Who is Miss Abigail?

Abigail Grotke
Silver Spring, MD
email: missabigail at missabigail dot com
twitter: @DearMissAbigail

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Miss Abigail has a collection of over 1,000 classic advice books, spanning from 1822 to 1978 and covering a variety of topics, from love and romance to etiquette and charm. The collection sparked the idea for this site, then a book, Miss Abigail's Guide to Dating, Mating, and Marriage, which has inspired an Off-Broadway production of the same name!

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Entertaining Archive

1930: How to Be a Successful [November] Hostess

Sunday, November 20th, 2011

In honor of Thanksgiving week, and since many of you are probably entertaining friends or relatives in the coming days, I thought I’d bring you a bit of advice from a book I picked up while on summer vacation: How to be a Successful Hostess. Published in 1930 and written by Charlotte Clarke and Thelma B. Clarke, the book is subtitled “What every woman should know about entertaining and etiquette.” Still confused about what the the purpose of this book is? Never fear, it opens with a section titled just that (“The Purpose of This Book”):

"To be known as a brilliant entertainer is the sincere wish of each hostess. Beyond measure she covets the high opinion of her friends regarding her ability to carry on social activities in a competent and winning manner.

Always, everywhere, does she want to do the correct thing and say the correct word. She knows that there is a code of etiquette which must be followed; she knows, too, that she must be charming in personality, possess the ability to be pleasing and bright in conversation, and be so well informed as to how to provide entertainment for her guests that they will leave her home wishing the visit had not come to a close and gladly accepting her invitation to “come again.” She fully realizes the embarrassment and the loss of social prestige and standing which follow any incompetency on her part.

The art of entertaining successfully may be cultivated. The object of this volume is to aid the hostess in her endeavor to acquire this art. We have tried, in a clear and understandable way, to present the subjects contained herein so that they will be a source of reference that is at all times helpful and valuable to the woman who takes pride in being a successful hostess and entertainer. "

Chapters include “The Art of Conversation,” “Unexpected Callers,” and “Entertaining the Week-End Guest,” among others. A good chunk of the book (about 90 pages) is devoted to games you can play at your parties. Anyone for a rousing game of “Seeing Snakes” or “Twisted Names,” “Balancing Candy,” “Spearing for Peanuts,” or “Banana Diet”?

But I digress. This is Thanksgiving, after all, so what I meant to share with you are some hints about November parties, from a chapter titled “Menus for Special Occasions.”

"Many hostesses give a Thanksgiving Day Party in honor of those members of the family who have returned home for the holiday.

Mr. Turkey himself, the fellow who has been fed all summer so you might enjoy your Thanksgiving Day mean, is universally accepted as the best centerpiece for the table. If, however, the turkey is already carved, the hostess might substitute an attractive basket of fruit and candies, or flowers would be pleasing an affective.

Any number of favors are obtainable for the Thanksgiving Day meal and the hostess will have little trouble on this score. The place cards may be in the shape of a turkey or pumpkin.

MENUS

Shrimp Cocktail
Stuffed Olives | Sweet Gherkins
Roast Vermont Turkey | Cranberry Sauce
Mashed Potato
Asparagus Tips | Buttered Squash
Alligator Pear Salad
Pumpkin Pie
Hot Mince Pie
Fruits | Nuts | Raisins
Cheese | Toasted Crackers
Coffee

—–

Consommé Vermicelli
Queen Olives | Iced Celery
Roast Vermont Turkey
Cranberry Sauce
Giblet Gravy
Sweet Potato | Baked Potato
Cauliflower | Eggplant
Boston Lettuce, French Dressing
Banana Ice Cream | Tiny Cakes
Fruit | Nuts
Cheese | Crackers
Coffee

—–

Creamed Turkey on Toast
Green Pepper Sandwiches
Tiny Biscuits | Cheese
Mince Pie | Coffee

—–

Fruit Cup
Chicken Cutlets | Potatoes Saratoga
Tomato Salad
Pumpkin Pie | Nuts
Tea "

 

The original owner of my book must not have been much of an entertainer herself ~ she was creative in other ways. The back of the book, meant for the jotting down of favorite recipes, is filled with silly nonsensical poetry. Perhaps an output of one of the games in the book? Or a woman who was pretending to jot down recipes so her family would think she cared, but was instead really writing poetry? That story sounds more entertaining to me.

