Wednesday, September 8, 2021

The Betty Crocker Cooking Calendar - September

This sweet vintage illustration and poem is from a gem of a little book I found among my mom's things after she died, Betty Crocker's Cooking Calendar: A Year Round Guide to Meal Planning with Recipes and Menus. The original copyright was from 1962, and since I was born in '61 I'm guessing she probably owned it most of her life, though I don't recall ever once seeing it before the day I discovered it covered beneath a stack of hand towels in a drawer in the kitchen. To be honest, I hadn't seen some of those hand towels in almost as many years! My mom was as frugal as they come!

That copy, sadly, had met with some fate years before and was stained and many of the pages were stuck together.  But as luck would have it I was able to find one at Amazon. If you're interested, I checked just now and there are several copies of the facsimile edition available at a reasonable price, just click the link above! I was hoping I could provide you with a little sneak peak, but unfortunately it is not a title that is available through the Internet Archives.  And so with that, as the original and the reproduction are both out of print, I thought I would share a few charming snippets with you.


The morrow was a bright September morn;
The earth was beautiful as if newborn;
There was that nameless splendor everywhere,
That wild exhilaration in the air,
Which makes the passers in the city streets
Congratulate each other as they meet.


"It's summer-into-autumn now, with warm days and cool nights and that first golden glow that makes autumn weather so beautiful. It's probably the way the the thermometer bobs up and down that gives us that feeling of "wild exhilaration". After Labor Day has come and gone and the children are safely back in school, I always have the urge to do something new, make new friends, join a discussion group, or emote with the local little theater group. 

The Autumnal Equinox, when day and night are of equal length, comes about September 21.  From then on the hours of daylight rapidly diminish, and the birds begin to race south with the sun. The little insect-eaters which helped to make your outdoor life last summer more enjoyable, are the first to seek more abundant feeding grounds. A few weeks later the other birds wing their way south. Some, however, like the Chickadee and even some Cardinals, stay with you all winter. There are few things more rewarding than spreading the welcome mat for those that remain. Set up a feeding station near your window and watch them during the bleak winter months. Your local Audubon Society or a conservation organization can give you simple suggestions on how to attract our feather friends. 

In the old Roman calendar, September was the seventh year of the month and called just that - septima, the Latin word for seventh. The modern names for October, November and December were also derived from the original Latin, which denoted their positions in the old calendar; octima, the eighth month; novisima, the ninth month; and decima, the tenth month. 

In many parts of the country, September means the first frost. Whenever a crackling clear evening sky threatens a frost, pick your still green tomatoes. Cover your biggest ones with newspaper and store them in  a warm part of the basement. They'll ripen to perfection. For the smaller ones, discover the joy of home canning. Green tomato pickles are as American as the proverbial apple pie, and anyone would be proud to make it "her specialty".  Try your hand, too, at corn relish, or watermelon pickles. A repertory of relishes can earn you the compliments of your family and guests. September is pickling and preserving time - and if you've never done it before, now is the time to learn. A shelf filled with jars of jams, chutneys, jellies and condiments, put up by yourself is one of the most satisfying accomplishments."

Call me old fashioned ,I won't be offended, but I just love the sentiment portrayed in these words. There are times I'm prone to envy the life of the housewife in the 40's and 50's, and even the early 60's, before women's liberation began to change the shape of what was deemed as an acceptable occupation. Don't get me wrong, I'm all for women's rights, and I don't ever want my posts to become political. I've never had a problem with women wanting to work outside the home and have a career, and I firmly believe in equal pay and recognition for equal work. I just never wanted that for myself, and I've always resented the fact that a large population of the world looks down on women like me, as if our aspirations to make our home and family our "career", if you want to call it that, are less. From an early age I knew that there was nothing else that I wanted more than cultivating a cozy home for my husband and children. My only other aspiration outside of that was to teach, and since we ended up homeschooling, I did that for twenty-seven years. I don't know about you, but I'd certainly call that, a career!

These words and illustrations beckon back to a time I remember well, in a middle-class neighborhood in a suburban development outside of Fort Worth, Texas. My childhood wasn't perfect, but as I've grown older I'm choosing to focus more on the good than the bad, and there was a lot of good lived there.  Many of my favorite memories are of my mother cooking meals and baking delicious treats for us in the kitchen, and just like mom every year when the light begins to fade, I find myself longing for chili, and hearty soups and stews. Though we enjoy it a few other times during the year, one of our families long standing traditions is to have Frito Pie to celebrate the autumn equinox. There were a few years when I opted for Brunswick Stew, especially after we moved to Virginia, but most years it wouldn't offiically be autumn without Frito Pie! You can google Frito Pie and find a number of varying recipes, but in our home we always make up a pot of Wick Fowler's 2 Alarm Chili over a bowl of Frito's Corn Chips. If you can't find Wick Fowler's, Carroll Shelby's Original Texas Chili Kit is a close second. Since moving to Virginia, this is typically what I use now, as Wick Fowler's is a little hard to find. Personally, I wouldn't order either from Amazon as one or the other is most likely to be found locally. And as for Brunswick Stew, I can't find the recipe I used before, but this one looks pretty close to it. So easy and so good!  If you've never tried Brunswick Stew, give this recipe a try! I don't even like lima beans, at all, but I don't even notice them in this recipe. Some people also add okra, but I only like my okra fried. As with Frito Pie, if you google it, the long list of links with a plethora of variations will come. Choose the one that appeals to you, and try it!

So what about you, do you have any favorite recipes that you tend to set aside for this season? If so, I'm always looking to add to my collection and I'd love for you to share in the comments!

We participate in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program,
and this post contains affiliate links. When you click through and make a purchase
we receive a small commission from Amazon.
We appreciate your support

No comments: