My grandmother used to tell me that I had an old soul. My friends call me “freakishly old-fashioned.” My grandparents would tell me stories about our families’ histories. I could listen for hours about how the way things were..sigh. As a kid I hated watching PBS history shows. My dad loves them. There was no peace in the house until I saved up my money and bought a 9 inch black and white TV for my room!! Funny how times have changed.. I watch PBS history shows! My favorite is History Detectives!
So wouldn’t you know, I just had to find out the history of the Chocolate Chip cookie!!!!!
The first chocolate chip cookies was invented in 1937 by Ruth Graves Wakefield (1905-1977), of Whitman, Massachusetts, who ran the Toll House Restaurant. The Toll House Restaurant site was once a real toll house built in 1709, where stage coach passengers ate a meal while horses were changed and a toll was taken for use of the highway between Boston and New Bedford, a prosperous whaling town. The Wakefields sold the restaurant in 1966. It burned down on New Year’s Eve in 1984.
One of Ruth’s favorite recipes was an old recipe for “Butter Drop Do” cookies that dated back to colonial times. The recipe called for the use of baker’s chocolate. One day Ruth found herself without a needed ingredient. Having a bar of semisweet chocolate on hand, she chopped it into pieces and stirred the chunks of chocolate into the cookie dough. She assumed that the chocolate would melt and spread throughout each cookie. Instead the chocolate bits held their shape and created a sensation. She called her new creation the Toll House Crunch Cookies. The Toll House Crunch Cookies became very popular with guests at the inn, and soon her recipe was published in a Boston newspaper, as well as other papers in the New England area. Word of the cookie spread and it became popular.
Recently, I have become obsessed with Granny’s 1950 first edition (second printing) Betty Crocker Picture Cook Book. Betty, known as my imaginary friend, has such wonderful advice to this 2010 homemaker from the picturesque 50’s. Becoming the “modern” homemaker of 1950 can be challenging especially since we are living in 2010. But Betty’s wisdom surpasses time. Skepticism plagues our home…..and I, quote, my 13 yo, “Really….Mom….the cookbook….again??”—that is complete with rolling eyes and a shake of the head……
As I sat down to do “research” for my Betty Crocker Fridays, I found a lovely quote from Betty,
Breads-Quick and Hot: A conversation Piece…….Hot quick breads in their many delightful forms help tell the story of civilization. Notice the bits of history tucked into these pages and serve them up as table conversation. They’ll make cooking, and eating, more fun.
Oh, Betty, you know how I love history!! AND oh, how I love to talk!! Betty, giving us something to discuss over dinner……you are my hero!! I can’t wait to hear more……
One of the earliest forms of baking…..once called “hearth cakes”….now known by many names. They vary from hearty buckwheat cakes to to the delicate dessert cakes. But, whatever the kind, the cakes should be light, tender, and uniformly golden brown. The Dutch settlers brought pancakes to America. Later, the Germans in Pennsylvania served pancakes for breakfast, supper and noonday meals.
Don’t you love pancakes…..yummmmm nothing says, “Good Morning” like pancakes……
Betty’s Delicate Fluffy Pancakes
Beat well with rotary beater….
3 egg yolks
1 2/3 cups thick buttermilk
1 tsp. soda
Sift together and beat in…..
1 1/2 cups sifted Gold Medal flour
1 tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
3 tbsp. soft butter
Gently fold in….
3 egg whites, stiffly beaten
Doesn’t that sound heavenly????
I have a dilemma every single time I make pancakes. Leftovers!! Leftover pancakes tend to be “too dry.” My kids rarely will eat leftover pancakes. Lately, the leftovers have been going to the dogs….which isn’t healthy for them. OR I have been putting them in the compost. All the while, I can distinctively hear Grandma, “People just waste so much these days.” Then the guilt settles in……
Under the title, “New Adventures with Culinary Heirlooms”, I found Betty’s solution for those guilt causing leftovers….. Turn them into dessert!!
So with a little help…. leftovers became dessert…..
