Spring Cleaning with House & Garden

It’s time for Spring Cleaning, even if Winter weather is still lingering for us. Today’s Spring Cleaning took me across some lovely memories, and one in particular, I’d love to share with you. There are many perks to having a successful business in Cookbook Publishing. Being considered an authority in the culinary world is one of them. On more than a few occasions, my husband Richard and I had the thrill of speaking on behalf of the industry and the art of entertaining.

I came across my “American House & Garden,” June 1954 issue today. I opened it to the masthead to see a familiar couple staring back at me!

American House & Garden” by Condé Nast, launched in 1901. By 1954 it was a well known publication and a fixture in MANY American Homes. Its illustrious roster of Editor-in-Chiefs includes the world-famous Anna Wintour. While ceasing publication in 1993, a little web-crawl to the Condé Nast store, and I can see the COVERS of this publication are still widely loved. It was an artful, comprehensive periodical, from front to back.

Richard and I were contacted back in 1954 to help produce a comprehensive guide to Summer, which would include sharing numerous recipes from our holdings. We were enthralled. To be able to jump from publishing a book–which took many months from start to finish–to feature writing where we could see our efforts within a month, well it was nothing short of fabulous.

my cover from 1954I scanned my cover image for you, but it shows the ravages of multiple perusals as you can see, so below is Condé Nast’s cover image (from their print collection), so you can see how stunning and vibrant they were. Imagine a copy calling out to you from a newsstand; you’d almost have to grab it for those lobsters, let alone the price of 50 CENTS! My, how times have changed.

Our contribution to this House & Garden’s issue incidentally became not just a feature article, but a cookbook guide in magazine style! It was to be the “Complete Summer Cook book,” supplying the American public with “90 days of freedom from meal planning.” The opening of the ‘cook book’ states, “Summer is more than a season, it’s a state of mind. We think of it as an interlude of golden leisure in which to the enjoy the sun, the sea, the sand, and every square inch of house and garden. Henry James once said that the words ‘summer afternoon’ are the most beautiful in the English language and we agree with him. Yet for the hostess, the prospect of summer is hardly one of impaired pleasure. Summer means for her more entertaining, more friends who just drop in and stay for dinner…With this cook book, you can take summer sitting down and let the grass grow under your feet.”

Please enjoy this pictorial journey into the life & times of the 1950s, “H&G” style:

conde nast cover from print collection

From the Condé Nast Store: “The buffet table on the June 1954 cover of House & Garden groans under a feast of summer treats: corn on the cob (served in a pair of elegant buckets), steamed lobsters, salad greens, and an orderly lineup of juicy watermelon slices. At the far end of the table, several bottles of refreshing white wine stand on ice. Photograph by William Grigsby.”


Near our photograph on the masthead (bottom right): “Ruth and Richard Rosen brought a fresh tang to the field of cookery with a cleverly packaged series of cook books, ranging from a log of fish recipes, “From Nets to You” to “The Ancestral Recipes of Shen Mei Lon.” At their summer home in Fishkill, N.Y., they’ve tested their hot-weather meal theories, which we bring you in a Complete Summer Cook Book, see page 62.

Here, a MODEL-PERFECT couple, with happily fishing child in the backdrop, introduces the 90 days of freedom from meal planning concept. The caption beneath this scene states “Comes a point in the day’s occupation that is known as the parents’ hour.
Just look at these artful spreads, forget Spring Cleaning, let’s leap to Summer Soirées!
We shared dozens of recipes in this issue, which I share with you here. In the meantime, take a look at the ads of 1954 next to some of our recipes, including the Kittinger King of Ease chair, and the Mississippi Glass Company’s DRAMATIC ENTRY.
I chose a few recipes to share with you from this magazine issue. Please click here for shared recipes that will take you into a fabulous weekend!



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