Happy Thanksgiving, all!

 

 

 

Anniversaries, Gifts, and Anniversary Weddings

Sunday, May 22nd, 2011

Today marks the occasion of my one-year wedding anniversary (time really flies when you are having fun!). While perusing my books on the subject, I was reminded of the usual custom of marking the occasion with a celebration or gifts made from certain types of materials.

I was somewhat surprised to learn that these appear to have changed over the years, depending on the etiquette expert you are referring to and the time period of the book. I always assumed they were etiquette 101 and had always been the same. Not so!

My more modern copy of Emily Post’s Etiquette (16th edition, 1997), has a very long list of anniversaries 1-20, then in five-year increments until year 60, then 70 and 75 are recognized. Here are the first ten years from her list:

1: Paper or Plastics
2: Calico or Cotton
3: Leather or simulated leather
4: Silk or synthetic material
5: Wood
6: Iron
7: Copper or wool
8: Electrical appliances
9: Pottery
10: Tin or aluminum

I dug deep into the etiquette archives to try to determine when this tradition started. Based on an informal study that consisted of me grabbing the oldest etiquette book I could find on the shelf behind me, I found mention of them in the 1877 book Decorum, by J. A. Ruth. I was surprised to find them called “Anniversary Weddings”:

"Celebrating Anniversary Weddings is a very pleasant custom which is coming gradually into general favor. Special anniversaries are designated by special names, indicating the presents suitable on each occasion.

THE PAPER WEDDING

The first anniversary is called the paper wedding. The invitations to this wedding should be issued on a gray paper, representing thin cardboard. Presents from the guests are appropriate, but not by any means obligatory. These presents, if given, should be only of articles made of paper. Thus, boxes of note-paper and envelopes, books, sheets of music, engravings and delicate knickknacks of papier mache are all appropriate for this occasion."

The author has less anniversaries described but is consistent with Emily Post’s list: he jumps to the Wooden Wedding, which he says to celebrate on the fifth year. Tin is for the 10th, crystal for 15th, china for the 20th, silver for 25th, gold for 50th, diamonds for 75th.

In Correct Social Usage, an etiquette book published in 1903, a suggestion is made to recognize anniversaries much later, though the concept remains the same and the earlier years are described for the benefit of those who want to celebrate sooner:

"Wedding anniversaries are not generally observed until the twenty-fifth year ~ “the silver wedding.” There are people, however, who find pleasure in presenting their married friends with appropriate remembrances on some, if not all, of the established anniversaries. Such remembrances must be gifts made of material which corresponds with the same of the anniversary. These occasions have been designated in this way: first year, paper; fifth year, wooden; tenth year, tin; twelfth year, leather; fifteenth year, crystal; twentieth year, china; twenty-fifth year, silver; thirtieth year, ivory; fortieth year, woolen; forty-fifth year, silk; fiftieth year, golden; seventy-fifth year, diamond."

It looks to me like tin and wood have been fighting it out for 5th place for awhile. Hallie Erminie Rives’ The Complete Book of Etiquette, with Social Forms for All Ages and Occasions (1926) has this slightly different list (with less years represented):

"Wedding anniversaries… hold a unique place in the life of a married couple. About the earlier ones there is an air of informality and fun that cannot but infect every guest. As the pair grows older, the celebrations become decidedly important events, and the “golden wedding” carries with it a sense of climax and fruition which makes its day a sacred one indeed.

Symbols of the conventional anniversaries are as follows:

First year: Paper
Second year: Cotton
Third year: Leather
Fourth year: Wood
Fifth year: Tin
Fifteenth year: Crystal
Twentieth year: China
Twenty-fifth year: Silver
Thirtieth year: Pearl
Fortieth year: Ruby
Fiftieth year: Gold
Seventy-fifth year: Diamond

The comedy possibilities of informal entertainments given on the first and second anniversaries are realized to the full by those who gather to congratulate a happy young couple. Nor do the bride and bridegroom ~ who, after the first anniversary may count themselves graduated from the newly married status ~ fail to take advantage of the amusing opportunities for table and house decorations."

