Working for the Girl Scouts is much like working for any other company.
As in any office, you never know what you are going to find on the community lunch table. On occasion, there will be doughnuts, bagels, or pumpkin bread. Unlike most other offices, there is also a ready supply of Girl Scout Cookies.
The difference, of course, is that the employees in my office stay away from those particular cookies.
It’s not that they aren’t delicious or a wonderful quality food product. It’s just that we are so overexposed to them during the year, they lose all mystery. Frankly, after 8 years, I can’t look at a Thin Mint without going a little cross-eyed.
We serve Girl Scout Cookies at meetings, bring them to community events, and (I, especially) hand them out for public relations events.
But it wasn’t cookies I found on the lunch table today.
Someone must have been cleaning out their home library and brought in the rejects for recycled reading. Sitting primly atop the table was the 1947 Cookbook for Beginners (Cooking for Brides) by Dorothy Malone.
Curious, I picked it up and within minutes was laughing uproariously.
I suppose the…gender notions…found in this book were commonplace in 1947, but by today’s standards they seem unbelievably sexist, and (honestly, I found them) a little quaint. Kind of sweet, actually. Still sexist, though. Really, really sexist.
Reviews from the back of the book:
“Whether you are a bride or a seasoned spouse, here is a volume to convince you that cooking is a pleasure rather than a necessary evil.”
“The bride who reads Mrs. Malone will want to start her kitchen career upon laying down the book.”
Table of Contents:
The Beginner Dons Her Kitchen Apron – and prepares to cope with three good meals a day. She puts on her beruffled apron and checks her kitchen equipment, the staple closet, the spice corner, and the emergency shelf. She learns about measurements, too, and gets a beginner’s view of quantities.
Rise and Shine, It’s Breakfast Time – Attractively dressed and nicely complexioned, the beginner deals with simple breakfasts, produced with ease and confidence. Sunday brunches are also dealt with, as the beginner progresses from the elemental breakfast to slightly more complicated dishes. Which dishes, it will be noted, double handsomely for Sunday night snacks, lunches for unexpected guests, and after-the-movie tidbits.
The Foreword: (This is a little long, but absolutely priceless, and well worth the read.)
We find it startling to note that the girls who boast proudly of their ability to cook are getting scarcer and scarcer. It’s a sad indictment of our sense of values, for every woman ultimately knows that a well-cooked meal is a triumph of creative talent, a potent and insidious lure to the suitors on whom she is casting a speculative eye, and a most excellent adornment, eventually, to a happy marriage.
It’s fun to cook! It’s a great thrill to produce a luscious spicy apple pie which is eaten to its last flaky crumb, or an old-fashioned strawberry shortcake tumbled with crimson berries and smothered under snowy whipped cream. It’s an even greater thrill to watch the light of admiration that creeps into an ardent swain’s or perhaps a young husband’s eyes when he realizes that he has snatched a very jewel from the matrimonial mart, and that he will be well and delightfully fed all the days of his life!
It takes intelligence to be a good cook. It’s the intelligent cook who will have nothing to do with “good plain food,” but who specializes in “simple food” which is cooked with imagination, seasoned with a flair, and served with charm. It’s the intelligent cook who realizes it is a rich privilege to minister to the well-being of a family.
In this little book you will find the ways and means of mastering the fine art of cooking. Please note that we have scaled the recipes, in the main, to feed two. Knowing, however, that you will be seized with a compelling urge to show off the exciting results of your kitchen adventuring. We have included two chapters entitled “Entertaining” and “Specialties of the House” in which the recipes will feed 6 to 8.
May your culinary laurels grow greener with the years. You’ll never wear prouder honors.
But my absolute favorite (so far) has to be:
Chapter 1 – The Beginner Dons Her Kitchen Apron
You may have been the most popular deb of the season. You may be the most up-and-coming ‘Career Girl’ of the business world. You may be a very paragon of charm and unselfishness and sweetness, and a threat to the bachelor status of any man able to recognize a paragon when he sees one. But you can’t be a cook without a cookbook – and experience.
This book is written, therefore, for the day when, in the natural sequence of events, your thoughts turn to domesticity, to ruffled plastic aprons and parsley, to – eventually – a home of your own.
Gosh, I’ve never been so glad to be a girl!