Monthly Archives: January 2020

What Will I Wear?: Home Front Housewife Edition

For many home front housewives, January was a cold month indeed. Since this month was almost all about January magazine issues, I thought I would show you a couple of images of clothing from a 1941 issue. I’ll then compare those with a 1945 issue. I can imagine a home front housewife pouring over her magazines at the kitchen table after all her chores were done or during a break in the afternoon while she listened to her favorite radio program. Here’s some of what they would have seen.

January 1941

The first issue is Woman’s Home Companion. The date on the one ad is 1940, but the magazine it was in was definitely 1941. Since much of the magazine was still focusing on holiday topics, I imagine the issue was delivered to homes in December.

The first image is an ad for winter boots. I’d wear any of these boots today. I like how they have categorized them into country, town, dress up, and formal boots.

Next is a half ad, half article that shows Companion-Butterick patterns that were available to purchase at local Butterick dealers or by mail order through Woman’s Home Companion. I love the colors, and look at those hats!

The last image is part of an article with suggested Christmas gifts, but I like how it shows options of sweaters, scarves, and slippers that the home front housewife might consider in 1940/41 for her family.

January 1945

I have a January 1945 issue of Woman’s Day. I was not surprised that there were few mentions of clothing. Most of the magazine was filled with articles about how to stretch rationed food or other ways to deal with the war. New clothing was probably not on their minds as much. I was really surprised, though, that the only fashion article in the magazine was about how to buy a new fur coat. There were a couple of ads in the back of the magazine for support girdles, but otherwise, no other fashion. In contrast, the January 1946 issue had several articles about clothing, including one that showed how a tailor made a suit and one that suggested adding material to tighter fitting styles of coats to make them more modern. Neither of these articles would have been published during the war years since fabric was conserved during those years.

February

I have fun plans for February. I have some February magazine issues. I have a few new cookbooks, booklets, and magazines I want to explore, and of course, Valentine’s Day is coming up! Enjoy your last evening in January 2020 and I’ll see you here again Monday for February’s First Monday Menu.

Orange Lime Fizz

I haven’t tested a drink recipe in a while. The weather has been warm here and we’ve been enjoying hanging out on our patio lately. I like to have a cool drink to sip while I’m outside, so I thought this would be a great time to add another drink post.

This is from the 1944 edition of The Good Housekeeping Cook Book. It’s pretty quick to make, but if there are more than three or four of you drinking it, you’ll want to at least double the recipe. Four of us had average size servings of this drink, but there wasn’t enough left for anyone to have second helpings.

Orange Lime Fizz

  • 2 c orange juice
  • 1/2 c granulated sugar
  • 12 springs mint (cut this up)
  • 4 tbsp lime juice
  • 1 12 oz bottle (1 1/2 c) chilled carbonated water
  • ice

Heat 1 c of the orange juice to a boil. Add the sugar and the mint. Cover and cool. Strain and then add the remaining orange juice and the lime juice. Just before serving, add the carbonated water and ice. This recipe makes 3 3/4 c before adding the ice. Corn syrup may replace half of the sugar.

Results

I was surprised at the mixed results this drink received. Four of us were home to try it, and the opinions were split 50/50. My husband, who is not a fan of carbonated water, thought the addition of the bubbly liquid ruined it for him. My teenage son thought it was good, but way too sweet for him to want to make it again. Another teenage son loved it and happily finished my husband’s drink as well as his own. I thought it was thirst quenching and refreshing.

I didn’t taste much mint in the drink, which seemed to be the case with my other testers, too. I definitely tasted the lime, perhaps even more than the orange juice. I don’t like carbonated water by itself, but it didn’t bother me at all in this drink. If you are worried about the sweetness, cutting the amount of sugar might help. Actually, I think I’ll try that and see how it goes.

I can picture myself settled in on my patio with a tall glass of orange lime fizz and a good book. What a great way to spend a warm spring or summer afternoon. How’s the weather where you live?

National Peanut Butter Day: Peter Pan Apple Crumble

To celebrate National Peanut Butter Day, here is a tasty recipe from “Peter Pan Peanut Butter in your Daily Diet,” a booklet the home front housewife could have sent for in 1945. I found out about this collection of peanut butter recipes from a Peter Pan peanut butter advertisement I used in my peanut butter frosting post. I managed to find a copy so I could share some more peanut butter goodness with you.

My 13 year old son made this apple crumble. It was his first attempt at making something other than cookies and pancakes. I am really proud of how well he did. I’m sure he’ll join me here again in the future.

