Mission accomplished

Well, ladies I’m not exactly sure whether you’d call my experiment a success or not. As I said, I attempted to complete the recipes exactly as they were written in the 1950 cookbook. For added fun, I also tried not to use any labor saving appliances that a homemaker back them would not have had available. That meant grating three cups of carrots with my old box grater, chopping veggies by hand, and parboiling the peppers in a pan on top of the stove instead of steaming them in the microwave. It also meant over two hours of preparation time, and that was with my daughter’s help.

When I planned the meal, I took one dish from each category of the chart given in the cookbook, my assumption being that the writers felt these were necessary for the typical evening meal. I’m not sure if folks really ate like this, but ladies this ended up being an enormous meal! My oldest daughter, Louisa, joined us and she commented that we could have made two meals out of what I had prepared…. the bread and baked apples would have made a delightful breakfast or even lunch. The cheese casserole, stuffed peppers and veggie tray were certainly sufficient for dinner. We all left a lot of food on our plates, and I know that was not typical 1950′s manners!

The recipes themselves were very good, and I think we’ll enjoy them even more with a bit of tweaking. For example the casserole called for American cheese, next time I’ll make it with a sharp cheddar. I think the stuffed peppers would be improved with something like couscous in place of bread crumbs and perhaps the addition of some savory seasonings. I’ll replace the figs in the wheat-nut bread with apricots or maybe dried cranberries. Another surprise was that these dishes were not as heavy and starchy as I had imagined. The main ingredient in the cheese casserole was actually grated carrots, and yet it tasted very rich and satisfying. I’ll definitely be making this again soon.

I really found that the one hour of worry-free time was an immense blessing. When my children were very young this would have been such a help. For most of us with children that hour just previous to dinner can be hectic at best. Little ones are tired and hungry and a mama busy with dinner prep just doesn’t have the time and attention to spare for them as she might otherwise. Today we were able to sit together in the living room, while the house filled with wonderful smells. Table-setting was unhurried, and when it was time to eat we were all in a very good humor. I think I’ll be adding some of my own tried and true recipes to the chart so I can really make this technique my own.

So all in all… a successful days work!

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6 Responses to Mission accomplished

  1. 1
    Serena says:

    It sounds like a successful experiment! Part of the fun of trying a new recipe is figuring out what you'll do different next time!

    So the main ingredient in the cheese casserole was carrots? Okay, you must share that recipe!

  2. 2
    Diane says:

    serena! hello, miss girl!

    yes, that "golden casserole" is defnitely going to become a favorite around here. it'd be especially good for families where the kids don't care to eat veggies. very yummy:) i will be happy to share it!

  3. 3
    nancy says:

    I do like the sound of the leisurely hour before dinner. It could be an important family time. I think much of the hustle is in having every thing ready – and hot – at one magical moment. This is not problem with the oven method. I thought it sounded pretty "heavy" too. I'm glad it wasn't. Lots of leftovers for today!
    We have one little girl who is a carb-lover and doesn't like much of anything that smacks of protein. I guess she's just a natural vegetarian or vegan (I still don't have those sorted out!) We don't have any trouble sneaking veggies in. any tips for that?
    Love,
    mam

  4. 4
    Mrs. Mordecai says:

    I'm so glad it went well. Sometimes I get an itch to make a big dinner with lots of dishes like that, and I even plan it all out . . . and then my toddler happens. :)

  5. 5
    Diane says:

    mam… i think you're right- that push to have everything ready at just the same moment is a big stressor. this method removes that whole issue… plus there is nothing to do except remove everything from the oven and serve it (once you get it all prepared and *into* the oven, that is;))

    as far as your little girlie- i don't have any tips i'm afraid. she sounds just like my louisa was/is. she became a vegetarian at a very early age. i think just watching to make sure she eats healthy instead of filling up on sweets would be key- at least i think that's something i *should* have been more conscious of as she was growing up.

    sometimes i'm amazed they're actually manage to grow up, given all of the mistakes i make, lol.

  6. 6
    Diane says:

    mrs m… having a toddler changes *everything!*

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