Caught this photo on our Butterfly Bush which attracts them!
Some of you may recall, I previously posted prior segments of this 1950’s series, ending with photos from Betty Crocker’s house and barn and anything else I found there to photograph (See October 11 post under Tech Marvels.). My mother Eleonore came with me on this adventure , as we browsed at the antique barn and acted like undercover paparazzi, snapping shots incognito for your pleasure and edification. This was so exciting. I couldn’t stand it.
Today, part four ( for those who are numerically challenged, like me) we will be discussing that integral part of the 1950’s-60’s life, The TV Tray.
TV trays were of course made to eat TV dinners on in the 1950’s & 60’s. TV dinners started out rather small, so the original TV Trays were rather small too. Everything in the 1950’s was small, bathrooms, closets, me.
I think this retro-ceramic TV dinner from the 1950’s for sale on ETSY for the incredible steal price of $450.00 will be a perfect launching point for our discussion of this fascinating topic. There is only one of these ceramic beauties available, so if you must have it, you better move quickly. Here is the website:
And here is the ceramic product, I mean art piece ( it looks good enough to eat just like a real TV dinner):
The original TV Dinner made by Swanson’s was this delectable turkey delight that cost only $1 in 1953:
It came out just a couple of years before I was born actually, and was advertised as the “perfect solution for women who worked out of the home,” and didn’t have time for pesky things like making dinner, and who also had no intention of engaging in boring activities like a family dinner, and would rather watch TV as they enjoyed this gourmet repast. See ads:
Swanson sold millions of these babies, so they ramped up production and diversified to things like my favorite as a child, “Salisbury Steak.” See example. YUM!
So truth be told, millions of kids like me were sitting in front of tv screens, numbing our brains in the 50’s/60’s watching TV. The computer now at least requires some type of cerebral activity in users.
For those too young to remember what a TV tray is. (Sacrilege!) I have included some helpful examples. For the rest of us, these will just serve as memory prompts for our already severely challenged senior cerebellums. TV Trays, the point of all this ramble in the first place, were designed and released in 1954 as the perfect technological advancement to make eating and watching TV not only possible, but darn easy. Here are a few examples of this wizardry in actual operation in the 1950’s. They were sold in 4-paks with an innovative device developed to store them after use:
By the time the 1970’s rolled around, TV dinner’s technologically advanced one more time. “Hungry Man” larger TV dinners were developed. This was in response to the men’s movement (or something). Anyways, ads came out with a song & jingle, whose lyrics were, “How do you handle a hungry man? The manhandlers.” I kid you not! It was sung in basso profundo by lumberjacks or something. Anyhoo, “The Man Handlers,” were an innovation by Swanson again (The Apple of their time) to handle the big appetites of big men, who were obviously not happy with their TV dinners and must have been bitching, I mean complaining about them at home. I ate them so I can attest to the fact they consisted of an additional two ounces of something approximating chicken noodle soup, a delectable three ounces of “fruit” (I use the term loosely) cobbler, and an extra couple of ounces of something resembling vegetables.
This huge leap forward in innovation required additional modification of the TV Tray, which became outdated just like your original i pod and pad. “The King Size TV Tray,” was invented to bridge this gap. Here is an example:
The best thing about the invention of the TV dinners was that a woman no longer had to wash dishes if she didn’t want to. The TV dinners could just be thrown away after use! This prevented the sort of dish washing drudgery that I shared with you in a previous post:
This is where my expertise about all this incredible 50’s innovation ends. My parentals would go on “date night, ” the sitter would arrive, and my brother and I would sit contentedly in front of the boob-tube, I mean TV, watching Bonzana and eating our favorite “Man Handler’s” on our TV trays. Those were the days……
I am exhausted now by all this extensive history, I am sure you are too, and I am too tired to make dinner. Where are the damn TV trays?
Well, duh, the poor tired woman doesn’t even have a dish drainer! Sheesch!
I got to thinking about 1950’s housewives and decided to do a post about my grandmother Rose (who I called Nana). She was really a 1930’s, 40’s, 50’s, 60’s, and 70’s housewife. She took it seriously, did it well, and I respected her. She died in 1987 in her mid-eighties. She was the consummate housewife and cook. Here is a photo I saved from Architectural Digest taken in the early 1950’s of her kitchen and family dining area. Look pretty 1950’s to you? Ozzie and Harriet could walk right in the door. (If you are too young….gooogle it).
