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Thursday, July 5, 2012

Betty's ways of deterring party hosting. Again.

I hope everyone had a good Independence Day! I'm saying that because there are people from other countries who read this and I'm fairly certain they don't celebrate the 4th of July. 

I've spent the past few days scanning through this latest Betty Crocker book. It makes me never want to host a party because after reading it, I have done everything wrong when I have people over to my house for entertainment. I thought what I was doing worked and people left happy. Oh how wrong I was!

Thank you Betty Crocker for the inferiority complex. Most of the tabs were RED for agitation. The best way to post about this one is to give "her" interpretation of how a party should be held and what I think of it. In the end, we'll see who is right! Maybe I'm just a simpleton from NW Indiana. I accept it. I'm proud of it! 

Betty Crocker's Guide to Easy Entertaining, 1959. What amuses me about this title is there's so much stress in the Betty Crocker world of entertaining, there's no way to enjoy the guests. The dash makes me think it was an afterthought.

It's a little known fact that Betty Crocker was never a person. The name "Betty" was derived because at the time, it embodied cheerful, all-American homemaker, and "Crocker" was named after William Crocker, a company director. Don't be fooled by the first person writing of this cutesy and happy little letter. There was no single Betty Crocker to write this book or experience the day to day party life.
I went through this book several times so I'm going to give my spin about each word in definition. With kindness, I offer the opinion that I disposed a few days of life while using a generous amount of red sticky tabs to write a blog that will entertain myself and those who read it. The dictionary can define those words and phrase all it wants, but I took one for the team by buying and reading this book.
Really, as my own cook and maid, I would prefer to have a sit-down for ten in a small space. I have couch room and tables. Hell, I'll even make my treadmill a bench or get the tray tables out of hiding. Adapt and overcome!
This picture just sucks. I see what it's trying to depict, but really it's going into the racially asinine pictures and cartoons of the 1950s.

One of "Betty's" friends has a daughter who sounds like a shallow snob (I'm being nice. There's a "b" word coming to mind) with a mother who is an equal snob. (I'm being nice again. The same "b" word is coming to mind).
If you are being an ID card chaser and want to serve some grub to a bunch of pissed of GIs with their K-Rat card held up, it's probably okay to be a one menu cook. As long as it's not tinned or rehydrated "eggs".
If this group of soldiers can survive atomic bomb testing and secret medical experimentation that the VA will never acknowledge, I'm pretty sure they won't complain if there's not enough pepper in their food. RELAX! I'm getting antsy reading this.
Well, Darling, that's what happens when you know so many Anns. If there's a phone number, perhaps call and find out which Ann is going to host the party on Saturday at 5:30. If there's no phone, perhaps call the remaining Anns and see which one is NOT hosting a party on Saturday at 5:30. See, Darlings, there's no conundrum here.
I'm not qualified to send smoke signals with a question mark and a turkey. That baby is learning the ways and enjoying the papoose too. Nice fringed roof. Warm. Hoping the mother doesn't fan the fire the wrong way or the wind shifts, causing the papoose with a fringed roof turns into a fiery missile.
Perhaps in times like these, a seat filler is not merely a seat filler but a true, bonafide angel. The sick side of me hopes his wings start flapping maniacally and slap those two ladies in the face, knocking the chairs over. Maybe he can fly around the room uncontrollably and knock some china off the table. Would that not be an awesome party? Be more selective with your seat fillers, Betty.
Uhhh, no. If there's a good party going on and I'm invited but my husband can't make it, you can bet your Brylcreem I'm going to it. My life doesn't revolve around his schedule. Hostess will get over it instead of think we are one unit that does everything together.
Now this is what I'm talking about. My husband brings all of his navy friends over to a party that I am hosting and they can all kiss my hand and bow unto me! After all, Betty says it is an easy graceful gesture that is ALWAYS the best of manners!
Here's a bit of advice for the hostess who has her time carefully planned: Don't say 7:00 when you mean 7:30. It's not my fault your invitation says 7:00 and my punctual self arrives at 7:00. Take your shower, make your gravy, and feed your children BEFORE the time on the invitation. I could arrive 15 minutes early like I'm doing a Quarterdeck watch or something.
One of the few actual food pictures in here. A shrimp de Johnge. Okay, getting back to the text.
You can barely get a young unmarried man to wash his clothes. Good luck getting a handwritten call or note after a party. Don't go stalking his Facebook page either hunting for a doggy treat. Young, unmarried men are not wired for this kind of etiquette. And really, it's okay.
Classy idea for a midnight supper! Hamburgers already in buns in a 13X9 pyrex dish and cheeses that have been out for hours.
EVERY hostess should have a stocked teacart with emergency foods that are cooked and plated in case something goes wrong!
"Flaming chicken". Seems legit.
A shrimp curry is certainly a curry if there are cans of condensed soup and a couple teaspoons of curry powder added to it.
Truly a failure in aesthetics. Perhaps this is a bad neighborhood with graffiti and prostitutes hanging outside. Maybe there's a meth house across the street. Could be the neighbor has a mattress leaned up against a house and a car that hasn't been driven in 40 years. The painting of a perfect neighborhood does little to distract the windowless room from that red bubbly ham.
What better way to get into the spirit of the party than to single out a stranger and make him belt out his high school theme song! I've been out of high school for 20 years and I couldn't remember my high school theme song. I have a good memory too. I also have a lot more knowledge of music than my high school theme song.
Scales of a song can be now "apple, pear, chicken, potatoes, pineapple, dynamite, grapes, canteloupe" Second verse, same as the first.
Yes! No! Dilute the bouillon, hold the clam juice , lemon. Better yet, I'll have a water.
Why make it so complicated? Just grab the first seat and get ready to eat something. It doesn't have to be this big of a PITA!
If a guy is playing host for me, he's taking on the carving and other duties as well. Why is this considered a faux pas? It's just a guy carving some mmmmeat. Does he get the biggest and best portion? Are we Cro-Mags all of a sudden?
Because I am the hostess of this party. Because I cooked, cleaned, made the guest list, endured my hand being kissed and bowed to, I'm going to sit there for a few minutes with my for lifted while my guests sit in anticipation. All except for the seat filler with wings. Those are flapping with expectation against the backs of the chairs on either side of him.
I'm not coming. I was lost with Chilled Asparagus Tips with Mayonnaise. Get the seat filler with the wings to take my place. And what was so "gay" about the nineties? Were they anticipated to be gay? It was just another decade. What was considered "gay"? 
If I didn't know this was a "Gay Nineties Charlotte Russe", I would have thought it was what the bathroom looked like when my son was toilet training.
Something tells me if there was a picture involved, this recipe would not sell books.
Uhh, don't go through the trouble of making that for my soup. I'd prefer Saltines over something more novel.
Broaden your horizons, Betty. The world is full of people who do not love chicken. And the preparation methods of the 1950s makes me question how safe it would be considered.
Looks like I will be drinking tomato juice with undiluted chicken bouillon after all. Just trust your sixth sense and ask Pete what he is doing at a lame buffet party after skiing at Aspen. Maybe Pete will escort Sylvia home and nobody will hear from her for a few weeks while Pete is hiding at Aspen. Pete may not want to have questions asked about skiing at Aspen. My grammatical sense made me change the words to "at". I kept wanting to write "skiing in Aspen".
I'll agree with a small snippet. Guests should be served first. But if I'm making a buffet, then I'm going to pile my plate up with feeding trough grub just like the other guests. I will have cooked it, displayed it, and spent my evening emptying stinky ashtrays. By the way, this book is giving me anything but a "free" mind.
Again, why is it a big deal if a male guest wants to carve the dang meat? As long as the thing gets carved. He's probably better at it than I am and I'm not going to be a perfectionist about the display. As long as there's no hairs in the food, I'm fine with a man carving my damn roast. Betty Crocker, you are so ANAL RETENTIVE!!!
This is just lame. Maybe it's a stab at being funny, but it's really coming off as annoying.
Cottage cheese in lasagna is just disgusting. A nice red sauce, meat, noodles, gooey cheese, and clots of white. It should have never happened. Perhaps cottage was cheaper than ricotta. But it just should have never happened.
When I think of lasagna, I think of gooey cheese on top. Melted, brown, bubbling. There's a serious cheese shortage here. I bet the noodles aren't cooked well either. I bet there are white clots and curd blobs underneath the watery sauce.
I'm thinking I will never host a smorgasbord.
Ugh! From whom? The husband who is trying to be polite and getting the green beans in sour cream out of sight?
That's right. I am stopping it right there. How many people really like taking their kids to a matinee on a Saturday?
Laugh! Snort! Giggle! Shake head in disbelief! Grandmothers of today aren't like the ones in the 1950s. At least those I know. You could have severed your hand off in the garbage disposal. She's not going to just want to be dispatched to take the kids. A baby sitter? Hand over kids to a baby sitter? Really? How about handing a 16 year old $50 or more to watch the kids for a few hours. IF one can be found.
Yes! The frosted party loaf of wonder. An elegant sandwich loaf! Because nothing says elegant like bread frosted with cream cheese and stuffed with all foods I won't touch. If that doesn't work, there's a jellied chicken loaf. Of course I have pictures!
Would you prefer this jellied chicken loaf? Or:

