OP: Fashions in Foods in Beverly Hills
Community and celebrity cookbooks are almost always hodgepodge assemblages. This book published by the Beverly Hills Woman’s Club (founded 1916) is no great exception, though, as the title suggests, it is a handy insight into early 20th century food trends among those of a certain class.
Will Rogers pens a humorous forward, lauding the fine and worthwhile cuisines to which the contributors are accustomed. Indeed, we spy here some of the most fashionable foods of the period: gelatines, casseroles, salads served in lettuce cups (Joan Crawford’s pineapple salad, with avocado, cottage cheese, french dressing, and Melba toast, to name one).
Gestures toward international cuisines are here, though questionably represented. Actress Helen Twelevetrees’ “wakimoli salad” had us on board until the addition of mayonnaise, though we appreciate this spelling of guacamole. Fellow actress Joan Blondell’s “Arabian delight” immediately had us balking at the use of pork chops.
Other notable contributors include ZaSu Pitts with a light and simple casaba melon fruit cocktail, consisting only of the sliced fruit, lime juice, and paprika; and Mrs. Herbert [Lou] Hoover’s caramel tomatoes—hollowed out and stuffed with butter, sugar, and nutmeg, baked until caramelized. The First Lady concludes her recipe with a parenthetical: “Wishing you much success in your cookbook venture.”
Our copy is a stated 1931 third edition in Very Good condition. The white clothbound case has darkened with handling, but Vivian V. Robeson’s handsome cover illustration remains sharp. The interior bears some light staining, evidence of earnest use, but is largely clean and bright. A great addition to an Americana or California collection and not commonly seen.