Friday, December 15, 2017

Woman's Day, 1958: The Bride That Cried...

Today I am sharing the December, 1958 issue of Woman's Day magazine. What it reveals about the role of women in the home is very interesting.
In the cartoon above, a man rewards a woman for feeding him! She offers a tray of appetizers and he kisses her. I sure hope this was her husband or fiancée. It appeared in a Nabisco Thins advertisement for party food.

What pressure there was on women to please men regarding FOOD. The advertisement below concerns a 'bride' who was in tears until Bell's poultry seasoning saved the day.
A Comstock pie filling ad reminded women that "Husbands love wives who make homemade Pies with Comstock."
The message again is Food=Love. Feed them and they will come home at night.


Here a man's heart is won by Coffeematic coffee. Can't you just feel the passion?

Is food a symbol for something else?

The pressure continued. It's party season and the little lady has to put on a show to impress hubby's friends and business partners.

A women's place was in the kitchen, and the magazine is filled with recipes.

I sure remember when everyone made the All-Bran muffins. Combine 2 cups All-Bran, 1/2 cup molasses, and 1 1/4 cups of milk. Let stand until the moisture is absorbed into the bran. Then add one egg and beat well. Sift 1 cup flour with 1 tsp baking soda and 1/2 tsp salt. Stir it all up with 1/2 c raisins until JUST mixed. Fill muffin cups 2/3 full and bake at 400 degrees for 25 minutes.
 A mystery fruitcake recipe from Betty Crocker looks pretty good...if you like fruit cake.
You start with a Betty Crocker white cake mix which is baked, cooled, and crumbled. Mix together 1 cup each candied pineapple, lemon peel, orange peel, and citron. Mix it all up with the cake and pack TIGHTLY into foil-lined 9x5x3 inch loaf pans. Cover with foil, chill for 24 hours, and slice and serve.

I remember when Mom made deserts with Fruit Cocktail. Don't  you love the type font used for "Glamour Desserts", complete with little stars? To make the Christmas Cloud Pie fill an 8" pie shell with 2 cups of drained fruit cocktail folded into one packaged of cooked and cooled vanilla pudding mix. Top with Betty Crocker meringue mix and bake "as directed." Serve cool.
Gift ideas included towels and bedding. My, that lady seems quite charmed by her Cannon towel. Note the star bursts on the wall. It was a very starry time, the late 50s.

 I also note that pastes in pink, blue, green, and yellow appear in both ads.
My grandmother, who lived with us in 1958, watched Arthur Godfrey's television show. Here he poses with his trademark ukulele while enjoying instant coffee. There is no woman around, no love in his eyes. Clearly this is not something to serve to your husband in the morning before he goes to the office. He may not come home.
 Unless you look like this.
In which case, your man would be glad to see you.

I'm not sure I like the look in this man's eye at all. Perhaps it is that over-the-top hat. Pepsi-Cola is wishing people a "light-hearted holiday," which apparently involves Pepsi and weird floral hats as aphrodisiacs.
Wait! There is more than food and men! The little lady can read short stories by Faith Baldwin, learn about houseplants, read the story The Wonderful World of Aunt Tuddy to the kiddies, and learn about books and records...to give as gifts, because obviously she doesn't have time to read a book or the sophistication to listen to Classical music...
Books suggested for gifting includes The Travels of Jamie McPheeters by Robert Lewis Taylor, which I have read, and which was the basis for a television show; The Greengage Summer by Rumer Godden, which I have also read, Godden being one of my favorite forgotten writers, whose ebooks have been released in the last year; The King Must Die by Mary Renault; C. S. Forester's Admiral Hornblower in the West Indies; Around the World with Auntie Mamie by Patrick Dennis; and books by Woodehouse Nevil Shute, Marquand, John O'Hara, Peter de Vries, and many others whose names are no longer familiar to most.

It was the age of LP records and stereos. "When you use your head, it's easy to measure a collector for a record without his knowing it..." Yes, it was assumed these gifts were for MEN. First mentioned was Rossini's Petite Messe Solennelle, noted as rarely recorded, the "last mortal sin" of his old age. Next was pianist Serkin's Variations on a Theme by Diabelli, followed by de Falla's Nights in the Gardens of Spain directed by Artur Rubinstein; Wagner, considered 'controversial'; and the Berlioz Requiem "always considered genius-laden." Others mentioned include Segovia, Luci di Lammermoor, Fidelio, and The Tales of Hoffman.

Then we are warned that the following recordings are not for the casual listener. This is hard-core stuff. Included are Bruckner's Symphony No. 9, Mahler's Resurrection Symphony, Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition (I'm shocked its in this category!), and Gluck's Orfeo et Euridice by the Met.

And so I close the pages on this glimpse into 1958. No people of color or ethnicity appear in its pages, no working women, college co-eds, no nurses or teachers. Men all wear suits and look like Cary Grant. Cooking appears to be women's most important duty, even before motherhood.