Collier's By Philippe Halsman. Collier's July 1953

Photograph for Collier’s By Philippe Halsman. Collier’s July 1953

The piece begins with a story of a husband telling her [Johnstone] about how his wife was illogical and constantly making a fuss over small trifles. From his perspective women are unpredictable, aggressive, and out of control stating, “Women always make a big personal issue out of everything. You say something completely innocent and suddenly you’re in an argument,” “Women are unreasonable. They don’t say what they mean and they blow up when you believe what they say,” and “You can’t argue with a woman. whichever side you’re on, you’re wrong.”

Johnstone also interviewed men whose complaints involved wives asking them to do chores after work, wives that never seemed to be happy despite “having it all,” and wives that chronically moved the furniture around. She then laid out a detailed explanation of the 4 rules to a happy marriage, full of anecdotes to drive the point home:

Rule 1. Establish an us-against-the-world feeling, and never lose it. It makes a marriage practically invulnerable. Johnstone focused this piece of advice around the concept that although marriages begin with the vow, “Never again will it be you and I; from now on, it’s we,”  many couples lose the sense of we once the honeymoon phase is over. She explains that once the united feeling begins to slip blame, resentment, and misunderstanding are close to follow. The we-feel is “the life source of marriage.”

Rule 2. Don’t take your wife for granted. She’s making a tremendously import ant contribution to your happiness–let her know you appreciate it and you’ll eliminate a lot of apparently unreasonable quarrels. According to Johnstone,

“There’s no formula for understanding a woman, but there’s a secret I’ll let the men in on. Often a woman has to be illogical, for a perfectly good reason: it may be the only way she can make her husband act like a man.”

WHAT.

“When a woman’s ‘no’ means ‘yes’ time and time again, it should be a clear sign to her husband that his masculinity is slipping.”

Okay, seriously WHAT? What she’s saying here is that the “no” means “yes” thing is a type of reverse psychology the wife plays on the husband in an attempt to trick him into being more proactive in the relationship. She claims its particularly easy for couple that have lost that we-feel to fall victim to  this type of behavior. Women speak in code as a way of challenging their husband. She also explained that sometimes women reacted the way they did out of fear that their husbands no longer loved them. Starting an argument was a form of fishing for compliments. One woman interviewed for the article explained,

“A lot of women never bother to make breakfast for their husbands. I do, and what thanks do I get? No matter how I try, you take everything for granted. You never even say you love me. I often wonder if you do. I can’t ask you, for your answer wouldn’t mean anything. Perhaps if I tell you what I really fear–if I say you don’t love me–you’ll tell me you do.”

Rule 3. Respect your differences. Agree to disagree. Don’t fight your partner–remember you’re on the same team. In this section, Johnstone provides quite a few statistics about the overall happiness of the average marriage. She states that realistically, “Marriage, of course, should be a 50-50 proposition. But the experts find only one couple in three ever achieves that goal.” The statistics focused on the issue of domination, stating that of the male dominated relationships examined only 61% were happy and of the female dominated relationships only 47% were happy, but of the 50-50 relationships examined 87% reported being happy.  Some of the couples interviewed expressed their distaste for how much arguing they experienced, and Johnstone assured them that while constant bickering is unhealthy, a once-in-a-blue moon fight to re-balance the marital harmony was totally okay.

Rule 4. See to it that she gets an occasional change of scene and interest. Most women spent their entire day in the home with a few brief trips to the shops and the school. They didn’t share the same luxuries and daily freedoms as their contemporary counterparts do now. Women often waited for their husband to come home from work and then they would spend the evening out on the town. But when the husbands worked late frequently or wanted to spend their evenings in, it was common to feel restless and imprisoned in the home. This one is probably the least applicable today, as most stay-at-home partners are quite mobile and can have change of scenery much more easily than in 1953. However, a change in pattern is always applicable and a good idea whether you work out in the world or in the home.

Johnstone wrapped the article up with a suggestion that husbands make a bigger effort to re-balance their marriages through small steps and provides another anecdote about a mother and daughter she encountered out to lunch. The mother received a surprise gift of jewelry and claimed to be happier than a schoolgirl.

WWLP Wear: Summer Styles 1962

Summer forecasts for fashion in the spring of ’62 called for bold prints and elegant silhouettes. Each design showcased emphasized a nipped waist with a full or an A-line skirt, usually tied with a sash, bow, or belt. Colors were bright and attention grabbing, and accessories included short white gloves with a strand of pearls on the neckline or thick bangle bracelets.

The Soft look is the rule for the new season. Prints are gay–their patterns bold, their colors delectable. Shapes vary from slim to flared, but all of them are on relaxed lines that are flatteringly feminine and help make every woman look her best.

From: “New in the Summer Fashion Spotlight” by Katherine Day (Everywoman’s Family Circle Fashion Editor) May 1962

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