I still have my grandmother’s handmade aprons and can attest to the fact that they were worn always in the kitchen. She had everyday aprons and fancy, for party-aprons, that were made out of taffeta. I kid you not! I swear this lady stole Nana’s taffeta apron and I want it back!
I would SO wear it for parties.
This is a recipe from Nana. She would make it for family dinners and picnics. I especially remember eating it on a picnic in Borrego Springs when I was a child, around fifty years ago! My grandmother was of Polish and German descent and she was an incredible cook. This is a sticky fingers chicken dish, hence it’s name! I haven’t seen a recipe like it and it is still a hit in my family.
So here is my tribute to Nana and her:
1 package chicken thighs with bone and skin
1 package split chicken breast with bone and skin
4 T flour
2 heaping T bacon fat (for best flavor or canola oil for health)
1 large chopped yellow onion
1 heaping cup chopped celery
1 package Far Eat Rice Chicken Flavored Rice with spice packet (Nana used long grain white rice)
1/3 cup wild rice
1 t salt
½ t pepper
1 T fresh chopped parsley
1t fresh thyme
1t fresh minced sage
½ t nutmeg
1 cup hot chicken broth
¼ cup dry vermouth
Shake chicken pieces in flour in large zip lock bag. Brown in bacon fat until well browned. Remove chicken from pan. Add onion and celery and sauté until soft and slightly brown scrapping the brown bits into the veggies.
Remove from heat.
Add two rices to bottom of a large roasting pan with seasoning packet. Stir in ½ cup of hot broth. Place chicken on top of rice. Season with salt, pepper, parsley, thyme, sage, and nutmeg. Pour remaining broth and vermouth over herbs, seasoning, and chicken. Cover pan tightly with lid or foil.
Bake for 1 hour at 350-degree oven.
Serve with your choice of vegetables. And, don’t forget your apron!
I’ll leave you with a 50’s ad if you need a brush up on the era.
I love this 50’s theme so my next post is going to be, “I Live Near Betty’s Crocker’s House,” which I do, and I will prove in my next post. So stay tuned!
“Covered Wagon Women” is a fascinating non-fiction account of fourteen pioneer women traveling west in the 1840’s. The book was edited and compiled by historian Kenneth L. Holmes. It is a remarkable book in that it consists of primary source, unedited diary entries, letters and other correspondence. The editor left the women’s narratives unedited as the women actually wrote them, replete with original syntax, spelling, and punctuation, and the mistakes made therein.There are additional “Covered Wagon Women,” volumes in a series. I read volume two and found it equally compelling.These unedited first person narratives give the reader a genuine sense of who these women really were, what they were seeing, experiencing, and feeling. Of course the unbelievable hardship, birth, death and tragedy are heart wrenching, but these incredible women’s intelligence, courage and appreciation of the beauty of their experience is also made abundantly clear. The women’s observations are reminiscent of the biographies of the famous male explorers, at times scientifically dispassionate, as they keenly and in detail, describe the new flora and fauna, terrain, climate, and Native Americans they encounter. They were after all, explorers as well.
They are also most effective in relaying their feelings. Take for example this excerpt from Tabitha Brown about her experience traveling west in 1846, now left to her own devices as she struggles on with an old, feeble, near death companion who was unable to care for himself or offer her any assistance,
“Here the shades of night were gathering fast and I could see the wagon tracks no further. I alighted from my horse, flung off my saddle and saddle bags and tied him fast with a lasso rope to a tree…..his senses were gone…..I covered him as well as I could with blankets…and helped the old gentleman, expecting he would be a corpse by morning. Pause for a moment and consider my situation-worse than alone; in a strange wilderness; without food, without fire; cold and shivering; wolves fighting and howling all around me; darkness of night forbade the stars to shine upon me; solitary- all was solitary as death…. As soon as light had dawned, I pulled down my tent, saddled the horses, found the Captain so as to stand on his feet…”
And she continues on towards Oregon. Remarkable. And there are many more narratives like this in the book.
I read a lot of these non-fiction pioneer and Native American history books (more about these in a latter review) as I traveled recently through the west, crossing and re-crossing the Oregon and Santa Fe Trails. I read books about a woman homesteading alone on the prairie, the first homesteading couple in what is now Glacier National Park, another about a widow hiring a helper and traveling on the first trek over the Oregon trail where they broke the trail, a book about a woman and her family crossing the Mojave Desert and this incredible collection of women’s narratives and I realize we’ve all been robbed with the books, movies and folklore of “the old west,” that have focused on the cowboys and male explorers, and mostly ignored the incredible fortitude, bravery and contribution of these pioneer women.
