A Thousand Ways to Please a Husband book starts with JUNE


Meal Planning with Bettina

Have you ever heard of the book 1000 Ways to Please a Husband With Bettina’s Best Recipes? The book title 1000 Ways to Please a Husband is in large type, and With Bettina’s Best Recipes is in small type, and years ago when I was looking for a copy of the book I came across an old newspaper article about it which commented that one disappointed woman in 1917 returned her book to the publisher with a note saying, “I didn’t realize I was ordering a cookbook.”

The authors were Louise Bennett Weaver and Helen Cowles LeCron, and the illustrator was Elizabeth Colbourne. As it was originally published in 1917 it is in the public domain, and you can read it for free at Project Gutenberg. It was recently republished with a new cover on Amazon (affiliated link).

I was lucky enough to pick up an original book for a song many years ago. I enjoyed the vignettes, and much of the practical advice still holds true for today, though sometimes it’s a bit sappy, and occasionally Bettina comes across as a bit priggish.

I thought I’d post the chapters regarding the month of June, where the book begins with Bettina and Bob returning to their new bungalow after their wedding trip, and each month for one year I will post the corresponding story. I will have to omit most of the illustrations, and the actual recipes, since it was written before our modern ovens, and because many of the recipes are no longer prepared the same way. Occasionally, just for fun, I’ve included the recipe, especially when by the name alone you won’t know what she is cooking, such as “Rocks.” I figure that if you want to see all of the recipes you can get the book. At the very least, maybe she will give you some inspiration as to what to cook for dinner this week!


To every other little bride
Who has a “Bob” to please,
And says she’s tried and tried and tried
To cook with skill and ease,
And can’t!—we offer here as guide
Bettina’s Recipes!

To her whose “Bob” is prone to wear
A sad and hungry look,
Because the maid he thought so fair
Is—well—she just can’t cook!
To her we say: do not despair;
Just try Bettina’s Book!


No, you cannot live on kisses,
Though the honeymoon is sweet,
Harken, brides, a true word this is,—
Even lovers have to eat.


[Note: Spelling is original to the book]


couple sitting down to eat

“HOME at last!” sighed Bettina happily as the hot and dusty travelers left the train.

“Why that contented sigh?” asked Bob. “Because our wedding trip is over? Well, anyhow, Bettina, it’s after five. Shall we have dinner at the hotel?”

“Hotel? Why, Bob! with our house and our dishes and our silver just waiting for us? I’m ashamed of you! We’ll take the first car for home—a street-car, not a taxi! Our extravagant days are over, and the time has come to show you that Bettina knows how to keep house. You think that you love me now, Bobby, but just wait till you sit down to a real strawberry shortcake made by a real cook in a real home!”

Half an hour later Bob was unlocking the door of the new brown bungalow. “Isn’t it a dear?” cried Bettina proudly. “When we’ve had time to give it grass and shrubs and flowers and a vegetable garden, no place in town will equal it! And as for porch furniture, how I’d like to get at Mother’s attic and transform some of her discarded things!”

“Just now I’d rather get at some of Mother’s cooking!” grinned Bob.

“Oh, dear, I forgot! I’ll have supper ready in ten minutes. Do you remember my emergency shelf? Why, Bob—Bob, they must have known we were coming! Here’s ice—and milk—and cream—and butter—and bread—and rolls, and even a grape fruit! They knew, and didn’t meet the train because they thought we would prefer to have our first meal alone! Wasn’t that dear of them? And this will save you a trip to the corner grocery!”

Bettina fastened a trim percale bungalow apron over her traveling suit, and swiftly and surely assembled the little meal.

“I like that apron,” said Bob. “It reminds me of the rainy day when we fixed the emergency shelf. That was fun.”

“Yes, and work too,” said Bettina, “but I’m glad we did it. Do you remember how much I saved by getting things in dozen and half dozen lots? And Mother showed me how much better it was to buy the larger sizes in bottled things, because in buying the smaller bottles you spend most of your money for the glass. Now that you have to pay my bills, Bob, you’ll be glad that I know those things!”

