Monday, October 01, 2007

When guests drop by for dinner, and cook books.

Bernie gave out a yelp last night:

"Get the camera, the raccoon is out there eating on the bench with her whole family!"

There they were, Mother Raccoon, FIVE teenager raccoons, and apparently they were traveling with a possum as well. The possum didn't get into the picture though.

Bernie had re-filled the bird feeder and had left some seed piled on the garden bench, in hopes of seeing some of the cardinals feeding up close.

That poor can tell she's been nursing.
Those kids of hers look old enough to be weaned to me.

Maybe this treat will do the trick. No more nursing, OK kids?

It is such a delight when guests drop by and you know you can whip up a great meal just by using things in your pantry from your emergency food shelf.

You DO have an Emergency Food Shelf in your pantry, don't you?

If you don't, let me share with you how to go about putting one together, as explained in this fabulous cook book:

It's one of my favorite cookbooks from my collection of unusual cookbooks.
I'll be sharing some of my more unusual ones with you over the next few days.

This cook book is especially clever because each menu is introduced via a short vignette featuring Bob and Bettina, newlyweds, circa 1917.
Bob and Bettina's kitchen, inside the book's cover.
Don't you love the little kitchen cupid? Bettina's house dress is charming too.
"The Romance of Cookery and Housekeeping." Ahhh....that is so sweet.
Notice the authors have three names, as all women home economic authors did at the beginning of the last century.
And the modern gals with hyphenated names thought they were so original!
The 1917 publication date is significant. In one of the chapters Bob and Bettina have guests for dinner and the conversation veered to speculation as to whether we would become involved in the war overseas.
A year later, World War One was in full swing, as was The Spanish Influenza.
The cook book has become a snapshot in time.
The story/cookbook begins with the Newlyweds returning from their honeymoon:
(Click on the picture to enlarge it if you want to read the story.)
Isn't Bettina just too cool; she's ashamed that her husband would suggest they eat a hotel, instead of heading on home after their honeymoon.
She is totally up for cooking a meal in their brand new little home.

Weren't Bob and Bettina's friend's lovely to have gotten them ice and milk and cream and butter and bread and rolls and even grape fruit so they would have their ice box freshly stocked when they returned from their honeymoon?
And can't you imagine how delighted Bob was with the thrifty Creamed Tuna on Toast and Canned Peas he got instead of an elegant meal at a hotel?

Personally, I think that Bettina has an interesting emergency shelf. Three packages of marshmallows? Six pints of olives?
Worked for her I guess; her Bob was still one happy man when the book closed as they ate their first wedding anniversary dinner together, a thousand romantic recipes later.
(PS: If they ever decide to make the book into a movie, I want Lovella and Terry to play the part of Bettina and Bob. You've heard of dinner theater haven't you? This really would be dinner theater!)
Tonight the possum dropped by again. Tiggie was purring up a storm and rubbing against the window; we went to investigate and there it was: Our Friend Oppossum.
Tiggie is totally in love.
Tiggie battered the window, to see if Possum would like to play...
Bernie slid the window open just a crack and the two of them touched noses.
I don't know...seems like a pretty strange couple to me.
Tiggie...I think you can do better....I think we'd better talk.


Kate said...

Love your masked visitors! Reminds me of dog walking in the Ramble in NY's Central Park. We spotted a mother and baby racoons peering out of a large hole high up in a tree. As the summer wore on the babies got bigger and outgrew the nest so had to perch on the branches. Drove the dogs NUTS!

Love it that Bettina wears a hat in her kitchen too...a chic!
K Q:-)

Vicki said...

Oh, wow! Racoons, opossums, Tiggie, Bob & Bettina...what fun!

Emergency Food Shelf? Uh, not in my house. In fact, there's nothing in my pantry...I really need to go to Publix! As for that first meal at home, Doc would throw that dinner of creamed tuna and canned peas right out the window...those are two foods he refuses to touch!

Tiggie, believe it when we all say: "You CAN do better...much better!"

Kathy said...

I think Bertinna made a poor choice to turn down dinner out. The book is a blast though. I must confess I have often made creamed tuna on toast and liked it.

Love the wild life. You guys have fun with your critters.

Ladygrande said...

Never boring at the Spriggs' home!

What a lovely book. Next visit, let me look through it.


Julie said...

Oh Jill, your post made my day...I smiled the whole way through..
I LOVE racoons, and I have fed my share of opossoms too... good photos...
Clever racoons..I'm sure they picked your yard because they knew no blogger would refuse them a meal in exchange for some blog-worthy photos!!

And Bob and Bettina did remind me of Lovella and Terry...although I can't quite see Lovella in Bettina' housedress !!! giggle ...
and I noticed you didn't comment on her hat !!! smile

Fun post!!!!
and I am pleased you can now link to me right from 'home'.... smile