Riveting reading. Highly recommend.
Here is what I don’t get, this was one of the most spectacular overpassses I have have ever seen, and I have seen a lot. There was essentially no one on the road, maybe three American couples and five European couples. I guess it is good few people go here, because it will perserve it. But nonetheless, if you have a chance to drive it in peak fall color, you will be blown away.
by Tony Judt
Such a haunting and beautiful book by such a brilliant man.While dying of ALS Judt envisions heaven as a train on which he rides continuously through the Alps. This evocative imagery has stayed with me and probably always will.While becoming progressively “locked in” by ALS, Judt’s mind remains very much alive. He escapes into “the memory chalet,” a Swiss chalet he stayed in on holidays as a child. He recalls in his memory every room, nook and cranny, the smells, the food, the snow, the happy memories.He does this with other memories of his life as well, and shares these memories with the reader. We are the better for it.Judt who had made such a huge contribution to all of us through his life long scholarship, continues to make a huge contribution to us as he dies. He let’s us realize the power of our minds to help us escape from intolerable circumstances and shows us that memories can be almost as powerful as reality.
Somehow, through brutal honesty, and no-sugar coating, he makes the process of dying from something as horrific as ALS seem less terrifying. His memories provide great comfort to him and to the reader.
Highly recommend this inspiring and moving book.
I wish Judt endless sunny skies as he rides over the Alps on his never-stopping train.
Hayden Valley Yellowstone
As a child I used to be sung to sleep in a cabin by Fish Creek in The Tetons by the wolves howling in the distant mountains. I was quite sad to hear they had all been annihilated and hopeful when the wolves were reintroduced to their home territory in 1995. I can now testify that THE WOLVES RULE THE NIGHT IN YELLOWSTONE ONCE AGAIN!
We asked a ranger where the best wildlife viewing options were in Yellowstone and she advised us to get to the HaydenValley just before dusk, as wolves were active in the area, and had made a recent kill. We left around 6pm. En-route we saw a lone wolf resting by a herd of about 300 buffalo, including calves. The wolf was resting, biding his time, waiting.
We arrived at HaydenValley just before sunset and very quickly spotted three resting wolves, one grey and two black. The wolves were strategically positioned around a largish herd of elk that were already highly alerted and terrified. The bucks were on land trying to protect the herd, blowing and warning. Most of the rest of the herd around 50 or so were tightly clustered on a shoal in the center of the Yellowstone River. Scattered mothers with calves were standing in the middle of the river clearly terrified.
The wolves were resting, biding their time, waiting. Letting the herd agitate and get cold.
Most likely this had been going on long before we arrived. Very soon after the sunset, the wolves started to rouse. They stood up. Stretched like dogs, and began to move, slowly at first, in a walk, than a slow trot.
This caused blowing and bellowing from the bulls.
All of a sudden all three wolves were at a full run, streaking like bullets in unison, and precise formation, at INCREDIBLE speed, from their three different locations, fanning out after the herd.
The herd starting screaming and running, helter-skelter, in blind terror.
Watching with binoculars, we saw the three wolves converge on the racing elk. We saw one bull hit, several times by the wolves, but not taken down. The entire elk herd were screaming now at full volume. Running in total pandemonium. The wolves pursued the elk into and out of the river. Several elk who broke from the herd escaped towards us and many other elk escaped up-river in the water. But the hunt continued after it became completely dark and the wolves communicated by howling to each other as darkness fell and the hunt continued.
It was incredible. I have never experienced the panic of the hunted as immediately and personally as I did for these elk. The challenge for the wolves seeming so daunting, that I was rooting for both victim and prey simultaneously. We left driving carefully back to the lodge in the dark, just pumped up with adrenalin that took quite awhile to subside.
We also saw another grizzly on a back country hike earlier the same day, but he was father away and we had our pepper spray. Lots of Buffalo on the road as well, and of course scenic Yellowstone in the fall.
But nothing compared to the wolves.
Yellowstone Lake Hotel where we stayed is near HaydenValley and closes in a week. I think this is one of the best times to visit Yellowstone as the animals are clustering in preparation for winter and the crowds of humans have thinned markedly.
There are an estimated 98 wolves in Yellowstone now, in ten packs. They are ruling once again!
