I love to receive most any invitation, but when the hosts knock themselves out with a clever invitation and a theme I feel like they are making the event so unique and personal. When this mid-century affair hit my inbox I admired it for a few minutes before I pursued "cookbooks of the 1950s". The Betty Crocker Picture Cookbook and The Joy of Cooking were included in many lists. What a wonderful bit of research it was to review all the appetizer and salad recipes in both books.
My oldest edition of The Joy of Cooking (1943) was my grandmother's and has notes and extra recipes written in the back of the book. Reading Nana's handwriting gives me a thrill. To further the glory of this edition, at the link to it above you will see that the 1943 edition was Julia Child's first cookbook, or so say the Rombauer family. I was lucky to find my 1950 edition of the Betty Crocker in mint condition in a used bookstore on vacation in Arizona years ago.
One of the joys of using these books is the casual approach to cooking and recipe writing. Let your creativity soar with common sense advice for the Joy's Quick Tomato Aspic, "Tomato juice varies. It is wise to taste the aspic to see whether additional seasoning is required. Lemon juice is good, so is a teaspoonful of chopped or dried herbs...". Betty Crocker advised to make a Molded Gelatin Salad, "Choose (gelatin) flavor to make an interesting combination with the fruits or vegetables, etc you add." I can work with that. Aspic held such vivid childhood memories for me of holidays and parties I had to go with that and it deserves another missive to come soon.
The final presentations were so mid-century stylish in appearance it was obvious everyone had fun researching, cooking and plating.
And of course, what mid-century party would be complete without some very cool cocktails! The Old-Fashioned and Side Car are still so pleasing I wish I would remember to order them when out on the town. My favorite of the evening was the Rosemarino Spritz with amaro giving a rosy glow to the glass and a cloud of rosemary rising up to grab your attention. That rosemary is one versatile herb. I am glad I have a big pot of it that should make it through the winter to season meat, pecans and now cocktails. What would be wrong with infusing gin or vodka with a 6-inch sprig. The bottle might be festive enough to put a ribbon on for gift giving.