1950’s Wrap Dress

This dress is another one of my summer staples.

This is the pattern I used.

I made it out of some beautifully-printed linen fabric that I picked up at Joann’s on major clearance last spring.

Red-tag sale so it was really $3/yard.

I picked up a ton of fabric that day and had enough to make the dress + two sleeveless tops (one for me, one for my sister) after.


The pattern was super fun, quick, and easy to make. Intended to be a breathable, cool summer dress to bum around in when it really heats up here, it really lives up to its name. I wear it all the time!

It closes with four small vintage snaps and, when I made it I was really worried that it would pop open during the day. But I’ve worn it for two summers now and it’s never happened! Those tiny snaps are stronger than they look!

1950’s Roast Dinner (HFF #5)

Getting back on track, the fifth prompt for the Historical Food Fortnightly was “Roasts“.

They’re a staple of the historic table, in many different shapes and forms and types. It’s also a cooking technique. Try a historic recipe for a roast, or a recipe that involves roasting, and tell us how it turned out.

For this one I laid out quite the spread…1950’s style!


The dinner recipes came from “Betty Crocker’s Good and Easy Cook Book” published in 1954. It’s a very sweet, little book full of colorful photos and highly stylized illustrations.

I made the “Roast Pork Dinner” from page 102 with a few modifications. First: mashed potatoes instead of brown. And, second: we skipped dessert. There was plenty of food to go around that night!

One of the most fun things about prepping the dinner was making the vegetable tray. Or, “vegetable relishes” as the cook book called it.

I perused the list on page 92 and picked from it based on what was already in the fridge. That ended up necessitating a few substitutions.

I was able to make “Cucumber Petals” (actually zucchini), “Lake Louie Poppies,” “Broccoli Buds,” and (unstuffed) “Stuffed Cherry Tomatoes.”

Mashed potatoes I made without a recipe and the cream gravy came together rather quickly despite the fact that I had hardly any pan drippings to use.

The food got excellent reviews and was plenty to feed five people; we had leftovers for lunch the next day.

One of the most interesting things about serving this dinner is that it included applesauce on the side. I have many memories of meals at my grandparents’ house featuring applesauce which, as a kid, I always thought was weird. Growing up, applesauce was usually a lunch (or snack) food. Seems to me it could be a generational trend. How do you, or your family, interpret applesauce? Lunch or diner food? Has it changed over time for you?

The Challenge: Roasts
The Recipe: Roast Pork Dinner from “Betty Crocker’s Good and Easy Cook Book”
The Date/Year and Region: 1954, American
How Did You Make It: Roast the meat; mash the potatoes; prepare the vegetable tray; make the gravy; serve it with applesauce and voila!
Time to Complete: 2+ hours
Total Cost: Roast was about $6, veggies about $6 altogether
How Successful Was It?: Very delicious!!
How Accurate Is It?: Pretty high on the accuracy scale. Even equipment was very similar to what was around in the 1950’s.

(Recipes transcribed under the cut)

Continue reading “1950’s Roast Dinner (HFF #5)”

1950’s Toasted Coconut Brownies (HFF #2)

My second entry for the Historical Food Fortnightly — cutting it close but sliding in right under the wire again.

The second prompt is “Culinary Vices “Some foods are really, really naughty. Globs of butter, lashings of sugar and syrup, decadent chocolate and wine. Bring out your naughty, indecorous side with foods associated with all the bad things, in the best ways.

Enlisting the help of my brother and my sister, we spent an hour or so perusing my cookbooks last weekend and came up with several recipes that would fulfill the prompt. But I couldn’t cook them all so I decided to go with:


Toasted Coconut Brownies

3/4 cup sifted flour

1/2 teaspoon double-acting baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup butter or other shortening

2 squares unsweetened chocolate

1 cup sugar

2 eggs, well beaten

1 1/3 cups (about) flaked coconut

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 tablespoon sugar

2 teaspoons butter, melted

Measure sifted flour, add baking powder and salt, and sift again. Melt shortening and chocolate over hot water. Add 1 cup sugar gradually to eggs, beating thoroughly. Add chocolate mixture and blend. Add flour and mix well; then add half of the coconut and the vanilla. Spread in greased 8x8x2-inch pan. Combine remaining 1 tablespoon sugar and the melted butter. Add remaining coconut and mix well. Spread over batter in pan. Bake in moderate oven (350°F.) for 25 minutes, or until done. Cool in pan; then cut into squares of rectangles. Makes about 20 brownies.


The recipe comes from “The General Foods Kitchens Cookbook” which was published in 1959. I love this cookbook; it has some really great recipes in it as well as some wonderful illustrations.


I followed the recipe as closely as I could, making only one modification to the ingredients. Instead of 2 squares of unsweetened chocolate, I substituted it with 6 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa + 2 Tbsp olive oil, per the instructions on the container.

Ready to bake!


Another time adjustment with this one. I checked the brownies after the recommended 25 minutes and they weren’t done. I ended up leaving them for 18 mire minutes and they turned out perfect.


The brownies were super yummy – definitely a hit! Rich, chocolaty, and indulgent. Worthy of the prompt.The toasted coconut on the top made for a truly wonderful twist on the traditional taste. I will certainly be making it again in the future!

The Challenge: Culinary Vices
The Recipe: Toasted Coconut Brownies from “The General Foods Kitchens Cookbook”
The Date/Year and Region: 1959, American
How Did You Make It: Mix dry ingredients. Beat sugar into eggs. Mix together with dry & chocolate. Add coconut. Put into pan. Melt butter, stir in sugar and coconut. Sprinkle over the top and bake!
Time to Complete: 1/2 hour for mixing; 43 minutes for baking
Total Cost: Pretty much $0. All basic ingredients that I already had in the cupboard.
How Successful Was It?: Super!
How Accurate Is It?: Probably 90%. One ingredient modification but cocoa powder has been around since 1828 so it’s plausibly period-correct. I did use the microwave to melt the butter (and would have used it to melt the chocolate squares). I did use a modern oven but it’s not too different from a 50’s one.