“I think you know a great deal,” said Bob admiringly. “Lots of girls can cook, but mighty few know how to be economical at the same time! It’s great to be your——”

“Dinner is served,” Bettina interrupted. “It’s a ‘pick-up meal,’ but I’m hungry, aren’t you? And after this, sir, no more canned things!”

And Bob sat down to: Creamed Tuna on Toast Strips, Canned Peas with Butter Sauce, Rolls, Butter, Strawberry Preserves, Hot Chocolate with Marshmallows

On Bettina’s Emergency Shelf

6 cans pimentos (small size)
6 cans tuna (small size)
6 cans salmon (small size)
6 jars dried beef
12 cans corn
12 cans peas
6 cans string beans
6 cans lima beans
6 cans devilled ham (small size)
6 cans tomatoes
6 pt. jars pickles
6 pt. jars olives
6 small cans condensed milk
6 boxes sweet wafers
1 pound box salted codfish
3 pkg. marshmallows
3 cans mushrooms
2 pkg. macaroni



“SAY, isn’t it great to be alive!” exclaimed Bob, as he looked across the rose-decked table at the flushed but happy Bettina. “And a beefsteak dinner, too!”

“Steak is expensive, dear, and you’ll not get it often, but as this is our first real dinner in our own home, I had to celebrate. I bought enough for two meals, because buying steak for one meal for two people is beyond any modest purse! So you’ll meet that steak again tomorrow, but I don’t believe that you’ll bow in recognition!”

“So you marketed today, did you?”

“Indeed I did! I bought a big basket, and went at it like a seasoned housekeeper. I had all the staples to get, you know, and lots of other things. After dinner I’ll show you the labelled glass jars on my shelves; it was such fun putting things away! June is a wonderful month for housekeepers. I’ve planned the meals for days ahead, because I know that’s best. Then I’ll go to the market several times a week, and if I plan properly I won’t have to order by telephone. It seems so extravagant to buy in that way unless you know exactly what you are getting. I like to plan for left-overs, too. For instance, the peas in this salad were left from yesterday’s dinner, and the pimento is from that can I opened. Then, too, I cooked tomorrow’s potatoes with these to save gas and bother. You’ll have them served in a different way, of course. And—— Oh, yes, Bob,” Bettina chattered on, “I saw Ruth down town, and have asked all five of my bridesmaids to luncheon day after tomorrow. Won’t that be fun? But I promise you that the neglected groom shall have every one of the good things when he comes home at night!”

“It makes me feel happy, I can tell you, to have a home like this. It’s pleasant to be by ourselves, but at the same time I can’t help wishing that some of the bachelors I know could see it all and taste your cooking!”

“Well, Bob, I want you to feel free to have a guest at any time. If my dinners are good enough for you, I’m sure they’re good enough for any guest whom you may bring. And it isn’t very hard to make a meal for three out of a meal for two. Now, Bobby, if you’re ready, will you please get the dessert?”

“What? Strawberry shortcake? Well, this is living! I tell you what, Bettina, I call this a regular man-size meal!”

It consisted of: Pan-Broiled Steak, New Potatoes in Cream, Baking-Powder Biscuits, Butter, Rhubarb Sauce,  Pea and Celery Salad, Strawberry Shortcake, Cream, Coffee



“HELLO! Yes, this is Bettina! Why, Bob, of course! Is he a real woman-hater? No, I’ve never met any, but I’ll just invite Alice, too, and tomorrow you won’t be calling him that. Six-thirty? Yes, I’ll be ready for you both; I’m so glad you asked him. He’ll be our first guest! Good-bye!”

Bettina left the telephone with more misgivings than her tone had indicated. She couldn’t disappoint Bob, and she liked unexpected company, but the dinner which she had planned was prepared largely from the recipes filed as “left-overs” in her box of indexed cards.

“Well, Bob will like it, anyhow,” she declared confidently, “and if Alice can come, we’ll have enough scintillating table-talk to make up for disappointments.”

Alice accepted with delight, promising to wear “a dream of a gown that just came home,” and confessing to a sentimental feeling at the thought of dining with such a new bride and groom.