A loaf such a green color that my 2011 purchased scanner can't catch right? Decisions, decisions.
Really Betty? Was this macabre necessary? Does this poor chicken need to be crying over one of her babies being cracked and cooked?
Well this says a lot for the host and his wife. Why can't he sack up and say something to the guy? He's the host so it's his party.
Screw your cute little slogan. This book was obnoxious! This book took me three days to tab and all day to scan.
  This was the longest blog entry to date. #30 was the charm. It also convinced me that my parties work. Have a few people over, cook something good, talk, laugh, and they leave. None of this crap about seating arrangements or whether or not I should eat what I prepare.

What is funny about this book is that it was at Half Price Books, reprinted and shrink wrapped. Now I am tempted to go there to see what is in it.

Until next time!! 


  1. Holy God. I HAVE this cookbook,it was my grandmother's!! My 13-yr old daughter and I were looking thru it for some laughs, and googling the bizarre "Charlotte Russe" dessert led us to your post. You are hilarious. I should mention that my grandmother actually had check marks in the book (by what I can only imagine were favorite or successful recipes) including, but not limited to, the cottage cheese lasagne and a tragic appetizer made with canned clams and cream cheese. As you can imagine, my daughter had some super legit questions: What's this about people changing into "gayer" clothes?, and Why was gelatin so popular in these decades?!? Um, anything with Jell-O or made in a 'mold' was considered "fancy" pretty much thru the 70's, I told her, although it defies explanation to this day. Anyway, I love that you took the time to lay all these pages out & make us laugh even harder.

    I also have a series of my grandmother's Gram Kerr (the Galloping Gourmet!) cookbooks that are a hoot in their own right, and you've motivated me to prowl garage sales & Goodwill for more. Cheers!

  2. Nice post!! I did best arrangements for 4th July and threw a party at LA venue. Planned few games for the entertainment. Also prepared luscious buffet. Everyone enjoyed the event and liked my arrangement ideas too.