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.

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