The author then goes on to describe some of the party antics that could occur, including this crazy idea, for the paper anniversary: “Both hostess and women guests sometimes where entire costumes of crêpe paper.” Or, at the Leather Wedding anniversary: “as far as decorations and costumes go, is apt to be a thing of shifts and straits.” I can’t wait til that third year!

 

Be Second Sexiest at Parties

Friday, December 31st, 2010

Many of you are no doubt heading out to New Year’s Eve parties this evening, celebrating with a loved one or perhaps going solo, in the hopes of meeting someone special to welcome 2011 with. Ellen Peck, author of the fabulous How to Get a Teen-age Boy and What to do With Him When You Get Him (1969), has a whole chapter devoted to party going, which is so much better than party giving, where you have to devote all your energy to making sure others are having fun.  “When you go to a party,” she writes, “you have no responsibilities to anybody but you. Just see that you have a good time.”

Her chapter outlines how to find out about parties, how to get invited to them, what time to arrive, who to arrive with (if you don’t have a date already), and more. Since this book is all about “getting” a teen-age boy there’s quite a bit about flirting (if you’ve seen the play or ready my book or this site, you’ve heard some of this already). Conversation starters are covered, of course, because “party talk is planned,” but she also says that “you should also be planning your appearance.” Read on:

~~~

Wear pretty much what the other girls are wearing. If they’re wearing tunics, you wear a tunic. But look slightly sexier than most of the girls. Now hear this. This does not mean low, low necklines, long, long, lashes, body jewels, and beauty marks. This “sudden starlet” bit won’t work; you’ll just end up looking like you belong somewhere else. Don’t be the sexiest girl there.

But ~ can you manage to be the second sexiest?

Again, here’s where it helps to know what the other girls are wearing. If you know Irene is going to show up showing décolletage to the naval, you may cut your neckline down a bit. After all, if Kathy’s parties end in neck-nibbling and related indoor sports, you might want to show off a nibbleable neck before lights out.

Looking second sexiest gives you a couple of advantages. Especially over the girl who looks sexiest. That girl (Irene) is going to look slightly out of place. She’s going to make the boys feel slightly self-conscious about approaching her. Oh, they’re turned on by the way she looks, all right. But a guy looks at Irene and knows if he picks tonight to make-out with her, he’s going to go through a lot of ribbing all next week!

Also, do you know how all the other girls are going to feel toward Irene? Maybe hostile.

Do you think Kathy is going to think twice about asking so much competition over again? Maybe definitely.

So, better be second (or even third) than sexiest, as far as your appearance is concerned!

~~~

Miss Abigail’s (Timeless) Holiday Gift Ideas 2010

Sunday, December 19th, 2010

Dear Readers: Today I resurrect my every-so-often holiday gift ideas post and bring to you some book titles that might tickle the fancy of people on your lists. If you aren’t done shopping yet, and need some help, perhaps these will do!

First up, we have a gift for the woman in your life. Although I thought this book might tell the “woman who hates to clean” that she should just hire a housekeeper and call it a day, it does assume that the wife, no matter how much she hates it, will be the one cleaning. Drat. Still, it offers “hundreds of ways to take the drudgery out of cleaning.” That’s sure to be appreciated by women and men (who are hopefully chipping in) alike.

Good Housekeeping's Miracle Cleaning Book (1955)

Next up, a gift for sis. Is she wanting to be on America’s Next Top Model, but doesn’t quite have the looks for it yet? She’s love this book, which was penned by Princess Luciana Pignatelli. The flap copy gives a hint to what are the secrets of a beautiful woman: “self-discipline, private bedrooms, work, cosmetic surgery, facial exercises, rest, repose, having late babies, the right kinds of husbands and loves, yoga, isometrics, and walking.” Your sister might also benefit from those sunglasses. Ooh, baby!

