Monday, November 22, 2010

The Victory Binding of the American Woman's Cook Book

The Victory Binding of the American Woman's Cook Book Wartime Edition 1943
I picked up this cookbook at an estate sale over the weekend. I'd never seen one like it before, so I grabbed it. This edition was published in 1943. After I've gone through it some more, it'll most likely end up for sale at Aunt Lizzie's Whatnot Shop. If you have an interest in it, you can contact me. 

I've mentioned before that I like to read old cookbooks because of the different types of recipes that were popular at the time. Well, as I was skimming through the pages, I came across a chapter with tips for throwing the perfect party, whether it be a cocktail, formal, or outdoor party. In that chapter there is also a section on how to entertain without a maid.  I cracked up! Yes, I know, it's tough, but one CAN entertain without a maid.  Funny, I didn't see anything about entertaining with five dogs running around.  Maybe you have to hire a dog wrangler for the evening in order to have the perfect party. 

You have to read it for yourselves. Here is the excerpt from that chapter:

Entertaining Without A Maid

Many women can manage almost any form of entertainment without the help of a maid. For most, however, there are distinct limits to what should be attempted for pleasant and dignified results. The disappearance of the dining room and the substitution of a bay or alcove in the living room has increased the ease of servantless entertaining at the table. Many small pieces of furniture are especially designed to add to the efficiency of the hostess and the comfort of her guests, such as the drop-leaf, gate-leg and butterfly tables, double-decked tea carts, muffin stands and butler's trays. The menu should be planned to avoid last minute activities on the part of the hostess. She should be free to greet and attend her guests. All the extra china and glass necessary should be on one of the small tables within the hostess' reach and china removed can be placed out of sight on the lower shelf of the table or the low butler's tray. Extra bread, butter, wafers, sauces and water are also on the auxiliary table. If arrangements are well planned, the hostess need not leave her chair until it is time to clear, and serve the dessert. At that time, too, the coffee can be started. The coffee service has previously been placed at a convenient spot in the living room, and the screen to be used for enclosing the table when it has been left is at an easily accessible place. (See page 82.) As the guests leave the table for the living room, the hostess enters with the coffee while the host attends to placing the screen. By the time all have lighted a fresh cigarette, the coffee is being poured and the dining table has been forgotten.

I love it! It's so interesting to me how things change over time. I now have the confidence to throw a party without my maid in attendance ; ) Now if I can only find the dog wranglers!


  1. I don't understand this servantless entertaining. I'm especially puzzled by how to make the dining room disappear and substitute a bay or alcove in the living room. I must be among the most who are distinctly limited. Therefore, I shan't try to entertain without a maid.

  2. Just jump in with both feet. You CAN do it!

  3. I love old cookbooks too. Last year my daughter and I did a whole week of cooking from a 1960's cookbook (like a mini Julie & Julia) and it was very different to how we cook now. For starters the only pasta mentioned was either macaroni or spaghetti and there was no mention of risotto...LOL It made me realize how more diverse our diet is now.

    The section on how to maintaining one's appearance was quite funny too..they didn't bathe everyday and hair washing seemed to occur once or twice a week!


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