“Corn on the cob is one of America’s great inventions, completely native to this continent and one of the world’s most delectable viands. Unfortunately, it isn’t easy to serve and eat with the usual assortment of meat and vegetables, so we have a tendency to play it down in our dinner-party menus. But I like to treat it with respect, give it a course all to itself, and a first course at that – it deserves top billing.”
So begins this article, Conversation Piece, by Ruth Mills Teague, in the August 1950 issue of Ladies’ Home Journal. Because the author loves fresh corn on the cob so much, she sets out to play up its appeal by creating an entire menu to revolve around the corn and “satisfy her corn loving friends.” From the way the author describes it, it sounds like an informal, light meal and yet I love how in true 1950′s style the guests arrive in dresses and bow ties with jackets, and caviar is served.
Ms. Teague then goes on to describe each of the various parts of her dinner.
“For a simple appetizer we’ll have a spread with a cream-cheese base… A great favorite of our is cream cheese combined with finely chopped onion and topped with red caviar.”
“After the corn on the cob, which is a hearty first course, we’ll want the rest of the meal to be on the light side. So for the meat dish I’ve chosen scalloped chicken.”
“The salad, tomatoes stuffed with marinated avocado – and a wonderful salad this is, especially now when tomatoes are at their peak.”
“Since this isn’t a too ambitious meal so far as cooking is concerned, I’m going to give you a recipe for fried bread. You simply mix up a batch of dough, let it rise twice, pinch off small pieces and fry them in deep fat.”
“For a light, refreshing dessert we’ll have grape Bavarian icebox pudding. It can be molded or it can be heaped in the compotes in which it will be served and stored in the refrigerator to set.”
Because I am probably as much a fan of avocado as the author is of corn, I decided to feature the recipe for Tomatoes Stuffed with Avocado here. What I noted right away is what a different view of avocados was taken in this 1950 recipe. Today is seems that we usually tend to focus on the luxurious taste of the avocado itself, rather than cover it up with heavy ingredients. Yet here the author deems it necessary to marinate it in a French dressing, because “avocado needs pepping up, and the garlic and tarragon will do it.” I did notice though that the marinade is actually more like a French vinaigrette than the creamy, ketchup based dressing this can also refer to today.
TOMATOES STUFFED WITH AVOCADO
Select from even-size tomatoes, not too small. They can be peeled or the skins can be left on, according to your taste. Cut off tops, scrape out seedy pulp and invert to drain. Peel 2 large or 3 small avocados, dice the fruit and cover with French dressing. Make dressing with 3 parts salad oil, 1 part lemon juice and vinegar mixed half and half, 1 teaspoon sugar, 1 clove garlic, minced, 4 teaspoons chopped fresh tarragon or 1 teaspoon dried tarragon, and salt and pepper to taste. If dried tarragon is used, let it stand in a little salad oil for a while before it is mixed with other ingredients. Avocado needs pepping up, and the garlic and tarragon will do it. Fill tomato shells high with the avocado and serve on lettuce leaves with a little more French dressing poured on at the last minute.