Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Thrifty Acres - Ode To Summer

Yes, I know the first day of fall is fast approaching, and I know pumpkins, apples and other cool-weather crops are showing up at the local farmer's market, but it feels more like summer today. It's pleasantly warm and sunny outside, I had a BLT for lunch - made with locally-grown lettuce and my home-grown tomato -  and I made coffee ice cream for my husband to have for dessert after dinner tonight. 

And my ode to summer continues with this:

This delightful (to me, anyway) cookbook was published in 1961 and is loaded with terrific illustrations, photos, information and recipes. 

Never had given it any thought before, but I learned in this cookbook that gas grills hadn't been invented yet - wood, charcoal and coal reigned. "Bottled and canned fuels are for use in camp stoves only" Betty Crocker explains. 

Nevertheless, there are two full pages of grills, one of which I hadn't heard of before:

"Vertical grills are forging ahead fast in popularity" the cookbook informs us, but not only were they unfamiliar to me, an Internet search turned up nothing that looked like this. 

Here's how one looked like in action:

Those are some yummy shish kabobs there!

Also unfamiliar to me is this grill:

I couldn't figure out what kind of grill this was, only that I'd never seen one like it before. That's foil-wrapped submarine sandwiches cooking over the coals.

This illustrations highlights that outdoor cooking is for everyone:

From left to right, you've got a young man cooking burgers on a small, basic grill, an established Man of Suburbia grilling steak on a larger grill, and a member of the Upper Class basting his rotisserie poultry on the behemoth grill of the era. Like I said, something for everyone! 

Now on to the food! One of the many themed menus from this cookbook:

In previous posts about vintage cookbooks, I've discussed the making of  rather formal food for informal settings, and this cookbook is no exception. I admit, I'm not a camper, so I don't know if anyone still fixes meals like this when they camp. However, I do like the dessert advice Betty Crocker offers: " sure to explore "Cake Sale" signs outside of churches. I never miss one if I can help have the double reward of aiding a good cause and finding a superb homemade dessert without trouble." Indeed!

I suppose that the inclusion of grilled pork chops is what makes this breakfast "Midwest". Pork is very popular in Indiana, Illinois and Iowa, and I've had excellent pork ribs and tenderloin sandwiches in those three states. But for breakfast, I'd just as soon have bacon or sausage for my pig meat. This menu is in the section entitled "Breakfast Cookouts". 

The above menu is clearly for the gourmand; perhaps it's meant for the rotisserie-poultry gent I showed off earlier in this post. But with the exception of watermelon pickles (have never had them, so I don't know what they taste like), I'd like this menu too - even though I'm no gourmand. 

This picnic menu sounds great, and it looks great too:

I don't know what the colored sandwich wrapping was made of, but I like it! 16 different sandwich filling suggestions were given. 

Perhaps you'd rather eat outdoors without having to pack up your car. So, have a Terrace Barbeque:

Looks like a glorious spread, doesn't it? The first photo shows off Whole Barbequed Turkey, Stuffed Acorn Squash, and a Tossed Salad with Cauliflowerets. 

The middle photo includes fresh fruit (arranged in a container shaped like a giant shell!), Chocolate Butter-Mallow Cake and coffee. The mugs have names of the attendees on them.

The last photo shows Poppy Seed Rolls being warmed up on the grill.

Hmm...grilled turkey, acorn squash, cauliflower and hot coffee - sounds like a menu more for fall than for summer, doesn't it? And here I was, trying to hold onto the illusion of summer for a little while longer yet!

But never fear, outdoor cooking can be done in the fall as well:

Even though I mourn the end of summer, I love this illustration of a man flipping pancakes over a campfire, with a pot of coffee brewing next to his skillet. 

My copy of Betty Crocker's Outdoor Cook Book was rather beat up, so it was a very inexpensive thrift store find. But if you like vintage cookbooks of the same era, I think you'll be pleased if you come across a copy of this publication for yourself!


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