The Beautiful People's Beauty Book, by Princess Luciana Pignatelli (1970)

Speaking of isometrics, this next book would be perfect for anyone on your list. I mean, who wouldn’t love exercise that requires no movement at all?

Vic Obeck's How to Exercise Without Moving A Muscle (1964)

Dad might really enjoy this “Greeting Card Book,” which can be sent directly via the mail.  You could even send it anonymously so he has no idea that you doubt his handyman skills!

The Unhandy Handyman's Book (1966)

Young, frantic parents in your life might really appreciate this helpful guide from the Department of Defense. Who wouldn’t have a better grasp on how to raise preschoolers?

Department of Defense, Caring for Preschoolers (1982)

Here’s another for just about anyone on your list, from the business executive to those starting out in life  ~ this book has 871 pages full of etiquette and more, more, more. I was going to list all of the topics but I figured it was easier to just share the title page (click on it to see a larger size).

The cover of The National Encyclopedia of Business and Social Forms... (1881)

Title page of the National Encyclopedia...

This final entry is for the car lovers in your family, particularly those with VWs. It’s not an advice book, but I found it on my shelves while poking around and it seemed like the perfect gift for both “Volks folks and Normal People.” Here’s a few to whet your appetite: “There was the Dallas oilman who paid for his new Cadillac with a $10,000 bill and took his change in Volkswagens” HA! Or how about: “Here’s a tip to help you quickly dry your VW after a washing. Pick it up by the windshield wiper and it will shake itself dry.” Hooboy, what a riot! Here’s one more: “Give a man with a big car an inch and he’ll take a mile, but give a VW owner a foot and he’ll park his car.”

The Jokeswagen Book (1966)

Well, that’s it for another year. I hope these ideas help with your last-minute gift shopping, and that you all have a wonderful holiday!

The Hullabaloo Discothèque Dance Book: Table Talk

Sunday, November 28th, 2010

The Hullabaloo TV series, which was on air before I was born, published a handy book in 1966 titled the Hullabaloo Discothèque Dance Book. The book’s introduction leads its readers into the exciting world of this newfangled, European craze that had recently hit the USA: Discothèque Dances. Described as “the term to describe all the places, chic and otherwise, where you can dance to recorded music.” The book is filled with instructions and photos to help guide the reader learn such popular dances such as “The Frug,” “The Hitchhiker,” “The Swim,” “The Monkey,” “The Boston Monkey,” The Slop,” The Buzzard,” and more.

I thought you might be a little tired from all that pie and turkey eating this week, and not up to too many crazy antics this weekend (like learning the “The Jerk,” so I bring you one that you can do while sitting around the table or on the couch. “Table Talk” is a bit complicated, but I think you’ll pick it up quickly. Enjoy! (Sorry I cut off the 13 & 14 numbers when scanning!)

Table Talk p1Table Talk p2Table Talk p3Table Talk p4Table Talk p5

Thanksgiving Parties

Saturday, November 20th, 2010

I spend every other Thanksgiving with family on Sanibel Island in Florida. It’s always a bit odd to eat turkey and mashed potatoes at picnic tables alongside the beach, but we make it work. We have our own games and traditions, including an ornament decorating contest using natural items from the beaches (I am SO winning this year! Take that, Johns Family!). Last time we did a tag-team sort of race (which I lost for our team, quite miserably).

Continuing with this theme of advice for a holidays, I thought I would find some Thanksgiving party ideas that might help you start your own traditions. Here’s a few from the 1928 edition of How to Entertain at Home. These are sure to be crowd-pleasers!

~~

Rollicking games and stunts that “have a big laugh in them” are indispensable to a party where young people are present. Some good ones are described here.

Sports with doughnuts are highly seasonable at this feast of New England origin. A good one is a race in which players kneel on one knee with hands clasped behind their backs and pursue with the teeth wobbly doughnuts suspended on strings. The player first to devour his cake (without touching it with his hands) wins the race.

“Thanksgiving Dinner” is a nonsense game or stunt which can be enjoyed after the feast on the great day, or after a Thanksgiving supper at the church, if weighing scales are on hand. Each person is asked to step on the scales and “see how heavy a dinner he has eaten.” The mistress of ceremonies singles out some vivacious persons of both sexes, weighing a little lighter or heavier than the usual run. These are pronounced to have eaten too much or too little, according to their appearance and weight, and are sentenced to perform stunts for the amusement of the company.

