Wednesday, January 21, 2009

20 & 21 January 1955 " Scrabble, TV, Socialism, and Chicken Supreme"

19 January 1955: Scrabble was introduced as a new board game.
21 January 1955: Tv scandal?

Why Panel Shows are ‘Rigged’. Interesting to note this was almost two years before the Charles Van Doren Twenty-one scandal that put these early games show out of business for a decade.
Just for fun here are some views inside the 55 tv guide. I found these images online. It is interesting to see what was on and the 'articles'.

Television is vastly becoming an integral part of daily life. Here is an interesting article on what the BBC was doing to give time to families at dinnertime. Actual Blank or dead air during the dinner hour. Can you imagine that in 2009? Actual dead time aimed to help the family draw the children away form the mesmerizing affects of tv and have a family dinner. Not so strangely, this never caught on in the us. Consumerism and Capitalism always seemed to have won out post-war. I love that the writer of the article admits, basically, that it is impossible to just turn the tv off, which would in effect give you a blank screen, I mean how is his wife to sew buttons or he to mow the lawn if good tv is on. [Interesting to note that today tivo is given as a reason to get some of your life back so you can just watch what you want, however, we had it for awhile a year ago and I found myself watching more. I am glad, this year, to have no tv. My husband has never really liked watching it, so for my project the cable was gone. We save money and I am not tempted. He gets current news from online and out 'tv time' is watching shows on disc of the era. And I love the quiet of it. I think as a childless couple in 1955, too, we would most likely only watch tv as we are now. There is no need to have westerns blaring after school or howdy doody ringing throughout the house.]

On the topic of our current national mindset being formed in the 1950's, here is an interesting full page ad from onr of my Ladies Home Journals. I love that they equate the government building of a neccesity like electricity with socialism. Also, you will note that the ad is sponsered by the power company. I have mixed feelings about this. I don't really want a huge goverment nurse-maiding me, but at the same time, here you see a coporation using the media and fear to push its agenda. Why have the government run the utilites when there is money to be made?

Well, that is enough news and politics, on to the homemaking.

First off, again I am sorry this is a two-day post. I find the more I become engrained into 1955, the less time I have to post. But, then it forces me to sit and really go thru my articles and things I have found online and think of the whole perspective of the project. I do look forward to that time, late morning all the dishes are done and put away and clean kitchen that I slip into my little sitting room at my desk and pour over various articles I have earmarked here and there. However, the act of getting dressed, of making an involved breakfast, setting the table, making sure I have a clean apron on, all of these things are becoming second-nature and in their doing take up time. I am rather enjoying it and don't really notice the time go by.
I originally thought this project would be a great way, as a history buff and someone into the mid-century ideal, to experience it as just that: a project. However, I am fast finding myself enjoying it so much that I almost feel a duck to the water. The intial modern college educated 21st century woman's voice telling me, "don't be silly, these things are fine through the microscope, but u must not, cannot enjoy them. You are not a mindless housewife!" This little voice grown over years in the modern world and often Jimey Cricketed into my subconscious has so quickly become silenced. I find, in fact, that I am not mindless, but in fact so living in the moment that it matters little. Odd that I needed to time travel back to 1955 to live in the moment of time? I often find, and I don't know if this is due to merely my own nature or a matter of course for the modern mind, that I have had to live with a series of questions running a teletype through my brain. Always thinking, "how will this be when I am old? How will I be viewed by others if I can do this or that by this specific time? What should I try to be doing? What can I do? What do I want to do? What is important enough to involve my mind and actions?"
I lived in the aspect of wanting to feel that I WAS living up to being a modern woman in that I could do anyting. However, I felt frozen by the endless prospects and rather disillusioned with their outcomes. I know of other women, my age in their 30's, who have careers, but are still waiting to find what it is they 'really want to do'. I am not saying that I wish all women had no choice and must be forced into the role of homemaker. I AM saying that for myself, someone whom I felt was a fairly intelligent educated modern woman, I find a kind of joy in standing back and looking at my folded and ironed clothes that I have never felt in any of my other endeavors. When I have set a nice table and set out a meal which I think is an amazing amalgamation of science magic and art, I feel good on a very basic level.
It is odd that in doing what so many modern people think as 'mindless work' I am, in fact, probably the most mindful of myself as I have ever been. I am more introspective and self-evaluating but on a very basic level. Maybe a lot of modern boderline depression (not chemical for I know there are many who need medicne) but those who are not clinicaly drepressed but feel a sometimes nagging ennui with themselves and their life if they are just too hard on themselves with unrealistic expectations. I wonder if the vast pool of opportunity in which we live coupled with the need to consume feed by the daily propaganda in our lives leads to a basic unfulfilled feeling in modern man. Many people today look at the ideal we see as the 1950 nuclear family and say, 'how unrealistic' and yet I am finding that trying to attain a perfect home is not as unrealistic as I found the desires of modern life. It is all quite odd. Even my husband and my choices for not having children have of late began to seem different. We were uncertain of the point in children or in that they should have a certain amount from us monetarily before they should be brought into the world, now I see, if it were in fact 1955, I most likely would want to add them to the mix. It would make it all more complicated, but somehow it seems right. I have not shared these thoughts with my husband, as I cannot magically turn my 1955 child back into someone else like I do with "Gussie", my 1955 maid who turns magically back into my friend.

