Wednesday, September 15, 2010

15 September 1956 “Some Scandal Rags, Long Tall Sally, Peanut Butter Cookies, and My Middle Class Slip is Showing”

sept56moviemagHere is a Movie Play cover from this month, 1956. I do wonder how Liz Taylor Flirts with trouble. The scandal rags are beginning to get up some steam already.
56septmovietime Here we see promise of ‘Secret Photos’ of Grace Kelly and her new Prince. Though the tabloids do not exist in any way as they do in 2010, we can see the little glimmer of it beginning. As we, as a nation, become more enamored of stars and as visual entertainment becomes more a part of our day, the importance of their private lives increases.
Many know Elvis, but not as many Pat Boone. He is often used today as an almost derogatory description of music of things, which is too bad. Here he is singing Love Letters.
I think the problem that may have arisen with Pat Boone was, as the Tv parade from this month is doing which is comparing Elvis and Pat Boone. This is an unfair comparison. For example, from this year here is Pat Boone singing “Long Tall Sally”
Personally, I think this song does a disservice to his voice and particular crooning styles. And then when you compare this renditon to Little Richard’s
You can see how the youth might prefer the higher kicking style of Richard over Boone. And of course Presley’s version also has so much more electricity and jive.
And, of course, in a decade or so this song, sung by the new group the Beatles, will obviously follow the more rhthmic blue patterns of Richard and Presley and Boone will seem eons away.
Pat Boone was much better suited to crooning, which he did so well.
Now onto the kitchen. I tried this peanut butter cookie recipe that worked quite well. Many Peanut Butter cookies require a few hours in the fridge, but I found these drop cookies to be easy and to taste just as good as an ice box version.
peanutbuttercookies 50’s Gal’s PEANUT BUTTER DROP COOKIES
1 c. brown sugar
1 c. white sugar
1/2 c. butter
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. vanilla
2 eggs
cream the butter and sugars for 2 minutes. Add the vanilla and eggs while still mixing. Simply add the flour (with soda and salt mixed in) after that and then the peanut butter. And that is it.
Now simply drop teaspoon full dough onto an ungreased cookie sheet and make the traditional Criss-Cross pattern with a floured knife.
Bake for 10 minutes at 350 F. I always watch my cookies and when they still look a little raw in the center but their edges are just browning, take them out. Food continues to cook when it is removed from the oven. This is how you stop from having dried out cookies.
My hubby told me he used to hate peanut butter cookies until he had mine. Why, I asked, because they were always too dry, he said. We homemakers do like compliments. And we should strive for moist cookies and cakes, don’t you think?peanutbuttercookies2
Yesterday, I felt my middle class homemaker status definitely trumped any 1940’s homesteader in me. I know we recently had a discussion about the comparison and when and if the 40’s homesteading disappeared in the 1950’s. As many of you know, I have hatched and am raising my own chickens. We had five roosters, which we do not need. One, Roostie ( A fine proud fellow who watches his ladies with strength of purpose) is destined to go with two hens to my MIL’s for her to keep. One is for us and the other three were meant for the roasting pan.
Hubby and I talked about it quite a bit and planned on his killing the birds, which I do think he could have eventually done, and my cleaning them. When it came right down to it, with all that I have to do, I decided instead to give them to a local Farm. They have Jamaicans that work there and they were so excited to have fresh young chickens that were free ranged to kill and eat. I knew they would get a just end and be made into lovely food by them ( I am even promised some chicken foot stew, as they use all the bird).
What a hypocrite I am. I have the opportunity to have and raise fresh meat that I know is well treated and well fed and I opt out for the ease of the grocery store. I did feel, at that moment, as if I was feeling what many at that time must have felt: the ease to just let go and leave the ‘farm and the war’ behind and enjoy the convenience of the local super market.
I think all things do just need a good balance. I do make my own in other areas and I do still have my veg garden. And, perhaps in the future, hubby and I will be ready to go down that road, even just for the war time experience of it. But, for now, I have left it to the ‘working class’ and happily popped the pre cut sliced chicken into my cart. The ease of the middle class, cleaned prepared food with no discernable similarity to it’s source.  I can happily flour and fry up chicken for dinner and feed my hens outside the kitchen door and pretend, on the surface at least, as if the two haven’t anything to do with one another.
Yet, I know in the future that might change and that is okay with me. I know, as is true for any of we Vintage loving ladies, we must take steps that are comfortable for us. To some I might seem an extremist in my vintage clothing, using old appliances and reading outdated magazines, yet I know I could still do more. And any of you, who want a vintage life, don’t feel bad if you merely start out with one dress. Or perhaps you secretly wear a garter and hose under your modern dress, just to put your toe into the water. We have to go at our own pace and by taking it one step at a time, it becomes easier; more normal.
So the lesson from this: I always have further to go, another place to push myself or to work toward. Yet, to also look back and be proud of what I have already accomplished and now take in stride as a matter of course for my day. That lets me know and realize, too, that all of us CAN make a better future with our eyes to the past. Simple things at first, but always with the hope and goal for the next thing. And before you know it we may find ourselves in a vintage community of well dressed, well behaved people how are proud to do for themselves and to let others in their community do for them. We can’t do it all ourselves, now can we.
Until tomorrow, Happy Homemaking.


