May 19, 2008

Birds Eye Frosted Foods

The text below is from the first page of the Birds Eye Cook Book (1941, 64 pages). When I first read it, I thought it would have made good material for an infomercial, if there had been infomercials back then.

A Miracle Comes to the Kitchen

You've dreamed of it! (Of course!) You've hoped for it! (Who hasn't?) And maybe you thought the day would never come!

But here it is...a glorious fact today, for now you can buy honest-to-goodness, farm-fresh foods the year round! Just think. Strawberries... flavorful and fresh in June or January. Corn on the Cob, perfect golden ears ...yours now, regardless of season.

And here really is another miracle for today's busy homemaker.

Never again need you spend precious time washing and trimming spinach, shelling peas and Lima beans...for now these grand vegetables come right to you, farm-fresh and scrupulously clean, ready to cook.

Now you can buy the choicest fish from the ocean, trimmed of all waste, even the bones. And the glistening fish fillets and steaks are all ready to pop into the pan.

Even the finest quality, selected poultry and meats are trimmed of excess waste before you buy. Always guaranteed to satisfy, they come to you ready for the oven.

What is this miracle? It's Birds Eye Quick-Frozen Foods!
There's a element of enthusiasm and excitement that runs through the cookbook that I don't sense in many of the others.

The booklet describes how the quick-freeze process, invented by Clarence Birdseye in the late 1920s, made it possible for a homemaker to prepare and serve a complete dinner within 20 minutes. This entire cookbook is about the new "modern" way of cooking.

The rear cover shows some of the dishes that could be prepared--everything from fried fish to hamburgers with mac 'n cheese:

There were over 60 different kinds of Birds Eye frozen foods in 1941. Remember these little rectangular cartons? Back then they were lined with cellophane.

The booklet stresses over and over again how much time the old way takes and how much waste there is. Oh, the drudgery of shelling peas and cutting up chickens.

The Birds Eye frozen poultry line included broilers and fryers. The fryers weighed 1-1/2 to 2-1/2 pounds and were cut into 10 pices, all thoroughly cleaned. The giblets were wrapped separately. The cookbook says that Birds Eye poultry was the "Top Half of Grade A" Government Inspected poultry that had been fed a diet of buttermilk and grain. "They taste like the chikens you had, as a child, down on the farm."

There were several varieties of fish. The photo below shows the Fillet of Haddock. The fillets were sold in one pound packages. They emphasize the fact that there is less waste here too. "In the good old days, you bought a whole haddock, weighing 3 pounds. You threw away the head, the tail, the bones, and the insides. You cooked and ate only about 35% of it."

There are lots of little black and white drawings that accompany the recipes.

I'm not sure I like the message this one is sending.

What a difference seventy years makes. In 2008, we have so many choices that sometimes it's stressful just making decisions about what to buy.

A mail-in order cookbook form was tucked between the pages. Another piece of ephemera to add to the jillion other pieces I already have.


At 7:16 PM CDT, Blogger T.W. Barritt at Culinary Types said...

Wow - I never knew Birds Eye offered frozen fish and poultry! With that newfangled freezing technique, I guess they were frosting over everything! Wonder why they scaled back to just vegetables?

At 8:13 PM CDT, Blogger Laura said...

What a splendid book! Thank you so much for visiting Kitchen Retro - i will be back to your blog I know, this is just the sort of thing I love! You have some wonderful things in your collection!


(Laura is the name on my other Blogger account, but it's all me)

At 7:13 AM CDT, Blogger Kathy said...

T.W. - I don't remember the fish or poultry either. I do know that many years ago if I wanted raspberries, the only ones available were those by Birds Eye.

Lidian - Thanks for stopping by..hope to see you here again!

At 1:51 AM CDT, Blogger Rochelle R. said...

I had no idea they had that many frozen varieties in 1941. Wow that seems like a lot. I wonder how many they make now.


Post a Comment

<< Home