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OP: Mrs. Rasmussen's Book of One-Arm Cookery

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by Mary Lasswell

Novelist Mary Lasswell (1905-1994) began writing while her husband served in the Navy during World War II.  Her first novel, 1942’s Suds in Your Eye, is the humorous story of a trio of beer-loving, carousing older womenMrs. Feely, Miss Tinkham, and Mrs. Rasmussenovercoming the hardships of being widowed or single during the war.  The book was such a success that five additional novels followed, featuring the same charactersand several six-packs of beerthroughout.  

Mrs. Rasmussen’s Book of One-Arm Cookery was written between the publication of the second and third novel in the series in the voice of Mrs. Rasmussen who was the resourceful cook among the three women, using stale bread, meat scraps, and whatever vegetables were available to create delicious meals all the while joking, drinking, and singing.  Mrs. Rasmussen states in her introduction that the book was compiled for the men serving in the armed forces who wrote to her, Feely, and Tinkham, asking for their recipes.  

Recipe categories include: Main Dishes: Food That Sticks to Your Ribs, Relishes and Extras: Go Good with the Beer, Vegetables: None That Could Be Avoided, and Desserts: Something for Your Cavities.  Most of the recipes would be standard fare across middle America at the time (chicken fried steak, meat loaf, stuffed cabbage), though some fare with a hint of elsewhere (enchiladas, chow mein) appear, as well.  And, of course, all the recipes are cookable (more or less) with one arm, as the other will be holding a beer.  Written with humor and a love for good home cooking, this is a great addition to the collection of literary enthusiasts and cookbook fans alike.

Our copy is a hardcover first printing in Very Good condition with a clean interior, save for a bit of soiling on the fore edge and front free end paper, and tight binding.  An apparent manufacturing error has cased a crease to the half title page. The dust jacket is chipped at the head of the spine, shows light staining, and is somewhat haphazardly price clipped.  The jacket and endpapers are excellently illustrated by George Price, once a cartoonist for The New Yorker,  who did the original drawings for Suds, as well.

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