Managing a Maidless Dinner in the Rumpus Room

March 31, 2017

There’s something poignant about the drift of the “hints” in The American Woman’s Cookbook, written by Ruth Berolzheimer in 1941. Though her tips run the gamut – there’s a section on food for invalids, and a glossary of French cooking terms – Berolzheimer’s audience is the striving woman of modest means, eager to keep up with the Joneses.

If this looks ludicrous – and so much of it does – consider this: The American Woman’s Cookbook sold one million copies in its first year. Kind of makes me sad…..


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  • greg says:

    Interesting look back; what does it say that this was a best selling book from that era? The waiter is “negro” serving a blonde. Bizarre. It’s a relief to live in a more casual time, even if it sometimes seems too casual.

  • David Kmetz says:

    Dear Ruth,
    I have a wonderful – and rare – copy of Esquire’s ‘Handbook for Hosts’, circa 1949, which is aimed at the male but with many of the same social and home entertaining issues addressed. Worth seeking out. Grosset & Dunlap publishers, NY.