Very jolly and yet very easy to prepare is a Thanksgiving Contest. Give each player a carrot or turnip (all vegetables to be in the same class, however) and ask him to “carve the turkey.” The entertainer can furnish knives but should anyone have a favorite penknife he is allowed to use it. The idea of the contest is to carve the vegetable provided, into little replicas of the November bird. The turkey can be presented either as living or on the platter. The best sculpture wins the prize.

~~

Hallowe’en Suggestions

Sunday, October 31st, 2010

Hi kids! It’s Halloween time again (or Hallowe’en, if you celebrated this back in 1905). I consulted with Mrs. Herbert B. Linscott’s Bright Ideas for Entertaining to find some fun party tips for you this year. First, some decorating ideas:

~~

Have mirrors everywhere: big mirrors, medium-sized mirrors, and little, wee mirrors, all reflecting and multiplying countless candles that burn in candlesticks of every description (most novel are those made from long-necked gourds and tiny squashes).

Across the top and down the sides of each doorway hang festoons of yellow and white corn and turn the husks back to show the firm, glistening kernels. Each window can be garlanded in like manner as well as the tops of mantels and picture frames. Here and there, in the most unexpected corners, can be placed Jack-o’-lanterns, smiling or gnashing their teeth, amid great shocks of corn. The great hall and stairway can be draped with fish-nets through the meshes or which are thrust many ears of corn. A stately Jack must point the guests up the stairs where two other individuals will usher them to the dressing-rooms.

~~

And now, for some games!

~~

In [a] doorway hang a big pear-shaped pumpkin, on whose shining surfaces all the letters of the alphabet have been burned with a hot poker. Keep this rapidly twirling while the guests, in turn, try to stab some letter with long meat-skewers. The  letter that is hit will establish beyond question the initial letter of one’s fate.

Place in a tub of water red, yellow and green apples. Provide each guest with a toy bow and arrow. The young man or maiden who succeeds in firing an arrow into a red apple will be assured of good health; plenty of money is in store for shooting arrows into yellow ones; and good luck is in store for those hitting the green ones.

Blindfold each girl present and, presenting her with a wand, lead her to a table on which have been placed flags of the different men’s colleges. The flag her wand happens to touch will indicate the college of her future husband.

~~

And finally, the author rounds out the party plan with some food suggestions: “Browning nuts, popping corn, roasting apples, and toasting marshmallows will add a great deal of pleasure to the evening.”  Yum!

For more Halloween tips, visit this earlier post.

Happy Halloween!

When and How to Tell Jokes

Wednesday, September 1st, 2010

don't giggle all the way throughThat Estelle Hunter. She sure is a crack-up in her Personality Development, Unit Three: Voice and Expression. I mean, that salesman joke ~ hilarious!

1939: When and How to Tell Jokes

It is not unusual for a group to spend an hour or more in exchanging jokes or stories, but such conversation soon becomes wearisome and ceases to please. Don’t add your story unless it is better than any that have been told and you are sure that too many have not already been related. Remember that any story should be told only if it is interesting, if it is relevant, if it is in good taste, and if it has a good point.

Don’t laugh at your own joke, at least until everyone else has shown that he liked it. Don’t giggle all the way through a story or laugh before you come to the point. Don’t lose the point of the story as did a young woman who said to her brother:

“You’re a salesman so you’ll like this story. A salesman came into his office at night and someone asked him how he felt. He said ‘Pretty independent; I didn’t sell anyone anything today.'””You mean,” replied her brother, “that he said, ‘I didn’t take orders from anyone today.'”

When you have told a story successfully, don’t tempt Fate by telling another immediately. Turn the spotlight of attention on someone else by saying, for example, “John, what was the story about your guide in Italy last year? That was even more amusing than my experience.”

If John doesn’t tell his story exactly as you think he should, don’t correct him or attempt to add details. It is his story. Courtesy demands that you let him tell it as he will.

