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Saturday, September 8, 2012

1930s vs 2012.

Allow me to first and foremost say that this will be the post that almost never happened. I spent hours scanning this book, editing the pictures, posting a new entry, and then when I went to preview this post, there was about a two inch gap from the last sentence to the StumbleUpon icon. I hit the backspace to narrow the space and POOF! An entire Saturday was gone.

Meh, it was probably too long anyway so it's time for the second attempt. 

Who remembers the 1930s? Me neither. I'm going to rightfully assume most of the people born during the time to be a housewife of that time are either dead or very old, perhaps too old to spend their remaining years reading a blog from some whippersnapper smartass born in the 1970s. Who remembers and follows the tired phrase "a way to a man's heart is through his stomach?" I don't either. If my husband's endless and unfettering devotion to me (I'm only saying that because he reads this. Love you, S.) is based on my cooking then he would be a pile of bones and bearing a sallow glint to his skin. His eyes would be glassy, his features pinched. I have other ways to his heart. Winkety wink wink. (Love you, S. I have to say that so he doesn't throw something at me when he reads this). 

Anyway, I found this book, 333 New Ways to a Man's Heart and I had quite a lot of fun with it. Not only do I enjoy blogging about the atrocities of food, but I like to learn new things about our history. The one thing I can say about this book is just how WASP-y things were. Before anyone clutches their pearls, fans their faces, cries racism at the following pictures, please remember this is 1931-1933 I am posting about. Equal rights were still a generation ahead. 

Please while reading this, pay attention to the wording in the recipes as well as the advertisements. It's really quite interesting to see the evolution of products we use today. Of course my satire will be included! This is a long blog post and I got to do it not once, but twice today.

333 New Ways to a Man's Heart, 1931 (Third Edition, 1932) Uh-Oh. What is 333 multiplied by 2? 666. Oh noes!

Good thing we have a man to tell us womanfolk the secret to their hearts. Professor Bristow Adams of Cornell University Alumni appears to have a fascination with the French housewife and this well-fed grouch perhaps flogged his mule more than once to the fantasty of a French housewife. And really, you can be an unhappy woman and a good cook. There is way more to life than slaving around a stove and cooking. It would make any woman a miserable wretch. I am not convinced of the secret that convinces him.

How nice that Phoebe Davis, the author of most of this book, is allowed to speak! I'm smiling but it isn't over the delight of trying to win my husband's love through cooking. Note to all readers: there will be countless mentions of "cream" in both the recipes and advertisements. Above all , a "contented husband" take front and center in this book and possibly the era. Children get Karo flavored milk and young Ethel hides from her mother because of her milk fear. I don't want to get ahead of myself! Read on!
The phrase "white people food" has never been so apparent as this little idea of WASP food. Caviar, hard boiled eggs, onions, mayonnaise spread on toast squares. No thank you. This sounds like a Dirty Dancing resort food.
Assuming based on my limited education that there are kidney beans, bacon, onions, potatoes, and tomatoes growing free in a jungle that is. I'm a white woman and I would tear this up. I would have my face in the pot, slobbering, getting beans all over the place, messing up my shirt, burning my tongue before I eat that high falutin' caviar on square toast crap. Are there beans in my teeth? Too bad!!
Oysters. Lots of oysters. That's a good way to a man's "heart". My attention is more on the salmon loaf and salmon loaf, gelatine. That ought to get me ignored for at least a month.
What makes you more of a woman than to be able to pull the skin from chicken feet, simmer until it's a gelatinous goo, add egg whites and boil five more minutes. Imagine the delight of your husband as he sniffs the air in anticipation and lifts the lid of the pot, only to find chicken feet floating in boiling water. This recipe does not specify the amount of feet to use.