Well, enough said on that and this time, really, to the home making:
As Monday was wash day I wanted to do a 'one pot meal' as they are often called in my cookbooks and magazines. I found a great recipe online from a woman's relative of the 1950s. I hope it is okay to reproduce the recipe here, it was rather good. ( I love that the woman's name was Snodgrass!)

Chicken Supreme by Ruth Snodgrass

Cook one large hen and shred — add to the following,
2 cups fresh bread - (picked into small pieces)
1 cup cooked rice
1/2 tsp. paprika
4 well beaten eggs
3 cups chicken broth
1 tsp salt
Pimento to taste
1/4 c butter
1/2 cup milk
Mix all ingredients and bake 1 hour or until firm.Serve with the following sauce:Make white sauce with 1/4 cup flour, 1/4 cup cream, 1/4 cup butter, 2 cups broth — last add 1 can mushrooms — salt, pepper and 2 hard boiled egg yolks chopped up.

I had no mushrooms so I used green beans and it was really good. It also made enough to go into my hubbys lunch the next day and I would use the sauce recipe again for any vegetable dish. The recipe didn't say the oven temp so I just did 350. Also, instead of a whole chicken I boiled chicken thighs and made the stock and then shredded that. I made enough stock to reserve some in the freezer for soup later in the week. It is amazing what you can get out of some chicken. Sometimes I feel like that childrens story, Stone Soup.

Last night was Roast pork and potatos. Creamed corn (so 50's and so yummy homemade-tho I did use canned corn).
I am going to take a page out of Destination 1940's book and try to do more hot cereals for breakfasts. I already mentioned the grits, though I know I made one southern reader shudder when I told her I had put sirop on it and brown sugar. I was told the correct way to eat grits is with butter and salt and pepper. But, as I told her, when a New Englander is faced with a breakfast item, our initial response is to put maple sirop and brown sugar on it. I am going to try corn meal mush tomorrow morning. Any other good 50's morning hot cereal recipes out there?

Here is a meal straight out of my Ladies Home Journal and I really want to attempt it for one evening. Perhaps I will do this for this saturdays meal.
I really want to try the rosemary jelly as I have a nice rosemary plant in my greenhouse window I use for cooking. It sounds like it would be lovely with veal and also lamb.

Well, until tomorrow then, have a great day everyone.


  1. very interesting observations on todays society.

  2. I'll try that recipe, I couldnt normally share my vintage observations on society in general with my dh, he thinks I"m nuts as it is...

  3. My personal recommendation for good grits is to cook them in milk instead of water. they come out rich and creamy without the need to add a ton of butter. if you want a real treat, use cream instead. cook according to package directions, except heat the milk to almost boiling, not boiling, to avoid scalding.

  4. Is your "Maid Friend" dressed in a domestic uniform appropriate for her time and place?

  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

  6. We have no uniform YET for my maid friend. There will be one in the future.
    I will try the cream with the grits, good advice, maybe I should add bacon fat too (just kidding)
    amy what is a 'dh'?

  7. I really look forward to your posts and the insights you are gleaning from your experience.

    I get tickled when people talk about the "mindless conformity" of the 1950's and how enlightened we are today. The expectations may be different but, our society is still big on conformity and pressuring everyone to adopt the ways of the masses.

    To thine own heart be true...

    I forgot to add that I get a kick out of the color pictures you post from the 50's and show the colors just scream at you.

  8. exactly, I actually feel we are NOT enlightened but pretend we are and that there is a more HONEST approach to the 1950s. Not sure if that makes any sense.

  9. Milk in grits? (small faint)...(revived) I'm sorry, but that's still too "hot-cereal" like. Not authentic. Nope. 'Tisn't. My Southern Granny is turning in her grave.

    OK--I'll get off my grits (soap)box! (HA!)

    Seriously, you were spot on--we now have TOO many choices! When you're faced with so many options, you're almost frozen trying to decide what to do because you're afraid you'll make the wrong choice.