Jelly Roll Pancakes: Spread jelly, rolled up, dusted with confectioners’ sugar.
Sugar Free Applesauce, cinnamon, and whipped cream.
Swedish Pancakes “Plattar” or Little Plates: stack pancakes with lingonberries and whipped cream……
Betty, what is a lingonberry? Okay, don’t think I can find any…….. so….
We substituted fresh blueberries…..had some in the freezer…. picked them myself last summer….makes my mouth water just thinking about them.
The leftover problem is solved!! Yippie!!! They were so good last night for dessert we had them again for breakfast!!
I’m on a quest. A quest to become……drum roll please…….Betty Crocker. Feeling inspired to become the “modern” homemaker of 1950 in order to be a better homemaker in 2010, I am heeding the advice of my “imaginary friend,” Betty.
Betty asked a wonderful question…..
Oh Betty…..in my whiniest voice…. Did you really have to go there?? Alrighty then….. I need to take a gander at my table…..
It’s 4:45pm and as you can see….the after school snack trays, my work station and other clutter is making my table so unbelievably UNattractive!! Wasting no time, I quickly cleared the clutter…..Betty will be here to inspect my table and to answer the attractive question in any minute!! Oh, by the way, the clutter was thrown to the kitchen counter. Hopefully, Betty will have blinders on!!
Cleared table….. check
So, now on to the table setting….. Betty says….
1. For formal dinners: use all-over cloth of white or pastel colored damask or lace. For informal dinners and luncheons: lace or linen mats or runners. For breakfasts: gay, colorful cloths or mats.
I heard you snicker at "gay." Careful Betty is watching!!
Running straight for my “linen” closet, I quickly discovered remembered that I put all the place-mats, table cloths, and the finer things I got from my wedding shower (14 yrs ago) into the consignment shop. I had figured since the lovely things had never adorned my table in the 14 yrs I had them…. they would be better off elsewhere. Not giving up, I dashed to my material stash…..nothing big enough to even be considered as a table cloth. Well, Betty will just have to deduct points…..scratch the cloths and mats. On to #2.
2. Place napkins, folded in squares or rectangles, at left, as near silver as possible without touching it, or on the service plate. If no service plate is used, napkin may be placed in center of cover. Place open corner of napkin at lower right.
What is a service plate?? Thank God for Google!! A service plate is also called a Decorative Charger Plate….. apparently it is to hold the napkin and to look pretty…..I think……
My biggest worry is the napkins. I have purchased several kinds of linen napkins over the past couple of years. Remember folks…. I don’t purchase paper products anymore. I have a basket of odds and ends that we use….and I have two styles that I actually have 4 of……which do you think will go with my pink rose china pattern with a silver edging?
Green….Blue….green….blue….. I think I will get a nod of approval with the blue. So, napkins….. check.
3. Place silver 1″ from edge of table in stright line even when edge of table is curved. Place no more than 3 pieces of silver on each side of plate.
4. Place all forks (except cocktail fork) at the left of plate with prongs up. Place knives at right of plate with sharp edges toward plate. Place spoons at right of knives.
5. Each piece of silver should be placed in order of use, beginning at outside. (When salad accompanies main course, dinner fork may be used for both meat course and salad.)
6. At informal dinners, dessert silver is usually on the table at beginning of the meal. For more formal service, dessert silver is brought on with the dessert.
I know….I know…. picky picky picky…..Now I need to recover some points so I did exactly as she advised……
#3, #4, #5, #6…. check, check, check, and CHECK!
Feeling pretty confident now…. I skimmed over #7, #8, #9 and #10….. basically they told me where to put the drinking glass (just above the point of the knife). They were so technical that my head began to spin…….
11. Always observe neatness, order, and balance. Avoid crowding center of table.
Mark!! We need a bigger table!!! No…. a bigger dining room for a bigger table!! Betty will just have to accept the fact that I have a small table….. (squeaky voice)…. more points deducted……
Running towards the end of the check list……we finally reach #12…..
