Convenience…. 1950′s style

In the days before microwaves and crockpots, homemakers came up with some pretty nifty ideas, I must say.

While engaging in a little recreational reading of my 1950 Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook, I came upon this section titled “Oven Meals.” Included are strategies for “making the most of oven heat” and time by planning meals in which all of the components are cooked in the oven at approximately the same temperature and for the same amount of time. The busy housewife only has to prepare all of the dishes and pop them into the oven, say an hour before mealtime… then she can sit back and do something relaxing like tend to her mending while her meal “cooks quietly out of sight.” Mmmhmm….

Admittedly, for the typical new millennium gal, that’s a whole lotta work to be termed “convenient.” But for us atypical gals, who like to make as much as possible from scratch, it does look like a way to make busy-day dinners more easily workable. For example, tomorrow afternoon, Noah needs to be delivered to Daddy’s house at 2:30, Amelia will be starting a Japanese language intensive with pick-up time at 3:30 and the toddler I babysit for is arriving at about 4:30. In other words, serving a healthy homecooked meal at 5:30 is going to be a bit of a challenge.

So, I’ve decided to conduct a little experiment… tomorrow our dinner menu will be:

Golden Cheese Bake

Vegetable-stuffed Peppers

Whole Wheat Nut Bread

Raw veggie platter

and for dessert, Baked Apples with Vanilla Yogurt

Now, according to this handy-dandy chart (click on the image to see a larger readable version), I can pop these all into the oven just before my little charge arrives at 4:30, and dinner will be ready to serve when Amelia and Noah arrive home at 5:30. With the exception of the raw veggie platter and the vanilla yogurt- bows to our 2008 palate- I’m going to follow the instructions just the way they were written in 1950.

And fifty-eight years later, let’s see how dinner turns out!



Get Tomato Soup Cake in your inbox...

20 Responses to Convenience…. 1950′s style

  1. 1
    Mrs. Mordecai says:

    Ooh, fun! I just love vintage cookbooks. I hope you'll let us know how it turns out.

  2. 2
    Ginger says:

    Oh I so can not wait to read about what happens! Also check out my blog, got sumthins good there you might like!

  3. 3
    Ganeida says:

    Okaaay. I hate to admit it but I've always cooked this way, mostly because I hate cooking with a passion & watching it doesn't guarente (sp?) I won't burn it. Let us know how it goes.

  4. 4
    nancy says:

    This sounds like a wonderful meal. Should be VERRY satisfying to your growing children. In answer to your query on my blog, I am well today.
    I like your new picture. I need a new one, but am so un-photogenic, I never feel like they even look like me. Am I THAT FAT? Naw.
    I've been putting together "stuff" for your CARE package and am having a lot of fun doing it! I'll let you know when it is mailed.

  5. 5
    Diane says:

    mrs. m… actually i thought of you when i was looking through this old gem… i still remember that old "cooky" cookbook you posted about a while back, yummmy!

    ginger… ok…heading over to your blog right now!

    oh, ganeida… you are *so* last century;)

    mam… somehow in my mind i am still an adorable 95 pound twenty-something young mom.. and i am always mildly shocked when i see pictures of myself :-P so nowadays i aim for the cute-warm-hearted-matron look, i can achieve that pretty much without effort, lol

    btw, i think you're adorable… i love your pixie smile:D and i'm so excited about my care package!

  6. 6
    Bethany says:

    I can't wait to find out how this turns out! I wish every cookbook would provide a chart like this for their recipes. I might have to start trying to break down my usual recipes into a chart like that.

  7. 7
    Diane says:

    bethany.. i promise to update you all!

  8. 8
    nancy says:

    Hey, girl. I just noticed that you have spruced things up a bit. As your number 1 commenter (add together mam&lizi, MammyT and mam -all me) I am also your number 1 FAN.
    Hey, sorry, I can't get anything to connect from your new widget. I will try it again, it may be just me.

  9. 9
    nancy says:

    Ok. It was me. I got it to work. Randy Alcorn! Love him. I read Heaven. It is a phenomenal book and a real thorough study and I must say it is full of hope and revelations. I also read one of his mysteries. They are so cool!