    I've learned that instead of discontentedly saying, "This is it?" one should say, "THIS is IT!" with the realization that whatever responsibility you have before you should be embraced and your intelligence and talents should be spent doing that job in an excellent way.

    So much of our culture is about serving self that most no longer think it's admirable or even desirable to serve others. What they don't realize is that if you get your mind off of you and busy yourself with helping/taking care of/blessing others, you actually find peace and satisfaction that seems to be missing.

    You can also find comfort in a pot of well-made grits.


  10. I must say that the grits thing is quite funny to me. I am a southern lady myself but I could never bring myself to eat grits with just butter, salt and pepper. LOL I always add a litte sugar to mine. They are however delicious with colby/jack cheese. My daughter loves them that way. She even eats her cream of wheat like that. Every morning!

  11. MMMMMMmmmmmm. I keep forgetting about Cheese Grits! Thanks for the reminder. I think they'll be on the breakfast menu this week.

    Actually, I'm surprised we DIDN'T put sugar in our grits. My mother put sugar in everything else LOL! Hamburger Helper? Add the sugar. Canned milk in the bottle for my baby sister? Add the sugar.

    I am NOT kidding.

    Is everyone going to have some sort of cooked grain in the morning after this discussion? It was 10 degrees this morning here. HOT sounds wonderful!


  12. MMMM cheese grits. The hubby and I discovered these in Savannah GA a few years back. So wonderful, now I have to figure out how to make them. And YES WE are having corn meal mush for breakfast tomorrow and YES there will be sirop involved.

  13. You make some great points about mindfulness and being so busy involved in the here and now that you don't really need or want to fret about what to do with your life, your place in the world, etc. With so many choices open to us these days, I think many of us feel like we're missing out if we're not able to do everything! I do suspect that part of the reason what you're doing now feels so satisfying is that it's still new. Everything still feels a bit experimental. If you'd been doing this for all the years that you've been married, say, and everything was old hat - but still had to be done, day in-day out 'til you could make a cake in your sleep --- well, I can't really guess what that would feel like. I've never experienced it! Good luck with your mush tomorrow!

  14. Very interesting observations! I am so enjoying following along on your journey!

  15. "DH" is short for "Dear Husband". A modern online shorthand to reference a family member if you don't want to use their name. A man would use DW for dear wife, or DC for dear child, DM for dear get the idea.

    I couldn't agree with you more about modern unfullfillment. We tried as fast as we could to get past the "oppression" of the 50's era, that we forgot to bring the things that were good from the era along with us.

    Both men and women have been brainwashed into thinking that if we enjoy the comforts of family and home over careers and ambitions, we're either lazy or there's something seriously wrong with us (or both). There's a reason why so many women are beginning to look backwards to rediscover homemaking, and why there are so many women starting to take a stand and speak up for stay-at-homes.

  16. Roxanne,

    I was so happy to read this...

    "I've learned that instead of discontentedly saying, "This is it?" one should say, "THIS is IT!" with the realization that whatever responsibility you have before you should be embraced and your intelligence and talents should be spent doing that job in an excellent way. "

    There's a saying that I like to live by, "We don't need to strive for perfection, but we should strive for excellence." Being a homemaker offers so many opportunities for fulfillment and meaning in life. I think so many people have the wrong impression that being a homemaker is a quest for perfection by someone trying to make a "perfect" home (therefore, seen as a shallow life/waste of time), but when looked at through the right lens, it's a very flexible outlet for excellence in all aspects of life. There are so many things that you have the opportunity and time to excel at. The options are practically endless.

    And, by the way, in a country where everyone says to be and do what you want to be and do, why do those same people put exceptions to that? Why is it a "waste of time" for someone to do what they really enjoy doing, even if it's something as "simple" as doing laundry? (Yes, I know people who love doing the laundry.) Why does a person think they have the right to decide for someone else whether something is fulfilling and/or meaningful??? Something may not be fulfilling or meaningful to them, but they shouldn't cut someone else down because they do find fulfillment and/or meaning in that same thing.

  17. 50sgal,

    It's been interesting following your blog. I think if you don't get caught up in that "perfection" misconception, you'll get a lot out of what you are doing and find a lot of fulfillment in it. Look at it as a way to excel and expand your skills and talents and I think you'll be amazed at how much you will have grown, and decide to continue doing what you're doing because of how fulfilling it is (even if you don't continue to use only 1955 things). To me, there is nothing more enriching and fulfilling in life than to spend it with family and friends, and making it as pleasant of an experience as possible for each other while you share those years together.

    I wish you the best from this experiment, and may you get out of it more than you hoped for.

