December 6, 2009

Training Your Maid To Be A Waitress

The old white bookcase filled with cookbooks with Christmas around it. Standards upper left, pamphlets upper right, Weight Watchers in the middle….poor Weight Watchers, and mother’s photo albums to the bottom right. 2009.

Himself: Stopped at a few estate sales, found a good saw, spent a quiet day before being a docent from 5 to nine pm at the Auto Museum. There were 9,000 visitors this December Nights party in the park, and his job was to keep them away from the Porsches. Home around ten.

Herself: Tired, I confess. Found one gem of a cookbook, noted no more Sunbeam Mixmasters at estate sales now, ate dinner over the computer, bath…got out of the tub ok, and TV. I had wanted to go to the park with G, but I couldn’t imagine walking around for five hours or sitting in the car in the dark alone. Need to go back to sit ups and weight lifting even with my braces on. Getting old isn’t for sissy’s. This morning my jaw dropped at 31 notes on Cottage Cheese. Wow!

Reading: On to the next garbage book. This hasn’t been a good month for new mysteries. Maybe I need to retreat to old and loved Sci-Fi.

Balance: A quiet evening.

”Smooth service at the table is the ambition of all hostesses,” says my new 1942, Good Housekeeping Cook Book. I leapt upon this with great glee. How did I know that goblets were to be filled 3/4 full? Have the service napkin folded in a square. Oh yeah? What’s a service napkin?

I may have learned proper dining room table etiquette at my mother’s knee, but we didn’t have a waitress. Not only do I know where all the knives and forks go, I own them all….sent up to Bee’s long ago. I have the table too, but there’s no room in my life for a table of that size so up to Bee’s it went also. I do sideboards and kitchen counter buffet’s. Most of the more modern cookbooks I collect reflect that kind of service.

The pre-World War II cookbooks all include mention of maids and waitresses for the socially conscious middle and upper middle classes. By the post war years, there were no maids or waitresses shown in their pages.

These wonderful, dated, volumes are mirrors of their times not only socially but in the foods they offer.

I tried baking green beans in milk topped with cheese from the 1941 Joy of Cooking. This didn’t quite work. The cheese fell to the bottom. Green beans in bullion with tomatoes, crumbled bacon, and a pinch of sugar from an older Farm Journal Vegetable cookbook really works. Unfortunately the newer versions don’t have this recipe…tho you have it now.

I have chicken cookbooks through the ages as I have hamburger cookbooks….the best of these is the Family Circle Hamburger cookbook… very 1970’s. I’m not eating much chicken since the Consumer Reports latest issue arrived with the stats on chicken bacteria. Not eating much beef for the same reasons plus mad cow disease…..don’t forget that. It’s still with us.

To my occasional embarrassment, Cookbooks R Me. Not only do I have a pretty good but high acid version of the White House Cookbook…whose pages crumble when touched, but I have duplicate versions of all the classics from the turn of the century through today. I confess that I only have six or seven inches of modern vegetarian cookbooks over there in the old white bookcase. They balance out my fascination with the older standards that so clearly reflect their times.

These newer vegetarian cooking volumes would reflect my times if I would use them. Sometimes even laughter needs to diet. Or is that diets that need laughter.


  1. I think it would be great fun to spend a couple of hours browsing through your cookbooks, Mage. You can see mine if I can see yours. I never had a maid, but when I gave those half dozen dinner parties in my younger years they sure would have been useful. I never enjoyed my own parties! Now I rarely have them; I prefer being a the guest who helps with the cleanup. I get to enjoy the party first.

    The tree looks beautiful, and I like the painting on the wall with it, too.

  2. I remember by mom having the Family Circle cookbooks... boy, talk about going down memory road with this post. Did you ever really use cookbooks to cook? I received a slew in my lifetime, but never did anything but look at the pretty pictures. I tend to open up the "what's in the refrigerator" cookbook and deal as creatively as I can with that.

  3. My sister sent an old cookbook that was one of my mom's basics. I have not had time to look through it and also her box of recipes. Since my sis is a 'gourmet' cook I am assuming she found all these recipes a waste of time and nostalgia.

  4. such a cozy, lovely room with library and tree! I have a few 1950's cocktail books. Whoo hoo! go Tiki!

  5. I got rid of most of the cookbooks when I left Chicago, along with lots of other books. Now I regret doing that, but it was probably all for the best. I'm glad you have your collection. It's nice to think about someone enjoying them. They make a lovely combination with Christmas.

    Hugs again.


  6. Top Casino tyuueooru - Best Casinos
    So you can have a wonderful gambling experience with the comfort at your home.
    [url=]Best Online Casinos[/url]
    Online Casino - The Advantages
    Play online casino games for money or for free! FREE welcome bonuses are guaranteed!
    The skyrocketing popularity of online casino, since its arrival, is no doubt something that cannot be overlooked at any cost.
    Casino Gambling Game
    Play wherever and whenever you want The best thing about online casino is that you don?t have to visit your local casino in order to meet your gambling desire.


What a delight to get a note from you. Thanks for leaving one.


I thought these the most inventive costumes.   Sorry about the arm, but I never got a clear view. Scheduled to work at noon, ...