I wish someone had helped this author put off writing this book until she got some more experience and insight. I feel like someone should have protected her from publishing this. She seems like a caring person, with good intentions, but remarkably naïve. I’m trying here. I did not dislike her. I’m not angry at her. I am just sort of chagrined by the whole thing. Maybe she just needs time and more experience before attempting this?Here are some examples of statements that dismayed me:Dr Wolfe, a psychologist supervisor, makes a totally obvious inappropriate sexual reference to her regarding her blushing:
She says, “…I couldn’t stop myself from thinking like a therapist. My training had taught me to pay attention to associations….I believed Dr Wolfe believed my blushing a sign like the interviewee in his story, that I was harboring purient thoughts. Given our age difference, I hoped he’d only be flattered, but in moments like those I often felt I’d rather not be privy to the ways of knowing of my field. I certainly was not a mind reader (she certainly is not) as strangers I met at parties sometimes seemed to fear, but like a telepath I did have clues to bits of others private thoughts that a non-psychologist was spared. I guessed I could never go back to being that, and my chest filled with regret.”
Where to start with this? How narcissistic is this? If a rock fell on her toe and it hurt, would her “special ways of knowing” help her realize telepathically that it hurt?
Her chest filled with regret?
I do get that strangers might fear her at parties.
Come on, how many women have sexually inappropriate things said to them from clueless horny men, often in positions of authority? Does it require “telepathy” and special “psychologist ways of knowing,” to identify? We all understand this and pretend to ignore it as a strategy. Recognizing this is nothing special. Sadly.
Sadly, I also completely get why her supervisor gave her a bunch of 2’s on a 1-5 Likert scale rating her performance. I wish she did.
Plus, I really didn’t know anyone believed anymore that schizophrenia’s origins came during the first year of life from “not achieving”… “basic trust and faith in the fact of (your) existence.” I thought the “schizophrenigenic” mother thing got debunked decades ago, when genetic and biochemical correlates to schizophrenia became clear. “Auditory Hallucinations result from the projection of the pathological introject of the mother.” It goes on and on. She is bogged down by psychoanalytic excess.
Plus if you want to be thought of as a caring therapist, you shouldn’t title your book, “Brooklyn Zoo,” implying your clients are animals, your colleagues zookeepers?
She is out of touch with her patients, too involved with herself and her ego, and too critical of allied professionals and colleagues, like other psychologists, psychiatrists, and clinical social workers, even recreational therapists for gosh sakes.
She lacked the experience or competence to write a meaningful book about a therapist’s perceptions. It frightens me when professional reviews say things like, “Want to know what your therapist is thinking? Read this book.”
This isn’t what your therapist is thinking, trust me on this. Bottom line, this book needs to be written by a better therapist, with more experience.
Someone should have protected her from publishing this.
The Cure For Anything Is Salt Water
by Mary South
I confess to having a weakness for non-fiction books about women who check out of their “normal” hum- drum lives, do interesting things, preferably on their own.
I admire this.
Mary South is an interesting woman who did an interesting thing, on her own. She up and quit her job because it was annoying her, and wasn’t working for her, and found a better life.
I’m always am in favor of this if it’s not working for you and you can do it.
Plus I did it, so I’m biased.
Anyhoo, Mary quit her successful publishing job, took a tough nine week mariners course, met some really interesting people in the process, like a successful high powered attorney, with chronic insomnia, hypertension and a drinking problem who also chucked his job.
“Good for him,” I thought.
In the midst of this she bought a boat.
Your thinking sailing boat, I know, and maybe your thinking, “Oh I’m tired of all these lucky people who buy yachts and sail around the world. The oceans must be littered with all these unemployed people sailing around in them.”
Probably, really, not. Although it does seem like this, to me too.
Anyway, she didn’t buy a yacht. I had to look this up to get it right, she bought a motorized trawler.
Google it. .
She motored it with John from Florida to New York. He is the smart attorney she met in the mariner’s class, who chucked his job.
She is interesting and writes well, for example, “The worst of the (storm) front just turned and wandered off, like an exhausted bully with attention deficit disorder.”
She is a person who wrote a memoir who I would actually like to meet and that is saying a lot. Many of these authors, I think, great memoir, probably don’t want to meet you. Augusten Burroughs comes to mind.
Love his books, a lot. Don’t want to meet him.
Anyway, she seems interesting and her book is good. Augusten’s are better….but she is probably a lot nicer.
Recommend if you are interested in this sort of thing.
