Allee Willis’ Kitsch O’ The Day – 1950’s Betty Crocker’s “Dinner for Two” Cookbook

Submitted by Allee Willis July 15th, 2010
Certifikitsch Winner

Featuring 425 “new” recipes plus a special ‚”When-Company-Comes” section, this cookbook, published in 1958 by General Mills, was designed expressly for “brides, business girls, career wives and mothers of married children”. Divided into sections like Regional Meals USA, Pennywise Dinners and What Every Good Cook Knows, as is often the case with vintage cookbooks the quintessentially Atomic 50’s graphics and fonts are even better than the recipes themselves.


There are also many tips for what to do in the presence of meat and its other food friends. Like when you’re at the market “select canned goods economically.”


I never realized there was such a distinction between peas. Then again, I’m not much of a cook unless cooking means going online and ordering in. I’m the type to fast forward to “Foreign Lands-Hawaii” where I find this excellent dessert relying solely on colored toothpicks, maraschino cherries, canned pineapple and ice. This degree of culinary skill is right up my allee.


There’s even a lesson on setting the table correctly as “an atmosphere of charm at mealtime forms the background for fine living.” Look how the career wife, while learning how to give a dinner party for four, sweeps into pose to peer at her table through a microscope making sure no detail is overlooked in planning a buffet to insure that “an atmosphere of informal hospitality prevails.”


This illustration of a tourist couple taking photos next to whoever the famous Dane is depicted in statue on the rock makes the Danish Apple Pudding recipe taste even more Danish.


As an artist, I’m especially drawn to page 169. Not only does all it take to make Croissants is yeast, Bisquick and water but it suggests that you serve Chocolate Eclairs along with them. Better yet, the recipe merely points you in the direction of a box of Betty Crocker Cream Puff Mix and you’re on your own from there.


Look how interested the potatoes are at how they’re going to be sliced:


When not looking at the pictures there are wonderful ideas to cook for your +1 like Baked Prune Whip and Unbaked Prune Whip.


I’m actually having three people over for lunch today and two more over for dinner tonight. One group will be eating Italian and the other Chinese and, despite the fact that Betty Crocker says this cookbook is perfect for “the working girl, active in her career and social life”, I will be spending no time in the kitchen at all.


2 Responses to “Allee Willis’ Kitsch O’ The Day – 1950’s Betty Crocker’s “Dinner for Two” Cookbook”

  1. k2dtw

    Ok… Now I’m starving…
    I love this cookbook…
    I just saw everything this cookbook celebrates in a recent repeat episode of “Mad Men”… Anyone watch Mad Men??..
    In their Season 2…The Betty Draper character planned a dinner party…with a “Trip Around the World” themed menu to include table decorations and cocktails… It was over the top Man Men Wonderful…smile

  2. windupkitty

    wow, one of my favorite things in the world is vintage cookbooks….i used to have loads of them but i’ve never seen this one before….the graphics are astounding…save this in an acid free archive box, for sure! those potatoes will haunt me forever…..