Do I need any other reason to explain why I will not eat cottage cheese?
Because purity is most important. This book is so old there's no need for a zip code. And the book was free. No data mining email sign ups, Facebook likes. It was FREE. You didn't even have to pay for postage. Surely there was a hidden agenda.
Boys were not boys in the 1930s. They were "little dirt catchers" As someone with daughters, I can argue this claim that girls are the clean ones. "White" has been italicized twice, even in the same sentence as "safe". What became of the little dirt catcher in the picture?
OMG! A soap that CLEANS and BLUES at the SAME TIME!! OMGOMGOMG. I'll take another freebie, enough for a family wash.I need to keep my white silks from yellowing. A little Satina keeps the ole iron gliding easily. I bet it does..I bet it does.
Are these directions on how to cook children or cereal? I'm confused. Easily digestible foods are of utmost concern.
My eyes are straining as the print in the first paragraph gets smaller and smaller.  Keep the name "MacFadden" in the back of your minds for now. It will come up again.
Talk about a description. Work that golden bar with its bland and soothing glycerine into that knife. Sniff away at its sweetly clean aroma. It feels gentle to the hands. Is there anyone alive who can describe what the "clean naptha odor" is? I'm sure it brings back memories to some but I was born 40+ years after Fels-Naptha permeated the senses. It's still on the market and one day I must buy a bar.
It's creamed. Mustard is another no eat so I'm going to continue.
The measure of a man is not how many cars and houses he owns, the worthiness of his investments, the happiness of his family, whether he can get it up without the assistance of ED drugs. No, a man's success depends on whether he can shit or not. I wonder if many men did indeed blame their failures and inadequacies on being full of shit? Oh how much fun I can have with this! Go chew on some yeast cakes and contemplate your role in this world. This guy was right: 
Ehhhh..Anyway, back to 1931
Anyone want to take a stab at what this company is today?
Really? Is this the reason Ethel was hiding? I'm not buying this at all. Not for one second. But go ahead, 1930s housewife, grip Ethel's hand with enough force to inflict pain but not a bruise. If it makes you feel better. Ethel hates milk. Not you.
Eh, boiled hooves and pig's ass hair with bananas. Not impressed. Oh wait, it's chicken feet, hooves, and pig's ass hair boiled into gelatin. I'm sold on this idea.
I try to imagine what it was like to be a recipient of this technology boom in the 1930s. Then I see that water creamy with soapiness improved the quality of life for our ancestors. I almost get teary eyed. Cleaning with amazing swiftness! For a dime!
The fear and pressure to succeed in one thing. That one thing is to produce an appealing loaf of bread. Just make sure to use the "creamy", unbleached goodness of Ceresota flour. Flour is creamy?
I always make sure my soap is 99 44/100 % pure too. Rounding it up or saying it's 95% pure would be tomfoolery!
Did you ever have a relative that hugged and kissed you but completely creeped you out and had a smell about them that even now you can remember but never place? I believe this would be the answer. I'm pretty sure a baby's skin will feel softer and more smooth than old, dried skin with skin whitener powder duster.
Betty the Rinso Housewife. Betty Crocker. Betty Draper. Betty, my dickish porno moustache wearing old landlord's wife, Betty the housewife (I call myself that when my husband is acting like Herman the 1950's man man). Mr. Insufferable Prick of the 1930's era is too engrossed in his paper and giving Betty the zombie look to notice that she has a drawing of shirts in her hands. Betty looks nervous. She hopes he doesn't notice. Creamy suds! The whitest white! WASP!
I never thought how I would like to taste yeast but I can't stand the taste of it. I don't know if I would want to chew them like candy. I don't think the snake oil salesman should speak on behalf of everybody. Particularly when said charlatan is using infants, children, or invalids as his group audience. Chewing on nut-life yeast tablets perhaps does help with complexion disorders, bowel and digestive disorders, and underweight or run down condition. I, however, will deal with bad skin and be full of shit before I try this pure tonic food. 
Wow, you really opened a Pandora's Box with this one. Now corn syrup is in everything. Way to go! I wonder what would happen if a father dared try to send off for a copy of the advertised booklet?
Dear Husband (not mine), I am far too ignorant to know how to throw Drano down a drain. The very drain that your chesticle and short curlies have clogged. Please help! Sincerely, Betty. I would love to see someone scrubbing their fake chompers with Drano. Let me know how that works out for your oral mucosa.
I'm not going to elaborate too much. If you want more info on Bernarr MacFadden, here's his wiki page. Let's just say he could be described as the Dr. Oz/Kevin Trudeau of today. He changed his name to be more badass. Just look at him: 
That's right. Only a man with those abs can get away with wearing a diaper.
I will give Bernarr credit though. If I was pregnant, he would have scared the shit out of me with that paragraph alone. Note how there are sections of the book dealing with Eugenics, keeping the figure right, and keeping your boobs supple. Because really, after going through his description of childbirth, one must focus on whether her boobs hang too low or she has the same figure.
Without the thought bubbles, I don't know who the giver is or the taker. Neither look convinced Mazola is going to take the place of their beloved Spry.
Again, this is the 1930s. This advertising was the norm. The WASPs seemed to be obsessed with their cream, whiteness, Eugenics, etc. so this type of ad was everywhere. It took 30+ years after this ad for equal rights. P.S. There was probably no such thing as the helpful male flinging his dishtowel triumphantly. The helpful male was probably in the way, nagging that he had to help clean up in order to allow his wife to crawl into his bed.
Because surely it's the fault of a child that the mother is going gray and she needs to buy a book on children from a guy named Winthrop. Maybe her life and hair color just gets sucked out of her day by day and it has nothing to do with feral, uncontrolled beasts of children.
Screw that. If my husband is being "difficult" he will be lucky if he gets boiled chicken feet. I am glad to live in an era where I don't have to walk on eggshells and do my best to please a cranky man.
 There's something about this book that makes me feel I need to burn bras in protest. 

Here's to hoping I don't delete this version!! The Save button is my friend.



  1. Man I love you! LOL, great as always!

    1. This made me crazy. I snapped at the Wal Mart greeter and the DirectTV salesman when the original was deleted, I am looking for more books like this one.