Peter Pan Apple Crumble

  • 3 tbsp Peter Pan peanut butter
  • 1/2 c sifted flour
  • 1/2 c sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 3 tbsp butter or margarine
  • 1/3 c finely chopped peanuts
  • 6 medium sized cooking apples

Sift flour with sugar, salt, and nutmeg. Cut in peanut butter and butter until mixture is crumbly. Add peanuts. Peel apples and slice thin. Place in well greased baking dish. Sprinkle peanut butter mixture evenly over the top of the apples. Bake in moderate oven (350°F) for 40 minutes. Increase oven temperature to 425°F and bake 10 minutes longer or until brown. Serve hot with cream. 6 servings.

Results

I love a good apple crumble. I’ve never had one with peanut butter, so I was definitely intrigued. This didn’t disappoint. I think I prefer a classic crumble, but the addition of peanut butter and peanuts was an interesting change. The crumble wasn’t as sweet as a classic crumble. The peanut butter was the leading flavor, and the chopped nuts added a bit more crunchiness than you usually get from similar dishes. I didn’t have any cream to use, but I think that would have been lovely. A large scoop of vanilla ice cream would be an ideal addition to a bowl of peanut butter apple crumble, but then again, I think most things are greatly improved with a scoop or two of ice cream.

Forgive my lack of pictures. We inhaled the entire dish before I realized I needed more pictures of it. I wanted to make sure the recipe was posted before the day was over, though. After all, National Peanut Butter Day only comes once a year. Enjoy!

Starlight Cake

In January 1945, Betty Crocker was touting a New Method of cake baking that would save the home front housewife half of her batter mixing time. Using Gold Medal flour, the folks at General Mills’ Home Service Department created a one bowl method of cake batter mixing that was to revolutionize baking. This Starlight Cake recipe is straight from a Betty Crocker advertisement from that month.

Results

This was a nice cake. It was moist and tasted the way a white cake should. We used a plain white buttercream frosting. When I was growing up, my mother made a fluffy anise flavored white frosting that would be perfect on this cake. I need to find that recipe! Gum drops were an interesting addition that added a bit of color. Definitely try this when you need a basic cake recipe to fix up with your favorite tasty frostings. If you have a great frosting recipe, I’d love to hear about it.

Did you know that tomorrow is National Peanut Butter Day? Remember that Peter Pan recipe booklet I mentioned a few posts ago? It’s here and I’m going to test a recipe from it to celebrate the day.

Warm Up with a Good Book

Perhaps you are the type of home front housewife who would rather stay in on a cold winter evening and curl up in front of the fireplace with a good book. I’m here to help. Here are five suggestions based on a January 1945 Woman’s Day book roundup.

A note on finding these books: I’ll let you know at least one place you can find these books if I can. Worldcat.org is a great resource, too. Just type your zipcode and the title in and they’ll provide you with a list of libraries near you that have the book on their shelves.

Just in case you want to follow up your reading with a movie night out, here’s a link to some movie suggestions.

America Unlimited

by Eric Johnston

Eric Johnston was the president of the United States Chamber of Commerce. This book records his thoughts, hopes, aspirations, and beliefs about issues of the early 1940s. Johnston claimed that most Americans shared his views. This would be an interesting look at a political opinion from the war years.

We Live in Alaska

by Constance Helmericks

This book is available used on on Amazon. The author and her husband moved to Alaska in 1941 and explored the Yukon in a homemade canoe. There are a few sequels to their adventure if you find this first one enjoyable.

Watching the World

by Raymond Clapper

Raymond Clapper was a journalist and a radio news analyst and commentator. While covering the war in 1944, an airplane he was riding in collided with another plane during the invasion of the Marshall Islands. After his death, his wife put together some of his best material and told the story of his life in this book.

Cluny Brown

by Margery Sharp

This humerous coming of age story follows a young English woman in 1938 on her adventures after she is sent into service in the countryside. It was made into a movie in 1946. This book is easy to find. It’s even available as an audio book.

Enjoy Your House Plants

by Dorothy Jenkins and Helen Van Pelt Wilson

This book has chapters on everything from ferns to succulents to orchids. There’s advice on caring for numerous types of indoor plants. I love my house plants, so I’m excited to try to find a copy of this one. I’d like to compare their advice with what is suggested care today.

While you are reading, you might like to munch on some cookies or a slice of coffee spice cake. Stay warm and enjoy your weekend!

Movies for a Rainy Day

Part of living on our ranch is that when it rains, the dirt roads heading into town turn into a dangerous, muddy obstacle course. Sometimes we get stranded at home. Since I haven’t been able to go buy groceries to cook some tasty 1940s recipes, I decided to give you a list of movies the home from housewife might have gone to see on a rainy day. All of these are available to rent or buy, so you can watch them on a rainy day of your own.