Source: Hunter, Estelle B. Personality Development, Unit Three: Voice and Expression. Chicago: The Better-Speech Institute of America, 1939.
~ pp. 82-83 ~

What Should I Cook Him?

Wednesday, August 25th, 2010

ego, libido, and feedoQ Dear Miss Abigail:

Any tips on what to cook a guy for a romantic meal? I am thinking of his birthday. Thank you!

Signed,
Katie

A Dear Katie:

I do believe I’ve located some fabulous advice for you in Robert Loeb’s She Cooks to Conquer. It should help you plan your dinner. I’m sorry I have no room to include the complete recipes, which are actually illustrated (see “The Man Who Stayed for Breakfast” for an example), but I think the menu ideas will be enough to set you on the right path.

Oh, and you’re welcome.

1952: The Man Who Came for Dinner

Classical Circe, when ensnaring Odysseus and his crew, had to employ her magic wand upon occasion, and could not merely depend on her vintages and victuals for complete enchantment. The reason for this was that, like pilots who formerly had to fly without benefit of electronic devises and radar, Circe too had to cook by the seat of her panties.

But you Circes today, with the aid of the latest scientific findings, will not have to cook on a hit-or-run basis. By putting to use the results of surveys and information gleaned by psychologists in their minute studies of the male (and with special thanks and all due apologies to Doctor W. H. Sheldon), I am about to furnish you with a fool-proof guide. This will make as certain as possible that the luring dishes you serve your Odysseus will be the exact food of his choice. For, by grading him for type, you will approximate the yearnings of his own particular ‘feedo.’

It has been found that the male animal comes in thress basic sizes and varieties, each bearing a very complicated name that actually is easy to explain: the somatotonic, the viscerotonic, and the cerebrotonic!!!

Each of these varieties will be both illustrated and decribed briefly. All you will have to do is to determine into which category your own Odysseus belongs and then serve him a menu recommended for his type. Thus, in one fell ‘soup,’ you will have combined the magic of psychoscience with the enchantment of twentieth-century culinary savoir faire. What manner of male exists who will be able to resist such witchery?

~ ~ ~

Here is the male SOMATONIC: he’s the muscle man with paleolithic instincts, more likely to flex his biceps than his brain; he’s quick of decision, prone to passion, which he demonstrates in immediate action. He’s probably the club athlete, prefers the locker-room to the salon or boudoir, and his tastes in food run chiefly to red meat.

So here are two menus to choose from, graded for type and taste, when this muscled Odysseus arrives for dinner:

Muscle-Man Menus

No. 1:
Oeufs Riants
Steak Circe
Pommes de Ciel
Asparagus, Sauce Odysseus
Wine to Serve: Red Bordeaux ~ room temp.

No. 2:
Fruit Cup Cyclops
Lamp Chops Ajax
Spuds à la Maison
Peas Penelope
Wine to Serve: Rosé ~ chilled

And here we have the male VISCEROTONIC ~ a man of guts, if we ever saw one. He’s usually more balloon-shaped than streamlined, copiously equipped with avoirdupois and tummy. He’s accoutred with a jovial disposition, his emotional font being chiefly centered about his abdominal region. With a bird in one hand and a bottle in the other, he’s in a Falstaffian kind of heaven. Of the trio, he’s the one most vulnerable to your culinary wiles ~ he’s the gourmand, if not the gourmet.

Man-of Guts Menus

No. 1:
Soup Hades
Veal Vulcan
Pommes Aphrodite
Salad Athena
Wine to Serve: Cabernet Sauvignon, or Cabernet Franc ~ room temp.

No. 2:
Hors d’Oeuvres Hermes
Chicken Scylla
Potatoes Charybdis
Artichokes Artemis
Wine to Serve: Chablis ~ chilled

And here ~ the third of this trio of male ‘tonics’ ~ the CEREBROTONIC no less. Sometimes tall, dark, and handsome ~ or not handsome and not tall (he could be short and blond) ~ or just tall ~ but always lean and thin (you pick him for color and length). He is more apt to be a Casanova than a caveman. His approach is subtle and hidden; his ego, libido, and feedo are swathed in the skin in the sheep but beneath which pulsates the drive and appetites of the wolf. His taste-buds should be subtly titillated, but once aroused are rewarding.

