Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Relic Tray: The Happy Home Cook Book

Posted By on Wed, Oct 21, 2009 at 12:00 PM

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Bea Johnson told radio and TV audiences how to have a "Happy Home"
This 55-page, spiral-bound cookbook was published in 1955 by the KMBC Broadcasting Company. The TV and radio studio aired the daily Happy Home program, hosted by Bea Johnson -- who, the book informs us, "began her career at KMBC in 1936 when she was known as 'Joanne Taylor.' "

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Johnson, who is barely remembered today, was a big local media star in Kansas City in the 1950s and was one of the pioneer women broadcasters. In the book Invisible Stars: A Social History of Women in American Broadcasting, author Donna L. Halper writes that in 1955, Johnson logged her 2,500th broadcast. "But she too, despite having press credentials, worked only on women's news."

In those years, "women's news" was limited to shopping, cooking and entertaining. But Bea was up for the challenge. Her biography in the cookbook describes her as "one of Kansas City's finest hostesses" and someone who "has a flair for the new and unusual in foods." The bio goes on: "Yet, as a busy mother, she knows the value of quick and easy food preparation. Her 'Lazy Johnson' menus and recipes on her daily radio program are nationally famous."

The book features photos of Bea with fashion designer Christian Dior, the Queen Mother, and Lady Astor.

 

The selected recipes include Bess Truman's "Escalloped Eggplant," "Spaghetti Duse" from Walter Wagner of Radio Free Europe, and "Mother Eisenhower's Cookies." Also: "a famous French dessert for your next important party." Yes, the recipe for "Bananes Flambees" was given to Bea by Prince Curconsky of France. Here it is.

 

BANANES FLAMBEES

 

6 bananas

1/2 cup brown sugar

4 tablespoons melted butter

lemon juice

1/2 cup brandy

 

METHOD:

1) Sprinkle bananas with lemon juice

2) Mix melted butter with sugar and pour over bananas. Bake.

3) When ready to serve, pour brandy over bananas and flame.

 

 

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