“Let’s see,” said Bettina in her spick and span little kitchen, “there is meat enough, but I must hard-boil some eggs to help out these potatoes. ‘Potatoes Anna’ will be delicious. Goodness, what would my home economics teacher have said if she had heard me say ‘hard-boil’? They mustn’t really be boiled at all, just ‘hard-cooked’ in water kept at the boiling point. There will be enough baked green peppers for four, and enough of the pudding, and if I add some very good coffee, I don’t believe that Bob’s Mr. Harrison will feel that women are such nuisances after all! It isn’t an elaborate meal, but it’s wholesome, and at any rate, our gas bill will be a little smaller because everything goes into the oven.”

When Alice arrived, Bettina was putting the finishing touches on her table. “Alice, you look stunning!”

“And you look lovely, which is better! And the table is charming! Those red clover blossoms in that brown basket make a perfect center-piece! How did you think of it?”

“Mother Necessity reminded me, my dear! My next door neighbor has roses, but I covet some for my luncheon tomorrow, and did not like to ask for any today. So I had to use these red clover blooms from our own back yard. They are simple, like the dinner.”

“Don’t you envy me, Harrison?” asked Bob at the table. “This is my third day of real home cooking! You were unexpected company, too!”

The dinner consisted of: Boubons with Tomato Sauce, Potatoes Anna, Baked Green Peppers Stuffed, Bread, Butter, Cottage Pudding, Lemon Sauce, Coffee


BETTINA GIVES A LUNCHEON “O YOU darling Bettina! Did you do it all yourself?” Mary exclaimed impulsively, as the girls admired the dainty first course which their hostess set before them. “Everything is pink and white, like the wedding!”

“Yes,” said Bettina, “and those maline bows on the basket of roses actually attended my wedding. And after this is over, you may see that maline again. I expect to press it out and put it away for other pink luncheons in other Junes! Today, since my guests were to be just my bridesmaids, I thought that a pink luncheon would be the most appropriate kind.”

“Isn’t it fine to be in Bettina’s own house? I can’t realize it!” said Ellen. “And the idea of daring to cook a whole luncheon and serve it in courses all by herself! Why, Bettina, how did you know what to have?”

“Well,” said Bettina, “I went to the market and saw all the inexpensive things that one can buy in June! (They had to be inexpensive! Why, if I were to tell you just what this luncheon cost, you’d laugh. But I want you to like it all before I give that secret away.) And then in planning my menu, I thought of pinky things that went together. That was all, you see.”

“But didn’t it take hours and hours to prepare everything?”

“Why, no. I thought it all out first, and wrote it down, and did most of it yesterday. I’ve found that five minutes of planning is worth five hours of unplanned work. I haven’t hurried, and as Bob will have this same meal as his dinner tonight, I didn’t have to think of him except to plan for more. You see, I estimated each portion as carefully as I could, for it isn’t necessary to have a lot of left-over things. Tonight I’ll wear this same pink gown at dinner so that Bob will get every bit that he can of my first luncheon except the silly girls who flattered the cook.”

“Bettina, there are so many things I’d like to ask you!” said Ruth, who was a little conscious of the shining ring on her left hand. “Tell me, for instance, how you shaped these cunning timbales. With your hands?”

“With a conical ice-cream mould. It is so easy that way.”

“And this salad! Fred is so fond of salad, but I don’t know a thing about making it.”

“Well, I washed the lettuce thoroughly, and when it was very wet I put it on the ice in a cloth. I poured boiling water over these tomatoes to make the skins peel off easily. And, oh, yes, these cucumbers are crisp because I kept the slices in ice water for awhile before I served them. Good salad is always very cold; the ingredients ought to be chilled before they are mixed.”

“These dear little cakes, Bettina! How could you make them in such cunning shapes?”

“With a fancy cutter. And I dipped it in warm water each time before I used it, so that it would cut evenly. I’d love to show you girls all that I know about cooking. Do learn it now while you’re at home; it will save much labor and even tears! Why, Bob said——”

“I knew that was coming!” laughed Alice. “Girls, in self-defense, let’s keep the conversation strictly on Betty’s menu, and away from Betty’s husband!”

