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Sep 15, 2008 06:08 AM

Upscale 40s-50s Food?

I have a murder mystery party that is supposed to take place in 1947 and the menu suggestions are super unappealing to me. Very highbrow though so not TV dinner retro. Does anyone have suggestions? I'd love to throw the party one of these days since they tend to be a lot of fun but... :)

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  1. 1947 was a pretty tough post-war year. food was pretty straightforward. i'd think a beef roast with mashed potatoes and gravy would be nice. fresh green beans with butter and herbs. apple pie for dessert with homemade vanilla ice cream. maybe plain, but with quality ingredients, thoughtfully prepared, it couldn't be tastier! i'd say it is pretty basic english food.

    this timeline is interesting, and would be useful if you really want to do further research through its references:

    the "frenchification" of high-end u.s. cuisine didn't really start until later, with the increased cross-cultural contacts due to post-war reconstruction. and even then, not *really* until it was made very fashionable by the kennedy white house.

    we've gone through a couple of food eras since. now, are we in the "local food done well -- with multicultural and fusion influences" era?

    1. would you mention the suggested menus that are unappealing? (just in general....)

      1. I have James Beard's Fireside Cookbook published in 1949...close enough?
        First there seems to be a big emphasis on cocktails.
        I will just list entrees and if any appeal to you, I will give you the rest or the menu
        Chopped Lamb kebabs,Veal Chops Parmigiana,Shenandoah Fried Chicken, Roast Duck with orange sauce, Hungarian Pot Roast, Minute steaks Brazilian, Barbecued Spareribs, Cold Poached Salmon, Cold stuffed Squab (I had forgotten, squab used to be very popular.. not the teeny ones you get now), Shad roe with Bacon
        There is an English Dinner, American Dinner, Swedish Dinner, Austrian Dinner, Far Eastern Indian Dinner, Italian Dinner, French Dinner.
        Anything you want to explore further?

        3 Replies
        1. re: The Old Gal

          What an intruiging book! I'd love to know the menu for the Italian Dinner, please, , when you have time. TIA!!

          1. re: Gio

            For the Italian Dinner Mr Beard suggests:
            Antipasto, Chicken Broth with Pastini, Rabbit Agro Dolce, Risstto, Sauteed Broccoli, Dandelion Salad, Zuppa Inglese, Caffe Espresso

            That, I think is a pretty upscale dinner, especially for the time.

            1. re: The Old Gal

              Thank you!! It *is* a fairly upscale dinner, I guess. The Chicken Broth with Pastina was served regularly at our house, when I was growing up, as a light lunch or "the morning after," and the Dandelion Salad was a must at least once a week in the summer. The Rabbit - makes it Very upscale! Thanks again.

        2. I remember an old Tracy & Hepburn movie and floating island was served for dessert.
          And you can always start with martinis, old-fashioneds, and manhattans for cocktails. For what goes in between, crown roast of pork?

          4 Replies
          1. re: weezycom

            Floating Island is a great idea, and you can make the components ahead of time.

            1. re: weezycom

              what is a floating island may i ask?

              1. re: AMFM

                It's baked meringue (soft though - like a cloud), served with creme anglaise and often caramel. Also known as Iles Flottantes (sp).


                1. re: MMRuth

                  sounds (and looks) quite yummy.

            2. well it's a cheese ball, cold meat platter, and a chilled asparagus and strawberry salad with a dijon dressing (that one actually sounds pretty good except the canned asparagus but i bet i could fix that). a sherry baked beef, chinese pea pods, apricot rice pilaf and cherries jubilee (okay that sounds fun too).

              1 Reply
              1. re: AMFM

                That sounds delightful! Everyone will be very pleased with your choices, I'm sure. Let us know!