I’ve written before about the other Alice Bradleys. Let’s talk about this one.
This Alice Bradley was, among other things, principal of the Fannie Farmer School of Cookery from 1915-1944. The cookbook pictured above (actually more of an advertorial pamphlet, Other Bradley) promised salads both alluring AND new, and it delivered, but today I’m going to a highlight an even more glorious example of Ms. Bradley’s expertise: The Alice Bradley Menu Cook-Book.
Now, I’m no expert on semi-aspirational Depression-era cuisine, but if I had to imagine what it was like, it would guess this. The meats are boiled; the sauces are white. Many of the foods are mock-foods. There’s always one extra step that tips a relatively inoffensive side dish into pure horror. Take, for instance, “Date Salad.”
1. Wash and remove pits, stones, whatever you want to call them, sure.
2. Fill with peanut butter: so far I’m on board.
3. Oh, wait, the peanut butter should be mixed with some WHAT THE NO NO NO—
4. Curl up into a tight ball and shriek with your mouth closed until you stop imagining peanut butter and mayonnaise together.
P.S.: Why isn’t she saying what the shredded lettuce is dressed with? I’ll tell you why: it’s French dressing. It’s always French dressing. Back when Alice Bradley was in charge, only the French did dressing.
Next up: this.
I’m sure Alice Bradley was a nice person, but only a monster would think to cream celery.
Let’s cleanse our mental palate with some Jellied Cabbage Salad, shall we? This one, at least, sounds…adventurous? I don’t know, I’m broken. Hey, what can we serve this with OH GOD NO.
Okay, Chili con Carne is, well. Huh. There’s no French dressing in it, and that’s something. But isn’t this a little more…boiled than the kind of chili we’re used to? Is that…enough seasoning? I mean, I’m not the Principal of any School of Cookery, so who am I to say?
Finally, an alarmingly simple breakfast suggestion. I looked really closely at this one, and I’m pretty sure there’s no boiling or surprise mayo anywhere in here. I’m not sure, though. I don’t know that I can trust my own eyes.
Next week: we look at some of those alluring (and new!) salads. They have a spicy secret. (Hint: it's not mayonnaise. Usually.)