From Cottage Cheese To Sinful Condiments!

Cottage Cheese Goes With Everything!

Dole Ad

The design of these ads definitely evokes the era, not to mention the exotic food of Middle America, which ended up mixed with pineapple, that exotic fruit from (at that time) Hawaii.

Anyone remember those Jello salads? The lime Jello with pineapple chunks in the top photo reminds me of church potlucks and after-church Sabbath dinners. My mom put diced celery in her lime Jello salad. There might also have been whipped cream cheese in the center of the mold….

The pineapple rings topping the cottage cheese in the lower photo brings back other memories–cottage cheese was a staple food during my childhood. We ate cottage cheese with lots of different cooked or canned fruits, including cooked prunes! Another favorite of my mother’s was pineapple and cream cheese sandwiches–that would be diced pineapple mixed into cream cheese to make a sandwich spread. I guess it was the Midwest’s answer to the tea sandwich and was considered a bit festive, so good for picnics or a Sunday supper with a guests!

Here’s an ad from an earlier decade which may help explain why cottage cheese was so popular (and maybe especially with us largely vegetarian Seventh-day Adventists):

"Eat More Cottage Cheese...You'll Need Le...

“Eat More Cottage Cheese…You’ll Need Less Meat…A Postal Card Will Bring Recipes…Cottage Cheese or Meat^ Ask… – NARA – 512542 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Cakes–the Devil’s Food!

Cakes from 1950

Cakes from 1950

The yellow cake with the chocolate frosting looks like it could have been the one on the Duncan Hines cake mix box. The devil’s food cake above it would be a slightly racy choice in our circles, just because the name had the word “devil” in it. We took the devil very seriously, so one didn’t say that word lightly.

Cakes were big at Adventist potlucks or dinners with company too, usually homemade. Sometimes we’d save time and make a cake from a mix for a birthday party. I made a lot of cakes or both kinds with my mom growing up, along with Christmas cookies and pies. I’m glad I did, because I learned the basics of baking, like how to get pie dough the right texture, how to make meringue, and how to butter and flour a pan. I teach my own kids the same skills when I bake (which isn’t very often). Baking is still pretty low-tech–at least the way I do it!

One of the fanciest cakes we ever made when I was a kid was a Lady Baltimore. It was the vision of my best friend’s older brother. He was interested in fine food even though he was a thirteen-year-old boy in a small-town in the late 60s. He also started a temporary fad for fresh mint tea at our house, which was an unheard of concoction. (Do I even need to add that he was gay and ended up in New York?)

Those Evil Condiments!

This ad shows a condiment that we never dreamed of using when I was a kid:

Tabasco ad

Tabasco ad


Now add the bacon to the illicit hot-pepper condiment, and you have something no Adventist of our acquaintance would have dreamed of touching! Following Ellen G. White’s Counsels on Diet and Health, we avoided spicy food and black pepper because they were evil stimulants which aroused the ‘animal nature,’ and that was very bad. So no pepper, mustard, or hot sauce in our house! Bacon–being pork and so unclean–was beyond unthinkable, an unpardonable sin.

Even though I don’t eat Jello or cottage cheese anymore, I do like the graphics, the colors, and the typography of ads from that time, though the food in the photos looks just a little too real!


Two ‘Mod’ Coffee Cups

One of the nice sets of original dishes I still have is called Fairwood Flare (made in the late 50s and early 60s by Schönwald, a German company). We hardly ever used the plates, because my mom was saving them for company or for “someday.” The set is still in great shape.

I love the mod orange and yellow design now and find it very fresh. I have probably 6 of the dinner plates–I forgot to count–and the bread and butter plates.

Here’s a link to a vintage Fairwood Flare ad on ebay. I learned from the ad that they were marketing Fairwood Flare as a mix-and-match set, and now I realize that I also have the tall, slim pitcher you see in the ad–though ours is yellow! So yellow must have been another of the colors they made. Perhaps they introduced it after 1959, the year this ad was run.

With the set, I found just a single coffee cup and saucer. This was odd since my parents, being Seventh-day Adventists, didn’t even drink coffee. I’m guessing my mom bought one “just for looks.” When I found the cup, I was enchanted, because it’s the perfect size for what I call the “short, but meaningful” French-press coffee that I (long an ex-Adventist) make.

Maybe my mom had visions of drinking Postum, which we considered ‘vegetarian’ coffee, since it was “a cereal beverage.” Or maybe she imagined drinking decaf Sanka (considered a little edgy for Adventists to drink, back in the ’60s) as she sat in the living room with its white Italian silk drapes and reproduction Louis XV furniture.

Here is the cup we had

Flare cup

Flare cup

I decided it would be great to have another one for my husband, so I got on the internet and found an Etsy shop called Molly’s Ridge, and the owner Carolyn Michael had some of the cups. I bought one and received it right away (from Quebec!) in perfect condition. Here is the shop and a listing for a few more of the cups:

Now I have two perfect coffee cups to match my mod Flare plates and will enjoy having my short latte out of one when we’re in Redlands!

Two cups--Flare by Fairwood

Two cups–Flare by Fairwood

More 60s-era pieces

Storybook Ranch

My family’s storybook ranch was designed by Ed Caballero, who designed and built a number of these houses in Redlands after seeing this design in neighborhoods around Los Angeles. My father built houses with Ed before my dad became famous for his jokes and penchant for dressing up on holidays as a teacher at Colton High School (1963 – 1984).

The “storybook” ranch house is a variation of the California Ranch house first built by Clifford May in the 1930s. The storybook ranch has overhanging eaves with decorative dovecotes underneath, exposed rafter tails, diamond mullion windows, a brick apron halfway up the sides of the house, a wood shake roof, batten board siding, and other decorative touches.

In 2008, by the time both of my parents passed away, I started refurbishing the house. I’ve kept as many of the original features as possible. My parents, as children of the Great Depression, had the typical habit of saving everything, down to glass jars and rubberbands. Refurbishing the house meant going through almost fifty years’ worth of trash and treasure–including family photographs I’d never seen, dishes and kitchen utensils from the 1920s through 1980s, and everything from 1960s reproduction Louis XIV chairs to a knock-off Barcalounger.

Our first week on the terraces

For the first time since about 1993, I spent a week in my childhood home. I began cleaning it out and renovating it after my mother passed away in 2008. It’s now almost all refurbished (just the yard left to do!) and refurnished.

It’s lovely to see the sunrise over Mt. San Bernardino and, at the end of the day, watch the sun slip away to the west past Loma Linda.

We rode our two horses–one of whom is almost vintage herself: Syri, a chestnut Arabian mare with four white stockings and a blaze, born here on the hill in 1987. The other horse is my daughter’s buckskin POA (Pony of the Americas). She’s quite a looker, if a bit bratty.

We also continued outfitting the kitchen, and I enjoy seeing the old sets of Bauer and Lu-Ray Pastel dishes arranged in the simple ash cabinets of which my dad was so proud. As children of the Great Depression, my parents saved everything from rubber bands to mayonnaise jars. After two estate sales, 80+ bags of trash, and three Dumpster loads, I kept a random selection of dishes, utensils, and linens from the 1920s through 1980s. I’m most drawn to the 60s pieces, especially those in mod orange and yellow which were my mother’s favorites.