  10. 10
    Diane says:

    mam.. well i'm glad you like the new additions:) i'd like to add some other things like a blogroll, playlist, and some listings of specific posts by title too…

    mam, i think you were actually my first "stranger" comment back in the day, lo those many months ago when the blog was new. my dear, you do indeed hold a very special place in my bloggity-heart((hugs))
    love ya,

  11. 11
    Hil and Bob says:

    Ok, here's the ultimate throwdown challenge…do alllllll that, and then make it VEGAN! :) My mother went into shock yesterday,"P. said that you are avoiding milk! What ARE you doing?!! Children need milk!" Then I informed her that they had pizza from downstair for lunch yesterday, and she was ok. Silly. I'm the only one doing the vegan thing…so far!

  12. 12
    Diane says:

    hil… girl you are just toooo much woman for me! i can do the vegetarian thing, or even the vegan thing, but *not* the 50's convenience thing AND the vegan thing! lol.

    hil have you ever visited they are a wonderful place to get support if you are serious about reducing animal products in your diet- lots of help for veggie-parents there too:)

  13. 13
    Diane says:

    whoa.. hil girl, i just realized my planned meal *is* vegetarian! duh:-P

    maybe i am more woman than i thought i was;)

  14. 14
    Hil and Bob says:

    I'm saying, you are already in the Olympic gold homemaker arena! After vegan, the only way to improve is to do it all in one foot! Ha! xxoox, hil

  15. 15
    Ashley Dumas says:

    This idea is all-in-one oven idea is Great! I always seem to have time during the early afternoon but the late afternoon crunch is the worst time for me to start dinner prep! I am going to search the internet for some recipes from the cookbook because I AM going to change my ways from stove top cooker to oven cooker if at all possible : ) : ). I hope you enjoyed your dinner AND a few moments of late afternoon peace! Thanks for your post!

    BTW My daughter Sienna is now playing 'Get Service' all day long. When we are in the car she tells me what her 'glasses' see. The video really seemed to be a lightbulb moment for her in terms of the idea that 'adults' like the kind she sees in public have internal emotional lives! : ) That was a jaw dropper for her. She even started wondering about her teacher at school. Could SHE have feelings and ideas that extend beyond the classroom?!? It certainly gave her some food for thought : )

    Bye for now,


  16. 16
    motherof5boys1girl says:

    you will love cooking like this! what i do is around 330 in the afternoon, i throw whatever main dish or meat dish in the oven and then i around 415 i put the bread in as well while i cook the vegetables on top so at 5 everything is ready :) :) :)
    old cookbooks are so fun, and so full of good information!

  17. 17
    Mountain Mama says:

    I raised five children alone too. All are grown and have families of their own now.

    I have done a lot of cooking in the manner you explained. I do even more of it now that I am alone.

    I wrap whatever I want in foil and bake it in my toaster over for an hour while I read, or whatever.

    In an hour I can eat without all the fuss and muss. The best part of all is the fact that there is no cleanup.

    I also keep the main ingredients for veggie salad in a sealed container in the frige. Take out as much as I want and add the more perishable veggies and dressing.

    I love easy cooking!

  18. 18
    Diane says:

    heya hil… howzabout we try *hopping* on one foot next? ;)

    ash… that is just wonderful that sienna was so touched by the film. she seems like *such* a sweet girl:)

    mo-of-5… that sounds like a very good technique. in a minute i'll be posting an update about how my experiment went;)

    mountain mama… wow, you'd probably have some good advice for me then- i just hope and pray (daily!) that i'll be able to do a good job with these kiddos the Lord has entrusted to me. it must be such a good feeling to know that yours have all made it safely to adulthood:)

  19. 19
    Nettie says:

    Interesting concept. I've been trying to get back to basics and find ways to save time while cooking more from scratch in my own cooking. At least matching my veggies to my main dish would be a good plan to follow. And did they really eat dessert every night back then?!

  20. 20
    Diane says:

    nettie( such a sweet name!)… yes, i think that'll be the ticket. pairing a couple of dishes- as you said the meat/main and veggie or maybe bread- into your "oven meal," but then adding simpler fare for the other meal components.

    as far as dessert goes, i was a child in the 60's, and we did have dessert every night. my mother always had chocolate cake (she jokes that making a chocolate cake once per week was part of their wedding vows, lol), and we had such things as jello (which i now abhor) interestingly we *never* had fruit for dessert, it was always a sweet. but then we were so much more physically active back then. no one i knew *ever* watched tv during the day- it was only on for an hour or two in the evening. we walked or rode bikes almost everywhere and played outside for hours and hours…

Leave a Reply

Webmistress: Gretchen Louise

All images, text, and content on this site are the sole property of Tomato Soup Cake and may not be used, copied or transmitted without the express consent of Tomato Soup Cake. You are welcome to link to this site or to a post from this site; just give appropriate credit for content!