I don’t want to abandon our January magazines, so I’m using a list of top movies from late 1944 that was in the January 1945 issue of Woman’s Day. The author, Raymond Knight, was particularly taken with a brand new actress “with the unusual appellation” of Lauren Bacall.

My Pal, Wolf

This movie starred Sharyn Moffett as a young girl who finds a dog that has escaped from its army training camp. The girl’s nanny calls the army to retrieve the dog, but it escapes gain. The little girl goes to Washington D.C. to see if she can have the dog live with her permanently. It was director Alfred L. Werker’s production debut. This movie is available to buy on Amazon. It’s the only movie on this list that I could not find available to rent.

Mrs. Parkington

Mrs. Parkington began as a serial in Cosmopolitan magazine and was later published as a novel by Louis Bromfield. It was also made into a radio program in 1946. Greer Garson starred as a woman who looks back over her life through flashbacks while dealing with family drama in the present. Greer Garson and Agnes Moorehead won awards for their performances. It also starred William Pidgeon, Gladys Cooper, Edward Arnold, and others. This movie is available to rent on multiple platforms.

To Have and Have Not

Based loosely on Ernest Hemingway’s 1937 novel, To Have and Have Not starred Humphrey Bogart, Walter Brennan, Dolores Moran, Hoagy Carmichael, and a brand new actress named Lauren Bacall. It’s a romance between a fisherman and an American in Martinique with a bit of French resistance activity thrown in. Both Hemingway and William Faulkner worked on the screenplay. Most people liked the movie, but critics claimed it was just a remake of Casablanca. Raymond Knight, the author of the Woman’s Day article, also mentioned similarities between the two movies. The film was released in October 1944, and Bogart and Bacall married in 1945. This is also available to rent on many platforms.

The Princess and the Pirate

Based on a story by Sy Bartlett, directed by David Butler, and starring Bob Hope and Virginia Mayo, The Princess and the Pirate is a comedy about a princess traveling in disguise to elope with the man she loves instead of the one she’s supposed to marry. Her ship is attacked by pirates, she is kidnapped, and adventures ensue. Bing Crosby makes an appearance. This was Bob Hope’s last movie with producer Samuel Goldwyn. You can rent The Princess and the Pirate, as well.

Laura

The American Film Institute named this movie as one of the 10 best mystery films of all time. Starring Gene Tierney, Dana Andres, Clifton Webb, Vincent Price, and Judith Anderson, Laura was based on the 1943 novel of the same name by Vera Caspary. The film is about a detective trying to solve a woman’s murder. This one is available for rent, too.

I’m going to watch some of these this weekend while I wait for the sun to dry up the roads. I’ll let you know how they are. In the meantime, if it’s cold where you are, you might enjoy some breakfast cocoa or a hot apple toddy.

What are your favorite early 1940s movies?

Raisin Clusters

Let’s continue our peek into January magazines. How do chocolate raisin clusters sound to you?

In the Woman’s Home Companion January 1941 issue, the magazine’s home service center’s Dorothy Kirk talks about how to include seedless raisins in your cooking. Kirk mentions that raisins are great for making almost any dish look festive. She suggests adding them to cereal, plum pudding, Banbury tarts, or warmed-over gravy. I’ve never added raisins to gravy, so I’m definitely making a note to try that in the future.

Raisin Clusters

  • 1 c semisweet chocolate broken into small pieces
  • 1 c raisins
  • 1/2 c sliced Brazil nuts

Put the semisweet chocolate pieces in the top of a double broiler. Place over hot (not boiling) water to melt the chocolate. Remove it from the hot water and put it over cold water. Stir until the chocolate starts to thicken. Add the raisins and the nuts and mix well. Drop the chocolate mixture in small mounds onto a tray or shallow pan lined with wax paper. Put the clusters in the refrigerator or other cool, dry place to allow them to dry. Makes 2 dozen clusters.

Results

My testers and I had mixed feelings about these raisin clusters. If you like dark chocolate, you’ll probably enjoy these candies. Those of us who are not as fond of dark chocolate would have liked them better with milk chocolate. We thought the semisweet chocolate was too bitter. I also think that a few more nuts would help add more interesting texture and flavor. The candy needed something crunchier to break up the softness of the raisins and the chocolate.

These raisin clusters were easy and quick to make. They’d make a nice addition to a holiday dessert plate and would be easy to pack in a pretty box for Valentine’s Day. This recipe is also flexible. You can experiment with other ingredients that you might have on hand in your pantry.

Let me know if you try these and if you change the recipe any. I’d love to see what you come up with.