12. The centerpiece for informal family meals may be a few well arranged flowers, a growing plant, or colorful fruit in a low bowl. Even for more elaborate dinners, the bouquet or pyramid of fruit should be low enough so guests may see across the table. The soft glow of candles lends a festive air to the evening meal. Candles should never be used for daylight parties.
Centerpiece??? Betty are you for real? You just said not to over crowd….okay…okay…. I will figure something out……..
….well arranged flowers??? No fresh flowers yet…. would a sprig of wild onion do??
…..a growing plant??? Could use my 8 yo’s cabbage plant he brought home from school the other day……does it have to be growing??? could a dead one or a plastic one suffice??? Another bust…..oh no…. not any more deductions!!!
….bowl of fruit???? Jar of applesauce maybe???? No time to run to the market!!
……ding ding ding…….I have a small flower arrangement I use to decorate for Thanksgiving…….Ta-DA!!!!
Perfect!! Now…. oh my goodness….. the time has just slipped by…..I have everything in place…… doesn’t our very informal dining room look like a million bucks pennies??
You may be wondering what I served at this elegant dinner….. frozen lasagna, frozen green beans, fresh spinach salad…. from a bag, and iced tea. It was a lovely evening and dining experience. We gathered together in our formal attire everyday wear…..my 8yo son was shirtless and shoeless because it is like summer outside…..couldn’t convince him otherwise.
After the meal, I felt so satisfied that Betty could come over to see the Dettras experience a more formal…..informal…..formally informal dinner. I believe I saw her add points on the family interaction and poking fun at mom and her “imaginary friend.”
Well, Betty Crocker had some really cool ideas about Meal-Planning and Table Service in 1950. According to Betty……
Good Eating brings happiness two ways. First, there is the joy and satisfaction of eating delicious, well prepared food. Then there’s the buoyant health, vitality, and joy of living that comes from a wise choice of foods. Both are important to good nutrition.
Betty tells the homemakers in the 1950’s to use the “Basic Seven Foods” when planning the meals to be served.
Check this out…… (click picture to zoom in)
Notice how things have changed?? In Group 6, enriched or restored flour is encouraged….. And Group 7…… where’s the olive oil??? Interesting isn’t it!!
I am a big meal planner. I have found over the years that it helps me with my grocery shopping. I sit down each week and plan my meals for the ENTIRE week. I even include snacks for my hungry darlings after school. I have to keep in mind all of our family activities so my calendar isn’t but a hand reach away when I plan.
Betty was big on meal planning, too. She even says it is an art:
Planning, preparing, and serving meals is an art which develops through inspiration and thought. And meal-planning is really fun! It may look difficult to the beginner, but like driving a car, swimming or anything we learn to do without thought or conscious effort, it is a skill which grows easier with the doing.
I can remember starting the meal planning process. It would take me hours to get everything together and planned. Now, 30 minutes is the most I spend. It has become second nature for me.
Betty has her plan broken down into 5 catagories that will ensure the homemakers build a happy home life.
1. Appropriateness: Cut your meal pattern to fit your situation, the occasion, and your family’s needs.
2. Appearance: Prepare, serve and present each food attractively for greater appetite appeal.
a) Good cooking and seasoning
b) Right combinations of food
c) Follow tested recipes carefully
Betty’s wise advice:
Something soft and something crisp should always go together,
And something hot with something cold no matter what the weather,
Something bland needs the complement of something with tang and nip,
Follow these rules and all your meals with have taste appeal and zip.
4. Nutrition: Serve a wide variety of foods. Balance meals by including foods from the 7 basic groups. Breakfast should give about 1/3 of the day’s food supply.
5. Cost: A food budget will help you. Buy the basic food needs for the family first. Buy less of the more expensive foods and more of the less expensive foods. Grow your own fruits and vegetables, if possible.
How wise Ms. Betty was back in the 50’s!! Fast forwarding to today…..most of her advice can be used today. Perhaps, I will need to consider how attractive my mealtime should be…..oh will I ever be so worthy???