Wednesday, March 4, 2009

5 March 1955 "Tupperware, Decorating, and Casseroles"

Tupperware debuted in 1946. I think it is one of those quintessential american 1950s icons. It is also very practical and much used to this day.

Tupperware was developed in 1946 by Earl Silas Tupper(1907-1983) in the USA. He developed plastic containers used in households to contain food and keep it airtight. The formerly patented "burping seal" is a famous aspect of Tupperware, which distinguished it from competitors.
"During the early 1950s, Tupperware's sales and popularity exploded, thanks in large part to influence among women who sold Tupperware, and some of the famous "jubilees" celebrating the success of Tupperware ladies at lavish and outlandishly themed parties. Tupperware was known -- at a time when women came back from working during World War II only to be told to "go back to the kitchen" -- as a method of empowering women, and giving them a toehold in the post-war business world. The tradition of Tupperware's "Jubilee" style events continues to this day, with rallies being held in major cities to recognize and reward top-selling demonstrators, managers and distributorships."

Tupperware spread to Europe in 1960 when Mila Pond hosted a Tupperware party in Weybridge, England, and subsequently around the world.

I have a few vintage pieces in my soft sky blue that I love. It is a hard color to come by. I am always on the lookout for it. If any of you ladies have any in that color that you aren't using, let's make a deal. A gal can never have enough tupperware.

My vintage friend and I would totally do a great job if we were to throw a tupperware party. Maybe I should make it one of my summer things as part of this project. How fun, all we ladies in the yard in sun dresses, hats and gloves, oohing and ahhing over the burp of the tupperware lid! Lemonade, finger sandwiches. Sounds like fun to me!

Now onto Decorating:
I am reading (over and over again I might add) Dorothy Drapers Book, "Decorating is fun". I am not sure who has this book or who has seen it. I luckily found it due to a comment by a very nice person early on in my blogs. I immediately ordered it and have not regretted it.

There are only a few photos (black and white) and some random drawings, done by Draper herself, I believe, which do help illustrate her point. This is not a coffee table book of casual perusing while you sip your tea. The images have to be drummed up in your mind and her almost militant approach to her ideals is rather refreshing. I thought I might give little snippets of advice here and then from the book every so often. I hope you will like it.

In chapter 3 COLOR, she tells us this:

"It is the rock on which your house is built. Without a keen sense of color, without the ability to get real enjoyment and exitement out of lovely colors, we might as well quite right now. I firmly believe that nothing contributes so much to the beauty of this world as color. And, happily enough, I bleieve with equal convition that every man, woman and child alove has within him a true instinct for color"

Well, that sounds promising anyway. I also believe color is so improtant not only in the world but in your home. It is funny how it honestly affects your moods. I love my vintage dishes as they have one of my favorite colors (robins egg blue) throughout them. Once this project started and I began our breakfasts all laid out on a pretty blue linen table cloth with my dishes and everything soothing, what a difference to the start of the day. Honestly, my husband now leaves often more rested and with more time to relax with me in the morning before he is off to work. Before 1955, it was just shamble out of bed when you could, throw some cereal in the first bowl you grapped, eat at the kitchen table amongst, perhaps, yesterdays mail or some random things that always seem to collect up on the kitchen table. There was always a scramble for a lost coat or keys, ets. I cannot tell you how nice it is to pull up to a nicely laid table with lovely dishes and a full hot breakfast and actually talk with my hubby before he leaves for work. Even though it means my getting up earlier and making it all possible, it would be a lie to say I do not enjoy it as much as he does.

This morning, the sun was streaming in the dinning room, the hot coffee tasted so nice and it was actually cheery and warm. I almost felt as if I had hopped, Mary Poppins style, into one of the old photos in my magazines I have often coveted. It isn't just a sham. It is real, or it can be. And it isn't pretense, but really living. It was like the joy you got as a child playing house, but with a feeling of maturity I have never really felt. I know that sounds silly, but I almost feel like an actual grown up now, with my homemaking duties.

