For those of certain generations beginning in the early 1930s, the front-page eye catcher of the Sunday funnies section was Blondie—a zany everyman sitcom of the Bumstead family. Solidly middle class, living somewhere nice, neither urban nor rural, this madcap household consisted of Blondie, indeed a dizzy blonde but one with her head screwed on good and tight; Dagwood, her husband whose two most favored activities are eating and sleeping; their children Alexander and Cookie; their dog Daisy and her five identical puppies. Although the originator, Chic Young, is no longer living, the strip continues to this day.
Although it is Blondie who lends her name to this chronicle, Dagwood is clearly the featured character—sweet, tender, vulnerable, a bit dim, and excitable, this last trait set to go off on a very short fuse. His near universal fame, however, is for his devotion to cooking and eating. With a bottomless appetite he is constantly cooking up soups, throwing together salads and, mostly, devising unimaginable sandwiches, whose highly improvised recipes consist of everything that at any particular moment happens to be in the refrigerator.
The famous “Dagwood Sandwich” provided in this cookbook happens to contain buttered bread, lettuce, a variety of cold leftover meats, American cheese (or Swiss or cottage cheese), sliced tomatoes, sardines (or anchovies or smoked salmon), sliced onions, cold baked beans, a bit more lettuce, and another slice of bread and butter. Other suggestions include pineapple slices, chopped pickles, pickled beets, olives, cucumbers, Russian dressing, ketchup, mayonnaise, horseradish, and a sprinkle or two of salt and pepper.
It may be noted that such a sandwich is not at all easy to eat, but Dagwood always rises to the occasion. About 95 additional sandwiches, most more restrained, appear in the book, along with substantial sections on soups and salads, many of them actually quite plausible.
This collection, published in 1947, is, of course, filled with Chic Young’s loveable drawings of Dagwood, his family, friends, and neighbors all involved in cooking, eating, and steering just clear of total chaos. Our copy, a second printing, is in Very Good condition, clean and unmarked, save for moderately crushed fore corners. The dust jacket bears some closed tears and scuffing. It has been placed in a mylar sleeve to prevent further damage.