Lean-Man Menus

No. 1:
Zeus Soup
Shrimps Poseiden with rice
Salad Persephone
Wine to Serve: Graves ~ chilled

No. 2:
Clam Juice Calypso
Lamb Laertes
Pommes Polythemus
Salad Telemachus
Wine to Serve: Red Bordeaux ~ room temp.

Source: Loeb, Robert H., Jr. She Cooks to Conquer. New York: Wilfred Funk, Inc., 1952.
~ pp. 29-31, 45, 59 ~

Cooking Breakfast

Wednesday, August 25th, 2010

the water must be boiling madlyIn the preface to 2002 Household Helps, editor Janet D. Myers wished the book would “be called upon many times to shorten the labors of those who are responsible for the welfare of our American families.” Since I’ve mostly been cooking breakfast these days (who needs lunch or dinner, when there are so many sugared cereals to indulge in?), I thought I’d pull out some helpful tips to share. Pouring the milk over the cereal sure is laborious, and my singlular American family deserves only the best!

1942: Cooking Breakfast

CRISPING BACON ~ Try laying your thin slices of bacon in a shallow pan and putting them in the oven. They will be uniformly crist and moderately browned. When you take them out of the oven lay the pieces on oiled paper until you are ready to serve. The fat that has been cooked out can be used in frying hashed brown potatoes or chops.

MILK INSTEAD OF CREAM ~ Two quarts of milk added to one quart of heavy cream makes cream sufficient strength when serving coffee to 100 people.

SODA IN OMELET ~ A half teaspoonful of soda added to a cup of sour milk and used instead of sweet milk in preparing an omelet makes it light and fluffy.

‘NEW’ CEREAL IDEA ~ When tired of breakfast cereals try cooking two or three kinds together. They will give a new flavor to the breakfast.

BETTER COFFEE ~ Many people use too little coffee when they make the drink. Put more of it into the coffee pot and you will have a better beverage.

COOK CEREALS LONGER ~ Breakfast cereals cooked for long periods of time will have a better flavor and be more digestible than those cooked only a short time.

MAKING SAUSAGE ~ In making sausage or other things calling for ground meat, it is desirable to have the seasoning evenly mixed with meat. Cut meat in strips, lengthwise, for grinding. Weigh meat for same. Put layer of meat in pan, sprinkle seasoning over, then another layer of meat and seasoning until all is used. Then feed into grinder. The sausage will be uniform in flavor.

FRYING SAUSAGES ~ When frying pork sausages invert a colander over the frying pan and you will find that you will not be bothered with the grease spattering the stove and yourself.

JELLY OMELET ~ A dab of tart jelly is very good with the breakfast omelet.

FRYING ON OIL STOVE ~ Use an aluminum frying pan for pancakes when frying them over an oil stove.

CHOICE GRAPEFRUIT ~ Grapefruit uniform in size, with smooth thin skin and small pores, are the choice ones.

BEATING EGG WHITES ~ Never beat whites of eggs in an aluminum pan. It will always darken it and make it ugly. Use a china or porcelain bowl.

POACHING EGGS ~ Don’t try to poach an egg by putting it in lukewarm or slightly boiling water. The water must be boiling madly, so that the albumen is cooked at once, otherwise the egg spreads all through the water.

LEFTOVER TOAST ~ Dip leftover toast in egg and milk, and brown in a small amount of fat. This is French toast and may be served for breakfast with powdered sugar or syrup.

KEEPING DOUGHNUTS ~ If doughnuts are put into a covered dish while still warm they will keep fresh for some time.

BETTER TOAST ~ Bread a day old makes better toast than fresh bread.

AVOIDING LUMPY CEREALS ~ If you have trouble with cereals lumping when you are pouring them into the boiling water, stir vigorously with a wire cake spoon.

Source: Myers, Janet D. 2002 Household Helps. Cleveland, Ohio: The World Publishing Company, 1942.
~ pp. 27-45 ~