  1. I don't think you copped out at all. Deep down you knew you weren't ready for that step, so you didn't force yourself to do it anyway. And the birds are still going to a good place where they will be thoroughly enjoyed! You've blessed someone else, and that's really what it's all about.

    Agree with you about Pat Boone. Definitely a crooner! I wasn't that familiar with his voice until today, but he's on my list now. I love the deeper-voiced crooners. Frankie is alright, but Bing is so much better. Give me a baritone any day! Of course, this might have to do with the fact that my dad is a baritone...

  2. We have homesteaded before and there is a big difference between growing your own food and having to take the next step of killing it. You kind of have to work yourself up to doing it and not be faint of heart. Both my grandmothers and many other women I know raised their own food in the 1950's. Maybe I am unusual, as I know many women who still do raise their own food. My grandmother lived in a house with no electricity in the 1950's. I think you are right to say that for many people the 1950's was varied in experience.
    Amy F.

  3. Rachel-I was happy, to be sure, that the Jamaican's will so thouroughly enjoy them. When they had cleaned and dressed them they told me the next day that they had almost no fat on them and they were perfect, 'The way a chicken should be' they said. As my chickens eat mainly forage (bugs, worms, grass etc) and really only eat their 'chicken feed' when they are back in their house. They much prefer to scratch about and eat a varied diet than just being crammed full of corn and filler, as the chicken are fed that we get from the grocery store. I will give in eventually, though, because I can't wait to taste that first succulent bite of bird that was raised naturally as opposed to hormones, caged and overfed corn. Some day. The Jamaicans will teach me the proper way to do it as well. I am hoping to get a turkey from their farm for Thanksgiving, as they are raising them this year and they have free reign to range in the large blueberry patch on the farm. But, there are only 20 birds and there is a lottery to get them, so I hope my number comes up!
    Anon-that is good to know other's say that 1950's women were still raising their own. It wasn't all suburban housewives with wonder bread.

    I really like the mix of ease and support of local business and even local production (Marshmallow Fluff is made here in MA in the same factory as it was in the 1950's)and also grow my own. Then I can also buy from local farms. That is how a real community should work. I know sometimes it must sound 'radical' to want to have such a community, but really before 1950's most towns were living just this way and it was very American.

  4. Rachel-I definitely appreciate Pat Boone now. I had only heard his name in connection with bad things as a sort of anti-cool statement.

  5. My father, born in 1915, was from N.Y.C. When the Depression and WWII were over, and he was older, he got a piece of property on Long Island (this was in the 50's, and people like him were like pioneers). Anyway, he turned the 7-acre place into a little farm-ette or ranch-ette, with chickens and other small animals.

    In 1959, my mother abandoned us (yes, things like that happened back then) and my father became a single dad. My grandmother, born in 1901 and raised on a farm in Ireland, came to live with us and help raise my brother and me.

    The chickens were well taken-care-of, as were all the animals. My grandmother used to urge my father to kill the chickens so we could eat them, but being a city boy, he couldn't bring himself to do that (I couldn't either even now, btw, gross!).

    Well, one day, my dad came home from work and my grandmother put dinner on the table. It was, you guessed it, fried chicken.

    "Man, this is good chicken!" my father said.
    "Well, it should be," said my grandmother, "sure, you feed them the most expensive food!"
    "Oh, why did you have to do that?" asked my father. "We can afford to go to the store and buy chicken to eat!" He couldn't finish his dinner. My grandmother never did that again. LOL.

  6. Raising chickens, having a garden, back in my semi-rural working-class 1950's, the MEN did it, as a hobby. All that stuff was my father's hobby. Our neighbors were elderly Italian men and they all did stuff like that.

