By the number of post-its that I’ve stuck in this book, 41 to be exact, it’s obvious that I’m as much a fan of the recipes in this hallowed hors d’oeuvres bible as the typical housewife was in 1958 when it was published by Good Housekeeping magazine and the Hearst Corporation. The fact that thanks are given to companies like Frito, Borden, the Hawaiian Pineapple Company, Lawry’s, the National Biscuit Company, Ralston Purina, Swift and the Shrimp Association of the Americas should be a great indication of the junk-tipped treasures that lie within. I have long followed the advice of this book when throwing small dinner parties, well, at least small parties for me, 10 to 20 people, and if you happen to be cooking this lovely Sunday afternoon or evening and haven’t decided on the menu yet I suggest you do the same.


I don’t drink but any good hostess knows that keeping your guests in the state of mind they most like to be in, happy, one should always have plenty of these on hand:


Never forget that what you serve a dish in is just as important as the dish itself. Party moods are all psychological and what something looks like effects perception.


No plain white ones of these please:


What makes me happiest of all about the Appetizer Book is that the people at Good Housekeeping chose to call appetizers “nibblers”.  I have always loved the word “nibble”.  So much so that when a cat had two litters of kittens 55 days apart on my roof I caught her and named her “Nibbles”.


As you can see, her tail is a little “nibbled” on:


I named her daughter, who I also caught,  Niblet:


The simple truth this Sunday is that I’m on excruciating music and video deadlines so I’m going to leave you now in the good hands of the folks at Good Housekeeping. I’ll start with one of my favorite chapters:

Appetizer-book_2894 Appetizer-book_2895 Appetizer-book_2896 appetizer-book_2910 Appetizer-book_2897 Appetizer-book_2898 Appetizer-book_2899 Appetizer-book_2901 Appetizer-book_2902 Appetizer-book_2903 Appetizer-book_2904

How could a cook book have a more beautiful centerfold than one that features fried saltines wrapped in bacon, cheese cubes with drippy white things on the toothpicks and a bowl of mixed olives decades before it became de rigueur to have one on your appetizer table?


I hope you’re all having a very happy Sunday and enjoying some of these lovely nibblers. I’m going to pet Nibbles and Niblet and get back to work, but not before I eat some of these:


9 Responses to “Allee Willis’ Kitsch O’ The Day – 1950’s Good Housekeeping Appetizer Book”

  1. Mary Hogan Bencini

    Here’s my favorite using Campbell’s Soup and Know Gelatin

    Shrimp Mold Dip
    1 can tomato soup
    2 eight-ounce packages of cream cheese (not low fat)
    ¼ cup of water
    1 package of Knox Gelatin
    2 cans of whole tiny shrimp (drained)
    1 cup of mayonnaise (not low fat)
    1 cup of chopped celery
    ¾ cup chopped onion
    ½ cup chopped chives

    Heat the tomato soup and cream cheese. Add water and Knox Gelatin. Cool 15 minutes

    Add drained canned shrimp, the mayonnaise, celery, onions, and chives. Pour in 6 inch mold and refrigerate overnight.
    Unmold on platter and you can decorate with leaf lettuce. Serve with crackers.

  2. Howard

    Egads! That peanut butter-catchup (never seen it spelled that way before!) sounds revolting. What a bizarre combination!

    If you like cookbooks such as this, I HIGHLY recommend (if you don’t already have it):
    “Best Recipes from the Backs of Boxes, Bottles, Cans, and Jars”

    I had a copy for years but sold it before I moved here to Japan because I can’t get 99% of those products here.

    Good luck with your deadlines!

  3. margaret y.

    Each recipe for dip ended with “let guests dip their own” or similar language. Too funny! I had a vision of a 1950’s housewife wanting sooooo badly to dip the corn chips in the peanut butter-catsup and feed them to her guests, but no, the book said to let the guest do it themselves….

    Thanks for the smile today, Allee.

  4. Allee

    I think the peanut butter-catsup dip is the most popular thing in this book! And I agree, let the guests dip themselves. The hostess already has too many other responsibilities!

  5. amber von felts

    Ahahahah! The Sundae Style Cheese killed me. Just the thought of that visual presentation sounds awful, let alone the idea of eating it! They were totally serious with these recipes. People must’ve had stronger stomach linings back then! This reminds me of a funny parody book, the Gallery of Regrettable Foods. Its worth finding for the snarky commentary and the vintage pics!