It isn’t like climbing Mt Everest and being John Krakauer.
But then, what is?
My husband, Jim, handed me a travelogue he kept of our Antarctica trip in 2008. I had forgotten that we both had written trip journals and it is interesting to see a lot of the details I had forgotten. The following include excerpts of these travel journals that weren’t included in my prior post.
Day 1-2: Jim’s notes state that we cross the 400 mile Drake Passage with Beaufort force 3 winds. The Beaufort Scale winds range from force 1-12, and relate wind speed to observable effects on land and sea. Force 3 winds are gentle breezes that create wavelets that begin to break, causing whitecaps, i.e., easy-peasy seas.
We pass the Antarctic Convergence in the afternoon. This is a continuously circling body of water where cold Antarctic waters converge with warmer subantarctic waters, causing the colder water to sink, leading to upwelling where marine life is intensely prevalent, including pelagic birds such as several types of Albatross, and Skuas.* The Antarctic convergence is the largest biological barrier on earth. Crossing the convergence marks entry into the Southern Ocean which has it’s own currents. We are entering the world’s largest wilderness, with the highest concentrations of wildlife on the planet. It is also the coldest, highest, windiest, iciest and least visited of all the continents i.e. PARADISE!
Day 3- Reach Elephant Island part of the South Shetland Isands, that is named after resident elephant seals. Along with the seals there are several species of penguins. Air & water temperature mid-day, 1 degree. Floating icebergs becoming impressive. Our naturalist explains that most of the bergs we are seeing now come from The Wedell Sea, via The Antarctic Sound. When we leave this area, we will be sailing on seas that will be covered in sea ice all winter.
Day 4- Cross the Antarctic Sound enroute to the Esperanza Research Station run by Argentina. Winds are force 8, which is gale force, wind knots 34-40, waves 18-25 feet. Cannot attempt Esperanza due to conditions. By mid-afternoon, weather improves dramatically, captain sets course towards to Admiralty Bay on King George Island. We reach the Chilean and Polish Research Stations and visit with the Polish Scientists, who after many attempts board our ship for dinner. By now penguins are everywhere in the millions, Gentoo, Macaroni, Chinstrap and Adele. Later we will see Kings. The weather is excellent and the scenery magnificent. Sun sets at 1 am rises at 4 am.
Day 5- Captain sets course south through The Branfields Strait. Continue southerly course. Navigate through the incredible Gerlach Strait. Force 3 winds, air temp 1 degree mid-day. Ice surrounds us everywhere. The ship, navigated by the ice pilot, seems to sail through ice not water. It is daunting. Growlers slam against the hull. We hold our breath when the ship approaches the larger ones, they bang along the hull making constant noise.
Day 6- We head to the Neymayer Channel with incredible scenery, glaciers calving into the ocean, craggy cliffs, ice precipes and peaks, boundless untouched snow and ice, sea mammals, birds and penguins everywhere. They are friendly and approach. We see Wedell, Crabeater and Leopard Seals, Orca, Humpback and Minke whales.
Day 7- Course to Deception Island, a collapsed volcanic caldera. Deception Bay is stunning and the island is full of very smelly, very friendly penguins. The waters are warmed by volcanic process which also makes the island the most ice-free that we saw. You can take a dip if you choose. The water is a mixture of very hot and cold currents, moving in little riverlets around you. Weather this day was gray, foggy, and overcast.
Day 8- Course north back through The Drake Passage. As we cross the convergence, the temperature rises to 7 degrees, the warmest in a week! Again we have smooth seas and the albatross are our friends. Enroute to the stunning Beagle Channel and Strait of Magellan.
Towards the end, we get our roughest weather yet, force 9 winds, 41-47 knots, waves 23-32 feet. Strong gale. Wow! It was spectacular and unforgiving. And then we are in the blissful Beagle Channel, through the straight of Magellan to Chile.
We are going back in 2013, to Patagonia & The Beagle Channel. Less than 30,000 people are visiting Antarctica annually now.
* Note: we saw a similar fascinating upwelling phenomena crossing out of the Sargasso Sea which is essentially a large gyro, an ocean bounded and defined by currents. We sailed through the Canary Current where the upwelling attracted scores of Blue Whales, Pilot Whales, Orcas and other marine life, everywhere in incredible quantity! The Sargasso Sea itself seems desert like. Crossing it for eight days, we saw no animals, birds, or ships. Will write about this trip, that we did this year, in another post.