Wednesday, June 2, 2010

1 June 1956 “June is Bustin Out All Over! The Basic Seven and More Talk on Nutrition and Food”

June IS bustin out all over and this muscial Carousel, was realeased this year, 1956. It stared Gordon MacRae and Shirley Jones. An interesting story is that Frank Sinatra was actually cast
to play the male lead and at the time they were shooting it in CinemaScope 55 (which was a larger format version of Cinema Scope introduced in 1955) which meant all the scenes had to be shot twice, one in Cinemascope and once in Cinemascope 55, so he apparently walked off the set saying, “You’re not getting two Sinatras for the price of one”. The irony being shortly after they dicsovered a way to only shoot the scene once. I guess there were even Diva’s ( or Divo as the case may be) back then. It is a great musical with many wonderful songs, such as “If I loved You”
caroselalbum The soundtrack to this film is wonderful. You can get it on the original vinyl (how I prefer it) HERE, or the CD HERE or even download it HERE. And if you don’t have the movie you can get it HERE, if you like. I think they are around 8 U.S. Dollars.
So, Summer is on it’s way. I hope all had a wonderful Memorial DayAW081256 weekend. We had sun and steak tips and Gin and Tonics, so a usual ushering into the official Summer season here on Cape Cod.
I thought we would continue discussing more on nutrition. In the last post I mentioned the Basic Seven Foods in the early 50’s Betty Crocker cookbook. Most of you may have it, but for those of you who don’t I have scanned some relevant information here. You simply click on the image to read it.basic7 I think this a very smart, realistic and healthy grouping. I think it more detailed than the 4 food groups I grew up with. I like, for instance, that is says” 1 serving of meat poultry or fish each day. Occasionally dried beans or peas instead.” So the 50’s diet was not martini’s and fat steaks everyday with piles of potatoes and butter. It was, if the homemaker paid attention in her Home Economics courses and her cookbooks, savvy to good diets.
I think what I am continuing to find is that if one looks at what was known and suggested as good healthy eating at the time, when can actually maintain a simple, healthy diet that could be very cost effective. Today, the diet industry is big. It really took off in the 1950’s and there were some scary ‘pills’ and quick reduction plans starting, but by and large people would be skeptical of that. And that seems to be a main element we modern people have lost. We are skeptical of many things, but when things are simply fed to us through the various media channels or magazines we gobble them up like Gospel. The endless diets and diet plans, all the pills. The adverts for prescription drugs would certainly have been seen as suspicious then, why would a drug company advertise prescription drugs? In a way, we think we are more savvy today, but the people of the 50’s and earlier had a certain dose of healthy skepticism. They seemed less likely to be duped. But, as the decade progressed and we became more consumed with consuming and ease (as I said the first instant cake mixes were often not used because the wives felt guilty for the ease and when they changed the labels to read, Just add an egg, it worked). We have slowly, through the past generations, been conditioned to the expectancy of change. We expect to hear this week that eggs are bad so do this and buy this and eat this way, next week, “Oh, did you hear milk can kill drink soy milk” then “Now we see soy in abundance is bad for you, what do we do next TV, Computer, News? Lead us”
50sgrandma I think we all need a good dose of ole fashioned ‘Grandma’s no-nonsense skepticism. “Well, it sounds suspicious to me, eat your eggs and toast and get to work! Who needs fancy tv dinners, eat your greens and you will be okay”. (I love this picture, if this is any of my readers relative, I hope you don’t mind I used the picture, so darling.)
I mean really, if we just stop and think logically, eating basic foods in lower quantities and exercise is all we need to do. However, today that ease is complicated with a myriad of ruts and potholes in the road that the 1950’s were only beginning to see. Entertainment is forefront in our lives. We NEED no we EXPECT to be entertained ALL the time and so through these vehicles of entertainment, the bits of time we must sit and wait for the next entertaining things, we hear all the nonsense to buy this or be like that. You are fat you must be this thin take this pill drink this drink, buy this idea followed by adverts for processed fatty foods and dial up pizza. We are easily lead because of what we have become to think the normal amount of passive living.