    But that doesn't mean that women in other places didn't garden, raise animals for food, can, and cook from scratch. Much variety existed back then, I'm learning.

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  8. Approximately how much flour, soda, salt and peanut butter?

  9. My grandparents had a farm, and when I would visit them in the summers when I was little, one of my favorite things to do was gather the eggs every morning. My grandmother used to kill her chickens for meat, as well. I was with her a few times when she would kill one, and I recall that it was very quick. She'd done it her whole life, but I'm not sure I could. I am afraid I would think of them too much as pets, instead of food. Of course, she had always lived on a farm, and her mindset was different. I've also had the opportunity to go inside chicken processing plants, which left me thinking that the chickens on my grandmother's farm had the most humane life and death. It's a tough decision either way.

  10. 50s gal,
    This is totally off subject, but I was wondering if you have used your hair drying consolette yet? I am wondering about how long it takes to dry your hair? I found one and wanted to use it on my daughters' but wasn't sure how long the drying would take.
    Thank you!
    Amy F.

  11. Sorry 1 cup peanut butter, 1.2 tsp salt, 1 tsp soda, I forgot to include that, silly me.

  12. Christine-that was why I was so frustrated with myself, because I KNOW that the life I give the chickens (freedom, healthy food and natural environment, no crowding or deformity due to injections etc) makes them the better meat. The processing of birds is HORRID, not only is it cruel to the birds (they are overcrowded and deformed) but they are literally eating hormones, and they have to eat antibiotics because of the diseases that are prevalent due to their conditions and they do not meat a happy quick death either. They even witness the death of the bird in front of them while hooked upside down on conveyor belts. So, I think in time I will have to say I need to do it for me and to make there be a need for one less commercially processed chicken. I just wish a local farm raised and killed chickens, but the FDA makes it rather hard for that.
    Anon-I have used it. I think it depends on the length and thickness of your hair. When my hair is wet and set as I have VERY THICK hair it can take up to an hour under there to dry it. But if it is dry set with setting lotion, an half an hour works. The thing is to get some fun vintage magazines and play old-fashioned beauty salon, have some tea and magazines and take the time for it. It is very soothing and much like at a beauty parlour and not as bad on your hair as a hair dryer would be.

  13. 50s Gal, couldn't the farm kill and dress the chickens for you, perhaps for a small fee? Then maybe if you wanted to, you could watch them do it a few times and that would give you the skills, and the nerve, to do it yourself.

  14. Oh, I love Pat Boone, and have several LP’s with him. He is a lovely crooner and has the softest voice I know, he makes me melt. But I know he isn’t very known today. I also love Matt Monro, whom nobody knows today.

    To me it is OK not to be able to kill your own animals. You should not be ashamed of this. I admire people who are able to raise animals and thereafter kill them, to eat them. The only animal I can kill is spiders (HATE them). Even a mouse in a trap makes me sad. But I do love meat, I just know that not all of us are good at killing to eat. Then I’m good at something else – like Microsoft’s licensing and contract rules, haha! :)

    I grabbed your recipe. I have a “Donna’s Cook Book” folder, I wish I had grabbed ALL your recipes from the beginning, but I didn’t. I’ve only grabbed those I thought sounded interesting or nice. I wish you used “tags” on your blog, then you could tag all your posts with recipes with a “recipe”-tag. That would make it easy for your fans to find all your recipes. I copy/paste your recipe to Word and keep them in a folder. Soon I will print them all (and of course with your lovely photos) to put in a ring-binder. Just another compliment from Denmark. I will let you know the result trying them. I fully understand your DH is proud of you.

  15. Anon-I have thought of this but the farm is not a meat selling farm and the Jamaicans, who are just the laborers, were kind enough to take them, but I think they might get in trouble if it were a service they could provide as someone would tell and then they could get in trouble. This is the first time they are selling turkeys and they still are uncertain if they will be allowed to. The fda and the laws and rules for meat are all eschewed towards the big corporate farms and small farms find it very hard, at least in this state, to sell meat. Unless they can just do it on the sly for a few people. It is rather sad as I am sure there are many people who would and could raise kill and dress birds to sell locally and just think what a great market they would have but we are literally stifled by so called 'health' laws from doing so. I think I will just one day have to learn myself to pluck and dress while hubby says he will do the killing. Very kind of him as he is not a 'killer type' if that makes any sense.
    Sanne-I only learned about these tags a month ago, silly me, so I am going back and painfully taging my old posts. IT will take some time, but I am also doing it for the new site. I hope to have all the info in my old posts as part of the accessible info on the new site. That is why it is taking me so long to go through almost two years of almost daily posts! If only I had known in the beginning. But, I had never written nor even really read that many blogs before I started this one, so I just didn't know.