And so they discussed: Strawberries au Naturel, Kornlet Soup, Whipped Cream, Croutons, Salmon Timbales with Egg Sauce, Buttered Beets, Potato Croquettes, Pinwheel Biscuit, Butter Balls, Vegetable Salad, Salad Dressing, Wafers, Fancy Cakes, Coffee


BOB HELPS TO GET DINNER “GUESS who!” said a voice behind Bettina, as two hands blinded her eyes.

“Why, Bob, dear! Good for you! How did you get home so early?”

“I caught a ride with Dixon in his new car. And I thought you might need me to help get dinner; it’s nice to be needed! But here I’ve been picturing you toiling over a hot stove, and, instead, I find you on the porch with a magazine, as cool as a cucumber!”

“The day of toiling over a hot stove in summer is over. At least for anyone with sense! But I’m glad you did come home early, and you can help with dinner. Will you make the French dressing for the salad? See, I’ll measure it out, and you can stir it this way with a fork until it’s well mixed and a little thick.”

“I know a much better way than that. Just watch your Uncle Bob; see? I’ll put it in this little Mason jar and shake it. It’s a lot easier and—there you are! We’ll use what we need tonight, put the jar away in the ice-box, and the next time we can give it another good shaking before we use it.”

“Why, Bob, what an ingenious boy you are! I never would have thought of that!”

“You married a man with brains, Betty dear! What is there besides the salad?”

“Halibut steak. It’s Friday, you know, and there is such good inexpensive fish on the market. A pound is plenty for us. The potatoes are ready for the white sauce, the beans are in the fireless cooker, and for dessert there is fresh pineapple sliced. The pineapple is all ready. Will you get it, dear? In the ice-box in a covered jar.”

“Why didn’t you slice it into the serving dish?”

“Because it had to be covered tight. Pineapple has a penetrating odor, and milk and butter absorb it in no time.”

“What else shall I do, Madam Bettina?”

“Well, you may fix the lemon for the fish. No, not sliced; a slice is too hard to handle. Just cut it in halves and then once the other way, in quarters; see? You may also cut up a little of that parsley for the creamed new potatoes. That reminds me that I am going to have parsley growing in a kitchen window box some day. Now you can take the beans out of the cooker, and I’ll put butter sauce on them. No, it isn’t really a sauce,—just melted butter with salt and pepper. There, Bobby dear! Dinner is served, and you helped! How do you like the coreopsis on the table?”

“You always manage to have flowers of some kind, don’t you, Betty? I’m growing so accustomed to that little habit of yours that I suppose I wouldn’t have any appetite if I had to eat on an ordinary undecorated table!”

“Don’t you make fun of me, old fellow! You’d have an appetite no matter when, how or what you had to eat! But things are good tonight, aren’t they?”

Bob had helped to prepare: Halibut Steak, New Potatoes in Cream, String Beans, Butter Sauce, Bread, Butter, Tomato, Cucumber and Pimento Salad, French Dressing, Sliced Fresh Pineapple


COUSIN MATILDA CALLS “HELLO, is this you, Bettina? This is Mother! I’ll have to speak in a low voice. Who do you think is here? No,—Cousin Matilda! Just between trains, but she says she must see how you are ‘situated’! Clementine has such a wonderful establishment now, you know! No, of course not, but I want her to see how happy you are. She seems to have the idea that an ‘establishment’ is necessary! Just to see the house, you know! I know the porch isn’t ready, but don’t worry! About three, then. Good-by!”

That afternoon Bettina looked anxiously through the living room window across the bare little front yard. If only critical Cousin Matilda had waited a few months before coming! But then, the only thing to do was to be as cheerful about it as possible——

“So this is little Bettina!” said a majestic voice at the door. “And how is love in a cottage? How charmingly simple everything is!”

“They planned it all just as they wanted it,” explained Bettina’s mother proudly. “On a small scale, of course, but perhaps some day——”

“But I couldn’t ever be happier than I am right now, Cousin Matilda. What do you think of our big living room? Browns and tans seemed best and safest in a little house like this, and I knew I shouldn’t tire of them as of any other color! I do so dislike going into a bungalow with one little room in blue, another in pink, and so on. The walls are all alike, even in the bedrooms. And the curtains are just simple cotton voiles, ecru in the living and dining rooms, and white in the bedrooms. No side curtains to catch the dust and keep out the air. But I beg your pardon for seeming too complacent; I love it all so that I just can’t help boasting.”