When you look at a basic diet such as the Basic Seven, it couldn’t really be easier, nor cheaper. Just think, you could go to the market and simply just not go down many aisles. All the frozen prepared foods (though frozen veg is an okay option when it is just the veg frozen and not all the additives or cream sauces and French fries/chips are not a replacement for a green or yellow vegetable) the processed kids cereals, the cookies aisles all that. I find now how simple it is to buy key ingredients (flour, milk, egg, butter, cream, sugar, meat, veg, fruit, grain-rice, oatmeal, etc) all the things we need and even which shall taste good and give good variety of plate and palette are at our fingertips. You want some fun exciting cracker with dill and cumin, then whip up a batch of basic cracker dough, add it in and bake, in 10 minutes you will have them and you can store the rest. You want a delicious decadent chocolate dessert, okay, make it from scratch and have a 50’s serving, not the 1/4 of a cake you get in cafe’s and restaurants today. And with all that make sure you are eating your veg and fruit.
basic7twoOkay, so if you refer to this chart (which if you have the old version of Betty Crockers picture cookbook-which they have also reprinted and is available anywhere, really, then you can turn to the Meal-Planning’ section to find this.    bettycrockerbook4 You can buy it in the store HERE as little as 6 dollars, or go to your local book store and support them. This is a good basic 50’s book, though and easily laid out in a binder form. I feel like a teacher, “Refer to your chart on page 33 of your Betty Crocker text”. Anyway, simply click here to enlarge it. You can see they say, “The basic Seven is Easy if you follow this pattern”. It even gives the suggestion for ‘adequate’ meals, so even you haven’t enough of one thing one day, you can think at least you are doing the basics. It is also very interesting to point on that for Dinner on the Complete List, it includes green or yellow vegetables AND salad with raw vegetables. Even at this point they were aware of the import of vegetables in the raw as part of a balanced diet. And one might think, “Oh, that looks like a lot with the bread and butter and piece of pie or cake for dessert”. Well, if you eat half a pizza you are eating as much if not more than a 1950’s version of this dinner. You would have a 1950’s bowl of soup, not the giant mixing bowl sizes we have today. Your meat would be between 2-3 oz serving. And a slice of good whole grain bread with some butter is much more healthy for you than the processed and chemical-ized action in a store bought or take away pizza or Chinese food. It also points out that the dinner is good after a ‘full day’ which means you have been active.
When I think how someone might get upset by the idea of the carb (bread and butter) with dinner, it is silly when you think of merely drinking a starbucks drink at your break is probably like five slices of bread and butter. And, butter, if you buy properly, is a very natural product. IT is simply the by-product of milk production, so if you could find a source where they use milk that is not from hormone injected cows and if you make or buy a good whole grain bread that is not full of preservatives, you are not that far removed from your foods beginnings. That is what I have been coming to realize: The closer you get to your foods source, the healthier it seems and easier to prepare. Butter is just made from the separation of the milk and cream, very pure. Bread is simply grains and liquid baked into nutrition. Now think about any packaged food, all the chemicals, the way it has to be made, any meat in it was probably made form a slurry of various animal parts (all the animal, whole chickens head, feet) you just don’t know what you are eating. Yet, in the 50’s, if you were not eating a Swanson Tv dinner every night, you were just naturally eating food closer to its pure source. A cut of meat for protein, veg cooked and raw, even desserts were homemade from butter, flour, eggs, pure ingredients meeting and combining to make a good tasty form of calories and vitamins.
I think the more we take control over the aspects of our lives that we can control, the better we can live and enjoy our time. Then, when we are enjoying our Entertainment, it will feel well earned and we may even find ourselves entertained with our own actions in the kitchen and home. I know I have and I laugh when I think of how much passive tv/computer time I used to use and wonder at all the time I lost that could have been spent simply DOING. I mean we can really do almost anything to entertain ourselves that can also enrich our minds and increase our skill sets. Why just watch tv when you could build that dollhouse, sew those dresses, make a garden, go to the library and study African tribal pottery. The world is out there with so much information and fun and yet we let so much of our lives simply pass by in front of our eyes as we passively sit there. Our food, in a way, is an example of this. Why bother to learn to cook or control your food by choosing your food yourself, just buy some stuff in boxes with pictures of the meal on it, nuke it and shove it down your gullet while you watch your ‘stories’ for the 15th time. Hey, it is your life, but really, I know, it’s so much MORE fun and rewarding to just be more active in it.
So, be more ACTIVE in your life and your food. Think about what you are putting in your mouth and your mind. Use your hands and your brains to make and do and NOT just click the TIVO button or press enter on the computer. You will find yourself so much more fulfilled and less dissatisfied. When you remove that element of covetousness often found through the media, “Oh, I wish I looked like her, or had that beautiful house, or lovely yard, or that yacht, car, hot movie star boyfriend, lifestyle etc etc” Who cares! There is so much YOU already have around you that is wonderful and can be improved upon and increased with your own access to knowledge, information, and skill. So our ACTION still exists here on the blog. It is becoming more and more important to me than ever.
Until next time, happy homemaking, cooking and just take 20 minutes of your tv/computer time and try something new: learn one easy pure dish to make, read up on that subject you like, paint a picture, plant some seeds, do anything that YOU control.
I will leave you with two cute 50’s ideas/kitchens for a simple eat-in bar for those early morning meals before school/work.
kitchenbar1 kitchenbar2
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