    Quietly following along,
    PL :)

  18. It's Just a thought but if you want to immers yourself in the reality of a 1950's housewife. Do you really have access to a computer? Shouldn't you be keeping a journal that someone else is posting on your blog?

  19. It's funny you should say that Kimberly ann love as I had originally thought of that and when I asked my first followers they thought it would be silly. I was going to journal on my husbands vintage typewriters and have him post for me, but they said they thought the computer would be okay, so I agreed. Also, I thought about the reality shows like 1940 house and 1900 house and they had a video camera they were allowed to have a video jouranl on while they were experiencing their time period so I can I consider it that. Obvioulsy, I realize I am not having a genuine 1955 year, but I am doing as much as I can and really researching and examing it that way. I hope you still find it interesting, though. And thanks for your comment.

  20. Thanks for sharing the images inside the TV Guide!

  21. 50sGal, this is funny reading about your maple syrup grits. My Southern friends might be horrified by mine...I add cheddar, but also a squirt of hot sauce. Must be that Michigander need for heat! And sometimes...if I'm frying up our eggs in bacon drippings at the same time...Well, I spoon the drippings over the eggs from time to time as they cook, and will often use the same spoon to stir my grits. Goodness, I should either weigh 200 pounds or have super-moisturized skin...!

  22. Hi 50s girl
    Sorry I'm nearly 5 years late but I just discovered your lovely diary and am devouring every entry!
    I've never understood why providing the most basic needs - food, clothing, a comfortable home - should be "mindless". To me, "mindless" is filling in endless spreadsheets or other unfulfilling tasks to help a corporation make more profit.
    I think some people don't value homemaking because it's not a paid job, but actually you can save a huge amount on unnecessary expenses if one partners is a homemaker - many "career couples" spend a lot on childcare, 2nd car, ready meals, work clothes and of course "retail therapy" to make up for all the stress.
    By the way I read recently that a lot of younger adults have something called "FOMO" - Fear Of Missing Out - which stops them being able to appreciate what they have. Have you heard of that?
    Best wishes, Sarah

  23. If no one else has mentioned it you must see the movie Avalon. It shows a family in 50s. One aspect of it is how tv affected them from day one on. The story line is terrific about family and times. I felt like I was watching my family. It was out some years back but not too long ago. A must see. !! :) Sarah

  24. I can tell you after being a homemaker for over 45 years it is still not boring. You change, times change, you learn new ways of doing things, cooking things etc. Nothing stays the same. In the home or workplace. Even in the workplace somethings need to 'always' be done too. :)
    I love Roxanns's comments at 4:43. the way this older blog is set up I have to go to day one of it and go to the bottom of each day and go back and back to get to where I have not read...I am only on today but later this will take a long time to just get to the post to read! :) I wish this older blog too had months on the side bar to click on so we could get to the post we want to read way quicker! I remember reading some of this blog when it was new but am enjoying..and will continue to wade through each post and comments as it is that interesting and insightful. I am now in today time reading a blog where the lady and husband are living like 1943..ration stamps and all. You might like to read that. Her blog is full of household information. Things you might not learn kept from her.

  25. I just commented about being a homemaker for 45+ years but wanted to add after reading all the comments that many people think homemakers do not give anything to society. That is their thought. They do not earn money. They do not work for pay and thus are like 'kept people' not real workers. You know that is not true. Also you have noticed how rewarding it is to serve someone and to take care about your own home. It is not boring unless you let it be. A homemaker has time to sew, read, have many hobbies or volenteer in the community. Whatever they want after her home is in order. I grew up seeing all the homes with homemakers in them each day They guarded the home in more than one way. People even knew someone was home. Home robberies during the day were about unheard of. :) People came to them. Door to door salesmen came monthly like the Cook coffee man. Men selling Fuller brushes and such. There was even farmers who came in their trucks with the scales clanking off the truck back to sell the wives fruits and vegetables from their farms. They would come down the street yelling Watermelons! or whatever they had and the women would come out and buy. Or on a daily basis bakery trucks, milk men , newspaper delivery {we had it 2 times a day and mail also 2 time a day back then where I lived} Life was full and varied. I don't know why women who work feel women who don' earn a pay check are so different. We both chose what we wanted to do. Maybe like you if thy changed to be at home and had an open mind they would relax and realize this. I had to work for a few years and it was eye opening to me. I am glad I did to see some of the opposite life. I was so glad and happy to be home again when I could be home fully again. It is hard to explain how rewarding it is to work at home. You I think are understanding that. You have kept an open mind. We all need that in life. I am glad also that you kept a blog after these 3 years that I enjoy too! Sarah.


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