“What is this, my dear? A wedding gift?”

“Yes, isn’t it lovely? It is a sampler in cross-stitch that Bob’s great-great-grandmother made! His Aunt Margaret had it put under the glass cover of this tea cart, and gave it to us for a wedding present. See, the cart is brown willow, and I think it looks well with our furniture, don’t you? This is to be a living porch, but we haven’t furnished it yet except for this green matting rug. And Bob brought that hanging basket home from the florist’s the other day…. Oh, yes, this is my Japanese garden! Bob laughs at me, I have so much fun watching it.”

“What a lovely table decoration those red cherries make in your dining room, my dear! Like a picture, in that piece of dull green pottery!”

“Yes, Bob says I decorate the table differently for every meal! We use this breakfast alcove for breakfast, Sunday evening tea, or any informal meal when we are alone. You see how convenient it is! I do want to put a round serving table with leaves on our living porch. Then we can eat there on warm evenings in summer.”

“Bettina is very accomplished in economy,” said her mother. “You must let her tell you some of her methods.”

“Clementine would be interested, I’m sure,” said Cousin Matilda in her languid way. “Is this your guest room?”

“Yes, and Bob and I are proud of that. We white enameled the furniture ourselves! It is some that we found in a second-hand store, and it was certainly a bargain, though it didn’t look it at the time. I sewed the rags together for these blue and white rugs. Bob made that little open desk out of a small table that we found somewhere. Now that it is white, too, I think it is cunning. And, Cousin Matilda, I give you three guesses as to the place in which I keep my sewing machine!”

“Why, I haven’t seen it yet. In the kitchen?”

“Goodness, no! Well, I’ll tell you! This looks like a dressing table, but is merely a shelf with a mirror above it. The shelf has a cretonne cover and ‘petticoat’ that reaches the floor. And underneath it—behold the sewing machine! Bob made the shelf high enough and wide enough to let the sewing machine slip under it! But, Cousin Matilda, you must be tired of Bettina’s economies! Please sit down with mother in the living room and I will get the ‘party.'”

And Bettina wheeled her tea cart into the kitchen, returning with luncheon napkins, plates, glasses, a pitcher of iced fruit juice, a plate of little chocolate cakes, and several sprays of wild roses.

“What delicious little cakes, Bettina! At least you can’t be called economical when you serve such rich and dainty food as this!”

“I must plead guilty still, Cousin Matilda. I made these little cakes partly from dry bread crumbs. The fruit juice is mostly from the pineapple which Bob had for dessert last night. I cooked the core with about two cups of water and added it to the lemonade.”

“Bettina, Bettina! How did you learn these things? Robert is certainly a lucky man, and I’m sure that some day he will be a wealthy one! You must give me the recipes you used!”

And Bettina wrote them down as follows: BETTINA’S RECIPES (All measurements are level) Little Chocolate Cakes (12 cakes), 2 eggs, ¼ C-butter, ½ C-sugar, 1 C-dry bread crumbs, 3 T-flour, 1 t-vanilla, 3 squares chocolate

Cream the butter, add sugar, and cream the mixture. Add the beaten eggs and stir well. Add melted chocolate, bread crumbs, flour and flavoring. Spread the mixture very thinly on a buttered pan, and bake twenty minutes in a slow oven. Shape with a tiny biscuit cutter, and put together in pairs with mountain cream icing between and on top.

Fruit Juice (Eight glasses) 1 C-sugar, 2 C-water, 1½ C-lemon juice

Boil sugar and water ten minutes without stirring, add lemon juice, and any other fruit juices. Cool and bottle. Keep on ice and dilute with ice water when desired for use. Serve mint leaves with the fruit juice.

***End of June Chapter***

May God bless you as you take care of your own “Bob!” Are you going to serve any of these dishes this week?


PS Regarding Chapter III – I tried to find out what a “boubon” was and found this delightful blog “Cooking a la Bettina.” She actually cooked many of Bettina’s weird recipes! Her synopsis of the chapters is very funny, as well as the reactions of her husband and child.


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