Friday, September 15, 2017

#anAWWyear - September 1947 Recipes: A Taste of Spring

I'm sure in many parts of the world, even in the magazines of the 1940s, there is a 'back to school' focus in September, but Australia avoids this by lining up the school year with the calendar year. September for us is the end of winter and the start of spring, so in the recipe features of this month we start to see the shift to lighter, cooler meals, including salads.
detail from recipe page of the Australian women's weekly, showing a plate of salads and recipe text.
This is raw vegetable salad (in the lettuce cups) with an unidentified other dish.
Australian Women's Weekly, Sep 27 1947, p46
I tried one recipe from this "Taste of Spring" feature, the Glazed Lamb Slices.
The glazed lamb recipe.
Australian Women's Weekly, Sep 27 1947, p46
Not a great reproduction, but the recipe is simple: put two tablespoons of mint jelly in a saucepan, and when heated and runny, add 1/2 tspn gelatine powder and stir until it is dissolved. Then add 1 teaspoon melted butter, 1 teaspoon vinegar (I used white wine vinegar, you could probably use apple cider vinegar too. I don't know if I'd use a dark coloured one with the mint jelly. If I were to use the currant jelly as suggested as an option then obviously you could.), and the spices, It says 'celery, salt and pepper' - I used just salt and pepper as that's what I had and I wasn't sure it was meant to be 'celery salt' or something else. As you continue to stir it will start to thicken. At that point, spread it onto slices of lamb roast that you have leftover from last night. I covered 6 slices easily with this. It sets very quickly.

I loved this. It seemed strange to re-gelatine jelly but the added ingredients really made a difference and it tasted divine. My husband took one bite and announced 'this is cold.' I wasn't sure why he was surprised - I had never said the lamb would be hot - but he doesn't appreciate cold meats. He heated it in the microwave and the glaze held up well - I was expecting it to melt off but it was fine, just got a bit squishier but stayed on the lamb. The three year old refused to touch it, or the plain lamb, and ate ham instead. 

I don't have a photo of the finished dish because green jelly glaze on slices of meat is not very photogenic. I took several photos and they all looked unappetising. It might take a professional food stylist to make this look great. In person it looked a bit strange but not awful, and it tasted great. I'm definitely keeping this as an option for leftover roast. 

There were quite a few interesting savoury dishes this month. If you have a hankering for a meat loaf variant, another feature has several, including the pictured jellied veal and ham loaf, and a curried rabbit and vegetable loaf which I would absolutely try if I could find a decent source of rabbit. 
Jellied meat, jellied dessert and salad. Must be Spring
Australian Women's Weekly, Sep 13, p42
Another theme for this month was cakes and other tea-time recipes. One page featured a few interesting savoury options including cheese loaf sandwiches and bread rolls, hollowed out, stuffed with a mix of finely chopped hard-boiled egg, cold white sauce and curry powder, allowed to firm and then sliced to serve.  I tried something from a selection of cake, pudding and biscuit recipes all starting from the same basic mixture. While it makes that claim, it does actually change the basic batter for the different categories, and gives ways to change that basic mix to make things cheaper.

So many variants.
Australian Women's Weekly, Sep 6 1947, p49
The one I opted for was in the baked pudding category and named 'Australian Layer Pudding'. 
You start with the basic batter recipe: 
Cream 4oz butter and 4oz sugar well. Beat in 2-3 eggs one at a time. (I used 2, as modern eggs run slightly larger) Add the flavoring. (I used 1/2 tspn vanilla, one of the listed options)  Fold in 8oz sifted flour and 2 teaspoons baking powder alternately with 1 cup milk.

Then you split the batter in half and colour one half pink. Into the pie dish (I used a Pyrex casserole dish, but next time I would use an actual pie dish I think) you place alternating spoonfuls of the pink and white in a piedish. On top of each you place a teaspoonful of jam (I used strawberry, as it was in the fridge). I baked for about 40 mins at 180. If I made it again, I'd only do one depth of dollop or bake for maybe 5-10 mins more (although my oven is being hinky.) The recipe recommended serving hot with custard. So I did.
My 'Australian Layer Pudding'
It was tasty - everyone in the house ate this. I feel as though the colour contrast wasn't that great, so maybe the pink needed to be more bright.  Texturally it was very similar to cake - I couldn't tell what made this a baked pudding and not a cake.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

#anAWWyear - September 1947: Fashion

I'm starting September with fashion again. I was overwhelmed with choice this month, and I'm worried this post will get quite long!

I'm going to start with some cunning "Paris styles... at budget prices". The Women's Weekly were not only making reasonably priced versions of these dresses available to buy, they were also making patterns available to the home dressmaker.
Australian Women's Weekly, Sep 27 1947, p43
That blue and white dress gingham sundress looks almost too simple to be Dior. I feel you could wear that anywhere in summer and feel stunning.

The drapey green dress by Marcel Rochas has the most beautiful neckline. I don't know how it would work with a larger bust, but I'd be willing to risk it if I could still get the pattern for 3/6.
Dress by Marcel Rochas
Australian Women's Weekly, Sep 6 1947, p9
One of the things I find fascinating about pages like this is seeing the fashion illustrations right next to the models, because the clothes do sit that bit differently. 
More gorgeousness, by Dior and Carven
Australian Women's Weekly, Sep 6 1947, p8

In a page on handbags, I was captivated by these unusually shaped bags - the copy seems to suggest these are intended to be more casual beach bags, but made up in the right materials I think that hexagonal drawstring bag could look very smart.
Beach bags from Paris
Australian Women's Weekly, Sep 13 1947, p39

There weren't many things that appealed in the fashion patterns service this month; the 'afternoon dress with an elegant drape' pictured below is one of the only ones I wanted. The detail below also shows the top of a three piece casual beach outfit.
Fashion patterns to send away for
Australian Women's Weekly,
Sep 13 1947, p30
I've been considering a pair of culottes or wide shorts as a summer wardrobe piece, and I found myself returning to this picture of women working in Britain's hayfields. The silhouette of these outfits appeal. And always nice to see some examples of real outfits being worn.
Detail of photo accompanying an article on volunteer agricultural workers in Britain
Australian Women's Weekly,  Sep 13 1947, p9

There were a few advertisements for clothes and fabric which I wanted to discuss today too. During my thesis research I ran across an article (sadly I can't find the reference right now - all my notes are archived) which was discussing how, with the fall of Paris to the German army in WWII, the pressing question on everyone's lips must be 'to where will the torch of fashion pass?' I had not considered that, post-war, Paris must be working to regain that torch in the public perception. But here is that sentiment being expressed: "Fashion is again queen at the Rue de Rivoli, style centre of a woman's world."
Section from a Selby shoe advertisement, showing a woman in a blue and white striped dress and text discussing Paris and fashion
Detail from a Selby shoe advertisement
Australian Women's Weekly, Sep 6 1947, p14
One of the common perceptions of vintage advertisements, which as a historian of advertising I have always felt obliged to debunk where possible, is that such advertising is less manipulative and more straightforward than advertisements since. In truth this is mostly a function of our training as a society in reading advertisements, which allows for more subtlety. Having said that, you do run across advertisements which openly express sentiments that modern advertising only hints. It is no secret that much fashion is marketed to women with the intention of pleasing the masculine gaze - but we rarely see it spelt out quite so clearly.
Fabric advertisement
Australian Women's Weekly, Sep 27 1947, p8.
Although that blue and white dress is rather fetching, with the change of direction in the stripes from bodice to skirt.

What did you think of these highlights? Which would you want to wear?