It seems my generation, and those after mine, often have that feeling of never quite knowing when to grow up or what it means. Now, I am not saying I know what it means, but it does seem to come along with the responsibility of your dailiy living. Making chocies that affect the happiness and comfort of your home and your future seems very mature. And, surprise surprise, it isn't a bad thing!And, I don't feel I have lost any of my childlike joy of the world. I merely feel more a part of the world, as if I would like to contribute to if I have SOMTHING to contribute to it, even if that is just making a happy home and becoming a memeber of my community. I just wonder how many people who flounder about trying for some vast unrealistic greatness, miss out on the joy of simply living. I feel I may have up until now. This playing house and being a grownup it is almost as if it is some secret to happiness. As if it was some guarded talisman of the older generations. Only, they probably wanted to pass it on, but the generations before us seemed to have mislaid it.
Well, I have gone a little off topic...
So, back to color:

I totally agree with this passage about the harmony of a color theme throughout your house:

"Just as the main theme appears and reappears throughout a symphony, so you can carry one note of color through your whole house to beautiful effect. I don't mean that the color scheme in each room should be just alike-anything but. You just bind the whole thing together by light touches of the same shade.
For instance, if you have red curtains in your living room, you might have white walls in the hall with a red design stenciled on them. Then in your dining room you mihgt place a rug of the same color. In your bedroom you would just strike the note lightly-put a red quilt, folded, on the end of the bed. Just for fun you could even paint the ceallar stairs of the inside of your kitchen closets that same red.
In this way you can create a sort of intelligent 'color continuity' that is very satisfying, and smart to boot."

I, myself, like to even go one step further and really make a 'color story' for the house. As I have been mentioning, I am planning as part of my project to slowly make over the whole of my house and garden. I have been gathering things together that I love, objects and things with the color I love, in my house and taking 'color shots'.

I think this 1950 painting by Edware Hopper "Cape Cod Morning" is in, itself, a great color story. It really tells my combination I am drawn too, the shots of red/pink and yellow and green with a base of soft blues and held in balance with crisp white and shots of black.

My love of red and blue and warm shades of yellow and brown with stark couterpoints of crisp summer sail white and black really are going to tell that story. Each room will have it's own interpretation of that story, but I think it really allows you to address the entire house (even if you are going to spread your decorating over years) as a single project and it really helps to curb any decorating fear you might have. I think just gathering together some things you love and really looking at them pretty much tells you what colors you love and what 'style' you feel comfortable with. I hate the idea of trying to copy a look out of a magazine, I mean be inspired, but make it your own house, right?

I love, too, that she goes on to give examples of color combinations for different rooms and then states, "These are just suggestions-not ironclad formulas." And she openly invites you to break her rules, but really she is giving you a good solid base in which to create your own rules.

I think I will post some 'color story' photos tomorrow to get your opinions.

On my own decorating front, my living/drawing room cum library, is now going to stay just a drawing/living room. I have rethought my houseplan and our large finished room in our basement is going to get the first facelift by being turned into our library and my husbands study. His current study on the first floor will become our dining room, making room for an eventual redo I am planning that will give me a bigger kitchen with a breakfast/morning room. I will include you in all the mayhem that I am certain will follow with all that, as well as the success.

I belive I post this recipe before, but I just made some lovely doughnuts yesterday morning and wanted to post about it. Obviously I do not have any Swifting's, but I think it is just basic shortening. That is what I used, though next time I am going to use lard and I think I am going to get a vintage deep fat fryer for my kitchen. There are many things that could be cooked properly in it, and I think if I don't overdo it we should be able to stay away from hard attacks! They were so yummy and even cold the next day, they were not heavy nor greasy at all! Next time I will make icing and top them with coconut and jimmies (sprinkles for you non New Englanders).

My husband actually prefers them plain. But, of course, I adore them dredged through the sugar until they are almost white!

Sometimes the most simple things recieve the most lauded reviews. I had wanted to try this simple little casserole for some time. I was drawn in by the article, detailing a couple and their social life. This image and recipe just looked very middle class american 1950s. Before this project I had never ever made a casserole in my life. Actually the word drummed up horrid images of marshmallow covered meat and veg or overcooked hamburger and overdone noodles. I am a convert.