  16. I know - learning the hard way. You are a darling taking your time to go through all your posts. :)

  17. I think "April Love" is absolutely dreamy! I admire him for staying married all these years unlike many of his peers.
    I could never kill a chicken unless I was VERY hungry! Growing up in the 60's I would visit my grandma when she butchered. She bought chickens from a farmer and did the deed herself in her suburban backyard and then canned it. She couldn't stand "store-bought" chicken! It did taste wonderful with gravy and biscuits :o) dee

  18. Sanne-it IS tedious, believe you me, but it must be done. A chore, much like dusting, that might be tedious but you are glad when it is finished.
    dee-I do want to learn to can meats at one point, but I am still only in the veg/fruit and jam stage. I suppose if I did get to the point where I was raising a few birds for meat, canning it would be a delight. Just imagine, lovely little tea sandwiches made from my own canned chicken, I'd probably not share that with all the delicate ladies perched on the edge of their chairs balancing my Temporama Tea cups in veiled hats. But, I'd know and be proud, none-the-less.

  19. 50s gal,
    When we have raised chickens to butcher we found that the price of raising the chickens is comparable to the price at the grocery store(not organic just the regular brands). But the taste is HUGELY different and the texture. I think you would find it worth the effort. That is why we have raised chickens in the past for butchering(the taste and knowing they are healthier for you).
    I didn't grow up butchering animals either and didn't have the heart for it. I watched my mother-in-law do it several times and then finally worked up the courage to do it myself. Actually, my husband did most the slaughtering and I cleaned the chickens. He doesn't care for it either but he sucks it up and does it. One tip my mother-in-law gave me was to not bother with the plucking of the feathers. She just pulls the skin,feathers and all off. The skin and fat on a home grown chicken are much different and she prefered it pulled off.
    If you want to learn, it might be a good idea to watch someone a few times. Most people are happy to teach someone else who wants to learn. Don't be afraid to ask the Jamaicans if you can watch. I am sure they would be more than happy.
    This last year I canned 60 lbs. of chicken breast. It wasn't homegrown, but it was a good price and it turned out lovely and was a real treat to have. It turned out to be half the price of canned chicken at Costco.
    Anyway, that is my 2 cents worth.
    Amy F.

  20. Dear 50sGal,
    Just wanted to stop by and say that I love your blog and that you consistantly dress 50s style.
    I vary between a few eras (edwardian, civil war, 50's) but I'd love for you to stop by my blog...I photograph my life as a homemaker dressing old-fashioned everyday :)


  21. Amy F-Thank you for the encouragement. I can, indeed, watch the Jamaicans. In fact, I bet in exchange for some of my birds (were I to raise meat birds) they would gladly help me to butcher them. The cleaning and plucking would be a chore, but I know in the end it would be wonderful meat AND I would feel good. To know I am eating a bird that has lived a fair and good life, by my hand, somehow it seems noble almost that it should then in exchange nourish my family. A much better exchange than what goes on in the large corporate poultry processing. If only we could start changing laws so local farmers and even backyard hobbyists could look to it as a means to make extra money or a serious income. And then your community would benefit in both supporting small local endeavors as well as knowing you had a source of good non-tainted meat that was well treated. I don't know if we can ever get back to truly localized production of anything, but I do think it would be worth the trouble. Than for those of us who don't want to raise the chickens or bother could still get good and fair meat and those who want to try it out could make some money for themselves and grow their own local economy. I wonder if we have gone too far away from local to ever go back?
    Mia-I shall check out your blog, if you like. I spent a part of my university years often dressed in Edwardian clothes. It was my own form of rebellion I suppose. Really it was just a love of the fashion and the feeling it gave me.

  22. I had a Better Homes and Gardens magazine subscription about 5 years ago and I enjoyed it. Then-I found a vintage 1947 Better Homes and Gardens magazine at our local thrift store and wish now that I had bought the entire lot! The amount of information in that one magazine puts the modern one to shame! It also gave me a real look at the post-war era and the shortage of things like home-building materials, groceries, and things to put in your home.


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