Wednesday, February 11, 2009
What's on your coffee table?
Here's a fun thing I like to do that you might enjoy too...
At the end of each month, I pull a stack of the next month's magazine issues from my vintage magazine collection and display it on the coffee table. There's usually a range of years - anywhere from the 1920s to the 1950s. The great thing about this is that I can browse at my leisure through the magazines looking for recipes, decorating ideas, fashions, hairstyles, or interesting stories that are appropriate to the particular time of year. Why, this past Christmas, I found a fabulous recipe for Cherry Pinwheel Cookies in a December 1958 issue of Household Magazine - and were they a hit!
With Valentine's Day fast approaching, it's a good thing there's no end of recipes for delicious-looking desserts in these vintage February issues. Now if you can get past the love stories and complexion enhancer ads, this Woman's Home Companion from February of 1947 has all sorts of delectable cakes, cookies, cupcakes, and even a Pineapple Cheesecake recipe. Often the recipes are courtesy of an advertiser encouraging you to use their product because it's better than the rest, but in this particular issue there's a "Light and Lovely" 2-page spread with such delights as Quick Silver Cake, Fudge Cake, and Jeweled Cupcakes.
Now, the cake I absolutely must make is this Sweetheart Valentine Cake....
...because I'm pretty sure I'll get the same results as our blonde Valentine's Day heroine here: "I feel a kiss coming on!"
This cake recipe is from a Spry Pure Vegetable Shortening advertisement. Apparently the cake will be lighter and more delicious when you use Spry. Unfortunately, I don't believe it is still available, so it might not turn out the same using a different shortening. Egads! The cake will be heavy as lead and taste like cardboard. Maybe I'd better pass on making this one since I don't have any Spry - so I probably won't feel a kiss coming on ;)
Speaking of whether products available then are still available now...
Here's one you'll recognize: Avon! I find it fascinating to see just how old some companies are. This same Woman's Home Companion issue from 1947 has ads for Windex, Pepto Bismol, Kraft Velveeta, A-1 Steak Sauce, Midol, French's Mustard, Vick's VapoRub, and V-8... to name just a few that still exist today.
And then there are the stories. For a half hour's diversion, you can't beat a short story, novelette, or serial installment from a vintage magazine. In some cases, you'll find a complete novel, as in this 1935 issue of Cosmopolitan.
Oh, and let's not forget the articles - always timely and informative! Interestingly, vintage magazine article topics really don't differ much from the article topics of today's publications. People still have the same basic concerns about such subjects as weight, appearance, parenting, aging, celebrities, and relationships. The philosophy may change from time to time, but I've found that, oftentimes, how we're advised to handle such topics has pretty much come full circle.
Now, see how much fun this can be?! That old-timey stack of magazines on your coffee table or in your magazine rack simply adds to the overall charm of vintage living.
Oh, and do have a Happy Valentine's Day!