As far as having time in your busy schedule, the casserole is a homemakers salvation on busy days. We had an impromptu plan yesterday to go with some friends to have a fun evening of cards at my vintage friends house. I had these ingredients in my house and thought, "I'll throw together that casserole and bring it along for our dinner there" It was so easy to make and it was so good.

My husband took the rest with him to work today and even said again this morning, "That was so good". My vintage friends fiance' even commented twice and I think would love to see it show up on their table. I do highly reccomend it, even if you are like me and think casserole is a four-letter word.
Until tomorrow, then, happy homemaking!


  1. 50sgal,

    Would you please consider posting a copy of the article that was printed with the casserole?

    Thank you,

  2. Recipe please!

    And another woman of the 50's era, Tasha Tudor, schemed to live in the early 1800's. Dressed, cooked, LIVED it totally while producing wonderful children's books. Time change: It can be done...

  3. I just read back over your post and you said:

    "My vintage friends fiance' even commented twice and I think would love to see it show up on their table."

    Now is this your vintage friend Stephanie or is this another friend who enjoys vintage?

    You realize that following the adventures of 50sgal and friends is sort of like keeping up with a vintage soap opera? I want to keep everybody straight in my head so when it is revealed that character A has an evil twin I know just who that person is! *grins*

  4. Just wanted to say that I am really enjoying your blog and your very sensitive analysis of all that you are uncovering!

    (fellow mid-century fiend and Temporama collector)

  5. Related to the Tupperware..this would not have happened in the 50s but about (well over 6 years ago now I'd say) I had the pleasure of attending a Tupperware party hosted by my hairdresser and he had flown in Pam Tastic to sell. He made a bloody fortune (really) and we had a fab-u time. She is just too funny for words if you haven't seen her! You can look her up to find out more but here's a YouTube with her near the end.

  6. Oh do please have a Tupperware party and take photos! It would be great if all your guests could dress in vintage. A Tupperware party is such an iconic 50s thing I think.

  7. Hairball-I will post the article tomorrow, it is sort of long but really good. And Vintage friend IS Stephanie, but I do have another sometimes vintage friend who is also Gussie, ALthough we may be losing Gussie, more on that later. (again, the soap opera...the organ places and a voice over reads," And like letters typed in a blog, so are these the days of our 50's Lives"
    Thought's on life-it is funny you mentioned Tasha Tudor, as I have always loved her and at one point even thought of trying to live off the grid and be a 'new victorian' which is why this project is like a blast into the future for that idea. I do like that concept though, choosing to live in and by the way you admire from a particular time, be damned the world, but still be in touch with it through your words and deeds. Maybe a kids book about 50's animals and children? Dick and Jane and a mischevious poodle perhaps? Who knows!?
    garbagedog- I am glad you like my blog and don't you adore Temporama? IF we keep talking about it we might see the prices on ebay skyrocket! We better buy up all we can now, right?
    Elbereth-I thought you meant Pam Ann, who is also hilarous. What a great tupperware party that would be, non?

  8. gosh Tupperware is such a Before Our Time concept that is just still so relevant today.

    I was wondering whether you will be celebrating Barbie's birthday on Monday or is that outside your 1955 guidelines (she being born four years later in 1959)?

  9. Megan-sadly, no as she is not even dreamed up for another four years, but at the rate I'm going in four years I may be doing my year 1959, who knows? Then I will have to reset my timer and go back to 1950 and start up again!

  10. Love this blog! I sent yesterday's posting to every homemaker friend I have.

    And let's hear it for casseroles! As long as you stay away from the nasties your mentioned (and don't forget the endless cream-of-soups variations which can easily be ditched in favor of white sauce) casseroles are endlessly handy. I love to make one Saturday night and then put it in my oven on time bake when we leave for church. Not sure about your oven but I think time bake was well established by the mid 50's.

  11. What a wonderful post! Housekeeping still feels a lot like "playing house" to me and probably will be until the work starts to come more naturally. Maybe it does make me feel a little more like a grown up, too. (I've always wondered when I would start feeling that way!That seems to come overnight for people who become parents --- maybe about 48 hours after they've taken their first baby home.) I think you're onto something about older generations having TRIED so hard to be grown ups that it just happened. As if they embraced behaving like adults in every way. Somewhere along the way, we began worshipping youth and all the carefree, irresponsibility, trying-to-find-yourself, living-the-single-life that comes along with it.

