Take your pick: Thumper or Rocky.
I came upon this while thumbing through a cookbook at my mother’s house. The brittle, crumbling volume held together by rubber bands and tape was a wedding gift.
She was married in 1963.
Indeed, judging by the recipes for Swedish meatballs, Waldorf salad and beef Stroganoff and the overuse of gelatin and aspic, it was pre-Womens’ Lib. The suggestion seemed to be that women spent their days hosting card parties, luncheons and preparing the family dinner.
Even more entertaining than the recipes are the illustrations. The book opens with the picture of a trim bride with a tidy flipped bob wearing a starched apron tied at her narrow waist. Her wan smile is probably the result of a mixture of Valium and a bridge club cocktail. She balances a serving platter and gazes into the distance somewhere off camera. Is she watching the frolicking squirrels in the back yard, deciding how best to trap them? Is she wondering if little Susie’s pet rabbit would be missed? Is she debating if potato or rice best accompanies breaded rodent meat? Does she need to add a Jello-O mold to the menu or would pudding suffice for dessert?
I asked my mother if she’d ever cooked squirrel for us and then lied and said it was chicken.
She gave me one of those looks. It’s the look I always get when I ask probing questions about the past.
Speaking of recipes, check out these bloggers, who do a much better job making fun of old recipes and advertising images from bygone eras. They have quite the collection.