  12. I know that feeling that homemaking really makes you feel grown up - I posted not so long ago, that after 15 years I am finally feeling like a proper mother now I am really attempting to 'housekeep'. I think maybe it has to do with a sense that I am controlling my environment and my time, rather than that panicked, dependent feeling you get when everything is overwhelming and in chaos, and you just want someone to rescue you...

  13. Ahh, Tupperware! I have some boxes and items, that are older than me, ahem! And, just like me, still going strong and looking good! The boxes are expensive in Denmark, but they are worth it. My sister in law was a Tupperware lady for some years, therefore I have quite a collection.

    Pls post more about colour stories! :)

    And I'm sure you are right about your quiet and cosy breakfast, a much better start on your day. We're doing the same, except for the fifties dinnerware.

    Have a nice weekend, Donna!

    I've got the job today, I will get a lower salary, but the job sounds SO good. I'll start 1 April, so one more month as homemaker to go, ahh! :)

  14. Piroska-vintage friend and I talked about it yesterday and are going to shoot for one in the summer. We would maybe send out invites and say 1950s theme, so please wear whatever and then the best dressed or best hair etc could get a prize, the only problem is, I have no idea how to have a tupperware party what you do who you contact, so that will have to be some MORE research, but I love it!
    Rebecca-I am so honored that you felt it was worth sending about to your chums, thank you so much.
    Jitterbug-yes, you must be going through some similiar things, with the playing house. It is funny how I began to realize that being a homemaker IS a real job and I said it but every day it feels more REAL to me. I like how structured it makes my day, as each day I think."ok, I do this today AND I want to see if I can start adding this to my regime".
    JO-good for you and with children, I really applaud all the homemakers/mothers out there, you should all be paid twice the salaries of baseball players!
    Sanne-Congratulations on the job! I saw the tupperware did not hit europe until the 60's when did you actually first see it in Denmark? I'd be curious to know.

  15. I have found memories of Tupperware!

  16. What a great blog

  17. If you go here:

    You can find a consultant for your party. :o)

    I'll be watching for that blue vintage tupperware in my local thrift store.

  18. Wow, thank you kay I will check that out. I am actually excited about the idea of a tupperware party. I think I would aim for late July. Then my yard will be in better shape, flowers in bloom, many dresses made and ready and the weather will be perfect for a garden tupperware party. I am already planning a loverly flowery fullskirted dress with breezy dotted swiss overskirt and full with petticoats! How Dreamy!

  19. I'm from 1963, so I suppose it is from 61 or 62. My father's morther held a TW party and my mother remember attending it and buying stuff for her new home - and later her baby, me. :)

  20. 50's Gal and cyber friends-

    I've been reading this blog constantly since I found about it a week ago. It is just so interesting! Thank you for doing this and sharing your experiences.

    As for the growing up aspect of housekeeping- I couldn't agree more. It really makes you take responsibility for yourself and those around you. What I think is great about the housewives of the past is that what they did was considered a "real" thing. So many people today just hire a maid and think the housework is done. But there's so much more to it than that. I also noticed how today it's ok to be a Stay At Home Mom, but not a housewife. Who do they think cleans up after the kids and makes dinner? Unless you have a live-in it's all mom all the time.

    I also like how you have Gussie- so many young mothers think they're "staying home" and want to do everything in the home and provide full time childcare. It's just not always possible. I'm in my early 40's and have 3 kids. I can tell you with certainty that as soon as I mop the kitchen floor it's spilled on, as soon as I "finish" the laundry there's more to do, and that I cannot pick up 3 kids in multiple locations all at the same time. But people who don't have kids or work outside the home don't get what I do all day. So I also appreciate, 50's Gal, that you acknowledge your experiment would be harder with little ones in the house.

    As for the Tupperware- I like it so much more than those thin plastic containers at the grocery store now. So wasteful and they crack. Tupperware lasts forever. I think the party would be fun. If those new neighbors move in your can invite "the lady of the house>"



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